Friday Reads: Animal Farm

It’s difficult not to think about what the current state of affairs means in terms of the celebration of Independence Day as we head into Fourth of July Festivities.  Our country was born of the Age of Reason.  Thomas Jefferson–who wrote the document proclaiming US Independence–was an amateur scientist and philosopher.  He might be considered the ideal Renaissance man if he had also found a way to support his causes and lifestyle with employees instead of slaves.

There’s always been this dark side to the American Dream and there have been many people throughout history who have fought those inclinations. It’s been a slow climb from the idea that we all are created equal to getting to a society that actually lives that value. The climb continues.

Why is it so difficult to treat one another with the respect and dignity we each deserve?

The Republican leadership and Administration is based on the most vulgar, salacious, and base motivations we’ve witnessed since Andrew Jackson was committing mass genocide on human beings he considered “savages” and since a group of people considered the nation’s black Americans to be not wholly human.  They deemed all folks with African descent to be precisely 3/5ths human.  All of this was done in the name of the same religion that tortures our better angels today.

The cognitive dissonance is simply mind boggling.  Today, Ahvaz Iran has reached an almost unheard of temperature of 129.  It’s one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded on the planet. 

Another weather source, the Weather Underground, said Ahvaz hit 129.2 degrees Thursday afternoon. The heat index, which also takes humidity into account, hit an incredible 142 degrees.

Fortunately, the weather forecast for Ahvaz on Friday is for “cooler” weather, with a high of only 119 degrees, according to AccuWeather.

The official all-time world record temperature remains the 134-degree temperature measured at Death Valley, Calif, on July 10, 1913. However, some experts say that temperature isn’t reliable. Weather Underground weather historian Christopher Burt said in 2016 that such an extreme temperature was “not possible from a meteorological perspective.”

Scorching heat is one of the most expected outcomes of man-made climate change, according to a 2016 report from the National Academy of Sciences and a 2015 study in Nature Climate Change.

The prestigious magazine  Science published a study estimating the economic cost of climate change to the US economy.  It’s not pretty.  You can read the fully study at the link.  This is its Abstract.

Estimates of climate change damage are central to the design of climate policies. Here, we develop a flexible architecture for computing damages that integrates climate science, econometric analyses, and process models. We use this approach to construct spatially explicit, probabilistic, and empirically derived estimates of economic damage in the United States from climate change. The combined value of market and nonmarket damage across analyzed sectors—agriculture, crime, coastal storms, energy, human mortality, and labor—increases quadratically in global mean temperature, costing roughly 1.2% of gross domestic product per +1°C on average. Importantly, risk is distributed unequally across locations, generating a large transfer of value northward and westward that increases economic inequality. By the late 21st century, the poorest third of counties are projected to experience damages between 2 and 20% of county income (90% chance) under business-as-usual emissions (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5).

Meanwhile, the man responsible for the EPA–professional whackadoodle Scott Pruitt–launches  program to ‘critique’ climate science.

“We are in fact very excited about this initiative,” the official added. “Climate science, like other fields of science, is constantly changing. A new, fresh and transparent evaluation is something everyone should support doing.”

The disclosure follows the administration’s suggestions over several days that it supports reviewing climate science outside the normal peer-review process used by scientists. This is the first time agency officials acknowledged that Pruitt has begun that process. The source said Energy Secretary Rick Perry also favors the review.

Executives in the coal industry interpret the move as a step toward challenging the endangerment finding, the agency’s legal foundation for regulating greenhouse gases from cars, power plants and other sources. Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., said Pruitt assured him yesterday that he plans to begin reviewing the endangerment finding within months.

“We talked about that, and they’re going to start addressing it later this year,” Murray said in an interview. “They’re going to start getting a lot of scientific people in to give both sides of the issue.”

But another person attending the meeting said Pruitt resisted committing to a full-scale challenge of the 2009 finding. The administration source also said Pruitt “did not promise to try to rescind the endangerment finding.”

Climate scientists express concern that the “red team, blue team” concept could politicize scientific research and disproportionately elevate the views of a relatively small number of experts who disagree with mainstream scientists (Climatewire, June 29).

Pruitt told about 30 people attending a board meeting of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity yesterday morning that he’s establishing a “specific process” to review climate science, the administration official said. Murray and two other people in the room interpreted Pruitt as saying he would challenge the endangerment finding.

Challenging the endangerment finding would be enormously difficult, according to many lawyers. The finding is built on an array of scientific material establishing that human health and welfare is endangered by a handful of greenhouse gases emitted by industry, power plants and cars. It stems from a Supreme Court ruling in 2007.

If Pruitt somehow succeeded in rolling back the finding — an outcome that many Republicans say is far-fetched — the federal government would no longer be required to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

Other evidence that there is no sign of intelligent life in the majority of Republicans are  these doozies:

Trump Administration Appoints Anti-Transgender Activist To Gender Equality Post

“To put it simply, a boy claiming gender confusion must now be allowed in the same shower, bathroom, or locker room with my daughter,” wrote the new senior adviser for women’s empowerment at USAID.

Oh, and this one.

White House council for women and girls goes dark under Trump

The administration is evaluating whether to keep the office, created under President Barack Obama to focus on gender equality

I agree with Ezra Klein on this: “It turns out the liberal caricature of conservatism is correct. It’s depressing. But it’s true.”  These people are motivated by greed and feeding a group of religious zealots who think Eve is the root of all evil and any one not pristine white carries the stain of sin.

Marc Thiessen, the George W. Bush speechwriter who now writes a column for the Washington Post op-ed page, is aghast at the Senate GOP’s health care bill. “Paying for a massive tax cut for the wealthy with cuts to health care for the most vulnerable Americans is morally reprehensible,” he says.

“If Republicans want to confirm every liberal caricature of conservatism in a single piece of legislation, they could do no better than vote on the GOP bill in its current form.”

But at what point do we admit that this isn’t the liberal caricature of conservatism? It’s just … conservatism.

Though Republicans had long promised the country a repeal-and-replace plan that offered better coverage at lower cost, the House GOP’s health care bill cut hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes for the rich and paid for it by gutting health care spending on the poor. It was widely criticized and polled terribly.

Senate Republicans responded by releasing a revised health care bill that also cut hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes for the rich and paid for it by gutting health care spending on the poor. It has also been widely criticized, and it also is polling terribly.

Donald Trump, who ran on a platform of covering everyone with better health insurance than they get now, has endorsed both bills.

Republicans, in other words, have repeatedly broken their promises and defied public opinion in order to release health care bills that cut spending on the poorest Americans to fund massive tax cuts for the richest Americans. (The Tax Policy Center estimates that 44.6 percent of the Senate bill’s tax cuts go to households making more than $875,000.)

Fundamentalism of all sorts has always been the basis of the evil done by this country.  Republicans are feeding it.

How do you make climate change personal to someone who believes only God can alter the weather? How do you make racial equality personal to someone who believes whites are naturally superior to non-whites? How do you make gender equality personal to someone who believes women are supposed to be subservient to men by God’s command? How do you get someone to view minorities as not threatening personal to people who don’t live around and never interact with them? How do you make personal the fact massive tax cuts and cutting back government hurts their economic situation when they’ve voted for these for decades? I don’t think you can without some catastrophic events. And maybe not even then. The Civil War was pretty damn catastrophic yet a large swath of the South believed and still believes they were right, had the moral high ground. They were/are also mostly Christian fundamentalists who believe they are superior because of the color of their skin and the religion they profess to follow. There is a pattern here for anyone willing to connect the dots.

“Rural, white America needs to be better understood,” is not one of the dots. “Rural, white America needs to be better understood,” is a dodge, meant to avoid the real problems because talking about the real problems is viewed as “too upsetting,” “too mean,” “too arrogant,” “too elite,” “too snobbish.” Pointing out Aunt Bee’s views of Mexicans, blacks, gays…is bigoted isn’t the thing one does in polite society. Too bad more people don’t think the same about the views Aunt Bee has. It’s the classic, “You’re a racist for calling me a racist,” ploy. Or, as it is more commonly known, “I know you are but what am I?”

I do think rational arguments are needed, even if they go mostly ignored and ridiculed. I believe in treating people with the respect they’ve earned but the key point here is “earned.” I’ll gladly sit down with Aunt Bee and have a nice, polite conversation about her beliefs about “the gays,” “the blacks,” “illegals,”…and do so without calling her a bigot or a racist. But, this doesn’t mean she isn’t a bigot and a racist and if I’m asked to describe her beliefs these are the only words that honestly fit. No one with cancer wants to be told they have cancer, but just because no one uses the word, “cancer,” it doesn’t mean they don’t have it. Just because the media, pundits on all sides, some Democratic leaders don’t want to call the actions of many rural, Christian, white Americans, “racist/bigoted” doesn’t make them not so.

Paul Krugman is more succinct.  He calls it Republican ‘cruelty’. It is exactly that.

The puzzle — and it is a puzzle, even for those who have long since concluded that something is terribly wrong with the modern G.O.P. — is why the party is pushing this harsh, morally indefensible agenda.

Think about it. Losing health coverage is a nightmare, especially if you’re older, have health problems and/or lack the financial resources to cope if illness strikes. And since Americans with those characteristics are precisely the people this legislation effectively targets, tens of millions would soon find themselves living this nightmare.

Meanwhile, taxes that fall mainly on a tiny, wealthy minority would be reduced or eliminated. These cuts would be big in dollar terms, but because the rich are already so rich, the savings would make very little difference to their lives.

More than 40 percent of the Senate bill’s tax cuts would go to people with annual incomes over $1 million — but even these lucky few would see their after-tax income rise only by a barely noticeable 2 percent.

So it’s vast suffering — including, according to the best estimates, around 200,000 preventable deaths — imposed on many of our fellow citizens in order to give a handful of wealthy people what amounts to some extra pocket change. And the public hates the idea: Polling shows overwhelming popular opposition, even though many voters don’t realize just how cruel the bill really is. For example, only a minority of voters are aware of the plan to make savage cuts to Medicaid.

In fact, my guess is that the bill has low approval even among those who would get a significant tax cut. Warren Buffett has denounced the Senate bill as the “Relief for the Rich Act,” and he’s surely not the only billionaire who feels that way.

Which brings me back to my question: Why would anyone want to do this?

Because they can and because they love power and money.  Their mega-rich donors will shower them in both.

I think we can forever ask ourselves the big question of why do these uneducated white people continually fall for it?  The answer is that their life basically sucks and they’re doing what ever they can to feel better about it. Religion and Republicans give them a feeling of superiority based on the only thing they have: the identity birth gave them.  Every one is paying an awful price for that.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today? Tuesday is Independence Day if we can keep it.

