Right Wing Punditry/Idiocy

O’Keefe Creates Fake News In Order To Expose WaPo As A Purveyor Of Fake News And The Whole Thing Blows Up

Another lame gimmick, a HUGE PUBLIC bellyflop:

James O’Keefe is a celebrated right-wing pseudo-journalist whose job consists largely of attempting to prove various conservative conspiracy theories but, instead, accidentally disproving them. O’Keefe’s most recent fail is an attempt to help alleged child molester Roy Moore by tarnishing the Washington Post. O’Keefe recruited a fake source, who attempted to lure the Post into reporting her false accusations and “admitting” on camera that their reporting would affect the outcome of the election.

The scam collapsed for a number of reasons. His fake source provided a flimsy cover story with odd details — she claimed to have only spent a few summers in Alabama, but provided a cell phone with an Alabama area code. The supposed place of employment that she provided did not have any person by that name working there. A search of her name turned up a social-media post in which she explained that she was going to “work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt [sic] of the liberal MSM.”

If you’ve ever watched a spy movie, you’ll probably recall that the spies never get caught because they left a social-media post under their real name declaring “I’m enrolling in espionage school to become a spy!”

Another reason O’Keefe’s plot collapsed again is because it is premised on a ludicrously false worldview. The Washington Post does not, in fact, publish unverified accusations just because they’re against Republicans. His various attempts to prove rampant voter fraud have failed in part because voter fraud is not rampant.

But this larger conceptual problem with O’Keefe’s enterprise creates a secondary problem, which is that the people who are dumb enough to believe these conspiracy theories are not generally smart enough to carry out a competent entrapment scheme.

The plan went like this: A woman named Jaime Phillips, who was aligned with Project Veritas, approached several Washington Post reporters claiming that she had engaged in a sexual relationship with Moore that led to an abortion when she was 15. (Sidebar: It’s worth an entire separate piece about what would lead someone to make up an abortion in order to entrap reporters.)

The goal was simple: To reveal that The Washington Post, which broke the initial story about Moore’s alleged pursuit of intimate relationships with teenagers, was willing to publish anything from any source as long as it made a conservative Republican look bad.

The problem — if O’Keefe knew anything about how large media organizations like the Post work  — is that neither of these organizations would ever simply run with a story from one woman about an alleged forced abortion without doing the most basic fact checking.

So it blew up in his face. Now, O’Keefe has demonstrated that the Washington Post does NOT, in fact, run with thinly-sourced accounts in furtherance of journalistic bias.  QED, the deeply-sourced accounts of child molestation by Roy Moore are likely to be true.

This video is precious. About halfway through, the woman hired by O’Keefe realizes the jig is up:

Commentary from The Atlantic:

O’Keefe’s choice of targets over the years has displayed a less-than-keen understanding of what has news value and what doesn’t.

“O’Keefe has terrible judgment at times, but his news judgment is even worse,” said a former O’Keefe employee who spoke on condition of anonymity for professional reasons. “His sense of what is legitimately of public interest really is as bad as it looks given some of the trash he publishes. It might help with fundraising from the diehard Bannon wing, but pieces like the Clinton Campaign T-Shirt story also badly water down his brand. Earlier high risk/no reward stunts like the attempted Landrieu and Abbie Boudreau debacle nearly finished him before NPR resurrected him. Even Andrew Breitbart was close to cutting ties.”

And this poses a good question:

The Pushback On Mueller Began A Week Before The Indictments

Fox News really is now the Trump network. It is not even the GOP network.  Just Trump.  They have been questioning Mueller’s credibility. Vox explains the evolution:

To put it bluntly: As Mueller brings charges against top Trump officials, Fox News is trying to plant doubt in its viewers’ minds.

We analyzed the past week of Fox News transcripts, measuring them against those of Fox’s cable news rivals CNN and MSNBC.

What we found was striking:

  • Fox News was unable to talk about the Mueller investigation without bringing up Hillary Clinton, even as federal indictments were being brought against top Trump campaign officials.
  • Fox also talked significantly less about George Papadopoulos — the Trump campaign adviser whose plea deal with Mueller provides the most explicit evidence thus far that the campaign knew of the Russian government’s efforts to help Trump — than its competitors.
  • Fox News repeatedly called Mueller’s credibility into question, while shying away from talking about the possibility that Trump might fire Mueller.

Fox News started early in questioning Mueller’s credibility.

As early as last Tuesday, days before we learned Mueller would bring indictments later in the week, Fox News’s Hannity called for Mueller’s resignation.

“Back in 2009, he was the FBI director. This was when the bureau, the FBI, so clearly had this information [about Uranium One.] He had conflicts of interest. There’s no way the American people can trust Robert Mueller to investigate anything Russian-related,” he said.

Hannity was, of course, referring to a report in the Hill questioning why the Obama administration approved the sale of a Canadian uranium company to Russia, despite the FBI previously uncovering misconduct by the Russian nuclear industry. The story also asserts that Russian nuclear officials gave millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, perhaps to sway then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who served in the group that approved the deal. The story stems from an anti-Hillary Clinton book published during the election called Clinton Cash, and many experts say it has been presented in a misleading manner.

Let’s talk about that the Uranium One deal.  We need to because Fox News in particular has taken up the conspiracy theory with gusto, with Fox & Friends, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Martha MacCallum all running lengthy segments devoted to the story. Conservative radio darling Laura Ingraham tweeted out a link to an article about the supposed uranium scheme in the conservative National Review. The conservative Daily Caller website has run several articles on the subject, as has Breitbart, the right-wing outlet run by former Trump senior strategist Steve Bannon.

Trump himself has added new fuel by taking the highly unusual step of encouraging the Justice Department to allow a former FBI informant to testify about the case before Congress — a rare and nearly unprecedented act. The informant’s lawyer claimed, per the Post, that he would tell lawmakers about his work “uncovering the Russian nuclear bribery case and the efforts he witnessed by Moscow to gain influence with [former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] in hopes of winning favorable uranium decisions from the Obama administration.”

There’s just one problem: The GOP claim that Clinton gave 20 percent of America’s uranium to Russia is incorrect and clearly misleading now, just as it was when Trump raised it in the past.

The key event that the myth is based on is Russia’s nuclear power agency purchasing a majority stake in a Toronto-based energy company between 2009 and 2013. The company had mines and land in a number of US states with huge uranium production capacity — a move the US State Department signed off on. But PolitiFact did a thorough fact-check of the claim last year when Trump first made it on the campaign trail, and found the following faults with it:

  1. The mines, mills, and land the company holds in the US account for 20 percent of the US’s uranium production capacity, not actual produced uranium.
  2. The State Department was one of nine federal agencies and a number of additional independent federal and state regulators that signed off on the deal.
  3. President Barack Obama, not Clinton, was the only person who could’ve vetoed the deal.
  4. Since Russia doesn’t have the legal right to export uranium from the US, its main goal was likely to gain access to the company’s uranium assets in Kazakhstan.
  5. Crucially, the main national security concern was not about nuclear weapons proliferation, as Trump has suggested, but actually ensuring the US doesn’t have to depend too much on uranium sources from abroad, as the US only makes about 20 percent of the uranium it needs. An advantage in making nuclear weapons wasn’t the main issue because, as PolitiFact notes, “the United States and Russia had for years cooperated on that front, with Russia sending enriched fuel from decommissioned warheads to be used in American nuclear power plants in return for raw uranium.”

Trump’s misleading comments are in service of a broader goal: to push back against the growing investigations into his administration’s possible collusion with Moscow, which have hit a new fever pitch with news of Monday’s guilty plea from campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who told the FBI that he’d met with a Russian-linked professor who said Russia had “dirt” on Clinton, including thousands of her stolen emails. Special counsel Robert Mueller unsealed the guilty plea yesterday alongside wide-ranging indictments of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and campaign aide Rick Gates.

BUT… could Fox News talk about firing Mueller?

Nope.  They seemed to understand that it was the third rail.  It would be Trump’s undoing. So they focused on Mueller’s credibility.

Fox News is the main source of news for 19 percent of 2016 voters, including 40 percent of Trump voters. There’s academic evidence that Fox News is more powerful than we ever imagined. It is quite possibly the main news source for President Trump. There is evidence that the hosts see their jobs as advising Trump — talking directly to him.  And what they seem to be saying is — attack Mueller’s credibility.

Will it work? I can’t say for sure, but I see a number of obvious problems.  Mueller is a Republican for one.  It’s hard to say say he is in the tank for Hillary.  Moreover, he’s got an inestimably high reputation — so much so that the Trump Administration considered him for head of the DOJ.  But mostly, I don’t think it will work because, well, because it is so OBVIOUS.  Indictments get handed down, and suddenly Mueller isn’t credible?  Really?

RELATED:  Many are unhappy at Fox News

Some employees at Fox News were left embarrassed and humiliated by their network’s coverage of the latest revelations in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, according to conversations CNN had with several individuals placed throughout the network.

“I’m watching now and screaming,” one Fox News personality said in a text message to CNN as the person watched their network’s coverage. “I want to quit.”

“It is another blow to journalists at Fox who come in every day wanting to cover the news in a fair and objective way,” one senior Fox News employee told CNN of their outlet’s coverage, adding that there were “many eye rolls” in the newsroom over how the news was covered.

The person said, “Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House.”

The employees spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment.


Additionally, Fox News aired segments that questioned Mueller’s credibility and many were framed around how Trump and his allies were responding to the news. On Fox News’ homepage, the lead story at one point was focused on Trump slamming the indictment. Another lead story cited Manafort’s lawyer, and asked, “Mueller’s ‘ridiculous’ claims?”

“This kind of coverage does the viewer a huge disservice and further divides the country,” one Fox News personality told CNN.

Fox News journalists took significant issue with their network’s opinion hosts, who deflected from the news and, in Sean Hannity’s case, characterized Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” a term Trump used on Sunday in a angry tweet to describe the probe.

“That segment on Outbumbered [questioning Mueller’s integrity] was absurd and deserves all the scorn it can get,” a Fox News employee told CNN, referring to the network’s noontime talk show.

The person added that it was “laughable seeing Hannity and [Laura] Ingraham,” two Fox News opinion hosts who are openly supportive of Trump, “tripping over themselves saying [Mueller’s team has] found nothing thus far.”

“It’s an embarrassment,” another Fox News employee echoed to CNN. “Frankly, there are shows on our network that are backing the President at all costs, and it’s that short term strategy that undermines the good work being done by others.”

Nice to know there is SOME integrity at Fox, but… you dance with the devil… this is what happens.

Trumpers See Whatever They Want To See In Trump – Exhibit A

“He is unashamed in standing up for increasing an awareness of God in the United States. He recognizes how important that is and that that is a basis of Western civilization. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I could not be more happy with what I am seeing coming out of the Trump White House. This is beyond my wildest expectations.

“The president himself is man of prayer and man who loves to receive prayer. He is a man who, I do believe, understands who the God of the Bible is and he wants to lift up the God of the Bible here in the United States.

“The Lord is working mightily in our government and I believe it is because God is being reverenced, God is being lifted up. Prayer is not foreign in the White House, it’s not foreign in the Executive Office Building; looking to God, looking through Bible studies, this is not foreign anymore.” – Michele Bachmann, speaking this weekend on Christian radio.

From Joe. My God.

There are few certainties in life, but there is no doubt that Trump is NOT NOW and NEVER WAS a man of God.

Good News In The Offing

(1)  Georgia On My Mind

In Georgia 6th district, the special election to replace Tom Price in the House, Jon Ossoff received 48.1 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat, and he will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter, in a June runoff.

This is a terrific showing from a young 30 year old Democratic for a seat once held by Newt Gingrich. Combined with Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in a special House election in Kansas last week, the Georgia result will be an immediate boon to Democratic groups, lifting their fund-raising and bolstering candidate recruitment efforts, while sobering Republicans who are assessing whether to run in Mr. Trump’s first midterm election.

Ossoff still has to win the runoff,  against Handel. Handel, who took 19.8 percent, is a former Georgia secretary of state and chair of the Fulton County Commission who has unsuccessfully run for governor and Senate. But in recent years, Handel is probably best known—and notorious—for her time at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which ended after her failed, politically motivated effort to get the organization to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood to perform cancer screenings.

But win or lose in the runoff, the Ossoff win last night shows that Democrats can compete even in non-swing districts.

And don’t believe the White House spin that this was not a rebuke of the President. It clearly was. The more closely aligned a candidate was with President Trump, the worse that candidate did.

(2)  The No-Bill Zone

Many anonymously-sourced news stories are out there that say the following:

A well-placed source said Tuesday afternoon that representatives for Fox and O’Reilly have begun talking about an exit. But this prompted a denial from sources in O’Reilly’s camp.

Even one person close to O’Reilly, however, said he will probably not be back on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

The original well-placed source said an announcement about O’Reilly’s fate was likely by the end of the week.

The fact that none of these sources were willing to go on the record speaks to the delicate maneuvering underway.

The network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox (FOX), will hold a board meeting on Thursday, a spokeswoman told CNNMoney. One of the sources said O’Reilly will be a primary topic.

The Murdochs, the men who control 21st Century Fox, are pointedly not commenting on any of this.

But conversations inside Fox have already turned to possible O’Reilly successors.

The Murdochs have had loyalty to O’Reilly, but they have greater loyalty to money. And with advertisers fleeing O’Reilly by the dozens (he had virtually none in his last aired show, and had to end 10 minutes early), it is hard to see how O’Reilly survives this.

Good riddance.  He was an out-and-out liar.  And pervert.  Next stop, Sean Hannity.


The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.

Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.

Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly. Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say. The other main issue on the table is money. O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year. When Roger Ailes left Fox News last summer, the Murdochs paid out $40 million, the remainder of his contract.

