Remember, This Is #WhatTheyVotedFor


#resist

#PutiTrump: Protest image of Vladimir Putin, artist unknown. Donald Trump in detail of photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for msnbc, 2016.

Republicans go to Hell, now:

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

(Washington Post)

Simply put: I am a child of the Cold War; the idea that a Republican would sell out the nation to the KGB will take some … ah … effort. Sixty-two million nine hundred eighty-four thousand eight hundred twenty-five might not have been a raw majority, but it was enough to elect a president who would sell out the nation to the Russians.

I know: Republicans. This is #WhatTheyVotedFor. Who’d’a’thunk?

____________________

Miller, Greg and Greg Jaffe. “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador”. The Washington Post. 15 May 2017.

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Personal Reflections on Politics and Priorities


The Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol building.

Let us speak of love and life and the beauty of this Universe.

What? Oh. Right. Sorry.

Look, to the one it seems really simple; to the other, we all have people in our lives who will, when they don’t like the obvious implication of an obvious fact, chuff and puff and stutter: “Wh-wha-what? What are you talking about? What does that even mean?” The thing about this behavior is that except for the fact of contention, these people in our lives know damn well what we’re talking about, and if there is any confusion about what it means, they’re certainly tipping their hand by going from zero to attack in zero-point-two-one-seven-three seconds. You know that common tease, “Struck a nerve, there”?

Sometimes it seems tragic: Perceived competitive pressures can seem so permeating in and of the perspectives subscribing to or advocating its processes and outcomes as to inhibit normal, healthy social function. More accessibly: Capitalism escalates mental health risk factors. Or, more generally: People who believe in or advocate the dog eat dog rat race can fall into it so deeply that their social faculties degrade into dysfunction.

And sometimes we think, “Huh? But you knew what this meant yesterday. And you even believed it last week!”

Continue reading

Yes. Arkansas.


“If we can’t shoot them, we have to at least be firm in our threat to take immediate action against them politically, socially, and civically if they screw up on something this big. Personally, I think a gun is quicker and more merciful, but hey, we can’t. But we have to do something, we have to gain control of our representatives, if we don’t then what the hell are we doing as a party except having fundraiser dinners and meetings just to raise more money for future meetings and fundraisers, and giving money to empower and elect those who would betray us without having the control to keep them in line once we do?”

Chris Nogy

Chris Nogy is not happy. Indeed, the man formerly most famous for being married to a Benton County, Arkansas, Republican Party official has earned a new feather for his cap. John Celock explains for The Huffington Post:

Chris Nogy, the husband of a Republican Party official in Arkansas, suggested it was a shame that voters couldn’t just threaten to shoot GOP state legislators who voted for the state’s Medicaid expansion ….

Benton County GOP…. Nogy did not similarly target Democratic lawmakers “as bullet backstops,” he wrote, because in voting for Medicaid expansion, they were simply doing what their party wanted them to do.

PoliticsUSA.com reports that Chris Nogy is the husband of the Benton County GOP secretary, Leigh Nogy. Benton County is located in the northwest part of Arkansas, bordering Missouri and Oklahoma.

In his essay, Nogy described Medicaid expansion as a “threat domestic” and said that Republicans “need to get a LOT tougher if we are ever to assure that events like those that took place this week don’t happen again.” He noted that his 13-year-daughter was returning a $200 scholarship and plaque from the Arkansas Federation of Republican Women in protest.

The angry essay has already drawn criticism from fellow Republicans. The Benton County Republican Party condemned it, saying that they do not support shooting Republican lawmakers. And Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R) tweeted, “The party that gets rid of its crazies first will be the long term majority party in Arkansas,” according to The Arkansas Times.

So far, Nogy is not backing down, though it is worth noting that, sadly, extreme strangeness is hardly a rare phenomenon among Arkansas Republicans. Celock notes that last year, “it was revealed that former state Rep. Charlie Fuqua, who was seeking a return to the Legislature, had written that he wanted to give parents the right to have the state government kill ‘rebellious children,’ and he suggested expelling all Muslims from the country.” And we ought not forget Rep. John Hubbard, who last year published a book arguing, among other things, that—

The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.

Yes. Arkansas.

Sigh.

Smart People Being Stupid (#1)


Smart people being stupid; does this idea really need explanation?

The Wisdom of William SaletanToday’s stupidity is brought to you by Will Saletan via Twitter. The national correspondent for Slate offered this bit of wisdom in considering the tragedies in Oslo:

Oslo Peace Process. Nobel Peace Prize. Today’s attacks show how little terrorists respect countries that pursue peace.

The tweet is its own punch line, I guess.

The land of the what? The home of the who?


Is this really what we’ve become? Glenn Greenwald explains:

Decadent governments often spawn a decadent citizenry. A 22-year-old Nebraska resident was arrested yesterday for waterboarding his girlfriend as she was tied to a couch, because he wanted to know if she was cheating on him with another man; I wonder where he learned that? There are less dramatic though no less nauseating examples of this dynamic. In The Chicago Tribune today, there is an Op-Ed from Jonah Goldberg — the supreme, living embodiment of a cowardly war cheerleader — headlined: “Why is Assange still alive?” It begins this way:

    I’d like to ask a simple question: Why isn’t Julian Assange dead? . . . WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicized breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb. . . .

    So again, I ask: Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?

    It’s a serious question.

