Monday Reads: and the beat goes on

5a07c9c80ea19b926bd8bac117a57dbbWhat can be said about the violence erupting around the country and around the world these days?  Words can fail us. We’re losing hearts and minds along with lives.  How did we get here?  I hope we don’t have to wait on historians to deconstruct the causes because we’re careening towards a future that seems better imagined by George Miller and Byron Kennedy of Mad Max fame.  Dystopian fiction should not actually portend reality. It should be a harbinger of possibilities we can avoid; not outcomes we bring on to ourselves.

Today will be another reminder that one of the two major parties has completely lost its ability to govern and is stuck some where  we should not be.  We have the Republicans about ready to nominate a dude that reminds me of the Dennis Hopper character in Water World.   Trump sounds as crazy as that character.  I’m waiting to hear his big convention floor speech and wondering if he’ll be waving a cigar and a bottle of Jack and be wearing an eye patch, frankly.  We’re losing our sense of community and our sense of responsibility as members of community.

Our sense of alienation perhaps comes from  a world where we are more likely to connect with technology than with a human being and where our jobs are continually dehumanizing us. This generally makes us susceptible to folks that play on our anger. We’ve had two very angry pseudo populists on the national stage who really represent privilege that have done a great job of stirring up resentment.   They’ve also stirred up some insane reaction to that visible resentment.  I personally am watching my neighborhood be torn apart by already rich people looking to make more money by dismantling everything and every one deemed unprofitable.  I feel like I only exist to many of them as a possible source of monetization although I can tell I’ve outlived my usefulness for that as an aging woman of little means these days.

How did we get to a point where one of the two major parties is actually going to nominate a man whose speeches call for the dismantling of the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth amendments to our Constitution? Are we so far down the rabbit hole that we’ll actually sell out the rule of law for guns and anger?

Trump has from the start of his campaign sparked controversy with statements, actions, and proposals that disregard the First Amendment. He and his aides have created blacklists of journalists, and the candidate has expressed an interest inrewriting libel laws in order to intimidate, punish, and potentially silence critics of powerful individuals and interests. Trump has, as well, proposed schemes to discriminate against Muslims and to spy on mosques and neighborhoods where Muslims live—with steady disregard for the amendment’s guarantee of protection for America’s diverse religious communities.

But that’s just the beginning of Trump’s assaults on the Constitution. Trump has encouraged the use of torture and blatantly disregarded privacy protections that have been enshrined in the founding document since the 18th century. He has attacked the basic premises of a constitutionally defined separation of powers, with rhetorical assaults on individual jurists and the federal judiciary so extreme that House Speaker Paul Ryan described one such attack as  “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He has proposed instituting religious tests. He has shown open and consistent disregard for the promise that all Americans will receive equal protection under the law.

Many of us have long harbored the idea that today’s Republican Party only cares about the idea of a Second Amendment on steroids and Waterworld-Hopperthe rest of our civil liberties and rights should be damned.  The realities of what I used to believe were brief moments of paranoia are just on full display this week.  Have you seen the pictures of the up-armored bicycle police in Cleveland?  I mean, how Clockwork Orange is that? Don’t even get me started on the entire idea of letting folks with assault rifles into the protest pits to strut around like dildo-toting S&M bondage RPers who are likely trigger happy. We just had three police officers ambushed and killed in Baton Rouge and the response is to let more crazies out on the streets with guns?  Really?  Really?

Hours after the head of Cleveland’s police union pleaded with the governorto suspend Ohio’s open-carry laws during the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress she is “not nervous at all” that people are walking around the city with assault weapons.

“I am recommending that people follow the law,” Katrina Pierson said Sunday when asked whether she believes people should arm themselves in the convention zone. Under Ohio law, residents over 21 years old who legally own a firearm can openly carry it in public.

In light of the shooting and death of three police officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association asked for an emergency suspension of the state’s open-carry law for the duration of the Republican National Convention.

“We are sending a letter to Gov. [John] Kasich requesting assistance from him,” union president Stephen Loomis told CNN. “He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point.” Kasich denied the union’s request.

The violence in Louisiana on Sunday was only the latest in a series of deadly clashes between police and civilians over the past few weeks. When an angry, heavily-armed civilian began shooting at police during a Dallas Black Lives Matter protest earlier this month, the state’s open-carry law made it difficult for police to track down the assailant. Officers mistook at least one legally armed resident for a suspect, and the proliferation of guns made it more difficult for them to determine who posed a threat.

In the weeks leading up to the RNC, Cleveland officials expressed concern that Ohio’s law, like Texas’, would create a dangerous and hectic environment outside the convention.

2002-British-TVI’m going to put up a few links about what’s been going down in my state but I really have gone past words at some level. I have a few scattered thoughts. First, the two most recent shooters–while being black men–remind me more of Timothy McVeigh than anything coming from BLM.   These recent institutional shooters all have a military background and appear to have spent extensive time in theater over in the Middle East.

The Dallas police shooter was an army Vet and a “loner”.   The Baton Rouge Shooter was a former Marine.   Here’s a list of 22 serial killers with military backgrounds.  Are we really doing a good job of identifying vets with problems and helping them before setting them loose on society again?  Don’t we owe them and ourselves something at all?  If we broke them, shouldn’t we fix them or at least help them in some way to cope with their experiences?

There’s a lot of studies and work that’s been done that show PTSD contributes to violence. Are we just beginning to see some more of the real costs of invading Iraq and Afghanistan and sustaining a brutal ground war?

At the end of their 15-month tour in Iraq, the Lethal Warriors returned to Fort Carson with an impressive battlefield record, having cleared one of the worst parts of Baghdad, in some cases digging up IEDs with little more than screwdrivers and tire irons. Unfortunately, the Lethal Warriors achieved a kind of notoriety that was less for their battlefield exploits than for the battalion’s connection to a string of murders. In December 2007 two soldiers from the unit, Robert James and Kevin Shields, were killed, and three fellow soldiers were charged with murder. The killings were part of a larger pattern of violence extending back to 2005, including 11 murders, in what was the largest killing spree involving a single army base in modern U.S. history.

The increased violence around Fort Carson began at the start of the Iraq war. A 126-page Army report known as an “Epidemiological Consultation” released in 2009 found that the murder rate around the Army’s third-largest post had doubled and that the number of rape arrests had tripled. As David Philipps wrote in Lethal Warriors, his 2010 book about the crime spree, “In the year after the battalion returned from Iraq, the per-capita murder rate for this small group of soldiers was a hundred times greater than the national average.” Tellingly, 2-12’s post-traumatic stress disorder rate was more than three times that of an equivalent unit that had served in a less violent part of Iraq. The EPICON summarized all this in classic bureaucratic language, noting dully that there was “a possible association between increasing levels of combat exposure and risk for negative behavioral outcomes.”

Put another way, war has a way of bringing out the dark side in people.

Road-WarriorOur institutions seem to do be doing that to a lot of people.  Combine that with easy access to military grade weapons and candidates whose stump speeches bring on anger and resentment and you’ve just got some kind of accelerant to death and violence imho anyway.  Mother Jones has started to keep a database on mass shootings and the profiles of the perpetrators is really quite enlightening. This is from 2012 to get you situated.   Here’s the list of the deadliest Mass shootings from 1984 to 2016.  The US is resplendent with well-armed rampage killers. Many of them are trained and experienced killers, quite damaged, and have easy access to weapons.

This is a 2013 Wired article that shows that a lot of the killings at that time were associated with folks with no military experience at all.  A lot of these killers have a fascination with military life styles but that is more along the lines of militias rather than the US military.

The basic pattern found by the New Jersey DHS fusion center, and obtained by Public Intelligence (.PDF), is one of a killer who lashes out at his co-workers. Thirteen out of the 29 observed cases “occurred at the workplace and were conducted by either a former employee or relative of an employee,” the November report finds. His “weapon of choice” is a semiautomatic handgun, rather than the rifles that garnered so much attention after Newtown. The infamous Columbine school slaying of 1999 is the only case in which killers worked in teams: they’re almost always solo acts — and one-off affairs. In every single one of them, the killer was male, between the age of 17 and 49.

They also don’t have military training. Veterans are justifiably angered by the Hollywood-driven meme of the unhinged vet who takes out his battlefield stress on his fellow Americans. (Thanks, Rambo.) In only four of the 29 cases did the shooter have any affiliation with the U.S. military, either active or prior at the time of the slaying, and the fusion center doesn’t mention any wartime experience of the killers. Yet the Army still feels the need to email reporters after each shooting to explain that the killer never served.

How will these recent, targeted shootings of police change our ideas of mass, rampage shooters?  The Baton Rouge shooter has left a huge manifesto on various social media outlets that will likely be analyzed by crime profilers  and psychologists for some time.

Long posted dozens of videos and podcasts on his webpage “Convos With Cosmo” in addition to regularly tweeting and posting on Twitter and Instagram under the pseudonym “Cosmo Setepenra.”

In a video titled “Convos With Cosmo on Protesting, Oppression, and how to deal with Bullies” that was posted a week before Sunday’s shooting, he rants about “fighting back” against “bullies” and discussed the killings of black men at the hands of the police, referencing the death of Sterling, who was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge earlier this month.

No matter what kinds of lessons we learn about motives or triggers to these kinds of horrible shootings, the one thing we do know is that we have scads of damaged men that have easy access to incredibly powerful weapons wrecking havoc on our communities.  We also know that there is a hard core group of gun fetishists and profiteers that don’t give a damn about that.  While ignoring the perpetual drip drip drip of lost rights from other amendments, the second amendment is being hyped, dosed, and morphed into something that it was never meant to be.  The Republican party is complicit to each and every murder victim.  Machine Guns are not protected by the Second Amendment.