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Wednesday Reads: It’s Black…Its White…It’s Whiter White

Good Afternoon

As you will notice today’s post is being accompanied by black and white stripes. (Or are they white and black stripes?)

Black and white printed stripes, black shadows against white skin, or white lights streaming upwards against a black night.

Whatever the case may be, I think the last few days have brought home my deepest fears…perhaps it is because I live in Banjoville, a town that is so predominately Trump territory. So I have the intimate knowledge of the “phenomena” that is Trump-ism… you know that shit that so many dumb-asses in the media write about…let me tell you plain and simple what is Trump’s Juju with the crowd who is voting for him come November.

It is white supremacy.

Shall I repeat it? Yes, I think I should.

White Supremacy.

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And it brings with it all the other horrible baggage you would expect…the usual racism, hate, intolerance, misogyny, assholism, and all the rest peppered with a shit load of “christian values” as they define the code of religious virtue…as it applies to who they feel deserves it. Which you all know is limited to those they consider “right” enough (white enough) to meet the approved standard.

imageAs this quote from Juan Cole, when speaking about the shit-stain Rep. Stephen King…and his disgusting comment at the RNC on Monday: Rep. Stephen King, White People and ‘Civilization’

Rep. Steve King objected to a comment during a cable news discussion at MSNBC that this will be the last election dominated by old white people.


Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) offered an unusual defense of the racial homogeneity of his party during a panel on MSNBC Monday evening.

The group, led by Chris Hayes, was discussing the first day of the Republican national convention and Donald Trump’s history of racially-loaded comments and behavior. King told Hayes that he thought Trump had “modified” his behavior in that regard, but Esquire’s Charlie Pierce said he didn’t see much diversity reflected in the gathering itself.

image“If you’re really optimistic, you can say that this is the last time that old white people will command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face,” Pierce said. “That hall is wired,” he continued. “That hall is wired by loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people.”

King objected.

“This ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” King said. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

image“Than white people?” Hayes asked, clearly amazed.

“Than, than Western civilization itself,” King replied. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

There are lots of basic things wrong with King’s statement, even just starting with his category of ‘whiteness’. Whiteness is not ‘natural’– it is an invented category. Were Irish white? A lot of English didn’t think so. “Whites” rioted against Greek immigrants to the US. White supremacists still argue over whether to let in Italian-Americans. Me, I don’t want to be called white and I decline that categorization whenever the government or other people with questionnaires will let me. The Appalachian side of my family probably has some Melungeon to it and some of us aren’t all that ‘white.’

imageCole goes on to correct King’s ridiculous statement about “civilization” here:

If by civilization is meant urban society with high rates of literacy, scientific and technological innovation, role specialization and division of labor, and high levels of collective government, then northern European Christians did not invent it.

Iraq, Iran, India, China and Egypt did. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites, Persians, Indians, Chinese and the Pharaohs of Egypt had civilization for thousands of years while Celts in Britain were painting themselves blue and doing hunting and gathering in the wastes.

There is way more at the link, please go and read the full article.

imageYou can see video of the statements here: America And White Cultural Superiority: Representative Steve King

Of course it is no use to show or tell these Trumptarians the facts. Because they will go on, completely make up false stuff, put it in school books and teach it to the young children. And hey, they don’t even have to stick to charter schools anymore, in Texas…where most of the US public schools purchase their textbooks to use in the public education system, fact is a thing of the past.

A Textbook That Paints Mexican-Americans As Lazy Could Be Coming To A School Near You

It’s “deeply flawed,” but that hasn’t stopped the Texas State Board of Education before.

imageA proposed Mexican-American studies textbook has drawn harsh criticism for what Latino educators and scholars in Texas are calling a lack of scholarly expertise, major factual inaccuracies and demeaning characterizations of Mexican-Americans.

“What we have now is a deeply flawed and a deeply offensive textbook,” Celina Moreno, of the Texas Latino Education Coalition, said at a Monday press conference.

Groups like Moreno’s came together with professors who specialize in Mexican-American heritage, and who had been independently scrutinizing the textbook, to share some of their disturbing findings.

imageEmilio Zamora, a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, reviewed material that covered the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48 to the present. He said he found “five to seven serious, serious errors per page,” which render the entire publication “useless and even counterproductive.”

The Texas State Board of Education is currently reviewing the book for potential approval. Although the book’s fate is far from clear, the board has previously approved textbooks and curricula that deny climate change, promote creationism, whitewash historical events and maintain that the roots of Western democracy are found in the Bible.

And last year, the board rejected a proposal that state-approved elementary and high school textbooks be fact-checked by academics. 

imageOh, that emphasis is mine…

Because of the state’s tremendous clout in the educational publishing world, Dan Quinn of the nonpartisan educational watchdog group Texas Freedom Network told HuffPost that content that makes the grade in the Lone Star State is likely to be adopted ― in some form or another ― well beyond its borders.

I really feel that this has been coming for some time. I remember writing about this textbook shit years ago…it is one of the topics we have discussed frequently on the blog.

The lone proposal for a Mexican-American heritage textbook came from Momentum Instructions, a company linked to Cynthia Dunbar, a former education board member known for her extreme conservative views. Quinn described her four-year term on the board as “one culture war after another.”

imageIn a 2008 book titled One Nation Under God ― released while Dunbar was still serving on the state board ― she called public education “tyrannical” and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion,” according to the Texas Observer.

As for the proposed textbook, Quinn suggested that Dunbar and its authors were seeking to “promote their own political and personal ideas.” He said the authors lack credible expertise in the field of Mexican-American studies.

Emails and calls to Momentum Instructions were not immediately returned.

For a few more remarks on this “textbook” see this article: Scholars Have Scathing Reviews for Mexican-American History Textbook

imageIt sounds like something you would expect in a nation that has Trump as the official GOP Candidate for President…

As the State Board of Education (SBOE) is accepting comments on the book before voting on it in November, a group of academics and advocacy groups decided to take a closer look at Mexican American Heritage. Organized as the Responsible Ethnic Studies Textbook Coalition, they announced their reviews Monday morning at the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) offices in Austin.

As it went on, the press conference began to sound more like the least successful book blurb pitch session ever:

“A deeply flawed and deeply offensive textbook that has no place in Texas classrooms.” — Celina Moreno, Texas Latino Education Coalition

image“Useless and even counter-productive.” — Emilio Zamora, professor of history at UT-Austin

“Replete with … offensive racial stereotypes.” — Lilliana Saldaña, associate professor of Mexican-American studies at UT-San Antonio

“So riddled with factual errors that a traditional publisher would not have recognized or tried to publish this book.” — Christopher Carmona, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies-Tejas Foco

“Willfully irresponsible, culturally chauvinist and discriminatory.” — Zamora

“The person who wrote the section on Texas history would have failed a fourth-grade exam. … There are no women cited or quoted in the entire chapter.” — José María Herrera, assistant professor of education at UT-El Paso

image“Simply unworthy. … Obviously a fraud.” — Zamora, again

The coalition is calling for the SBOE to completely reject the book — not just require a few tweaks to the text — for a combination of factual errors, academic laziness and cultural insensitivity.

Saldaña noted that the book not only refers to indigenous people as “Indians,” but provides a lengthy explanation of why “Indians” is the best term to use. Elsewhere, Saldaña pointed out, the authors describe one group of people as driven by “bloodlust” — language she said was better suited to a Hollywood script than a serious academic text.

imageUh…chapters with no women writers or quotes? What the fuck? (Misogyny strikes again!) I don’t know, the few comments from members of the Republican board members will give you an example of how frustrating the attitude can be…Proposed Texas textbook describes Mexican-Americans as ‘lazy,’ new coalition works to block it – The Washington Post

The Texas State Board of Education is reviewing the proposed book and will consider public comments and feedback in September.

In an article in the Austin American-Statesman last month, one board member said the textbook was okay with him:

Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, who opposed asking for a Mexican-American studies course and textbook, said the proposed book seems fine.

image“It’s really kind of amusing. The left-leaning, radical Hispanic activists, having pounded the table for special treatment, get approval for a special course that nobody else wanted,” Bradley said. “Now they don’t like their special textbook? I bet they want everyone to also get an A for just attending? The one thing we can’t fix in this world is unhappy people.”

It really pisses me off…fuck him. (That male superior tone in the statement. How I hate it.) And this is how the majority of the population in my home town think. It is exactly how a Trumptonain thinks. And it is the kind of person who will vote him into office.

imageJust one more link for you today…this: What’s on Display in Cleveland? The Republican Id – BillMoyers.com

The triumph of Trump has demonstrated the cost of the devil’s bargain that party elites — and the media — have accepted over the years.

What is on display at the RNC in Cleveland is the Republican id. We always suspected it would look something like this. But even though it reared its ugly head on occasion on Fox News or in Congress — on the lips of some right-wing preacher or billionaire hedge-fund manager. They would compare gays to Satan, progressive taxation to Naziism and people of color to criminals at best, animals at worst — but the more polite, polished folks who spoke for the party would always regretfully shake their well-coiffed heads and explain that wasn’t what the party was really about.

And to their eternal shame, most in the media ran interference for this confidence game, only to be blindsided when Trump demonstrated that it had always been a charade.

imageWell thanks to Donald Trump and his followers, the jig is up. Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama was just about the least offensive thing one heard from the podium on Monday night. The rest was a near orgy of hatred, racism, sexism and ethnocentrism. Rudy Giuliani has always presented himself as an avatar of “law and order.” This has been a conservative mantra for half a century. We always suspected it was code for the suppression of African-Americans and now we know. Ditto all this talk of “Judeo-Christian” values. It’s a code for Islamophobia and oppression. And the attacks on Hillary Clinton sound an awful lot as if they are being spoken by people who simply cannot accept the fact that women have the same rights and capabilities as men. And to their eternal shame, most in the media ran interference for this confidence game, only to be blindsided when Trump demonstrated that it had always been a charade.

Listen to the speeches by the Republican heavyweights who have agreed to take the stage in Cleveland; not one of them has put forth an actual idea that makes sense in terms of how to govern the United States. That’s because governance has long ceased being relevant to the Republican coalition. What holds it together is nothing more than nostalgia for a more oppressive America and resentment toward those who refuse, any longer, to sit on the back of bus.

imageMy only response to this is to say that it is what I’ve been seeing all along, for years…from my window into the world that is my “quiet redneck mountain town” of Banjoville, GA. It is frightening as hell. I cannot lean back and think this election is a done deal. That folks will vote for Hillary and that she is a foregone conclusion to win in November. I am truly scared Trump could pull it out, and the stupidity will put him in office…and we will once again see the white lights of supremacy that shone in Nuremberg those years ago…brightening the dark black skies over America…to make America Great Again…to make America Safe Again. (As the RNC message was on Monday.)

