"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Monday, October 31, 2016

Inadvertent Truths


.@GenFlynn: " is not doing this for the next four years. He's running to be POTUS for like the next 40, or the next 400."

I don't think he meant it the way I took it.

It Really is Autumn

6:45 am and just the beginnings of light in the east.

I hate it when the days get shorter.

Oh, well -- Happy Halloween.

Just Deserts

This has got to sting. From the Roanoke Times:

•Which candidate would do the most to help our local economy? That’s easy. It’s Pat McCrory, the Republican governor of North Carolina, who’s seeking his second four-year term in the November election. We can point to specific and multiple ways he has helped the economy — our economy. North Carolina panicked and made a spectacle of itself by passing HB2, its so-called “bathroom bill.” In response, various companies and even sports leagues pulled events from the state. Three of those have wound up in Salem — the NCAA Division III men’s and women’s soccer championships, as well as the Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association football championship. That’s money in the bank for us.

McCrory has given Virginia a competitive advantage in economic development, as well. When the University Economic Development Association recently held its national conference in Roanoke, the keynote speaker highlighted a North Carolina program to encourage partnerships between colleges and companies, as a way help recruit technology companies interested in research and development. The speaker hailed it as a model for other states to follow as they try to build a “knowledge economy.” Then the speaker noted that McCrory had cancelled it. The pro-business audience groaned.

On Monday, a data company picked Richmond as the site for a new office, with 730 jobs. Industry officials said it beat out Charlotte specifically because of HB2.

Feel free to argue all you want which presidential candidate would be best, but it’s clear that Virginia would be best served if North Carolina re-elected McCrory.

Yes, that's Roanoke, Virginia.


Did it again. Yesterday was What's New day at Green Man Review. Click on over. (What do you mean, you don't have it bookmarked?)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Truth Slips Outt

Once again, the Hairpiece tells it like it is. Speaking in Colorado -- of course, it was about how the election is going to be stolen from him by election workers destroying ballots they "don't like" -- he came up with this:

Later in his speech, Trump reiterated: "I don't love the concept of ballots."

Now, we already know he doesn't like elections:

Donald Trump suggested today that the election should be canceled and called for him.

Speaking in Ohio, the Republican presidential nominee questioned why the election was even being held, saying that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's policies are "so bad."

"In just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?" he said. "Why are we even having it for? What are we having it for? Her policies are so bad. Boy, do we have a big difference."

Trump is not an outlier among Republicans: they've been trying to de-legitimize our whole system for years, with attacks on the courts, putting fundamental rights up to popular vote, chipping away at women's rights, voting rights, and now marriage rights, to the extent that Trump's statements are the logical next step.

And the scary thing is, a significant number of his supporters are on board with that.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Idiot du Jour

Former Congressman Joe Walsh:

Joe Walsh✔

On November 8th, I'm voting for Trump.

On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket.

You in?
3:02 PM - 26 Oct 2016

My question is, is he going to march down the street holding it proudly erect, or hold it close like his favorite toy?

Today's Must-Read

The Anthropocene is on us, and it ain't pretty:

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders.

The collapse of wildlife is, with climate change, the most striking sign of the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which humans dominate the planet. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report.

The Field Museum of Natural History, at the end of its "Evolving Planet" exhibition, marks the present as the Sixth Mass Extinction. I had thought they were being just a bit alarmist, but apparently not.

It all boils down to something I've been saying for years: There are just too many people. Human beings are, with the exception of some termites and ants, the single most populous species on earth, and we put a tremendous strain on resources.

The biggest cause of tumbling animal numbers is the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging: the majority of the Earth’s land area has now been impacted by humans, with just 15% protected for nature. Poaching and exploitation for food is another major factor, due to unsustainable fishing and hunting: more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.

