Sunday, April 23, 2017

GOP Rape Advisory Chart

A week or so ago, connecticutie posted her version of the GOP Rape Advisory Chart to help sort out all of the confusion about the wide variety of rape "flavors" that today's Republican Party seems so hell-bent on bringing to light.

I thought she did a fantastic job, but, given the latest entries into the "rainbow of rape flavors" yesterday and today by Richard Mourdock and John Cornyn, I decided to create a revised version that plays it straight--I'm just including the actual quotes themselves. Feel free to repost on FB, TW or wherever you wish.

So, without further ado, I present the updated Republican Party Rape Advisory Chart:

Wow. I'm beyond flattered (if "flattered" is the appropriate term...seems a bit inappropriate in this case).

Anyway, just to reiterate, since I've had at least one person contact me directly about it, please feel free to repost the graphic anywhere you wish, and don't worry about "credit" or "attribution"...the color-code chart was connecticuties, as noted above, and I certainly don't want "credit" for the disgusting statements by the GOP jackasses in the chart.

Also, if you want to attach a link to the chart, I'd recommend either a) ANY of the Democrats running against the scumbags who made the quotes (there's too many to list again) or, alternately, RAINN, which seems appropriate.

I should probably also note that the chart above is far from all-inclusive. Several additional quotes are listed in the comments, and there's many (far, far too many) more that haven't been yet.

Unfortunately, I don't think Photoshop could handle that large of an image file if I tried to include them all, and I'd quickly run out of background colors to use.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

White House sends press release featuring White House praise for White House

I had to come up with a good quote or Trump wouldn't let me go to Mar-a-Lago anymore.

Do you remember the last Republican National Convention, where private citizen after private citizen came up to praise Donald J. Trump and, uncannily, pretty much every one of them turned out to either be on Donald J. Trump's current payroll or was engaged in some financial venture with him? Team Trump has carried that grand tradition into the White House, with a press release praising their latest executive order filled out with quotes from da Team Trump people that wrote it.

“I am proud to stand with the President as he leads on prioritizing American workers and American products first. These ‘Buy American, Hire American’ initiatives will stimulate economic and wage growth, while ensuring that our government is using high quality products that are Made in the U.S.A.” – Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury [...] “This historic act of leadership from President Trump makes unequivocally clear that this Administration will serve and protect the American worker – fighting for fair trade and immigration policies that promote rising wages and employment for our hardworking citizens.” – Stephen Miller, Senior Advisor to the President for Policy
The press release is in fact titled Senior Administration Officials Praise President Donald J. Trump’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, perhaps because Executive Order Praised By White House Staffers Who Would Be Fired If They Didn't was a bit too on-the-nose.

I realize that praise for Donald Trump has, throughout his entire life, been damn hard to come by. That's why Trump himself would pretend to be his own publicist and cold-call people to heap praise on himself; If he didn't, who would? But the White House releasing a press release consisting of nothing but people hired by Trump saying nice things about him seems a bit like making one of the core points in your doctoral thesis "and my mom agrees with me."

Not saying you can't do it. Just saying maybe you should try harder.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Top 5 Ways Bill O'Reilly Gave Us Trump and Cheapened America

Bill O'Reilly. (photo: Fox News)
Bill O'Reilly. (photo: Fox News)

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment
20 April 17
ill O’Reilly is off the airwaves, but it doesn’t really matter. The despicable strategy of presslord Rupert Murdoch of orienting his Fox Cable “news” toward the nativist far right in the United States will continue. They’ll just find another O’Reilly. Worse, there is more or less an O’Reilly in the White House now, with the nuclear codes. Murdoch and O’Reilly in many ways gave us the Trump presidency, running the Republic into a brick wall.