Fucking hell.

 

 

 

 


Wednesday: Banjoville, Georgia. A microcosm of Trump Nation.

Good Afternoon

This little section of delight in the North Georgia Mountains…I’ve spoken before of the cross-section of folks who live and breed in the town of Banjoville. Simple kinds of folk, why the sign welcoming people to our county states as much:

 

061212-national-KKK-Highway-litter-adopt-a-highway

 

 

I’ll give them the “Scenic Beauty” but as far as the “Friendly People” …that is open for debate.

I’ve noticed the Trump situation has made the bold hateful comments more mainstream. it is acceptable and standard and now common place to find this shit among the facebook pages of the typical Banjoville resident.

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(One of those comments is written by a superintendent of schools…more on that later in the post.)

But there is something more to it than all this hate, which is deep seated in the back mountain town mentality that populates so much of the nation. The Trump Nation. It is a nation that would never support a Cruz or Rubio, because when it comes down to it…they have Latino blood.

There was a tweet I saw yesterday that sums the whole thing up perfectly.

 

Yes, when it all comes down to it, White always wins.

And this is what I see everywhere I go in Banjoville.

A White Right Wing Christian Hate that is prejudice against any and all who is not “one of them.” Living in a town like that is hell. My family has experienced the discrimination first hand many times. To this point I bring you the reason for this post. The Trump Nation embodied in Banjoville, what does this mean for society.

We live in a town where the Sheriff’s Office is so blatant about their total embrace of the practice of Separation of Church and State. This is the painted image that greats you as you walk into the Sheriff’s Office:

image

It is a picture by an artist, Beth Sweigard, known for painting fetuses and a sad Jesus…

0179d419209fe4e9b0c0aae12d746b14d11842d97f

….or Jesus at the Jewish Peoples’ Wall…

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When I first saw that Patriotic Jesus poster in the sheriff’s department, I immediately thought about that other spectacular artist…Jon McNaughton.

jmprayforamerica-3-40136.1418054955.1280.1280

Yeah, he is the artist who immortalized Clive Bundy above as some kind of western hero for the nation….

one_nation_under_God

You want a real laugh, take a look at the gallery of patriotic work here jonmcnaughton. com /patriotic/

I’ve seemed to have gotten carried away there, I need to get back to the Banjoville Sheriff Dept.

Everywhere you look there is proof that the Sheriff is a holy man, even a plaque that states he has been to church more times than any other man alive on the planet. ( I kid you not.)

Tell me that a person who is not a “real” Christian will have a equal chance at justice in that building. (The color of their skin goes without saying…back before the State of Georgia forcibly frightened all the immigrants out of town, the officers made most of their arrest by stalking the Spanish Sunday Mass up at the Catholic Church…and pulling over any car leaving the church.)

How about the fine Doctors in the area? Who proudly display their affiliation in The Oathkeepers…Oh yeah, we even have one who is a leading authority member of the affiliation. How does this affect his service to the public…the entire public. (Well, I guess since he is in private practice that is not a legitimate question, but if he is the only doctor your insurance plan accepts what then?)

Then you have the teachers and administrators at the schools, counselors who are partial to the local Banjoville White Christian. Coaches who are prejudice against players… teachers who will penalize a student if they are the wrong” color or even the wrong Christian faith. (Y’all remember Catholics are a no go as well.) This is not something made up…this really happens and it effects the future lives of students.

This is the view of a Trump Nation from my little Banjoville. The hate and bitterness is nothing new, it is just becoming bolder in its execution.

Now he’s hooked the Christian conservatives: Accept it, Donald Trump’s not fading — even more on the right are buying his snake oil – Salon.com

Donald Trump might actually be able to pull it off. A new, nationwide poll from CNN/ORC shows that Trump’s lead in the Republican polls has grown even stronger going into the Iowa caucus, which kicks off the primary season. He’s reached 41 percent support amongst Republican voters, which is more than double what his closest contender, the even more ridiculous Ted Cruz, has. Even more startlingly, Trump’s supporters seem more assured of their votes than the supporters of any other candidate. It seems Trump might do what seemed to be impossible: Overcome the resistance of party leaders to grab the nomination.

[…]
…things are looking a lot better for Trump than anyone could have predicted. Part of the issue is that his closest contender, Ted Cruz, hasn’t made the progress he clearly thought he would at this late stage.

Mea culpa time. I’ve long thought that Ted Cruzhad a strong chance of knockingTrump out of the race, and that Cruz would either win the nomination or at least winnow it down so that Rubio could sneak up and grab it. In my own defense, the theory was pretty sound. I argued that Christian right voters would move away from go-nowhere candidates like Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson and coalesce behind a single candidate. It seemed that Cruz, who is an even nastier bully than Trump but speaks fluent evangelical-ese in a way that Trump can’t master, was well-positioned to suction up those Christian right voters.

The evangelicals did abandon the smaller candidates but, in a somewhat surprising twist, they flocked to Trump. Cruz’s once robust support amongst evangelicals is plummeting. He now has only 20 percent of the evangelical vote, whereas Trump has 37 percent of their support.

And now Jerry Falwell Jr. is endorsing Trump. This is doubly huge because Cruz used Liberty University, which Falwell is the president of, as the stage to announce his run for presidency. But such is the Trump-momentum that Cruz is getting left behind even by those whose support he thought he could count on.

Trump’s ability to win over evangelical voters is the surest sign yet that his campaign will not collapse as quickly as every predictive model imaginable suggested it should. Prying Christians off Trump should have been easy! He’s been married three times and literally cheated on his first wife in a church. His attempts to pretend he cares about religion have been limp and unconvincing, and yet, his base of support with evangelicals is only getting stronger.

The best explanation for why comes from Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism, who points out that “evangelicalism isn’t especially concerned with beliefs, nor has it ever has been.”

“Whether it’s Prohibition and communism, dancing and divorce, or abortion and gay marriage, evangelicals’ pet causes have changed radically over the decades,” he adds. “The issues themselves have only ever been important as a boundary marker, a way to delineate Us from Them.”

Trump fails comically to convince anyone he’s ever even cracked a Bible, he is the master at the “us vs. them” narrative. It turns out this is actually all the majority of Christian conservatives needed. All that stuff about Jesus and family values was merely window dressing. All that really matters is being told that people like them are better and more worthy than other people, and whoever can do that the most effectively — turns out that’s Donald Trump – will beat out the competition.

The us vs them….no that is not the right way…it is more like I said above, Trump pulls this “he is one of US” or “they are not one of us”… is more like the wording to me. One of Us being the key phrase. Us being only White Caucasians, accepting Jesus as your Savior kind of Christian, Us.

 

Anyway, that is my observations of Trump supporters, for another look, take a gander at this: The Return of the Middle American Radical An intellectual history of Trump supporters.

Trump not only got Jerry Falwell yesterday… Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. endorses Trump – The Washington Post . He also got: Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Endorse Donald Trump in Iowa – First Draft. Political News, Now. – The New York Times and today: Donald Trump wins John Rocker’s endorsement | www.ajc.com

A long read here: How Trump Happened – WSJ.com

However, I think the reason Trump happened is because of the media’s lack of calling Trump out for his racism, sexism, and every other thing the bigoted asshole has done.  Of course the Media isn’t only to blame. I think the corporate powers are a YUUUUGGGEE part of the problem too.

Watch this interview from The Young Turks that touches on the media and corporate sponsors.

Oh, the other points of the interview are very well taken, but y’all get the message here.

Just take a look at the headline from The Washington Examiner: Why can’t Donald Trump handle Megyn Kelly? | Washington Examiner

WTF is that?

Maybe I am being sensitive?

Although the article is not as bad as the headline makes it…

This feud has gotten ridiculous. Republican front-runner and businessman Donald Trump is now threatening to boycott the upcoming GOP debate if host Fox News doesn’t remove Megyn Kelly as a moderator.

I don’t usually like the argument that takes the form of, “if candidate can’t stand up to X, how can they stand up to the Islamic State?” But I do wonder how Trump will be able to handle anyone as president if he can’t take the sort of pointed questions about his weaknesses that originally soured him on Kelly.

It all started last August at the first GOP debate, when Kelly asked Trump about the New York businessman’s comments toward women in the past. The question was one of the most memorable of the debate, and prompted Trump to later claim: “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes … Blood coming out of her wherever.”

Kelly has recently poked fun at former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Trump, and hosted National Review editor Rich Lowry, whose magazine has come out against the Republican front-runner.

And here we are. This insignificant back and forth has caused Trump, for the fourth time this cycle, to threaten to boycott a debate. Trump said he would boycott two CNN debates if CNN President Jeff Zucker didn’t donate money to charity. He also threatened to pull out of the CNBC debate if the format wasn’t changed (rival Ben Carson made a similar threat as well).

This makes Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti’s statement all the more relevant: “Donald Trump is just trying to build up the audience for Thursday’s debate, for which we thank him.”

Trump is unlikely to actually boycott the debate and host his own town hall for rival networks, as he has claimed he would do. But if he has no plans to actually do this, his ongoing comments and actions toward Kelly are troubling.

How will Trump handle a hostile press if he is president? We know the press will be more harsh toward a Republican president, and that the press is especially hostile toward Trump, so will he just shut them out? And does Megyn Kelly, on a right-leaning network, really need to be public enemy number one to the Trump campaign?

I realize that this, like everything Trump does, is for attention, but it ultimately brings into question his ability to handle adversity and criticism.

That and imagine his fat sweaty fingers on the button of our nuclear arsenal.

