Sunday, May 31, 2015

SAFE Act Is More Popular Than One Would Think

With all the anti-SAFE Act signs I see here and about, I was shocked to see the overwhelming popularity of this legislation.

The Siena College survey May 18 through 21 of 695 registered voters shows 62 percent support "what some have called the toughest gun control law in the country," while 33 percent oppose it. 

Thank you, Governor Cuomo.

What are the chances that SCOPE and all the other anti-SAFE organizations are SCAMS designed to take money from Right-wingers? Close to 100%, likely. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Truth(er) Is Still Out There

It's really hard to believe that there are still people peddling the same bullshit that has long been disproved. I read the Popular Mechanics article years ago and have recently read the book they put out which is an extended refutation of the "theories." The book is called "Debunking 9/11 Myths." Want to thank them for the alert to the existence of Screw Loose Change. It's the best name for a blog since Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly.

There's too much good stuff on the SLC site to link to anything specific. I do want to quote from the PM book, though.

A common refrain in conspiracy circles is the claim that "We're just asking questions." One would think that at least some quarters of the conspiracy movement would welcome a mainstream publication's serious, nonideological attempt to answer those questions. One would be wrong.

And there it is. You can't call yourself a Questioner when you don't want to hear the answers. They just want to keep blathering the same tired "theories" that have been disproved to anyone capable of thinking in a rational, realistic, the sky is blue in my world kind of way. Don't bother arguing with them!

Great, measured response to a Truther by Noam Chomsky. Also liked commentary by the announcer of something I've thought about, too. Why blame the Saudis for being the source of the hijackers if the Bushies wanted to invade Iraq? 

Bonus clip:

I'm proud to be a left gatekeeper as well as a faux liberal. Updating the resume all the time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

In Which I Stand Up For The Right Of All To Debate

There apparently is going to be some winnowing before the GOP debates. How sad!

Those on the outside looking in were Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

What would the blessed, sacred Constitution say about this travesty?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Good News From Ramadi?

Probably not, but this is better than posting about Bill O'Reilly. And I'm giving Funiciello posts a break til closer to the election (maybe tomorrow).

So, we continue to fight shoulder to shoulder with the Iranians to defeat the terrorists that the Bush Administration created, IS or ISIS if you're not into that whole brevity thing.

On Monday, thousands of Shiite militiamen were assembling at an Iraqi army base east of Ramadi preparing a battle to retake the city, after Iraqi forces, backed by US airstrikes, failed Sunday to hold onto it. The entry into the fight of the Iran-backed militias was approved by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who initially resisted their involvement in hopes that Iraqi Army forces could hold Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

I want to thank Trudy Rubin because Paul Bremer has been on my mind lately and this was also my thoughts when that college student confronted the smarter Bush brother. 

On that May 23, Mr. Bremer fired tens of thousands of military officers without pensions or severance. His order propelled the birth of an armed Sunni resistance among ex-Iraqi officers, which morphed into al-Qaida in Iraq and ultimately the Islamic State.

Mr. Bremer’s decision reflected the lack of coherent planning in the Bush administration about what to do after the U.S. invasion. Before the war, the U.S. military had recognized the danger of disbanding Iraq’s armed forces at a time of high unemployment and great social upheaval; it had planned to dissolve the units closest to Saddam Hussein, while vetting the rest and creating a smaller force that could help rebuilded the country.

But George W. Bush’s emissary, Mr. Bremer, changed the plan, apparently without consulting top U.S. military or State Department officials. After Mr. Bremer’s announcement, I knocked on doors in a Baghdad neighborhood populated by senior Sunni army brass and heard the same message over and over: “We laid down our arms, as you asked in leaflets dropped from your planes, and this is how you reward us. We will fight you.”

As Al Franken used to say, "We fired the police and military and told them to take their guns and go home." Unemployed and pissed off. And for good measure we fired all of the government administrators just because they were Baathists. As if they had any choice about joining the Baath Party, if they wanted to work. 

In fairness, Ms. Rubin does criticize our current president. 

