Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jesus Was a Refugee, Today's Republi-CONs Would Deport Him

UPDATE II:  "JESUS OF Nazareth was born a displaced person. As the writer Garry Wills relates it: “He comes from a despised city and region. Yet he cannot be allowed a peaceful birth in that backwater. His parents are displaced by decree of an occupying power that rules his people. For the imperial census to be taken, Joseph his father must return to his place of birth. . . . Joseph does not even have relatives left in his native town, people with whom he can stay. He seeks shelter in an inn, already crowded with people taken away from their own homes and lives. Because of this influx of strangers, he is turned away. There is no bed left, even for a woman far advanced in pregnancy. She must deliver her child in a barn, where the child is laid in a hay trough.” Soon afterward, the infant and his family become fugitives from King Herod as he seeks out the child he fears will one day replace him on the throne. And so it went. . .

[T]he word 'Christian' is often misused in our times, in a way that implies some allegiance to a particular political party, economic doctrine or set of moral strictures that are not representative of large numbers of true Christians. . . There is a broader concept of the term, one that is succinct, relevant and all but imperative in this season when we face a humanitarian crisis that tests our character and our compassion. It comes from the Gospel of Matthew and is stated as an ideal voiced by Jesus:

'I was hungry and you gave me food.

I was thirsty and you game me drink.

I was a stranger and you welcomed me.'

Read the Washington Post, Reminders of the first Christmas in today’s migrant crisis

UPDATE:  Watch also Salon, Stephen Colbert just nailed the GOP’s Christian hypocrisy on Syrian refugees with one Bible verse. :

Colbert noted that "'there are a few candidates (Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush) who think that allowing Christian refugees into the country is fine. Cruz went on to say “there is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror.”

'I’m sure these guys right here are just campers roasting marshmallows,' Colbert said with a photo of the KKK with flaming crosses. 'You can tell because they’re each wearing one-man tents.'

After all, like the plaque on the Statue of Liberty says: 'Give us your tired, your poor, mostly Christians, and maybe one more two Indian guys with engineering degrees.'

'If you want to know if somebody’s a Christian just ask them to complete this sentence,' Colbert said pulling out his Catechism card. ''Jesus said I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you….' And if they don’t say ‘welcomed me in’ then they are either a terrorist or they’re running for president.'"

"Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed over the weekend that highlighted the irony of recent Republican response to the Syrian refugee crisis. The New York Times columnist made the not-so-subtle observation that Republicans would likely have denied asylum to one of history’s more significant immigrant families: 'a carpenter named Joseph, his wife, Mary, and their baby son, Jesus,' who, according to Matthew’s Gospel, were forced to seek refuge in Egypt to escape King Herod’s infanticide.

It’s a fair point, but there’s no reason to limit it to the story of Jesus. The truth is the Bible’s authors have an awful lot to say about immigration, forced or otherwise, and their perspective flies directly in the face of the Republican Party’s jingoistic zeal for border-strengthening and turning our backs on refugees. Given the GOP’s enthusiasm for biblically based governance, Republican leaders might want to consider the chasm separating their current immigration policies and the source document upon which they claim to base some of their politics."

Read Slate, Because the Bible Tells Us So

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Republi-CON "Obama Never Says Merry Christmas" Myth

Watch "[o]ur current president . . . swallow his secret Muslim pride and wish the country well in its celebration of Jesus' birthday consistently throughout his two terms:

And read Slate, Here's a Video of President Obama Saying "Merry Christmas" Over and Over and Over.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Holiday Lights


Happy Holidays!

Amazing Grace Techno.

Music Box Dancer 2008.

Double click to see the video in full screen mode. Watch other videos at Holdman Christmas.

Holiday Lights


Happy Holidays!

Amazing Grace Techno.

Double click to see the video in full screen mode. Watch other videos at Holdman Christmas.

Redneck Santa


A holiday favorite:

What more can I say.

Best Decorated House?


A holiday favorite:

Once again, I was disqualified from my neighborhood's "Best Decorated House." They said I had a bad attitude!

What do you think?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Santa Needs a Raise

2015:  "This year, the cost of all of the items in the song comes to a staggering $34,130.99. . .

Here's how the gifts add up:

1 partridge in a pear tree $214.99 (+3.5%)

2 turtle doves $290.00 (+11.5%)

3 French hens $181.50 (0.0%)

4 calling birds $599.96 (0.0%)

5 gold rings $750.00 (0.0%)

6 geese-a-laying $360.00 (0.0%)

7 swans-a-swimming $13,125.00 (0.0%)

8 maids-a-milking $58.00 (0.0%)

9 ladies dancing $7,552.84 (0.0%)

10 lords-a-leaping $5,508.70 (+3.0%)

11 pipers piping $2,635.20 (0.0%)

12 drummers drumming $2,854.80 (0.0%)

= $34,130.99 (+0.6%)

Read the Washington Post, The ridiculous amount you’d need to spend to buy all the stuff in ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’

2010:  Those 'piping pipers, leaping lords and assorted birds' are gonna cost you more.

Read The New York Times, 12 Days of Christmas Gifts Cost 9.2% More This Year.

The Christmas Can-Can (Animated Version)


By Straight No Chaser:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Trivia


"While you're busy wrapping gifts and preparing to feast with family and friends, TIME brings you these bizarre Christmas facts to ponder.

Read Time, Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Christmas

What If Jesus Was Born Today


Watch a what if -- the story of the Nativity in the time of the web, social media, and mobile phones:

'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Jeff Dunham


Season's Greetings from Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special:

Animals of YouTube Sing "Deck the Halls"


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Why Santa Didn't Answer Your Letter


Not for the young:

How Does Santa Know?


Courtesy of Mom & Pop Tammy, from the Facebook page of Young Americans for Liberty:

A Very TSA Christmas


Suggested by Mom & Pop Tammy, who said "[f]unny but sad because there's some truth to this," Grandma Got Indefinitely Detained:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Humurous Holiday Display?


From an email:

"Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories. But two things made me take it down.

First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize he was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard."

In case you were wondering, here is the display:

 According to Snopes, it is true.

Holiday Lights: Gangum Style

First Halloween:

Now Christmas:

Who You Callin Short

Repost for 2015:

Happy Winter Solstice 2009!


It is no coincidence that Christmas is so close to the winter solstice.

Holiday Quiz


"Test your knowledge about how the Christmas holidays are celebrated from the Philippines to Mexico."

Take this quiz at the Christian Science Monitor, How much do you know about Christmas traditions around the world?

Finally Got the Tree Up!


What Happens to Unspend Money?

UPDATE II:  On the other hand, maybe gift giving serves a different purpose.

"Though some economists argue otherwise, economics isn't that great at capturing the point of gift giving. Economics is centered on the idea of utility – a measurement of how useful something is to people, in a world of finite resources. But look around the world, and you see that there's good reason to think that gift giving is rarely motivated by practical concerns.

By contrast, there are many anthropological studies that show that gift giving is, and has always been, driven by factors much different than maximizing economic value." 

Read the Washington Post, Why cash is the worst gift.

UPDATE:  Want to ensure the highest satisfaction by your giftee, give cash.

"Many experts agree that money is a better bet than gifts for the holidays, primarily because people are more likely to buy things they’ll actually need and use with their own money. When someone spends $100 on herself, she usually gets $100 worth of satisfaction out of that item, argues University of Minnesota economics professor Joel Waldfogel. When someone else picks out the item for her, it’s almost always going to give her less value in return."

