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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Hypocrite of the Day

Senate leader pushes for extension of coal miner healthcare


Really. Health care. This guy?

This guy is concerned about people losing their health care?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he is pushing to extend expiring healthcare benefits for retired coal miners by including a provision in a spending bill Congress hopes to pass this week.

Retired coal miners.

The guy who had to be shamed by Jon Stewart into supporting healthcare for 9/11 first responders is concerned about the healthcare benefits of retired coal miners?

In a statement on the Senate floor, McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said that in conversations with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan he has insisted that the Continuing Resolution include "a provision to address that issue so these retirees don't lose their healthcare benefit at the end of this year."
 Oh, right. He'd hate to think that something could cause some people to lose their healthcare!

Unless. . .

Obamacare Repeal Would Take Insurance From 30 Million People

Gee, who is that guy, that guy who's been so adamant about wanting to repeal Obamacare? Old guy, looks like a turtle, has no decency. . .Oh, right, it's that son of a bitch Mitch McConnell!

So, McConnell is fine, well more than fine, he's practically erect at the thought of stripping health insurance from 30 million people, he's not all that crazy about providing care for the heroes of 9/11, but he just can't stand the thought of retired coal miners being unable to access whatever it is that passes for medical care in the coaldust towns of  rural Kentucky?

Pictured: The best hospital in Paduccah

It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that retired coal miners are largely old white men, could it? Or that these old white men are voters McConnell might need in his next re-election bid? I mean,. the 9/11 first responders mostly live in New York and New Jersey, they can't vote for or against McConnell, that couldn't have anything to do with his callous indifference to their health concerns.could it?

Look, it's great that retired coal miners have healthcare. I'm not suggesting that they should forfeit this. I'm just saying that it's sickening that Mitch McConnell doesn't have the same concern for the millions of other Americans who will no longer have access to doctors if/when McConnell actually does what he's been promising/threatening to do and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Payback is going to be a bitch!

At first, I didn't get it.

Trump's education pick says reform can 'advance God's Kingdom'

Why would Trump pick a Bible-thumping religious fanatic to head up the Department of education? He's clearly not a religious man. He couldn't quote a single Bible verse when asked to do so. He referred to partaking in the body and blood of our Lord and Savior as "eating my little cracker and drinking my little wine." He's a thrice-married libertine who has carried on public extra-marital affairs and claims he has never done anything for which he needed to ask forgiveness. So why would he want someone like this?

The billionaire philanthropist whom Donald Trump has tapped to lead the Education Department once compared her work in education reform to a biblical battleground where she wants to "advance God's Kingdom."
. . . School choice, they say, leads to “greater Kingdom gain.” The two also lament that public schools have “displaced” the Church as the center of communities, and they cite school choice as a way to reverse that troubling trend.

Oh, yeah. . . I've totally noticed how so many communities are now centered around the Public School!
You just can't keep people from gathering at the Public School!

Betsy DeVos also described her efforts, using the biblical term “Shephelah,” an area where battles — including between David and Goliath — were fought in the Old Testament.
“Our desire is to be in that Shephelah, and to confront the culture in which we all live today in ways that will continue to help advance God’s Kingdom, but not to stay in our own faith territory,” she said.

This doesn't sound like someone Trump would hang out with. Actually this doesn't sound like someone that anyone would want to hang out with. But her interests certainly don't seem to align with Trump's.

But I think I finally figured it out. It's a big fuck-you to somebody. I'm not sure who, but it's definitely aimed at someone he thinks slighted him.

See, I think Trump is basically driven by three thoughts.

1. There are people out there who think they're better than me.

2. Shit! What if they're right?

3. Either way, they must be punished.

So Betsy DeVos is probably a big middle finger to the teachers' union for endorsing Hillary, or something.

I think his entire administration is going to be about payback.

People in public housing voted overwhelmingly against me? Well, here's a little Ben Carson for ya!

Black and Hispanic voters went for Hillary? Well, how do you like my blatantly racist attorney general?

Smart people with educations look down there nose at me? How about Sarah Palin for secretary of . . . something. I don't know we'll fit her in somewhere.

By the way, speaking of Ben Carson, wasn't it just last week that he said he wouldn't run Health & Human services because "Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency."

So now he's going to run HUD? A position he's even less qualified for? 

It's going to be a long, long, scary four years.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Trump visits New York Times, New York Times cowers

Finally got around to looking at this trainwreck today:

Donald Trump’s New York Times Interview: Full Transcript

Okay, so first of all, the Times begins the interview with this line:

SULZBERGER: I thought maybe I’d start this off by asking if you have anything you would like to start this off with before we move to the easiest questions you’re going to get this administration.

