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Melaniagate: Gimme back my speech, biach! Jul. 25th, 2016 @ 12:03 am
I'm sure most of us have heard of this already:

Frankly, I'm loving some of the memes that came out of it:

Oh, and of course no one is going to be fired after this gaffe. Quelle surprise.

In other countries, heads of state have resigned over plagiarism revelations (for much higher-rank cases, granted). In the US, it's just another piece of pundit fodder.

But what if... just if...Collapse )

I'm done predicting. It's happened. Racism is now back in the mainstream of American politics. Jul. 24th, 2016 @ 01:09 pm
Steve King: This whole "white people business" does get a little tired, Charlie. I mean, I'd ask you to go back through history and ask you, where are the contributions that have been made by these other categories of people you're talking about.... Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?...Than Western Civilization itself...Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled...

I'm not going to bother citing every non-European contribution to civilization. (Just a few, inoculation, printing, advanced mettallurgy, and our entire system of numbers, not to mention that major religion King cites.) There is a name for what King is saying here. It is white supremacy -- racism.

This man is an elected official. Which would be bad enough, but he was being interviewed at a major political convention, where the Republican front-runner has been endorsed by the likes of David Duke, and has a habit of retweeting posts from white supremacist sites.

Just a few years ago, when I was posting regularly here, I would occasionally point out that racism was being folded back into the mainstream of American politics by the Republican party. The response was often comments accusing me of hyperbole, fear-mongering, etc. I was denounced as a SJW who was crying "wolf."

Well, here we are. I don't think applying the term "racism" to what King is saying can be called "hyperbole" by any stretch of the imagination.

If, however, anyone thinks it's wrong to use that icky "R" word here, I'd really be interested in knowing why. We are seeing these days, not only the smooth-talking "discreet" form of racism embodied by David Duke, but the hideous, open version best exemplified by the people who lynched Emmett Till. You can glimpse it in the voice and face of every white person who defends the murders of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford III, and Eric Garner by citing black crime statistics -- an oblique but unmistakeable way of arguing that black males are so dangerous they should be killed with impunity.

Racism's back, baby! Whether it's going to stay back depends on how serioiusly we, the voters, take this election and the danger Donald Trump and his racist pals pose to this country. 
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The Islamisation of radicalism Jul. 23rd, 2016 @ 01:01 pm
We have heard a lot of radical Islam in Europe lately. Yesterday's attack in Munich provided another reason to talk about it. But few have spoken of the reversed, the Islamisation of radicalism. I am talking about marginalised people who seek for an incentive to oppose society as a whole - and often find the appropriate ideological excuse for their radical actions in Islam.

After the bloodbaths in Nice and now Munich, especially with the latter one where the indications are that the perpetrator was not even radicalised but was rather an outsider with issues who sought a way to vent, the problem has become even more acute. The problem with European societies is that they have provided a fruitful soil for growing radicalism. This includes problems that probably have a lot more to do with social instability and insecurity than anything religious or politically ideological. Most terror attackers so far have either had dual citizenship, or have lived there for generations, but have failed to integrate.

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Jul. 22nd, 2016 @ 07:18 pm
I'm sure plenty of you are putting together a post concerning the DNC email leaks - I guess I just lucked up and got it sent in first! (right...?)

a few of the highlights...Collapse )

It's all about the branding, stupid! Jul. 22nd, 2016 @ 12:46 pm
You are not buying it for quality, you are buying it for the brand. We have heard that argument before. When global celebrities endorse a product whose quality is otherwise sub-par or at least mediocre, whose price is way overrated, and still the product is being bought off like crazy, we are probably rather talking of buying a lifestyle through the product, a way of self-identification:

A Pair of Beats Headphones Costs Only $17 In Parts

How many of you have bought a pair of these earphones? Admit it, those of you who have occasionally bought products like these, do not really care about the quality or the practical use, do you?

The actual cost of making this product is kind of shocking...Collapse )

Mike-who? Jul. 21st, 2016 @ 11:47 am
Some might wonder why Trump has picked Mike "Whoever the fuck this guy is" Pence for VeePee. Especially since him being a Guvnah' means there are limitations to potential election donations to the Trump campaign from now on. Such is the law, after all - and there is some sense to that law, since it's meant to curb possible corruption in election politics. What's more, picking up Pence means you lose the moderate, socially-liberal-leaning vote (you wouldn't want to vote for someone who wants to limit civil rights, after all - including gay rights, if you are part of that segment).

The response to this quandary is, Trump was never counting on the socially liberal-leaning vote anyway. If you're gay or support gay rights for example, you weren't going to vote for him anyway, so he certainly won't bother to try to convince you to send him money or vote for him.

What a strategist Trump is, heh?Collapse )

All hail the Sultan almighty! Jul. 20th, 2016 @ 04:33 pm
Oh the irony...