Trump: ‘Obviously’ I Was Joking About Shooting People And Not Losing Votes

“It Was Like a Fascist Rally”: Sikh Protester Ejected From Trump Event Speaks Out

On Cruz and Rubio, Jesus thumping there way to Iowa:

Ted Cruz’s Evangelical Gamble – The New York Times

Rubio presses ‘Judeo-Christian values’ in Iowa | TheHill

Cruz’s Constant References to Jesus Drive Millions to Atheism – The New Yorker

Other links…

Trump Said He Bought Windows From China Because America’s Were Too Expensive – The Daily Beast

The Progressive Policy Donald Trump Just Embraced | ThinkProgress

Donald Trump endorses an idea liberals love: letting Medicare negotiate drug prices – Vox

Noam Chomsky Says GOP Is ‘Literally A Serious Danger To Human Survival’

As Donald Trump and Ted Cruz Soar, G.O.P. Leaders’ Exasperation Grows – The New York Times

Well what do you expect when you have GOP politicians like these:

Maine Gov. LePage: Bring back the guillotine

Racist, bigoted Facebook posts from top schools official can’t be tolerated

Leaked Documents Undermine Official Story Of Flint Water Crisis | ThinkProgress

 

In other news:

Denmark approves controversial refugee bill allowing police to seize asylum seekers’ cash and valuables | Europe | News | The Independent

Is the Oregon Standoff Over Yet?

Ammon And Ryan Bundy Arrested In Oregon; One Militant Dies In Shootout With Law Enforcement | ThinkProgress

After Bundy Arrest, Remaining Militia Says They Will Continue Occupation And Are Prepared To Die | ThinkProgress

Eyewitnesses Give Conflicting Accounts Of How Rancher Was Killed In Standoff

Christie ‘Glad’ That ‘Thin-Skinned’ Trump Skipping Fox News Debate

 

That is all, more updates and links in the comment section below.

This is an open thread y’all….


Friday Reads: Selective Attention and Tangled Webs

dca4f1181add1a68dca46b6b30d8b02dWe’ve had a few tough weeks.  

The problem with constant access to media is that you get constant access to unpleasant things and people.  Also, the folks that wish harm on others get a constant bombardment of stimulus, propaganda and instructions.  That sets off a lot of copy cat nastiness.

The United States experiences rampage killers like no other.  We also have politicians that we might as well characterize as mass killers. Their policies kill our fellow citizens and enable others to do so.  Our system preys on the weak and turns the crazy loose on us.  What ever happened to solving problems through policy instead of creating them through political maneuvering and manipulating constitutional rights?

The power of the NRA is a case study in what can happen in democracies when a powerful, plutocratic entity only acts in its best interest and funds and threatens policymakers.  If only members of government were as concerned with the other Constitutional Amendments as they are with shielding the beefed up version of the second amendment that we now have thanks to the NRA and the Republican appointees to the Supreme Court.   Our right to privacy and our right to be free of a state-forced and sanctioned, majority-pushed religion is under attack.

We hear demands and see policy prescriptions that enshrine bigotry and unequal treatment under the law hiding under calls to protect religious liberty.  When real religious liberty is threatened, these same folks seem dumbstruck.  Their shallow and contradictory arguments scream “Allow me to do what ever I want in the name of religious freedom including restricting the civil rights of others but please put those practicing other religions on a register and monitor them constantly and make them follow my tenets and fetishes. Restrict their free exercise and allow our society to inflict mine on others.”

What we’ve really seen the past few weeks is religious fanaticism hyped up with access to weapons and enablers.  The problem is that our treatment of these actions and speech is systemically different even though our Constitution and judicial history indicate what they want isn’t in keeping with US ‘values’.  Religious fanaticism is condemned in one form of practice. It’s being tackled with suggestions that would restrict other’s Constitutional Rights.  Religious fanaticism is being enabled on the other hand.  It’s equally being tackled with suggestions that would restrict other’s Constitutional Rights.  This makes my head spin and my heart hurt.

So, it seems that the San Bernadino shooters were “radicalized” in to some form of wahhabism.  The woman was sympathetic to ISIS.  The man may have been set off by being harassed by a “messianic Jewish” co-worker who was one of the victims of the rampage shooting when it came to a head at a holiday party.  Oh, and the same day we had all this going on another shooting occurred at a Women’s Health Clinic.   We also found out the that Colorado Planned Parenthood rampage shooter had targeted women’s clinics before.  Some one  or thing “radicalized” him too. Yet, we have no media coverage or political obsession on that.

Is it because he only killed three and he’s not the latest thing in rampage killing?  Or, is it because what radicalized him is one of the political parties and a part of their base?  (This is a base that includes Opus Dei members of SCOTUS and a ton of “The Family” members in the House.

We cannot deny that our supposed pluralistic, tolerant, and religious neutral society has been accessed by the worst of our fringes.  No wonder the FBI is having difficulty characterizing our recent set of domestic/international terrorist activities.  Our radical christianists have gone international in creating an international terror network against GLBT persons and fund groups that force conversion on Muslims and others.  If ISIS is radicalizing folks in California, what do we call “Christian” Pastors that radicalize folks in Uganda?

Just to add some icing to this cake, we’ve had the most violent and death-filled Black Friday Shopping day also. Oh, and this last Black Friday saw3833.web_seedhead.jpg-580x0 gun sales soar.  Ho, ho ho …. Prince of Peace …. Holiday Spirit … wtf is wrong with this country?  We now have holiday shopping as a violent, rampage event.

 I suppose I should mention that there was a mass shooting just blocks from me at a park filled with children and old people recently.   It was across the St. Claude Avenue line of demarcation but I heard the rounds of both the semi-automatic and the hand guns from about six blocks.  Silly me.  I was thinking it was likely early Thanksgiving fireworks. I live in a city with constant gun violence.

Interestingly enough, our DA has asked the NRA to try to craft some “reasonable” limits to gun access.  No one–not even the US Senate–can accomplish this.

Less than two weeks removed from a mass shooting in Bunny Friend Park that left 17 injured and in the recent shadow from a mass shooting in California that left 14 dead, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro invited the National Rifle Association to find solutions to the gun violence that plagues New Orleans and the nation.

“Both locally and nationally we are seeing an increase in gun-related violence,” Cannizzaro said. “In New Orleans, the street trade of firearms has become too prolific.

 The Senate just voted to on a bill to stop people on the Terrorist list from getting access to guns. It was mostly symbolic since anything related to gun regulations gets defeated immediately these days.  I only wish that Serial Clinic Harassers could be put on that list too since any sensible gun bill that hits the Capitol floor is symbolic these days and we could use that symbolism.  

We can sure stack up the number of gun violence victims but heaven forbid they get healthcare. Sick and poor people are the victims of bad policy.  The umpty umpth repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act was also up for a vote.  One Republican voted for the Feinstein Bill.  Several Democrats voted against it.  

Senate Republicans on Thursday rejected an amendment to the ObamaCare repeal bill that would have tied it to a separate fight on blocking suspected or known terrorists from being able to buy guns.

Senators voted 45-54 on procedural hurdle for the measure from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The California Democrat’s proposal, which she has also introduced as a separate piece of legislation, would allow the attorney general to block the sale or transfer of a gun or explosive to a suspected or known terrorist if the individual is believed to use the weapons in an act of terrorism.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) broke rank and voted against moving forward with Feinstein’s amendment, while Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) voted with Democrats.
Speaking to reporters earlier Thursday, Feinstein called her amendment “the definition of a no-brainer.”
She underscored the bipartisan support behind the proposal, pointing out that a House Republican has introduced a similar bill and the idea was initially backed by the Bush administration’s Department of Justice in 2007.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), however, suggested that Feinstein’s amendment would strip Americans of due process.
“This is not the way we’re supposed to do things in this country,” he said ahead of the vote.
Senators rejected an amendment from Cornyn by a 55-44 vote. The Texan’s proposal would have allowed the attorney general to delay suspected terrorists from getting a gun for up to 72 hours as they try to get a court to approve blocking the sale of the firearm.
The transfer of the gun would be blocked if a court determines that the person wanting to buy the gun has committed or will commit an act of terrorism.
“If you believe the federal government is omniscient and all competent vote for the Feinstein amendment,” Cornyn added ahead of the votes, noting that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) was on a terror watch list.
Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted to move forward with Cornyn’s proposal. Kirk voted against the amendment on the procedural hurdle.

We are a divided country.  I’m sure Heitkamp’s North Dakota voters have no idea what it’s like to live in an urban area with constant gun violence.  spiders web frozen ireland jan 2010 Just as it seems that many Republican Presidential candidates–and one in particular--don’t seem to know much about the lives and beliefs of any one outside their particular demographic ( wealthy WASP/C men). Politicians seem more subservient to a pet demographic and lobby more than ever. This used to be more common in the House but rare in the Senate. This is no longer the case in the years of stopping Obama at any cost.

Relations between the United States and Israel have been rocky during the Obama administration and people in the Jewish state are keeping close tabs on the 2016 presidential race. However, Israelis woke up on Friday morning to some surprising headlines, thanks to this year’s crop of unconventional candidates.

The Times of Israel led with Donald J. Trump’s referring to Jewish people as “good negotiators” and with his declining to commit to supporting Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the country. “Trump courts Republican Jews with offensive stereotypes,” the headline blared atop a story that described his remarks as “anti-Semitic.”

I’m going to back step a little to show you that “discussion” between rampage shooter and victim in San Bernadino.  Keep in mind that a “Messianic Jew” is basically one that has converted to Christianity while maintaining a Jewish identity.

Thalasinos’ friend, Kuuleme Stephens, told The Associated Press that she happened to call him while he was working with Farook, and that he brought her into their debate, loudly declaring that Farook “doesn’t agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion.” She heard Farook counter that Americans don’t understand Islam, and Thalasinos responded by saying “I don’t know how to talk with him,” she said.

Stephens said she didn’t sense any pending violence at the time, and it is not clear if their debates factored in the attack. Stephens said Thalasinos did not believe his co-worker would ever turn violent.

However, Stephens said his grieving wife told her later Thursday to tell the media that she now “believes her husband was martyred for his faith and beliefs.” It wasn’t immediately clear why Jennifer Thalasinos came to that conclusion.

frozen spider webYou kind’ve have to wonder what it might be like if your co-worker is constantly trying to characterize your beliefs as something he desperately wants them to be and you can’t seem to convince him otherwise.  We’ve all been victims of obnoxious proselytizers, I’m sure, and yet all of us, don’t go full throttle radical jihadi on them.  All serial Clinic Harassers don’t all use semi-automatics to inflict damage either.  The problem is that the entire systems creates, sets up, and enables the rampage shooters and our leaders seem more complicit than ever.

The problem is a basic lack in the ability to empathize and sympathize with other human beings.  How many people do you know that just have to insist they’re right?  I’ve seen it come to angry words and even school yard brawls.  But why, in our country, does that anger jump to the idea that you have to insist you’re right with a damned semi-automatic weapon that takes out first graders, play ground revelers, women seeking health care and public health inspectors?