None of this absolves Mr. Obama from responsibility for his role in the Islamic States’s emergence. Most glaring was the strong U.S. support for Mr. Maliki after he lost a close election in 2010. U.S. officials should have tried harder to help the winner, Iyad Allawi, form a government. As a secular Shiite, Allawi was far more skeptical of Iran and might have allayed the Sunni resentments that helped fuel the Islamic States. Mr. Obama also should have pushed much harder to keep a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

That is likely true, the overall effect of our invasion was to remove a counterbalance to Iran in the region and install Shiite Muslims in charge of Iraq, though. Not that we can do anything about that now, except go to war against Iran if you're a crazy-ass neocon. Well that would be, send someone else to war if you're a crazy-ass neocon.

Back to CSM and the possible good news. 

The militias are also moving in with the blessing of Anbar’s majority-Sunni provincial council and Sunni tribal leaders – raising the prospect that a combination of Shiite militiamen, Sunni tribesmen, and government forces could retake the city.

Such a possibility is fraught with all kinds of potential dangers, from sectarian fighting among groups presumably working toward the same goal to the threat of cleansing operations by Shiite forces in the Sunni city once the fighting was over.

But a victory against IS by the three fighting groups – Shiite, Sunni, government – could also help pull Iraq back from the brink of a sectarian civil conflict like the one entering its fifth year in neighboring Syria, some regional experts say.

Maybe we can make lemonade yet. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Reminder From Paul Krugman

That going to war in Iraq had nothing to do with intelligence (in any sense of the word).

The Iraq war wasn't an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

You really can't say it much plainer than that. Despite the Nobel Prize, he speaks in a way that even I can understand. 

the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11. 

Oh where have you gone, smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud?

Did the intelligence agencies wrongly conclude that Iraq had chemical weapons and a nuclear program? That’s because they were under intense pressure to justify the war. Did prewar assessments vastly understate the difficulty and cost of occupation? That’s because the war party didn’t want to hear anything that might raise doubts about the rush to invade. Indeed, the Army’s chief of staff was effectively fired for questioning claims that the occupation phase would be cheap and easy.

Why did they want a war?

Can't say for sure why they wanted it, but I have no doubt that Iran was next on their hit list, if Iraq hadn't turned into the giant debacle that anyone with any sense could have predicted. Oh yes, real men go to Tehran.

Just gotta add this Marco Rubio quote:

"The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn't run Iraq," he said then. 

The world? Iraq is not even a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn't run it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Reason I Get My News From The Daily Show

The shocker is that 39% of what's reported as factual on Fox News has any degree of truth in it at all.

At Fox and Fox News, 10 percent of the claims we’ve rated have been True, 11 percent Mostly True, 18 percent Half True, 21 percent Mostly False, 31 percent False and nine percent Pants on Fire.

That means about 60 percent of the claims we’ve checked have been rated Mostly False or worse. Here’s how it breaks down (as of Jan. 27, 2015)

I don't watch TV, news or otherwise, so it doesn't bother me too much that CNN and MSNBC also reported a lot that is incorrect. The Christian Science Monitor, Salon and Daily Show will lead you to the truth brothers and sisters.

Since this is a short and insubstantial post, have some San Cisco.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dems Equal Reps Except When They Don't

I can see why Teddy Kennedy was so fond of Elizabeth Warren. And why the 1% is not.

At its most basic, this was a demand by what Howard Dean used to call "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party" to be taken seriously, to have its issue taken seriously, and to exact a political price from anyone who declines to do so. 

I'd really like to believe the president is being sincere in his belief that this is a good thing. It's difficult to impossible, though. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Elise Stefanik: This Is Your Base!

Well first, I didn't realize we were considering an East Coast Missile Shield Defense System. Really? Defense system? Shield is definitely cooler and, at the same time, more macho. Ken Tingley and I seem to share the question: why the fuck do we need a ECMDS?

But, what this post is really about is the continuing devolving of the Republican Party. Here is ADKer Don:

A missile defense is necessary as long as we have a coward in the white house! Until we have a president with intelligence and a strong foreign policy that protects America, including bombing Iran, North Korea,and others back into the stone age, we must have a strong defense of our country. All nuclear facilities of Iran, North Korea, and others must be totally destroyed for American to be safe. Obama's cowardliness and incompetence has left America open to being destroyed. Congratulations to Elise and the others who recognize and stand up to this and other treats to America.

