Skull Hampers

Friday, September 19, 2014

One Rather Expected More—Or Not

Josh Marshall says “You kind of have to see this video.” And he’s exactly right. James O’Keefe has, I am afraid to say, completely descended into farce. And there were such hopes for him, too, weren’t there? But anyhow:

You know, when young James took it upon himself to manufacture an essentially fallacious narrative about ACORN that ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the group, I thought he’d got his foot in the door for star treatment on the wingnut welfare circuit but would need to up his game to remain viable for long. His output since has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Probably because he makes things up. And then there are the occasional civil prices paid. He’s a damn liability to any credible journalism outfit, and even conservative media seems a little tired of him. That why I guess he’s on this topical tip—one could hope for his sake he’s trolling to fund some bigger project, but it looks mostly like performance art and bottom-feeding.

So what’s a boy to do?

It would be neat if he applied himself to knowing the details that make foreign ISIL fighters crossing our borders nearly irrelevant, like the way that ISIL uses propaganda to recruit people right here in the west—even the US. O’Keefe must know how dangerous propaganda can be by now, certainly? He could even bother looking into how threats that ISIL makes regarding potential attacks here are aspirational and reflect the mixed messages ISIL keeps trying to make to project strength. Or even ask what kind of wall would have protected Australia (get a map, if you like, Jimmy) from terror plans. Porous border much?

He’s a disappointment. One wants better targets of one’s loathing, don’t you think?

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

 

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 09/19/14 at 10:52 PM
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Monday, August 18, 2014

A Body’s Story and A Burning Town

Just moments after my Twitter feed advised me that the Ferguson PD elected to crack down on the curfewed protesters and journalists about two hours early, I got a good idea about why—

The independent autopsy of Michael Brown’s body had been released (and where is the autopsy from the local ME? one might well ask, as well as ask why another federal one might be requested before this young man’s bones are put to rest). And the wounds tell a story. They can’t not.

“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Dr. Baden said in an interview after performing the autopsy. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”

Dr. Baden said that while Mr. Brown was shot at least six times, only three bullets were recovered from his body. But he has not yet seen the X-rays showing where the bullets were found, which would clarify the autopsy results. Nor has he had access to witness and police statements.

But the entry wounds to the arms and head of Michael Brown from a distance suggest to me shots not to incapacitate but kill—two to the head? I think he was down and his hands may have been up to shield himself—a totally submissive posture and not out of line with what eyewitnesses have indicated.  And I don’t really have time to argue why this is not what anyone does with a suspect picked up for walking in the street who may meet the description of an unarmed person who boosted some ‘rellos from a convenience store.

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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/18/14 at 12:12 AM
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Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsNuttersSkull Hampers

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Trump Would Leave Americans Behind

For those who can’t see the graphic, Donald Trump (The Donald) tweeted: “The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences!”

What a bloody noble bastard he is, right? No good deed goes unpunished!

He’s speaking, of course, about the decision to have Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol (Americans who heroically risked their lives to assist with the Ebola crisis in West Africa) come back to be treated here in the good old U.S. of A. You know, where we have a funny old ethos about valuing human life and not leaving heroes behind if we can help it. Usually. Unless icky germs and human suffering might be occurring—if you’re a privileged ignoramus like Trump, who has been bloviating about the risks in a nice public snit about how “leaders” are crazy to want to treat sick people.

If there were a global pandemic, it really might behoove us to know something about treating this illness, would it not? That’s not so crazy. From a humanitarian point of view, saving human lives because this disease can be beaten is not crazy, either. And of course, Trump is a public spectacle of walking derp, from his Birther flirting to his weird obsession against windmills, and it’s probably just silly of me to point out that he’s, once again, flagrantly wrong and fact-averse.

Except that people take this guy seriously enough that his name was bruited about for a presidential run once upon a time. So I would very much like to point out that he’s uniquely unqualified, not just because he doesn’t bother to know things, like the state of the art care that a mere two Ebola patients can be given in isolation here as opposed to the over-taxed situation they would have been in if left where they were.  And we’ve dealt with this kind of infection before here in the states. It’s not an “end of the world” scenario. It is medical treatment of people in real need that we probably can help—two of them. Two heroic American people.