He ultimately concludes that “it wouldn’t do any good to kill him, given the nature of the Web” — whatever that means — and reluctantly acknowledges: “That’s fine. And it’s the law. I don’t expect the U.S. government to kill Assange, but I do expect them to try to stop him.” What he wants the Government to do to “stop” Assange is left unsaid — tough-guy neocons love to beat their chest and demand action without having the courage to specify what they mean — but his question (“Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?”) was published in multiple newspapers around the country today.

Christian Whiton, a former Bush State Department official, wasn’t as restrained in his Fox News column last week, writing:

    Rather, this [the WikiLeaks disclosure] is an act of political warfare against the United States. . . . .Here are some of the things the U.S. could do: . . .Explore opportunities for the president to designate WikiLeaks and its officers as enemy combatants, paving the way for non-judicial actions against them.

I emailed Whiton and told him I’d like to do a podcast interview with him for Salon about his WikiLeaks proposal and he replied: “Thank you for the invitation, but I am starting a trip tomorrow and will be on a plane just about all day.” I replied that it didn’t have to be the next day — I’d be happy to do it any day that was convenient for him — and he then stopped answering ….

It was only Tuesday that various guests, including former NSC Director for Defense Strategy Kori Schake and former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, explained on KCRW’s To the Point that there wasn’t anything particularly significant about the latest WikiLeaks release, save for its volume. Still, though, we see journalists like Goldberg, or former Bush administration officials, suggesting severe actions against WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Are we really—really—so frightened by information? Would we support other nations that attempt to suppress public information about what the governments are doing? Would we not protest suggestions that whistleblowers should be assassinated or imprisoned as enemy combatants?

What ever happened to “the land of the free and the home of the brave”? How is it that “transparency” has become a political buzzword in the United States? More than bombs and bullets, it seems information brings night terrors to some, who feel that truth is anathema, and those who seek it ought to be punished harshly.

People don’t want transparency. They want someone to blame, to hate, to condemn. This is a fairly common psychological phenomenon; as people feel more and more alienated by the world around them, they seek some means of exercising a degree of authority. To blame and condemn satiates the hunger for a time, but that satisfaction is fleeting. For the Goldbergs, Whitons, and other warmongers of our age, the missions abroad have been disastrous blows against their identity politics. To admit and accept that the Iraqi Bush Adventure should never have happened, and the mission in Afghanistan was played to lose from the outset, is too great a burden for their identity complexes, so they must find someone or something to blame for every appearance of failure and injustice; the something is truth, and the someone is whoever brings it.

This is what we’ve come to. This is what we want. What I can’t figure, though, is why.

Another real headline


Another real headline:

    Terrorists ‘could use exploding breast implants to blow up jet’

The story, via the Daily Telegraph:

Photo by CORBISRadical Islamist plastic surgeons could be carrying out the implant operations in lawless areas of Pakistan, security sources are said to warned.

Explosives experts have reportedly said just five ounces of Pentaerythritol Tetrabitrate packed into a breast implant would be enough to blow a “considerable” hole in the side of a jumbo jet.

It would be virtually possible for airport security scanners to detect the explosive if hidden inside a breast, medics have said.

Joseph Farah, a terrorism expert, told The Sun: “Women suicide bombers recruited by al-Qaeda are known to have had the explosives inserted in their breasts under techniques similar to breast enhancing surgery.”

Plastic surgeons may also have inserted the chemical into the buttocks of would-be suicide bombers.

The discovery was reportedly made after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a London-educated Nigerian, attempted to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas day with explosives packed into his underpants.

Hours after his attack failed, British intelligence services reportedly picked up “chatter” from Pakistan and Yemen that alerted them to the bizarre new method.

I’m waiting for the B-class horror version: Tits of Terror, starring Nicole Eggert and Karen Black, directed by Uwe Boll.

And, yes, we’ll skip the predictable clichés.

World’s Dumbest Crimefighters?


And here I was complaining about reality television … what, just yesterday? It might be time for a new reality show: World’s Dumbest Crimefighters.

The BBC brings us the latest in brilliant anti-terrorism tactics:

Irish police have released a man held over an explosives find, after Slovakian authorities admitted planting them in his luggage.

The explosive was one of eight pieces of contraband placed with unsuspecting passengers at Bratislava Airport last weekend, broadcaster RTE reported.

The 49-year-old unwittingly brought the material into Dublin when he returned from his Christmas holidays.

He was arrested on Tuesday morning but has since been released without charge.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said he was very concerned that Irish police had not been alerted for three days.

Airport security detected seven of the illicit items, but the eighth – 90g of research development explosive – managed to escape detection.

What, aside from, “I would hope TSA isn’t this stupid”, can we possibly say?

The Beeb also notes that—

The Irish Army said passengers had not been put in danger because the explosives were stable and not connected to any essential bomb parts.

—but, come on, isn’t that just a statistical finding? Are they telling us there is no way these explosives could have detonated? Imagine the news report:

    Terrorists struck in Dublin, Ireland today, on a flight that coincidentally crashed of its own accord. According to statements from the three surviving passengers, the flight went fine until the landing, when one of the gear broke on touchdown. Passengers celebrated surviving the rough landing until the bomb, hidden in the luggage compartment, exploded, igniting the plane’s remaining fuel. Four members of the rescue squad were also killed in the explosion and fire, while six more were taken to area hospitals with burns ranging from moderate to severe.

    The Slovakian government sent its profound condolences, and thanked the Irish for “courageous” attempts to help Slovakian citizens aboard the plane ….

I mean, really. No danger?

How reckless, this war on terror?