I, for one, would be relieved if Obama were to simply call a Rose Garden press conference to accept guilt. He should describe, in detail, how he ordered the assault on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. At least, that's what I assume happen based on reading only right wing websites. Other than that, I can't imagine any scenario in which some incompetent handling of public relations at the outset of the violence could possibly be considered criminal.
So please, Mr. President, admit that you ordered some bottom-tier terrorist recruits to murder U.S. government officials. Because that's what secret Muslim Kenyan half-Jew usurpers do.
Bill Clinton tricked his inquisitors into accepting his CLEARLY carefully manipulated definitions in order to skate through the entire event without having technically lied.
He was nevertheless impeached in the circus that followed the Monica Lewinski affair. Many think he was lucky to have survived, despite the fact that his inquisitors were at fault for having been so easily MANIPULATED. Fortunately for Mr. Clinton, he did not have the aggravating condition of hypermelaniniasis (AKA overt blackitude) working against him.
In this case, another center-right president has failed to be far-right enough for the corporate media. While the straws at which the GOP and its media grasp are as substantial as cobwebs, Obama's mere existence as an Executive Darkie is an affront to everything the GOP's current iteration has come to stand for. That is to say, the importance of White Supremacy is such that any challenge to its claims is dealt with by rabid and immediate counterattack.
President Obama is such a challenge. He is dealt with thus.
Everything would work out much better if the capitulation-prone Democratic Party would simply give up, sacrifice Obama and other uppity minorities, and allow the wealthiest among us to continue transferring the wealth of this country to East Asia and the Middle East in exchange for skimming a little off the top.
I have spent some time traveling in the Old World.
While I was gone, I enjoyed the relative peace I had in being out of the reach of the 24 hour news cycle. On returning, of course, I found that the frothing of the right wing loons has continued apace.
I hate to be illiterate. So before I left, I took the time to learn the Arabic alphabet. It turns out, some city in Libya (?????), a city called Benghazi (??????), has become the most important news story in the world. I saw nothing about any of this on a single European or Arabian newspaper. The clown mafia running the alleged news media in this country, however, have responded to claims of outrage by the RWLs to spill endless ink on the subject.
The story seems, to me, to be that each individual failure occurring during the Obama Administration is directly caused by the President himself. So I ask acquaintances what the alleged crime is. I am informed it is a coverup. Comparisons to Nixon abound, but I fail to see how Nixon covering up his own crimes is equivalent to Obama's poorly done public relations in response to what would later be described as a planned attack.
The unfortunate fact is that, when adequately supplied and supported by enough participants, a fake protest can overcome the defenses of all but the most secure facilities. Keep in mind that we are attempting to project a peaceful presence. Machine guns mowing down crowd of attackers posing as a spontaneous protest would provide invaluable propaganda for our enemies. Extremism is like a disease. It requires not only hosts, but hosts with compromised immune systems. How better to depress the resistance of a person than carefully crafted misinformation? That strategy has worked well enough in this country, with right wing corporate-owned media paradoxically accusing itself of harboring a left wing bias.
I intended to declare that I yet draw breath, but I seem to be entering rant territory. I suddenly get the urge to raise a fist in the air while yelling something to some damned kids about my lawn. Odd.
Summarizing the last week's events, I have the following comments:
A small bomb is not anywhere near a "weapon of mass destruction." When that term was coined, it referred to the atomic bomb. If the largest RAF "blockbuster" bombs of World War II weighed in at twelve thousand pounds and were not thusly termed, how do the professional bed-wetters of American "journalism" claim a crude homemade device merits the moniker? And why has the justice department suddenly downgraded the already downgraded term (it had been expanded to include chemical and biological weapons, neither of which is as efficient a killer as plain old TNT bombs)? It has gone from a device whose first wartime employment killed upwards of 100,000 people to a crude mutilator with a death toll of 3. If you weren't doing the math, that is five orders of magnitude difference.
Rights as outlined in that quaint document known as the Constitution (more specifically, the Bill of Rights) do, indeed, protect the rights of terrible people. The reason they exist, however, is to protect everyone. If a miserable scumbag do not have the protection from warrentless searches, neither do you. If an obviously guilty person does not have a right to a fair trial, neither do you. As one who resembles roughly 75% of wanted posters (minus the tattoos and questionable facial hair), I appreciate this right.