A Texas man who sued the federal government because it wouldn’t approve his application to manufacture a machine gun doesn’t have a constitutional right to possess the automatic weapon, an appeals court ruled.

Jay Hollis sought permission to convert his AR-15, a popular semi-automatic firearm, into an M16 — an automatic firearm that is banned under federal law, except for official use or lawfully obtained pre-1986 models.

After he was rejected, Hollis mounted a constitutional challenge to the Gun Control Act of 1968 — which Congress amended in 1986 to make it illegal to possess or transfer newly manufactured machine guns. Among other things, he argued that an “M-16 is the quintessential militia-styled arm for the modern day.”

In a unanimous ruling issued Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit rejected Hollis’ arguments, categorically noting that “machine guns are not protected arms under the Second Amendment.”

The court explained that the leading Supreme Court precedent on the right to keep and bear arms, 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, only protected individual handgun possession for “defense of hearth and home.”

“Today … ordinary military weaponry is far more advanced than the weapons typically found at home and used for (self)-defense,” the court said, adding that machine guns are “dangerous and unusual,” and nothing like what militias might have used at the founding of the republic.

“Heller rejected a functionalist interpretation of the Second Amendment premised on the effectiveness of militia service,” the court of appeals said.

Aided by a number of gun rights groups, Hollis had pressed a number of other arguments — that anything that is “ordinary military equipment” is protected, that the Second Amendment really exists to allow a rebellion against the government, and that machine guns aren’t really “dangerous and unusual.”

The 5th Circuit was largely unimpressed, calling the last argument “tantamount to asking us to overrule the Supreme Court.”

We’ve got some major dysfunction in this country that can’t be more clearly represented than by the toxic Trump/Pence ticket.The problem is that a huge portion of our citizenship feels so disenfranchised that they seem to be in search of the end times.  Their viewpoints appear to be funded and shaped by the very folks that are making this happen.  The one thing that’s discouraged me most is that leftists are playing into a similar narrative.

Title: BLADE RUNNER ¥ Pers: SANDERSON, WILLIAM / HANNAH, DARYL ¥ Year: 1982 ¥ Dir: SCOTT, RIDLEY ¥ Ref: BLA040BT ¥ Credit: [ LADD COMPANY/WARNER BROS / THE KOBAL COLLECTION ]

It seems unlikely that Trump will be president.  I’d like to think that Hillary Clinton will be our shero. But, without a full functioning set of government institutions, how are we going to get beyond the Thunderdome? Why are we electing officials whose goal in life appear to be sabotaging our country?  If most people reject Donald Trump, why do we have a Speaker Paul Fucking Ryan whose favorite dystopian fiction writer has an overwhelmingly negative impact our US Policy?

As the GOP convention gets underway in Cleveland today, three national polls released over the weekend showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump: A CNN poll putting Clinton up by 49-42; an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll putting her up by 46-41; and a Washington Post/ABC News poll putting her up by 47-43.

But buried beneath the toplines is evidence of another dynamic that gets at something important about the state of this race: While both Clinton and Trump are very unpopular, large majorities in two of these polls believe that only one of them is qualified for the presidency, and equally large majorities believe that the other one is not.

The new WaPo poll finds, for instance, that Americans say by 59-39 that Clinton is “qualified to serve as president,” but they also say by 60-37 that Trump is “not qualified to serve as president.”

Paul Ryan :: Ayn Désastre :: The Sinking of the S.S. Prospérité

Paul Ryan :: Ayn Désastre :: The Sinking of the S.S. Prospérité

Again, my hope is that Trump/Pence go down yugely and take the likes of Paul Ryan with them. You can’t have one set of them without the others who basically feel the same way but signal their intent with weasel words.

So, obviously, we down here in Louisiana are reeling from all the recent killings.  I think some of the policy prescriptions are obvious otherwise it will be upward and onward with “a bit of the old ultraviolence.”

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


Friday Reads: What’s Going On?

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Another day, another killing spree.

We’re living in the United States of Mass Murder. Where have all the anger and violence come from?  How has the second amendment turned from the ability of states to raise and arm a militia to a means of arming insurgents and malcontents?   It’s been suggested we need a huge wall around this country.  I would like to suggest that we need a huge mirror so that we can examine ourselves and figure out how we came to this.  There can be no peace or no justice through violence.  It makes no difference if it’s violence against the state or against the people.  As one great president said, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

The violence in Dallas last night is the American Nightmare. Anger took aim at a police force that is actually well known for supporting Black Lives Matter and took its role of protecting protesters seriously. The voices of angry men in this country, however, generally wind up in some expression of gun violence.  Skipping straight from the first amendment to some warped idea of the second is not how any of this is supposed to work.

Four Dallas police officers and a DART officer were shot and killed in a coordinated sniper attack that followed a Thursday night protest.

Seven other officers and two civilians were wounded after the peaceful demonstration against recent shootings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota.

The shooter, who may have had accomplices, suggested the attack was racially motivated by revenge.

Perched in a parking garage at El Centro College, the man exchanged gunfire with officers early Friday morning before being killed by a robot-planted bomb.

The man was identified by our colleagues at KXAS-TV (NBC5) as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, of Mesquite. A law enforcement official told CNN that Johnson had no criminal record or known ties to terrorism.

On Friday morning, Mesquite officers and crime scene investigators from Dallas were at Johnson’s home on Helen Lane.

Other people of interest were detained for questioning. At a news conference at 7:30 a.m., city officials declined to discuss details about the suspects in custody.

“Now is not the right time,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said.

A commander in the Dallas Police Department, however, described the shooting as a “conspiracy.” He said several people were involved in the planning, logistics and execution of the coordinated attack. He declined to elaborate and requested anonymity.

Police Chief David Brown urged Dallas to get behind its police department in the days to come.

“We don’t feel much support most days,” he said. “Let’s not make today most days.”

The shooting was the deadliest day for law officers since Sept. 11, 2001, when 72 officers died, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said snipers with rifles shot 12 officers and two bystanders from elevated positions about 9 p.m.

At 1:42 a.m. Friday, the Dallas Police Association tweeted that a fifth officer had died.

“We’re hurting, our profession is hurting,” Brown told reporters at the news conference. “There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”

The shooter that was cornered and later killed by a suicide bomber robot has been identified.  Every time killings happen the most difficult thing to do is to search out the face of the killer.  It’s part of our need to know why this happened.  The images (19)problem is that the whys tell us less than than the hows.  The hows tell us that this happens frequently here and that none of us are safe from people seeking to do bad who have access to weapons that can really do bad.

Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, has been identified as one of the suspected gunmen in an ambush Thursday that left five Dallas law enforcement officers dead and seven more officers injured, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Johnson, who died in the incident, served as an Army reservist until April 2015, defense officials said. He was trained and served in the Army Reserve as a carpentry and masonry specialist, they said.

Police said he told hostage negotiators that he was angry about recent fatal shootings of black men by police elsewhere in the United States and that he wanted to kill white people, especially police officers.

The gunman “expressed anger for Black Lives Matter” and told a hostage negotiator he “wanted to kill [police] officers,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said today.

Police spent hours negotiating with Johnson before he was killed by an explosive strapped to a police robot.

“We’re hurting,” Brown said. “Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”

Three other suspects — two men and one woman — have been detained by police, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. Officials said earlier that at least two gunmen were involved.

“I can tell you they’re being pretty tight-lipped at this point,” Rawlings said of the trio.

There is a lot to be learned from the way the two major party presidential candidates framed their take on the event.  First, Hillary Clinton who focuses on the lives lost.

Hillary Clinton’s planned rally with Vice President Joe Biden in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Friday has been postponed following the shootings in Dallas on Thursday night, the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign announced.

“I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families & all who serve with them,” Clinton tweeted after the postponement was announced.

Trump referred to this as an “attack on our country” which is hard to figure out given the shooter basically is a citizen and Army reservist who did tours in Afghanistan.  That probably is the least useful or correct characterization I’ve seen to date.Vietnam_protest_poster_5

“It is a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe,” the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said.

The statement went on to send support and prayers to the “brave police officers and first responders who risk their lives to protect us every day.”

As usual,the message is to let the surviving family members eat imaginary support and very worthless prayers.  None of his words were helpful or healing.

President Obama took to a microphone yet another time to mourn large numbers of American dead who were killed working and living on the streets of their own city.  He also spoke directly of the Black Lives Matter movement and its utter frustration with the many instances where police kill unarmed black men unprovoked.

President Obama said Thursday he shares the “anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling” about this week’s police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.

“All Americans should be deeply troubled by the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post. “We’ve seen such tragedies far too many times.”

Obama’s first reaction to the shootings was published on the social media site while he was flying on Air Force One to a NATO summit in Poland.

Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was pinned down by two white police officers and shot dead on Tuesday in Baton Rouge, La. Castile, 32 and also black, was fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop on Wednesday.

Parts of both incidents were caught on video, but Obama did not say if has viewed the footage.

He declined to comment on the specifics of both cases, but he praised the Justice Department’s decision to investigate the Louisiana shooting. It is also weighing a probe of the Minnesota incident.

The twin shootings stirred nationwide anger about police violence against black men.

Obama has been forced to confront a string of deaths in cities such as Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and New York City. And his White House has often struggled to mend frayed ties between police departments and the communities they serve.