Pollution is also a significant problem with, for example, killer whales and dolphins in European seas being seriously harmed by long-lived industrial pollutants. Vultures in south-east Asia have been decimated over the last 20 years, dying after eating the carcasses of cattle dosed with an anti-inflammatory drug. Amphibians have suffered one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be spread around the world by the trade in frogs and newts.

There are some small rays of hope, but there's a big "but":

However, some species are starting to recover, suggesting swift action could tackle the crisis. Tiger numbers are thought to be increasing and the giant panda has recently been removed from the list of endangered species.

In Europe, protection of the habitat of the Eurasian lynx and controls on hunting have seen its population rise fivefold since the 1960s. A recent global wildlife summit also introduced new protection for pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammals, and rosewoods, the most trafficked wild product of all.

But stemming the overall losses of animals and habitats requires systemic change in how society consumes resources, said Barrett. People can choose to eat less meat, which is often fed on grain grown on deforested land, and businesses should ensure their supply chains, such as for timber, are sustainable, he said.

The big question, as always, is "Is there the will to do what's necessary?" I'm not convinced.

Fasten Your Seatbelt

it's going to be a bumpy ride.

After months, if not years, of attacking Hillary Clinton over scandals real and imagined, a conservative watchdog group says it will push to have the Democratic presidential nominee impeached.

The prospect of a Clinton impeachment — there’s a throwback term! — was raised Wednesday morning by Judicial Watch.

If you'll remember, Judicial Watch is another right-wing "watchdog" group, this one specifically geared toward discrediting the courts by any means necessary.

This is where it gets really funny:

“You’re going to still have a clamor for a serious criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s conduct with respect to her emails and the [Clinton] Foundation,” Judicial Watch’s president, Tom Fitton, told NBC News. “There’s been no systematic investigation of various issues.” According to NBC, Fitton “has criticized GOP lawmakers for failing to pre-emptively impeach Clinton.”

He added, “I know this generation of Republican leaders is loath to exercise these tolls, but impeachment is something that’s relevant. They see [the oversight process] as an opportunity in some measure to keep their opponents off-kilter, but they don’t want to do the substantive and principled work to truly hold corrupt politicians or the administration or anyone accountable.”

I was going to highlight the funniest parts, but I doubt that you need it. And frankly, I haven't noticed any reluctance on the part of Republicans to investigate Clinton. As a matter of fact:

Jason Chaffetz, the Utah congressman wrapping up his first term atop the powerful House Oversight Committee, unendorsed Donald Trump weeks ago. That freed him up to prepare for something else: spending years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton.:

“It’s a target-rich environment,” the Republican said in an interview in Salt Lake City’s suburbs. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”

Benghazzi!!1! Redux.

And from the soon-to-be beleaguered Speaker of the House:

“The rigorous oversight conducted by House Republicans has already brought to light troubling developments in the [Hillary] Clinton email scandal,” the office of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The speaker supports [Oversight’s] investigative efforts following where the evidence leads, especially where it shows the need for changes in the law.”

Shorter Paul Ryan: We're still looking for a way to make whatever Clinton does illegal.

Actually, that's almost as funny as Fitton's remarks.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

What's New at Green Man Review

You know the drill: check it out.

There's even a brand new review of music by Steve Reich.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Out of It

As an indicator of how I just blipped on the world in general this summer, this post from Digby stopped me, especially this part:

Red panda cubs at Lincoln Park Zoo are named in honor of the other Cubs who call Chicago home. The cubs are named Sheffield and Waveland, the streets on each side of Wrigley Field.

"Wait a minute," I said to myself. "That's not right. They were named Clark and Addison." The other two streets that border Wrigley Field.

I checked, just to make sure.

The cubs at the Kovler Lion House—a male (above) and a female (below), as yet unnamed—are the second in two years for breeding pair Leafa and Phoenix, following male Clark and female Addison, now at San Diego Zoo and Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo respectively. Together, all the cubs highlight the strength of zoos’ collaborative efforts to keep their population sustainable over the long run.