According to sources, Fox News wants the transition to be seamless. Executives are currently debating possible replacement hosts. Names that have been discussed include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, and Tucker Carlson, who would move from his successful 9 p.m. slot and create a need for a new host at that time. One source said Sean Hannity is happy at 10 p.m. and would not want to move.

A Bunch Of Funny Side Stories From This Week


When Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, the North Carolina GOP thought it quickly spotted something wrong.

When Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, the North Carolina GOP thought it quickly spotted something wrong.

“[Tim Kaine] wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag,” the state party tweeted as he was speaking. “Shameful.”

There was one problem: Kaine’s pin, which had a single blue star on a white background bordered with red, wasn’t the flag of Honduras, where he spent a year as a missionary decades ago. It was the symbol for Blue Star Families, or those with members serving in the military.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article92303587.html#storylink=cpy
“[Tim Kaine] wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag,” the state party tweeted as he was speaking. “Shameful.”


There was one problem: Kaine’s pin, which had a single blue star on a white background bordered with red, wasn’t the flag of Honduras, where he spent a year as a missionary decades ago. It was the symbol for Blue Star Families, or those with members serving in the military.

The tweet was deleted with an apology.


Michelle Obama delivered a powerful speech during the Democratic National Convention on Monday, as the first lady shed light on the historical significance of her family’s eight years at the White House as its first African-American family.

“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” Mrs. Obama said in her keynote address. “I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”

As it turned out, one person was not entirely amused and went so far as to “fact check” the first lady’s comments.

FOX News personality and political lightning rod Bill O’Reilly defended the working conditions slaves faced while building the White House by offering the following explanation during The O’Reilly Factor on Tuesday:

“Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well. Got it all? There will be a quiz.”

If there was a quiz, Bill failed.

The notion of the “happy slave” is old racist trope, and it is despicable that O’Reilly peddles this shit on television. But let’s get to the facts….

As O’Reilly noted, Michelle Obama’s predecessor as first lady, Abigail Adams was living in the White House at the time when slaves were building it, and she recorded her observations of those working on landscaping the grounds.

“The effects of Slavery are visible every where; and I have amused myself from day to day in looking at the labour of 12 negroes from my window, who are employd with four small Horse Carts to remove some dirt in front of the house,”she wrote. Moreover, Mrs. Adams took note of their condition—and her observation stands at odds with O’Reilly’s:

Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, … to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast.


Adams’s rebuke to O’Reilly is not the first time that a benign recollection of slavery has broken apart on the shoals of reality.


The New York Times reports on hard times at Fox News:

Megyn Kelly and her co-hosts [at the Democratic convention], including Bret Baier and Brit Hume, have not been speaking during commercial breaks, according to two people with direct knowledge of the anchors’ interactions, who described the on-set atmosphere at Fox News as icy. During ads, the hosts are often absorbed with their smartphones.

….Employees say there is a continuing split inside the network, with one camp of old-guard Fox News loyalists — some of whom owe their careers to Mr. Ailes — upset at his ouster. Some are resentful toward Ms. Kelly for cooperating with lawyers brought in by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, to investigate Mr. Ailes’s behavior. (About a dozen women have reported improper behavior by Mr. Ailes to investigators.)

Another contingent inside Fox News is equally dismayed by the responses of stars like Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greta Van Susteren and Jeanine Pirro, who were quick to publicly defend Mr. Ailes after he was accused of harassment in a suit filed by the former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

And the pressure really seems to have gotten to Bill O’Reilly:

“I think the time has come now, where this whole network is going to have to band together, all of us, and we’re going to have to call out the people who are actively trying to destroy this network, by using lies and deception and propaganda. We’re going to have to start to call them out by name, because that’s how bad it’s become,” he said.

….”Jesse Watters goes on the floor of the Democratic convention, and some photographer comes up and starts swearing at him and cursing at him right in his face? This is provocation,” he continued. “These people are doing this. They want me dead, Bolling, literally dead.”

Bolling responded to O’Reilly, “I’m not sure they want you dead.”

“Oh they do, believe me,” O’Reilly said.

Poor Bill. I think he revels in the notion that we all want him dead. It would be a shock to his ego to find out that most of us just want him to go away.


Bradley Cooper’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention has irked some conservative fans of the actor’s portrayal of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in 2014’s “American Sniper.”

Cooper was spotted by TV cameras Wednesday night seated at the meeting in Philadelphia alongside his Russian model girlfriend, Irina Shayk.

Some Twitter users say they plan to boycott Cooper’s future films over his presence at the convention. Another commented that they thought his experience playing Kyle would have rubbed off on him.

The complaints have been mocked by others who say Cooper was simply acting a role when playing Kyle and conservatives shouldn’t be surprised.

Cooper earned an Oscar nomination for “American Sniper,” which became a blockbuster thanks in part to an enthusiastic reception among conservative moviegoers.


The plagiarism in question? It was an entire paragraph.  No three sentences.  One sentence?

Nope. Both men used the line “This is not the America I know” in their respective convention speeches.

The problem?  As NBC News pointed out, Obama has used versions of this line in several past speeches. In a 2010 speech, he used the line, “That is not the America we believe in.” And in addresses delivered in 2012 and 2016, he used the line, “That’s the America I know.”

Former President George W. Bush also once used the line, “That’s not the America I know,” as NBC News noted.

See, Don Jr., five or six common words can’t be plagiarism, whereas 70 or so?  Yeah.


Lord Gets Served

For nearly a 20 minutes Tuesday night, CNN political commentator and Donald Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord tried to defend the presumptive GOP nominee’s racist rant against a federal judge.

It didn’t go well at all. Instead, seven other panelists raked Lord over the coals.

Asked whether he would denounce what Trump said as racism, Lord said, “It wasn’t racism. He is calling attention to racism. Hello!?”

Lord added: “If I thought he was a racist, I would not be here.”


On His Deathbed, Bob Bennett Apologizes For What He Wrought

Bob Bennett was a rightwing conservative senator from Utah.  He served in the US Senate for 18 years, and I rarely agreed with him on anything. He was consistently earning high ratings from conservative activist groups such as the National Rifle Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Conservative Union.

But in 2010, something happened — the emergence of the Tea Party.  They deemed Bob insufficiently conservative.  Despite an enthusiastic endorsement from Mitt Romney, Bennett was denied a place on the primary ballot by the 2010 Utah State Republican Convention, placing third behind two Tea-Party-backed candidates.

He never practiced national politics again.  He died two weeks ago of pancreatic cancer.

And how did he spend much of his last few days?  Feeling regret for what the GOP had become, regret for Trump, and regret for the hand that he had in its creation:

Former GOP senator Bob Bennett lay partially paralyzed in his bed on the fourth floor of the George Washington University Hospital. He was dying.

Not 48 hours had passed since a stroke had complicated his yearlong fight against pancreatic cancer. The cancer had begun to spread again, necessitating further chemotherapy. The stroke had dealt a further blow that threatened to finish him off.

Between the hectic helter-skelter of nurses, doctors and well wishes from a long-cultivated community of friends and former aides, Bennett faced a quiet moment with his son Jim and his wife Joyce.

It was not a moment for self-pity.

Instead, with a slight slurring in his words, Bennett drew them close to express a dying wish: “Are there any Muslims in the hospital?” he asked.

“I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump,” Bennett told his wife and son, both of whom relayed this story to The Daily Beast.

The rise of Donald Trump had appalled the three-term Utah senator, a Republican who fell victim to the tea-party wave of the 2010 midterms. His vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, had alienated many conservative activists in his state, who chose lawyer Mike Lee as the GOP nominee for Senate instead.

But as Bennett reflected on his life and legacy in mid-April, following the stroke, he wasn’t focused on the race that ended his political career. Instead, he brought up the issue of Muslims in America—over and over again.

He mentioned it briefly in a hospital interview with the Deseret News, a Utah news outlet. “There’s a lot of Muslims here in this area. I’m glad they’re here,” the former senator told the newspaper in April, describing them as “wonderful.”

In the last days of his life this was an issue that was pressing in his mind… disgust for Donald Trump’s xenophobia,” Jim Bennett said. “At the end of his life he was preoccupied with getting things done that he had felt was left undone.”

Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from America had outraged the former senator, his wife Joyce said, triggering his instincts to do what he could on a personal level. They ultimately did not canvass the hospital, but Bennett had already made an effort in his last months of life.
As they traveled from Washington to Utah for Christmas break, Bennett approached a woman wearing a hijab in the airport.

“He would go to people with the hijab [on] and tell them he was glad they were in America, and they were welcome here,” his wife said. “He wanted to apologize on behalf of the Republican Party.”

“He was astonished and aghast that Donald Trump had the staying power that he had… He had absolutely no respect for Donald Trump, and I think got angry and frustrated when it became clear that the party wasn’t going to steer clear of Trumpism,” his son relayed.

Emphasis mine.

Not the first time this has happened.  I remember Lee Atwater — the creative mind behind the “Southern strategy” — doing the same thing.  Isn’t it interesting that as people get closer to seeing their God, they become liberals?


The Tubman Freakout


That’s Fox’s Greta Van Susteren saying that Obama is needlessly “dividing the country” by replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20, with Harriet Tubman.

Has this woman lost her mind?  Dividing the country between who and who?

Or is it personal (she does resemble Jackson)?


Then, Van Susteren had a suggestion as to how the Obama administration could have avoided “dividing the country”:

Give Tubman her own bill. Like a $25 bill. We could use a $25 bill. Put her picture on that and we could all celebrate. That’s the smart and easy thing to do. But no, some people don’t think and would gratuitously stir up conflict in the nation. That is so awful, and yes, dumb.

Right.  Because that worked so well the Susan B Anthony coin.  It flopped, the US Treasury ended up with 520 million surplus coins after halting production. A $25 bill would be even more contrived, and it would end up creating more work in retail stores, banks, and so on in separate handling of the currency from $20s and $50s.  There’s simply no NEED for it.

Van Susteren isn’t alone in this.  Trump has called it political correctness.  Ben Carson thinks Tubman should go on a $2.

But here’s the thing: the all LOVE that she is on our money.  It’s the OTHER people who are offended by Treasury Secretary Lew and Obama.

Anyway, time to learn about Tubman:

Palin Broaches The Subject Of Science And Fails

Oh, honey.  Don’t go there:

“Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am,” Palin said at a Capitol Hill event held to roll out a film that aims to discredit climate scientists. “He’s a kids’ show actor; he’s not a scientist.

Bill Nye is a kids’ show host AND a scientist.  I mean,he’s not a PhD, but he has a BA in mechanical engineering and he teaches astronomy and ecology at Cornell.

And as for Palin’s scientific creds? Umm….

After graduating from high school in 1982, Palin enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Shortly after arriving in Hawaii, Palin transferred to Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu for a semester in the fall of 1982 and then to North Idaho College, a community college in Coeur d’Alene, for the spring and fall semesters of 1983 She enrolled at the University of Idaho in Moscow for an academic year starting in August 1984 and then attended Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska in the fall of 1985. Palin returned to the University of Idaho in January 1986 and received her bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism in May 1987

So, like five colleges in five years for a B.A. in communications (with an emphasis in journalism — odd for a woman who couldn’t name a newspaper in front of Katie Couric).

Pretty sure Bill Nye is the go-to guy on science.

Not Mincing Words

Must be hard to be a true conservative these days.  Conservative blogger Jeff Goldstein blows a gasket:

If you are a Trump supporter you learned nothing from this site, nothing from me, nothing from conservatism, nothing from Classical Liberalism, nothing from constitutionalism, nothing from the entrenched establishment dominance over our vote and our lives, nothing about federalism, nothing about a party system, and nothing about morality, ethics, or consistency. You missed every point about the necessity of retaking language and tethering meaning to its source.

Instead, you’ve embraced the most vulgar form of progressive populism and paranoid isolationism. You’ve embraced the very anti-foundationalism and Alinsky tactics that animate and enable the leftist epistemological paradigm, all in the service of a fraud. You have thrown in — whether you like it or not — with people who have repeatedly accused me of being a puppet of the establishment, a “kike,” a “cuck,” and a race traitor, despite my having worked for years to upend the GOP establishment, to fight the scourge of anti-assimilationist multiculturalism and immigration, to expose the fraud of the diversity project and academic leftism dressed up as pragmatism, to expose the political cynicism of racialism, and to detail the mechanisms behind identity politics’ infiltration into our political orthodoxies at the level of established “truths.”

I have fifteen years worth of archives to speak to my intellectual honesty and commitment to principle. I am proud of those efforts.

It doesn’t sound like he’s the victim of “Alinsky tactics” (I don’t even know what that means), but the tactics of the right — i.e., identity politics. Goldstein and his ilk have, for years, reduced political viewpoints to simplistic labeling..  Now that he finds those labels applied to him (“cuck” etc), suddenly he sees it from a different angle.

Classic case of the chickens coming home to roost.

He then goes on to explain he is being attacked by Trump supporters for being a part of the machine that is “stealing” this election from Trump.  Which, admittedly, is a bullshit accusation against him… or anybody for that matter:

Here’s the truth: Trump has received 45% of the delegates with 36% of the vote. He’s won several caucus states and didn’t complain then. I’ve heard not one of his supporters argue that winner-take-all races in Florida, or full delegate takes in South Carolina — in neither of which state did he get a majority — disenfranchised those who voted for someone other than Trump and who will have no representation on the first ballot at a contested GOP convention. The truth is, the “system” has helped him, as it does most front runners who aren’t total incompetents and phony Republicans.


You Trump backers are dishonest shills praying at the altar of a false god. You are fine with populist authoritarianism so long as you believe it is you who will benefit from the king’s beneficence. You are, in short, Obama voters with Rs attached to your names. You are the problem.