1. Trump’s ridiculous and very expensive plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico? That was an O’Reilly idea. I remember seeing O’Reilly trot it out in an interview with the late thriller writer Tom Clancy after 9/11:
O’REILLY: Now, I’ve been banging this drum for more than a year, and I did a “Talking Points” tonight on it, is that the borders are so chaotic and they’re not secured, and we’re very vulnerable from both Canada and Mexico for people who want to bring stuff in and come in here, and the INS can’t control it. Am I wrong there?
CLANCY: No, it’s one of the problems of, you know, one of the consequences of living in a free and open society. You know, the Statue of Liberty invites people in. She’s not holding a machine gun to keep people away.
Clancy wasn’t exactly left wing. But he tried to warn O’Reilly that crackpot plans like the Wall were a long step toward the US becoming a new Soviet Union. The latter, he said, had failed. Now we have a president with squirrels running around in his cranium, who saw O’Reilly push this nonsense and wants to charge us billions in taxes to build it.

It all comes out of a wounded white nationalism, buffeted by globalization, where African-Americans and immigrants are allegedly stealing jobs (they aren’t).

2. O’Reilly beat the drum nightly for George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. He repeatedly alleged that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was behind al-Qaeda, with the implication that Iraq blew up New York and Washington, D.C. He repeatedly alleged that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” and that he was training al-Qaeda operatives in chemical weapons use at Salman Pak. There is no evidence that that was the case. Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda and was clearly afraid of it. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

O’Reilly had said that if there turned out to be no WMD in Iraq, he would become more skeptical of the Bush white house. But despite the collapse of the case against Iraq, O’Reilly went on cheerleading for Bush/ Cheney.

3. O’Reilly said on “The View” that “Muslims hit us” on 9/11. Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off the set when O’Reilly doubled down on his hate speech and gross generalization. When Trump said last fall “Islam hates us,” he was just echoing O’Reilly. 

4. O’Reilly has repeatedly said racist things, and his current troubles began when he said of senior Congresswoman Maxine Waters that he could not get past her “James Brown wig.” In a famous incident on his now-defunct radio show, O’Reilly had professed himself shocked, on eating at a restaurant owned by African-Americans, that the patrons seemed perfectly respectable. He had recently said that Trump won’t be able to help African-Americans because “ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads.”

Then there was all the other bigotry, as when he compared gay marriage to Goat Marriage. 

5. O’Reilly’s denial that any practical measures need to be taken to limit CO2 emissions, because they would disadvantage American corporations. Climate denialism is the original fake news, and O’Reilly & Fox were one major source that Trump scans for news like this.

He’s a mean, mean man. And a bad historian, which yours truly holds against him, hard. He managed to cheapen my America and then he made millions writing “fake history.”

The O’Reilly Factor is dead. But Fox will just go on polluting the airwaves.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Trump rattles seaborne saber at North Korea, but his fleet was in wrong ocean headed the wrong way

The USS Carl Vinson, a US nuclear powered aircraft carrier, is seen in Hong Kong waters on December 27, 2011.   The USS Carl Vinson, which was commissioned in 1982, is in Hong Kong for a three day visit.  AFP PHOTO / AARON TAM (Photo credit should read aaron tam/AFP/Getty Images)
Where in the world is ... our 100,000 ton 1,000' long aircraft carrier?
Great powers never bluff. They just lie outright about the location, direction, and intent of entire carrier groups. As the New York Times reports, a few ships are not where the Trump White House said they were.
As worries deepened last week about whether North Korea would conduct a missile test, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior.
Because nothing comforts people and soothes international tension like reporting that you’re bringing in a fleet of warships. However, in this case, there’s an issue other than bringing in some ships to show the flag.
The problem was, the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.
They … lied about where the ships were, where they were going, and what they were doing? Didn’t they think that someone might notice when a 100,000 ton ship that’s better than 1,000 feet long and carrying a crew of 5,000 didn’t show up?

Actually, it appears that the Trump regime wasn’t so much lying about the ships. They just screwed up—in pretty much every way you can think of.
White House officials said on Tuesday they were relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there describe a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from a premature announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to an erroneous explanation by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that an American armada was racing toward the waters off North Korea.
Well then. Wouldn’t it have been hilarious if Trump had ordered some action confident that the Vinson and her companions were on hand to support his play? And how much better can it get in the “Showing North Korea we’re really serious this time” category than threatening them with ships that were sailing in the other direction?