I even saw them a couple of weeks ago, and remarked how small they were.

I guess I'd better start paying attention.

Quote du Jour


With thanks to C&L commenter ThermoluxMan.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

An Upside to Trump?

It occurs to me, seeing reports on the frequency with which news anchors and talk show hosts are nailing Trump's surrogates on their lies, maybe we can look forward to TV "journalists" actually pushing back on some of the bullshit that politicians spout on their shows.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Culture Break: Kimmo Pohjonen: Särmä

This is one of the stranger pieces by Pohjonen that I've run across, at least at the beginning. He did a slightly different version of this on Uniko, with Kronos Quartet:

Today's Must-Read

I'm lucky: for someone my age I take remarkably few medications. However, there are a couple that I can't afford to take for the full year because of the "doughnut hole" in Medicare Part D: They're just too expensive for that last month or two. Hence, I was very interested in this article by Gaius Publius at Hullabaloo:

Along with many others, we recently wrote about Mylan's predatory price increases on the life-saving prescription drug product EpiPen. Then came the news that the interestingly named Valeant had increased the price of a prescription drug it had purchased, not developed, more than 2700%, apparently anticipating a growing lead poisoning crisis like the one in Flint, Michigan. ("Did your kids get sick from eating lead paint? We'll fix them right up ... for $27,000.")

At the end of the Valeant piece, I added a section that argued for an industry-wide — and Executive Branch-only — fix. Don't play Whack-a-Mole with individual companies, I argued. Whack drug prices industry-wide, or we'll always be chasing a shadow and fixing problems only when they're reported as scandals.

High prescription prices are an industry problem, not a problem of "outliers" (source; click to enlarge)

It turns out that Rep. Mark Pocan and a number of his colleagues have the same idea. From a letter Pocan wrote, and dozens of his colleagues signed, here are three specific suggestions that the next president can unilaterally enact, whoever she or he may be.

Read the whole thing; it's a fairly detailed and very clear set of ways to rein in not only drug prices but some other bad effects of Republican economic policies that don't rely on congressional action: they're all within the scope of existing law.

The Death of a Thousand Cuts

That seems to be conservatives' response to the things they don't like about America -- like equal protection of the laws, stuff like that:

Fifty Republican members of the Texas Legislature have signed a court brief arguing that the same-sex spouses of government employees shouldn’t be entitled to health insurance and other benefits.

The “friend-of-the-court” brief was submitted Friday in a lawsuit brought by anti-LGBT activists against the city of Houston in response to then-Mayor Annise Parker’s decision to extend benefits to the same-sex spouses of city employees in 2013.

They argue that, while the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges establishes that same-sex couples have the right to marry, it doesn't mandate that they are entitled to any of the benefits of marriage.

The primary question before the Supreme Court of the United States in Obergefell was whether or not same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry.1 The Court did not create other rights, such as rights to spousal benefits or even the right to live with your spouse. Subsequent decisions by courts all over the country have affirmed the right to marry, but have refused to expand that right to everything associated with marriage. Post-Obergefell decisions have, for example, found that Obergefell did not invalidate the presumption of paternity statutes nor did it create a fundamental right to engage in homosexual activity or make homosexuals a protected class.

In agreement of the narrow holding of Obergefell, Justice Devine observed in his dissent from the petition for review: “Marriage is a fundamental right. Spousal benefits are not.” Justice Devine was right, and the appellate decision to the contrary must be reviewed and overturned.

Further, while the U.S. Supreme Court did purportedly create a new constitutional right to enter into same-sex marriage, nothing in that ruling compelled the taxpayers of Texas to pay for a vast array of benefits for same-sex spouses. Indeed, it would unnecessarily implicate constitutional issues of state sovereignty if Obergefell were misconstrued as imposing spending requirements on the state of Texas to fund expensive health care and other benefits without authorization by Texas law.