Read Slate, The Obama Girls Want Ca$h for Christmas, and So Should You.  

"Over at the Wall Street Journal, Phil Izzo reports that some $41 billion worth of gift cards have gone unused since 2005. So what, exactly, happens to that money? After all, retailers aren’t allowed to report the cash used to buy gift cards as income until the cards are actually redeemed. So there’s a murky area that arises when a gift card just gathers dust in a drawer for years, lost and forgotten."

Read the Washington Post, How your Best Buy gift card ends up in New York’s bank account.

Friday, December 18, 2015

What is Zullo Hiding?

UPDATE:   How much time has past since the promised 'universe-shattering' revelations:

That sound you hear is the growing laughter at the Birther delusions.

It is also "a tale of incompetence so hilarious that it could be a script for an Elmer Fudd cartoon or a sequel to the Pink Panther movies with the inept Inspector Jaques Clouseau. The tale stars our favorite bumbling “detective” Cold Case Posse Commander Mike Zullo. It costars Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio and the supporting cast", including Pastor You-Know-Who.

"The gullible hard core Birthers still believe one day 'A-Z Day' will come and are willing to send Arapio money."

Read Reality Check Radio, The incredibly inept Cold Case Posseman Mike Zullo goes hunting for Obamabots and finds DARPA (at the wrong web site).

"Someone call Guinness Book of World Records: Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Cold Case Posse commander Mike Zullo may have a claim.

In federal court Tuesday, during what likely is the last week of testimony in Arpaio's civil contempt trial before U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow,  Zullo invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 40 times in 15 minutes, answering question after question from plaintiffs attorney Stanley Young with some version of 'I'm taking the Fifth, sir.' . .

[O]n November 9, Zullo took the Fifth a whopping 347 times (or thereabouts) in nearly four hours of testimony as Young peppered him with inquiries about the MCSO's so-called Seattle investigation and the confidential informant at the heart of it, Dennis Montgomery."

Read the Phoenix New Times, Joe Arpaio's Cold Case Posse Commander Takes the Fifth, Again and Again.

Read also BREAKING NEWS, BREAKING NEWS! Are Gullible-Gallups and Zullo Going to Jail.

And guess who won't be talking about this topic today!!

Your Holiday Favorites Performed by Goats

Better experienced than described:

Read Slate, Finally, You Can Hear All Your Holiday Favorites Performed by Goats.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein's (© Next Act

UPDATE: So what gave rise to the Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (©

"The American right has always contained a combative, nativist fringe, where radicals and kooks bend world events to fit their conspiracy theories. There were the John Birch Society newsletters of the 1970s and ’80s; the AM talk-radio shows of the ’90s; the world-government chat rooms and e-mail chain letters around the turn of the millennium; and the vibrant, frenzied blogosphere of amateur muckrakers of the mid-2000s. . .

But in the Obama era, the reach and power of this segment has increased dramatically. The fringe has swelled with new Web sites, radio stations, confabs, causes, pressure groups, celebrities and profit-making businesses noisily pitching themselves to the tea party. An entire right-wing media ecosystem has sprung up, where journalist-warriors flood social media with rumors of sharia law coming to suburbia and hype a fast-approaching 'race war' in America targeting whites. The Republican establishment — a loose coalition of party committees, moderate donors and business interests — once hoped to harness this tremendous new energy to recapture the White House. . .

Some Republicans have made their careers by mastering the new machinery of the movement. When a group of conservative elites quietly huddled with lawmakers one evening in 2013 to lay out their 'defund Obamacare' plan, Sen. Ted Cruz positioned himself as the public face of the campaign. It hardly mattered whether he believed that their government-shutdown would actually gut the health-care law; few, if any, of the architects did. ('I don’t think you could find a single person in that room who really believed the plan would work,' one of the meeting’s attendees confessed to me. Several days into the shutdown, a Cruz aide told me with jarring candor that the senator had stuck to the 'defund' rallying cry because 'a more complicated message' wouldn’t 'make for a good hashtag.') When the dust settled, Obamacare was still fully funded and GOP officials were panicking — but Cruz was a newly minted conservative superstar, and the organizations that backed him had raised millions of dollars. The senator’s staff did not respond to requests to comment for this story.

Skirmishes between the Grand Old Party and far-right populists are as old as lever-operated voting machines, and the old guard usually comes out on top. But in this era of democratized media and deregulated political money, the fringe owns a much greater share of the cash and the clout. Trump was among the first players to realize that. (His staff, too, did not respond to requests to comment for this story.)

The insight appears to have struck him during the run-up to the last presidential election, when his “birther” antics briefly propelled him to the top of pre-campaign polls. Trump, a masterful marketer, has taken care since then to make his right-wing cheering section look huge and wholly organic, habitually retweeting typo-laden messages of support from sycophantic accounts. But this year’s groundswell wasn’t totally spontaneous. Over the past four years, Trump has been laying its foundations with a careful campaign of cultivation. In this, he was far ahead of most of his presidential opponents."

Read the Washington Post, How Donald Trump courted the right-wing fringe to conquer the GOP.

This article is a must read for those who want to understand The Donald fervor.

"I’m telling you, folks, if you think Donald Trump’s demagoguery on immigration has created problems for Republicans, just wait until he unveils his next act. If we get a Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, Trump may well roll out a whole new story about how Republicans and Democrats alike are conspiring with a shadowy cabal of international elites to help China and other foreign countries continue destroying the living standards of American workers."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump is just getting started, Republicans.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sieg Heil Der Donald!

UPDATE II:  "Donald Trump supporters taunted and called for violence against a number of protesters at a tense rally in Las Vegas Monday night, reports from the scene say. BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins took a short video in which one man can be heard shouting 'light the motherfucker on fire' as a black protester is being removed from the premises :

NBC's Benjy Sarlin says that one individual shouted the Nazi greeting 'Sieg Heil' in the area of the same protester."

Read Slate, Trump Supporters Shout “Sieg Heil,” “Light Him on Fire” at Black Protester.  

UPDATE:  "If Republicans are responsive to Trump’s vitriol, it’s because he echoes—in less coded terms—the discourse of much of right-wing media."

Read Slate, Donald Trump Is a Conservative Media Creation.

"Trump will protect us from such people. Just as he will protect America from all its enemies.

The price we pay will be tiny. We will give up a civil liberty here, a freedom there.

Certain people will be registered. Their houses of worship will be spied upon. Names will be taken down. But as long as these people are not Christians, do you really care? Trump is betting you do not."

Read Politico, All hail Der Donald.

Read also CNN, Why some conservatives say Trump talk is fascist, which notes that "[s]cholars of fascists like Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany (none of Trump's conservative critics have compared him to either man) say, however, that Trump does display some of the key characteristics of a fascist. His comments about a national registry for Muslim-Americans, together with his propensity to stir up anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiments among his supporters, amount to a perception of hostility toward ethnic and religious minority groups."

And read Slate, Donald Trump Is a Fascist, which asked "[h]ow does he build favor with Republican voters? He shows bravado and 'strength,' disparaging weak opponents. He indulges racist rhetoric and encourages violence against protesters. He speaks directly to the petite bourgeoisie in American life: managers, public employees, small-business owners. People squeezed on all ends and desperate for economic and cultural security against capitalist instability and rapid demographic shifts, as represented by President Obama. Elect him, Trump says, and he’ll restore your security and American greatness. 'You’re going to say to your children, and you’re going to say to anybody else, that we were part of a movement to take back our country. … And we will make America great again.'"