It’s because he would let them die, because ugh. Diseases are gross. This is the thinking of an immature, selfish person at best. You know who else goes to “far away places to help out”? Like, diplomatic staff at consulates and embassies. Our soldiers. Suffer the consequences? Trump suffers the consequences of being Trump, but maybe he could stand to go off to a faraway place for awhile! In other words—anyone still interested in his political future should take a hard look at…this.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/02/14 at 09:40 PM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '16NuttersTeabaggerySkull Hampers

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

SCOTUS Shows Love for the Rainmakers and Buckrakers

In the home of the brave, free speech comes with a price tag, as the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 (No! Really?) decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case, which basically gives rich folks the license to print ballots.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but here’s the deal—if putting your money where your mouth is, is a form of free speech, then some animals on this farm are obviously more equal than others, if laws that try to keep the rich from drowning out the voices of the not-so-much are seen as onerously violating the rights of the people who can afford to pay for this here microphone and mean to use it.

It kind of says, if you can’t afford to pay for the good sound system, you might as well shut up.

There was some dancing around in that decision about whether campaign financing was about quid pro quo—look, I get it. The decision for letting our politicians be bought outright was centered on not making it for each trick they turn out, but letting them perform on a retainer basis.  And that’s sweet, but let’s call it what it is. And let’s not pretend that our transactional political system isn’t about quid pro quo because the paymasters don’t give direction when our little dears can figure out what they are supposed to do to please Daddy without all that much direction.

Now, there might be an antidote to the influence of money in the form of a critical, tough, independent media who can cut through the “talk” of money and see to it that “bullshit” hits the road. A lot of our mainstream media might not necessarily recognize that cutting through the bull is their job, though. That’s kind of why I see blogging as important. Maybe this cosa nostra can strike a little bit back at the pezzanovantes that want to make peasants out of us. But otherwise, I encourage everybody to vote the fuck out of the GOP, because, let’s be honest, they are the most boughten and paidest-for. I’m all for kicking the Koch-machine—how’bout you?

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/02/14 at 10:08 PM
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Not the Least, and Not the Last

Yesterday marked some new changes in the battle of LGBT equality, with AZ Gov.Jan Brewer vetoing Senate bill 1062, finding that there was no evidence that people of faith were being unduly burdened and that allowing this bill to become law would have unintended consequences, and with a federal judge ruling the Texas gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

It’s not unalloyed good news, because although I am optimistic (just see my last blog entry) I was not found in a cabbage patch nor was I raised on sunshine and good vibes. The response of some social conservatives definitely reminds me that nothing is over—if anything, the desire of a handful of retrograde culture warriors to wrap themselves in the mantle of faith and claim special privilege as a marginalized group seems to have grown. It’s what you might call a smaller, but more motivated group. Look at it this way, if it’s right that the SCOTUS Windsor ruling has literally made all further argument on gay marriage moot, what the hell is Brian Brown gonna do now? Get a real job? Even Fox News might stop inviting Tony Perkins on, and everyone knows Bryan Fischer is worried that if folks are freely getting gay-married…well, he’s on his own thing and I think he’s more scared of turning into a vulva than turning gay, but my point is, that rear-guard money is catch as catch can and they gotta hustle now. So they will hustle.

The thing with prejudice is, the people with it like to feel justified. Of course they are fine upstanding better people. They wouldn’t even have the prejudices they do if they weren’t! This “religious freedom” gambit seemed like a nice way to co-opt the language of the persecuted to sound like maybe they were the ones all victimized and wronged by liberal fascism. Which is the very worst kind of fascism because of the PBS programming and organic produce, not to mention the whole meaningful chats about “tone”. But the problem is political correctness, don’t you know.

Conservatism won at least one argument with me. I hate political correctness. I will call these professional victims and family values pimps what they are. And for what it’s worth, if they want to talk about respecting religion, I have some reservations about your garden-variety haters deciding it’s totally okay to rip out pages of Leviticus and use them as a fig leaf to cover up their rage-boners over any class of people…being treated totally the same as anyone else.

