Archive for category This Blog
The dismal Trump inauguration has been eclipsed by today’s demonstrations against Trump. The crowd was estimated at 500,000 in Washington DC, while a total of 2.6 million came out in hundreds of marches in cities in all 50 states and around the world. A record-setting example of People Power. Chelsea Handler led a march with 8,000 people in Park City.
I am encouraged because the spirit of the demonstrations has been festive and optimistic. Our Democracy isn’t finished yet! What a contrast to Trump’s “carnage” speech yesterday.
Before he’d even been sworn in, the American right had declared war on Barack Obama. Republicans in Congress set out to make him a one-term president. They decided on a strategy of total obstruction. Throughout his 8 years in office, people on the right have described Barack Obama as everything from a power-mad dictator to an incompetent bumbler; they’ve denounced him as a secret Muslim in on breath while decrying his affiliation with the Christian Rev. Jeremiah Wright; they questioned his legitimacy in every way possible; they’ve described him as the teleprompter president, incapable of speaking without script. For 8 years, the American right has raged and ranted, shouted and screamed; if you wanted to see the American Id on display, the American right provided it in truly prodigious quantities.
Trump, the minority president who lost the popular vote and is only assuming office due to the electoral college, embodies the polar opposite of everything Barack Obama really is – in fact, Trump is the living embodiment of what the right says about Barack Obama.
Jonathan Chait, at NY Magazine, observes:
Trump does say something important about the Obama years . . . Republicans have spent eight years insisting Obama holds some or even all the blame for their refusal to negotiate with his policies. Why would a party that once advocated Keynesian stimulus and an individual mandate and cap and trade come to denounce all those ideas as ruinous socialism? The explanation offered by conservatives, and taken seriously by many fair-minded observers, held that the party had undertaken a serious process of ideological self-evaluation. Republicans had simply embraced deep-seated beliefs in stringent fiscal conservatism, Constitutional absolutism, and the principles of limited government.
The rise of Trump shows how false that explanation rings. Here is a candidate who makes a mockery of all those alleged principles. Trump reveals that the backlash against Obama was exactly what liberals said it was, racialized hysteria against social change, and that no negotiating strategy or policy concessions could have calmed the rage on the right.
Obama produced a tremendous amount of progress in spite of a backlash he could do nothing to stop. And he will leave the White House with peace and prosperity and an approval rating hovering around 60 percent. Trump belongs to the right. He is a product of the backlash against Obamaism, and the personal and ideological antithesis of the urbane, intellectual, sober, empirically minded 44th president. Trump is related to Obama only in that he is the perfect incarnation of the rage, bigotry, and ignorance that defined his opposition.
The American right created Donald Trump. He is their responsibility.
Arch Canyon, Bears Ears NM / Manti-La Sal NF
Today President Obama proclaimed a 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, which is just two-thirds the area proposed by the Bears Ears Coalition. Instead of sticking the right-wing with what they deserve, Obama fell short, in his usual “well, it’s better than nothing” style. The smaller-than-expected boundary is close to what Rep. Rob Bishop proposed in his Public Lands Initiative bill.
Of course the Tea-GOP is exploding with rage anyway despite Obama’s futile attempt to make them feel listened to. Via the Salt Lake Tribune:
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch on Wednesday issued a scathing indictment calling Obama’s action an “attack on an entire way of life” and an “astonishing and egregious abuse of executive power” that far exceeds the intent of the Antiquities Act.
“In the next Congress under President [Donald] Trump, I will do everything in my power to reverse this travesty,” Hatch said.
…Gov. Gary Herbert said he was “deeply disturbed” by the designation, by which he said the president “misused his authority” and “violated assurances made by his Interior Secretary [Sally Jewell] to take into account local concerns.”
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he is working with Herbert, the state’s congressional delegation and lawmakers on a lawsuit, “and we are confident in our chances of success.”
Comment in an e-mail from USA-ALL (right-wing anti-wilderness group):
We called this early in 2016. This is one we hate to be right about. There is much we could say about this…like how it will undermine the possibility of collaborative planning and compromises over disputed areas, like how shady and dishonest groups like SUWA are, or how naive and foolish native american tribes are for buying into the lies of enviros, and how the Obama administration cares little about REAL local input and doing the right thing for the land and the people…we could go on.
USA-ALL will make it our mission, in 2017, to convince the Trump administration to undo in entirety or part this latest assault.
As much as I dislike SUWA, they have the right idea here:
TELL THE UTAH DELEGATION: HANDS OFF BEARS EARS!
Statement by the President on the Designation of Bears Ears National Monument…
Department of the Interior press release
Beauty of Bears Ears on Vimeo
BLM website: Bears Ears National Monument
Forest Service website: Bears Ears National Monument
Barack Obama Names Two New National Monuments Important To Native Americans Before His Term Ends
Chaffetz Outraged by Obama Decision to Impose Unwanted Midnight Monument in Utah (Note: This is on Rep. Chaffetz’ website, and you can leave a comment!)
Utah Attorney General Vows To Sue Obama Over New National Monument
I’ve been trying to make sense of the power grab by North Carolina Republicans.