The bigger question is, however, if we look to our leaders to seek out the middle ground and to protect our rights to be us in a society where there are many folks that don’t live like us, look like us, and share religious beliefs like us, and then can’t seem to think outside their own little box, how do we survive as a country?

Each Republican Presidential candidate has characterized a blatantly false propaganda film as showing something horrible about a place that simply helps poor people get access to health care and a constitutional right.  Every time we get a rampage shooter, sensible majority supported laws controlling access to certain weapons and weapon stockpiling becomes an affront to duck hunters.  Gay people are taking away religious freedom for wanting equal access to Civil Marriage but monitoring all members of a specific religion is just common sense disaster prevention.  Depriving US citizens of everything because their parents brought them here while undocumented is just protecting our borders.

Orwell was prescient, wasn’t he?frozen_spider_web_spinnenweb_cotoneaster_CoralBeauty

We’ve so twisted our characterizations of others that we can no longer find any kind of commonality and middle ground.  It’s time to get back to Politics as usual and to find ways of protecting Americans instead of creating environments where we demonize each other then grieve when some one acts on those demons with an arsenal.  I believe the tangled web does come from the deception of others as Walter Scott so famously suggested. Unfortunately, the others appear to be a huge number of elected officials.  We’re not going to see anything change until we stop the ones that continually lie, deceive, and mischaracterize our fellow human beings and citizens.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: “Passing prejudice off as faith” and other thoughts from the “internets” and shi…stuff.

fb_thumb_56543df80f712__700

 

Good Morning

Hey….
Since When Did Scapegoating and Taking Revenge Become American and Christian Principles?

I know I am beating a dead horse here, albeit a corn-fed…free-range horse at that…but this piece from David Mochel at HuffPo is coming from the direction I have been speaking of the past few weeks.

2b18613ea30f9abdce2951f8a69a7680I do not consider myself religious in any traditional sense, nor would I say that I am deeply patriotic, but I am tired of “American” and “Christian” being used as descriptors of what is happening in the popular discourse.

I am tired of letting the loudest among us be those who call for un-American behavior in the name of patriotism. I am tired of letting the dialogue be monopolized by those who pass off prejudice as faith. Compassion matters. Dignity matters. Exercising self-discipline when we are scared and angry matters.

Human beings are biological creatures with lots of biological impulses. But we also have the capacity to see beyond our temporary urges for violence and oppression. We have the ability to anchor ourselves in, and act out of, enduring and inspiring principles. If we do not use the wisdom we have access to, then what exactly makes us human?

75df5a8d5388d6bd7bae07c2e3bb48ecThis feels like a moment in time when we are collectively trying to decide how to move forward. In the face of terrorist attacks, racial tension and conflicting world views, where shall we go for guidance? Shall we just go with what we feel and call it what we want? Shall we lash out and call it Christian? Shall we segregate and call it American? Or shall we consult some principles that were written down precisely so that we would remember them in times such as these?

The second paragraph of the Declaration of the Independence begins with these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

3096f48b0de03236fc30f4b81af29d8fThe Constitution of the United States begins with these words:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

A plaque mounted on the base of the Statue of Liberty carries these lines from a poem by Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

3df58d98847161880eae5fa7149a5ffcEvery morning my son stands up in his public high school classroom and recites The Pledge of Allegiance, which ends with the words: “with liberty and justice for all.”

He also goes on to quote from the prayer of St. Francis and New Testament, only to ask…

 

What am I missing? Where is written that we should block access, imprison, blame and malign those who we do not understand, who look different, or who live outside our borders? Does being American or Christian represent any fundamental principles or are these nothing more than titles that we get simply by living in this country and going to a fancy building on Sunday?

9e9ca4589d8015fc89e2db0e4aaa7196I propose that these words which are thrown around quite a lot lately actually do stand for something. I propose that the privileges of living in this country come with the responsibilities of being inclusive, of speaking for those without a voice and representing the rights of those who are denied access. I propose that the privileges of being Christian come with the responsibilities of showing compassion and generosity for those in need and mercy toward those who have offended.

Uncertainty can trigger anxiety and self-defensiveness. We can respond by being reactionary, rigid, and exclusive. But this is not our only choice. We also have the choice of compassion, inclusivity, and peaceful resistance.

Of course, it is challenging to make this choice in the face of senseless violence and vehement disagreement. Standing for something worthwhile is rarely easy.

No it isn’t easy, and to quote someone who seems a bit strange to quote in this discussion…as “Dubya” said so often, “It’s hard work!”

I will get to the Planned Parenthood Shooting in a few moments, but in response to the link above, remember, these people are fleeing…the murder and terror. They are refugees.  Six children drown as refugee boats sink off Turkey – Al Jazeera English

More than 4,700 people arrived on the Greek islands on average each day in November [AP Photo/Santi Palacios]

More than 4,700 people arrived on the Greek islands on average each day in November [AP Photo/Santi Palacios]

At least six children have drowned in two separate incidents when boats carrying refugees to Greece sank off Turkey’s coast, Turkish state media has said.

6d5154d04575aed9d535859e56a409f3A vessel carrying 55 Syrians and Afghans capsized due to bad weather off the town of Ayvacik, a main crossing point for refugees trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, the Anatolia news agency reported on Friday.

Turkish coastguards have so far recovered the bodies of four Afghan children, it added.

Two more children, two sisters aged four and one, drowned early on Friday when their wooden boat carrying some 20 people to the island of Kos sank because of heavy rains and stormy weather, the agency said.

577f306ac5690aaaf6476588ce2c0978Turkey, which is hosting 2.2 million refugees from the conflict in neighbouring Syria, has become the main transit point for people fleeing war.

The European Union and Turkey have agreed in principle to a refugee action plan, which is expected to be finalised at a summit on Sunday.

 

I will put up some links in the comments on the details of this summit, but take a look at that link for a little info on it, there is also more discussion here:

EU, Turkey driving hard bargain before migration summit | Reuters

2693ddb551921f78845472c5bc6902f1Turkey and the EU: Old Routine and New Tensions – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Our View: Cyprus will not be able to call the shots in Brussels – Cyprus Mail Cyprus Mail

And two links from Irish Times:

EU-Turkey summit aims to tackle refugee crisis

Give Me a Crash Course In . . . Turkish-Russian-Syrian relations

For a video look into the refugee experience via Al Jazeera English: Why on earth would anyone do this?

Follow the journeys of three refugees who are risking everything in hopes of reaching Europe.

 

Why on earth would anyone do this 2

Why on earth would anyone do this

 

That title alone is sufficient enough to give you a picture of what the video is about.

Meanwhile back in the United States:

The question of Life is back in the news…

I think it must be said again:

 

Life begins at arousal!!!!

And to hell with fluoridation in water systems!

Who needs the “guvment” anyway?

d3367e609123f3ae4ccaaae429496f64As of Saturday evening: 2016 Republican Contenders Silent On Planned Parenthood Shooting

Republican presidential hopefuls were noticeably silent about a fatal shooting that took place at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

All three of their Democratic counterparts tweeted in support of the organization during and after Friday’s attack, which left three people dead and nine others injured.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the only one of the major GOP candidates to comment:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul instead tweeted about his own Black Friday sales:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush published an opinion piece about Obama’s foreign policy:

Donald Trump spent the evening (and Saturday morning) touting upcoming campaign eventsand complaining about a New York Times reporter.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted about his campaign’s new cold-weather gear:

Ben Carson was off Twitter and in Jordan visiting a refugee camp.

b9a6174d5a66c20ed7efd16f0dec9f36All of the major 2016 Republican hopefuls describe themselves as anti-abortion. Some, like Paul, Rubio and Cruz, have attempted to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood, citing heavily edited videos that emerged earlier this year claiming to show the nonprofit’s employees selling fetal tissue for profit. A congressional inquiry into the videos did not find any evidence of wrongdoing.

Earlier this year, Rubio wondered why more Americans don’t get “fired up” about Planned Parenthood’s “dead babies.”

Ted Cruz breaks silence on ‘horrific’ Planned Parenthood attack | US news | The Guardian

3019096934_1123b97702_mSpeaking in Lamoni, Iowa, Cruz said that while the motives behind Friday’s attack were not clear “it was unacceptable, horrific and wrong”.

“We know that police officers and civilians have been targeted and lost their lives and our prayers are right now are with the families,” Cruz said.

Many of the party’s candidates have come out strongly against Planned Parenthood on the campaign trail as they seek to secure conservative votes.

 

2a0a3941b8ebf09d849bbed81b380f90No More Mister Nice Blog: REPUBLICANS HATE WHAT THEY HATE MUCH MORE THAN THEY LOVE WHAT THEY LOVE

Republican presidential candidates still haven’t said anything about the Colorado Planned Parenthood shootings, with the exception of Ted Cruz (in a tweet, as I noted in my last post) and now John Kasich:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the other GOP contender to discuss the attacks, offering his prayers for the affected families and saying “senseless violence has brought tragedy to Colorado Springs.”

This seems odd:

Republicans hate abortion and hate Planned Parenthood. They hate gun control, and 1e961bd32d777bfe32c762742f555dddthe shooting has already led to another call for new gun laws by President Obama. These hatreds are much more important to the right than love of the police, even when the dead police officer was also a Christian minister. In this case, blue lives don’t matter, and this wasn’t part of the war on Christianity. The killer wasn’t a member of any group conservatives hate, and his main target was a group conservatives absolutely hate.

So hate wins. Therefore, the right is never going to denounce this incident with any enthusiasm.

The Democrats did tweet there thoughts: 2016 Democrats React To Planned Parenthood Shooting

As usual, Hillary is on top of it…check out the time of her post.

121ae2a4c88a6961f479940c0ec9312bI wonder…what was tweeted after the news of this: Man Kills Waffle House Worker Over Smoking Ban, Cops Say

Johnny Max Mount, 45, was allegedly smoking in a Biloxi Waffle House when the 52-year-old employee  asked him to put it out, according to the Sun Herald. Mount is accused of refusing and instead removing a 9mm handgun hidden under his shirt, WMC reports. Police allege he shot the woman, who has not yet been identified, once in the head early Friday morning. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

8f5d58501d1f843f6451038c11deb647Mount was arrested for first degree murder, and is in jail on 2 million bond.

Back to the Planned Parenthood Shooting:

Siege highlights security used in abortion clinics | Tampa Bay Times

‘No More Baby Parts’: Shooter’s Words Prove Right-Wing Rhetoric Incited PP Attack « Addicting Info

Investigators: Shooter ‘politically motivated’ – Business Insider

c03f6957ed6c26c4c8318078b48cf218Colorado shooting suspect said ‘no more baby parts’: reports | Reuters

TBogg at Raw Story: Domestic terrorism and the evil that men do

at happened at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on the Friday after Thanksgiving was inevitable. After the deceptively-named Center for Medical Progress released the equally deceptively-edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal parts, someone had to die in the end.