Conservatives' tendency to edit reality to conform with their own preconceptions isn't going to do them any good in this case. The Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell was based firmly on the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. That means, in the simplest possible terms, that similarly situated persons must be treated the same under the law. In this case, a married couple is a married couple; there is no differentiation under the law for straight and gay couples. So, if straight couples are granted benefits under the law, then gay couples must be granted the same benefits. It's pretty unambiguous.

Amendment XIV, Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

And do note the framing: the Court created a new right to same-sex marriage. That's like saying that Brown v. Board of Education created a new right for black kids to go to school. No, the Court did not create any new rights: it merely affirmed that same-sex couples are entitled to the same treatment as opposite-sex couples under the law. Note this, from the majority opinion in Obergefell:

For that reason, just as a couple vows to support each other, so does society pledge to support the couple, offering symbolic recognition and material benefits to protect and nourish the union. Indeed, while the States are in general free to vary the benefits they confer on all married couples, they have throughout our history made marriage the basis for an expanding list of governmental rights, benefits, and responsibilities. These aspects of marital status include: taxation; inheritance and property rights; rules of intestate succession; spousal privilege in the law of evidence; hospital access; medical decisionmaking authority; adoption rights; the rights and benefits of survivors; birth and death certificates; professional ethics rules; campaign finance restrictions; workers’ compensation benefits; health insurance; and child custody, support, and visitation rules. See Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 6–9; Brief for American Bar Association as Amicus Curiae 8–29. Valid marriage under state law is also a significant status for over a thousand provisions of federal law. See Windsor, 570 U. S., at ___ – ___ (slip op., at 15–16). The States have contributed to the fundamental character of the marriage right by placing that institution at the center of so many facets of the legal and social order.

There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle. Yet by virtue of their exclusion from that institution, same-sex couples are denied the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage. This harm results in more than just material burdens. Same-sex couples are consigned to an instability many opposite-sex couples would deem intolerable in their own lives. As the State itself makes marriage all the more precious by the significance it attaches to it, exclusion from that status has the effect of teaching that gays and lesbians are unequal in important respects. It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society. Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning.
(Emphasis added.)

I guess, after they lose on this one, they'll manufacture a "religious freedom" argument.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

They Just Don't Get It

Sen. John McCain is still against filling Supreme Court vacancies -- if candidates are nominated by Democratic presidents:
"I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up," McCain said.

And then, of course, comes the "clarification":

"Senator McCain believes you can only judge people by their record and Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees," said McCain spokesperson Rachael Dean. "That being said, Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career."

One wonders if bullshit smells better in Arizona than in other places.

I really think it's time for the voters to retire McCain. Maybe he can get a gig co-hosting the 700 Club: two dotty old men telling people how to ruin their lives.

As Ian Millhiser points out at Think Progress, this is a very dangerous game:

The tactic that McCain is proposing is nothing less than an existential threat to the Supreme Court itself. Unlike elected officials, who wield legitimate power because they were elected by the people, federal judges cannot claim democratic legitimacy. Their legitimacy flows from their obedience to a written text and the knowledge that they were selected in a fair and constitutional process.

McCain, however, is effectively proposing that only Republicans should be allowed to choose Supreme Court justices. And, as McCain notes, two or even three more vacancies could open up on the Court during the next president’s term, as three current justices are quite elderly.

If those justices are replaced through the same legitimate process that every other justice has endured, then the Supreme Court retains the same legitimacy that it enjoyed before Scalia’s seat became vacant. But imagine a world where Scalia’s seat — and two others — remain vacant for five years because a Republican Senate refuses to confirm anyone named by the president.

What Millhiser doesn't mention is that eroding the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is in line with conservatives' attitudes toward the federal courts in general: they hate an independent judiciary because they can't control it. These are the people who railed against the Court's decision in Obergefell as "lawless" and "unconstitutional" (oxymorons if ever there were such). And these are also the people who created, first, the Tea Party, and now, Trump, who certainly has no discernible respect for the Constitution.