NO! No, no, no, no, no. That is not how you approach the soon-to-be-most powerful man in America. Not like sniveling little toadies. Not like craven little apple-polishers. You're supposed to be the institution that holds his feet to the fire, not his P.R. firm. You're not supposed to be his friend!

I'm a little concerned about your choice of approach. 
Is cowardice really going to "wow" the judges?

Then Trump says this:
TRUMP: O.K. Well, I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.

Really? Really, New York Times? You're really going to let him say that without calling him on it? You're really going to sit there and smile as if he hadn't been tweeting shit like this for months?

And by the way, Times, I got those Tweets from an article entitled

The 282 People, Places and Things Donald
Trump Has Insulted on Twitter

Which was published on YOUR WEBSITE!
So it's not like you guys don't know about this.

Then he goes on to say this:

Always has been very special. I think I’ve been treated very rough. It’s well out there that I’ve been treated extremely unfairly in a sense, in a true sense. I wouldn’t only complain about The Times. I would say The Times was about the roughest of all. You could make the case The Washington Post was bad, but every once in a while I’d actually get a good article. Not often, Dean, but every once in awhile.

And still no one from the Times says anything? No one pounds his fist on the table and shouts "stop being such a crybaby, you pathetic little worm! You're going to be the leader of the free world, act like a fucking man for once in your life, you sorry little whiner!"

Look, I have great respect for The Times, and I’d like to turn it around. I think it would make the job I am doing much easier.

And no one says "um, excuse me Mr. Rump, but it's not our job to make your job easier. If anything, we should serve as an obstacle to your ambitions."

We’re working very hard. We have great people coming in. I think you’ll be very impressed with the names. We’ll be announcing some very shortly.Everybody wanted to do this. People are giving up tremendous careers in order to be subject to you folks and subject to a lot of other folks. But they’re giving up a lot. I mean some are giving up tremendous businesses in order to sit for four or maybe eight or whatever the period of time is. 

And no one says "Well, A) we've seen some of these names and no one is impressed. And B) do you really not know how long a Presidential term is? Oh, and C) Is there any way you could try to speak in some sort of coherent sentences? With some recognizable English syntax? Thanks!

  But I think we’re going to see some tremendous talent, tremendous talent coming in. We have many people for every job. I mean no matter what the job is, we have many incredible people. I think, Reince, you can sort of just confirm that. The quality of the people is very good.

REINCE PRIEBUS, Mr. Trump’s choice for chief of staff: [inaudible]

 Oh my God, Reince! I feel for ya. I wouldn't be able to come up with a decent response either!
And no one even bothers to ask him to repeat what he just said because at this point, it would just be mean.

And I thought we were going to win it. And we won it, we won it, you know, relatively easily, we won it by a number of points. Florida we won by 180,000 — was that the number, 180?

PRIEBUS: [inaudible]

What we do want to do is we want to bring the country together, because the country is very, very divided, and that’s one thing I did see, big league. It’s very, very divided, and I’m going to work very hard to bring the country together.
I mean, I’m somebody that really has gotten along with people over the years.

 And no one in the room says "Really? Because what you're know for more than anything is insulting people on social media. In fact here in our very paper we recently published a list of the 282 people, places and things you've insulted on Twitter.
Are you planning on "bringing the country together" with shit like this?

And that's just what you said about your fellow Republicans! How are you going to "bring America together" when you can't stop trying to drive away members of your own party? Let alone Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Independents, etc?

 Any way, the transcript goes on for quite a while, so I think we'll just stop here for now and maybe pick it up tomorrow.
Good night.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I expect better from Mother Jones

I've seen Kevin Drum's stuff from time to time on the MoJo blog. I don't read him religiously because reading is hard and takes effort, but I'm familiar enough with him to be very disappointed with this little gem:

Let's Be Careful With the "White Supremacy" Label

I was listening in on a listserv conversation the other day, and someone asked how and when it became fashionable to use the term "white supremacy" as a substitute for ordinary racism. Good question. I don't know the answer, but my guess is that it started with Ta-Nehisi Coates, who began using it frequently a little while ago. Anyone have a better idea?

Yes! Everyone! Everyone has a better idea! It's not like Ta-Hehisi Coates invented the term. White supremacy and racism are practically synonymous terms.