So. Here’s my message: Get the fuck out. I don’t want you around. You are my fault, in part — and for that I apologize to thinking people and actual Constitutionalists and TEA Party conservatives everywhere and forever.

THAT is amazingly refreshing.  I don’t get or agree with this guy’s politics, but it is nice to see him acknowledge how his tactics led (in part) to Trumpism.

Anyway, he concludes:

Donald Trump is everything I’ve spent years condemning.

Fuck him, and fuck every last one of you who would even consider casting a vote for this gauche, tin-plated con man — no matter how much gold leaf he deploys to elevate his needy, narcissistic facade among cultists, morons, and the easily taken.


The end.

That’s pretty epic.

I left out some of the best parts — specifically, the part where he describes how Trump is not a conservative.  Which is undeniably true.  He’s not a progressive either.  He’s just…. Trump.  Yes, in many ways, he is unconventional — certainly in his approach to politics.  But in many ways, he has the worst features of what everybody hates about politicians –he is in it for himself and on many issues — not all, but many — he just puts his finger up in the air to see which way the prevailing wind blows.

So at the end of the day, I have to feel bad for conservative bloggers like Goldstein.  Some schadenfraude, but most sadness.  And relief that it didn’t happen on the Dem side.

David Brooks Still Wearing Blindfold

New York Times columnist David Brooks is stupid:

We live in a big, diverse society. There are essentially two ways to maintain order and get things done in such a society — politics or some form of dictatorship. Either through compromise or brute force. Our founding fathers chose politics.

Politics is an activity in which you recognize the simultaneous existence of different groups, interests and opinions. You try to find some way to balance or reconcile or compromise those interests, or at least a majority of them. You follow a set of rules, enshrined in a constitution or in custom, to help you reach these compromises in a way everybody considers legitimate.

The downside of politics is that people never really get everything they want. It’s messy, limited and no issue is ever really settled. Politics is a muddled activity in which people have to recognize restraints and settle for less than they want. Disappointment is normal.

But that’s sort of the beauty of politics, too. It involves an endless conversation in which we learn about other people and see things from their vantage point and try to balance their needs against our own. Plus, it’s better than the alternative: rule by some authoritarian tyrant who tries to govern by clobbering everyone in his way.

All true.  Learned that in sixth grade civics class, but okay…. he’s right so far.

Over the past generation we have seen the rise of a group of people who are against politics. These groups — best exemplified by the Tea Party but not exclusive to the right — want to elect people who have no political experience. They want “outsiders.” They delegitimize compromise and deal-making. They’re willing to trample the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making if it helps them gain power.

Ultimately, they don’t recognize other people. They suffer from a form of political narcissism, in which they don’t accept the legitimacy of other interests and opinions. They don’t recognize restraints. They want total victories for themselves and their doctrine.

Aaaaaaaaand fail.

Where is the left equivalent of the Tea Party?  Who is the “outsider” with no political experience that the left has ever put up for election — one who doesn’t recognize restraints and won’t compromise, etc.?

Seriously, who?

The bashing of government, and politics, is purely a right-wing phenomenon, shown by that fact that 2 of the five candidates on the debate stage last night had never run for political office before – one is a real estate tycoon, and the other (and I still can’t believe this) a doctor.

Brooks needs to open his eyes.

The Trump Backlash Continues

A $6 billion golf community under construction in Dubai is removing his name from the project. Trump was tossed from a respected business network in Scotland, where the billionaire says he invested more than $300 million in golf courses and other developments. And Lifestyle, a retailer that does business in an enormous marketplace spanning the Middle East, India and Africa, stopped selling Trump branded products. Trump lost his honorary doctorate at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Scotland.

Trump says that these nations are “caving to political correctness”.

In the national media, Tom Brokaw, the veteran NBC News anchor, has called Trump’s proposal “dangerous,” and likened it to the Holocaust and the Japanese internment. On its front page, The New York Times has said Trump’s idea is “more typically associated with hate groups.” Dan Balz, of The Washington Post, has called Trump’s rhetoric “demagogic,” while BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith has informed staff that it is acceptable to refer to Trump on social media as a “mendacious racist,” because, he said, those are facts.  Thankfully, journalism has moved into the ‘have you no shame’ mode, rather than the typical “he-said she-said”.

Muslim-Americans are speaking out.  The prize goes to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for his Time editorial, which begins:

The terrorist campaign against American ideals is winning. Fear is rampant. Gun sales are soaring. Hate crimes are increasing. Bearded hipsters are beingmistaken for Muslims. And 83 percent of voters believe a large-scale terrorist attack is likely here in the near future. Some Americans are now so afraid that they are willing to trade in the sacred beliefs that define America for some vague promises of security from the very people who are spreading the terror. “Go ahead and burn the Constitution — just don’t hurt me at the mall.” That’s how effective this terrorism is.

I’m not talking about ISIS. I’m talking about Donald Trump.

This is not hyperbole. Not a metaphor. Webster defines terrorism as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal; the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.”

If violence can be an abstraction — and it can; that’s what a threat is — the Trump campaign meets this definition. Thus, Trump is ISIS’s greatest triumph: the perfect Manchurian Candidate who, instead of offering specific and realistic policies, preys on the fears of the public, doing ISIS’s job for them. Even fellow Republican Jeb Bush acknowledged Trump’s goal is “to manipulate people’s angst and fears.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Now, we don’t require by law that our candidates tell the truth. They can retweet (as Trump did) racist “statistics” from a white supremacist fictional organization that claimed 81% of murdered whites are victims of blacks, when the truth is 84% of whites are murdered by whites. They can claim (as Trump did) to have seen on TV thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering on 9/11, even though there is no evidence of this. They can say (as Trump did) Syrian refugees are “pouring” into the country when only 2,000 have come (out of 4.3 million U.N.-registered refugees). Then, when caught lying (as Trump has been over and over), they can do what every belligerent child does: deny, deny, deny.

While Trump is not slaughtering innocent people, he is exploiting such acts of violence to create terror here to coerce support. As I have written before, his acts could be interpreted as hate crimes. He sounds the shrill alarm of impending doomsday even though since 9/11, about 30 Americans a year have been killed in terrorist attacks worldwide — as The Atlanticpointed out, “roughly the same number as are crushed to death each year by collapsing furniture.” Trump’s irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric and deliberate propagation of misinformation have created a frightened and hostile atmosphere that could embolden people to violence. He’s the swaggering guy in old Westerns buying drinks for everyone in the saloon while whipping them up for a lynching.

About 30,000 foreign fighters have gone into Syria to join ISIS, thousands of them from Europe and at least 250 from the United States. What most of us in these bountiful countries can’t understand is how our young, raised with such opportunity, choose to abandon our values to embrace a culture of pitiless violence. Before going, many of these recruits spend much of their time on social media being brainwashed by propaganda videos. One 23-year-old woman, a devout Christian and Sunday school teacher, was recruited via Skype. The recruiter spent hours with the lonely woman teaching her the rituals of Islam. Maybe that’s because, according to some psychologists, the brain’s default setting is simply to believe because it takes extra work to analyze information.

The same process works for Trump’s supporters. They are impervious to facts or truth because their (understandable) frustration and anger at partisan greed and incompetence have fatigued them out of critical thinking. Like deranged newscaster Howard Beale in Network, they are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore. To express their outrage, they have rallied around a so-called “outsider” with no political experience, no detailed policies, and whacky ideas that subvert the very Constitution that he would be required to swear to uphold. Electing him would be like asking the clown at a child’s birthday party to start juggling chainsaws.

Muhammad Ali hit Trump with this released statement:

I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.

Even Ted Cruz, who has taken pains to avoid critiquing Trump, remarked at a private fundraiser that he would have problems with Trump as President and having his finger on the button.

None of this, of course, has affected Trump in the polls.  He leads in NH and SC by quite a bit.

Interestingly, there is an article in the New York Times today which reads

Fear of Terrorism Lifts Donald Trump in New York Times/CBS Poll

I am among the many who thinks it should read

Donald Trump Lifts Fear of Terrorism in New York Times/CBS Poll

The San Bernadino shootings (and to a lesser extent, the Paris attacks), of course, started the fear, but Trump is exploiting that fear in a way that even ISIS couldn’t.

On the other hand, not everyone is in Trump’s grip.  He is viewed as strongly negative by the electorate in general.  Here are some graphics from a WSJ/NBC poll released today:



Again, I think Trump has a ceiling and he’s a media phenomenon, but I don’t think he has a chance in hell to be the GOP nominee.  That’s almost irrelevant though, as his behavior this week is actually damaging to national security.  This is the culmination of years of anti-government right wing radio and TV — an actual honest-to-God fascist candidate who doesn’t see what he advocates as fascism.  In the guise of rejection of political correctness, he rejects the US Constitution and American values.

He’s yuge among white supremacists and crazy people.  The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike.

This typifies a Trump fanatic/.  This lady, I am embarrassed to say, is a state representative in New Hampshire:

This is an interesting chapter in American politics, like the McCarthy Era was at one time.  I can’t wait until it is over.

UPDATE: It’s getting ugly too.  Here are Trump protesters being forcefully removed from a Trump event at the Plaza Hotel

UPDATE #2:  The first poll conducted entirely after Trump’s Muslim remarks just came out.  It was conducted by Reuters/Ipsos:

Trump led the pack of candidates seeking the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2016 election with 35 percent of support from Republican voters, the opinion poll released on Friday found, the same lead he held before Monday, when he said Muslim immigrants, students and other travelers should be barred from entering the country.

Most Republican voters said they were not bothered by his remarks, though many said the comments could still hurt Trump’s chances of becoming president. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans, who will pick the party’s nominee for the November 2016 election, said they found Trump’s remarks offensive against 64 percent who did not.


Still, in a sign of how Trump’s rhetoric has polarized the electorate, 72 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of voters overall said they were offended by Trump’s comments.

Forty-one percent of Republicans polled said Trump’s remarks could hurt his chances of becoming president; that figure was higher among all respondents.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson came in second among Republicans with 12 percent in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tied with 10 percent.

Fox News Moron Doubles Down With Dr. Carson: Stupid Jews Could Have Taken The Nazis

Yes, the European Jews were just a bunch of pants-wetting pansies back in the thirties:

Dr. Ben Carson recently asserted that if guns had not been confiscated from Jews then Hitler would have had more trouble orchestrating the Holocaust.

Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director of the Anti-Defamation Leauge, quickly objected, stating that there were few firearms available to Jews in Germany in 1938 and that surrendering them did not measurably contribute to the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.

Ben Carson is right, and Jonathan Greenblatt is wrong.

For the record, I have hosted a fundraiser for Dr. Carson, but I was also born a Jew and have studied the Holocaust. And I have spoken before the Anti-Defamation League in the past.

The wisest answer to a government that insists its citizens disarm is, “Over my dead body.”

What Greenblatt fails to account for is that the surrendering of firearms by Jews when required to by Nazi authorities was not merely the surrender of guns and ammunition. Those material items would not have been sufficient to defend against the Third Reich’s military.

The mindset that Jews surrendered with their guns is far more important than the hardware they turned over: They surrendered the demonstrated intention, at all costs, to resist being deprived of liberty. If Jews in Germany had more actively resisted the Nazi party or the Nazi regime and had diagnosed it as a malignant and deadly cancer from the start, there would, indeed, have been a chance for the people of that country and the world to be moved to action by their bold refusal to be enslaved.

Yes, that would have required immeasurable courage. Yes, that would have required unspeakable losses. But is that not the lesson of the Old Testament? Does not Abraham bind his son Issac to an altar, willing to sacrifice his son’s life to God’s Word—to the truth? Must not we all be ready to sacrifice ourselves to stand in the way of evil?

Granted, I was not there. Granted, hindsight is 20/20. But it turns out it was a bad idea for any Jew to have turned over a gun. It was a bad idea for any Jew to have boarded a train. It was a bad idea for any Jew to have passed through a gate into a camp. It was a bad idea for any Jew to do any work at any such camp. It was a bad idea for any Jew to not attempt to crush the skull or scratch out the eyes of any Nazi who turned his back for one moment. And every bullet that would have been fired into a Nazi coming to a doorway to confiscate a gun from a Jew would have been a sacred bullet.

To me, Jonathan Greenblatt seems to have forgotten those iconic words, “Never Again.” Thank God that men like Ben Carson remind us of them.

The wisest answer to a government that insists its citizens disarm is, “Over my dead body.” It would seem to be the end of any discussion and the beginning of active, heroic resistance. Because it is very hard to imagine that disempowering citizens by having them render themselves defenseless can lead to anything good. It is very likely a sign that the culture has fallen ill and that an epidemic of enslavement of one kind or another is on the horizon.

No, Dr. Ablow, you weren’t there, and yes, Dr. Ablow, hindsight is 20/20.  And let’s remember that thousands of Jews resisted in Germany, in the Warsaw ghetto, in France, and everywhere else.  And while brave and heroic, it simply resulted in expediting their deaths, and the death of others.  Hell, Kristellnacht happened ostensibly because an armed Jew shot and killed a German officer.  As a result, 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps.  Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers, Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.  Over 100 Jews were killed.  From one Jew with one gun.  I don’t care how many handguns you and your friends have — you simply cannot rise against a superpower that has machine guns, aircraft, and — you know — tanks.

Truthfully, we do not have to wonder what would happen if Germany’s Jews had guns and numbers and a tradition of organized violence. Nazis hardly started with the Jews. First they had to deal with the German Communist Party.

Where Jews were for the most part a random selection of middle class Germany, the Communists were a different story. German Communists had an organization and violent ruthlessness that rivaled Hitler’s gang during the Weimar era. In fact the entirely legitimate threat of a revolution in Germany (they tried a few times and nearly pulled it off once) goes a long way to explaining why German nationalists and business leaders would play ball with an obvious nut like Hitler in the first place.