And most Americans think the Senate should just do its job, hold hearings, and vote. Senate Republicans are being viewed with a fair degree of cynicism on this:

A wide majority of Americans, moreover – more than seven in 10 – think Senate Republican leaders are refusing to hold hearings mostly for political reasons rather than because they think delay is best for the country. That view is shared by nine in 10 Democrats, three-quarters of independents and even a slim majority of Republicans.

Maybe Republicans should not be allowed to vote on Supreme Court nominees. Just leave it to the Democrats. Or maybe just not bother with a Senate vote at all.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Compare and Contrast

You may have read about the fire-bombing of the Orange County (NC) GOP headquarters. The reactions are a good illustration of -- well, something.

From Donald Trump:


From Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton Verified account

The attack on the Orange County HQ @NCGOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.

2:13 PM - 16 Oct 2016
0 replies 6,894 retweets 18,031 likes

From some random Democrats:

Massachusetts Democrat David Weinberger heard the news and started a campaign on Gofundme.com to help reopen the campaign office. In approximately 40 minutes, the campaign reached it’s goal from his Democratic friends and then some, according to a WSOCTV reporter.

“As Democrats, we are starting this campaign to enable the Orange County, North Carolina Republican office to re-open as soon as possible,” Weinberger wrote on the page.

“Until an investigation is undertaken, we cannot know who did this or why,” he continued. “No matter the result, this is not how Americans resolve their differences. We talk, we argue, sometimes we march, and most of all we vote. We do not resort to violence by individuals or by mobs. So, let’s all pitch in, no matter what your party affiliation, and get that office open again quickly.”

Gives you a good idea of the differences we're facing.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

It's Sunday at Green Man Review

Lots of reviews, but not the one I had hoped to finish. But click on over -- there's still lots of good stuff.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trump's America: Beyond Tone Deaf

This is the kind of candidate we're getting in the Trump era:

NBC 4 New York reports that Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate for New York’s 30th District, told the news station that he planned to hand out “Kool-Aid, KFC and watermelons” to people who attended a Harlem campaign rally in the coming weeks.

Harlem, of course, is a majority black neighborhood, and watermelons and fried chicken are two foods that are used to stereotype black Americans. All the same, Girodes doesn’t think there’s anything offensive about his stunt since people in the neighborhood should be grateful that they’re getting free food.

“What I think is anyone who gives free food to people is doing them a favor,” Girodes told NBC 4 New York’s I-Team. “Get a bunch of people who say it’s offensive and let me go into their neighborhood and give it out for free and see if they take it.”

Residents of the community did not respond favorably:

Meanwhile, another resident responded to Girodes’s “donation” of food by offering to “donate various foots in his ass.”

It never fails to amaze me that, with all the attention being called to the intrinsic racism in this country, anyone can be that oblivious.

In fairness, its seems the state GOP is disavowing this clown. There's more info on him at the link -- he sounds like a loser from the get-go, but then, look at what the GOP is offering for president.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Today's Must-Read

This struck a chord. The headline nails it:

Why does Hobby Lobby have more rights than a sacred mountain?

The lead-in:

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has solidified the concept of corporate personhood. Following rulings in such cases as Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, U.S. law has established that companies are, like people, entitled to certain rights and protections.

But that’s not the only instance of extending legal rights to nonhuman entities. New Zealand took a radically different approach in 2014 with the Te Urewera Act which granted an 821-square-mile forest the legal status of a person. The forest is sacred to the Tūhoe people, an indigenous group of the Maori. For them Te Urewera is an ancient and ancestral homeland that breathes life into their culture. The forest is also a living ancestor. The Te Urewera Act concludes that “Te Urewera has an identity in and of itself,” and thus must be its own entity with “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person.” Te Urewera holds title to itself.

Mount Taylor, NM
The article goes on to discuss Mount Taylor in New Mexico, which the Zuni and the Navajo consider a holy place equivalent to -- as the article notes -- the Vatican.

