Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Mainstream Media Is Calling Out Carly Fiorina for Lying. Good for Them.

Carly Fiorina, praying that her fans are nutty enough to buy her nonsense, at
least until her scam nets her more bucks or sets her up for a job at Fox News.

Now U.S. News & World Report lays it out clearly. Fiorina has doubled and tripled down on her lies and shows no sign of abandoning her lies:
Fiorina has pushed back in multiple interviews. Often, the crux of her argument, beyond sticking to her incorrect description of the anti-Planned Parenthood videos, is that she has not misrepresented the group's actions and that the larger issue is about the character of the nation.
"They're trying to have a conversation about a technicality about a videotape," Fiorina said last week at Christian women's health center in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The center, which does not provide abortions, has become a popular stop for Republican presidential candidates. "The character of this nation cannot be about butchery of babies for body parts," Fiorina said.
The "technicality" Fiorina is referring to is that she's lying through her teeth about the "videotape." (BTW, no more videotapes. Digital video, people.)

Carly Fiorina is taking her place among the retinue of lying liars. When the smoke clears, she'll be remembered not as a failed CEO -- though some may remember that -- but primarily as a person who was willing to lie to benefit herself. Contemptible, but there you are.

Personal note to Carly: Hey, babe, what's with wanting to be identified as a liar? Bad life decision, wouldn't you think?

Late new stuff: Salon weighs in with an article entitled "The party of lying liars: Welcome to the frightening new post-truth GOP." Ouch.

Douglas County Sheriff Is a Whack Job. Surprise, Surprise.

From his very first press conference -- when he wouldn't share information --
he seemed weird. Now we know why.

Sheriff John Hanlin of Douglas County has been a little strange since the first press conference, and now I know why. Of course he was shocked that such a thing could happen in his jurisdiction. He's a pro-gun nut of the first order. Now it turns out he's a Sandy Hook truther, with a bizarre trail of Facebook postings and an inflammatory letter to Joe Biden to boot.

Reporting at Talking Points Memo:
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin posted a link to a YouTube video called "The Sandy Hook Shooting - Fully Exposed," which summarized conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting and quickly racked up millions of views, about a month after the massacre took place. The post was deleted or made private sometime after 2:30 p.m. Friday.
"This makes me wonder who we can trust anymore..." Hanlin wrote. "Watch, listen, and keep an open mind."
The video opens with text that reads: "In this video I will prove to you there has been a lot of deception surrounding the Sandy Hook shooting. This is a simple, logical video. No aliens, holigrams (sic), rituals or anything like that, just facts." It then intersperses news clips from the time with text raising questions about the "official story" presented in the media, including whether there was more than one shooter and whether grieving parents were actually so-called "crisis actors."
Yep. I want all my professional law enforcement officials to be whack jobs. And if the above wasn't enough, Hanlan also authored a letter to Joe Biden announcing he wasn't enforcing any new "unconstitutional laws" that might result from the Sandy Hook shooting:
I fully agree with the statement made by Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller in a recent letter he sent you. He stated, “In the wake of recent criminal events, politicians are attempting to exploit the deaths of innocent victims by advocating for laws that would prevent honest, law abiding Americans from possessing certain firearms and ammunition magazines. We are Americans. We must not allow, nor shall we tolerate, the actions of criminals, no matter how heinous the crimes, to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws.”

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that when a Sheriff chooses to enforce an unconstitutional directive, he is violating his Constitutional Oath. I will NOT violate my Constitutional Oath. Therefore, the second purpose of this letter is to make notification that any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the Constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Douglas County Oregon.

In conclusion, it is my position as Sheriff of Douglas County, Oregon that I will refuse to participate in, nor tolerate enforcement actions against citizens that are deemed unconstitutional.
Alrighty then. Just so we're clear: You're an elected official and you state in advance that you won't do your job because guns are great, regardless of the consequences, one of them being that the current lack of strong gun control in your area has led to yet another tragic mass shooting.

Hanlin's behavior has been odd during the three days since the shooting. He's withheld information for no particular reason, and he was strangely defensive when asked certain questions. Not very forthcoming, not a crime, but pretty irritating. We're used to law enforcement being cool-headed and professional.

Now I view Hanlin's behavior as a sign of nervousness that he's been caught with his own views -- that guns are great -- running counter to how the world works, even in his bailiwick. The nerve of the shooter making him look bad, both as a cop and as a whack job! Cat's outa the bag, Sheriff John.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people, and, just now, most especially in Douglas County. Sorry, Sheriff.