So yes, the Communists were spoiling for a chance to make the brownshirts come take their guns from their cold, dead hands. When the brownshirts got ahold of state power, first in Bavaria and then everywhere, they did exactly that. And then there were no more Communists in Germany.

So much for arming yourselves against the Nazis.

But this is the conservative myth, and wet dream.  They want to rise against their own government some day — at least, that is the fantasy.  So if you have that mindset, you have to blame the Jews for their own demise.

Megan McArdle Should Stop Thinking… And Writing

Daily Beast columnist Megan McArdle has figured it out.  The mass shooting problem.  We don’t have to debate it anymore.

In a long screed at the Daily Beast entitled “There’s Little We Can Do to Prevent Another Massacre”, McArdle goes through all the proposals out there — banning certain guns, taxing or banning ammunition, greater checks on the mentally ill, etc. — and basically rejects them all out of hand.  Why?  Because the Newtown shooter would have been successful anyway even if those laws and policies had been enacted.

This is crazy logic, and I’ve been reading it a lot lately.  Basically, what McArdle and others are saying is this: if a law or policy can’t stop all mass shootings, then there is no point in enacting it.  Case in point:

Reducing the body counts a bit is obviously a very worthy project; I am okay with outlawing magazines that contain more than ten bullets.  But this will in no way prevent people from going on murderous rampages.  We are not talking about an end to spree killing, only about a (perhaps) very slight reduction in its deadliness.

Can you imagine if that logic was applied to, say, automobile safety?  “Well, setting speed limits aren’t going to prevent ALL car accidents, so what’s the point of having speed limits at all?”.  Insanity, right?

McArdle is, of course, being the good libertarian (“government is not the answer”), but she takes this to a new level, virtually sneering at these ideas and saying it is “easy and satisfying to be for ‘gun control’ in the abstract, but we cannot pass gun control, in the abstract.”

After rejecting all the various proposals out there as insufficient, McArdle takes on the tired strawman… banning ALL guns, which nobody is seriously suggesting.

Self-conscious that she is doing the easy essay of poking holes in others’ solutions, McArdle forces herself to come with a solution of her own,  And here is where she gets crazy:

I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.  Would it work?  Would people do it?  I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.

So, in sum: the chances of achieving anything with any gun legislation are so low that in these circumstances, people should resign themselves to probable death by running at the person firing a gun in the hope that enough people will follow that their likely death will not be in vain.

“Would it work?” is sort of an odd question for McArdle to ask. (especially since her answer is “I have no idea”), but it makes me wonder exactly what her metric of success is.

I would say more, but what Jonathan Chait points out at NY Magazine is more than adequate:

Are you kidding me? You think gun control is impractical, so your plan is to turn the entire national population, including young children, into a standby suicide squad? Through private initiative, of course. It’s way more feasible than gun control!


Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism, McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication… I award this essay no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security has specific guidelines on how to act when one’s life is threatened in a shooting situation. Objective 1 is to evacuate, and if you cannot evacuate, objective 2 is find a hiding place: “If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.” DHS recommends that people take action against an active shooter only as a last resort and when your life is in imminent danger.

From the DHS manual:

DHS page 1

DHS page 2

That seems not only logical, but in line with human instinct.

Chart Of The Day

Grammerly is an app that, well, judges and fixes your grammer (in, say, Word documents).

The folks at Grammerly went to 2016 Presidential candidates’ Facebook page, taking comments that were at least 15 words long and expressed either positive or neutral feelings about the candidate. Then, the app selected at least 180 of those comments to analyze for each candidate.

Which candidate’s supporters had the best mastery of the English language?  Which has the worst?

Welcome the chart of the day….


That’s right.  All five Democratic presidential candidates’ supporters beat ALL of the Republican presidential candidates’ supporters.

Supporters of Donald Trump made grammatical errors an average — an AVERAGE — of 12.6 times every 100 words.  Oh my god.

To be honest, I don’t think this chart really means anything.  I imagine most of the candidates fall within the margin of error of each other.  And grammatical errors doesn’t necessarily mean stupidity — perhaps the writers are angry, or are intentionally using “internet parlance” (emoticons, etc.).  But it IS interesting that all the Dems beat out ALL the Republicans, and that Trump was so MUCH of an outlier.

The Right Wing Welcomes The Pope

The Pope’s message::

In his strongest remarks yet concerning the world’s economic and financial crises, the pope said, “Money has to serve, not to rule.

“We have created new idols,” Pope Francis told a group of diplomats gathered at the Vatican on May 16, and the “golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.” According to Pope Francis, a major reason behind the increase in social and economic woes worldwide “is in our relationship with money and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society.”

Blasphemy!  Sic him, right wing talking heads!!

Why Ben Shapiro Is An Ass (And Peggy Noonan Is A Liar)


This is so unbelievably bizarre.  Esquire even calls it “the dumbest response to the Virginia TV shooting”.  Shaprio (and Breitbart.com, which posted this — Shapiro is the Editor) argues this:  After the Charleston shootings, he says, the “entire political and media establishment” blamed the Confederate flag.  So if they were consistent, he goes on, then we should blame Black Lives Matter and gay pride.

How do you break down lies so compactly mashed together?  No, nobody blamed the Confederate flag in the Charleston shootings.  In fact, there was no mention of the Confederate flag in the mainstream media for about a week afterwards (Shapiro seems to forget that we were all alive when the Charleston shootings happened a few months ago so his attempts to spin it are embarrassing).  However, to the extent that everyone attributed to the Charleston shooting to racism — well, the shooter himself said that was the reason (and the only reason)

And finally, we don’t blame the gun.  This is perhaps the most disingenuous argument coming from the right.  It is this stupid notion that the left blames the thing.  We don’t blame heroin when someone uses heroin, but we still ban it.  Because it is dangerous and some people will use it.  We control it because it is inherently dangerous in the wrong hands.  Is that so complicated?

They are sniffing glue or something at Breitbart.

RELATED ASS-DOM:  Peggy Noonan writes this in the Wall Street Journal — for real:

Something is going on, some tectonic plates are moving in interesting ways. My friend Cesar works the deli counter at my neighborhood grocery store. He is Dominican, an immigrant, early 50s, and listens most mornings to a local Hispanic radio station, La Mega, on 97.9 FM. Their morning show is the popular “El Vacilón de la Mañana,” and after the first GOP debate, Cesar told me, they opened the lines to call-ins, asking listeners (mostly Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican) for their impressions. More than half called in to say they were for Mr. Trump. Their praise, Cesar told me a few weeks ago, dumbfounded the hosts. I later spoke to one of them, who identified himself as D.J. New Era. He backed Cesar’s story. “We were very surprised,” at the Trump support, he said. Why? “It’s a Latin-based market!”

Stop the presses.  Peggy Noonan knows a guy who works at a deli who heard a radio show where some Latin people said they liked Trump.  MUST be a tectonic plate shift, right?

On Earth, however….

A new Gallup poll released Monday evening found that 65 percent of Hispanic voters say they have an unfavorable view of Trump, compared with 14 percent who view him favorably— yielding him a net favorable score of -51, well below any other presidential candidate.

UPDATE #2:  From the same Peggy Noonan article, there’s more evidence other than the Dominican Deli focus group…..

I’ve written before about an acquaintance—late 60s, northern Georgia, lives on Social Security, voted Obama in ’08, not partisan, watches Fox News, hates Wall Street and “the GOP establishment.” She continues to be so ardent for Mr. Trump that she not only watched his speech in Mobile, Ala., on live TV, she watched while excitedly texting with family members—middle-class, white, independent-minded—who were in the audience cheering. Is that “the Republican base”? I guess maybe it is, because she texted me Wednesday to say she’d just registered Republican. I asked if she’d ever been one before. Reply: “No, never!!!”

That’s interesting, Peggy.  One problem: there is no party registration in Georgia.  Make stuff up much?

Steve Benen weighs in:

And 43 years ago, everyone Pauline Kael knew just couldn’t wait to vote for McGovern.
Look, I’m willing to take Noonan at her word. Let’s say she really does have occasional chats with the guy behind her local deli counter. Let’s also say her – and Cesar’s – characterization of the callers to the local radio station are accurate. While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and assume that the conservative pundit just happens to keep meeting immigrants out in the world who share her ideology.
Even if we concede all of this, the mistake is assuming it matters. Noonan is extrapolating from her personal experiences, which may feel persuasive on an individual level, but which is a poor way of understanding Americans’ attitudes in general.
A more sensible approach requires more reliable research methods. As luck would have it, we have these things called “polls,” and the independent polling of late suggests Noonan’s personal experiences are inconsistent with broad national trends.
Trump is many things, but increasingly popular with Latino voters and immigrant communities isn’t one of them.

An Observation

Isn’t it amusing that conservatives claim to love America, but want to wave the Confederate flag which was used by several states in its war against America?

Isn’t it amusing how conservatives claim to love the Constitution, but when it is explained to them what it says, they want to change it?

Good Television Night For Political Comedy

At 11:00 pm EDT, we say goodbye to Jon Stewart.  End of an era really.  The Will Rogers of the modern era.  There are and will be others in the political comedy arena, but none as astute as Stewart.

I won’t indulge in a Stewart retrospective.  Others are doing that, and much better than I could.  I’ll just showcase two great Stewart moments.  The first is when Steve Carrell, who started on the Daily Show, came back in 2005 to plug his movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin”.  He and Stewart were in sync, and what happened was comedy magic:

And then here’s Stewart in 2008, doing what he does best — pitting Republican talking heads against themselves:

And for more comedy, the Fox News GOP debates.  The first official GOP presidential debate here at 9:00 PM EDT with the top ten tier of GOP candidates. But there is also the kiddie table forum at 5:00 EDT with the remaining seven.

Sadly, I was hoping to liveblog one if not both of the debates, but I will be busy.  I recommend you follow the live tweets of Patton Oswalt or, for more serious analysis, the folks at Political Animal

And here’s some tie-based data from 2012 — make of it what you will.


I Venture In The Loony Bin So You Don’t Have To

This Jade Helm thing that I wrote about a couple of months ago is still going strong.  For those of you still unfamiliar with “Jade Helm 15”, it is the name of a US military operation, or a series of operations actually, that is taking place throughout the Southwest, and a little bit of the South.  Nothing new about that — it’s been done before.  But many right wing conspiracy nuts are convinced — convinced — that it is a US military coup and actually the military is… oh, I don’t know… coming to take your guns and put you in a FEMA camp.  Because Obama.

According to conspiracy theorists, Jade Helm starts today.

Anyway, I found THE site for all your loony right wing news that the mainstream media won’t tell you about because they’re scared or maybe even part of the Jade Helm operation.  It is link-a-riff-ic, so I will put the front page in below the fold (“Read More”).  But I especially like how the front page is segregated into a “News” column of stories, and an “Alternate News” column of stories, and the stories in both columns are pretty much the same (Jade Helm).  I’m not sure what the distinction is, but it must be pretty fine.

Here’s one my favorite photos from the All News Pipeline site.


The point, I guess, is that new malls have been built in America using. . . the designs from Nazi concentration camps . . . because . . . um . . . if you want to build a concentration camp, by God, it better look like the concentration camps from 70 years ago.  (None of this Japanese internment camps with their measly barbed wire fences — OUR concentration camps must have towers with triangle things on top.  And an Orange Julius!)

Don’t believe it’s happening. . . well if THIS VIDEO doesn’t convince you, NOTHING WILL!

And I uncovered this little piece of information — proof positive that something funny is happening.  I’ve edited it a bit, but you’ll get the gist:

UPDATE!!! Blue Bell Ice Cream ‘Refrigerated Morgue Trucks’ Join Military Convoy In Colorado Weeks After
Listeria Outbreak Shuts Down Ice Cream Production


By Stefan Stanford – All News Pipeline – Live Free Or Die

UPDATE!!! A customer service representative from Blue Bell has asked us to update our story with this official statement.:

The trucks you refer to in the post below, are trucks we are relocating from our closed branches to those that remain open. It just so happened that our trucks were traveling on the same highway as the military convoy, but there is no relation to their activity. Can you please update your story to reflect the correct information?

Thank You,

Jenny Van Dorf
Public Relations Market Specialist
Blue Bell Advertising Associates
1101 South Blue Bell Road
Brenham, TX 77833

Only weeks after declaring that it will be several months before Blue Bell Ice Cream begins producing ice cream again after a multi-state listeria outbreak linked to them, a dozen or so Blue Bell Ice Cream trucks were seen participating in a military convoy on Colorado roads as shared in the new videos below from DAHBOO777. We know from Bundy Ranch that the government uses vehicles such as the Budweiser truck seen in the image below to transport clandestine cargo. Why has Blue Bell suddenly gotten into the convoy business with the US military? Several rather disturbing possibilities are discussed below and the sudden timing of these events along with the unfolding of Jade Helm 15 in America leads us to believe that Blue Bell being shut down, forcing thousands to be laid off and furloughed, may be related to the closings of Wal Marts across America – simply, the US military needs what you have, and now. Blue Bell’s customer relations, reached at  979-836-7977, has totally danced around this subject when asked and in fact, has totally contradicted themselves with their explanation.


One theory that’s emerged is that these trucks are being used as ‘hidden in plain sight’ refrigerated morgues which can be used to carry bodies ‘out of sight out of mind’ and that theory ties right in with a recent disturbing email received by ANP just days ago in which we were warned that there is a very real possibility that US troops might soon have to kill American citizens. Back in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, the East Valley Tribune published a story called “New Orleans Left To The Dead And Dying” in which they tell us “the dying goes on – at the airport and an airport triage center where bodies are kept in a refrigerated truck”. A September 2014 story tells us that refrigerated trucks were used as portable morgues after 9/11.