The idea of a corporation as a person is really nothing more than a legal fiction created so that the law has some way to deal with that sort of entity; to grant a legal fiction the rights of natural person is, to put it bluntly, ridiculous, but I suppose it's only to be expected when our Supreme Court is peopled by corporatists.

At any rate, as a card-carrying Pagan, I find the attitude toward the natural world expressed by traditional peoples much more in tune with my own attitudes, and I see no reason why a sacred mountain can't have the same rights as a corporation.

Read the whole thing.

Culture Break: Dead Can Dance: Rakim

This is one of my favorites by them. A live performance from 1993. The video's kind of sketchy, but the sound is the best of the live versions.

Be patient: they take a couple of minutes to get warmed up.

Alpha Male?

If wishes were nickels.

The Pussy Tape just won't die:

"I think it's locker room banter," Eric Trump told volunteers in the campaign's Denver, Colorado office Monday, as The Gazette reported. "I think sometimes when guys are together they get carried away, and sometimes that's what happens when alpha personalities are in the same presence."

If I can point out one small detail: alpha males don't talk like that. They don't have to. Pudgy, stubby-fingered losers talk like that.

And if you want to know what guys actually talk about in the locker room, ask someone who knows.

Said Kluwe in his piece published on Vox, “I was in an NFL locker room for eight years, the very definition of the macho, alpha male environment you’re so feebly trying to evoke to protect yourself, and not once did anyone approach your breathtaking depths of arrogant imbecility.”

Kluwe added, “Oh, sure, we had some dumb guys, and some guys I wouldn’t want to hang out with on any sort of regular basis, but we never had anyone say anything as foul and demeaning as you did on that tape, and, hell, I played a couple years with a guy who later turned out to be a serial rapist. Even he never talked like that.”

'Nuff said?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Idiot du Jour

You have to wonder how anyone as fundamentally stupid as Marsha Blackburn (R-Bedlam) got elected in the first place:

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) thinks Donald Trump’s casual boasts about grabbing women by the genitals are “indefensible” — but she still wants to change U.S. Senate rules so he push through his agenda.

The Tennessee Republican said she could not defend those aggressively lewd remarks, but CNN’s Chris Cuomo reminded Blackburn that she had defended Trump’s comments “by proxy of supporting him to be president of the United States.”

“You can’t have it both ways, can you congresswoman?” Cuomo said.

Apparently she thinks you can, but we've seen a lot of that among Republicans lately.

Blackburn thinks Senate rules should be changed to make it easier to pass President Trump's agenda:

Blackburn then said Senate’s cloture rules should be changed so it would be easier for a GOP minority to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass other legislation backed by Trump, if he’s elected.

“Let’s get rid of that 60-vote rule in the Senate, so that we can get things to the Senate floor and call an up-or-down vote,” Blackburn said, referring to the rule that allows senators to end debate on a bill if 60 of them agree to bring it up for a vote.

Still trying to repeal the ACA. Oh, by the way, congresswoman -- do you remember who instituted the 60-vote rule to begin with? Hint: It wasn't the Democrats.

This, I think, is the most revealing statement of all:

Blackburn disagreed, saying she agreed with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins — who admitted he would trade his “shared values” for helping to pick the next U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“I agree with Tony Perkins — I share the concerns,” Blackburn said.

So much for principles.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Columbus Day?

“We are the new GOP!”

And just who might that be? Why, the white supremacists, who have finally come marching out from under their rocks:

White nationalists are working to identify their “top people” — or at least any racist with a college degree — to staff a potential Donald Trump administration.

William Johnson, chairman of the white nationalist American Freedom Party, and other organized racists who back the Republican presidential nominee see a chance to set White House policy if Trump is elected next month, reported The Guardian.