By the fear-mongering allowances granted above, the explosion in the sleepy little burg of West, TX should be considered a tragedy on par with the entire American Civil War. Somehow, it has seen nowhere near the coverage of a pair of pathetic losers attempting to earn a place in headlines. I suppose "terrorism" intent (as long as only non-WASPs are involved) is 'sexier' news than criminal negligence. Thankfully, the right people are on the scene to emphatically ask the question "Who could have known?" to all who will listen. Of course as soon as the federal government finished handing out public money to clean up after this private disaster, they can just get the hell out of town. Private industry can police itself. As long as Uncle Sam foots the bill for the consequences.
Again, when workers die because of massive negligence by owners, those owners need to be charged with some form of a murder crime, perhaps equivalent to a fatal drunk-driving charge. Instead, the owners themselves are often seen as victims, including at West.
One of the only non-science dead-tree publications I read is The Economist. It is somewhat right-leaning, but is generally reasonable about most things. A couple of days ago, (I'm a few issues behind) I read an article ("Apocalypse perhaps a little later," The Economist, March 30th - April 5th 2013 issue) claiming that "some scientists are arguing that man-made climate change is not quite so bad a threat as it appeared a few years ago." While the article was hardly sounding the bells confirming that the right wing nuts were right, it will nevertheless have that effect.
Two issues later, I found exactly what I expected. In the interest of "balance," the editors included four responses. As luck would have it, these perfectly reflected a cross section of opinion as presented by the mass market media:
The Reasonable Crank: If one takes the advice of the Concern Troll, his efforts are rewarded with a "bravo" and golf-clap from the Reasonable Crank. In this case, the author writes:
Your change of tone on climate change is welcome ... You now have common ground with people who have long been dismissed as sceptics (actually something for any scientist to be proud of) or vilified as deniers
What has become more and more obvious is that current climate-change policy is an expensive waste of time ...
This is the sort of person who writes in complete sentences, carefully toning down any would-be mouth frothing to maintain the facade. The reasonable crank often claims a sort of credential via membership to one or more organizations that, on closer inspection, are crank institutions. In this case, the writer, Mr. Martin Livermore, claims membership to something called the "Scientific Alliance." That sounds innocuous. Unless, of course, we actually look any further (from the Scientific Alliance "About Us" page):
The Alliance brings together both scientists and non-scientists committed to rational discussion and debate on the challenges facing the environment today.
Members of the Scientific Alliance are concerned about the many ways in which science is often misinterpreted, and at times misrepresented, within both policy circles and in the media.
Whenever a person incorporates "non-scientists" in analyzing "misinterpretation" of science, you can rest assured he is a crank.
So this guy is given the first word.
The Actual Expert: This person is generally actively involved in research in the object in question. While such a person readily dismiss crank arguments:
... As long as we do not find modern physics to be fundamentally wrong, we will have to plan for a climate sensitivity of 3°C.
Since CO2 emissions are consistently at the upper end of the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]'s scenarios both our solid understanding of climate change on a global level and our lack of understanding of hurricanes and other climate extremes demand more, not less, caution.
While the author of this letter, Professor Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, is an actual climate scientist, he gets second billing to the crank.
The Who Knows? Guy: The fence-sitter only sits the fence in that, since doing something requires effort, "We should do nothing and see what happens." While claiming neutrality between science and anti-science, he is a de facto enemy of science.
The Pithy Idiot: This person's entire contribution to an debate is to provide a single quote from a (probably long dead) individual. To wit:
Your article brought to mind Mark Twain's adage:
There is something fascinating about science. Once gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."
The contributor here apparently doesn't realize that more data have been collected on any facet of climate science now than the entire collected knowledge of man at the time Mr. Clemens penned that (obviously satirical) remark in Life on the Mississippi.
The ineptitude of our media is the real tragedy of our age.
As often happens at my place of employment, discussion devolves into a multivocal rant decrying the inability of most people to perceive relative risk. It is not just risk, either. Anything that could be considered economic in nature is absolutely a foreign language to even many mathematically sophisticated people.
Unfortunately, the human brain is terrible at modeling statistics. Part of the reason is that it has evolved to develop its own models for making estimates based on experience. The mass media have given us the ability to observe things that are far from our own experiences. Yet the quasi-experiential information received via the outlets of yellow journalism is absorbed as if actual experience. Here are some examples of things we do not consider at an appropriate level:
During the study year, there were an estimated 115 stereotypical kidnappings, defined as abductions perpetrated by a stranger or slight acquaintance and involving a child who was transported 50 or more miles, detained overnight, held for ransom or with the intent to keep the child permanently, or killed.