   For what it's worth, this is a terrible fad

Fad? A terrible FAD? Do you even know what a fad is?

Streaking was a terrible fad.

Saggy pants is a terrible fad.

Planking was a terrible fad.

Calling out white supremacists is not a "fad."

For what it's worth, this is a terrible fad. With the exception of actual neo-Nazis and a few others, there isn't anyone in America who's trying to promote the idea that whites are inherently superior to blacks or Latinos.

"No one is. . . . " Have you seen Twitter?

Or Facebook?

Or the comment section on pretty much any news story online?

Conversely, there are loads of Americans who display signs of overt racism—or unconscious bias or racial insensitivity or resentment over loss of status—in varying degrees.

Okayyyy. . . So what is this?*HqUQrmnpvOGo3kMI.jpg
or this? 

Or this?

Is these examples of racism, bias, or insensitivity?

Is portraying our president as a primate just racism? Is it not strongly implying that black people are in some way more similar to apes and therefore less human than white people? How is that not white supremacy? Where exactly do you draw the line? Where does "bias" or "overt racism" end and white supremacism begin?  You're really just being pedantic, aren't you?

This isn't just pedantic. It matters. It's bad enough that liberals toss around charges of racism with more abandon than we should, but it's far worse if we start calling every sign of racial animus—big or small, accidental or deliberate—white supremacy. I can hardly imagine a better way of proving to the non-liberal community that we're all a bunch of out-of-touch nutbars who are going to label everyone and everything we don't like as racist.

Okay. If that were actually happening, you might have a point. If every time someone confused Chris Tucker with Dave Chapelle they were accused of being a white supremacist, that would be going too far. But A) I really haven't seen that happening, and B) if you start worrying about what the FOX and Limbaugh crowd think of you, the battle is already lost. Because if you're not one of them, they are already incurably convinced that you are an America-hating, anti-Christian tool of the gay agenda and being judicious with charges of racism isn't going to change their minds one bit.

Petty theft is not the same as robbing a bank. A lewd comment is not the same as rape. A possible lack of sensitivity is not a sign of latent support for apartheid.  Bernie Sanders is not a white male supremacist.

And I really don't think anyone is saying any of those things.

Let's jump back to the beginning of this article for the Bernie Snders story he's referring to. Someone named Nancy LeTourneau was critical of a statement Sanders had made to an aspiring Latina politician. The criticism that he reprints in his article goes like this, in its entirety:

It is true that in order to end racism and sexism we have to begin by giving women and people of color a seat at the table. But that accomplishes very little unless/until we listen to them and find a way to work with them in coalition. To the extent that Sanders wants to avoid doing that in order to foster division within the Democratic Party, he is merely defending white male supremacy.
I’m not suggesting that the senator’s agenda is necessarily white male supremacy.
She seems to be saying that Sanders' comments to the young Latina woman serve to reinforce the idea that positions of power rightly belong in the hands of white men. She doesn't claim that he is reinforcing this idea intentionally, in fact she specifically says that she does NOT believe that Sanders has a white-supremacy agenda.  So why does he feel the need to point out that Bernie is not a white supremacist as if he were contradicting some popular canard?  I have no idea.

Then there's this

Oh, I see. Believing that white people are superior to other kinds of people, believing in the supremacy of white people, is not enough for a person to be labeled a white supremacist. Apparently, if you aren't a part of an organization dedicated to spreading/enforcing the idea of white supremacy, you're just a garden-variety "insensitive" or "biased" person, about whom we need not worry.
Except that these people vote.

Honestly, I expect better from Mother Jones 
Hey, I ain't happy about this either!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

CNN continues to normalize Trump

Lately, there has been a certain amount of pressure on the president-elect to "refudiate" the neo-Nazis  known as the  Alt-right. Hahahaha! Not really. Not like there was on president Obama to throw his pastor under the bus or anything! But, apparently there has been some tiny amount of pressure, so this headline might have sounded a bit encouraging to some:

Donald Trump disavows 'alt-right'

Hmm, seems promising. I'm just going to go ahead and read the actual article assuming that it won't be maddeningly disappointing.

(CNN)President-elect Donald Trump denied Tuesday that he did anything to "energize" the alt-right movement through his presidential campaign and sought to distance himself from it

Annnnd let's just feed that through the CNN-to-English translator. . .

 and we get. . . 

"President-elect Trump told a ridiculous lie today which we will just take at face value and not question at all."

. . . and sought to distance himself from it, even though many of the movement's leaders have sought to tether their political views to Trump's rise.