75fc5c8507449411816e44cc7869b9c0Of all the phony attacks and accusations made against Planned Parenthood by a new generation of anti-choice activists like James O’ Keefe and Lila Grace Rose, the videos created by former O’Keefe confederate David Daleiden raised the bar — or lowered it depending on how you view them — on over the top accusations intended to fire up Christian conservatives and embolden lawmakers to do all they can to destroy Planned Parenthood.

Images of fetal tissue being sorted by technicians became a bloody flag to be waved by people who seem to believe that medical procedures are magically free of the kind of things most people are unfamiliar with because they’re not medical professionals who are undeterred by the sight of body fluids, viscera and bones. Those who view abortions as a repellent medical procedure became even more appalled by seeing people who deal with such matters on a daily basis act like … people who deal with such matters on a daily basis.

17af87ffde3b553d168bad4876b9875cWhere Daleiden really hit one out of the park for the anti-choice crowd was when he accused Planned Parenthood of selling  fetal tissue — used by researchers looking for cures for Alzheimer’s, among other things — and making a profit off of it.

Which turned out to be a lie.

[…]

On a certain level — with the aid of the media which uncritically ran with his narrative — Daleiden was more than modestly successful. Republican lawmakers in conservative states were able to cut some funding for Planned Parenthood, while GOP presidential candidates had yet something else to grandstand about in order to woo the evangelical base.

772e93db60bfcf3f0c3812cd8e804d9eWith so much heat thrown off by Daleiden’s anti-abortion project, it is no surprise — and it absolutely cannot be to him — that someone somewhere would take his lies to the extreme and try and do something about it. With extreme prejudice.

According to NBC, Robert Lewis Dear — who killed three people including a cop,making him a hero to these “pro-life” folks while shooting up a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood — reportedly told investigators “no more baby parts” after he was arrested.

As they say: Who could have predicted that?

f46f1001c2cec742b81a2cefa9e1ff92There is nothing anyone here can say, we all saw this shit coming.

To all appearances, Dear appears to be either mentally unstable or an anti-social kook who, despite a history of run-ins with the law including domestic violence, was able to easily obtain a gun or guns. For that you can thank the NRA later.

There is no indication that Dear was or is religious, but a predisposition to being either anti-choice or anti-woman certainly was a factor.

Unlike Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller in a Wichita church,  one needn’t act as the hand of God taking holy vengeance to “save the children.” You just need a motive –imagined or not — to pull the trigger.

5c0659ab4b11f48c781ac85dcc5cf4bfSo it appears that Robert Lewis Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood because he was familiar with David Daleiden’s videotape lies. This is not to say that this is something that Daleiden was hoping for. But when Daleiden published his videos with great fanfare, he primed more than a few future domestic terrorists to take the law — God’s or their own — into their own hands.

David Dalieden didn’t pull the trigger — he just showed Robert Lewis Dear where he needed to aim the gun.

Robert Dear, Suspect in Colorado Killings, ‘Preferred to Be Left Alone’ – The New York Times

Robert L. Dear Jr. was a man who lived off the grid.

On this lonely, snow-covered patch of land in a hamlet ringed by the Rocky Mountains, his home was a white trailer, with a forest-green four-wheeler by the front door and a modest black cross painted on one end.

cfe66a0bf34a92bc0c0905f6a7bb5070As police officers surrounded it on Saturday, looking for clues to what they said had sent its owner on a rampage at a Planned Parenthood center that left three dead and nine wounded, neighbors said they barely knew him, beyond one man’s memory of his handing out anti-Obama political pamphlets.

Van Wands, 58, whose wife owns a local saloon, said there were two types of people in the area: the old-timers who put in time getting to know their neighbors, and newcomers who wished to be left alone. Mr. Dear, he said, fell solidly into the second category.

That article has lots of background on Dear…

In Black Mountain, N.C., Mr. Dear had lived in a small yellow house reachable only after miles of driving on mountain roads and, ultimately, along an unpaved and winding street. Two sticks, forming a cross, were attached to a padlocked shed that was filled with bedding, gas canisters and worn boxes of beer. He bought it without running water.

More at the link.

f563b1171ef0965bc107324d96f0721dAs Dak said yesterday in the comment section of Boston Boomer’s post:

Colorado Springs, Site Of Planned Parenthood Attack, Is A Hub For Conservative Christians

Cannonfire-A brief discourse on faulty logic — or: Meet the Fukers!

The right-wing media has spent years demonizing Planned Parenthood, one of the most useful and virtuous institutions in this country. A white maniac from a Deep Red state shoots up a Planned Parenthood clinic, and what happens? The right-wing press instantly politicizes the situation, while simultaneously accusing the left of politicizing.

During Shooting, GOP Congressman Says He Expects Apology From Planned Parenthood | Mediaite

It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist:

“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”

dfbae64991e62cffaaad0639ece12f6aThat was at about 6 pm, while there was still gunfire being reported at the scene. There is a long history of terrorism against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers in this country, but the statement Kinzinger is referencing actually points out that the motive is as yet unknown, and yet is still true no matter what this shooter’s mysterious motive turns out to be. Here’sthat statement in full:

Statement from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains:

“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”

27a35e9d55c06abb17ce8c40fc281a6cAs with every tragedy, there will be lots of virtual ink devoted to chronicling the many stupid, crass, offensive things that people did and said as this tragedy was unfolding, but this one deserves a special mention, and here’s why.

Kinzinger, a “pro-life” Republican, has demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood if it turns outthat the women’s health organization was not the target of this apparent terrorist murderer. Therefore, if by some magical confluence of events it turns out that Planned Parenthood was the target, then Planned Parenthood does not owe Kinzinger an apology. Kinzinger has conditionally accepted the blame for this violence on behalf of the unhinged anti-abortion right. If he’s allowed back on CNN after that, it should be to ask him if he’s ready to apologize to Planned Parenthood.

The response: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Gets Shredded On Facebook After Planned Parenthood Shooting Comments (IMAGES) «

This past week, my cousin David visited us…he meets with the head Bishop of the Florida Archdiocese tomorrow…and finds out in January if he has been accepted into the seminary to become a priest. He mentioned the Pope calling this mess of a world…World War III in “piecemeal”.

10e935dadb4f9173b2552dde7d8c1dcfTake a look at these:

Pope Francis warns on ‘piecemeal World War III’ – BBC News – 13 September 2014

Pope Francis warns ‘piecemeal’ World War III has begun-NBC.news- Saturday, 13 Sep 2014 | 7:06 AM ET

Because according to CNN: How is this not World War III? – CNN.com-Updated 3:16 PM ET, Wed November 25, 2015

…it’s getting hard to avoid analogies to World War I — strange bedfellows, conflicting agendas, alliances of convenience

Remember this…because in a related op/ed on CNN: No, it’s not ‘World War 3’ – CNN.com-Updated 9:03 AM ET, Tue November 17, 2015

Note the dates on those links.

f7361e12c660e21636bf2a0f312bdce8Okay, this is getting long, even for a Sunday Reads. So the rest of the links are in Dump Fashion.

Donald Trump Rally Features Circus Elephant Owned by Man Who Was Repeatedly Arrested for Animal Cruelty

Ben Carson, visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan, says he ‘saw pain on faces’ – LA Times

‘Brave? Really?’: Demonstrators blast armed bigots who surrounded peaceful Muslims at mosque last week

Mom Refuses To Let A Gay Man Teach Her Kids – His Response Is LEGENDARY (IMAGE) «

Burger King manager says police erased video of Chicago shooting | Tampa Bay Times

Russian lawmaker killed by husband detonating hand grenade – NY Daily News

The jealous husband of a young Russian lawmaker killed himself and his wife after detonating a hand grenade as he forced her to have sex in the backseat of their car Thursday, according to local reports.

Dammit, that is, ugh…no words, but there are some assholes out there think there is no way to force sex when you are married to the woman. I wonder what that person feels about hand grenade murder/suicide? (Although I am sure because the woman was very modern and working as a law maker…he would find some way to justify it…to far? Possibly.)

But let’s move on to the poor, another one of said asshole’s champions: It’s simply harder to eat well when you are poor | Barbara Ellen | Comment is free | The Guardian

You can read about the austerity factor at the link.

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And we will end it with history:

82cf6368771c62cb7aa5be2cac89bbe3From Raiders to Traders: The Viking-Arab Trade Exchange

The Viking raids across Europe brought them into contact with other cultures, including Muslim Arabs. Although there are no known Viking settlements in the Arab lands, both cultures interacted with each other through their respective exploration of Europe. Contact between Vikings and Arabs occurred mainly in the area of what would become Russia. While there is scarce evidence that Arabs visited the homelands of the Vikings, or as they called them, the “people of the North,” artifacts found across Scandinavia, and especially in Sweden, point to an extensive long-distance trade exchange between the two very different cultures. It was the promise of access to much needed and coveted silver that set off the Viking exploration into Europe, and brought Viking raiders into contact with the Arabs. In their quest for silver, the Vikings discovered and accessed valuable trade routes to Constantinople that led to an extensive trade exchange with the Arab world. Seizing upon the opportunity to enrich themselves, the Vikings came into contact with Arabic wealth and treasures through their raids, and soon realized the potential of a peaceful trade exchange.

19a4e7cf3b864df543233ebe6a67d2adThe Vikings came into contact with Muslim Arabs during their exploration of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the first contacts occurred with Muslim Spain in 844 when a Viking fleet of fifty-four ships sailed from their base in Brittany to Spain in order to raid the Caliphate’s treasures. The raiding campaign was successful, as the Vikings conquered Lisbon and Seville, destroyed numerous other towns, and even threatened the capital of al-Andalus, Córdoba. However, the Muslims were able to drive back the Viking invaders and built “an effective coastal defence against new attacks.” Having seen the riches of the Caliphate, the Vikings were determined to return, and embarked on a second raiding campaign in 859, this time with a much bigger fleet of sixty-two ships. Again, the raiding campaign itself was a success, as their ships were “so fully laden with plunder that they sat low in the water.”