“By the afternoon the school had been identified as a potential site for a temporary morgue. Refrigerated trucks were lining up outside, along Hudson Street.”

The precedent for use of these vehicles as portable out-of-site morgues has clearly been set.

With military exercises taking place across the country this summer and evidence that preparation is being made at the top for economic collapse, warnings have gone out that this could be a ‘summer of rage’ with more rioting across the country as the elite have contrived the perfect conditions for mass unrest across America.

While rare, listeria is the 3rd ranked cause of death from food poisoning in the United States and the fact that so many of these refrigerated Blue Bell trucks are taking part in a military convoy in Colorado with Jade Helm soon approaching is causing a lot of people to wonder ‘why,’. . .

[H]istory clearly tells us that these units can be used for nefarious purposes and, at this particular moment in time in the history of the United States, we should take nothing for granted. The question remains.:

Was that whole poisoning story a psy op done for the purpose of freeing up mobile refrigeration units (morgues) for the military’s Jade Helm 15 exercise, which targets Texas as hostile territory?

It’s only a question, not a claim. But if you watch the video below and you’re like me, it seems a little creepy to see so many ice cream trucks traveling with a military convoy.


What Digby Says: Ann Counter

A good article in Slate notes the fall of Ann Coulter and postulates why:

[New York magazine’s Anne] Lowrey thinks Coulter is pretty much an act that’s gone sour in the age of polarization and she may be right. She compares her to Donald Trump (who Coulter extols for his “immigrants are rapists” comments, which she believes he got from her) and there is a certain kind of scary-clown aspect to both of them. But I think it’s something else — she just isn’t all that shocking anymore. And the reason is that, after all these years — through which she and her fellow right-wing bomb throwers have been poisoning the discourse and polluting our politics with the most egregious dehumanization of just about everyone on the planet who doesn’t look and sound like them — nobody is listening anymore.

Today, Ann Coulter is just political white noise. Sure, she’ll sell her books to the small group of people who can’t get enough of her bilious humor and hatred but her days of being a mainstream pop culture phenomenon are over. Everybody’s heard it all before. There’s almost a whiff of noxious nostalgia about it now.

Read the whole thing

Charlestown Shooter Was A Product Of The Left Wing: Fox News

Wow, this spin is laughable.

Fox Drops Palin

Fox News has decided not to renew the contract of former vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), according to Politico


The reason?  Because Fox “executives consider her less relevant now, and her appearances were sometimes hampered by the vast time difference with Alaska”  But mostly the first reason, I imagine.


The Conservative Denial That This Is About Race Is Getting Bizarre

This conservative columnist for the Miami Herald (and Fox News contributor) may be the most desperate person on the internets:



UPDATE:  Still in denial, she later tweeted, “None of this story adds up. Even if a ‘white supremacist,’ their targets/hatred isn’t usually church-going African-Americansty”


She got a lot of blowback and has sense set her Twitter account to private.

Palin Word Salad Of The Day

The Great Pundit takes on Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who pretended to be black, who headed up the Spokane chapter of the NAACP.  Let’s see how far we can wade in before we get tangled and swallowed:

Ok, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t laugh… this hard. I know this isn’t a victimless crime, what this white chick perpetrated. But it’s a most crystal clear picture of so many screwed up things we’ve let society adopt as the norm.

Well, if it was the “norm”, it probably wouldn’t be “news”.  And it clearly is “news”.

Namely, the practice nowadays of judging someone not based on character, but on skin color. Our original civil rights freedom fighters are rolling in their graves over the backward steps we’ve taken lately.

I’m not sure who is judging Rachel Dolezal. I’ve written about the story, but I can only speculate as to her character. In any event, when it comes to what the civil rights “freedom fighters”, many of whom are still alive today, I don’t think we need Sarah to speak on their behalf.

There certainly is something to be said about challenging the construct of race (which is separate from “skin color”, although that distinction would be lost on someone like Palin).  The Dolezal story certainly raises that issue, but it is tainted by the apparent fact that she apparently lied.

It’s politically incorrect to call out Elizabeth Warren for falsely claiming she’s American Indian, or dinging Obama for just making up his former multi-ethnic girlfriend, and I guarantee I’ll be branded a racist for laughing at this Rachel Dolezal story. Whatever.

I tried to give Mrs. Heartbeat-Away-From-The-Presidency all the benefit of the doubt here, with the reference to Obama’s former multi-ethnic girlfriend.  But I simply could not find what she is talking about.  Yes, there was a ginned-up fake controversy a couple years ago involving Obama’s book “Dreams Of My Father”, in which he admitted to using composite characters, including old girlfriends.  Using composite characters is a common literary device.  But even then, how does multi-ethnicity get in there?  Does Sarah thing that is what “composite” means in this context?

Oh, well.  Let’s continue.

Dolezal is an unsatisfied lily white leftist who believes the only thing less politically correct than being a white girl is to be a white guy today.

Query how Palin knows that is Dolezal’s head.

Can’t help but be preemptively amused as I post this and invite Dolzel’s defenders wrath to aim and miss at we who won’t put up with political correctness destroying truth in America.

Translation:  Look at me!  I’m a troll!

Oh, and on a personal note, I can finally look forward to the Left’s positive comments about a scholar’s association with college in Idaho! After all that high-falutin’ criticism for choosing a good school that I could afford to attend while working my way through, graduating college debt-free, I can’t wait to hear the former mockers of Idaho now defend the integrity of that great state’s academia! Go Vandals!

What that fuck?  I was so close to the end, and then the vines of the word salad wrapped around my limbs and I got pulled under.  I have no idea what she is saying here.  I guess Rachel went to the same college (or teaches at the same college?) that Sarah went to.  Which is apropos of nothing and relevant to nothing.

Religious Bigots Use First Amendment Protections To Spew Hate…. Again

Another crazed anti-Muslim right winger — this one in Phoenix — is planning to hold a ‘Draw Muhammad’ Contest right in front of the Islamic Community Center.

The organizer of the event, Jon Ritzheimer, has held two protests in Phoenix since the Texas shootings. The chants and slogans at the protests are brash and hateful. Some supporters wear t-shirts that state, “(expletive) Islam.” Ritzheimer says he is using provocative methods to draw attention to a religion he believes at its core promotes violence.

“I want this to be about pushing out the truth about Islam,” said Jon Ritzheimer. “I’ve read the Koran three times… [Sure he has. – ed.] the ones flying the planes into the tower, those are Muslims following the book as it is written.”

A Facebook page dedicated to the event titled “Freedom of Speech Rally Round II” states: “This will be a PEACEFUL protest in front of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix AZ… Everyone is encouraged to bring American flags and any message that you would like to send to the known acquaintances of the 2 gunmen.”

What this article at KPNX doesn’t mention is that Ritzheimer is actually leading a gang of bikers to stage this protest — and they intend to bring guns.

Ritzheimer anticipates possible problems because of the rally and says people should bring their guns.

“People are also encouraged to utilize (their) second amendment right at this event just (in case) our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack,” the event’s Facebook page says.

Bikers will be there too, according to the post.

600 protester/biker/haters are expected in can properly be called a perfect storm of islamophobia, gun culture, and assholes.

To give you an idea of what kind of person Ritzheimer is, here’s a picture he proudly posted of himself at his Facebook page:


Allen West: Anti-Sharia Law Crusader

Former congressman and Fox News contributor Allen West went to Walmart and thought he was the victim of “Sharia law”.  Let’s hear what happened in his own words from his own blog in a post that was originally titled “Sharia Law Comes To Walmart” (ominous music):

My daughter Aubrey and I arrived in Dallas and our home in Woodbridge on Sunday morning. We had departed from Palm Beach Gardens Saturday evening after we watched Austen head off for her senior prom — a doggone big deal, dads!

Back in Dallas, after we unloaded the U-Haul, Aubrey, a very organized young lady, began the initial arranging of her room. And then came the request — “Dad, I know you haven’t been eating well here, so we need to go grocery shopping.” Dang it! This is what happens when your daughter is pursuing a Masters in Molecular/Cellular Biology. So we were off to the local Walmart Superstore just up the road. We gathered up her desired foodstuffs and headed to the checkout — and then this happened.

The line was really long and they only had 3 checkout stations open?  Cuz that’s what happens to me sometimes and — doggone it — it really steams me.

There was a young man doing the checkout and another Walmart employee came over and put up a sign, “No alcohol products in this lane.” So being the inquisitive fella I am, I used my additional set of eyes — glasses — to see the young checkout man’s name. Let me just say it was NOT “Steve.”

Allen, it’s okay to say the person’s first name.  Having a Muslim-sounding first name isn’t a bad thing.

I pointed the sign out to Aubrey and her response was a simple question, how is it that this Muslim employee could refuse service to customers based on his religious beliefs, but Christians are being forced to participate in specific events contrary to their religious beliefs?

Boy howdy, that is one astute young lady.

Imagine that, this employee at Walmart refused to just scan a bottle or container of an alcoholic beverage — and that is acceptable. A Christian business owner declines to participate or provide service to a specific event — a gay wedding — which contradicts their faith, and the State crushes them.

Boy howdy, is she astute enough to know that her dad talks like a hick?

But let’s turn to the issue at hand… you know, it does seem like a contradiction.  Hmmmm….. I wonder if there is some other reason why this “young man” could not sell you alcohol…..

Anyway, Allen uses the incident as a launching point to discuss how Muslims have an “anger management issue” and how the left is cowardly, and that’s why sharia law is creeping into our land everywhere…. like Walmart.  He then goes on to rail about some Iraqi Christian nun named Diana Momeka who was denied a US visa (except that she wasn’t denied a visa after all, but Allen didn’t realize that).

But I’ve passed over the best part — planted right in the middle of the post right after Allen’s enchanting Walmart-Sharia story:

EDITOR’S UPDATE: We spoke to the Walmart store, and apparently employees under 21 years old are prohibited from selling cigarettes and alcohol. However, that isn’t to say Walmart isn’t selectively caving to Muslim demands…

So…. basically, the underage Walmart employee couldn’t sell alcohol because he was underage, not because he was Muslim.  Underage selling of alcohol is prohibited in virtually every state in the Union.

So this means that Allen West was the victim of….. American law (ominous music) that has been around for decades.

You Go, Girl — Uh — John Cole!

At Balloon Juice, John Cole – a better writer than me (not a high bar, I confess) — puts words to my sentiments:

[I]f one more motherfucker tells me that unless I stand up and yell “You go girl” every time Pam Geller opens her noxious piehole to spew venom that I am responsible for creeping Sharia and am a hopeless “dhimmi,” I’m going to kick them in the junk with a freedom boot. No, we don’t all have to stand up and provoke crazy people just to prove a point or to be assholes or to further freedom or whatever bullshit you want to peddle. I don’t have to pretend that a bunch of snotty French cartoonists shitting all over people is some sort of heroic endeavor worthy of an award or my complete admiration. You drew a cartoon intending on pissing off crazy people. Congratulations, you pissed off some crazy murderous psychos who reacted predictably. WOO- You! WTF did you think was going to happen? Now, exactly how have you advanced the cause of freedom? And yes, it is horrible that those scumbags murdered people. But are you surprised and what exactly did you accomplish?

I don’t have to pretend that because Geller provoked some loathsome creeps into attacking her backwoods hick hatefest, the first amendment is on the brink of falling and that I’m going to be praying five times a day at gunpoint by next week. Yes, legally, her free speech is protected by the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean I have to act shocked or surprised when some assholes want her dead and it doesn’t mean free speech as we know it is dying. That’s not being a pussy or bowing to the TERRAHRISTS, it’s just common sense. I don’t walk down the street calling women whores and sluts because I don’t want to get slapped in the face. I don’t run around and shit all over religious people just because I can even though I think it’s all just elaborate myths and folklore.

Just because you have first amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution doesn’t mean that actions don’t have consequences. Crazy people react… crazily. Saying obnoxious things can have real world consequences. Pointing that out doesn’t make me a wimp or a coward, it makes me sentient. But, by all means, if you disagree, march on in to your boss’s office tomorrow and tell her/him to go fuck themselves and that you slept with their spouse. Don’t forget to demand your 1st Amendment rights after s/he fires you.

If blog posts could drop mics…. this one would.

Geller: Blaming Me For Texas Shooting Is Like Blaming A Woman For Her Own Rape

Bill O’Reilly says he would have done it “another way”.  But that’s not the worst of it.

Greta Van Susteren — also on Fox — editorialized against Geller:

Van Susteren said that while the group has the right to exercise free speech, they should not have knowingly endangered police officers by doing do.

“It is one thing for someone to stand up for the First Amendment and put his own you-know-what on the line. But here, those insisting they were defending the First Amendment were knowingly putting others’ lives on the line,” she said. “Everyone knew this event would unglue some who might become violent and the police had no choice but to do their jobs and be there to protect against violence.”

“Was it fair to the police, to knowingly put them at risk by this unnecessary provocation?” Van Susteren asked. “I say no.”

The Mayor of Garland, Texas says Pam Geller’s anti-Islam event “invited” the attack:

Mayor Douglas Athas told the Dallas Morning News that he wished anti-Islam activist and conspiracy theorist Pam Geller had taken her business elsewhere.

“Certainly in hindsight, we as a community would be better off if she hadn’t [held it in Garland],” Athas told the newspaper.

“Her actions put my police officers, my citizens and others at risk. Her program invited an incendiary reaction,” he said, according to the paper.

Geller had a harsh response to this:

Geller — who previously compared what she called her defense of free speech to civil rights icon Rosa Parks going to the front of the bus — equated Athas’ remarks with rape victim-blaming.