“Regardless of the outcome of such investigations, what’s clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents,” Obama wrote. He said they are a result of distrust based on racial disparities between police and urban communities.

The president urged law enforcement agencies to adopt the recommendations of a White House task force designed to close that divide.

war-is-not-healthy1Not all Americans are interested in healing the divide. Right wing meat puppet and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh rose to the nation’s crisis by threatening our president.  This came in the form of a tweet that hastily went away but was captured by the many who monitor extremists.

Forrmer Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh declared “This is now war” and called for President Barack Obama to “watch out” in a Twitter post reacting to the Dallas shooting that killed five police officers and injured seven.

“This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” he wrote in the tweet, which has since been deleted.

I’d like to close this post with some words of Charles Blow who characterizes this situation as “An arms race of atrocities”.

While sitting in on CNN’s coverage of Thursday night’s events, journalist Charles Blow said all protesters want is to make sure everyone — civilian or police — goes home to their families at the end of their day.

“The protests themselves are ultimately about life,” Blow said. “The ability to live out your life and not have life unreasonably taken. Your response to this has to be about life.”

He then pointed out that it’s time to stop making it an “arms race of atrocities.”

“A lot of what I’ve seen over the last few hours have been people rushing to try to figure out ways to see if something adds to an argument or doesn’t add to an argument,” he said. “I don’t understand when you stop being human, enough to slow down and say, yes the two people who were killed, who the protests were about, had families and they are hurt, and they are angry. These people have families too.”

People need to admit that “everybody deserves to go home.”

Here’s hoping that we can get some sensible gun control at some point.  It’s incredible to me that we can go through these frequent mass shootings and not actually see any kind of policy attempt to get to the root of the problems.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

What’s going on?

 

 

 


Wednesday Reads: Appearance is everything

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Abortion Ruling: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Ah, good afternoon!

It has been a while since we took a look at the offerings of political cartoonist, so I thought today would be a good day for that…and in all honesty, there is another reason, things have been moving quickly with my parent’s closing (it is now pushed to the 6th) so there is plenty to do. (But it is a good plenty…)

First I will start with this video from UNICEF, posted on Huffington Post Facebook page,

 

Some of you may have seen this…if you haven’t please take the few minutes to watch it in full.

If you cannot see the embedded video, here is a link to the page:  The Huffington Post

Those fuckers made that little girl cry.

Many of the cartoons today mention the ruling regarding SCOTUS smackdown of Texas Anti-abortion law HB-2. In relation to this, Vox has an article: It could take years for Texas abortion clinics to reopen, even after a Supreme Court victory – Vox

Pro-choice advocates won a huge victory on Monday when the Supreme Court struck down two major anti-abortion laws in Texas inWhole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Those laws, part of an omnibus anti-abortion bill called HB 2, were responsible for closing about half of all abortion clinics in Texas.

Before HB 2 passed in 2013, Texas had 41 open clinics. Today there are 19. If the Court had ruled to uphold the restrictions, that number would have shrunk to nine. So it’s no surprise that lead plaintiff Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO and founder of Whole Woman’s Health, said she was “beyond elated” by the ruling.

But, Hagstrom Miller said in a recent interview with Vox, a victory at the Supreme Court is really just the beginning for abortion providers in Texas. Not only are other restrictions, like a 20-week abortion ban and limits on medication abortion, still in place in Texas but HB 2 has also done lasting damage to abortion access that could take years to repair, if it can be repaired at all.

It turns out, according to the Vox report…

The closed clinics can’t just reopen overnight, and some might never reopen

Well, I realized that they would not reopen with a snap of the fingers, but that some may never reopen, that just is salt in wounds.

Then there was this, from the NY Times: Abortion Ruling Could Create Waves of Legal Challenges – The New York Times

From Texas to Alabama to Wisconsin, more than a dozen Republican-run states in recent years have passed laws requiring that abortion clinics have hospital-grade facilities or use doctors with admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Now, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling — that those provisions in a Texas law do not protect women’s health and place an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion — will quickly reverberate across the country.

It will prevent the threatened shutdown of clinics in some states, especially in the Deep South, that have been operating in a legal limbo, with Texas-style laws on temporary hold. But legal experts said the effect over time was likely to be wider, potentially giving momentum to dozens of legal challenges, including to laws that restrict abortions with medication or ban certain surgical methods.

“The ruling deals a crushing blow to this most recent wave of state efforts to shut off access to abortion through hyper-regulation,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School.

Adopting stringent regulations on abortion clinics and doctors that are said to be about protecting women’s health has been one of the anti-abortion movement’s most successful efforts, imposing large expenses on some clinics, forcing others to close and making it harder for women in some regions to obtain abortions. Republicans like Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who deplored Monday’s ruling, argued that they were requiring clinics to “be held to the same standards as other medical facilities.”

Now, the court has ruled that any such requirements must be based on convincing medical evidence that the rules are solving a real health issue to be weighed by a court, not by ideologically driven legislators — and that the benefits must outweigh the burdens imposed on women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Take a look at that article, because it highlights a few states that currently have abortion laws going into effect on July 1st…which could now be seen in a different light since the Monday ruling.

One more link before the cartoons…I just think this is funny: Why Do Monkeys Become More Selective With Friends As They Age, Just Like Humans? : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Scientists from the German Primate Center wanted to know how age affected the behavior of more than 100 Barbary macaques kept in an enclosure in a park in France.

They investigated how the monkeys – whose ages ranged from 4 to 29 years (equivalent to 105 human years) – reacted to physical objects such as novel toys and tubes with food, social interactions such as fighting and grooming “friends” and new social information, such as calls and photos of “friends” and “strangers.”

Researchers discovered that the interest of Barbary macaques in toys wane when they become adults. At around 20 or the retirement age of monkeys, these animals approached fewer monkeys and had less social contact.

What surprised scientists is that this obvious withdrawal was not prompted by a social affinity to avoid old monkeys. Younger ones still groomed and approached their elders.

It also wasn’t because older monkeys were not interested in anything at all. Scientists found that older monkeys still hissed to others during fights and still responded to photos of others.

These older monkeys are still attuned to what is going on around them, but they do not want to participate, says Julia Fischer, one of the researchers of the study.

They hissed? Could this be a monkey’s way of saying, get off my lawn?

The dominant psychological theory that could explain why this behavior happens in humans is that they want to maximize the time they have left with death on the horizon.

Fischer says although monkeys have excellent memories, there is no evidence that they are self-aware about their impending deaths. So if both monkeys and humans act this way as they age, the theory may be rationalizing a natural behavior with biological roots, she says.

Alexandra Freund, Fischer’s co-researcher, says the findings of the study clearly tell us that we are not distinctive in how we grow into old age.

“There might be an evolutionary ‘deep’ root in this pattern,” says Freund.

There is a bit more at the link, along with some other sources and connections to the published study.

And now the funnies…

Starting with Luckovich…06/17 Mike Luckovich: Losing letters. | Mike Luckovich

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From June, published around the 17th.

From June, published around the 17th.

 

06/22 Mike Luckovich:Hair today… | Mike Luckovich

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Signe Wilkinson: Abortion Clinic – Truthdig

Clay Bennett: Brexit Lifeboat – Clay Bennett – Truthdig

Jeff Danziger: Another Benefit of Brexit – Jeff Danziger – Truthdig

Jeff Danziger: Brexit Racism – Jeff Danziger – Truthdig

From Cagle Cartoons, click to see the toon:

Supreme Court Abortion Ruling

This is a good one: Brexit

Brexit ….a different one, but the same name.

Brexit Washup

Brexit …another one with the same name, but different, and damn good.

Brexit regret

And the rest from the AAEC:

George Will splits from GOP: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - George Will splits from GOP

06/28/2016 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

Brexit and Trump: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Cartoon by Steve Greenberg - Brexit and Trump

Undue Burden: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Undue Burden

GOP Sit-In: 06/24/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - GOP Sit-In

Great Britain Great Again: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by A.F.Branco

Cartoon by A.F.Branco - Great Britain Great Again

The above cartoon is from a right wing cartoonist btw….so that is not a sarcastic cartoon. It is in fact a glorification. To see more from this cartoonist…cough, cough: AAEC — Political Cartoons by A.F.Branco Because I will not put up a sample of his other shit. (Now, I bet that gives ya the creeps. As it gave me…at least check this one out: Eye To Eye: 06/26/2016 Cartoon by A.F.Branco)

The Bowtie Rebellion: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - The Bowtie Rebellion

SUPREME COURT v TEXAS ABORTION LAWS: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - SUPREME COURT v TEXAS ABORTION LAWS

John Lewis sit-in: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - John Lewis sit-in

Brexit: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Brexit

Smoking gun: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Smoking gun

Pulse shooting: 06/15/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Pulse shooting

That is an older cartoon, but I thought it was a good one and should be included.

06/28/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

06/23/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

06/13/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

American Community: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Angelo Lopez

Cartoon by Angelo Lopez - American Community

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

06/27/2016 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

Pat Summitt Tribute: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Pat Summitt Tribute

This is an open thread…


Sunday Reads: Raspberries for You and a Strawberry Moon Too

Good Afternoon

See the expression on this Virgin Mary’s face? This is exactly how I feel.  It has been 3 weeks since my brother’s death. We are still waiting to hear if my parents are able to buy this little house, if the VA loan has gotten final approval from the underwriters. Whatever happens with that, we are still being kicked out by our landlord months ahead of our end of lease…so that her son can move into the place.