Friday, December 11, 2015

Go The Donald, Go!, Birthers, Truthers, and Racists Love Ya!! (And Don't Forget the Misogynist)

UPDATE X:  The  Republi-cons have become "'The white man's party'".

Read the Washington Post, What social science tells us about racism in the Republican party.

UPDATE IX:  "It’s time we face the fact that he’s just channeling the bigotry of the Republican Party’s base."

Read Slate, Donald Trump Isn’t the Problem.

UPDATE VIII:  "In the past couple of years, the political influence of Frank Gaffney, who the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as 'one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes,' appeared to be on the wane. In 2011, he was banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference after claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the group organizing the event. The next year, Gaffney, who was advising Michele Bachmann on foreign policy, concocted a theory that the Muslim Brotherhood had penetrated the State Department via Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s aide. When five members of Congress, including Bachmann, asked for an investigation of the conspiracy, leaders of the Republican Party, including then–House Speaker John Boehner, forcefully rebuked them. (Soon Bachmann would leave Congress, depriving Gaffney of an important political collaborator.) The most recent Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, largely refused to countenance Gaffney-style anti-Sharia conspiracy theories. Chris Christie smacked them down as well.

Despite the efforts of Gaffney and his allies, 'Islamophobia was the dog that didn’t bark in the 2012 election,' says Matthew Duss, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and Slate contributor. 'But the rise of ISIS and all these spectacular, graphic attacks did what they’re designed to do, which is to provoke fear and to provoke hysteria and create fertile ground for these kind of wild claims about the Islamic threat.' It has given Gaffney, and the network of anti-Islam groups of which he is a central part, a new level of power and relevance.

The most tangible example of that is Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration, which he justified by citing figures from Gaffney’s think tank, the Center for Security Policy, about the supposed jihadist sympathies of American Muslims."

Read Slate, The Islamophobe Behind Trump’s Hate.

UPDATE VII:  "Even if candidates don’t talk about it, race will be among the most important factors in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The Democratic Party has the support of 56 percent of Latinos, 65 percent of Asian Americans and 80 percent of the black population, according to the Pew Research Center. The share that supports the Republican Party is disproportionately white.

For decades, those racial divisions have shaped how individual candidates expect to perform at the polls. If Republican candidates were as popular among minority voters as they are among white voters, winning elections would be much easier. And Democrats would dominate the polls today if they had maintained the support of the white electorate.

They didn't. Democrats began losing the support of white voters after World War II, particularly in the South. During the civil rights movement, white Southerners left the Democratic Party in droves."

Read the Washington Post, How racism explains Republicans’ rise in the South.

UPDATE VI:  "During the last two presidential nomination cycles, Republican candidates, at various points, have proposed requiring a loyalty oath for Muslims to serve in government; ruled out Muslims serving in their Cabinet; called sharia law ,a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States'; raised alarms about the 'creeping attempt' to 'ease [sharia] law and the Muslim faith into our government'; warned of 'no go' zones where sharia law rules; described Muslim immigration as 'colonization' and warned that immigrants 'want to come and conquer us'; said there were only a 'handful' of 'reasonable, moderate followers of Islam'; described Islam as 'a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet.'

All this is combined with a durable conviction among some Republicans that President Obama offers Muslims special favor and may be a Muslim himself. As well as an almost magical belief that saying the words 'radical Islamic terrorism' — like reciting an incantation — is a victory in the war against terrorism.

These beliefs have become pronounced during the Republican Party’s current populist turn, in which the blaming of outsiders is a sure applause line (and, in some campaigns, a substitute for ideas and policy). The current rejection of 'political correctness' has little to do with resisting oppressive campus speech codes; it has become a type of broad permission for the expression of properly repressed ethnic and religious resentments.

Read the Washington Post, Republicans’ fringe tone on Islam shows a sharp turn since 9/11.

UPDATE V:  "The Republicans already lost virtually the entire black vote (scoring just 4 percent and 6 percent of black voters the last two elections). Now, by pushing toward the nomination a candidate whose brilliant plan to 'make America great again' is to build a giant wall to keep out Mexican rapists, they're headed the same route with Hispanics. That's a steep fall for a party that won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote as recently as 2004.

Trump's supporters are people who are tired of being told they have to be part of some kind of coalition in order to have a political voice. They particularly hate being lectured about alienating minorities, especially by members of their own party. . .

Whether or not it's true that a Republican candidate can win the White House with a minus-51 percent net unfavorable rating among Hispanic voters (Trump's well-earned current number) is sort of beside the point. The point is that Trump clearly feels he can afford to flip off the Hispanic community and win with a whites-only strategy. And his supporters are loving the idea that he's trying.

The decision by huge masses of Republican voters to defy D.C.-thinkfluencer types like George Will and throw in with a carnival act like Trump is no small thing. For the first time in a generation, Republican voters are taking their destiny into their own hands.

In the elaborate con that is American electoral politics, the Republican voter has long been the easiest mark in the game, the biggest dope in the room. Everyone inside the Beltway knows this. The Republican voters themselves are the only ones who never saw it.

Elections are about a lot of things, but at the highest level, they're about money. The people who sponsor election campaigns, who pay the hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the candidates' charter jets and TV ads and 25-piece marching bands, those people have concrete needs.

They want tax breaks, federal contracts, regulatory relief, cheap financing, free security for shipping lanes, antitrust waivers and dozens of other things.

They mostly don't care about abortion or gay marriage or school vouchers or any of the social issues the rest of us spend our time arguing about. It's about money for them, and as far as that goes, the CEO class has had a brilliantly winning electoral strategy for a generation.

They donate heavily to both parties, essentially hiring two different sets of politicians to market their needs to the population. The Republicans give them everything that they want, while the Democrats only give them mostly everything.

They get everything from the Republicans because you don't have to make a single concession to a Republican voter.

All you have to do to secure a Republican vote is show lots of pictures of gay people kissing or black kids with their pants pulled down or Mexican babies at an emergency room. Then you push forward some dingbat like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin to reassure everyone that the Republican Party knows who the real Americans are. Call it the "Rove 1-2."

That's literally all it's taken to secure decades of Republican votes, a few patriotic words and a little over-the-pants rubbing. Policywise, a typical Republican voter never even asks a politician to go to second base.

While we always got free trade agreements and wars and bailouts and mass deregulation of industry and lots of other stuff the donors definitely wanted, we didn't get Roe v. Wade overturned or prayer in schools or balanced budgets or censorship of movies and video games or any of a dozen other things Republican voters said they wanted.

While it's certainly been fun laughing about the lunacies of people like Bachmann and John Ashcroft and Ted Cruz, who see the face of Jesus in every tree stump and believe the globalist left is planning to abolish golf courses and force country-dwellers to live in city apartments lit by energy-efficient light bulbs, the truth is that the voters they represented have been irrelevant for decades.

At least on the Democratic side there was that 5-10 percent of industry policy demands that voters occasionally rejected, putting a tiny dent in what otherwise has been a pretty smoothly running oligarchy.