“How ridiculous,” Geller told BBC Radio. “I mean, that’s like saying that the pretty girl was responsible for her own rape. The mayor is going after the defenders of free speech and clearly giving a free pass to the savages who came with guns to kill innocent people because of a cartoon.”

“It’s ridiculous in its face,” she added. “Shame on the mayor.”

The rape analogy initially has merit until you, like, think about it.

For one thing, a pretty girl — let’s even put her in a short skirt going about her own business — is doing just that: she’s going about her own business.  That is not a provocation to be raped.  By comparison, Geller was putting on a “draw Muhammad” exhibit specifically directed at Muslim extremists.

Geller knew she was risking the appearance of violence, and we know that because she hired extra security for the event.  By comparison, pretty girls in short skirts going about their business don’t routinely hire security to accompany them (nor should they) because they know they are not doing anything that should be consider provocative, dangerous, or risky.

I agree with Geller that she is not “responsible” for the shooting.  I agree that the fault lies with the shooters.  That goes without saying.  When it comes to legal culpability, the only guilty party is the terrorists.

But that should not be the end of the inquiry.  Very little in life can be reduced to such black-or-white thinking.

If the Westboro Baptist Church people storm a funeral with their “God Hates Fags” signs, and one of them gets punched out by a funeral-goer, the funeral-goer has committed assault.  But yes, the Westboro Baptist Church person was being provocative.  He/she was seeking the result that occurred, or at least daring a response.

Same with, say, a pro-choice doctor who decides to perform an abortion on the steps of the Vatican.  Free speech?  Sure.  Being a dick?  You bet.

Geller’s organization that put on the event, Stop Islamization of America, is recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center has a hate group.,

And unlike some people on the right, I find it VERY easy to support free speech while simultaneously condemning the speech that is being said.  Geller bears some responsibility for her blatent, NON-INNOCENT provocation.

And not for nothing, but the event really wasn’t about free speech.  Geller, after all, wants to censure Al Jazeera in American.  Her guest speaker at the event, Geert Walders, wants to ban the Koran in his country.

But even if we concede that the exhibit in Texas was “free speech”, the more accurate phrase — the one used in First Amendment law — is “incitement”.  And just like yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater, incitement is not protected as free speech.  It is a borderline call, but Geller’s exhibit is incitement, or very close to it.  It is incitement targeted to a specific group. And that is what distinguishes the Texas event from a pretty girl wearing a short skirt just going about her business in a short skirt.

Let me put it another way:  you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the ole Lone Ranger, and you don’t mess around with Jim.

How Abhorrent Is Pam Geller?

Want a good measurement of the toxicity level of Pamela Geller, whose American Freedom Defense Initiative worked so hard for so long to attract the sort of violence that struck its Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Texas on Sunday? Two survivors of theCharlie Hebdo murders went on Charlie Rose’s show to make it clear they want nothing to do with Geller (per a report from Mediate‘s Matt Wilstein):

“To be honest, I can imagine the kind of comparison you can make between theCharlie Hebdo attack of January 7 and this event, but there is nothing to do [with one another], there is no comparison, absolutely no comparison,” Jean-Baptiste Thoret said in a clip of a longer interview set to air tonight.

While he described the group that put on the event in Texas as part of an “anti-Islamic movement” against the “Islamization of the U.S.,” Thoret said the motives ofCharlie Hebdo are “absolutely not the same.” For the magazine, he said it “was a question of criticizing” all religions, not Muslim people “in particular.”

“We don’t organize contests, we just do our work,” Gerard Biard added. “We comment on the news. When Muhammad [pops up] in the news, we draw Muhammad. But if he didn’t, we didn’t — we don’t.”

How far off the reservation is Pam Geller?  She’s on another planet.  The Hebdo rejection is like MLK saying about Rosa Parks, “Uuuuuuuh…. that girl is nuts!”

The Bizarre Story Of The U.S. Military Takeover of Texas

Look, if I wrote about nothing but crazy right wing conspiracies, I would be writing all the time.

But this crazy right wing conspiracy is unique — the state of Texas is taking it seriously.  Here we go, from the Associated Press:

Jade Helm 15AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday asked the State Guard to monitor a U.S. military training exercise dubbed “Jade Helm 15” amid Internet-fueled suspicions that the war simulation is really a hostile military takeover.

imrsThe request comes a day after more than 200 people packed a meeting in rural Bastrop County and questioned a U.S. Army commander about whether the government was planning to confiscate guns or implement martial law. Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape said “conspiracy theorists” and “fear mongers” had been in a frenzy.

Pape thanked Abbott for the letter to the Texas State Guard, which he believed helped emphasize the benefit of the military training rather than further fuel theorists.

“It’s a sad when people’s greatest fear is their own government,” Pape said. “Think about the ramification of that. If Americans go to sleep at night worrying whether their own government is going to sell them out before morning, it’d be hard to sleep.”

Suspicions about Jade Helm intensified on some conservative websites and social media after a map labeled Texas, Utah and parts of California as “hostile” for the purposes of the three-month training exercise that begins in July. Such war simulations aren’t unusual, though the Army has acknowledged that the size and scope of Jade Helm makes it unique.

Texas and six other states are hosting the exercises on public and private lands. The Army says the terrain and topography in the areas selected are ideal to replicate foreign combat zones.

No other governor had so publicly addressed the training exercise.

“It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott wrote. “By monitoring the Operation on a continual basis, the State Guard will facilitate communications between my office and the commanders of the Operation to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect Texans.”

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria told the crowd in Bastrop on Monday that the exercise will involve 1,200 soldiers and all four branches of the military, according to the Austin American-Statesman. He said people with a “personal agenda” about the exercise had been spreading misinformation.

Lastoria spoke for two hours, but some left the meeting still unconvinced.

Pape told The Associated Press that some came from as far as Houston and Dallas to attend the meeting. He said the county could reap as much as $150,000 in economic activity from the exercise, which in Bastrop is set to include 60 soldiers, two Humvees and a helicopter.

Bastrop County is home to Camp Swift, the largest base for the Texas National Guard, and Pape said most people likely won’t even notice.

“There’s been a lot of dust thrown in the air, a lot of haze,” Pape said. “Those who wanted to raise concerns on the one hand succeeded. They’ve raised a lot of attention about this. But the fact is the message is clear: Jade Helm is a well-designed and a well-constructed training operation.”

Now, it’s the first paragraph that makes this story peculiar.  The governor of Texas is taking this story as if it is actually something that might happen, rather than a stupid conspiracy theory.  And he’s not alone:

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) posted a video to YouTube on Thursday applauding Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for ordering the State Guard to monitor the upcoming military training exercise that will be taking place in Texas and six other western states.

The exercise, known as “Jade Helm 15,” has sparked multiple conspiracy theories, including one that speculates the military will use shuttered Wal-Mart stores to stage its takeover of western states.

During the video, titled “Jade Helm: A Military Takeover?”, the former congressman speculated about why Abbott had ordered this monitoring.

“You know it sounds like he’s sort of sympathizing with people who have great concern about federal takeovers,” Ron Paul said. “And, we don’t know what his personal position is but at least legally he’s saying that he’s gonna send the guard in and sort of watch over what the feds will be doing this summer you know in this so called ‘training.'”

Even the current presidential nominee, RAND Paul said he would “look into it”.

It all stems from misunderstanding of some leaked military documents, which I insert below:

Jade Helm Martial Law WW3 Prep Document 1 by All News Pipeline

Do the really believe that the United States government is going to “take over” Texas, or are they just appeasing the crazies in their party?

Assuming the latter, Paul Weldman writes:

Every politician encounters nutballs from time to time, and it isn’t always easy to figure out how to respond to them. But what’s remarkable about this is that we aren’t talking about an offhand remark Abbott made, or an occasion in which a constituent went on a rant to him and he nodded along to be friendly instead of saying, “You, sir, are out of your mind.” This is an official action the governor is taking. He’s mobilizing state resources, at taxpayer expense, because of a bizarre conspiracy theory that has some of Texas’s more colorful citizens in its grip.

It’s really hard to keep people from believing outlandish things. But you don’t have to indulge them. And that’s what so many Republicans do with the crazies on their side: They indulge them. Doing so doesn’t reassure them or calm them down, it only convinces them that they were right all along and encourages them to believe the next crazy thing they hear.

I guess I should assume the latter as well.  I mean, nobody rises to be governor of Texas if they are the type to believe conspiracy theories about the federal government declaring martial law via Walmart, right?  Right?

Pity The Rich


Monday night, Bill O’Reilly wanted you to know about America’s poor, put-upon rich people.

“[Y]ou can see that taxes are through the roof on affluent Americans and business profits.But for the rest of Americans, things are not so bad.

The bottom 60% of wage-earners pay just 2.7% of federal income taxes.

The bottom 40% actually get money from the feds; they receive payments called earned-income tax credits.

Those bastards. Here rich people are working their besuited asses off every day earning interest and collecting dividends and attending board meetings and having very important lunch meetings over glasses of very important wine while poor people, what with their refrigerator-having and rent-paying and whatnot, are living the easy life on the earned-income tax credit. It’s enough to make rich person Bill O’Reilly sick, it is.

I believe that I’ve cut back investing because of the heavy capital gains hit.

And the bottom 40% have cut back investing because of having no money to invest. I’ve noticed, in fact, that very few of the people serving the very important wine or cleaning the very important conference rooms have been investing very much at all in the American free-enterprise system of late, and no amount of cutting their paychecks or dismantling their unions seems to convince them to invest more. Like Bill O’Reilly, they are probably disheartened by the capital gains tax.

But how much more can the government take from the affluent without crashing the entire free-market economy?

That is a fine question. We could probably look at the historical data to find an answer to that, perhaps looking through the record books to find periods of strong economic growth and look at what the tax rates on the wealthy and on corporations were during those very prosperous times.

Taxex and growth

And let’s remember that well into the 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was above 90%. Today it’s 35%. But both real GDP and real per capita GDP were growing more than twice as fast in the 1950s as in the 2000s. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top tenth of a percent fell from about 50% to 25% in the last 60 years, while their share of income increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% before the recession.  The truth is this — lowering the marginal tax rates on the wealthy only adds to income inequality — it doesn’t create economic growth.

But Bill doesn’t care about facts and numbers.  So we should probably just declare that wealthy people pay one million times too much in taxes, and that under the Obama administration their tax burden has increased roughly eleventy billion percent. It may or may not be true, but while being wealthy in America may saddle you with a crippling tax burden and the unenviable duty of funding entire presidential races in order to keep the nation’s priorities in proper order, it at least allows you to never come into contact with any of the unpleasant little snots who might look those numbers up.

Our Favorite Ex-Congresswoman Predicts The End Of Times

Go ahead, Michele Bachmann. Break out your “THE END IS NEAR” sign. You know you want to. She came close in a radio interview:

Michele Bachmann says the rapture is coming, thanks to President Barack Obama’s policies on Iran’s nuclear program and marriage equality.

In a radio interview last week, Bachmann, the former Minnesota Republican congresswoman, told “End Times” host Jan Markell, “We need to realize how close this clock is getting to the midnight hour.”

“We in our lifetimes potentially could see Jesus Christ returning to earth and the rapture of the church,” Bachmann said. “We see the destruction, but this was a destruction that was foretold.”

Yes, she’s serious.

Boston Marathon And Memory Lane

The Boston Marathon is happening right now, and like last year, I’m sure I’m not the only one holding my breath, and hoping for a safe run.  Then again, with all the security, it’s probably the safest place on the planet right now.

Anyway, here’s how I covered it two years ago.

By the way, two years ago this week, Glenn Beck set out on a crusade to blow the lid off the government conspiracy that was covering up the fact that Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, a Saudi national who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, was really an al Qaeda “control agent” who was responsible for financing and orchestrating the entire attack.

In the days following the attack, Beck began warning that “this is a turning point in America history,” claiming that his The Blaze network had discovered that the government and the media were engaged in a cover-up of the truth behind the bombing, infamously giving the government three days to come clean before his network broke one of the biggest stories in history:

When those three days passed without the government admitting to this supposed cover-up, Beck then dedicated all of his coverage to reporting that Alharbi, who was briefly considered a “person of interest” by investigators before being completely cleared, had received a “212 3B” designation during the investigation, which Beck claimed meant that he was terrorist who must be deported.

For Beck, that was evidence that Alharbi was really an al Qaeda control agent who had financed the entire operation and recruited the Tsarnaev brothers to carry out the attack.

When other reporters investigated Beck’s claims and dismissed them, Beck grew more and more outraged about what he saw as an ongoing cover-up, proclaiming that the burden of proof rested upon the government to disprove his claims and boldy declaring that anyone who dared to try and refute his allegations would only wind up looking like a fool.

Shortly thereafter, Beck’s crusade was essentially derailed when he interviewed a former INS special agent who undercut much of his case by pointing out that the “212 3B” theory under which Beck had been operating “doesn’t make sense.”

After that, Beck more or less dropped the issue publicly, though he continued to insist that Alharbi was the “money man” behind the attack and that there was a conspiracy afoot to cover it up.

In 2013, Alharbi sued Beck for defamation and slander.  Beck tried to get the suit dismissed on the ground that Alharbi was a public figure by virtue of the fact that he attended the Boston Marathon and “by behaving suspiciously at the Marathon finishing line when the bombs detonated, thereby causing his detention and a background check by law enforcement”.  Late last year, a federal judge rejected Beck’s argument to have the lawsuit dismissed, saying that attending a sports event does not turn a private person into a public figure.

As of now, the lawsuit is going forward.