652593b4fe316bcc785a984e4640fcc8However, on the Vikings’ journey back to their home base in Brittany, the Muslim naval fleet attacked and destroyed the majority of the Vikings’ ships. With that, Viking exploration of and interaction with Muslim Spain ended. The two raids gave both cultures a first glimpse at each other’s military capabilities and characteristics. Prior to the Vikings’ invasion of the Caliphate, the Arabs had no interaction with the “people of the North.” To the Muslim Arabs, the Vikings appeared “as a sudden, mysterious, military threat.” The Vikings for the first time were confronted with an enemy that was well organized on land as well as on the sea, where Vikings were used to supremacy.

Click here to read this article from Saber and Scroll

Well, what are you all up to today? I will post those updates on the EU/Turkey Refugee Agreement below as they become available.

Refugee images from Pinterest: J.J. Lopez Minkoff on Pinterest

Otherwise, please post some of your thoughts today.


Sunday Afternoon: What a difference 48 hours makes.

9 103 114 NewsBlurIt is an afternoon on Sunday. I have not checked online since early Friday Morning, (Wait, do I have the times right?) Oh well, whatever the hell the time frame is…I can always tell the passing of the hours by my Newsblur reader.

<———– See, all the big numbers of articles I have to go through. And yes, I do name all my folders “Minx Crap” because that is my way. I have a sense of humor that some would get offended by, but who gives a fuck right? It is my personal way to deal with things. (For fucks sake…)

Quick example, one of my friends got a kick out of the name of the town I was in this weekend, for my daughter’s State Honor Choir…Cumming, GA. “Was I joking?” he asked…nope, would you believe I was not…joking.

He then said to me, that a friend just told him of an Intercourse, PA. Which I replied, yup…there is a Bird-in-Hand and a Tickle-me-Balls, Pennsylvania too! (The first one is a real town, the second one is something I made up.) I wonder if he believes both are somewhere on a road map of PA? Gawd, I hope I don’t offend those folks who live in the State of Pennsylvania. Eeesh….

Anyway, you see the numbers by the folders…those are the unread articles within the feeds I subscribe to.

It says a lot without even looking at the stuff behind the folders. Ah, shit went down alright, but not shit that the right wing was too excited about. Per the 3 Minx Crap RWN (aka Right Wing Nuts) folder after all that time, the 25+ sites I follow were relatively quiet.

My main crap blogs were busy, but not scandalously busy. These are the left wing blogs…

And a shitload of Main Stream Media news…(BTW, no Fox News Feed in any of my folders, the only right leaning news feeds I have in my main stream folder are NYTs, CNN, and WaPo…uh…The Hill. A few border main stream, right leaning…Politico, FiveThirtyEight, Memeorandum etc.)

The point I am making here is that I have no clue what the fuck happened this weekend. Looks like something big, which the right did not want to get involved in, and the left was fine touching with a 25 foot pole.

As far as my Medieval/Science/History folder and my “Other” folder, which is mostly Classic Movies, technical movie stuff and fine art, photography, music, ballet etc. Seems to me that it was a busy weekend for the Humanities.

So due to this extreme situation, and my extreme laziness…tiredness. This will be an open thread. Otherwise it will be another 48 hours to get a proper post up here.

Dumpage of links:

French police ask for help identifying third stadium bomber

Police in France are asking the public for help in identifying a man they say was involved in the Nov. 13 assault on the national stadium in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris.

 

What Do Ben Carson and Bruschetta Have In Common? – The Daily Banter

 

They’re both basically toast.

Carson toast

The few polls that have trickled out since the last Republican debate have shown somesoftening of support for the good doctor, but as long as Ben Carson is doing well in Iowa, there’s no real reason to panic. Within the past month, Carson has opened up leads over Donald Trump as wide as 14 points in the state, while dancing around the national lead. The surest sign that Carson’s fade might show some durability came Sunday morning with therelease of a CBS News poll that shows Carson not only falling well behind Trump in Iowa, but also now trailing Senator Ted Cruz:

Donald Trump has returned to the lead in Iowa while Ted Cruz has now surged past Ben Carson into second place. Carson has slipped from a first-place tie into third.

While Iowa’s Republicans generally feel Trump is ready to be commander-in-chief, Cruz scores even better on this measure, boosted by support from very conservative and Tea Party Iowans who feel he is ready to assume the post. That’s more than say so about Trump, Carson, Rubio and Jeb Bush.

Trump gets 30% in the new poll (up from 27% in October), Cruz gets 21% (up from just 12% last month), while Carson’s support has slipped to 19% after tying Trump at 27% in the lastCBS/Yougov poll.

 

Donald Trump: Black protester at my rally was ‘disgusting’ and ‘maybe he should have been roughed up’

Donald Trump Approves Of Supporters Who ‘Roughed Up’ Protester

 

Look at the expressions on the faces of the host....

Look at the expressions on the faces of the host….as Trump telling them, “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” Trump said during a Sunday morning call-inappearance on “Fox & Friends.” “It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

 

A CNN reporter captured video of the Saturday incident in which a protester was reportedlypunched and kicked after he was tackled to the ground by attendees or security at Trump’s rally. At least one onlooker yelled, “Don’t choke him! Don’t choke him!” according to The Washington Post.

Trump is heard in the video yelling, “Get him the hell out of here!”

 

Donald Trump: I Would ‘Absolutely’ Bring Back Waterboarding | Mediaite

 

Donald Trump: My Fans Were Right To Beat Up Black Protester | ThinkProgress

 

Trump Still Leading Republican Presidential Field

 

If that isn’t enough to ruin your appetite.

 

Ted Cruz Seeks To Cast Himself As The Electable Conservative

 

In other news:

 

French aircraft carrier sent to target ISIL in Syria – Al Jazeera English

Schools closed as Belgium extends Brussels lockdown – Al Jazeera English

Growing number of MPs signal they will back more airstrikes on Syria | UK news | The Guardian

Brown University Will Spend $100 Million To Improve Race Relations

Starbucks launches national diversity initiative in Ferguson | theGrio

 

A few links from Mediaite:

‘Chuck, You Need to Calm Down’: Kasich Explains Plan for Judeo-Christian Department | Mediaite

Greenwald Blasts CNN on CNN: Anchors Get Away With ‘Despicable’ Anti-Muslim Comments | Mediaite

#BlackLivesMatter Protester at Trump Rally Speaks Out on Brawl: Like a ‘Lynch Mob’ | Mediaite

Stephanopoulos Confronts Trump on Muslim Database and Surveilling Mosques | Mediaite

Tapper Presses Christie: Would You ‘Oust’ Refugees Already in Your State? | Mediaite

SNL Cold Open Savages Fox & Friends and Ben Carson | Mediaite

 

All that above…wow…just wow….this has truly been a hellish weekend. And to see the shit these candidates are saying, makes me so ill. To know I had to stand up, against the GOP candidates positions, and lost a troubled friendship for good over it, it still is bothersome.  But I feel a relief.

I can’t take the crazy talk from those bigoted/right-wing  politicians, blowhards, talk show/radio host and “religious” leaders…and it hurt to see someone I know who used to be so caring and considerate of all persons, totally become changed over the years, to the point where they out right tell me, no amount of cited sources/articles/commentary/direct quotes from right or left leaning news/media/etc could change their mind or make any difference to them.

Onward, because I am done with all that other stuff.

Argentines set to choose new president – BBC News

Colombia to free 30 jailed FARC rebels as peace talk gesture | Reuters

November 22, 2015 Day in photos via VOA

And this last link, is a bit frightening: Apple CarPlay Corvette review – Business Insider

CarPlay 1

 

 

Oh…..that is just the comparison to finish on, don’t ya think?

 

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: Lights out, in the city of lights….

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The Eiffel Tower was darkened last night in honor of those killed during Friday’s attacks on Paris.

 

01e636aa250fd5ad8179bc4b2cb7261b9d1c6e3076

 

As you can see, many countries and cities throughout the world took up the cause and brought Paris, city of lights…into their own, by setting their landmarks, arenas, buildings, etc., alight in three colors of “liberté fraternité et égalité.”  Showing support of a city that has been hit by extremist, bloodthirsty, murdering terrorist.

 

Images from this thread:

People Around the Globe Show Their Solidarity With Paris – NBC News

 

Good Late Morning/Early Afternoon

Let us start this post with the current updates on France, in quick link fashion:

Two attackers killed in Paris were Frenchmen who lived in Brussels: prosecutor | French News | Expatica France

Two assailants who died in the Paris attacks were Frenchmen who had lived in Brussels, Belgian prosecutors said Sunday.

The Belgian authorities are holding seven people for questioning in connection with the attacks, and investigators have found that two cars used in the operation were rented in Belgium, they added.

“It appears that two French nationals, who lived in Brussels …, were identified as among the attackers who died on the spot,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

“In addition, two cars registered in Belgium were found in Paris, one near the Bataclan and the other near Pere Lachaise,” the statement said.

The Bataclan concert hall is where 89 people were killed, while Pere Lachaise, known for the cemetery where leading literary and other figures are buried, is nearby.

“The investigation shows that the two vehicles were rented at the beginning of the week in the Brussels area,” the statement added.

It said that a total of seven people had been detained for questioning.

French officials: Manhunt in Europe for at least 1 suspect ‘directly involved’ in Paris attacks – The Washington Post

Authorities were scouring Europe on Sunday for at least one other suspect, and possibly two, who were “directly involved” in Friday night’s attacks in Paris, as investigators tried to ascertain whether they were among a number of people arrested over the last 48 hours in Belgium, according to two French officials familiar with the case.

[…]

But police continued searching for at least one other participant in the attacks. French officials and the Islamic State both initially claimed that eight men carried out the attacks. Police said seven attackers died, six of them by detonating suicide vests and one in police gunfire.

There is more at the links of all of these articles…

The Latest: Sunny Skies in Paris; Hearts Full of Grief – The New York Times

PARIS — The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris. (All times local)

The Latest: Officials track passport found by bomber’s body – Houston Chronicle

4:45 p.m.

Balkan authorities are tracking the travels of the owner of a Syrian passport that was found next to a suicide bomber’s body at France’s national stadium on Friday night.

Officials in Greece say the passport’s owner entered the country Oct. 3 through Leros, one of the eastern Aegean islands that tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty have been using as a gateway into the 28-nation European Union.

Serbian police say he registered at its border entry with Macedonia on Oct. 7.

Croatian police say he was checked at a refugee center on Oct. 8. Police spokeswoman Helena Biocic said Sunday the man was not flagged as suspicious and continued his journey toward Hungary and Austria.

It is still not yet clear whether the Syrian passport is fake or real, or whether it belonged to the dead bomber. European officials say there is a brisk trade in fake Syrian passports to help people get refugee status in the EU.