But here is something to ponder that I don’t think conservatives are taking into account:

This kissing of theocratic ass is costing them—let’s talk about CPAC.

I love CPAC. I pretend I’m appalled because I’m a proper liberal with all the right credentials but as theater? I was a choir geek in high school—I love theater! And who doesn’t like to watch a hot mess of theater sometimes? But anyway, CPAC has engendered drama because they could never let GOProud in the fold. They were out, and never in. The sucking up around the edges to try and pacify the theocrat powers that be apparently cheesed Chris Barron off enough to quit them, hard enough. Is he not a conservative and a brother?

Nope. Moving on, CPAC isn’t having any with atheists either.  Wow. If “none of the above” is a big religious choice of the millennial generation, aren’t they making a big mistake right here? Especially given that 1/3 of millennials left religion specifically over how gay people are treated by their faith?


This wedge issue that used to be good for the GOP circa 2004, is not a great issue about now.  But if they think they look spiffy in albatross, who am I to try and stop them? You go, GOP-ers! Wrap yourself in the flag and the Bible and take all of your guns at once and….

I dunno. Write a very serious letter to editor of the Washington Times. If they have one. I guess.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/27/14 at 11:51 PM
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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Send in the Clowns: Breitbart Plans World Domination

Ambling around the Web this evening, I stumbled upon this headline:

Delingpole quits Telegraph ahead of UK launch of Breitbart.com

Two things immediately jumped out at me.

Delingpole—who, if you’ve never had the pleasure, is one James “I’m right about everything” Delingpole, in his own words “a member of probably the most discriminated-against subsection in the whole of British society—the white, middle-aged, public-school-and-Oxbridge educated middle-class male” who a few years ago earned this very blog’s coveted accolade of Dickhead of the Day, along with the timeless lede “Cretinous British twit,” which is far from the unkindest thing that’s ever been said about him (and I’d like a few props for resisting the obvious Photoshop here ... gnnnn).

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Why, he’s even described himself as “James Delingpole — the man so barking even Ukip [the UK Independence Party] wouldn’t have him.”

How to sum up Sucky Jim otherwise? Google is, as ever, your helpful friend:

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He’s a self-described rightwing libertarian, an ideologue who in 2010 called for a British Tea Party movement, kind of missing the point of the original Tea Party.

He also fancies himself a satirist, a poor man’s Jeremy Clarkson if you will, failing to see why some might take exception to a passage like this:

... Barack Seamus O’Toole Flaherty Joyce O’Bama is the most Irish US president that ever set foot on the Emerald Oisle, so he is, so he is.

Except, when he’s in Africa, of course, when he disappears into the dry ice and re-emerges with a grass skirt and a bone through his nose and declares himself to be Mandingo, Prince of the Bloodline of the Bonga People, Drinker of Cattle Urine, Father of A Thousand Warrior Sons, Keeper of King Solomon’s Mines, Barehanded Slayer of Lions, Undaunted Victim of the Evil Colonial British Empire.

You could also with some justification call him a minor toff (daddy owned a factory, so he’d never make the major leagues short of marrying a Royal filly, which he hasn’t so far), the minorness no doubt being the impetus for his incessant clamor for attention and Pooteresque trumpeting of his mediocrity.

A polemical left-baiting anthropomorphic climate change denier, his Daily Telegraph blurb reads:

James Delingpole is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything. He is the author of numerous fantastically entertaining books, including his most recent work Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children’s Future, also available in the US, and in Australia as Killing the Earth to Save It. His website is www.jamesdelingpole.com.

His acumen can be gauged if you click on that link to “his” eponymous website.*

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Posted by YAFB on 02/16/14 at 11:42 PM
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tom Perkins Makes Some Interesting Points

I have the feeling that Tom Perkins and I don’t have considerable overlap in our personal views or experiences regarding money. It’s okay, and I judge, but, like, I don’t judge, man.  He’s made a living knowing things about money, while for me, economics is a neat hobby, but I read poetry in college because my folks wanted me to be a useful citizen and iambs kept me off the pipe and the pole. Kind of. So I am taking his pronouncements with a grain of salt and a spoonful of sugar.