"sought to tether?" Translation please!

 Beepity boop boop!

"The views of the racist, xenophobic, misogynist, homophobic leaders of the so-called "alt right" are inextricably intertwined with those of the president-elect, but we are incapable of admitting this obvious fact."

I don't want to energize the group, and I disavow the group," Trump told a group of New York Times reporters and columnists during a meeting at the newspaper's headquarters in New York.

That's it? "I disavow the group?" That's all you got? You know these are Nazis, right? If Nazis are supporting you, you don't hem and haw and then finally just toss out a half-heartd "oh, I disavow them."
This is like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer says to Jerry, "c'mon, I'm begging you!" And Jerry says something like "you can't just say 'I'm begging you.' You have to actually BEG. Put some beg into it."
It's like saying "I apologize." That's not the same thing as actually apologizing. Apologizing is saying "I'm sorry." And  saying "I disavow" is not disavowing.
If you have a bunch of disgusting racists supporting you and you want to disavow them, you call a press conference, you step up to the podium and you say "I want nothing to do with these assholes, they do not represent me, I do not want their endorsements, I will not accept their endorsements, I find them extremely offensive, etc. etc. etc."

"It's not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why," he added, according to one of the Times reporters in the room, Michael Grynbaum.

Find out why? Find out why? Yeah, this is really going to take some serious detective work. You might have to spend 5 minutes on Stormfront or Breitbart or any of the many neo-Nazi websites out there who will be happy to tell you how grateful they are to you for mainstreaming their hate messages. . Hell, just ask some of the "white nationalists" you've retweeted during the campaign.
Or, you could just ask your new "strategic advisor" or whatever Steve Bannon is.

Trump offered up the condemnation of the alt-right, a far-right political movement rife with white nationalist, anti-Semitic and racist ideologies, after The New York Times' executive editor Dean Baquet asked Trump if he feels he did things to energize the alt-right. 
Deedeedee dah deep deep!

In English: 'We have no idea what the word "condemnation" means, but the Trump people are saying that's what he did and we see no reason to dispute or question that. Do you like us now, Mr. Trump? Please? Please like us!"

Trump's comments come days after Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and leading figure in the alt-right, delivered a racist and anti-Semitic address to a gathering of the group's members in which he declared, emphatically, "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!"
Spencer's chants prompted some audience members to raise their right hand in an apparent Nazi salute.

Okay, first of all.,  it wasn't "hail." It was "Heil!" Which, to be fair, does mean "hail" in German, but certainly has a much darker connotation which CNN chooses to gloss over.
Second, the hand gesture was absolutely a Nazi salute. I do have to give CNN credit, though for stating outright that Spencer's address was "racist and anti-Semitic." Maybe if they'd had the spine to call a spade a spade a few months ago, we wouldn't be in this mess right now.

White supremacists have consistently expressed their support for Trump during the presidential campaign -- pointing in part to his hardline positions on immigration -- and critics contended that Trump was too slow to reject the support of those groups during his campaign.

"Critics contended?" "Too slow to reject?"  "During?" Can we translate this please?

Deet-deet-deet-da da bleep blorp!

"White supremacists have consistently expressed their support for Trump and he hasn't seemed to have any problem with this and the media has never really pressed him on it or held him accountable at all or really even made much of an issue about it so naturally, he wasn't in any hurry to reject the support of his base. And, in fact, he never actually has given any sort of full-throated rejection or condemnation of these racist groups,  he's always gotten away with a half-hearted winking dismissal and a reference to Hillary's e-mails."

Trump also took flak recently after he tapped his campaign CEO Steve Bannon to be one of his top two advisers in the White House. Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, touted the website as "the platform for the alt-right." Bannon rejected the anti-Semitic and racist elements of the alt-right in an interview with the Wall Street Journal this week and declared himself an "economic nationalist."
Trump defended Bannon in his New York Times meeting, saying that he's known him for "a long time" and that the allegations of anti-Semitism and connections to the alt-right are "not him."
"If I thought he was racist, or 'alt-right' ... I wouldn't even think about hiring him," Trump said Tuesday.

Annnnnd. . . That's it. That's the end of the article. Trump hires Bannon. Bannon proudly proclaims his connections to the racist "alt-right." Trump says he's pretty sure that Bannon has nothing to do with the "alt-right" or racism. Annnnd. . . I guess we'll just have to leave it there? The President-elect's statement clearly contradicts the facts, but who are we to point this out? What are we supposed to sort truth from bs? Oh. We are? Uh-oh!