Monday, December 5, 2016

Comet Ping Pong

So we now have some wing nut who has freaked out over some stupid, demonstrably false, BS conspiracy theory about Hillary and a pizza parlor involving kids and... well, here's the gist:

The man allegedly pointed the gun at a restaurant employee, who managed to escape, then fired the weapon inside the restaurant. There were no reports of injuries, police say. A North Carolina man has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the shooting.

It's a disturbing development in what has already been a weeks-long ordeal for Comet Ping Pong, a kid-friendly pizza restaurant that also hosts live music events.

Internet users have developed a wholly fictitious conspiracy theory that maintains Comet Ping Pong is the site of an international Satanic child sex abuse cabal hosted by powerful Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. Speculation and fabrications tied to the bizarre conspiracy theory have been relentlessly circulated by politically motivated fringe sites.

As NPR's Linda Wertheimer put it last week, even the most cursory examination of "#Pizzagate" reveals stories that are "completely and not very skillfully made up."

One of the key pieces of "evidence," for example, comes from the emails WikiLeaks says came from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. The emails include references to pizza. The conspiracy theory holds that based on how frequently pizza comes up, "pizza" must be code for pedophilia.

This is beyond stupid. Republicans are proving that they are the most gullible dupes on the planet. Every. Single. Day. And it's not just some GOP Gomer in the hills of North Carolina. It's your average Republican, most of the leadership of the GOP, and Trump himself: 

And the "fictitious online conspiracy theory," as D.C. police have called it, shows no sign of going away.
On Sunday night, after the gun was fired inside Comet Ping Pong, Michael Flynn Jr. — the son of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — posted messages supporting the conspiracy theory.
"Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it'll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many 'coincidences' tied to it," the younger Flynn tweeted.
He stood by his tweet as the night continued, retweeting people who were accusing the mainstream media of being part of the conspiracy to cover up the pedophilia ring.

There are so many fake tales floating around about the 2016 election that they appear to be getting confused for one another.
After a gunman who cited a Hillary Clinton-related conspiracy theory entered the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington on Sunday and fired one or more shots, reports and tweets pointed to Donald Trump's pick for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, having fomented the rumors that apparently spurred the man.
Here's Flynn's tweet:

Except Flynn doesn't actually appear to have tweeted something about Comet Ping Pong — not specifically.
Flynn did tweet a link involving dubious claims about the Clintons and sex crimes, and his social media presence is replete with fake news and controversial comments about Muslims, which made it an easy conclusion to draw.
What's more, his son Michael G. Flynn on Sunday did suggest there could be something to the PizzaGate rumors, basically defending his father as if he had tweeted about Comet Ping Pong and challenging the media to disprove the baseless claims. The younger Flynn served as his father's chief of staff — his top aide — making his tweets about this bogus theory particularly significant.

Flynn has also shared Islamophobic tweets and sentiments.
"In next 24 hours, I dare Arab & Persian world 'leaders' to step up to the plate and declare their Islamic ideology sick and must B healed," Flynn tweeted in July of this year following the terrorist attack in Nice, France.
In February, Flynn made waves when he tweeted it was rational to fear Muslims.
"Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions," Flynn said with a link to a video claiming Islamophobia was rational and that Islam wanted 80% of humanity enslaved or exterminated...
Days before the election, Flynn tweeted a false story claiming the NYPD had found evidence on Anthony Weiner's laptop "to put Hillary (Clinton) and her crew away for life."
In late October, Flynn retweeted a false claim that United Nations Agenda 21, a sustainable development program, would create a one world church where Christianity was prohibited and that choosing nationalism was the only way to stop Clinton.
In July, Flynn linked to a tweet that falsely claimed Clinton was "wearing hijab in solidarity with islamic terrorists." The picture was from a 2009 trip Clinton took to Pakistan as secretary of state, in which she donned a head covering during a visit to a mosque as a diplomatic courtesy.
"This is not showing respect. This is showing disrespect for American Values and Principles. #NeverHillary," Flynn wrote in his link to the tweet.
In another instance, he linked to a LifeZette article questioning if an Iranian scientist was executed recently because he was exposed on Clinton's private email server While Clinton advisers did discuss the scientist over email in July 2010, Clinton also publicly commented on the case of Shahram Amiri at the time, and The New York Times reported at the time that he was a CIA informant.