It’s hard to not look at a claim that people should earn votes based on their tax dollars as a form of elitism where wealthy people have more value in a system based on their proportionate capacity to pay more in tax dollars because they have those dollars to pay. I could envision a system where, by virtue of greed and the complicity of the hoi polloi, the wealthy could become disenfranchised by a tax law exempting the 1%-ers from all taxation. Followed by a brief and satisfying reign of terror in the exact year they lose all the votes. But I have long dipped my toes in speculative fiction where justice often follows narrative ends.

I do not suggest that such a future is practical nor probable. But I do note that our popular elections are so run that money does have sway in the ability of candidates, or whole movements, such as the Tea Party, to gain offices. The ability to create issues, generate turn-out, attract donations (by that old black magic called “It takes money to make money”), run ads that popularize a candidate’s name and visage, and so on, are greatly aided by money.

Why, let me introduce you to the Koch Brothers, if you haven’t been introduced! They’ve got a system.  They are two guys who can fund a remarkable number of think tanks (thought tanks, I think, because the thinks were already pre-thunk, no?), action groups, and whatever you might call them. This is several different ways to funnel money to campaigns, really. Many ways to soften up voter minds or harden positions for the gullible faithful inclined to seeing things their way. Billionaires can even buy or build whole news networks. They are even owning whole states, in their unpleasant way.  With the Citizen’s United decision, dollars pretty well convert to votes. Perkins’ dream is about here.

I think this is why folks of limited resources need to take advantage of voting while we can, because it is regularly being screwed with. (Nope, even today.) And let’s make sure our votes don’t get bought out from under us.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/15/14 at 12:46 AM
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Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsBarack ObamaBedwettersNuttersTeabaggerySkull Hampers

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Countdown to World-Class Tantrum: Toldya So Edition

Just call me Nostradamus.

Staking out Donald Trump’s Twitter feed in wait for the almighty head explosion after the rejection of his objection to an experimental windfarm within bellowing distance of his Aberdeenshire golf development has so far proven an exercise in futility and frustration. But never fear—he found other outlets for his fury:

DONALD Trump sparked renewed outrage yesterday when he compared the development of wind farms in Scotland to the Lockerbie disaster.

On Tuesday, the billionaire tycoon announced that the Trump Organisation would be turning its back on Scotland and concentrating on developing a new course on the Republic of Ireland’s Atlantic coast.
...
But yesterday, Trump sparked an angry backlash after renewing his attack on green energy schemes in Scotland in an interview with the Irish Times.

He told the newspaper: “Wind farms are a disaster for Scotland, like Pan Am 103. They make people sick with the continuous noise.

I’ll pause there a moment to allow time for your brain to supply the obvious riposte. Done? OK.

They’re an abomination and are only sustained with government subsidy. Scotland is in the middle of a revolution against wind farms. People don’t want them near their homes, ruining property values.”

All 259 passengers and crew on board Pan Am Flight 103 and 11 residents of Lockerbie were killed when the Boeing 747 plunged from the skies over Dumfries and Galloway on 21 December, 1988, when the plane was destroyed by a terrorist bomb.

It can only be a matter of time before some scurrilous hyperbolic blogger somewhere compares whateverthehell that thing on Trump’s head is to 9/11, and I doubt you’ll read about it here first when it happens.

In Scotland, as well as among some of the relatives of the Lockerbie victims, this newest low low among Trumpbursts has gone down about as well as you’d expect. People might be more incensed, but it’s not the first time Trump’s invoked a comparison between the Lockerbie disaster and the Scottish government’s renewable energy strategy. Back in December 2012 Trump International Golf Links placed this advert in two Scottish newspapers.

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This prompted 21 complaints to the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), not least from the Scottish Green Party, which Trump greeted in his usual diplomatic manner:

The Trump Organisation responded by labelling the Green Party “a complete joke” and insisting that it had wanted the advert, which has been approved by the Committee of Advertising Practice to be much stronger.

The Trump Organisation’s executive vice-president and counsel George A. Sorial added: “The Green Party’s policies should be challenged on every front because they have done nothing to protect the deliberate mutilation of their own environment, coastline and countryside. Members of “green” groups must be embarrassed.