My home troubles are nothing compared to what others have lost this week. A week ago today I was writing updates on the mass murder in Orlando. And even then, I knew what sort of vile things would be said as the days progressed….

imageAfter massacre, Trump speech takes 2016 race in a scary direction | MSNBC

Donald Trump Explains Bigly Why Immigration Killed All Those Gay People In Florida | Wonkette

Fla. prosecutor suspended for vile Facebook rant against Orlando – NY Daily News

Georgia Congressman Who Prayed For Gays To Die Not Sorry About That | Wonkette

Some surprises did come…

If Bill O’Reilly Believes it’s Time For Gun Control, It’s Goddamn Time For Gun Control – The Daily Banter

Even f*cking Bill O’Reilly now thinks new gun control laws are ‘definitely needed’ – DeadState

Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Calls For Assault Weapons Ban | Crooks and Liars

imageAt the same time, those who usually made the same choices…made those very same choices…

Bernie Sanders Goes AWOL on Guns Filibuster – The Daily Beast

On top of that, I have a very bad sinus infection…and the exhaustion from the months of so brutal a campaign, where shit has been flung from all directions. Most of it coming from the ASSHOLE running within our own party, and particularly after the bastard has clearly lost….I am in no mood to comment any further on any matters at hand.

Ugh…I can’t take any more!!!!! Bernie…shut the hell up!!!

image

So as a statement on these links going forward, I will just put medieval images of beast sticking their tongues out in my way of a showing disgust…my version of the Razzies.

 

image

In link dump fashion:

Trump says U.S. should consider racial profiling | Reuters

Republican Donald Trump said on Sunday the United States should consider more racial profiling in law enforcement, after urging harsher policies following last week’s mass shooting in Orlando.

“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” Trump said when asked on CBS whether he supported more profiling of Muslims in America.

image“You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully. And you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense,” he added.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has drawn criticism from many in his party for his comments on American Muslims after the Orlando attack, in which a U.S. born Muslim man killed 49 people at a gay nightclub.

Trump also reiterated his support for more scrutiny of mosques, saying that could resemble a controversial New York City surveillance program that has been shut down.

“If you go to France right now, they’re doing it in France. In fact, in some instances they’re closing down mosques.”

Police in France closed some mosques shortly after gunmen aligned with Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris in a series of attacks on Nov. 13.

The Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, expressed support for Islamic State, but officials believe he was “self-radicalized”.

Trump has drawn criticism from many in his Republican Party for calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. He also has called for a suspension of immigration from countries with “a proven history of terrorism”.

[…]

image

Trump needs a kick in the ass!

Trump brushed off the criticism on Sunday and said he would put up his own money for his campaign if needed. “It would be nice if the Republicans stuck together,” Trump said in an ABC interview. “I can win, one way or another.”

imageGet Ready For Racial Profiling Under President Donald Trump

NRA’s Chris Cox Can’t Explain Why Civilians Need Military Weapons | Mediaite

Was a black teen’s hanging death a hate crime? The FBI answers, two years later | US news | The Guardian

‘Why not Texit?’: Texas nationalists look to the Brexit vote for inspiration | US news | The Guardian

Is white America blind on racism, or just playing dumb? | Clive Myrie | Opinion | The Guardian

Israel: Water as a tool to dominate Palestinians – News from Al Jazeera

The Egyptians who ‘disappear’ – BBC News

imageGeorgia Democratic chair fends off Bernie Sanders challenger | Political Insider blog

Juan Cole: British Trumpism? An Anti-Immigrant ‘Britain First’ White Man’s Slaying of a Parliament Member – Juan Cole – Truthdig

Nazi regalia discovered at house of Jo Cox killing suspect | UK news | The Guardian

Vile online abuse against female MPs ‘needs to be challenged now’ | Technology | The Guardian

Three held in Pennsylvania rape case of teen Amish girl ‘gifted’ to man | Reuters

Brazil ‘mass rape’ video: Seven suspects to be charged – BBC News

Why Did North Carolina Police Destroy Over 1,000 Rape Kits? | Care2 Causes

The Disadvantages of Being Stupid – The Atlantic

imageNRA’s LaPierre blasts Dems’ gun control push | TheHill

Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation – The New York Times

Trump to meet with 400 anti-LGBT evangelists one week after claiming to be a ‘friend’ of the gay community

Condoleezza Rice For Trump’s VP? | theGrio

Wonkette Ranks Hillary’s VP Picks By Hotness, Because We’re Shallow Like That | Wonkette

FDNY fire chief killed on 9/11 gets proper burial 15 years later | US news | The Guardian

image$7 Million in Donations to Go Directly to Orlando Kin and Survivors – The New York Times

The Drag Nuns Who Are Helping The LGBTQ Community Grieve

The ‘Cinemobile’ bringing movies to Romanian villages – Al Jazeera English

And since it is Father’s Day…Happy Father’s Day!

Ten of the best films about fathers | Life and style | The Guardian

Banjoville in the news again…Cub takes stroll through Georgia grocery store | 11alive.com

And for our last link: Strawberry Moon Seen On Summer Solstice June 20 : SCIENCE : Tech Times

The summer solstice taking place on June 20 will also feature an additional treat — the annual strawberry moon. This is the first time in 49 years that the two events take place at the same time.

imageStrawberry moons earn their name from a knowledge among the Algonquin people that this moon signified that fruits, including strawberries, were ready to eat.

Although winter and summer solstices happen each year, having these events take place at the same time as a strawberry moon is fairly rare.

“Reliably, the phases of the moon recur on or near the same calendar dates every 19 years. It’s the ‘or near’ that causes the full moon to miss the solstice on that 19th year, sometimes. Nineteen years from this year’s solstice – on June 20, 2035 – the full moon will not fall on the same date as the June solstice. It’ll be another near miss, with the full moon falling on June 20, 2035, and the solstice arriving one day later,” Bruce McClure wrote for EarthSky.

This full moon will also be the fourth one seen since the winter equinox, whereas there are usually just three seen between the two dates.

imageSweet innit?

“Stargazers looking to get an early view of the Strawberry Moon can head out on Sunday evening; however, the moon will not technically be ‘full’ until 7:02 a.m. EDT on Monday. People from western New York to Missouri may benefit from heading out on Sunday evening instead of waiting until Monday evening as a frontal boundary is forecast to spread clouds over these areas for the first night of summer,” Brian Lada, Accuweather meteorologist, reports.

It turns out the Strawberry moon has other names, depending on where you live in the world:

The strawberry moon is also known as the Honey Moon, Hot Moon, or Rose Moon. South of the equator, the event is called the Long Night Moon, ironic for an occurrence which takes place around the time of the shortest night of the year.

Enjoy it now, cause it won’t happen again for another 46 years!

This is an open thread…hope y’all have a pleasant day.


Blue Blue Monday Reads and Yes! Let’s politicize homophobia and gun fetishists!

Good Afternoon!

Once again we see the results of toxic religious zealotry and resentment whipped up to the point that some nutter feels compelled to kill in the case of the Orlando massacre.  This occurs all too frequently in this country.  You may recall the images (14)Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting where we saw Robert Dear go on a shooting spree with the same deadly combination of anger whipped up by right wing politicians and preachers, mental illness, and easy access to weapons.  One claimed ISIS inspiration and Islamofascism.  The other was inspired by Christofascists in the US that bring you terror in the name of Fetus Fetishism.

We still haven’t heard about the motives of the Indiana man–a 20 year old white guy–in terms of why he was going after participants and viewers of a California Gay Pride parade.  Suffice it to say, the politicization of the private lives of the GLBT community by Republicans, their presidential candidate, and the various religious whackos that they court likely will come into play at some point.

Harassing and encouraging anger is just one political tool used regularly by Republicans these days.  I have noticed that the silence is deafening right now on James Wesley Howell.  The press can is clearly focused on the bloodbath and the sensational background of the Pulse Shooter rather than wondering why we manage to get bigger and badder displays of hatred and anger these days.  I’m not sure that most people realize that any Abrahamic-based religion is going to beget violence in some folks.  It goes with territory.  A few of them take retribution and strict commandments from their angry sky fairy way too seriously. This is especially the case if they have some kind of severe emotional or mental disorder.

(Spoiler Alert)  It’s the easy access to guns of all kinds in this country. The irresponsible and cynical use of anger and outrage to gain power and money is out of control.  Religion is just another vehicle to whip up the anger and the outrage and it frequently turns deadly.

obama1-703x406The weapon of choice for mass shooters is the AR-15 rifle.  This is one of the weapons that was included in the assault weapons ban signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 that expired in 2004.  The rifle was used in Orlando, Aurora,  Newton, and San Bernadino. It’s easily obtainable and the latest shooter–who had a history of Domestic Violence and was under the eye of the FBI for terrorist rantings–had a license to carry it and to obtain it legally.  Let that sink in.

There were calls to ban the weapon after the Newtown shootings, which led to a spike in sales. Gun manufacturers have called the AR-15 one of the most popular weapons in the U.S., with more than 3 million estimated to be in circulation.

“It was designed for the United States military to do to enemies of war exactly what it did this morning: kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency and ease,” lawyer Josh Koskoff, who’s representing Newtown families in their lawsuit against the gun industry, said Sunday.

Regulations on magazine capacity for the weapon vary from state to state, but it can fire 45 rounds a minute.

Most forms of the gun had been prohibited under the 1994 federal assault weapons ban that was allowed to expire in 2004, following ferocious lobbying by the National Rifle Association.