If it hasn't become patently obvious by now what Erdogan has been after in the wake of the purported "coup" (which most people, both within Turkey itself and abroad now seem to be convinced was a false flag, intended to untie Erdogan's hands for a mega-crackdown), then I don't know when it would.

Oh, and it has all started unraveling pretty fast, eh?...

Pro-government mobs attack religious minorities in Turkey

Seems like there are no limits to Erdogan's atrocities after the coup. Now he feels strong, great, awesome, almighty. And he's not afraid of anything. How would he? He has the support of his people. They were seen in the streets chanting his name, after all.

Finally, Erdogan reveals his true colors in their full glory.Collapse )

Cue the 9-11 truthers Jul. 19th, 2016 @ 12:00 am
The Saudi question! The missing 28 pages! Who did it? It's 9-11 all over again!

That's right. The long-awaited classified files comprising of 28 pages telling us nothing new, have been declassified at long last. And, expectedly, they don't tell us, well anything new. Saudi Arabia the government "probably" wasn't involved in 9-11. But some Saudi officials might have been. That ambassador for example. He met with some of the 9-11 attackers and aided them in settling in the US just prior to the actual attack, it seems. Was he acting on his own? Was he a rogue operative? A cell in the vast network of Al Qaeda that the Saudis claim they've been actively fighting against on their soil? Predictably, these 28 pages don't tell us any of that. But quite a few eyebrows being raised from all of this, is quite natural, given the circumstances:

A newly declassified section of an investigation into the 9/11 attacks alleges connections between Saudi officials and the perpetrators.

Once more, we have to re-live the entire drama of 9-11. Why now, some might ask. I dunno, perhaps Obama is trying to make up for some missed opportunities from throughout his tenure, now that his sojourn in the White House is fast coming to a close? Make a lasting impact of some sorts? Maybe he doesn't care if the US-Saudi relations would get any much worse than they already are (and hey, aren't they icy at this point!)

Point is, these 28 pages aren't giving us anything conclusive. No lid is being removed from a huge bowl of stinking secrets. We're all left disappointed in the utter lack of surprises there.

Of course, most of us "know" in "our guts" that there must have been a Saudi involvement. It just can't be that these guys acted without any help from a relatively powerful intelligence service. But if we're expecting the truth to be presented to us on a silver plate, just like that, it ain't going to happen. Not within at least a couple more decades, I predict.

Then it wouldn't even matter that much. And that's the catch.

And the Award for Uncanny Prescience Goes To... Jul. 18th, 2016 @ 01:32 pm

Frank Rich, Salon, November 2012: Ever since the days of Barry Goldwater, many liberals have assumed — or naively hoped — that each national defeat would teach Republicans that they had overreached, and pull them back from the extremes. Instead, the opposite has happened: The lesson of every loss, even the routs, has been “we were not conservative enough.”

Hello folks. Yes, it's been awhile, but I've popped in because I think credit is due when someone so accurately predicts the future. I was thumbing through the archives when I came upon a post I wrote almost four years ago.

Times were different, back then. For one thing, Salon still had Joan Walsh and was still sane. We'd just re-elected President Obama and hopeful liberals were once again talking about maybe the GOP learning its lesson, prompting this piece by Frank Rich, which in turn inspired me to come here and ask the question: "So Republicans -- What's Next?" "I have to tell you," I said to the GOP, "you've been marching to the right for so many years you're on the verge of stepping off one hell of an ideological cliff. Are you going to openly embrace the genteel racism of Charles Murray? Are you going to openly work to limit the vote only to people of a certain income level? Is the aim going to be disenfranchising large portions of the public and telling the rest, 'vote for us or we'll fire you?'

Little did I know that the answer was tucked discreetly, like a half-hidden Easter egg among the comments, and it would come from Oportet who would post, on November 11, 2012:

"The next step? When you start seeing Trump 2016 stickers, you'll have your answer."

A hearty round of applause everybody (or at least, everybody who's left)! Disenfranchisement? Threats? Racism? With Trump it's all packed into one dandy package. How could I have missed it?

Anybody else see this coming?
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Now imagine future former two-terms president Trump in that situation Jul. 17th, 2016 @ 09:54 pm
Just when I thought Bush wouldn't be able to slip ever deeper into early onset dementia...

If W can pull such stunts 8 years after the end of his presidency, imagine the level of senility Trump could reach at that point.

Here are some theoriesCollapse )
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Not sure if I should be happy to call this trend right or scared I was actually right for a change: Jul. 15th, 2016 @ 06:56 pm
Obligatory "And you kept saying the military was neutered and I was wrong to expect this to happen to Erdogan" line so it's out of the way and never brought up again.