Now that's over. Trump has pulled all of those previously irrelevant voters completely out of pocket. In a development that has to horrify the donors who run the GOP, the candidate Trump espouses some truly populist policy beliefs, including stern warnings about the dire consequences companies will face under a Trump presidency if they ship American jobs to Mexico and China.

All that energy the party devoted for decades telling middle American voters that protectionism was invented by Satan and Karl Marx during a poker game in Brussels in the mid-1840s, that just disappeared in a puff of smoke.

And all that money the Republican kingmakers funneled into Fox and Clear Channel over the years, making sure that their voters stayed focused on ACORN and immigrant-transmitted measles and the New Black Panthers (has anyone ever actually seen a New Black Panther? Ever?) instead of, say, the complete disappearance of the manufacturing sector or the mass theft of their retirement income, all of that's now backing up on them.

The party worked the cattle in their pen into such a dither that now they won't rest until they get the giant wall that real-life, as-seen-on-TV billionaire Donald Trump promises will save them from all those measles-infected rapists pouring over the border.

Not far under the surface of Trump's candidacy lurks a powerful current of Internet conspiracy theory that's a good two or three degrees loonier than even the most far-out Tea Party paranoia. Gone are the salad days when red-staters merely worried about Barack Obama inviting UN tanks to mass on the borders of Lubbock."

Read Rolling Stone, The Republicans Are Now Officially the Party of White Paranoia.  

UPDATE IV:  "Remember when the 2016 field of Republican presidential candidates was supposed to be so deep and talented? Then why is a reality TV clown beating all of them?"

Read the Washington Post, The most damning part of Donald Trump’s political rise, which notes "[t]here’s only so many ways that I can say that Trump reminds me of nothing so much as that old man at the deli talking to nobody in particular about how the country is going to hell and how it was better in the 'Mad Men' days when you could properly insult minorities and play grab-ass with the secretaries."

UPDATE III:  "In the late 1980s, journalist Martin Schram wrote a book about presidential politics in the television age called 'The Great American Video Game.' The Trump obsession shows just how prophetic Schram’s title was. Television is about ratings; Trump delivers ratings; therefore, Trump, whose speeches are 90 percent about Trump — his feelings, experiences, feuds, grudges and, of course, genius — is on television nonstop.

The Trumpification of the news is also a response within the media to the initial reaction of so many in the ranks to Trump. The widespread view was that his personal insults, his nasty remarks about Mexicans (whom he now says he “loves”) and his conversion of the political speech into a form of self-involved stand-up would doom his chances.

This was wrong because (1) Trump’s celebrity, built on the idea that a smart deal-maker can get anything done that he wants, gives him a base among those who don’t care much about politics, and (2) parts of the Republican Party are so fed up with their leadership that the more in-your-face Trump is, the happier they are.

The most concise explanation for the Trump phenomenon came from Erick Erickson, editor of the popular right-wing blog RedState, in an interview this month with the Atlantic’s Molly Ball. 'The Republican Party created Donald Trump,' Erickson said, 'because they made a lot of promises to their base and never kept them.' . .

Trump has certainly gotten further faster than any of his Republican opponents. But all the free television time he is getting cannot be justified by a claim that he is sitting atop some broad uprising akin to the Goldwater or Reagan rebellions. His visibility is the product of circular television logic: Celebrities bring audience share, and the resulting attention they get further enhances their fame.

Trump’s unique contribution has been to achieve a complete fusion of the culture of celebrity to politics. It brings to mind the mystery writer David Handler’s great line about 'the power of positive self-delusion.'

Read the Washington Post, The Trumpification of the news.

As noted before, the Republi-con Party created Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (©

UPDATE II:  "Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.

It is perhaps quixotic to try to distract Trump’s supporters with facts, which their leader, who is no stickler for dignity, considers beneath him.  Still, consider [this] . . .

Some supporters simply find Trump entertainingly naughty. Others, however, have remarkable cognitive dissonance. They properly execrate Obama’s executive high-handedness that expresses progressivism’s traditional disdain for the separation of powers that often makes government action difficult. But these same Trumpkins simultaneously despise GOP congressional leaders because they do not somehow jettison the separation of powers and work conservatism’s unimpeded will from Capitol Hill.

For conservatives, this is the dispiriting irony: The administrative state’s intrusiveness (e.g., its regulatory burdens), irrationalities (e.g., the tax code’s toll on economic growth), incompetence (Amtrak, ethanol, etc.) and illegality (we see you, IRS) may benefit the principal architect of this state, the Democratic Party. This is because the other party’s talented critics of the administrative state are being drowned out by Trump’s recent discovery that Americans understandably disgusted by government can be beguiled by a summons to Caesarism.

Trump, who uses the first-person singular pronoun even more than the previous world-record holder (Obama), promises that constitutional arrangements need be no impediment to the leader’s savvy, 'management' brilliance and iron will. Trump supporters consider the presidency today an entry-level job because he is available to turn government into a triumph of the leader’s will. . .

In 2011, when Trump was a voluble 'birther' — you remember: Obama supposedly was not born in the United States, hence he is an illegitimate president — an interviewer asked if he had people 'searching in Hawaii' for facts. 'Absolutely,' Trump said. 'They can’t believe what they’re finding.' Trump reticence is rare, but he has never shared those findings. He now says, in effect: Oh, never mind. If in November 2016, the fragments of an ever smaller and more homogenous GOP might be picked up with tweezers, Trump, having taken his act elsewhere, will look back over his shoulder at the wreckage he wrought and say: Oh, never mind.

Read the Washington Post, The havoc that Trump wreaks — on his own party.

UPDATE:  "Wednesday was Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote 95 years ago.

And how have Republicans marked this egalitarian milestone? Why, with another bimbo eruption, of course."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans stay mostly silent in face of Trump’s bigotry and misogyny

"Long left out of a national conversation that focuses on dull things like budgets, legislation and foreign policy, now, at last, the birthers, truthers and trolls have a voice, too. "

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump: Spokesman for birthers, truthers, and Internet trolls.

Read also Slate, Watch Trump Supporter Yell Out “White Power” During Alabama Rally, which notes that:

"Donald Trump gathered one of the largest crowds of his presidential campaign so far on Friday night when he held a rally in Mobile, Alabama in front of thousands of people. The numbers aren’t clear but the campaign switched locations twice to end up in a stadium that can hold up to 40,000 people. ABC News says the stadium was 'about half full' when Trump began speaking. The campaign said there were about 30,000 people. . .

[One supporter 'joked' about hunting illegal immigrants.]

As Trump spoke [another] man in the crowd could be heard yelling out 'white power!' A Daily Kos contributor said this was not an isolated incident and that the phrase was yelled out multiple times by members of the crowd throughout the event."

This after The Donald laughed off the news that two men beat a homeless Mexican man while saying "Donald Trump was right — all these illegals need to be deported."

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Yesterday's 'Freedom Fighters', Today's Terrorists

UPDATE:  "ISIS has metastasized into something many predicted, but most prayed would never happen: a nihilistic group of militants that has both a safe haven in an anarchic land and cells in Europe able to attack civilian targets.

France, Russia and the coalition of Western countries now sound more bellicose than ever and have begun to act militarily.

But how simple is it to fashion a longer-term military plan?

Here are five inconvenient facts for those who believe there is a simple military solution to Syria.