Next up: Trump orders Navy to stop taking pictures so no one will know when he’s wrong.

Your reminder for the day: This is not normal.

Who Among Us Can Say that We Have Not Misplaced an Aircraft Carrier?

Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)
Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)
By Charles Pierce, Esquire
PART 2: The newest scene in our national tragicomedy.

K, somebody needs to explain how these things happen. From the NYT:
The problem was, the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula. White House officials said on Tuesday they were relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from a premature announcement of the deployment by the military's Pacific Command to an erroneous explanation by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that an American armada was racing toward the waters off North Korea. By the time the White House was asked about the Carl Vinson on April 11, its imminent arrival had been emblazoned on front pages across East Asia, fanning fears that Mr. Trump was considering a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea. It was portrayed as further evidence of the president's muscular style two days after he ordered a missile strike on Syria while he and President Xi Jinping of China were finishing dessert during a meeting in Florida.
Let us catch our breath for a minute and take stock.

These people misplaced an entire carrier attack group and then tried to bluff their way past it in a way guaranteed to make a crazy guy with a bad haircut and a huge army nervous.

Thank god my running mate advised us not to get too crazy about this.

This episode does not seem to be a lie as much as it seems to be a further demonstration of the clusterf*ckish management style there at Camp Runamuck. At this point, my faith in what the administration says is such that I believe that, when the missiles flew into Syria, the president* and Xi actually were splitting a Twinkie and a bottle of YooHoo.

A beautiful Twinkie.

And the best bottle of YooHoo you ever saw.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

O’Reilly out at Fox as harassment claims pile up

Is anybody surprised that the nation's news source for bigots and rednecks has been sexually harassing women for years?

New York Times

 Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host on Fox News, the company said on Wednesday, after the disclosure of settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him. His abrupt and embarrassing ouster ends his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television.

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, said in a statement.

Mr. O’Reilly will be succeeded in the 8 p.m. Eastern slot by Tucker Carlson, who moved to the channel’s prime-time lineup only in January. “The Five,” an ensemble political round table, will shift to 9 p.m. from the afternoon.

Mr. O’Reilly is departing two and a half weeks after an investigation by The New York Times revealed how Fox News and 21st Century Fox had repeatedly stood by him even as sexual harassment allegations against him mounted. The Times found that the company and Mr. O’Reilly had reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million. 

Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women’s rights groups had called for his ouster. Inside the company, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal forced the ouster of Roger E. Ailes as chairman of Fox News.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Is Trump Actually in Charge? Or Is It Way Way Worse Than We Feared?

Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images/AFP)

Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images/AFP)

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

16 April 17

I haven't felt this shaky about the world in half a century.

have resisted the temptation to speculate on the mental state of our president* because I've always been leery of long-distance psychiatric diagnoses, and because I am not Charles Krauthammer, who regularly has used his professional credentials to define any politics to the left of a drillbit as some sort of cognitive deficiency.

However, the events of the last week have required me to rethink this policy.

Years ago, Fletcher Knebel wrote a novel called Night At Camp David about a president who'd gone mad. The evidence for that was that the bughouse president was lost in grandiose delusions about his place in the world. Knebel, you may recall, also was the co-author of the rather more famous Seven Days in May, which concerned a military plot to take over the government. Lately, I've come to see these two books as being parts of the same whole, like the Lord of the Rings saga, or Dune.

 I have come to the conclusion that the president* has slipped his gears and that his control over the military—and over foreign policy—is as tenuous as his hold on rationality is. I have not felt this shaky about the state of the world since October of 1962.

For example, there's his interview with Maria Bartiomo of the Fox Business Channel.