Now first, I grew up in the heart of the Adirondacks in  bucolic and totally lacking in employment Crown Point. I was surrounded by hearty mountain folk and carry their same blood in genes despite now living amongst  flat-landers. I don't feel the need to go around advertising myself as an ADKer, though. So, I'm thinking this guy came from Jersey or New Yawk city or some such. 

Secondly, and more to the point of the post, this is the beating heart of the Republican Party. This guy needs to have a president who will commit genocide Iran, North Korea and other countries (plural) to be named later. Yes, turn half the world into a parking lot just so ADKer Don will feel safe. 

Elise Stefanik, does it make you feel good that your base is made up of such brave souls. As I pointed out at the comment section, these are the same people who six months ago were hollering that we needed to cancel all flights from Africa or we were all gonna die from Ebola. And the fuckin' Right -wing in this country see themselves as being descended from our founding fathers? I've said before and will continue to: if these guys were around back then, they would have all been on the side of King George.

UPDATE: This article on the Ebola Chicken Littles of the Right just appeared at Salon and I would be remiss not to include a link to it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Today In Guns

Courtesy of Charles Pierce I learn how frigging nuts they are in Georgia for the NRA's objets d'amour.

We know down to the street address the gun shops at which the weapons used to kill cops begin. We even know which store is the fifth-largest source of guns used in gun crimes around the country. Not that we are capable of doing fk-all with this detailed information.

It boils down to: if you live in Georgia you can sell a gun to anyone no matter how crazy they are, oh hell regardless of anything. They can take that gun anywhere and kill anyone and you are not in trouble with the law. Also, if you can take your gun with you anywhere in Georgia. Do not visit Georgia. 

Go see the rest of Pierce's post. All good stuff as always.

Further proof of the insanity that runs rampant south of the Mason-Dixon Line comes from Salon. Don't go to Texas either. The snow is gone and Spring is beautiful here in northern NY.  

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry tried to split hairs, saying that he understands why Abbott, Cruz and Gohmert are concerned — they don’t trust the Obama administration — but that “the military is something else” and deserves the benefit of the doubt. Former Texas Ranger — at least on television — Chuck Norris would brook no call to reason, however, as he compared himself and fellow conspiracy theorists to Benjamin Franklin in his most recent World Net Daily column.

That's right. They still think the US military is preparing to invade Texas, apparently to make it part of the United States. Though, I think that was already done some time ago. BTW Scott, I'll have you know that Rick Perry made Norris an honorary Texas Ranger so it's more than just on TV. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Draw Muhammad Event Gets Intended Response

Pam Geller managed to get two knuckleheads to attack the event and she got lots of publicity. England, due to good taste and such, won't allow her in the country. Can we send her somewhere?

Host Martha MacCallum raised alternative methods for Geller to make her point without incendiary Islamophobia, which Geller rejected. “This is political Islam, seeking to impose restrictions on free speech,” she said, “and you’re asking me to abridge my speech so as not to offend savages.” 

Yes, she's way too much of a right-wing extremist even for Fox News. In fact, her actions are sort of reminiscent of some group.

Professor Coonfield pointed out the similarities of some of the depictions of the prophet Muhammad to posters for “Der Ewige Jude,” or “The Eternal Jew,” a notorious Nazi propaganda “documentary.”

In one of the cartoons, the prophet is depicted as contorted and snarling and as a hook-nosed man in a turban holding a bloody knife. The caption reads, “When it comes to religion ... I’ve got the edge.” The face, Coonfield notes, is nearly identical to the contorted face of “The Eternal Jew” poster.

“That strategy for creating a sense of ‘unity’ by lifting up this internal enemy is as old as human civilization and culture,” he says. “It’s ironic that the kind of thinking that Hitler used, and the Nazis have become famous for using – propaganda to try to create this sense of a collective by creating a strong unquestionably evil Other who is right here in our midst ... so it’s kind of ironic that she’s trying to link some of these things together, when that is in fact her message.”

I reject your Godwin assertion because she is a creep. 

Despite the fact that images depicting the prophet Muhammad cut deeply to the heart of Muslim identity, Muslim leaders in Texas told their followers not to picket or protest the event on Sunday.

“Her words are not just free speech,” says Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. “They are inciteful; they incite hate against our whole community. I was very dismayed by the shooting in Garland, Texas, but at the same time, Pamela Geller is not the victim in this situation that we’re in right now.”