1. There are very few 'good guys' to back . . .

2. The Kurds? They aren't the solution to everything . . .

3. Turkey is part of the problem, even though it's in NATO . . .

4. Obama's strategy sounds tired and compromised -- but it may be the best option . . .

5. There needs to be a local solution for what is a regional proxy war . . ."

Read CNN, The inconvenient truth: There's no easy military answer to war on ISIS.  

"History takes no prisoners. It shows, with absolute lucidity, that the Islamic extremism ravaging the world today was borne out of the Western foreign policy of yesteryear.

Gore Vidal famously referred to the USA as the United States of Amnesia. The late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai put it a little more delicately, quipping, “One of the delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory.”

In order to understand the rise of militant Salafi groups like ISIS and al-Qaida; in order to wrap our minds around their heinous, abominable attacks on civilians in the U.S., France, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Nigeria, Turkey, Yemen, Afghanistan and many, many more countries, we must rekindle this historical memory.

Where did violent Islamic extremism come from? In the wake of the horrific Paris attacks on Friday, November the 13, this is the question no one is asking — yet it is the most important one of all. If one doesn’t know why a problem emerged, if one cannot find its root, one will never be able to solve and uproot it.

Where did militant Salafi groups like ISIS and al-Qaida come from? The answer is not as complicated as many make it out to be — but, to understand, we must delve into the history of the Cold War, the historical period lied about in the West perhaps more than any other."

Read Salon, We created Islamic extremism: Those blaming Islam for ISIS would have supported Osama bin Laden in the ’80s, which includes this photo of "President Reagan meeting with the Afghan Mujahideen in the Oval Office in 1983":

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Republi-CON Fear, Anger and Hatred = Violence, Again

UPDATE:  "Forget Syria. The most dangerous religious extremists are migrants from North and South Carolina."

Read Slate, The Terrorists Among Us.

"The antiabortion movement did not kill those three people in Colorado Springs. The one responsible is the deranged gunman himself. But it’s a different matter to ask whether the often-violent imagery used by conservative leaders on abortion is unwittingly giving the unhinged some perverse sense of justification to contemplate the unspeakable.

Just days before the shooting, Cruz trumpeted an endorsement from an antiabortion activist who once called killing an abortion doctor a “justifiable defensive action” and who leads a group, Operation Rescue, where a colleague did prison time for a conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic.

The activist whose endorsement Cruz celebrated, Troy Newman, is also on the board of the Center for Medical Progress, which made the surreptitious Planned Parenthood videos that prompted Cruz and many other conservatives to accuse the organization of selling “baby parts” — the phrase Dear allegedly used. The videos, including footage from a Planned Parenthood in Denver, not far from Colorado Springs, were followed by a wave of threats and smaller attacks on the organization’s facilities.

There will always be the irrational and the unstable. But when political leaders turn disagreements into all-out war, demonize opponents as enemies and accuse those on the other side of being subhuman killers, the unbalanced can hear messages that were never intended."

Read the Washington Post, Antiabortion rhetoric unwittingly unleashes the unhinged

Friday, November 27, 2015

Don't Blame Obama For Bush's Iraq Hangover

UPDATE VIII:  "It was not so much the invasion [of Iraq] itself, however, as the policies implemented afterward that are mainly to blame for Iraq and Syria lying in pieces. What President George W. Bush’s administration did was to foster sectarian divisions and create a long-lasting insurgency.

At every point along the way, the Bush administration made choices that exacerbated sectarian tensions in Iraq and set the country on the path to break-up. The assertion by some observers that the country is riven by age-old hatreds, is ahistorical and incorrect. In previous decades, political passions centered on anti-colonialism or big landlordism and socialism. The vacuum of power created by the U.S. dissolution of the secular Baath Party encouraged Iraqi politicians to play on sectarian passions in unprecedented ways. Provoking a violent insurgency was likewise fateful. Once an insurgency comes into being, it typically does not subside for 10 to 15 years."

Read the Washington Post, How the United States helped create the Islamic State

UPDATE VII:  "The former veep's record is marked by false claims, erroneous predictions, and catastrophic results. Now he's urging more wars. Has his audience learned its lesson?

Read The Atlantic, The Farce of Dick Cheney Giving Foreign-Policy Advice.

UPDATE VI:  "Why should we fight the inevitable break-up of Iraq?"

Read The Atlantic, The New Map of the Middle East, which notes "the imperial hubris that motivated the Sykes-Picot division of the Middle East by the British and French. . . . The makers of the modern Middle East roped together peoples of different ethnicities and faiths (or streams of the same faith) in what were meant to be modern, multicultural, and multi-confessional states. It is an understatement to say that the Middle East isn’t the sort of place where this kind of experiment has been shown to work. (I’m thinking of you, one-staters, by the way.) I don’t think it is worth American money, or certainly American lives, to keep Iraq a unitary state. It is, of course, important to invest in plans that forestall the creation of permanent jihadist safe havens, and about this the U.S. should be vigilant, more vigilant than it has been. But Westphalian obsessiveness—Iraq must stay together because it must stay together—just doesn’t seem wise."

UPDATE V:  "Maliki’s primary goal to be protecting his own rule rather than combating existential threats to the security of Iraq. . .

[A]uthoritarian rulers—and Maliki is clearly at least headed in that direction—often prefer not to have a strong and professionally organized military. As Hosni Mubarak learned a few years ago, strong militaries can turn on you when the going gets tough. But such 'coup-proofing' obviously comes at the expense of the military’s preparedness for outside threats.

Read Slate, Iraq’s Built-to-Fail Military.  

UPDATE IV: Glenn "Beck was speaking about the war in Iraq on his radio program Tuesday when he made the statement, saying liberals knew over a decade ago that 'we shouldn’t nation-build, and there was no indication the people of Iraq had the will to be free.'

'I thought that was insulting at the time — everybody wants to be free,' Beck said. 'Let me lead with my mistakes. You are right. Liberals, you were right.'

Beck said he now sees that 'you cannot force democracy on the Iraqis or anybody else,' . . .

'Not one more life, not one more dollar, not one more airplane, not one more bullet, not one more Marine, not one more arm or leg or eye. Not one more.' As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria threatens to overtake Baghdad, Beck stood firmly against sending thousands of American troops back into the country.

'The only way to prevent Baghdad from being overrun is stay there and continue to fight this, militarily, in perpetuity,' Beck said. 'Are you willing to do that?'"

Read The Blaze, What Glenn Beck Admitted About the Iraq War That Has the Huffington Post and ‘The View’ Talking.

UPDATE III:  There were many lies by Chickenhawks Bush and Cheney leading to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. 

The one I remember best is when Chickenhawk Cheney leaked false intelligence about aluminum tubes to the New York Times, then on the day the article was published, he made an appearance on Meet the Press, and citing the NYT article, claimed "that Iraq had been procuring aluminum tubes to use in an enrichment process designed to yield fuel for nuclear weapons." 

UPDATE II: Chickenhawk Cheney (you remember him, he did everything humanly possible -- short of fleeing to Canada -- to avoid military conscription during Vietnam) and his daughter wrote op-ed in the Wall Street Journal lamenting the state of affairs in Iraq.

"The Cheneys offer no discussion of the disastrous decision to invade Iraq in the first place (though they still surely believe the war was a great idea, they apparently realize most Americans don’t agree). But anything that happened afterward can only be Obama’s fault. . .