“Those who lost a family member or a friend in the Lockerbie tragedy must be incredibly incensed with Alex Salmond for releasing a murderous criminal.”

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Posted by YAFB on 02/13/14 at 09:35 AM
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Categories: PoliticsBedwettersBqhatevwrNuttersOur Stupid MediaSkull Hampers

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Countdown to World-Class Tantrum: Windbag Trump in Windfarm Fail

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Hello again, Rumproasters, after what seems like a long, long period of impromptu sabbatical to allow the trauma and RSI from 2012’s electoral shenanigans to subside to a dull ache.

What brings me scrambling back to the keyboard? Why, another Donald Trump Grand Debacle, as reported by the BBC!

A legal challenge to a planned offshore wind farm which could be seen from Donald Trump’s golf resort in Aberdeenshire has been rejected.

US businessman Mr Trump claims the £230m European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) would spoil the view from his golf course at Menie.

He wanted the decision by Scottish ministers to approve the project overturned.

However, the legal bid has been rejected by Lord Doherty.
...
Lord Doherty said he was not persuaded that it could be fairly concluded there was a real possibility of any bias in the decision-making process, or that the decision not to hold an inquiry had been unreasonable or unlawful.

The Trump Organisation said it would review the Court of Session decision.
...
A statement said: “Today’s decision has not altered our unwavering commitment to protect our investment in Scotland.

“We are reviewing Lord Doherty’s decision and will pursue the legal options available to us as recommended by our counsel.

“Communities world-wide continue to challenge the destructive proliferation of wind turbines and we will remain a fierce opponent at the forefront of this battle.

Over the years I’ve documented in a number of Rumproast posts Trump and his henchmen’s antics in Scotland, where his strongarming of the local authorities and attempts to celebrate his proud Scots heritage by re-enacting the Highland Clearances to build a “World-Class” Clusterfuck Golf Course at the Menie Estate near Aberdeen have excited much ire and ridicule.

Trump began the development in 2007, there were rumors as early as December 2008 that Trump’s overambitious plans would have to be scaled back because he was feeling the same economic pinch as everyone else. Then all of a sudden in early 2012, Trump pivoted to blaming the offshore wind turbine project for the decision not to go ahead with the full development, suddenly becoming a rabidly vociferous opponent of Scotland’s extensive efforts to develop renewable energy as a resource and offering funding to windfarm opposition groups which soon all too predictably came to regret their involvement with the World-Class BeTribbled Buffoon.

As I’ve pointed out numerous times in the past, this is all a load of World-Class Self-Serving Bollocks. Never technically bankrupt himself but having left in his wake a trail of failed and bankrupt shell companies and developments, along with tearful financially distraught mugs investors, Trump’s claims that the blight of the offshore turbine development is behind his decision are completely bogus.

None of the media seem to have joined the dots in recent times, and the Menie development’s earlier setbacks seem to have been forgotten, so I’ll risk taxing your patience and repeat myself again to draw attention to the fact that (excuse all caps) TRUMP WAS NOT GOING TO GO AHEAD WITH THE FULL MENIE DEVELOPMENT ANYWAY, EVEN WITHOUT THE EOWDC.

Here’s the Guardian back in June 2011, before he decided that he was going to exploit the situation to save face and stir up trouble in his ancestral home by blaming offshore wind turbines rather than his own overweening vanity for the project’s pruning:

Donald Trump has been forced to postpone his plan to create the “world’s greatest” golf resort in Scotland, complete with five-star hotel and luxury villas, because of the global financial crisis.

The billionaire property developer flew into Aberdeen on Monday on his latest luxury jet, a Boeing 757-200 fitted out with a master bedroom and five kitchens, to announce that his championship standard 18-hole golf course overlooking the North Sea would open for play in July next year.

... the tycoon said that the full scheme, a £750m complex featuring a luxury hotel, Trump Boulevard, a golf academy, a second course and timeshare apartments, had been bunkered by the recession.

Trump said “the world has crashed” since he first bought the Menie estate and dunes in 2005, provoking a long-running battle with local residents, councillors and environmental groups about his proposals, which has involved heavily altering the legally protected rare dunes.