Sure, not everyone who thinks Hillary is a bad pol / person are nuts, but the vast majority of Republicans who feel this way are stupid. And that includes several of Trump’s cabinet picks as well as Trump himself - the ones who believe and propagate this stupid BS. Their titles and their stature help legitimize this demonstrably stupid BS and so make it all the more likely that the nuts and maybe even the not-so-nuts act on the stupid BS. This is dangerously stupid and it needs to be called out for what it is. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

For The GOP, It Takes A Village (Of Idiots)

The great question of Republicans and if they are stupid or evil is not an either/or question. The answer is stupid and evil. The fact of the matter is that there is a great number of Republicans who are stupid. 

stupid |ˈst(y)o͞opəd|
adjective (stupider, stupidest)
having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense

A significant number of Republicans believe that Hillary has had ~50 individuals assassinated because they got in the way of her lust for power, Trump will get Mexico to pay for the “beautiful wall” he’s going to build, Obama is a Kenyan and/or Muslim, 3 million illegal aliens voted in the election, and all sorts of other BS that ranges from the just weird to the bat-shit insane. Just go to this article in an Atlanta paper about Hillary supposedly being involved with JFK Jr’s death: 
And if you need to have your faith in the human race crushed like a bug, just read some of the comments left there. 

So yes, as a group, Republicans are among the stupidest on the planet. The swallow BS unquestioningly, and then regurgitate it as gospel. They are the most susceptible and vulnerable to “evil” individuals who take advantage of their stupidity. Yes, there are stupid people across the political spectrum and no, not every Republican is stupid (some didn’t vote for Trump), but just as you go to South Africa if you want to mine for diamonds, if you want to find stupid, you go to the GOP. 

Over the next several days I’ll post some first hand and real-world examples of Republican stupidity why they gravitate towards the GOP, and a list of practical actions anyone can take to counter this stupidity (spoiler alert: it’s a short list). 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Congratulations, America!
You've just elected


Party of Lincoln.

Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.
 - James Madison - The Federalist No. 10, Thursday, November 22, 1787 

To paraphrase H.L. MenckenNo one ever lost an election underestimating the intelligence of the American voter.” 

I knew there was trouble when the very first returns came in. 

My expectation, especially with Trump, would be Early Onset Hubris accompanied by Overreach. Some actionable item should come about sooner or later. How much damage is done to the country in the mean time is anyone’s guess. Dems should take a page from the GOP and drag their feet as much as possible, but having a minority in both houses will make that difficult to ineffectual. I’m particularly POd at Georgia Democrats Barnes and Nunn providing support to Republican Senator Isakson over Democratic challenger Barksdale. I mean, WTF? There’s #51.

We are at the end of a 7-year business cycle, with other economic indicators hinting at the possibility of a  minor recession  in 2017. Trump may make it more than minor. This, along with the typical political cycles would normally bode well for the mid-terms, but the mathematics of the Senate don’t favor the Dems in 2018. So, likely a crazy 4 years with a really bad SCOTUS mix before it’s all over. That odor we smell is the result of America officially shitting the bed. The stink is going to be around for a while. Time to get to work for 2018 and 2020. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lidlocks On My Gluzzies

I spent too much of the past 48 hours in XKCD mode. I'll have more details after my eyeballs get a rest.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

TRUMP 2.OH SHI.... !

2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 

I’ve been reading and hearing about Trump’s “shakeup” of his campaign. He's putting a Breitbart flunkie as the head of his campaign. Oh, yeah. That will really change the tone of his campaign. Ha! I just saw his spokesbimbo on CNN saying “it’s not a shakeup”, and I agree. This isn’t a shakeup, it's just a re-clustering of the clusterfvck that is Trump’s campaign. Granted, as always, there a solid 1/3 of the electorate who will vote for a potted plant if it has an “R” beside its name on the ballot* - because they are that stupid. 