From the Guardian story:

“About three months ago,” Johnson begins, “I was talking to Richard Spencer about how we need to plan for a Trump victory.” Spencer is another prominent white nationalist – he heads the generic-sounding National Policy Institute. “I said: ‘I want Jared Taylor [of American Renaissance] as UN Ambassador, and Kevin MacDonald [an evolutionary psychologist] as secretary of health and Ann Coulter as homeland security!’ And Spencer said: ‘Oh Johnson, that’s a pipe dream!’ But today, he’d no longer say that, because if Trump wins, all the establishment Republicans, they’re gone… They hate him! So who’s left? If we can lobby, we can put our people in there.”

Ann Coulter as homeland security? I would have thought secretary of state.

Take all those comments about angry old white working class men as Trump's base with a big helping of salt. This is where his support is coming from, and given that the younger members are the most extreme -- well, there goes the stereotype. And given his comments on jailing Clinton should he win the White House, you can guess what kind of country Trump and his supporters envision.*

No, I am not going to say the "H" word.

* And don't forget the evangelical bigwigs who are sticking with Trump. Given the histories of the likes of Perkins and Bauer, it's a good fit.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

What's New At Green Man Review

It's Sunday again, and there are reviews up at GMR. It's all about folklore this week -- in the broad sense. Click on through.

Republicans Built This

Digby points out that the real danger in Trump's bid for the presidency is not Trump himself, but his supporters:

I'm sorry, but I think people are missing the point. Trump is Trump and saying that he can get away with grabbing women's crotches because he's a star is not really different from him saying "I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and wouldn't lose any voters." He has used blatantly racist, sexist, xenophobic, violent psychopathic language since the first day of his campaign.

This "political incorrectness" is what his followers like about him.

People like this are not going to quietly acquiesce to the idea that Trump was forced to quit the race over saying the word pussy and docilely vote for Mike Pence instead[.]

She has illustrations of some of the hard-core trumpanzees. Click through to view.

And in the post immediately following, she quotes this story from Kurt Eichenwald, who has written extensively about Trump's business dealings and their possible impact on our national security should, gods forbid, he be elected:

Shortly after I wrote an article for Newsweek about how Donald Trump’s business interests could undermine national security should he be elected president, one of his supporters assaulted me. He used the internet to do it.

Read the whole thing -- it's not that easy to excerpt without losing important details. And it's scary. There's not much that frightens me. This does.

The Republicans are madly trying to cover their asses on this, but let's face it: this phenomenon is their creation. Digby goes back to the Tea Party, but the origins are much earlier than that: think about the Moral Majority's rise in the '70s and the way that Reagan and the GOP figured to use them to create a "permanent majority," which only led to the increasing dominance of the "religious" right on the party's policy positions, to the extent that the likes of Tony Perkins drafted portions of the Republican platform. (And note how, after the revelations of the "Pussy Tapes," the "Christian" leaders are standing firm in support of this disaster. Click through to read their comments, which are simply jaw-dropping. And then read the Twitter responses -- Perkins and Company aren't fooling everyone.)

So, the GOP has spent two generations creating this monster and, as monsters tend to do, it's gotten out of control. It's beyond hope that this point that the Republican party is going to come to its senses -- they've become too focused on winning at any cost, and for what? They want to rule, not govern, that's been made plain over the past eight years.

And in the meantime, they've made themselves into the party that stands squarely against everything America means.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Pussy Tape

This is what I get for not being online last evening. The stories are all over the place, along with the reactions. (For a good run-down, see Joe.My.God. this morning, and be sure to note who is not jumping ship.)

However, having watched the way the media have been managing the election -- and if you've been following that topic, you know they're doing more than Trump's good buddy Putin could ever hope to do -- this stuck out at me. Via Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice:

On Monday, according to an NBC source, one of the entertainment newsmagazine’s producers remembered Trump’s 2005 taping session with former “Access” co-host Billy Bush…
By mid-week, executive producer Rob Silverstein and his producing team had taken a look at its contents…
By Friday morning, Silverstein had decided to broadcast it, and a script had been written. The story was not slated to air on Friday night’s edition of the show, however.