The NRA has used its lobbying might in the years since to bury attempts to revive the ban.

“During the decade of the ban, there were half as many casualties in mass shootings as the decade before, and a third as many casualties in mass shootings as the decade after,” said Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, a strategist involved in the original legislation.

920x920 (1)Hillary Clinton has called for a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban that her husband signed in his first term.  This is one of the reasons that I am so happy she is the nominee.  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has some extremely neoconfederate views of gun control that he reiterated yesterday.  He believes it is a state and local issue, voted against the Brady Bill many many times, and has supported relieving gun manufacturers and stores of any liability for the damage done by their product.

Hillary Clinton has called for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in the wake of the worst mass shooting in American history that left 49 people and the gunman dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

In forthright comments a day after the massacre at the Pulse Club, the presumptive presidential nominee for the Democratic party issued a call for a return to “commonsense gun safety reform” and lambasted the Republican-controlled Congress for what she called a “totally incomprehensible” refusal to address the country’s lax gun laws.

“We can’t fall into the trap set up by the gun lobby that says if you cannot stop every shooting you shouldn’t try to stop any,” she said.

Clinton’s tough stance on gun control sets up a torrid fight with her Republican rival for the White House Donald Trump, who has positioned himself as a champion of the second amendment and dismissed any calls for greater gun controls as weakness. She insisted that while she did believe that law-abiding American citizens have the right to own guns, it was also possible to see that “reasonable, commonsense measures” could be taken that would make people more safe from guns.

One of the things that stuns me is the ease with which a guy on the FBI threat radar could get a permit to carry and purchase a rifle that no civilian should own.

A day after the deadliest mass shooting in US history, questions are mounting over why the shooter Omar Mateen was legally able to buy an assault rifle and handgun despite having been investigated twice by the FBI for suspected terrorist sympathies.

Mateen, 29, launched his attack on Pulse club, an LGBT venue in downtown Orlando celebrating its popular Latin dance night, at 2.02am on Sunday morning.

Twenty minutes into the spree he took the bizarre step of making a 911 call in which he reportedly referred both to Islamic State and the Tsarnaevs, the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.

Sunday’s attack – which left 49 clubgoers dead and 53 injured – was launched by Mateen using a .223-caliber assault rifle and 9mm semi-automatic pistol with multiple rounds of ammunition that had been purchased quite lawfully in the week before the rampage using Mateen’s firearms license. Mateen was shot dead by police.

He also held a permit to work as a security guard, which he did at a courthouse in Port St Lucie, Florida, even though he was interviewed three times by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 following separate reports of extremist behavior and connections to terrorism that were in the end deemed insubstantial.

Mateen was released because no evidence of wrongdoing was found by the FBI.  He’s a natural born American so that provides him the usual 4816protections.  This is something that appears to have blown completely pass Donald Trump whose rhetoric and bragging were dialed up to 11 yesterday. He revisited his call to ban all Muslims from entering the country despite the fact that all three of the shooters claiming support for Islamofascim–Nidal Hassn (Fort Hood),Syed Rizwan Farook, (San Bernardino) , and Mateen (Orlando)–were American citizens. Only Farook’s wife–Tashfeen Malik–was foreign born.

The presumptive Republican nominee pulled no punches in a lengthy statement yesterday, going so far as to call for Barack Obama to resign and reiterating his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States (despite the fact that the shooter was born in New York).

“In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’. For that reason alone, he should step down,” Trump said in his press release. “If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency. If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”

“We admit more than 100,000 lifetime migrants from the Middle East each year. Since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States,” Trump added. “Hillary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term – and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.” (To be fair, this mischaracterizes Clinton’s position.)

The statement followed a stream of self-congratulatory tweets.

Clinton  has decided to adopt the use of radical Islam.  Let’s hope she will also be brave enough to point out radical Christians like Ted Cruz’s “Kill the 1024x1024Gays” pastor or the horrid group at Westborough Baptist Church.   She used the term on several morning news shows today.

Hillary Clinton on Monday broke from President Barack Obama in referring to the terrorist attack as “radical Islamism,” countering Donald Trump’s accusations that both she and Obama are weak on tackling terrorist threats.

In an interview with NBC’s “Today” on Monday morning, Clinton said words matter less than actions, but that she didn’t have a problem using the term.

“And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say. It matters that we got Bin Laden, not what name we called him,” Clinton said. “But if he is somehow suggesting I don’t call this for what it is, he hasn’t been listening. I have clearly said we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism, and we will.”

Both terms “mean the same thing,” Clinton continued, adding, “And to me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’m happy to say either, but that’s not the point.”

“I have clearly said many, many times we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it,” Clinton said later on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” reiterating, “it’s the same.”

The U.S. cannot, on the other hand, she added, “demonize, demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.” Clinton also said she could assure Americans that she is equally committed to fighting Islamic extremism as well as protecting law-abiding Muslims.

The President spoke on the radicalization of Mateen several hours ago.

President Obama said Monday that the Orlando mass murder was “inspired” by violent extremist propaganda on the internet and there’s no evidence the killing spree was ordered by ISIS.

“We see no clear evidence that he was directed externally,” Obama said from the Oval Office, using another name from the Islamic State terror group. “It does appear that at the last minute he announced allegiance to ISIL.”

Obama said investigators are tracing Omar Mateen’s “pathway” to murder by reviewing his internet searches and other materials.

“It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the internet,” Obama said.

“All those materials are currently being searched … so we will have a better sense of pathway that the killer took in the making a decision to launch this attack.”

Obama made the brief remarks after meeting with FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other security officials.

131204143041-dc-gun-control-rally-file-gi-story-top

The Orlando shooting and the shooting that might have been in California both are rooted in hate and easy access to guns. Both shooter and potential shooter had histories of mental illness. The Orlando shooter had a history of Domestic violence which in many states would stop him from getting access to any gun. Clearly, we have a problem in this country with hate and guns turned on the hapless population. One of our political parties has weaponized hatred and bigotry then enabled shooters by catering to all the whims of the most radical elements of the NRA gun lobby.

Clinton is right. This has to end on all accounts.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: Peel the Bern

1920Good Afternoon!

As you know, I live in a world of data, hypotheses and generally accepted theory.  I don’t go on a tear about anything without collecting my thoughts and enough information to know of what I speak. Even then, I rarely venture far from the topics I’ve studied and researched for decades.

I marvel at policy wonks.  It’s what actually got me supporting Hillary Clinton in 2008.  It was obvious by the second primary debate which person had the policy chops other than possibly Joe Biden who I still won’t forget or forgive over his treatment of Anita Hill. I dropped my dalliance with John Edwards right about then and never looked back.

So, it really drives me crazy when I see someone running for higher office–and has held fairly high office–who consistently collects lots of Pinocchios from the Fact Check gurus. Some people really fake policy chops but when you attach their comments to data and accepted theory, they go straight into some ideological playground where reality never climbs the slide. My best example of that is our not-so-esteemed former Governor Bobby Jindal who could put on a straight face to tell incredible whoppers. It made you wonder how he ever got through several Ivy League universities without being a legacy with a father donating entire buildings .

It’s why I have developed an appreciation for Rachel Maddow albeit, even Rachel can get caught up in one of those leg thrill moments.  Rachel’s leg must no longer be tingling for the Bernmeister of disproved memes because here’s yet another example on MaddowBlog of the now oft repeated thought “WTF is this man doing and saying and why?”  I mean, how many Pinocchios can one man get and still be taken seriously as a candidate?

The NYDN interview wasn’t the low point of his campaign’s dizzying spin. But from that particular interview going backwards and forwards, it’s evident that foreign policy isn’t Sanders’ bailiwick.  Stalking Popes like a Fanboy is nothing compared to continually showing up on TV talk shows and messing up on Middle East policy.  Middle East Policy is probably the biggest of all the big fucking deals an American President must manage.

How can some one running for President be so total unaware of basics?  How many more My Pet Goat moments do we get from this guy before his cult buys a clue?

When Bernie Sanders struggled during a recent interview with the New York Daily News, the criticisms largely focused on his apparent lack of preparation. It’s not that the senator’s answers were substantively controversial, but rather, Sanders responded to several questions with answers such as, “I don’t know the answer to that,” “Actually I haven’t thought about it a whole lot,” and “You’re asking me a very fair question, and if I had some paper in front of me, I would give you a better answer.”
He ran into similar trouble during a recent interview with the Miami Herald, which asked Sanders about the Cuban Adjustment Act, which establishes the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy that may be due for a re-evaluation. The senator responded, “I have to tell you that I am not up to date on that issue as I can” be.
The interviews raised questions about his depth of understanding, particularly outside of the issues that make up his core message. Yesterday, making his 42nd Sunday show appearance of 2016, Sanders ran into similar trouble during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash.
BASH: Let’s talk about something in the news that will be on your plate as a sitting U.S. senator. Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if Congress allows the Saudi government to held – to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the 9/11 attacks. How do you intend to vote as a senator?
SANDERS: Well, I need more information before I can give you a decision.
Though the senator spoke generally about his concerns regarding Saudi Arabia, the host pressed further, asking if he supports allowing Americans to hold Saudi Arabia liable in U.S. courts. Sanders replied, “Well, you’re going to hear – you’re asking me to give you a decision about a situation and a piece of legislation that I am not familiar with at this point. And I have got to have more information on that. So, you have got to get some information before you can render, I think, a sensible decision.