Whiny White Man Whines

Bill O’Reilly lays down the law because he’s white, Christian and oppressed.  Not that gender matters and not that he’s using his victimhood to bash a female candidate or anything:

If you are a Christian or a white man in the U.S.A. it’s open season on you. Therefore Hillary Clinton has an advantage. She can run a general campaign, first woman in the White House and I’m going to help you by increasing the entitlement society. It will take a very articulate and tough-minded Republican to defeat her.

One final thing, we at The Factor as I said we’re going to be fair to Hillary Clinton. But we’re going to be tough as we are on all political candidates. I don’t think gender matters one bit. And if this war on women business is resurrected we will have something to say about it.

Also Mrs. Clinton would be well-advised, well-advised to distance herself from Media Matters and the other gutter snipe organizations who use despicable, dishonest tactics to attack those with whom they disagree. If you embrace the smear merchants, Mrs. Clinton, we will have something to say about it.

The video is pretty vile.

UPDATE:  Or as Digby says, this is “Don’t make me hit you, honey”

Our Old Friend Bryan Fischer Has A Theory

Bryan Fischer is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on American Family Radio Talk, a division of the American Family Association.  And he writes today:

Why Obama wants a Republican to win in 2016

It is by now fairly well established that Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s advisor and brain, is the one who leaked the business about Hillary’s private email server to the press.

Although of course the White House is denying any such thing, other credible stories are circulating that Jarrett has privately offered Obama’s support to both Martin O’Malley and Elizabeth Warren if they will run against Hillary in the 2016 Democratic primary.

It is my theory that Obama sabotaged Hillary’s campaign through Valerie Jarrett because he really, really, really does not want Hillary to win the presidency.

I would go beyond that to suggest that Barack Obama does not want any Democrat to win the presidential election in 2016. It has to do with his narcissism and his view of America.

With regard to Hillary, Obama is motivated by his animosity toward the Clintons, which goes back at least to the bitter primary of 2008. Obama is not a forgive-and-forget kind of politician, but one determined to bring a gun to every knife fight. He’s in hand-to-hand combat with the Clintons and determined to inflict the last wound.

Wait a second.  Didn’t Obama make Hillary his Secretary of State?

He made Hillary his Secretary of State to neutralize her. As the maxim goes, keep your friends close, your enemies closer. He had to know from the beginning that Hillary was defying the law through the use of a private server, and he kept that little chip tucked away in a safe place until the time came to cash it in.

Clever.  Diabolical even.

As Ed Klein has written in his book, “Blood Feud,” there is a kind of seething animosity at the heart of the Clinton-Obama relationship. Obama appears to have a cold, heartless, vindictive streak in him, which expresses itself in a readiness to eviscerate political opponents. Destroying political adversaries, in fact, is how he made it to both the Illinois state senate and then to the United States senate.

So if Klein’s account is to be believed, part of Obama’s motivation is to destroy Hillary’s candidacy just because he doesn’t like her. He’s not the type to put party or country ahead of a personal vendetta.

Yes, and why should we not believe Ed Klein?  He is, after all, the one — the only one — who claimed that Valerie Jarrett was behind the Hillary email leaks.  He’s written extensively about the Clintons, and always seems to rely on anonymous sources for his tall tales, including the one that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Hillary was raped.  So by all means, let’s believe Ed Klein.

Beyond that, Obama’s narcissism is such that he doesn’t want to share the oxygen in the room with anybody. He does not want to take the chance that a Democrat will succeed him in the Oval Office and get credit for any accomplishments. Offering support to O’Malley and Warren is risk-free because neither has a chance to win. He can appear to be a good, loyal, faithful Democrat while at the same time ensuring a 2016 loss to preserve his place as the big dog Democrat in every room.

Obama is playing a game of five-dimensional chess of evil.  He’s so wrong that he’s right!!

Beyond that, and perhaps more to the point…..

I’m getting rhetorical whiplash from read Bryan’s essay.


Beyond that, and perhaps more to the point, Obama is motivated not only by a seething animosity against political opponents but also by a seething animosity against America itself. He himself repeatedly vowed that it was his intent to “fundamentally transform” America because of its inherent and incurable racism.

What an S.O.B. Obama is.  He should just leave America — with its inherent and incurable racism — just as it is!  The way God made it!

If he leaves office and is replaced by a Democrat, his public criticism of America will have to be muted somewhat in deference to his successor. But if he is succeeded by a Republican – it doesn’t matter which one – he will be free to use the bully pulpit of the ex-presidency to malign America without restraint.

He’ll go Cheney?

He can travel not only America but the world and get handsome sums to blame America and its evil, slavery-sympathizing, white-supremacist-loving conservatives for every malady on the planet. If he can blame Bush for ISIS, he can and will blame Republicans and America for anything and everything.

His post-presidency will be characterized by a never-ending stream of invective directed against this country as it was founded, and he wants a Republican president in 2016 as his foil.

In other words, GOP, Obama wants you to win in 2016. And if you do, better buckle up. It’ll be a bumpy ride.

So defy Obama’s wishes and vote Democratic?  Right?  No?

Michele Fiore Tries Even Harder To Replace Bachman

It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about Michele Fiore, a local congresswoman in Nevada, where I wondered aloud if she was to become the next Michelle Bachman.  It seems that she’s still trying to win my heart, using an offensive racial term common in the 1960s to describe an African American colleague.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, apparently didn’t like the fact that some committee members and witnesses claimed that minorities would be disproportionately harmed by a voter ID law. “We’re in 2015 and we have a black president, in case anyone didn’t notice,” she said. And there were apparently audible gasps in one of the hearing rooms after Fiore referred to colleague Harvey Munford, D-Las Vegas, who is black, as the first “colored man to graduate from his high school.”

Ouch, baby.

Yeah.  No race problem because Obama is president.

Right Wing Begins To Eat Itself

Here’s the thing about rampant fear — it’s rampant.  This is a perfect example of how islamophobia – now a staple of America’s right – has run amok.  Not only are conservatives freaking out about scary secret Muslims on the left; they are now seeing and fearing them on the right:

Glenn Beck is threatening to quit the National Rifle Association over the long-debunked conspiracy theory that NRA board member and conservative activist Grover Norquist is an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. Beck has appeared as a speaker at the NRA annual meeting four times since 2008, three times as the keynote speaker.

For years, Frank Gaffney, a conservative media figure and the head of the Islamophobic think tank Center for Security Policy, has accused Norquist, an influential conservative activist who runs Americans for Tax Reform, of being “actively involved, both enabling and empowering, Muslim Brotherhood influence operations against our movement and our country.” Before targeting Norquist’s association with the NRA, Gaffney feudedwith organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference over Norquist’s routine presence at the annual event. In 2011, Gaffney’s attacks on Norquist caused him to be banned from participating in CPAC.

Norquist is a shadowy, bearded figure who is trying to destroy America, but then again, so is Beck. They should settle this thing with a duel.


Rush Limbaugh Wonders Why White People Can’t Use Racial Epithets


Rush Limbaugh is at it again. The conservative radio host surely seethed with indignation as he watched every decent-minded human being around him express outrage at a video of fraternity brothers chanting racist lyrics. On Wednesday, he finally spoke up.

The problem wasn’t the words that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) brothers were chanting, Limbaugh claims. It was the fact that these University of Oklahoma students were white—which sounds reasonable until you hear what he actually said.

In Limbaugh’s mind, Kanye West could get away with similarly vile stuff, so critics of SAE are being hypocritical.

It’s true that black musicians and comedians have been repurposing “the N word” for quite a while.  That’s fine.  But that’s clearly NOT what the frat boys are SAE were doing.

Why My Plans To Retire In Costa Rica Are Looking Better

Because of this:

Exactly five years ago this week, as the Congressional debate over the Affordable Care Act was coming to its eventual conclusion, Rush Limbaugh made a bold statement about his future as a resident of the United State of America.

Speaking to a caller who expressed concerns about the impact of Obamacare on the U.S. healthcare system, Limbaugh said, “If this passes and it’s five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented, I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica.”

He’s still here in the U.S.  Maybe he was just saying stuff.


Do We Have A Contender For Michelle Bachman’s Replacement?

MichelleFioreNevada Republican assemblywoman Michelle Fiore made a bit of name for herself when she was quoted in the New York Times saying that “hot little girls” on campus need guns to protect themselves against rapists.  She did not say what ugly large girls should carry.  This was all in connection with a bill she sponsored that would allow firearms onto college campuses (because what could possibly go wrong with that?)

Now she is telling her constituents that cancer is a fungus that can be flushed out with salt water and baking soda.

Yes, she really said that.

Gonna keep an eye on this one…..

P.S.  The more you know….

Palin’s Nail In The Coffin

Palin has no friends, including Matt Lewis, who supported her before you even heard of her:

You Betcha I Was Wrong About Sarah Palin

It’s time to admit that, whatever their motivation was at the time, the Alaska governor’s critics always had a point.
Has conservative genuflection at the altar of Sarah Palin finally come to a halt?

In case you missed it, her speech in Iowa this week was not well received on the right. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York called it a “long, rambling, and at times barely coherent speech” and National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke said she slipped into self-parody. And there’s more. The Examiner’s Eddie Scarry, for example, contacted several conservative bloggers who were once Palin fans, but have since moved on.

But here’s my question… what changed?

Yes, in 2008, Sarah Palin delivered one of the finest convention speeches I’ve ever heard (trust me, I was there), but she hasn’t exactly been channeling Winston Churchill ever since. Remember her big speech at CPAC a couple of years ago? You know, the one where she took a swig out of a Big Gulp and said of her husband Todd: “He’s got the rifle, I got the rack.” Not exactly a great moment in political rhetoric.

So why is anyone surprised when, this weekend, she said: “‘The Man,’ can only ride ya when your back is bent?”

Demosthenes, she is not, but there’s nothing new about Palin’s penchant for populism or lowbrow rhetoric. What does feel new is that she has finally gotten around to roundly losing conservative opinion leaders. (OK, this has been a long time coming. In 2011, Conor Friedersdorf noted that the hard right was skewering Palin, and that Kathleen Parker had been vindicated. And as recently as this past April, I wondered whether it was finally safe for conservatives to criticize her publicly. But it does feel like we have finally reached a tipping point where criticizing Palin isn’t only acceptable for conservative opinion leaders, it’s now almost expected.)


In fairness, Palin was once a reform-minded governor who enjoyed an 88 percent approval rating. But something happened on the way to Des Moines. I suspect the most vicious attacks (especially the “Trig Truther” stuff) radicalized her and embittered her, but I also suspect she also took the easy way out. Instead of going back to Alaska after the 2008 defeat, boning up on the issues, continuing her work as governor, and forging a national political comeback, she cashed in with reality-TV shows and paid speaking gigs.


Palin has contributed to this phenomenon by playing the victim card, engaging in identity politics, co-opting some of the cruder pop-culture references, and conflating redneck lowbrow culture with philosophical conservatism.

And this makes me wonder if I might have contributed to this by boosting her—and by publicly chastising her conservative critics.

My harshest criticism was directed at conservative writers whom (I felt) prematurely attacked her during the months of September and October in the 2008 presidential campaign—and possibly even contributed to her radicalization. (In my mind, Palin changed after the 2008 loss, a shift that correlates closely with the election of Obama and the rise of the Tea Party.)

But you could argue that the conservatives who went after Palin back in ’08 have now been vindicated—regardless of their motivation. And my counterfactual argument (that Palin might have turned out better had everyone had cut her some slack in 2008) feels increasingly tenuous.

Is it possible that Kathleen Parker saw something I didn’t when she attacked Palin? I saw it as strangling the conservative baby in the crib; Parker probably saw it as snuffing out a monster.

Such is the plight of a writer; I got some stuff right, and my position was justifiable at the time, but in hindsight I regret contributing to the premature deification of Sarah Palin.


Michelle Celebrates Gasoline Under $2 Which She Promised

Michele Bachmann Gave You Your  2 Gas

Retiring Congressdipshit Michele Bachmann has been doing a peculiar version of the Minnesota Long Goodbye, except instead of the usual arrangement, where a host follows a departing guest out to the car asking if they’re really sure they don’t want to take a little hot dish home with them, Ms. Bachmann has it a little backwards.

Having given a farewell speech and received a loving farewell tongue-bath from WND, and packed up the U-Haul with all her Furry paraphernalia, she now keeps coming back from her idling getaway car to knock on the door and ask us if maybe we’d like to make her another pot of coffee and look at slides from her trip to Bemidji all night.

Like this twitter picture.  Yup. Gas prices are below $2, just like she promised in August 2011 when she was running for President:

“The day that the president became president gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today,” she said at an event in Greenville, South Carolina. “Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.”

I’m not sure if this tweet means she’s taking a victory lap or not.  If so, it’s pretty hard to see how anything she did contributed to low gas prices.  I guess she was reminded of that fact when her picture was retweeted hundreds of times with the hashtag #thanksObama.

Michele We Hardly Knew Ye

Well, we won’t have Michele Bachmann to kick around here anymore.  But before she ends her tenure as a U.S. Congresswoman, Michele gave us an early Christmas present — an interview with World Nut Daily, in which she says — no really — that she pitted her “evidence-based” smarts against Democrat’s emotionalism and won out.  Enjoy:

1) Barack Obama Has ‘Anti-American Views’

One MSNBC appearance in October 2008 all but sealed Bachmann’s reputation — as a paranoid wacko to liberals and a fearless hero to the tea party crowd.

“Absolutely. I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views,” she said of candidate Barack Obama. “That’s what the American people are concerned about.”

And members of Congress should be investigated for having anti-American views, she added. “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?”

2) Obamacare Allows Abortion Field Trips For 13-Year-Olds

Referring to patient privacy protections in the Affordable Care Act, Bachmann wondered if young teenagers could go get abortions during school days.

“Does that mean that someone’s 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night?” she said on the House floor. “Mom and Dad are never the wiser.”