I think I will refrain from comment on the passport thing until all the facts are in.  Because the news on this is very fluid:

Two men linked to Paris attacks registered as migrants in Greece: police | French News | Expatica France

Two men who French police are seeking to identify in connection with the Paris attacks registered as migrants with Greek authorities earlier this year, the Greek police confirmed on Saturday.

 

French authorities had asked their Greek counterparts to check a passport and fingerprints of one man who died in the attacks and the fingerprints of another.

Both were thought to have registered in Greece, the main entry point into Europe for Syrian refugees.

At least one Syrian passport was found at the scene of the Stade de France attack.

The Greek minister for citizen protection, Nikos Toskas, said in a statement that one of the men had been registered on the Greek island of Leros in October.

“We confirm that the (Syrian) passport holder came through the Greek island of Leros on October 3 where he was registered under EU rules,” said a statement issued by Toskas.

French police said the passport was found “near the body of one of the attackers” during the investigation into the main attack of Friday’s carnage, at the Bataclan concert hall, where 82 people were killed.

The authenticity of the passport was being checked, but its discovery indicates a possible Syrian connection which has been a working hypothesis for investigators after assailants hit six separate locations in Paris late Friday.

A Greek police source said the second man had also registered in Greece, with TV station Mega adding this was also on Leros in August.

European security officials had long feared that jihadists could take advantage of the mass migration influx, mainly from war-torn Syria, that Europe has been experiencing since the beginning of the year.

“It is clear now that together with the victims of Islamo-fascism in the Middle East that come as refugees, extreme elements are crossing to Europe,” Defence Minister Panos Kammenos after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Greek police are not ruling out that the Syrian passport changed hands before the attacks.

However, a European security expert on Saturday argued: “The most logical assumption is that it’s the same person, sent on a mission to Europe.”

– ‘Unequalled challenge’ –

“If this is established, it would be the first such case. In any event, this proves that the unchecked flow poses an unequalled challenge for European security. We simply don’t know who is coming through,” the expert added.

Greece’s junior minister for migration Yiannis Mouzalas had admitted in September that it would be “foolish” to completely discount the possibility of jihadists sneaking into Europe among the refugee wave.

Over 800,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with over 3,400 dying in the process.

But Mouzalas noted that the number of Europeans joining extremist groups in the Middle East was far higher.

The important part to remember here is this…the people, refugees, are fleeing this kind of treatment in their own country.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday insisted that the refugees fleeing Syria “are hunted by the same terrorists” that struck in Paris on Friday.

“We must find solutions to the drama of the people who leave their homes, hunted by the same terrorists, and drown in the Mediterranean,” Tsipras said in a televised address, after conferring with his police, migration and intelligence chiefs.

But back to the passport thing:

Holder of Syrian passport found in Paris attack was asylum seeker | Reuters

The holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the gunmen who died in Friday night’s attacks in Paris was registered as a refugee in several European countries last month, authorities said.

The man, identified by Serbian authorities only by his initials A.A., came into Europe through the Greek island of Leros, where he was processed on Oct. 3, Greek officials said on Saturday. He was among 70 refugees who arrived on a small vessel from Turkey.

Serbian authorities said on Sunday the same man had been registered at a border crossing from Macedonia into Serbia a few days later.

The information is significant because if one or more of the Paris gunmen turned out to have come into Europe among refugees and migrants fleeing war-torn countries, this could change the political debate about accepting refugees.

“One of the suspected terrorists, A.A., who is of interest to the French security agencies, was registered on the Presevo border crossing on October 7 this year, where he formally sought asylum,” the Serbian interior ministry said in a statement.

“Checks have confirmed that his details match those of the person who on October 3 was identified in Greece. There was no Interpol warrant issued against this person.”

A spokeswoman for the Croatian interior ministry said the man was registered in the country’s Opatovac refugee camp on Oct. 8 and from there he crossed into Hungary and then Austria.

“There was no (police) record about him at the time of registration and there was no reason for us to stop him in any way,” she said.

Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said however the assertion that the suspect attacker had passed through Austria had “no concrete basis.”

“According to the latest information available, that is no more than conjecture and speculation,” he said.

Any identity documents and fingerprint records would have to be matched with the remains of the attackers to establish whether they passed through various countries posing as refugees, or perhaps bought or stole passports along the way.

Greek government sources said a second suspect attacker was also likely to have passed through Greece.

Following the Paris bloodshed, populist leaders around Europe have rushed to demand a halt to an influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Poland said it could not accept migrants under EU quotas without security guarantees.

Human Rights Watch’s Emergency Director Peter Bouckaert said on Twitter the Syrian passport found may have been fake, adding such fake documents are widely available for sale in Turkey.

“The answer to the Paris attacks and the possibility that one of the attackers came by rubber dinghy to Greece… is not to shut the door on those desperately fleeing war,” he said, calling for Europe to put in place a coherent asylum policy that would both help those on need and address security concerns raised by uncontrolled flows.

“People fleeing war need refuge. And trying to build fences and stopping them at sea only drives them deeper into the hands of criminal gangs, and drives them underground where there is no control over who comes and goes.”

Paris Attacks: What We Know and Don’t Know – The New York Times

Paris attacks highlight France’s gun control problems | World news | The Guardian

No credible threats found in US after Paris attacks as cities step up security | World news | The Guardian

No credible threats found in US after Paris attacks as cities step up security | World news | The Guardian

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: Paris. First Thoughts

Paris. First Thoughts.

Paris bleeds because it is part of a river of blood:  The Russian plane dying in the skies over Egypt, the Hazaras of Afghanistanbeing relieved of their heads, the suicide bombings in a Shiite neighborhood of Beirut, Libanon.Or so the propagandists of Daesh or ISIS or ISIL tell us.  Some of those rivers of blood may be from old rivulets, sourced from old racial hatreds (the Hazara massacre), old religious schisms (the Shias vs. the Sunnis, the Muslims vs. the Christians).  But the Daesh river of blood is real and has not yet been dammed.

And its sources are many.  I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by American oil politics and Western colonialism, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency, no way of choosing another form of rebellion but an extreme life-denying religious one, as if the religion they had created for themselves* from what the Saudi Wahhabism supports and funds in this world**  has played no role.  Instead, millions and millions of westerners are equally to blame, for genetic or historical reasons or at least for not voting various politicians out of power.

I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by their religion, that  every single of hundreds of millions of Muslims is just waiting to behead the first infidel they come across.  Once again, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency, as if millions and millions of Muslims are equally to blame, just because ISIS calls its religion theirs.

And I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by western discrimination and racism or by old religious discrimination in various Middle Eastern countries, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency at all.

Puppets.  ISIS consists of nothing but puppets.  Who holds the strings depends on the tweeter’s own prior beliefs, on whom he or she would wish to blame.  There are even some who believe that US has created ISIS on purpose and funds it!

And what was tweeted on Friday night and later, truly reflected the hobby-horses of various tweeters.  Frank Bruni writes and I concur:

Can’t we wait until we’ve resolved the body count? Until the identities of all of the victims have been determined and their families informed? Until the sirens stop wailing? Until the blood is dry?
Or must we instantly bootstrap obliquely related agendas and utterly unconnected grievances to the carnage in Paris, responding to it with an unsavory opportunism instead of a respectful grief?

Is this the famous death of empathy possibly caused by staring at an inanimate screen while talking to real people?  Is it the masks we wear in cyberspace which allow us to act as if we have mislaid our hearts altogether, as if all that matters is the well-being of whichever group or theory we hold most dearly?  And in counterpoint, is empty sentimentalism or patriotism  the answer we assume if then accused of heartlessness?

It’s as if many in social media forgot about the ones who lost the most in those terrorist attacks, whose lives were prematurely discarded, whose pain served a political function, whose personalities were erased, whose families were left with bleeding wounds, perhaps never to close.  In that they appear in agreement with the Daesh who also regarded the victims as less than nothing:  a bit of filth to be sucked up by the divine vacuum cleaner.

The old customs about the immediate aftermath of death serve a function:  Spend some time thinking about the deceased, give support to the family who is bereaved, sit in silence for a while, offer a cooked dish and offer help.

We don’t really have a cyberspace version of that respect for the individual.  But surely all the different commentators with their pet issues could wait a day or two before forgetting all about the actual human lives which were ended or permanently mutilated by the terrorists?

And from Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo.

Meanwhile in news outside of Paris:

U.S., allies conduct 18 strikes in Syria, Iraq: military | Reuters

Turkey: Suicide bomber wounds 5 Turkish police during raid | Miami Herald The Police were raiding a suspected Isis safe house.

Labour may back action against Syria without UN approval – Lord Falconer | Politics | The Guardian

This next one is good: Reality check: Number of displaced Syrians in Europe – Al Jazeera English

And again it must be said: Here are 10 of the worst domestic terror attacks by extreme Christians and right-wing white men

What about the debate last night? Here is a series of links that discuss just that:

Who Won the Democratic Presidential Debate in Des Moines? – The Atlantic

The Daily 202: A defensive Hillary Clinton lost last night’s debate – The Washington Post

 If you missed the debate last night, Election 2016: Democratic debate transcript: Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley in Iowa – CBS News

The Second Democratic Debate: What the Candidates Said About Paris and ISIS – The Atlantic

Huckabee: Dems More Interested in Protecting Islam’s Image Than Protecting Americans | Mediaite

I hate Huckabee.

CNN’s take of course: Hillary Clinton doesn’t capitalize on resume at debate – CNNPolitics.com

And this last batch of links are about other things in general…

Disturbing as hell:  CIA Director Documentary: ‘The Attacks Will Be Spectacular’ – POLITICO Magazine

From prison to power: Aung San Suu Kyi, Mandela and others… – BBC News

Baltimore homicides top 300 for year, worst since 1999 | Reuters

Contract calls for anti-abortion group to line up counseling | WISH-TV

Yemen: Travel Ban on Women’s Rights Advocate | Human Rights Watch

Republicans Look for Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood, Repeal Parts of Health Law – WSJ

‘Poverty Pay’ Leads Wal-Mart Employees to Steal Lunches From Co-Workers – Truthdig

And lastly, a link dump about T1D:

Type 1 Diabetes: An Unrelenting Disease – US News

14 realities of having type 1 diabetes in your 20s | BreakingNews.ie

Call For Healthy Eating And Exercise On World Diabetes Day Neglects Innocent Type 1 Patients

So what are you reading about today?

I realize this is a lot of links….take it one at a time. 😉