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