This is an open thread for a major development that could end very badly, absolutely catastrophically, or basically confirming Turkey is for all its relative power as compared to such basketcases as Syria, the Palestinian territories, or even Egypt is a Middle Eastern banana republic. At the very least a military takeover to depose Erdogan confirms the disintegration of civilian rule. In most circumstances this is not precisely something to be ah, encouraged. Then again Erdogan essentially was trying to be a poor man's Ottoman sultan without the fancy uniforms or (at least theoretical anyway) charisma so it's hardly a loss.

But now the times they are a'changing and there's no guarantee it's for the better. Especially in the context of the ongoing crisis with Daesh and of course the Kurds.

Friday WTF. Because you can't take a walk... Jul. 16th, 2016 @ 12:03 am
...Without chasing imaginary digital... kittens? Teddy bears? Furries? Angry birds? Trolly-like... thingies?

Searching for Pokemon in Real Life - Pokemon GO is Nintendo's Latest Attempt to Get Us Active

It was about time someone figured they could bring the selfie-, Facebook-, smartphone-obsessed folks of the new generation out of their stupor and on the street, and actually make them... you know, walk.

Friday WHUT!? Eco/bio/veggie obsession gone awry Jul. 15th, 2016 @ 10:00 am
Italian baby kept on vegan diet taken into care after being found malnourished

"A 14-month-old Italian baby, who was reportedly fed a vegan diet, has been removed from his parents after arriving at a Milan hospital seriously malnourished. The baby, whose name has not been released, was taken to hospital by his grandparents a week ago and doctors were shocked to see the poor state of the baby’s health and a body weight only just slightly higher than a newborn. Blood tests revealed the child, who was born in May 2015, was severely malnourished with calcium levels barely adequate to survive. The baby was also suffering from a congenital heart condition which required emergency surgery. He is now recovering in hospital."

In other news, a 32 year old New York man named Frank Broccoli died in his sleep from drowning with his own saliva. The man was a 11th grade vegan, which is considered one of the highest ranks of veganism on the Greenleaf Scale.

His dream was to reach grade 12, where the vegan refuses to consume their own saliva. At daytime, the strict vegan had taught himself to spit all of his saliva because it was of human (i.e. animal) origin, and it contained innocent bacteria which could die in the hostile environment of the human stomach.

The reason for the man's death was drowning, because at night he had taught himself to resist the swallowing reflex. So the saliva built up in his throat and at some point it suffocated him.

Vegans from all over the world can't wait to pay solemn tribute to their brother by eating a cup of corn - gluten-free, of course, because gluten sounds kinda environment-unfriendly.

When "Total Responsibility" means "No Responsibility" Jul. 15th, 2016 @ 09:08 am
In 2004 Prime Minister, John Howard, has said that he takes total responsibility for Australia's decision to join the war. However as the the Chilcot Inquiry has shown the decision to invade Iraq was most certainly a breach of international criminal law and and specifically a crime against peace. Now all this is evident, Howard has the temerity to claim "I am sorry for the wounds or injuries that anybody suffered".

In what way is this "total responsibility" or apology going to be shown? In the world of political double-speak, "total responsibility" means "no responsibility", and a generic apology to everyone means a specific apology to nobody. Is John Howard, in any way, going to make restitution to the families of the hundreds of thousands who have been violently killed as a result of the invasion, and for the subsequent rise of global conflict and terrorism related to that invasion, even if on a pro-rata basis? Will he visit these families and make a personal apology? Or will he, as he continues to do, defend the decision to engage in the invasion.

No restoration is possible when the atrocity is so great. Ideally, following the Chilcot Inquiry, there should be an extension of the powers of the International Criminal Court to include Crimes of Aggression which, although defined, the ICC has no power to exercise its jurisdiction. If that was the case, the likes of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard - along with an assembled group of motley if powerful cronies - would spend some time at The Hague answering a few difficult questions. In the meantime however, there is a clear and demonstrated need for an Australian (and US) investigation equivalent to the Chilcot Inquiry, with equally broad terms of reference and inquiry, to determine Australia's role and decision-making in this tragedy - because that would be the responsible thing to do.

She did it for teh lulz, right? Jul. 14th, 2016 @ 10:07 am
For shame, America! You've been beaten to it yet again! Britain has appointed a professional asshole at a high-ranking government position long before you've had the chance to elect your future asshole president! That's what happens when you protract your election for 2+ years!

New British PM Theresa May has chosen her Foreign Secretary. And it's going to be... wait for it... BORIS JOHNSON!