How exactly does one become a US Senator and not take his job seriously enough to be remotely familiar with legislation tumblr_nktp26KjOo1upanydo1_1280pending discussion and your vote?  Benen has written some additions to his MaddowBlog post that are worth considering.

Let’s not brush past the significance of the bill itself. The Times’report from the weekend noted that Saudi officials have threatened to “sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”
The State Department and the Pentagon have urged Congress not to pass the bill, warning of “diplomatic and economic fallout.” The legislation is nevertheless moving forward – it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously – and it enjoys support from some of the chamber’s most liberal and most conservative members.

This seems to be a typical Bernie thing.  Anything that’s not within his old school class war frame isn’t worth investigating. He’ll just toss out a vote eventually and then we’ll hear how his judgement is far superior because  Iraq War vote.  At what point do folks hold him responsible for everything else? Where is the evaluation of his judgement on topics like say, credible gun control laws or Amber Alerts?  Why do his followers ignore the details and go straight to the idea of a yuuuggggeee movement, yada yada yada.

The one thing I hear continually on all forms of social media is that there is somehow some huge movement out there ledAmerican Female Scientists at Work (1) by the Bernmeister that will spontaneously change everything including the need for sliced bread.  Where the hell is it if all you can do is win outback, highly white caucus states and a couple wide open primaries? Is there evidence of any progressive insurgency? Where is there evidence that this gadfly Senator from Vermont is leading it?  Jamelle Bouie peels the Bern at Slate.

Sanders identifies as a “democratic socialist” and has been at an official remove from the Democratic Party for the whole of his congressional career.

But as just a glance at his record shows, this is more cosmetic than anything else. There’s no doubt that in his pre-political career, Sanders was devoted to socialist politics, such as they existed in the United States. But as a legislator, he has caucused with Democrats, voted with Democrats, fundraised for Democrats, and he’s now in line to run a Senate committee under Democrats.

Remove his “socialist” branding, which even he defines as little more than an updated form of New Deal liberalism, and you’re left with a candidate who strongly resembles other insurgent candidates going back to the beginning of the modern primary process, from George McGovern to Jerry Brown to Bill Bradley to Howard Dean. He relies on “authenticity” as contrasted with the “calculated” positioning of mainstream candidates. He stands on the ideological left, a factional figure who seeks to pull the party in his direction, or pry concessions from a reluctant establishment. And his support comes from the usual places: Young people (especially college students), white liberals, and the most ideological actors within the Democratic Party.

Just look at the rhetoric. Sanders has a consistent message: Using their wealth, powerful interests have rigged the game against you. “What the American people are saying—and, by the way, I hear this not just from progressives, but from conservatives and from moderates—is that we can no longer continue to have a campaign finance system in which Wall Street and the billionaire class are able to buy elections,” Sanders said in his New Hampshire victory speech this February. “Americans, no matter what their political view may be, understand that that is not what democracy is about.”

…Sanders is a factional candidate of ideological liberal Democrats, who are largely white Democrats. The difference between now and then, however, is that, with the collapse of conservative white Democrats in the South and elsewhere, those liberal whites make up a larger share of the party. They provide more fuel for an insurgency. But they’re still not enough to overcome the influence of moderates and stalwart black voters, who form a majority of the party. That, in fact, was the fate of previous insurgencies, which crashed on the rocks of math. Ideological liberals are among the loudest Democrats, but they are a minority within the entire party. And while that minority is larger and stronger than it’s been in a generation, it’s still not strong enough to steer the party alone. It still has to play coalition politics.

Ah, yes I’m looking for evidence once again.   He may have a consistent message. His actions, however, display something totally different–a guy that grabs on to one thing and never lets go.  Let’s take the $27 donation meme. It’s legendary and  quite Pinocchio-worthy.  This is Phillip Bump writing for WAPO.

At its heart, the idea is just a talking point. Consider the campaign’s press statement after the February reporting period.

“The Sanders campaign in total has tallied more than 4.7 million contributions, compared to [Hillary] Clinton’s 1.5 million,” it concludes. “February’s fundraising brings the campaign’s total raised this cycle to more than $137 million.”

$137 million divided by 4.7 million is … $29.14.

More than 4.7 million contributors means, at most, 4,749,999 — or else the campaign would round up to 4.8 million. Even with that higher number of donors, the average is $28.95. Which is more than $27.

In March, the campaign was apparently under that mark. Its real-time donations tool indicates that $44 million was raised from 1.7 million contributions — about $25 on average. Combining the total through February with those figures, the average drops to $27.88 — or $28 on average.

All of the factors above are still true. As more donations come in, the average will still be in the same ballpark.

The campaign encourages those $27 donations, and his fans are eager to oblige.

But is the average $27 every day? Not according to data from the campaign.

gifko_04That’s the deal with Sanders.  He gloms onto something and that’s it for whatever eternity is for his brain.  That’s really not good unless your goal in life is to be a gadfly Senator from Vermont. It’s certainly not good when you’re going around the country screaming at impressionable young minds that seem to feel the Bern a lot more than research the evidence.

To that end, we have a number of Bernie revisions, but they’re less on current policy issues and more on rewriting his actual take on things historically.  This drives me nuts.   It’s one thing to evolve in your policy but another thing to rewrite your historical positions on policy and act like that’s not happening.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Sunday said Sandy Hook victims should be able to sue gun manufacturers for the 2012 elementary school shooting that killed 20 students and six adults, backtracking on previous comments.

“Of course they have a right to sue, anyone has a right to sue,” the Vermont senator said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Sanders in an interview with the New York Daily News last week initially said the Sandy Hook family members should not have the right to sue gun manufacturers for damages.

“No, I don’t,” he said, in response to a question from the editorial board.

Rival Hillary Clinton attacked Sanders for those comments, calling his stance “unimaginable” and one of her “biggest contrasts” with the Vermont senator.

Sanders on Sunday said that a gun store owner who legally sells a weapon shouldn’t be held liable for crimes committed with it.

He said he opposes the sales of assault-style weapons in the U.S., such as the one used at Sandy Hook.

e774864ccaa06a6ebd0c1054574b1fb2Uh, hello?  Earth to Bernie?

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) had some tough words Monday for Bernie Sanders on his gun control stance.

“It’s so crippling. I mean, I sat down with a mother last week in Brooklyn, and she lost her 4-year-old baby… she took her kid to a park. Every mom takes their kid to a park. And she took her kid to a park and the kid was killed, a baby, a 4-year-old, a little toddler,” the Hillary Clinton supporter told Politico, tearing up. “[Sanders] doesn’t have the sensitivity he needs to the horror that is happening in these families. I just don’t think he’s fully getting how horrible it is for these families.”

Sanders has opposed holding weapons manufacturers responsible for gun violence.

Bernie is feeling the heat on this issue from everywhere prior to the NY primary tomorrow. Is that the reason for the apparent flip flop yesterday?

Gabrielle Giffords’ husband joined with Hillary Clinton to pummel Bernie Sanders for his stance on guns Sunday as the Vermont senator showed signs he had rethought his position at the last minute.

Astronaut Mark Kelly — who helped former Rep. Giffords recover from a 2011 assassination attempt in which six people were killed — slammed Sanders during a rally at Five Towns College in Dix Hills, L.I., for voting against the 1993 Brady Bill that mandated background checks for gun buyers.

“That’s a pretty serious vote and one that Hillary Clinton’s opponent did not take too seriously — and that vote is very telling,” Kelly said.

He lamented that Congress failed to pass any legislation to combat gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre, calling politicians’ response “pretty pathetic.”

“I mean, it was basically nothing. After such a horrific tragedy, the United States Senate, in particular, did something remarkable and that was to do nothing,” Kelly said.

I can’t believe any New Yorker isn’t going to see that cynical ploy for what it is. It’s joined by its twin cynical ploy ambush the Pope and call it a meeting.  Clinton, on the other hand, came out strong this il_570xN.322587605weekend on the need for sensible gun laws to reduce gun violence.It’s something she’s been consistent on since speaking with the families of gun violence.

Gun violence and killings by police are “part of the same threat” that faces young African-Americans, Hillary Clinton told a congregation in Westchester Sunday.

“Guns are not the answer to anything,” Clinton said while stumping at Grace Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon. “They are the answer to nothing except pain and heartbreak and ruined lives.”

Clinton has made a group of mothers whose children were killed by gun violence or in police custody a core part of her campaign, and was joined by three of them Sunday.

“We must stand up to the gun lobby, just as we must end police violence and killings. They are part of the same threat that too often injures and even kills too many young people,” she said.

Ahead of New York’s primary on Tuesday, Clinton has hammered away at her differences with rival Bernie Sanders on gun control issues.

“The gun lobby is the most powerful lobby in Washington — in our country,” she said. “Nobody else running on either side is willing to take the stands that I think must be taken.”

I’m pretty sure stalking the Pope and flip flopping so obviously must be a sign of some Bern-out. I just want to get this over.

Come on New York!  Peel the Bern tomorrow!  Let’s put it so far out of his reach that his vanity campaign ends here. Then let’s primary the Gadfly into retirement!

Join us tomorrow for a live blog of the returns!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: B-52 Bomber, Sean Penn and El Chapo

Hello and good afternoon.

 

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 01/09/2016 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

 

This post will be a combination of cartoons and links. On Friday night my mom and I had a bout of food poisoning…and I was in no condition for putting up a cartoon thread that evening.