How bad have things gotten for Republicans? Check out this article from a conservative and former Republican:
I was always way ahead of the curve. And my exposés primarily appeared in right-wing publications. Back when they were interested in serious research. I also founded a conservative college newspaper, held positions in the Reagan administration and at several conservative think tanks, and published five books that conservatives applauded. I’ve written for umpteen major conservative publications – National Review, the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, among them.
But no longer. That was the old right. The last thing hysteria promoters want is calm, reasoned argument backed by facts. And I’m horrified that these people have co-opted the name “conservative” to scream their messages of hate and anger.
Extremism in the defense of nothing
Nothing the new right does is evidently outrageous enough to receive more than a peep of indignation from the new right. 
And then there’s the late Andrew Breitbart (assassinated on the orders of Obama, natch). A video from February shows him shrieking at peaceful protesters: “You’re freaks and animals! Stop raping people! Stop raping people! You freaks! You filthy freaks! You filthy, filthy, filthy raping, murdering freaks!” He went on for a minute-and-a-half like that. Speak not ill of the dead? Sen. Ted Kennedy’s body was barely cold when Breitbart labeled him “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard” a “prick” and “a special pile of human excrement.”
The new right loved it! Upon his own death shortly after, Breitbart was immediately sanctified and sent to lead the Seraphim. He was repeatedly eulogized as “the most important conservative of our time never to hold office,” skipping right past William F. What’s-his-name Jr.
There was nothing “conservative” about Breitbart. Ever-consummate gentlemen like Buckley and Ronald Reagan would have been mortified by such behavior as Breitbart’s – or West’s or Heartland’s. “There you go again,” the Gipper would have said in his soft but powerful voice.

Here’s the link to the full Salon articlePlease note that this article was from 2012. Things have gotten exponentially worse stupider with the stupid is flowing at an unprecedented rate. The regular stupidity spraying out of Republican garden hose has now turned into a firehose of lunacy, all with the GOP stamp of approval.

So, we’ll see what “Trump: The Reclustering” brings. My guess is that Trump 2.0 will be the same crappy Trump, but with a USB port. 

*And maybe a white hood. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Today in Stupid

What kind of moronic luddite mocks science? 

In the Russell Senate Office building, a veritable all-star lineup of maligned researchers gathered. Their work would be familiar to anyone who has read the “wastebook” put together by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) or has watched Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) lead a House Science Committee hearing: In the back corner was that guy who watched shrimp run on treadmills; off to the side was the woman who pondered why fat girls can’t get dates; in the middle of the room was the person who studied cows in China; near the bar was the man who sent text messages to drunk people; and in the back was the scientist who started a fight club for shrimp (it’s always those damn shrimp!).  
These researchers had come to Capitol Hill to make the case that their congressional tormentors had gotten their work profoundly wrong. Far from being taxpayer-funded jesters in the world of science, they were doing work of merit and promise. And while they had the resumes and wherewithal to withstand the scrutiny, their worry was that future scientists — the ones hanging out with Obama — would look at the crucible and decide to stay far, far away... 
Contra what Flake said in his book, Patek and her graduate student didn’t set up a crustacean-themed Fight Club. Nor did the federal government give her $700,000 for that purpose. That sum was for all of her studies. 
The focus of the infamous study is actually quite in symmetry with Republican priorities. Patek and her team are looking into the ability of mantis shrimp to generate incredible force without the assistance of outside factors. They’re trying to answer questions like: How it is that a shrimp’s toothpick-sized hammer can break snail shells in water when humans have to use a larger hammer to do the same in air? A discovery could eventually lead to dramatic changes in human-engineered defense systems. The research already has sparked changes in engineered materials designed to resist impact fracture. 
“It is a beautiful and elegant study,” Patek said.

Anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-American Republicans. 

Lots of other examples of Republicans getting it wrong time after time on science through either willful deceit (i.e. lies), or willful ignorance (i.e. stupidity). There are a number of things you can debate about a person or group who exhibits this combination of deceit & ignorance so frequently over an extended period of time, but there is one thing that is obvious and incontrovertible: These people are assholes

P.S. Dangerous assholes at that. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

WSJ: Trump is Al Gore’s Fault

The Murdoch Moron for the week is Joseph Epstein in the Wall Street Journal and his essay, “These Five Are the Best We Can Do?” 

(To bypass Murdoch’s paywall, paste the title of the article in Google and click on the Wall Street Journal link than comes up.)