That's the guy who called the Congoans "piccaninnies", and said, "No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down". It's the same guy who said the Tories had become used to "Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing". The one who said of Hillary Clinton she's got "dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital". The one who said the only reason he wouldn't visit some parts of NY was "the real risk of meeting Donald Trump" (oooh this is gunna be a beautiful relationship!) He's also the one who compared Putin to "Dobby the House Elf" from Harry Potter. The one who said Obama had removed Churchill's bust from the Oval Office as "a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire". And of course, the one who won the Offend Erdogan Poetry Contest by rhyming Ankara with "wankerer". Yeah, that Boris Johnson.


May the lulz begin. (Rubs hands with evil grin)...

America should learn from Britain, no doubtCollapse )

That's the guy some want in the EU Jul. 13th, 2016 @ 11:20 am
A Turkish MP from the country's Republican party, named Eren Erdem, was sentenced to jail for "insulting" Recep Erdogan. What's more, he did that a long time ago, when the latter wasn't even president yet. Meanwhile, the crackdown on the Kurdish minority continues, Erdogan has now equated them to the Islamic State. See for yourselves:

Read more...Collapse )

Why does this guy even bother? Jul. 12th, 2016 @ 11:36 am
I mean, the only one who could benefit from the attention is Ken Ham and nobody else. And his horde of Creationist drones. Why provide him with the validation that he so much desires? The Nye/Ham debate wasn't supposed to be "won" by anyone - Ham lured Nye into it, in order to bring himself into the spotlight. And Nye obliged. Why?

Case in point:

Bill Nye visited a Noah’s Ark he doesn’t believe should exist

If these guys so much insist to splash enormous amounts of money into stupid projects like building a stupid ship in the middle of nowhere to make a point - be my guests. But trying to reason with them and argue with them on their turf, on their own terms? Why is he doing that? To look nice and open-minded? To accommodate somebody's sensitivities? To appease somebody? Or to recruit people from the "other side" to your cause? News flash: IT WON'T WORK. It has never worked that way. Those people have already been brainwashed to a point where no new information can enter their heads no matter what. They're a lost cause.

You just can't use reason to argue with un-reason. The other side just lacks the instrumentarium for processing what you're presenting to them.

I have no doubt many share his views Jul. 11th, 2016 @ 02:08 pm
Rudy Giuliani says black children have a ‘99% chance’ of killing each other, calls Black Lives Matter ‘inherently racist’

"Giuliani’s presidential candidate of choice, Donald Trump, last year tweeted the inaccurate claim that the black-on-black murder rate is 97% — and the even more wildly wrong claim that 81% of whites are killed by blacks."

Stupidity is contagious, it seems. Now Mr 9-11 has caught it too (not that he was ever particularly bright, but now that his cluelessness has been coupled with outright bigotry, the mix can be quite toxic).

Why don't you teach your children to be more respectful to the police, you people? When your kid's face is pressed against the sidewalk, hands behind their back, they should show more respect to the cop whose boot is stepping on the back of their throat, lest they be deemed not obedient enough, hence a criminal pending for execution on the spot!

Guiliani needs to stop telling black folks what to do. His own house ain't in order. Didn't he cheat on his wife? Doesn't he also have a kleptomaniac for a daughter? Fix your own home Guilani before attempting to fix a community's problem that you have no idea about.

Sanders feels the Bern Jul. 11th, 2016 @ 12:50 am
The inevitable is about to happen (some have falsely reported that it has happened already), and Bernie is going to endorse Hillary, in order to, as he vowed, defeat Trump at any cost. So some of his supporters are now turning the "bern" on him. And in quite a hostile way:


Reading some of those posts, I see people who seem to have wrapped their whole identity in their unrealistic ideal of who Sanders is and what he stands for - or even how politics and the world is supposed to work. It's no different than reading the thoughts of cult members. Their magical thinking goes beyond support for a political candidate and feels more like desperate people seeking some kind of personal meaning and validation. It's also emotionally and intellectually immature. I feel for these people - they'll never find any person or any cause pure enough to fix whatever they need to be repaired within them. It's the only thing I can think of that would account for such absolute blind rage and feelings of betrayal.

A nation so divided, even within the same political camp that is supposed to seek unity and work together towards a common goal, should not expect anything good in the future.

The hour of the populist Jul. 10th, 2016 @ 10:50 am
A lot has been said in the wake of the Brexit vote. Many believe the time of populism is at hand in Europe. Indeed, if we just take a look at Europe and imagine what it would look like, and most of the world by extension, if France ends up with Le Pen for president, if the Freedom Party gets a Chancellor in Austria, and if Wilders and his people come to power in Holland, and if, on top of everything, Trump becomes US president, things would start looking rather alarming. And no one can guarantee at this point that such a scenario would not play out, if not completely, at least partially.

But like many have said these days, we shouldn't hasten to panic. The new elections in Spain may have brought some additional clarity on the issue, but the positions of the leftist populists were actually weakened. In other words, there are indications that the voters are not always susceptible to emotional manipulations.

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