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Posted by YAFB on 02/11/14 at 09:55 AM
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Categories: PoliticsBedwettersBqhatevwrNuttersOur Stupid MediaSkull Hampers

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Disappointed in Dinesh D’Souza

The situation may well be dire for Dinesh D’Souza, conservative public intellectual, film-maker, and Christmas tree salesman.  His recent indictment for charges of campaign finance fraud, for allegedly filtering $20K in campaign contributions to a long-time friend, Wendy Long, through “straw contributors”, could very well result in mandated jail time if he is found guilty. As in the picture above, you could say he’s up the creek on this one, but it’s a very odd thing, if you ask me.

Now, I don’t care for D’Souza, as might be evident by how I’ve written about him in the past. His claim that there is something un-American about being opposed to British colonialism, and selling that idea to people in tricorn hats waving stars and stripes, struck me as a tad incongruous and not without some racialist undertones when I first heard it, and I pretty much determined where his head was at when he quite recently made a tasteless tweet  using a dead youth to malign the current president. His sensationalization of Barack Obama’s “hidden” life and times in his wingnut welfare hit (job) movie aimed low and didn’t miss hitting a low bar and stumbling right over, failing to actually be in any way a meaningful criticism of the President, even if a meaningful criticism based on policy from a conservative point of view could have potentially been made—but might not have been “sexy” enough for the president of a smallish Christian college who did not realize that not even being divorced from his current wife would look bad if he was kinda shacking up with some other lady.

But if anything, senationalist hot-button books and movies at least have some lucrative value, even if they don’t live up to what an actual intellectual dissection of the target might mean in actual effect. But this indictment is talking about a mere $20k (is that—“That they can prove” or what?) laundered (to use a term of art) through straw contributors (they had to have consented, yes?) to a campaign that lost so very, very considerably.  I mean it wasn’t even close. Twenty large would have barely closed the deal on enough media time to make it remotely competitive. Not disrespecting whether he and the former Wendy Stone went way back—but what makes a guy risk jail time and at least four other suckers unindicted co-conspirators go in for the thing? Sheer ignorance of the FEC and laws thereabout? This is neither brain science nor rocket surgery, friends.

I get that some conspiracy-minded folks are saying this is a biased charge, but I find it hard to think there would be motion on this without any evidence at all.  I’m thinking this is out there because the Feds are dead-to-rights on the 20G’s they know about. Anything they shake out besides that is gravy. I just can’t figure out why.

That’s disappointing. What did he think he was doing there? For a public intellectual, he could be more smart.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/25/14 at 01:23 AM
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Sunday, January 05, 2014

McCain and Graham are Predictable About Violence In Iraq

I think it is unfortunate that there is increased violence in Iraq and a bloody shame that al-Qaeda seems to have control of Fallujah. Based on the aftermath of first, the invasion of Iraq, then the war there, then our withdrawal, it is likely that reasonable people could predict that there would be increased violence, and that Fallujah was a likely place for a bunch of it. And, sure as fire is hot and water is wet, Senators McCain and Graham are all over it, and if you’ve been reading the libretto thus far, I bet you know what song they are singing:

McCain and Graham had been vocal critics of President Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, and they called the reports of al Qaeda gaining control in Fallujah and elsewhere “as tragic as they are predictable.”

“While many Iraqis are responsible for this strategic disaster, the administration cannot escape its share of the blame,” the Republicans said in a statement. “When President Obama withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011, over the objections of our military leaders and commanders on the ground, many of us predicted that the vacuum would be filled by America’s enemies and would emerge as a threat to U.S. national security interests.”

“Sadly, that reality is now clearer than ever,” McCain and Graham said. “What’s sadder still, the thousands of brave Americans who fought, shed their blood, and lost their friends to bring peace to Fallujah and Iraq are now left to wonder whether these sacrifices were in vain.”