(This is the one that will go down in history as The Wonderful Chocolate Cake Interview, and that's scary enough.) The FBC is the safest possible media venue for this president*. The FBC makes the Fox News Channel look like Nick, Jr. Bartiromo certainly wasn't out to ambush the president*. He managed to ambush himself and to do so in such a way as to appear to be groping his way toward plain English in a truly unnerving way. For example:

TRUMP: Well, I'm going to let you figure that one out. But it's so obvious. When you look at Susan Rice and what's going on, and so many people are coming up to me and apologizing now. They're saying you know, you were right when you said that. Perhaps I didn't know how right I was, because nobody knew the extent of it. (INAUDIBLE)...
BARTIROMO: When you sent that...
TRUMP: — what they did...
BARTIROMO: — was that what you were referring to, the Susan Rice?
TRUMP: Oh, sure. We're talking about surveillance. It was wiretapped in quotes. "The New York Times" said the word wiretapped in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized. But I put wiretapped in quotes, meaning, because, look, wiretapping is an old-fashioned... (CROSSTALK) there are too many wires anymore, right? You don't have a lot of wires. Look at this room. This room used to have a lot of wires. Now it doesn't have so many wires.

Leave aside the obvious untruths—about the surveillance and Susan Rice and what he tweeted and (probably) all those great people who are congratulating him for being so right about everything. Look just at the language. He is talking in circles, gingerly stepping toward the familiar like a man crossing a frozen river on ice he doesn't trust. "Wires," he says, over and over again. I don't think that's because he doesn't know what he's talking about. I think that's because "wires" is a word he can remember.

And then there's this:

TRUMP: — and you see these beautiful kids that are dead in their father's arms, or you see kids gasping for life and you know they're — it's over. It's over for them. They're hosing them down, hundreds of them. When you see that, I immediately called General Mattis. I said, what can we do? And they came back with a number of different alternatives. And we hit them very hard. Now, are we going to get involved with Syria? No. But if I see them using gas and using things that — I mean even some of the worst tyrants in the world didn't use the kind of gases that they used. And some of the gases are unbelievably potent. So when I saw that, I said we have to do something.

Again, the language never strays far from what he's said before, even as the policy may or may not be reversing itself.

Which brings us to the second part of the Knebel Paradox. It's becoming very clear that the president* has farmed out his responsibilities as commander-in-chief—and most of his foreign policy—to the generals and ex-generals with whom he has surrounded himself. Here he is talking about using a carrier group to poke at the North Koreans.

TRUMP: And in the meantime, they get ready and like you've never seen — look, they're still fighting. Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they've been fighting it for many months and so many more people died. I don't want to talk about it. We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you.And we have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this. He is doing the wrong thing. He is doing the wrong thing.
BARTIROMO: Do you...
TRUMP: He's making a big mistake.
BARTIROMO: — do you think he's mentally fit?
TRUMP: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know him. But he's doing the wrong thing. I have a very, very good meeting with President Xi of China. I really liked him. We had a great chemistry, I think. I mean at least I had a great chemistry — maybe he didn't like me, but I think he liked me.

He is talking as if to children. I think he's talking to himself.

Things got worse the other day, when the U.S. dropped the mightiest non-nuclear weapon it has on a bunch of rocks and caves in Afghanistan. The president* explained this event by stating categorically that the generals are in charge. From Military Times:

"What I do is I authorize my military," in response to a press question about the use of a massive bomb in an assault on Islamic State group positions in Afghanistan. "We have the greatest military in the world, and they've done the job, as usual. We have given them total authorization, and that's what they're doing. Frankly, that's why they've been so successful lately. If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what has happened over the last eight years, you'll see there is a tremendous difference."

Those are not the words you want to hear from the guy on whom—theoretically, at least—the national command authority rests. Those are the words of a guy who's terrified of the awesome responsibilities of his job because he knows he's not up to them, and I think he's not up to them because he knows something's wrong with him.

And, come to think of it, "my" military is pretty frightening, too.

There now are several crisis points in the world that are hanging by a thread. At the same time, the civilian control of the military also is hanging by a thread, because nobody's sure whether or not the commander-in-chief can keep himself together.

(This column, in which the author assures us that the president* is being "saved" by the military minds around him, is meant to be reassuring, but damned well isn't.)

At the end of Fletcher Knebel's novels, the bughouse president resigns and the coup is foiled. In real life, who knows if it ends that way. I don't want a president* who knows he's not up to the job and I don't want a military establishment that thinks it knows what to do about it. That way, we all go crazy.