To be fair to the sheriff, there are probably a lot of Southern Oregonians saying, "Fuck yeah, Sheriff! You've got my vote." Sad but true.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Jeb Bush on Oregon Shooting: Stuff Happens. (Stuff Happens?!?)

About the Roseburg, Oregon, college shooting, Jeb Bush reacts (you need to turn it up a little, don't forget to turn your sound down before playing the videos below):

Barack Obama responds:

Of course Jeb is not alone on this issue, and you'd expect Donald Trump to parrot the GOP line, and, so, right on cue:

Trump: "You're going to have these things happen." A little more graceful way of saying "stuff happens."

This is your GOP (and a few Dems) on NRA dollars.

We should be as outraged as Barack Obama and take action.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Who Shall We Call Out for Gun Violence? Tell Me Why It Isn't the GOP and the NRA?

Roseburg, Oregon, in the 50s. Wasn't so dangerous then, was it?

Look at that picture of 50s Roseburg. I grew up in the 50s, and I lived in an even smaller town, Broomfield, Colorado. I never, never thought of gun violence. I doubt anyone who grew up in 50s Roseburg thought of it, either. I dare anyone with a memory as long as mine -- I'm 66 -- who worried about gun violence back then.

I dare anyone to tell me things haven't changed. I'll tell you one thing that has changed. The NRA used to favor sensible gun control. It no longer does. The Republican Party used to have members who could vote for sensible gun control. It no longer does. It's an undeniable fact that the NRA resists any and all attempts to control guns. It's also an undeniable fact that the Republican Party is the monolithic institution preventing us from passing any laws controlling access to guns.

These are undeniable facts. And they are the reasons we can't stop the endless deaths by guns in America.

I call out these American institutions for being the cause of our nightmare of gun violence. Where am I wrong? Why shouldn't all Americans feel the way I do?

I believe that Americans do feel this way. And it's time we stand up, demand strict gun control, and throw the bums out until we have it. And the NRA should be loudly condemned.

I watched Barack Obama's comments from the podium just a while ago. He was outraged, for all the reasons I pointed to above. One thing he made plain is that gun violence is now an accepted routine in American life. And the lines are almost indelibly drawn. The GOP and the NRA will say nothing can be done. In fact, they will insist more guns is the solution.

I'm not religious, but Oh. My. God. Heaven help us.

How many more times must our president make such comments? How many more times do you want to hear him do so? Are you content that this is the way it should be?

A final, tragic note: I have friends in Oregon and a home in Portland. For over twenty years I've visited Southern Oregon many, many times, and one thing I found was that Southern Oregon is NRA territory. They love the GOP and they love guns in and around Roseburg. So don't expect Southern Oregon congresspeople to jump up and announce they're ready to fix this. And don't expect the people of Douglas County -- the home of Umpqua Community College -- to vote the bums out anytime soon. Tragic but true.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Incredibly Shrinking Honesty of Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina, pausing to visualize sugarplum fairies and fetuses dancing in her head.

At some point, Carly Fiorina with have to pay some piper or another for the vacation from truth and beauty she has taken at our expense. Hopefully, it will be repaid at her expense, I don't know, by her being cast out into the hinterland where such prevaricators deserve to be tossed.

But maybe not just yet, as it seems a rabid Republican base has found her momentarily useful. Perhaps they find her useful as the arbiter of what pro-lifers can hold up as symbols of their disdain for women having any sense of control over their bodies. Because, dynamic woman that Carly Fiorina ostensibly is, all the other dynamic women are supposed to take their turn as vessels for reproduction whether they like it or not. I wonder how pro-life Carly managed to spend a life as a woman without letting her uterus kick into high gear. Just asking.

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate doesn't ponder these questions of womanhood so much as question how Carly Fiorina, currently in second place in polling for the GOP nominee in 2016, can get away with pressing forward in a fact-free zone:
Not even the most robust defenders of Fiorina’s defense can say much more than that some of the images grafted onto the sound bite might not be completely false. And yet there is still no word from Fiorina, her campaign, or her super-PAC to indicate that she misspoke, or misremembered, or confused some other video with a video about Planned Parenthood. There seems to be no place in the middle for Fiorina to just put out a statement saying, “Hey, I misspoke. Sorry.”
This is an extraordinary moment in the annals of political deception. No walk-back, no clarification, just a persistent insistence that a video that doesn’t exist and can’t even be manufactured in the underground labs of political deception is really out there but, like the Emperor’s new clothes, only the virtuous can see it. In Fiorina’s world and the world posited by Goldberg, if people want to believe the big lie about the kicking fetus and the brain harvesting badly enough, who are we to tell them it couldn’t have happened?
Who are we to tell them indeed. Let's at least take solace that we are free of her machinations, just as the corporate world has managed to remain free of her machinations in the ten years since her #EPICFAIL at Hewlett-Packard. We'll just let that bit of business history speak the volumes of condemnation of Carly Fiorina's character that the mainstream media deems fit to leave unchallenged.