[T]he Cheneys’ op ed is silent on what they would do differently in Iraq today. The op-ed contains nothing even approaching a specific suggestion for what , other than to say that defeating terrorists 'will require a strategy — not a fantasy. It will require sustained difficult military, intelligence and diplomatic efforts — not empty misleading rhetoric. . .'

Watch closely as Republicans troop to the TV studios in the coming days, because they’ll be saying much the same thing. They won’t bring up what a disaster the war was; they’ll hope you forget that they supported it, and they won’t mention that it was Bush who signed the agreement to remove all the troops from Iraq. They will say almost nothing about what they would do differently now, other than to say we have to be “strong” and “send the right message” to the terrorists.

When it comes to being wrong about Iraq, Dick Cheney has been in a class by himself. It was Cheney who said, 'Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.'

It was Cheney who said: 'it’s been pretty well confirmed' that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta 'did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service.'

It was Cheney who said: 'we do know, with absolute certainty, that [Saddam Hussein] is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon'

It was Cheney who said in 2005: 'I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.'

All those things, and many more, were false. There is not a single person in America — not Bill Kristol, not Paul Wolfowitz, not Don Rumsfeld, no pundit, not even President Bush himself — who has been more wrong and more shamelessly dishonest on the topic of Iraq than Dick Cheney.

And now, as the cascade of misery and death and chaos he did so much to unleash rages anew, Cheney has the unadulterated gall to come before the country and tell us that it’s all someone else’s fault, and if we would only listen to him then we could keep America safe forever. How dumb would we have to be to listen? "

Read the Washington Post, Maybe listening to Dick Cheney on Iraq isn’t a good idea.


Don't let Republi-cons kill more American soldiers for their delusions of democracy in the Middle East!

"Eleven years ago, we invaded Iraq, deposed its government, and disbanded its army. Then we tried to build the country back up. We kept troops there for years, policing sectarian violence, facilitating elections, and training new security forces. Three years ago, President Obama offered to extend the “status of forces” agreement under which some of our troops would stay there with Iraq’s approval. Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, didn’t accept the deal.

Everyone told Maliki that to keep his country together and peaceful, he had to build relationships with Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds. As Slate’s Fred Kaplan explains, Maliki ignored the advice. He didn’t just neglect the Sunnis. He mistreated and alienated them. That’s a big reason why a Sunni extremist group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, now controls much of Iraq’s territory and is advancing on Baghdad. . .

For nearly a decade, we tried to manage Iraq. What we got was dysfunction. Maybe it’s time to let Iraq learn to manage itself."

Read Slate, Don’t Save Iraq.

Also watch the "the old gang of warmongers gets back together to voice their opinions on the crisis."

Watch The Daily Show, Mess O'Potamia - Now That's What I Call Being Completely F**king Wrong About Iraq:

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thanksgiving Wish

REPOST & UPDATE IV:  Read Live Science, Gobble, Gobble! 6 Fun Facts About Turkeys.

UPDATE III:  "This holiday season, thank artificial insemination [and genetic science] for transforming turkey into the relatively cheap foodstuff it is today."

Read The Atlantic, The Supersized American Turkey, which includes a very detailed description of "the actual process of insemination" for those who care to know.

UPDATE II:  "Why, then, do we associate Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims? In the late 1800s, with immigrants — Jews, Italians, Chinese, other outsiders — pouring in, America’s cultural leaders took two bits of shaky historic evidence from the early 1600s and embraced a story of a Pilgrim Thanksgiving in an effort to Americanize an increasingly diverse population.

The myth of our holiday’s Pilgrim origins took hold. But the dishes we eat at Thanksgiving? They capture other stories about the making of the American nation."

Read the Washington Post, A short course on the history of 8 Thanksgiving foods.  

UPDATE:  And "[w]hile you're preparing, eating or sleeping off your Thanksgiving meal, ponder these" Thanksgiving facts.  Read Time, Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

And for more Thanksgiving facts, read National Geographic, Thanksgiving 2012 Myths and Facts


From an email:
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

TurBaconEpic Thanksgiving


"It's a heart attack in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a pig":

Holiday Eating Tips


From an email:

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare... You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? LaborDay?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand and wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
Have a great holiday season!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Vote Republi-CON, the Party of Fear, Anger, and Hatred in 2016!

UPDATE IX:  "Conservatives love Donald Trump’s racism, lies, and lslamophobia."

Read Slate, Trump’s Week of Fearmongering and Falsehoods.

UPDATE VIII:  "GOP voters are attracted to Trump for his bravado and belligerent rhetoric against real and perceived foreign threats. Far from undermining his campaign, the Paris attacks strengthen the atavistic nationalism that fuels his campaign."

Read Slate, Why the Paris Attacks Will Only Boost Donald Trump.  

UPDATE VII:  "'One of the reasons why Donald Trump is doing so well is because he's saying things people believe. . . People are angry out there, and he's striking a nerve.'"

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump is leading for a simple reason, according to Mike Huckabee.

UPDATE VI:  "Mr Trump’s detractors, who form arguably one of the largest bipartisan coalitions in memory, comfort themselves that he is simply on an ego trip that will turn sour. That may be true. But they are missing the point. The legions of Republicans flocking to Mr Trump’s banner are not going anywhere. If he crashes, which he eventually must, they will find another champion. . .

The latest poll shows that only 8 per cent of Republican graduates support Mr Trump against 32 per cent of those without a degree.

These are the angry swaths of America that feel left behind, belittled and insulted. They want to take their country back but cannot put their finger on what exactly they mean. For them it is evening in America. Nobody argues their case.

Then along comes Mr Trump. Foreigners may be tempted to see him as uniquely American. But he has his equivalents everywhere. Think of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy or even the UK’s Nigel Farage.

The worse they sound, the better they do. That is the power of anti-politics. Mr Trump is merely a symptom. His Republican rivals should beware. Trump Towers will fall. Other skyscrapers loom. "

Read  the Financial Times (subscription may be required), Donald Trump leaves indelible mark on Republicans

UPDATE V:  For more on the Republi-con Party's  Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (© dilemma, read the Washington Post, Trump has the GOP establishment’s number, which again notes:

"The problems that bother us most are the ones we bring on ourselves. This is why Republicans are so out of sorts with Donald Trump. The party created the rough beast it is now trying to slay. . .

[T]he real Donald Trump has been in full view for a long time, and Perry’s new glasses can’t explain his newfound clarity. I don’t credit Trump with much. But he deserves an award for exposing the double-standards of Republican politicians. They put their outrage in a blind trust as long as Trump was, in Perry’s words, 'throwing invectives in this hyperbolic rhetoric out there' against Obama and the GOP’s other enemies.

Only now are they willing to say: 'You’re fired.' No wonder Trump is laughing."

UPDATE IV:  Who made Trump the Republi-con candidate he is?

You can thank Hedgehog News, which has "set quite a standard for sycophancy.

It was a steady engagement: Trump would share his views on the issues of the day with the 'Fox & Friends' crew on Monday mornings. He’d talk and talk and talk as the hosts nodded in agreement. Anyone who has listened to a Trump speech these days would recognize the talking points . .

The Republican establishment has worried that Trump’s travels in recent weeks have dragged down the party’s brand. Those worries may well prove legitimate. Yet 'Fox & Friends' needn’t be concerned about a similar dynamic stemming from its association with Trump, given its already-well-proven awfulness. This is one brand that not even Trump can sully."