The number is from 1999 specifically. But forgetting about absolute accuracy, it is reasonable to estimate an incidence of approximately 1 per 2,500,000 people.
To begin with, having a gun in the home is a risk factor for serious accidental injury and death. As Hemenway points out, death certificate data indicate that 680 Americans were killed accidentally with guns each year between 2003 and 2007.
An average of 46 Americans committed suicide with guns each day between 2003 and 2007. In fact, more Americans killed themselves with guns during those years than with all other methods combined.
One study found, reports [Harvard Injury Control Research Center director David] Hemenway, that “in states with more guns, there were more suicides (because there were more firearm suicides), even after controlling for the percentage of the state’s population with serious mental illness, alcohol dependence or abuse, illicit substance dependence or abuse, and the percentage unemployed, living below the poverty level, and in urban areas.”
Two-thirds of all murders between 2003 and 2007 involved guns. The average number of Americans shot and killed daily during those years was 33.
From these data, we can say about 30,000 per year. For a population of 300,000,000, this reflects an incidence of approximately 1 per 10,000 people.
Again assuming a population of 300,000,000, this reflects an incidence of approximately 1 per 62,000 people.
So one is rather common among a small sample group (motorcyclists killed as a fraction of number of riders), but fairly uncommon for the population as a whole. A second is more common among the population as a whole. Of the three dangers mentioned, under the influence of sensationalist media, the most feared is a vastly rarer occurrence than either of the other two. That is dangerous.
I've been distracted lately. Not least among the reasons is that the sequestration is causing odd things to happen at work. Besides that, I am feeling as inspired as an RNC Minority & Women Outreach planner. Assuming, of course, that such persons exist.
Anyway, I promise to return soon to my ones of readers with completely fabricated tales of adventures through looking glasses or other such optical surfaces.
It's interesting to me that creepy shill for the gun manufacturers Wayne LaPierre is allowed to get away with giving a crackpot fantasy rant suggesting that people need semi-automatic weapons (read: assault weapons) Why? Well, obviously if something like Katrina happens again, decent people (if you know what I mean) must be able to defend themselves against roving bands of those people (if you know what I mean). I, for one, can't think of anything that would have helped New Orleans more than thousands of assault weapons in the hands of clearly paranoid right wing loons.
I think a major difference between normal people and deranged right wing loons is that most people prefer their first-person shooter fantasies in the form of video game or movie zombie or alien invasions. RWLs prefer their first-person shooter fantasies in the form of absurd scenarios involving waves of brown people. More importantly, they invest thousands of dollars in weapons in preparation for exactly that. A collapse of society would show everyone.
"They said I was mad to have my 9-year-old shoot human silhouette targets, but who's laughing now?"
Unfortunately, no decent human being can take any pleasure when such a parent is gunned down by the same child immediately prior to his murdering 20 small children and 5 other adults.
Much of the water cooler talk and email traffic of the last few days has been about the sequester. While most discussion is on the direct impact on our little corner of the world. Few of my colleagues opt to engage in debate as to the causes.
First, I should step back a bit. When I really began paying close attention to politics, around the year 2000, I began to see a bit more clearly the more I learned. On the one hand, I watched The O'Reilly Factor and Fox and Friends almost every day. Why? Well, absent any real knowledge up to that point, I accepted the conventional wisdom that all of the media but Fox News were draped in some nefarious cloak called "liberal bias." You may not recall, but Fox and Friends wasn't always an over-the-top propaganda mill with a target audience of cranky assholes in the early stages of dementia (I choose to believe that, rather than the alternative, that I was easily deluded). Mr. O'Reilly was a bit slicker, and I was able to stomach his show for far longer. Unfortunately, I have a rather good memory. As I have come to notice about all professional right wing bile-spewers, O'Reilly's analyses are always wrong and he mistakes volume for veracity as the most important facet of argumentation. Once I finally accepted the implication of the pattern of intentional misdirection and creative interpretation with which he feeds his sheep, I began to strictly read the news.
...but I digress...
So I do understand how easily a person can be misled if he hasn't done the homework required to get a full appreciation for what is going on in the world in general and the world of politics in particular. That doesn't stop my blood pressure from approaching dangerous levels when I hear blame for the absurd "problem" lay equally at the feet of the Republican House and the Democratic Presidential Administration.