The basic outline of their power grab is that having lost two key statewide races (governor and state supreme court), Republicans in North Carolina’s legislature, with the willing help of outgoing Republican governor McRory, passed laws to strip both the incoming governor and soon to be Democratic majority on the state’s Supreme Court of significant power.
Superficially, it’s a temper tantrum of monumental proportions. At a slightly deeper level, it’s an attack on established democratic institutions. You lose this time, I lose next time; if I try to screw you when I lose, you’re going try to do the same thing when you lose. It’s an offensive and brazen attempt to undermine the democratically determined outcome of the election. But it’s also the sort of behavior that invites such a huge backlash it seems self-defeating.
Over at Vox, this article explores why many people who rely on Obamacare voted for Donald Trump who promised to repeal it:
Trump campaigned on repealing Obamacare. Do you think he’s going to repeal all these programs that you’ve been signing people up for?
The funny thing is, my husband said, “You know, he’s going to eliminate health care.” But he really can’t totally take it out, because everybody has to have health care. You can’t go backward. But I think that he should look at it, come and walk the walk with us … or have his advisers come and see, like in these rural areas.
Come and see these people and really get down in the dirt with us and see what’s going on. Not just make these rules up there.
In this article, another Trump voter is quoted:
They voted for Trump because they were concerned about other issues — and just couldn’t fathom the idea that this new coverage would be taken away from them.
“I guess I thought that, you know, he would not do this, he would not take health insurance away knowing it would affect so many peoples lives,” says Debbie Mills, an Obamacare enrollee who supported Trump. “I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot pay for insurance?”
Trump campaigned on repealing Obamacare. They voted for him, knowing they need it, and yet don’t believe he’ll repeal it.
Glenn Greenwald: ‘Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it’
Craig Melvin wags his finger at purveyors of fake news, as if MSNBC wasn’t guilty too
Glenn Greenwald lands a solid punch on his website The Intercept.
“Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it.”
After WikiLeaks published the Podesta e-mails the first week of October, regular viewers of MSNBC heard a constant refrain that the damaging revelations (including excerpts of paid Wall Street speeches that Hillary Clinton refused to make public) were somehow fabricated. When the e-mails were released, MSNBC analyst and intelligence expert Malcolm Nance instantly declared that they were “riddled with obvious forgeries.” This claim was repeated on air ad nauseam.
I noticed at the time that neither John Podesta nor any other author of the released e-mails denied that the information was genuine. To this day, they have neither confirmed nor refuted the authenticity of the e-mails despite being asked. It reminded me of the classic Sherlock Holmes story where the most important clue was the dog that didn’t bark. All that Hillary had to do to prove the contention that the e-mail documents were doctored would have been to release the full speech transcripts, that remain shrouded in secrecy.
Greenwald has the rest of the story:
That the emails in the Wikileaks archive were doctored or faked – and thus should be disregarded – was classic Fake News, spread not by Macedonian teenagers or Kremlin operatives but by established news outlets such as MSNBC, the Atlantic and Newsweek. And, by design, this Fake News spread like wildfire all over the internet, hungrily clicked and shared by tens of thousands of people eager to believe it was true. As a result of this deliberate disinformation campaign, anyone reporting on the contents of the emails was instantly met with claims that the documents in the archive had been proven fake.
It turns out that Malcolm Nance got the idea that the e-mails were “riddled with obvious forgeries” not from his sources in U.S. intelligence or even from the Hillary campaign, but from a tweet(!) sent by fake news author Marco Chacon.
In his Daily Beast article, published on November 21, Chacon describes how he manufactured the forged Goldman Sachs speech transcript. He says he did it prior to learning that the WikiLeaks releases of Podesta emails contained actual Clinton speech excerpts to Wall Street banks. But once he realized WikiLeaks had published actual Clinton transcripts, Chacon began trying to lure people he disliked – Clinton critics – into believing that his forged speeches were real, so that he could prove they were gullible and dumb.
Sadly for Chacon, however, the people who ended up getting fooled by his Fake News items were the nation’s most prominent Clinton supporters, including supposed experts and journalists from MSNBC who used his obvious fakes to try to convince the world that the WikiLeaks archive had been compromised and thus should be ignored.
Has anyone at MSNBC issued a correction/apology for spreading fake news? No. Have they at least stopped doing it? Well, in between frequent segments deploring the prevalence of fake news all over the place, MSNBC is telling us all day every day that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency. This story is supposedly based on anonymous sources at the CIA. Point of information: the CIA is an organization made up of professional liars. Anybody who says “the CIA has released a report” is lying. None of the other 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have weighed in, as far as we know.
Glenn Greenwald reports: Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence.
Yes, I predicted the Evil Russkie theory would go away after the election because along with everybody except Michael Moore I believed Hillary would win. But I also said that if Hillary lost that this talking point would be used an an excuse. Remember that a key part of Hillary’s agenda was to re-start the Cold War for the neocons and the defense contractors.
Malcolm Nance is now on MSNBC peddling his latest book…
This was published two months ago, when Malcolm thought Hillary would win. But what the hell, Russkie bashing is still a thing.
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!
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.
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 »
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.