Read the Washington Post, ‘Fox & Friends': Donald Trump’s very own media bubble.  

UPDATE III:  "Do not worry about Donald Trump becoming president. Worry, instead, about what his current — emphasis on current — stratospheric standing in the polls says about two things: the Republican Party and the other GOP candidates."
Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump and the anger of conservatives.

UPDATE II:  Joseph McCarthy was a 'notorious Republi-con demagogue'.

But initially, "McCarthy, like Trump, was an opportunist, not a zealot. Although the Wisconsin senator later grew famous hunting communists, communists in the Milwaukee branch of the Congress of Industrial Organizations played a key role in his initial Senate victory in 1946. In his first three years in the Senate, McCarthy hunted for an issue on which to make his name. He considered proposing a national pension plan or championing the St. Lawrence Seaway. But by 1950, the U.S.S.R. had tested an atomic weapon, communists had won China’s civil war, and alleged Soviet spy Alger Hiss had been convicted of perjury. Midwesterners, long suspicious of the East Coast’s foreign-policy class, and Catholics, bitter over Moscow’s domination of their co-religionists in Eastern Europe, were particularly receptive to claims that Washington elites had sold out America to the U.S.S.R.  So in February 1950, McCarthy began loudly exploiting those grievances, famously declaring in Wheeling, West Virginia, that 'I have here in my hand a list of 205 [communists] working and shaping policy in the State Department.'

In his search for scapegoats, Trump has proved ideologically flexible too. In 1988, when he first publicly mulled a presidential campaign, the scapegoat du jour was Japan, whose economy appeared to be overtaking America’s. 'The Japanese, when they negotiate with us, they have long faces,' Trump told a New Hampshire crowd in 1987. 'But when the negotiations are over, it is my belief—I’ve never seen this—they laugh like hell.' His suggestion: 'Whatever Japan wants, do the opposite.'

When Trump flirted with a presidential campaign again, in 2000, he played the centrist. He was leaving the GOP for Ross Perot’s Reform Party, he announced, because 'the Republicans are just too crazy right.' He even attacked his likely Reform Party opponent, Pat Buchanan, for being anti-black.

In the Obama era, however, Trump has discovered the power of racial and ethnic grievances himself. As early as 2007, when Obama began running for president, pollster Mark Penn sent Hillary Clinton a memo declaring that Obama was 'not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and values.' Obama critics relentlessly questioned his connection to, and love of, the United States. Polls showed that a plurality of Republicans believed Obama was not born in the United States.

Like McCarthy during the red scare, Trump saw his opening. 'I have people that have been studying [Obama’s birth certificate] and they cannot believe what they’re finding,' Trump declared in 2011. 'If he wasn’t born in this country, which is a real possibility…then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.' . . .

If McCarthy and Trump are similarly opportunistic, their party’s initial response to them was similarly craven."

Read The Atlantic, The New McCarthyism of Donald Trump.

UPDATE:  "Donald Trump is now the 2016 GOP frontrunner. . .

[W]hat do people see in the guy?

A lot, as it turns out. On a recent trip to rural Upstate New York I was surprised by the intensity of support for Trump among friends and family members I talked to. In many cases, their support for Trump boiled down to a simple fact: they were angry.

Angry at Obama, angry at congressional leaders, and angry at the political establishment as a whole. And they're not alone -- surveys show that anger toward the government, particularly among Republicans, has been rising over the course of Obama's two terms in office. When asked how they felt toward the federal government, 37 percent of Republicans said "angry" in a Washington Post poll from last fall. By contrast, in September 1998, at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, only 14 percent of Republicans said they were angry.

Anger toward the establishment is a powerful motivating force. And Donald Trump is currently the candidate in the best position to channel it. . ."

Read the Washington Post, The real reason so many Americans support Donald Trump

Go Donald, Go!

"You might think that the recent poll showing Donald Trump spiking among Republicans is about Donald Trump. It is not. It is about the Republican Party and its very dark soul when it comes to immigration. The rank and file didn’t much care for Trump as recently as May. It swooned this month when it discovered he’s a bigot.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares "You're fired!" at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., in this file photo taken June 17, 2015. (Dominick Reuter/Reuters) Donald Trump gestures and declares “You’re fired!” at a campaign rally last month in Manchester, N.H. (Dominick Reuter/Reuters)

In May, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 65 percent of Republicans saw Trump unfavorably. In their relative and blissful ignorance, these Republicans had it about right. But then Trump declared his candidacy in a frothing statement about Mexican rapists, and the GOP’s heart started to pound. The numbers got reversed. All of a sudden only 40 percent of them view him unfavorably. The rest — about 60 percent — can hardly quiet their hearts.

This stunning turnabout — this depressing and somewhat scary endorsement of frustration, fear and old-fashioned hate — is sure to be noticed by the other GOP candidates. . .

What Trump is showing is not just that a hard line on illegal immigration pays off, but it pays off big if the overall message contains, like a rock in a snowball, a core of anger. As The Donald himself knows, his text is just a piece of his message. More important is his demeanor. He’s giving the GOP establishment the finger. . .

At the moment, no one is more anti-establishment than Trump. Americans frightened by a changing and, when it comes to good middle-class jobs, constricting economy are looking for a champion. They see one in Trump, a Mussolini with a comb-over, who is now as much admired for the enemies he’s making as for his inflammatory statements on immigration. For the moment, he stands alone. If his numbers stay high, he won’t be alone for long."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump illuminates the GOP’s dark soul.

Go Donald, Go!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Aided and Abetted by Pissing-In-Their-Pants Hysterical and Cowardly Republi-CONs, The Terrorist Are Winning

UPDATE V: "The real lesson of America’s Japanese internment camps is that fear makes us cowardly and vicious."

Read Slate, Refugee-Fearing Mayor Wants to Round Them Up, which notes that the Roanoke mayor must be "learning his constitutional history from one of those Texas textbooks that rewrites epic moral failures as valorous events."

The article also discusses a 1944 Supreme Court case U.S. v. Korematsu. "It involved Fred Korematsu, an American-born citizen of Japanese descent, who was convicted when he refused to leave his home in California in defiance of this order." 

Shamefully, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction. 

"Only through the long lens of history has the policy come to stand as a cautionary tale of what happens we betray core constitutional principles in times of fear and uncertainty. Today Korematsu is considered one of the court’s most cowardly opinions. A report issued by Congress in 1983 declared that the Supreme Court’s decision in Korematsu was 'overruled in the court of history' and the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 contained a formal apology—as well as monetary reparations—to the Japanese Americans interned during the war. Justice Antonin Scalia has ranked Korematsu alongside Dred Scott, the 1857 decision denying citizenship to blacks, as among the court’s most shameful mistakes. In 1998, President Bill Clinton belatedly awarded Korematsu himself the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

But history also reminds us that the court itself did not speak with one voice when Korematsu came down. Even in the heat of the moment the three dissenting justices warned that the nation would someday regret the xenophobia and the recklessness the court itself had approved. . .

[One of those dissents was] penned by Justice Frank Murphy, who wrote that the exclusion of both alien and nonalien Japanese 'goes over 'the very brink of constitutional power,' and falls into the ugly abyss of racism.' Noting that the internment order 'deprives all those within its scope of the equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.' He contends that “no reasonable relation to an ‘immediate, imminent, and impending’ public danger is evident to support this racial restriction, which is one of the most sweeping and complete deprivations of constitutional rights in the history of this nation in the absence of martial law.”