3) Census Data Can Put You In Internment Camps

In a June 2009 Fox News interview, Bachmann linked the census to Japanese internment camps.

“Between 1942 and 1947,” she said, “the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into internment camps. I’m not saying that that’s what the administration is planning to do. But I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against them to round them up in violation of their constitutional rights.”

4) Iraq Should Reimburse America For Being Liberated

During a debate while running for the Republican nomination for president, Bachmann said Iraq and Libya should reimburse the United States for being liberated.

“Cutting back on foreign aid is one thing. Being reimbursed by nations that we have liberated is another,” she said. “We should look to Iraq, and Libya, to reimburse us for part of what we have done to liberate these nations.”

5) Founding Fathers ‘Worked Tirelessly’ To End Slavery

In a Jan. 2011 speech, Bachmann credited the Founders with ending slavery, even though it was abolished generations after they died.

“We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began,” she said. “We know that was an evil and it was scourge and a blot and a stain upon our history. But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”

6) HPV Vaccine Leads To ‘Mental Retardation’

While running for president, Bachmann said she has reason to believe the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has “dangerous consequences” such as mental retardation.

“There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine,” she told on Fox News. “She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result. There are very dangerous consequences.”

7) People Keep Urging Me To Impeach Obama

Bachmann floated the possibility of impeaching President Obama.

“As I have been home in my district, in the 6th District of Minnesota,” she said on Capitol Hill, “there isn’t a weekend that hasn’t gone by that someone says to me, ‘Michele, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren’t you impeaching the president? He’s been making unconstitutional actions since he came into office.'”

Bye, Michele.


World’s Dumbest Lawyer(TM) Joins Twitchy At Being Outraged At Something They Didn’t Understand In The First Place

In other words, dog bites man.

University of Baltimore law professor Garrett Epps wrote a piece in the Atlantic entitled “Imperfect Union: The Constitution Didn’t Foresee Divided Government” that discussed the likely confrontations between the President and the newly-Republican Congress:

What’s coming will be painful, frustrating, and dangerous—and it will illustrate a constitutional malfunction unforeseen in 1787. The country will survive, and it’s possible it can even make progress—but at tremendous cost in polarization and missed opportunity. The country is like a car driving with the handbrake on: Any movement forward will be accompanied by smoke and internal damage.

So we might profitably put a six-month moratorium on paeans to the wisdom of the Framers. The problem of divided government is a bug, not a feature, and the Constitution itself provides no guidance on how to work around it.

This sent the right wing into “gotcha” conniptions and Twitter giggles.  It even prompted the World’s Dumbest Lawyer to write Professor Epps’ employer, the University of Baltimore Law School, in order to demonstrate that the founders indeed envisioned separation of powers (as shown by the Constitution as well as The Federation Papers).

Of course, educated people and people NOT on the lookout for gotchas could read Epps article, and could tell that Epps was talking about DIVIDED GOVERNMENT… which is not the same as “separation of powers”.  And the reason you can tell he is talking about “divided government” is because — in the very quote that sent conservatives off the rails — he uses the phrase “divided government”.

To people who actually know what they are talking about, “divided government” does not mean the separate branches of government and the various powers they hold.  Go ahead and google “divided government”.  I’ll wait.  You’ll find it explained thusly:

In the United States, divided government describes a situation in which one party controls the White House and another party controls one or both houses of the United States Congress, thus leading to Congressional gridlock. Divided government is suggested by some to be an undesirable product of the separation of powers in the United States’ political system. Earlier in the 20th century, divided government was rare, but since the 1970s, it has become increasingly common, mainly in part because of the Watergate scandal, which popularized the idea that a divided government is good for the country

Emphasis mine.  Clearly “divided government” does not mean “separation of powers” or the above sentence would not make sense.  It has to do with POLITICAL PARTIES, a concept that does not appear in the Constitution.  Nor are political parties spoken of favorably in the Federalist Papers.

So, Epps’ point is not incorrect.  It is accurate.  At worst, it can be criticized for being obviously true.  The framers — who did not anticipate or promote political parties — set up a government which has separation of powers, but did not anticipate a divided government and Congressional gridlike.  That is simply a fact.

Twitchy and The World’s Dumbest Lawyer have once again exposed their own ignorance and blamed it on someone else.

It must suck to be so wrong so often.  And right now, Yale Law School must be so embarrassed.

Not Funny

Mad Magzine goes full wingnut

And when I say it is "not funny", I mean it lacks humor.  It's suypposed to be a spoof of Saving Private Ryan, but it's such a stretch (Ryan and Bergdahl sound nothing alike).

I haven't really commented on the Bergdahl story, largely because its more bullshit right wingnut outrage.  

First of all, we have always negotiated for the safe return of captured soldiers and citizens.  Prisoner swaps have been around forever. George Washington arranged them in the Revolutionary War. And I don't think anyone has ever suggested that they not be done on the basis of the soldier's political leanings or the suspicion they might have deserted. And these Guantanamo prisoners aren't al-Qaeda, they're Taliban, enemy soldiers in the Afghan War. They are no different than the Nazis we swapped or the Japanese prisoners of war. They aren't supermen.   

Secondly, it makes me sick how the right is going full-on against this soldier.  On the front page of the Breitbart “News” Network, we currently find at least eighteen articles ranting about Sgt. Bergdahl.  And on HotAir’s front page, it’s even more ridiculous. As I write this, I count at least twenty-four articles bashing Bergdahl, his father, his father’s beard, and of course, President Obama — because Obama is very obviously the real target, and Bergdahl and his family are just collateral damage to these hateful assholes.

Whatever Happened To….?

… Sharyl Attkisson?

Remember her? Attkisson left CBS because she "had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network's liberal bias," while some staffers characterized her work as "agenda-driven," leading "network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting." Attkisson had supported CBS' disastrous Benghazi reporting, which the network ultimately had to apologize for and retract, and CBSexecutives reportedly saw her as "wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue." She also released an error-ridden report on clean energy, and relied on partial information from House Republicans in a botched story on the Affordable Care Act.  Following her departure from the network, Attkisson attempted to paint herself has a victim of media bias, floating baseless conspiracy theories suggesting Media Matters had been paid to attack her work. Conservative media outlets, particularly Fox News, rallied to Attkisson's defense, with personalities showering praise on her shoddy work and indicating they wanted her to join the conservative network.

Anyway, this unobjective journalist just landed a job at the conservative Heritage Foundation. That's the same Heritage FOundation that the New York Times described as providing "the blueprint for the Republican Party's ideas in Washington."

Comeuppance For A Cretin

I like the snark that Slate took:

Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative author and commentator who asserts that Barack Obama is "driven by a Third World, anti-American ideology that he got from his Kenyan father," admitted today in federal court to committing campaign finance fraud. From the New York Daily News:

Busted in January for skirting a $5,000 cap by reimbursing his friends for $20,000 in donations to the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of New York Republican Wendy Long, D'Souza, 53, was initially charged with one count of illegal contributions and one count of false statements, both felonies.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to the illegal contribution count.

D'Souza, who has described Barack Obama Sr. as a "philandering, inebriated African socialist" whose worldview is essential to understanding the actions of a president who last saw him in 1971, could be sentenced to up to 16 months in prison or fined $250,000.

The author, who once wrote in all seriousness that Barack Obama thinks of Muslims who attack American soldiers as "freedom-fighters," admitted publicly that he "knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids."

“I deeply regret my conduct,” D'Souza told the court, referring not to his claim that the president of the United States is purposefully transforming the country into a metaphorical "shantytown," but to his comission of a felony.

Barack Obama was re-elected to the American presidency in 2012 by a margin of five million votes. The Kenyan radical sleeper-cell community could not be reached for comment.

What's particularly amusing about this is that D'Souza and his friends on the right (Megan Kelly, Sean Hannity, the folks at Fox & Friends) spent weeks claiming this was retribution from Obama.  Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) rushed to defend D’Souza at the time of his indictment. He slammed the charges as “an abuse of power” and asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, “Can you image the reaction if the Bush Administration had went, gone and prosecuted Michael Moore and Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn?”

Let's recap the headline: D'Souza PLED GUILTY.

Hashtag Activism and Nigerian Girls

I’m not a huge fan of hashtag activism.  I think it is cool and all, but I don’t think it is the panacea for all the world’s problems, like some others.

I mean, if there’s a shooter on campus, Twitter can be helpful.  Or, as shown in the last week, it can bring the world’s attention to a tragic, but finite, problem, like a couple of hundred Nigerian schoolgirls begin kidnapped by a terrible warlord to be sold as “brides”.

But it can’t, you know, help with bigger issues like, say, global warming.

No matter.  Credit where credit is due.  Good on Twitter and the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag for moving the mainstream media, and ultimately, the various governments of the world to bring pressure on Nigeria to, you know, not stand there idly by why its young girls get abducted and raped and so forth.

That said, Ann Coulter is a terrible human being for this: 

Fortunately, this:


World’s Worst Lawyer™ Defends World’s Worst Racist Cattlerancher™

Oh, Aaron Walker.  Please don't practice law.  Ever.  Even academically on your blog.  You're just so bad at it.  You embarass yourself and the profession.

Yes, folks, the World's Worst Lawyer™ is back at it again.  Taking a break from his Brett Kimberlin obsession, Aaron Walker tackles current events — specifically, the Cliven Bundy issue in a terribly-reasoned and tragic post entitled "Is Cliven Bundy Right?"… which is Walker's way of saying, "Cliven Bundy is right and I'll show it even if I have to use the most tortured and indeed untruthful legal reasoning available to me."

But first, Walker, like most conservatives last week, must do the necessary throw-Bundy-under-the-bus-for-his-racism dance:

There has been some attempt to rehabilitate what he said, such as here, but at best it only mitigates what is still a pretty racist and ignorant thing to say.  No, there is zero chance that black people were better off under slavery and you have to be willfully ignorant of the evil of slavery to even entertain the thought.

I give Walker a little credit here.  Normally, when a right wing hero is accused of racism, Walker tries to turn it around and accuse a black person of reverse racism.  But, seeing no black person in the Bundy scandal, I guess Walker is forced to admit that Bundy is indeed a racist.

And props to Walker for admitting this:

When it comes to the legal issues his racism is beside the point.  If a government lawyer brought it up in court, it would annoy the judge by being irrelevant. Or to quote from Mark Steyn:
the reason the standard representation of justice in statuary is a blindfolded lady is because justice is supposed to be blind: If you run a red light and hit a pedestrian, it makes no difference whether the pedestrian you hit is Nelson Mandela or Cliven Bundy. Or at least it shouldn't: one of the basic building blocks of civilized society is equality before the law.
The only problem is that Walker is the wrong person to deliver this message.  Yes, Bundy's racism is irrelevant to the legal situation, but the same could be said for Brett Kimberlin (what 50+ year old man can and should be held accountable for mistakes that he made — and paid for — in his youth?)  In other words, Walker is a hypocrite about what is and isn't relevant when it comes to assessing "equality before the law".
But let's get to the legal issues and the point of MY post — which is just how terribly terribly BAD Walker is as a lawyer.

Darling of The Right, Cliven Bundy, Expresses His Views About Race….

…. and they are just about what you would expect:

Republican politicians began backtracking on their support of Nevada anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy after the New York Times caught Bundy making racially-inflammatory remarks blaming African-Americans for willingly submiting to dependency on federal assistance.

“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton,” Bundy was quoted as saying to a group of supporters last Saturday. “And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Bundy’s statements about “the Negro,” published on Wednesday, were made during his daily speech to supporters outside Bunkerville, Nevada, where a crowd gathered to support him in defiance of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) during an attempted round up of his cattle. The confrontation was the result of Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees on federally-owned land for more than 20 years, in spite of multiple court rulings against him. Bundy has stated on several occasions that he does not recognize the existence of the federal government.

Every single Republican politician who spoke out in favor of this loser should have their words plastered on tv commercials over this racist asshole’s words.

Of course, Bundy's rhetoric isn't all that new….

UPDATE:  The reaction of Cliven Bundy's defenders to his pro-slavery rant is proving quite entertaining. Exhibits ABC, and D.  I especially like the ones who say he's not the issue.  Look — he doesn't recognize the legitimacy of the federal government.  Just like pro-slave Southerners.  It's not a coincidence.

UPDATE #2:  Bundy made the rounds of rightwing radio today, and tried to clarify his remarks, which sound just like the racist remarks he said in the first place:

I'm wondering if they're better off under a government subsidy and their young women are having the abortions and their young men are in jail and their older women and children are sitting out on the cement porch without nothing to do.

I'm wondering: Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were when they were slaves and they was able to their family structure together and the chickens and the garden and the people have something to do?

So in my mind, are they better off being slaves in that sense or better off being slaves to the United States government in the sense of the subsidy? I'm wondering. The statement was right. I am wondering. 

UPDATE #3:  By the way, want a good example of the adage that "racism isn't about hatred; it's about ignorance"?  Listen to Cliven Bundy talk about Mexican immigrants, a group of people he actually has first-hand experience with:

"I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders," he says. "But they're here and they're people. I worked side-by-side a lot of them. Don't tell me they don't work, and don't tell me they don't pay taxes. And don't tell me they don't have better family structures than most of us white people."

"When you see those Mexican families, they're together. They picnic together. They're spending their time together," he said. "I'll tell you, in my way of thinking, they're awful nice people. We need to have those people join us and be with us."

Pretty liberal, huh?

UPDATE #4:  Before the news broke that Cliven Bundy is a raging racist (in addition to being a deadbeat rancher backed by an armed militia defending his right to stiff the federal government): 458 mentions of the right's newest hero on Fox News in April, an average of 20 per day.

And since then? Two.