It’s very sad that the country was destabilized by a decade of war, and it is President Bush who signed the status of forces agreement that led to the withdrawal, and ending the presence of US troops in Iraq was overwhelmingly in accordance with what the US public wanted. That decision has consequences—and so would staying. If Sens. McCain and Graham are under the impression that brave Americans specifically fought, shed blood, and lost friends to bring peace to Fallujah, they might want to ponder a rationale for the AUMF that started with weapons of mass destruction that no longer existed, and contemplate also why Fallujah does not happen to have peace today. The presence of US soldiers battling ISIS today would not constitute peace, and if the size of the conflict was smaller because of our continued presence, it would be somewhat like a lid on a pot that’s boiling over. Asking us to take into consideration whether the living or the dead Americans who fought in Iraq wonder whether their sacrifices are in vain—is itself a vanity.

 

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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/05/14 at 12:50 AM
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Are the Benghazi Talking Points Quite Done, Here?

The use of the deadly attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans as a political tool has frankly astonished me since the foreign policy naif Mitt Romney had the bad taste to broach it the very evening that it happened. For that reason, I see a kind of lukewarm vindication of the Obama Administration’s public statements regarding the matter in the NYT’s in-depth study on it,  which draws two meaningful conclusions: that al-Qaeda was not involved in the attack and that it did stem in part from the widespread protests over a rather dumb bigoted little video, just as was stated by current NSA Susan Rice.

It has long seemed to me that the Benghazi affair as initiated by the Romney folks was a matter of using President Obama’s perceived strength (as having authorized the successful raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden) against him. The failure on the Romney side began with the claim that a statement attempting to ameliorate matters from the Cairo embassy was a sign that the Obama Administration actually sided with radical Islam, but this blew up into a claim that the administration was actually somehow derelict in defending the Libyan embassy from attack from several others on the Republican side, including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa. The use of the Benghazi tragedy as an indictment of the Obama Administration spans a number of criticisms that conservatives have had with the Commander-in-Chief—that he is Muslim or more sympathetic to radical Islam, that he isn’t a real leader, or that he wants America to fail.

It’s pretty much always been bullshit. Senators McCain and Graham did the best job of giving the game away when they failed to attend a briefing on the matter, opting instead to hang their faces in front of a camera pointing fingers. Rep. Issa, supposedly a kind of watchdog, has fluffed the matter at intervals, but is mostly of the school of investigation that insists that if he doesn’t hear what he thinks he ought, there is surely a cover-up afoot.

And it appears that, for the time being, he is not apt to drop this very tasty rag while there is yet some flavor in it:

On Sunday, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked Issa to respond to The Times story, which was published online Saturday. The story also said the Benghazi attacks were “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”

“We have seen no evidence that the video was widely seen in Benghazi,” Issa said Sunday. “People from this administration … have said under oath there was no evidence of any reaction to a video.

“What we know, David, is the initial reports did not name this video as the prime cause,” he added.

Is that so? (No, it is not. And being a very concerned person, he might perhaps have looked at more than a few media accounts, no?) He’s also said that if a group alleges it has some connection with al-Qaeda, then that is good enough for him, which must be very validating to jihadi-come-lately groups who can at least claim to know somebody who knows somebody.

I’m afraid until Fox News gives the high sign, the idea that there was something more than usually rotten in Benghazi will be as certain a thing as the unbearable whiteness of Santa Claus in some quarters.

What I do want to point out, though, is that there is a sobering side to this in that the militants who made this attack came from the people the US supported in the overthrow of Qaddafi. I think there is an analogy that could be preemptively applied to involvement in Syria, for example. If anyone has the ear of, say, Sen McCain, they might want to try to explain it to him. I sort of hope President Obama has figured it out, but I’ve no real idea. Something about good intentions.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/29/13 at 11:22 PM
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Monday, December 02, 2013

Postcards From the Conserv-o-sphere

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Anyone who worked in business during the ‘90s is probably over-familiar with Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  It was a thing for a while and transformed regular workers all up and down the ladder into pioneering Paradigm Shifters.

The world of business is particularly susceptible to pop psychology fads, ideally presented at a fourth-grade level, that promise to revolutionize the work environment in ways that just happen to flow right to the bottom line.  The book also happened to spawn a cottage industry of workshops, book sequels, videos and probably action figures that made the highly effective Mr Covey quite wealthy, indeed.