So sit back and take it in, here are your Sunday Links:

It sounds like a Hollywood movie:

Sean Penn reveals interview with fugitive drug baron El Chapo | World news | The Guardian

Actor and activist Sean Penn turned gonzo journalist and got an interview with the world’s most wanted man, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, just after the Mexican drug baron escaped from a maximum-security prison, it has emerged.

At his hideouts in the impenetrable hills of western Mexico, Guzmán told the Hollywood star about his drugs business, rags-to-riches life story and how he hired European engineers to help him to slip out of the prison.

Mexican authorities claim they monitored Penn’s movements after they found out about his meeting with Guzmán in October and that helped lead them to a ranch where El Chapo was staying.

Guzmán, fresh from his escape through anexpertly engineered tunnel, told Penn in a seven-hour visit and follow-up video for an article published in Rolling Stone: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world … I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”

There is plenty of articles on this story…

01/08/2016 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

The main thrust of the juicy tidbits comes from Rolling Stone, which broke the video interviews of Penn and El Chapo:

El Chapo Speaks | Rolling Stone

(By line is Sean Penn btw…)

Disclosure: Some names have had
 to be changed, locations not named, and an understanding was brokered with the subject that this piece would be submitted for the subject’s approval before publication. The subject did not ask for any changes.

“The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom.” —Montaigne

It’s September 28th, 2015. My head is swimming, labeling TracPhones (burners), one per contact, one per day, destroy, burn, buy, balancing levels of encryption, mirroring through Blackphones, anonymous e-mail addresses, unsent messages accessed in draft form. It’s a clandestine horror show for the single most technologically illiterate man left standing. At 55 years old, I’ve never learned to use a laptop. Do they still make laptops? No fucking idea! It’s 4:00 in the afternoon. Another gorgeous fall day in New York City. The streets are abuzz with the lights and sirens of diplomatic movement, heads of state, U.N. officials, Secret Service details, the NYPD. It’s the week of the U.N. General Assembly. Pope Francis blazed a trail and left town two days before. I’m sitting in my room at the St. Regis Hotel with my colleague and brother in arms, Espinoza.

 

It already reads like a pitch for a film…but please continue…

Espinoza and I have traveled many roads together, but none as unpredictable as the one we are now approaching. Espinoza is the owl who flies among falcons. Whether he’s standing in the midst of a slum, a jungle or a battlefield, his idiosyncratic elegance, mischievous smile and self-effacing charm have a way of defusing threat. His bald head demands your attention to his twinkling eyes. He’s a man fascinated and engaged. We whisper to each other in code. Finally a respite from the cyber technology that’s been sizzling my brain and soul. We sit within quietude of fortified walls that are old New York hotel construction, when walls were walls, and telephones were usable without a Ph.D. We quietly make our plans, sensitive to the paradox that also in our hotel is President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. Espinoza and I leave the room to get outside the hotel, breathe in the fall air and walk the five blocks to a Japanese restaurant, where we’ll meet up with our colleague El Alto Garcia. As we exit onto 55th Street, the sidewalk is lined with the armored SUVs that will transport the president of Mexico to the General Assembly. Paradoxical indeed, as one among his detail asks if I will take a selfie with him. Flash frame: myself and a six-foot, ear-pieced Mexican security operator.

Flash frame: Why is this a paradox? It’s paradoxical because today’s

 

Oh yeah…voice over commanding language like, “the owl who flies with falcons” and don’t forget the flash frame shot directions…definitely screenplay material.

Video tease here:

Watch Two Minutes of El Chapo’s Exclusive Interview | Rolling Stone

Sean Penn, who tracked down the fugitive kingpin, sent questions; Chapo videotaped his responses in his first-ever interview.

Okay, seriously though…the other links are interesting, I just can’t help laughing like hell at the Penn article.

(A note here, these articles are older, from 2011 and mid 2015)

A Timeline of El Chapo’s Close Calls and Narrow Escapes | Rolling Stone

Mexican drug kingpin once came so close to being caught that his coffee was reportedly still warm when authorities arrived

How the Cartels Work | Rolling Stone

Mexican drug lords have transformed the narcotics trade in America — and the DEA appears powerless to stop them

 

Obamacare Repeal Vote: 01/08/2016 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Obamacare Repeal Vote

‘El Chapo’: Sean Penn interview provokes scorn in US – BBC News

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told CNN: “One thing I will tell you is that this braggadocious action about how much heroin he sends around the world, including the United States, is maddening.

“We see a heroin epidemic, an opioid addiction epidemic, in this country… But El Chapo’s behind bars – that’s where he should stay.”

The Mexican authorities are reported to be considering whether to investigate Penn and a Mexican actress, Kate del Castillo, who apparently arranged the interview.

Mr McDonough declined to answer a question about whether the US would hand Penn over to Mexico for questioning.

“Well, it poses a lot of very interesting questions both for him and for others involved in this-so-called interview, so we’ll see what happens on that – I’m not going to get ahead of it,” he said.

Mr Rubio told ABC: “If one of these American actors who have benefited from the greatness of this country, who have made money from our free enterprise system, want to go fawn all over a criminal and a drug trafficker in their interviews, they have a constitutional right to do it. I find it grotesque.”

 

01/08/2016 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

 

This may be the best way to review the Sean Penn article:

5 craziest moments in Sean Penn’s El Chapo Rolling Stone story – Salon.com

“A secret visit with the most wanted man in the world” reads like an Elmore Leonard novel come to life

Saturday night, Rolling Stone published a story written by actor Sean Penn about his efforts to interview notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera — known as El Chapo — that apparently contributed to El Chapo’s arrest last week, following his tunneling-out escape from Altiplano prison last summer. It’s a wild tale of Hollywood connections, jungle hide-outs, military shoot-outs and BlackBerry messaging.

“Sean Penn interview led authorities to El Chapo” might already be the strangest headline of 2016 — but the story gets even stranger from there. This entire caper reads like a chapter from a lost Elmore Leonard novel.

 

Go check that out…

 

 

01/07/2016 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

 

Trump urged to apologise to Muslim protester ejected from rally – BBC News

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has urged Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to apologise to a Muslim protester ejected from one of his rallies.

CAIR said Rose Hamid’s eviction from the rally in South Carolina sent a “chilling message to American Muslims”.

Ms Hamid was removed after making a silent protest on Friday.

Mr Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the US has been widely condemned.

During the rally in the town of Rock Hill, Ms Hamid stood up wearing a T-shirt bearing the words: “Salam, I come in peace” – “Salam” is the Arabic word for peace.

When she stood up, the crowd around her began chanting “Trump! Trump!” as they had reportedly been instructed to do in the event of any interruption, reports the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher from Rock Hill.

Ms Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant, was then told by a security officer that she had to leave. She was booed as she was escorted out.

CAIR said that as well as apologising to Ms Hamid, Mr Trump should “make a clear statement that American Muslims are welcome as fellow citizens and as participants in the nation’s political process”.

No response from Trump.

 

LIFE IS SACRED: 01/07/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - LIFE IS SACRED

The latest shit out of the mouth of a fuckwad: via cnsnews . com… Rep. Chris Smith: ‘Planned Parenthood Dismembers or Chemically Poisons a Baby to Death Every 2 Minutes’

Rep. Chris Smith, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, said on the House floor on Wednesday that Planned Parenthood is “Child Abuse, Incorporated,” and that the group “dismembers or chemically poisons a baby to death every 2 minutes.”

What an embarrassment, he chairs the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Global Human Rights?

The crap spewed. That is a right-wing link so you can look up the title at the site if you must.

This is the actual quote:

Here is the transcript of Rep. Smith’s floor speech:

“Subsidized by over $500 million taxpayer dollars each year, Planned Parenthood dismembers or chemically poisons a baby to death every 2 minutes, killing over 7 million innocent children since 1973.

“Planned Parenthood is Child Abuse, Incorporated. Now undercover videos have exposed in numbing candor several high-level Planned Parenthood leaders gleefully talking about procuring children’s internal organs for a price, all while altering gruesome dismemberment procedures to preserve intact livers, hearts, and lungs from freshly killed babies.

“Far too many politicians, Mr. Speaker, including our Nobel Peace Prizewinning president and much of the media, continue to ignore, trivialize, and even defend these gross human rights abuses.

“So know this: We will not be deterred in exposing this Planned Parenthood scandal no matter how aggressive and misleading the cover-up.

“End taxpayer funding to those who commit these cruel and inhumane acts in this subsidy for Planned Parenthood.

Fucking hell!

What about the real human rights violations that have gone on in this country, specifically in a town called Flint:

Flint’s Water Crisis Is a Human Rights Violation | Al Jazeera America

On Jan. 5, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint and Genesee County, where lead in the area’s drinking water has been showing up at toxic levels in the bloodstreams of children. The water became toxic because of a decision by the government Snyder runs.

In 2014 the city of Flint’s emergency manager, appointed by the state, ordered that the city stop drawing water from Lake Huron and start taking it from the Flint River. However, the river’s corrosive waters stripped lead from the water system’s pipes, contaminating the drinking water. Though the city has switched back to drawing water from Lake Huron, the local water still contains dangerous levels of lead, and local officials are handing out water filters as they try to come up with a solution.

This emergency goes beyond simply a public health problem. (Lead is a potent neurotoxin, which can cause irreversible brain damage in children.) It is something much worse: a human rights abuse in an American city. In 2010, the United Nations declared that “ … clean drinking water … [is] essential to the realization of all human rights.” Flint’s contaminated water will prevent children from realizing their human right to health, enumerated in Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Had these basic human rights factored into the decision to switch Flint’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, Flint’s children might never have been exposed to tainted water. What’s worse, new reports say Snyder’s office found out about the contaminated water and did nothing. For as little as $100 per day the state of Michigan could have treated the water and prevented the life-long suffering that the children of Flint are now going to experience, but instead it prioritized fiscal savings over the health and human rights of children.