The sequester can be analogized in many ways, each focusing on a specific facet of the stupid. But I like things simple, and I would describe it simply. The sequester was put in place to force the Legislative branch to do its job. How? Obviously, the consequences should be so dire that only a malignant idiot would allow it to proceed. While I would argue that they have overstated the results, nevertheless, I will take on the other part of their premise. Rather, the so-called Tea Party did that for me. This "grass-roots" organization funded by the same handful of John Birch Society supporters that fund most right wing groups poured billions of dollars into the coffers of the most misanthropic collection of halfwit sociopaths ever assembled (that was not subsequently defeated by the Justice League, that is).
They were planted in the government with the intent to prevent sanity from ruling the day. The purchasers of democracy have gotten exactly what they paid for. And not a one of them regrets it.
This truly awful movie is a study in paranoid fantasies. It weaves an imaginary world of good and evil in the kindergarten-simple style that is rarely seen outside the wasteland of TV punditry. The movie begins with, as many comic-book movies do, an event involving an impossibly skilled person conducting some absurdly complicated scheme wherein several extremely unlikely things have to occur in concert. Actually, that's not quite true. This movie begins with two. The 90 lb. female lead is then presented as an expert in both the thieving arts and the martial arts, yet is inexplicably impoverished while enjoying the ability to blend with high society. The ridiculous villain is propelled by some terrible (and I mean that in the "terrible movie" sense of the word) cause to destroy Bruce Wayne. Oh, and he's going to kill millions of people as well. The genocide is a bit incidental to the Bruce-Wayne-killing part, but some IQ 64 writer thought it would make for enough drama to camouflage the idiocy of everything claiming to be plot in this flick.
Anyway, after the 90 lb. woman in high heels kicks Batman's crippled ass to steal his fingerprints, the handoff is an attempted ripoff resulting in some of the bad guys getting killed and Commissioner Gordon getting kidnapped. A woman (who is obvious to any person capable of feeding himself with utensils as the ultimate villain) appears as the convenient non-feline Bat-crush™. A few double-crosses later, the flimsy manga cartoon playing Catwoman delivers Bruce Wayne up to the most stupidly-named villain found outside the realm of terrible 1980s cartoons: Bane. Perhaps "Enemyman" was taken. Anyway, Batman's years of Batmanning have left him with no cartilage, rendering him physically inferior to the younger Bane. Bane breaks Batman and throws him into an inescapable prison on the other side of the world. It has only been escaped once before. Then Bane's dozens of henchmen take over a city of many millions by ruining a football game.
Thankfully, minor injuries such as a literally protruding vertebra can apparently be successfully treated with a rope and a swift kick. During Bruce Wayne's twine-and-punch-based treatment, Bane acquires the Bat-thermonuke™ that Bruce Wayne had built in his spare time.
Conveniently, the Bat-thermonuke™ will take several months to explode. This can be calculated to the minute, but that will probably not be important to the rest of the movie. Some old blind doctor (the one who instructed the Bat-cellmate™ in the rope-and-beating treatment of traumatic spine injuries) informs the Bat-cellmate™ about something he probably heard from The Secret: don't use a safety rope while trying to escape. In the same way that not wearing a seatbelt makes one a better driver, not having a death-preventing rope makes Batman a better jumper. Once Batman decides he really wants to heal, he has a miraculous recovery, escapes the prison, and is somehow instantly transported to a completely sealed off Gotham City.
I assume a Rocky-style training montage took place off screen, or I was meditating to salvage brain cells while it took place on screen. Post-montage Batman kicks montageless Bane's ass in too-quick-to-be-end-boss fashion. Then the Bat-crushT stabs him in the kidney. It turns out she was the child escapee of the inescapable prison (oops, if your IQ is less than 64, spoiler). Bane was the adult that had helped her escape. Of course, this would mean that since she is roughly the age of Batman, Bane is actually the old man in the equation. Somehow, this is lost on the writer, who probably had a lot on his mind. I suppose that mountain of cocaine wasn't going to snort itself. Wispy manga cartoon Catwoman shows up to save the day, having instantaneously mastered the Bat-murdercycle™, but only after the Bat-crush™ ruins the the Bat-plan™ to just plug the Bat-thermonuke™ back in. Though it has been several months, this all occurs within minutes of the detonation time. If only there were some martyific means of saving the day...
So Batman saves the day by suicidally disposing of the Bat-thermonuke™ using the Bat-hoverthing™. Everyone has a sad. Then it turns out he's alive and the Inception guy is the new Robin. Then the franchise was stabbed in the kidney and incinerated in a thermonuclear explosion. I hope.