Covey’s 7 Habits for those who don’t have them tattooed on their inner arm, are:

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Easy enough?  Well, lately I’ve been noticing traces of a deviant strain that appear to have infiltrated the 21st century Republican Mind.

read the whole post »

Posted by Bette Noir on 12/02/13 at 10:42 AM
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hypocrisy and Privilege: This is About Trey Radel


You know what? I’ll even spot Rep. Trey Radel (FL-R) his weak, borrowed from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, excuse that he only did cocaine because he was such a drunk, because sure. It’s not like the sting that busted him was perpetrated because he already had a history of purchasing coke (it was), and in any event, I can’t talk about what drunk people might get up to. I am only an indifferent drunk myself. I do know I can’t afford $250 bucks worth of blow if I had that much to spend on bourbon. That is some fucking stupid drunkonomics. But maybe being wasted on microbrews made him wonder if he shouldn’t maybe be doing lines, just like I interrupt a wine binge with espressos (I do no such thing). Sure. That’s logical. (By which I mean “NOT”.)

What isn’t logical is being well aware that people acquire substances to help them through the bitter pain of their day to day existence and get dependent on them, and then thinking that it would be A-OK to penalize the poor for their propensity to self-medicate against the horror of a crappy reality by piss-testing people to qualify for their benefits.

Do I think Rep. Radel was maybe in the midst of getting high his ownself when he thought this would be a nifty exercise to spring on the poor? Yeah. I think so. Do I think he thought he was fundamentally different from some wasted SOB who couldn’t catch a job because he himself had a good one in Congress, and therefore, he was morally better than that other kind of substance-user? Yes, indeed. I think he believes he is morally and substantively different from some person who might use drugs, but does not have money.

In other words, he is a real prick. Now, there is drug and alcohol rehab, but I do not know that there is any successful “being a real prick” rehab. But he could use that kind. He surely could.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/20/13 at 11:40 PM
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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A Tale of Two Gubernatorial Contests

In a night of few surprises, Terry McAuliffe (D) came out on top in his race against VA AG Ken Cuccinelli (R), and NJ Governor Chris Christie (R) easily defended against Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. A lot of ink, virtual and digital, can be spilled over these two contests, but I am going to cover the broad outlines as I see them—

We have one somewhat Democratic win in a state that isn’t necessarily that liberal, and a Republican winning re-election in a reliably blue state that just voted to send Cory Booker (D) to Washington. This is only two contests, and neither of them give us enough information to say there’s a “trend”. Some of the voting/exit polling breakdown fascinates me in VA.

If anything, I think Cuccinelli beat himself because he really is as insulated a conservative as can be found—case in point: the sodomy thing. Seriously? You actually can’t get more socially conservative and panty-sniffing than wanting to patrol bedroom behaviors. Astonishingly, in my book, he still did better than 50% in exit polling with white males. (My personal polling experience with white males has always been very pro-sodomy.)  I note that the Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis, did pretty well with the young people—probably Republican-identified voters who are more fiscally conservative, but not interested in Old Testament morality. The Cuccinelli campaign blew it, figuratively speaking. The best nod to Libertarian thought his campaign mustered was having Sen. Rand (You Can Say That Again!) Paul talk to the students at Liberty University, although one has to note that “libertarians” is not the plural of “Liberty University student” and that Paul spoke about eugenics and abortion, managing to miss the libertarian note in favor of reinforcing the idea of Cooch as a reductive reproductive regulator.

I don’t really have much to say about the New Jersey contest, for a handful of reasons, but most probably because I’m not even especially sure there was one? I will note that although Gov. Christie won handily, the same voters also went for increasing the minimum wage—not one of his policies. In this case, I think personality has a lot to do with it, and Barbara Buono, whatever her merits as a politician, failed to land any telling blows to her opponent, possibly out of concern that she might go “too negative”. Christie’s recent blow-up at a teacher was too recent to make any dent in his popularity, although it should have reminded of some of his more prickly moments earlier in his term. Surely, more 2016 talk for Christie will come of this win.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/05/13 at 10:49 PM
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