That means the earliest it would have aired is Monday night — after Sunday’s presidential debate.
Another NBC source confirmed that “Access” was working on a story, and that NBC News knew about it, but said that as of Friday morning the story “wasn’t quite finalized.” …

NBC had the story and sat on it. David Farenthold of the Washington Post broke it, because he's actually committing journalism.

'Nuff said?

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Comparisons You Don't Want to Make

At the Berlin Wall last week. Walls work.

In case the name doesn't register, Monica Crowley is a Fox News "analyst." 'Nuff said?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Today in Disgusting People

Actually, it's not an individual, it's an institution.

It may come as no surprise that I have no respect for the Roman Catholic Church or its hierarchy -- quite aside from my thoughts on Christianity in general, which are mixed. And frankly, I had hopes for Francis' call to re-orient the Church's mission away from persecuting minorities and back to those basic Christian teachings -- you know, things like sheltering the homeless and feeding the hungry, things that the movers and shakers among the hierarchy can't be bothered with.

Sadly,the Church is falling back into old patterns, with Francis at the head:

The supposedly “moderate” Pope Francis was recently quoted in a meeting with Polish bishops as saying, “Today, in schools they are teaching this to children – to children! – that everyone can choose their gender… We are living a moment of annihilation of man as image of God.” He accused Western countries that tolerate transgender people of “ideological colonizing,” stating: “One such colonization, I'll say it clearly with its first and last name – is gender.”

He repeated these claims about “indoctrination” and “ideological colonization,” when speaking to reporters this week. He attacks schools which accept transgender youth describing the "'nasty' tendency of schools to 'indoctrinate' children with the idea that their gender is something that can be picked and chosen and changed."

Other high level Catholic officials have also made recent statements that leave no doubt that the Church has decided transgender people, and acceptance of them, are some of the most dangerous evils on the face of the Earth. Pope Francis previously stated that transgender people are a “threat to the order of creation,” and compared danger of transgender people to nuclear weapons, stating: “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of… of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”

This is all the expected follow-up to the pope's somewhat incoherent rants against "gender ideology," whatever that is, and, given the Church's fixation on morality as a function of genitals, it's not really a surprise. It is, however, somewhat disheartening to see the hierarchy once again institutionalizing ignorance -- it's quite clear that the pope and the bishops have no clue as to what trans folk are about. ("Disheartening" because the Roman Catholic Church quite easily accepted the theory of evolution, after performing the necessary theological cartwheels.)

Aside from the sheer viciousness of the rhetoric, the irony is of staggering proportions: "ideological colonization" is a nice succinct summary of the history of the Catholic Church. It's a phenomenon not readily apparent in the West -- Europe and North America, where governments and cultures in general are more secular -- but it's a very dangerous trend in Africa and the Catholic portions of Asia. The Church has a long, dirty history of selling social outcasts -- the very people it should be trying to protect, according to its own teachings -- down the river. (Another screaming irony: African clergy maintaining that homosexuality and gender fluidity are "not African" while clinging desperately to the worst and most ignorant aspects of Colonial rule -- and nothing could be less African than the Christian churches and their teachings on sexuality. Anyone with the slightest reading knowledge of anthropology understands that most "primitive" societies had a much more accurate and realistic understanding of sexuality and its variations than the "enlightened" Christian Europeans who were determined to obliterate their cultures.)

Read the whole article. It's infuriating, but at least it's not Trump.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

What's New

Yes, I realize I've been MIA for over a week -- a combination of being seriously under the weather (mending slowly, but mending, thank you), cloudy depressing weather, and cloudy, depressing news.

At any rate, it's Sunday at Green Man Review, and there are reviews, so just click on over.

I don't know when I'll be back in the saddle. Probably soon, although quite honestly, it's like the news is on instant replay.