“She intentionally put that event together in hopes that she’d get the response that she received,” Ms. Sarsour says.

“We prayed, but not one Muslim from the state of Texas went out to protest her,” she added. “Muslim leaders specifically told people, do not go anywhere near her. Let her do whatever she does. We don’t care. And there was no protesting outside – unfortunately, except for these two guys from Arizona, who were already on the radar of the FBI anyway.”

Yes, I'm sure Geller is very happy with the response.

And more.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sorry Mr. Nader : Bernie Is Not Taking Your Calls

From Hometown's Paper of Record comes this article on Bernie Sander's run for the roses White House. If he did run as a 3rd party candidate, I could see myself pulling the lever filling in the circle for him. I live in safe for Dems, except those running for Congress upstate, New York.

We are the big tent party.

Would the Democratic Party require Sanders to change his “I” to a “D” in order for him to run in the party’s primaries and caucus? No, a senior Democratic National Committee aide told CBS.

A candidate need only demonstrate "a commitment to the goals and objectives of the Democratic Party," the aide explained. "If you're good with us, we're good with you.”

There wasn't a lot in the article that was remarkable, except for this:

Nader footnote: The former Green Party candidate is no great friend of Sanders.

In a recent letter, Nader accuses Sanders of being “a Lone Ranger, unable even to form a core progressive force within the Senate…. speechifying, putting forward amendments that go nowhere and an occasional hearing where you incisively question witnesses.”

Nader’s primary complaint seems to be that Sanders never returns his calls: “Your staff dutifully takes my messages, forwards them to you and you do not call back. Never.”

Thank you Bernie! You get my vote just for that. In fact, I'm going to cafe press to look for a bumper sticker now. It seems to be a characteristic of Green Party candidates in general to over-estimate their own importance. To qualify for a spot on the Green ticket requires about as much effort as scoring a blog at google blogger. But yet, someone runs for an office they have no chance of winning and suddenly think they're important. 

Has Ralph Nader formed a core progressive force anywhere? Maybe if he had run for an office he could have maybe, possibly, conceivably had a chance of winning he could have made a difference.  But, it's more important to have the big stage where you get lots of attention. That reminds me of someone. Who wants to run for mayor or dog catcher or city councilman? It's better to run for an office you have no chance of winning, then it doesn't look so bad when you lose. If you lose the city councilman election, that hurts. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

That Didn't Take Long

A few days ago, I mused that the Right in this country would eventually turn on the police and military; well, more than they did at Cliven Bundy's squatted land. They seem to be onto the plot to seize Texas from the real Americans who live there. Yeeha!

It appears that the right wing in this country has become downright hostile to the one government institution they heretofore had defended with every fiber of their being: the military. This week, members of the conservative fringe, having apparently become convinced that the army is holding a large training exercise in the American southwest in order to prepare the ground for a federal government takeover of Texas.

They are, of course, going to turn it into Nazi Germany, but you could have guessed that. This really jumped out at me for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on. 

Others, like this gentleman from “The Common Sense Show,” have become convinced that this is far more insidious even than a practice for the day the U.S. military launches martial law throughout Texas.

Oh wait, I've got it

"UnCommon Sense" is a weekly show hosted by Matt Funiciello, Writer, Activist, Green Party Congressional Candidate, Bread Baker, Bad Hockey Coach.

Well, maybe Matt'll head on down there and help the Texans defend themselves from tyranny. 

"If you don't feel we need guns to defend ourselves against tyranny, then you're not paying attention."

I'm thinking he might be down with the idea. He's not a conspiracy theorist, just a questioner. 

This person links to Alex Jones’ conspiracy website InfoWars, which seems to be the main source of all this alleged inside information about the Jade Helm exercises. He also cites the Oath Keepers, who are very agitated about this “infiltration” as well. (Oath Keepers are former and current members of the military who take an oath to disobey orders that violate the Constitution. Who decides what the Constitution says in these matters is apparently left up to Alex Jones. And maybe those “Duck Dynasty” guys too.)

I guess Digby doesn't know about Constitutional expert Bob Schulz. Since no one reads this anyway, I can mention here that Texas is only the start. Kaiser Obama is going to roll up all the red states before the 2016 election is canceled. It's gonna be a whole new Homeland.