For a glimpse of the extent of Fiorina's contempt for the truth (and by extension contempt for us all), let's go to her YouTube concoction:

Let's let Lithwick finish this horrid display:
Even if you like to take your facts on some kind of sliding scale, Fiorina’s Big Lie is beyond appalling: She wants to give as much weight to a fabrication she thinks you would like to believe as you would give to the actual health care provided by Planned Parenthood to real women who can’t afford it elsewhere.
We may wish we lived in a world where a candidate could say, “Wow, hey, I misremembered,” and the polity would say, “Respect.” Perhaps we don’t. But we can’t give a candidate a pass for simply fabricating a story and cynically hoping that it resonates enough to eventually feel real; not when actual people will suffer catastrophic health consequences as a result.
We have at least one true thing to hold on to: Carly Fiorina's moment in the spotlight will be relatively short before she goes back to whatever cave she hides out in while the corporate world is busily not offering her another chance to screw up a company. We certainly shouldn't -- and won't -- give her a chance to screw up our country.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ahmed in Texas Builds a Digital Clock. Adults Around Him Go Insane.

I assume that during the hours the clock was at school before Ahmed was arrested,
someone would have figured out there were no explosives in the case. Or not.

Enough is enough.
Posted by Sarah Palin on Sunday, September 20, 2015

Kyle Smith of the New York Post decided a kid named Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for show-and-tell with a digital clock for proper reasons. His brown skin and his name had nothing to do with it. Instead, we should sympathize with all the white kids mistreated by zero-tolerance polices. Hey Kyle, don't you think zero-tolerance policies are one of the problems to be addressed? Don't you think that living in a town with a mayor who made her name saying she'd stand up against Sharia law being imposed on Texans might be another part of the problem? (The mayor, Beth Van Duyne, later stood by school officials and the police.)

How Conservative Intellectuals Falsely Frame Their Arguments

An advertisement, from colonial times, for "prime, healthy Negroes."

The Volokh Conspiracy -- a conservative and libertarian law blog I've been reading for years and which some time ago was elevated to a Washington Post blog -- has always provided me with glimpses of how conservative intellectuals justify the basis for their legal arguments. I've rarely agreed with their viewpoint, but, because many if not all of the contributors are law professors of some standing, I've had to respect the validity of their arguments. At least until today.

David Post, writing on the "Conspiracy" in today's WaPo, makes an argument busting the "slavery myth," maintaining that slavery was not in fact a "national institution."
Historian Sean Wilentz had a wonderful op-ed (“Constitutionally, Slavery Is No National Institution”) in the NY Times a few days ago, about what he properly refers to as the “myth” that “the United States was founded on racial slavery.”  It’s a view of the nation’s founding that, oddly and ironically, aligns many on the Left (like Bernie Sanders, whom Wilentz quotes as saying that “the United States in many ways was created, and I’m sorry to have to say this, from way back, on racist principles, that’s a fact”) with South Carolina’s pre-Civil-War Senator John Calhoun, who was the staunchest and most eloquent advocate for slavery, and opposed to (among others) James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass.
Fine. This is a straw-dog argument, embedded in the op-ed by Wilentz that Post uses to make his point. If you read the whole post, it's clear that Post is celebrating the notion that pro-slavery factions failed to get the Constitution to include language that would legitimize slavery as a national institution. To him, this means that slavery was never a national institution.

That's nonsense, and any academician worth his salt would never base his or her argument on it. The fact is that slavery was an American institution long before the Revolutionary War and long after the Constitution barely addressed it, and is a major factor in the state of race relations today.

I can't help but believe that the purpose from an historical perspective of Wilentz' premise and Post's support of it is to somehow delegitimize the views of those, like Bernie Sanders -- or Black Lives Matter, for example -- that we bear continuing responsibility, as a nation, to fix what we broke so long ago.

The struggle continues, in more ways than one.