Once again, Rep Smith illustrates the perfect example of PLUB….Pro-Life-Until-Birth mentally. GOP pro-life basturds only care for the precious “life” before it pops out of the mother. After that point when it is an actual living person, they don’t give a flying fuck.

 

01/07/2016 Cartoon by Randy Bish

Cartoon by Randy Bish -

Case in point: LA-area residents implore officials to approve plan to mitigate gas leak | Reuters

 

At least it is starting to get more press…

 

01/06/2016 Cartoon by Randy Bish

Cartoon by Randy Bish -

Did y’all see this?

Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof running for Nevada senate – NY Daily News

It really is becoming a world like Idiocracy.

 

 

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Kim Jong-un’s ally: 01/07/2016 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Kim Jong-un's ally

On the other side of the globe, a show of old cold war tactics has been making headlines overnight.

US deploys B-52 bomber after North Korea’s nuclear test – Al Jazeera English

US bomber flies over South Korea amid standoff over North Korea nuclear tests | World news | The Guardian

U.S. flies B-52 over South Korea after North’s nuclear test | Reuters

 

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (C) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (C) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (R) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A U.S. Air Force B-52 (R) flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

 

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Oregon Yeehawdists: 01/06/2016 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Oregon Yeehawdists

 

In Middle Eastern news:

US releases video of Iran firing unguided rockets close to aircraft carrier | US news | The Guardian

and finally:

Deal struck for aid to reach besieged Syrian towns – Al Jazeera English

And in Spain:

Catalan separatists to form regional government after president steps aside | World news | The Guardian

 

01/08/2016 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -

 

This is a big story, Over 200 Members of German Choir Were Abused, Investigator Says – The New York Times

At least 231 children who sang in a boys’ choir led for 30 years by the brother of former Pope Benedict XVIwere abused over a period of almost four decades, a lawyer investigating reports of wrongdoing said Friday.

The lawyer, Ulrich Weber, who was commissioned by the choir to look into accusations of beatings, torture or sexual abuse, said he thought that the actual abuse was even more widespread.

At a news conference in Regensburg, Bavaria, where the choir traces its roots to the year 975, Mr. Weber estimated that from 1953 to 1992, every third member of the choir and an attached school suffered some kind of physical abuse.

He attributed the beatings and other mistreatment mostly to Johann Meier, director of a lower school attached to the choir from 1953 until his retirement in 1992. Mr. Meier died suddenly later that year, Mr. Weber said. A 1987 investigation of reported abuse did not prompt the choir’s leaders to remove Mr. Meier or take other action, the lawyer said.

Asked whether Benedict’s brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, who conducted the Regensburg choir from 1964 to 1994, had known of the abuse, Mr. Weber said, “After my research, I must assume so.”

Those Fuckers!

 

MILITIA SNACKS: 01/08/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - MILITIA SNACKS

 

For a few updates on the militia nuts:

Ranchers’ Cause, Not Tactics, Gains Support in GOP Circles – ABC News

Republicans have widely condemned the efforts by a group of armed ranchers to reclaim federal land in eastern Oregon, but the ranchers’ goal of taking back some of Washington’s vast holdings in the West has gained traction in the GOP.

The decades-old idea could garner even more momentum should the party recapture theWhite House this year.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has proposed preventing the federal government from owning more than 50 percent of the land in any state, which would require changes, for example, in Alaska, Nevada and other western states.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has backed legislation to give states the ability to develop energy resources on federal land and told the Des Moines Register editorial board that “the federal government owns far too much land” in the West.

Both senators backed an amendment offered by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski last year that would make it easier for federal land to be returned to state control.

Experts: ‘Militiamen’ Live Hand To Mouth On Gov’t Disability And Their Wives’ Hard Work «

Jon Ritzheimer, infamous right-wing terrorist and incredible douchebag, barely squeaks by on his government disability check and has said that he is “thankful to have a wife who works.” As it turns out, experts tell us that this guy who spends his days fighting imaginary battles and sucking up a good man’s oxygen isn’t the exception to the demographics that make up a right-wing terrorist militia, he’s the definition.

“These guys are broke,” said Mark Pitcavage, who has been researching far-right movements for 22 years and has studied the Harney County occupiers. “Right-wing extremists, generally speaking, have very little money.”

How a right-wing extremist occupation like the one in Oregon would pay for itself isn’t exactly an issue there’s been a lot of data on. By referencing the research of people like Pitcavage, we can deduce that right-wing extremists are for the most part freeloaders, likened to teenagers who think they can take care of themselves but overwhelmed the first time they have to pay a bill or do a load of laundry.

“It’s quite possible that a lot of them will get tired and feel the pressure to go back and care for their families,” Pitcavage explained. Those families, left behind to care for themselves, are probably better off without their “patriarch,” the almighty man who controls everything and can make the decision to just pack up and leave on a whim to occupy a forest a thousand miles away that they’ve never heard of before last week.

Daryl Johnson, a former DHS domestic terrorism analyst, says militia members have a warped sense of priority where their “duty” is concerned. A video released by Ritzheimer showed him crying that he would probably be killed and how much he would miss his family just before he held up a copy of the Constitution and declared “But…I took an oath.”

“They’ll think nothing about taking half their paycheck and using half of it to buy ammunition and guns,” Johnson told The Oregonian.

The gist here is that these idiots aren’t just the worst the American gene pool has to offer, they’re also incredible assholes who are neglecting their families to go play soldier in the Oregon wilderness. They’re holed up in a facility they didn’t pay to be at, squeezing the taxpayer for their utilities and costing tens if not hundreds of thousands more in wages paid to employees who can’t go to work.

01/10/2016 Cartoon by Randy Bish

Cartoon by Randy Bish -

 

Zandar Versus The Stupid: Last Call For Here We Go Again, Day 7

The Bundy seditionists’ call for backup has been heeded by one of the more nasty armed insurrection/white supremacist groups out there, Idaho’s “Three Percent” movement.

Members of a group from outside Oregon arrived on Friday at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to “secure a perimeter” around the compound and prevent “a Waco-style situation.”

The arrival of the “3% of Idaho” was the latest development in the situation outside Burns, where an armed occupation of the refuge by an Ammon Bundy-led militant group entered its seventh day.

“They just keep an eye on everything that is going on” to make sure “nothing stupid happens,” Bundy said Friday afternoon outside refuge headquarters.

“If they weren’t here,” Bundy said, referring to the Idaho group, “I’d worry” about a Waco-style siege by federal officials.

The group’s website says it stands for “freedom, liberty and the Constitution. We will combat all those who are corrupt.” The website displays the motto, “When Tyranny Becomes Law, Rebellion Becomes Duty!”

As Dave Neiwert reminds us, these assholes are pretty deep into Islamophobia and armed insurrection.  They marched against settling Syrian refugees in Twin Falls, Idaho in October and again in Boise in November and the real danger is of course these jagoffs are national.

The Idaho group is only the local affiliate of a broader (though hardly numerous) national movement that takes its name from the notion that only 3 percent of the people living in the colonies took part in the American Revolution – thus, the name is intended to invoke the would-be combatants in a “second American Revolution,” as its proponents like to proclaim.

The movement is largely the brainchild of Michael Vanderboegh, the onetime militiaman who in recent years has been specializing in incendiary rhetoric supporting the notion that any attempts at federal gun control will spark a new civil war, or better yet, a new revolution.

As Boston Boomer noted yesterday, these dudes are using the internet and gaining access to federal employee records…when the hell is this going to end. Like the cartoon above, if the men were any color but white, you know it would have been over long ago.

0108mike luckovich: tears | Mike Luckovich

lk010816_color

 

From the freak department:

Idaho mountain lion deformity puzzles biologists – CBS News

This Dec. 30, 2015, photo released by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), shows a deformed mountain lion with teeth growing out of its forehead. Biologists are trying to determine what caused the strange growth on the animal, which was legally killed by a hunter in southeast Idaho near the Utah border.

IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME VIA AP

 

State wildlife biologists have been left puzzled over a mountain lion found with teeth growing out the side of its forehead in southeast Idaho near the Utah border.

CBS affiliate KBOI reports an unidentified hunter caught the yearling cougar last week near Weston. Idaho Fish and Game biologists say they’ve never seen such a “bizarre” abnormality before.

[…]

Biologist Zach Lockyer says the teeth were protruding from hard tissue on the left side of the mountain lion’s forehead.

Biologists speculate the animal’s deformity may possibly be the result of either a conjoined twin that died in the womb or a rare tumor. Another possibility is ateratoma tumor, which are tumors that allow teeth, hair, fingers and toes to grow, and are incredibly rare in humans and animals.

Could it be a sign…since those Idaho assholes have joined the Oregon dumbfarts in the “standoff”?

I don’t know. But if there ever was a symbol of a giant fucked up threat against peace…to me it sure would be some freakish deformed mountain lion from Idaho with nasty teeth protruding from the animals forehead.

Bad omen if you ask me.

 

 

 

 

Since the Thin Man was mentioned last week, I thought might as well give you all a Tired Old Queen video link….enjoy:

STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies – THE THIN MAN & AFTER THE THIN MAN – YouTube

 

And a bonus too:

STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies – THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL – YouTube

 

This is an open thread…