And then Murphy arrives at the analysis that still today offers a clarion call to [the Roanoke mayor] David Bowers and the many, many David Bowers across the land who have used the events in Paris to call for vicious callousness to the plight of Syrian refugees: 'To infer that examples of individual disloyalty prove group disloyalty and justify discriminatory action against the entire group is to deny that, under our system of law, individual guilt is the sole basis for deprivation of rights. Moreover, this inference ... has been used in support of the abhorrent and despicable treatment of minority groups by the dictatorial tyrannies which this nation is now pledged to destroy. To give constitutional sanction to that inference in this case ... is to adopt one of the cruelest of the rationales used by our enemies to destroy the dignity of the individual and to encourage and open the door to discriminatory actions against other minority groups in the passions of tomorrow.

Bowers’ statement about Syrian refugees ends with the caution that 'at least for awhile into the future, it seems to me to be better safe than sorry.' But maybe before he calls for group reprisals and racial stereotyping, he should reread these words from Murphy’s Korematsu dissent as a cautionary tale. They are as resonant today as they were in 1944: 'I dissent ... from this legalization of racism. Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting, but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States.'"

Emphasis added, in the hope that even pissing-in-their-pants hysterical and cowardly Republi-cons might understand.

UPDATE IV:  "In the name of one true Christianity or another, Catholics slaughtered Protestants and Protestants slaughtered Catholics with an energy and a ferocity that are impossible for us now to appreciate. Jews were always a tempting target. A pious czarist Russia countenanced 660 pogroms in 1905 alone — a statistic gleaned from Ferguson’s book 'The War of the World.'

Nazi Germany’s Catholic and Protestant clergy were largely mute as the nation’s Protestant and Catholic soldiers murdered with abandon. 'Protestants welcomed the Nazis' 'national revolution' with an enthusiasm and hope for spiritual revival comparable only to the fervor with which they had endorsed war in 1914,' writes Nicholas Stargardt in his new book, 'The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945.'

Last month, Hindus in India allegedly murdered a Muslim man for killing a sacred cow. The placid Japanese of today were yesterday’s rapists and murderers of Nanking and performed hideous medical experiments on prisoners of war. Stalin, a former seminarian, killed millions; Mao did the same. Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Jews — you name it — have at times been the barbarians Ferguson alludes to. As recently as 1995, Serbian Christians massacred about 8,000 Muslim men and boys at the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. . .

We all have the same enemy. It is not Islam. It is intolerance.

Read the Washington Post, In the wake of Paris, our common enemy is intolerance.

UPDATE III:  Now the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia is citing the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII to justify public 'paranoia and ethnic' and religious bigotry.

The only thing that surprises me is that one of the Republi-con presidential candidates didn't think of it first.

Read the Washington Post, Before people start invoking Japanese American internment, they should remember what it was like, which notes that "[d]eclassified military documents show that the nation’s leaders embarked on this vast incarceration project [of Japanese-Americans] mostly to quell the fears of the the public."

The terrorist are winning the war of fear.

UPDATE II:  "All our efforts are undermined by declaring Islam itself to be the enemy, and by treating Muslims in the United States, or Muslims in Europe, or Muslims fleeing Islamic State oppression, as a class of suspicious potential jihadists. Instead of blaming refugees, we need to make sure our counterterrorism and intelligence policies give us a chance to screen and stop any threat (which means keeping the post-9/11 structures of surveillance in place). But if U.S. politicians define Islam as the problem and cast aspersions on Muslim populations in the West, they are feeding the Islamic State narrative. They are materially undermining the war against terrorism and complicating the United States’ (already complicated) task in the Middle East. Rejecting a blanket condemnation of Islam is not a matter of political correctness. It is the requirement of an effective war against terrorism, which means an effective war against the terrorist kingdom in Syria and western Iraq.

As of now, that war is not being won."

Read the Washington Post, America’s politicians are feeding the Islamic State narrative.

Read also the Washington Post, Obama’s critics should stop playing political games over the Islamic State. which concludes:  "Critics should offer viable alternatives. Or they should stop playing their games."

And read Slate, It Took All of Three Days for This Political Attack Ad to Air Demonizing Syrian Refugees.

UPDATE:  "The attacks in Paris have inspired a xenophobic bidding war among Republican presidential candidates.

Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday signed an order trying to get his state of Louisiana to block the settlement of any Syrian refugee, while Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, proposed we 'wake up and smell the falafel' and said House Speaker Paul Ryan should resign if he can’t block the refugees’ arrival. Candidates Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and John Kasich also joined the jingoistic bid to block Syrian refugees.

In a particularly pernicious twist, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz both floated the notion Sunday of admitting Christian refugees from Syria but not Muslims."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans’ xenophobic bidding war., which notes that "[t]his growing cry to turn away people fleeing for their lives brings to mind the SS St. Louis, the ship of Jewish refugees turned away from Florida in 1939. It’s perhaps the ugliest moment in a primary fight that has been sullied by bigotry from the start. It’s no exaggeration to call this un-American."  It is also nu-Christian.

Listen to talk radio, the Republi-cons are pissing-in-their-pants hysterical. 

"After the terrorist attacks Friday night in Paris, it did not take long for anti-Muslim forces to lash out around the world.

A mosque in Canada was deliberately set on fire Saturday, Ontario police say. In Oregon, anti-Muslim protesters held a rally outside the Portland Rizwan Mosque, one of them with a shirt that said 'Proud to be an infidel. Islam is a LIE.' In Florida, the Islamic Center of St. Petersburg received a bomb threat over voice mail: 'We are tired of your [expletive] and I [expletive] personally have a militia that is going to come down to your Islamic Society of Pinellas County and firebomb you and shoot whoever is there in the head,' the caller said, according to News 13. . .

This is what the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, wants.

'This is precisely what ISIS was aiming for — to provoke communities to commit actions against Muslims,' said Arie Kruglanski, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland who studies how people become terrorists. 'Then ISIS will be able to say, ‘I told you so. These are your enemies, and the enemies of Islam.'' . .

Extremist groups feed off of alienation, some counterterrorism experts say, and Islamist militants deliberately aim to make Muslims in the West feel isolated and turn against their own communities.

According to this line of thinking, acts of terrorism widen the cultural divide by provoking hate crimes against Muslims in the West. This strategy gained traction in the early 2000s after al-Qaeda was sent into hiding by Western military action. Abu Musab al-Suri, an influential jihadi thinker whom the Wall Street Journal called 'the new mastermind of jihad,' argued for a distributed network of terrorist cells recruited from the Islamic diaspora, carrying out terrorist strikes in their own communities. These attacks, and the backlash they generated, would inspire other to radicalize.

'What the Islamic State wants to do is to start a civil war,' political scientist Gilles Kepel said Saturday in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde. Kepel, a professor at Sciences Po and an Islamic State expert, has extensively studied the ideology and strategies of modern-day jihadis."

Read the Washington Post, Hating Muslims plays right into the Islamic State’s hands.

Actually ISIS wants a religious war, and Republi-cons are the terrorist's useful idiots.

See also Vote Republi-CON, the Party of Fear, Anger, and Hatred in 2016!