No one has really complained about the quality of the Democratic candidates this year while there has been unprecedented wailing and gnashing of teeth by just about everyone with sympathies for the GOP. The GOP standard-bearers (Rubio, yet another Bush, Christie, Graham, Jindal) were all pathetic lightweights, but they could be expected to tow the GOP line. What the Republican base preferred (what they were trained to prefer) was the radical extremists of Trump, Fiorina, Carson, Cruz, and the mindless xenophobic bigotry they espoused. But apparently the Murdoch rule is that you can’t make negative comments about Republicans without also pulling the “both sides do it” trope to speak negatively about Democrats too. 

Is there something in our system of electing candidates that makes inevitable the rise of the mediocre and even the exaltation of the vulgar?

The “vulgar” is the sole domain of the GOP. No one is accusing the Democrats of vulgarity, not even Epstein, though he necessarily associates the Democrats through his lame assertion, but fails to show and Democratic vulgarities when he lists his examples. 

Difficult to find anyone who talks about the presidential primaries with any enthusiasm. Even yellow-dog Democrats and academic feminists can’t get much worked up for Hillary Clinton. The young are apparently taken with the socialist fantast Bernie Sanders—but then, being young, they don’t realize he is nothing more than a digitally remastered 1930s replay.

This is a laughably stupid statement that betrays the politically cloistered life of Epstein. First, no one is denying the enthusiastic (though brain-dead) zealotry of Trump supporters. There is also plenty of enthusiasm for Hillary as well, even though it has not taken the radical and violent path of the GOP front runner. The only insult he has for Bernie is a vacuous dismissal of the candidate and his supporters - supports that Epstein notes are, in fact, enthusiastic. Epstein tellingly fails to note any specific policy issues he has with Sanders, which is what you’d expect from a political tribalist. 

I’m sure it’s difficult for Epstein to find anyone enthusiastic about Hillary or Bernie in the halls of Murdoch’s wing-nut welfare tool, The Weekly Standard. 

The Weekly Standard is an American neoconservative[2][3][4][5][6] opinion magazine[7] published 48 times per year. Its founding publisher, News Corporation, debuted the title on September 18, 1995. Currently edited by founder William Kristol and Fred Barnes, the Standard has been described as a "redoubt of neoconservatism" and as "the neo-con bible".[8][9] [10]
Since it was founded in 1995, The Weekly Standard has never been profitable, and has remained in business through subsidies from conservative benefactors such as former owner Rupert Murdoch.[11]

Epstein berates Bernie Sanders for his politics, but is happy to cash his subsidized, socialist-style wing-nut welfare paychecks from The Weekly Standard. A disingenuous tool of a tool. 

Epstein’s choice? Mitch “college-censor” Daniels! Even ignoring the authoritarian bent of Constitutionally challenged Daniels, who in the world could ever get enthusiastic about Mitch Daniels? 

Clearly, Epstein is with the rest of the GOP establishment in retching over Donald Trump’s rise to being the most likely Republican nominee. 

Mr. Trump’s vulgarity is nonpareil—and by his vulgarity I don’t mean his profanity merely, but the vulgar quality of his speech, his thought, his very sentiments.

Epstein places Cruz as a close second to Trump’s vulgarity. 

Who does Epstein blame for this rise in Republican vulgar and extremism? The Internet. 

The advent of the Internet made this all the worse. The Internet is without an ethical standard. On it anyone can say anything—and usually does. Donald Trump has added to the demeaning quality of the proceedings by using the Internet—those endless insulting tweets—and attracting press and television with his steady stream of attacks on the personal lives of his opponents.

The Internet is to blame. Brilliant! With the right-wing zombie-lie of Al Gore taking credit for creating the Internet, Epstein is one step away from blaming Al Gore for causing the rise of Trump in the GOP. Never mind the role he and his benefactors have played in conditioning the Republican base to believe that every policy difference with the Democrats was a battle with the devil himself for America’s soul and encouraged the mindless vitriol and zealotry of Teabaggers, anti-Democratic TV and Radio hosts, as well as Murdoch’s Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal. And this, from a person who has made their living as a writer for decades. 

Epstein is proving himself long in the tooth and short on the truth. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Another Man Makes The Leap

Elon musk has to be looking over both shoulders these days with rumors of Apple making an electric car to compete with his Tesla line, and now Bezos getting into (Musk's?) space and back again. The travails of being in the lead of the pack. 

And yet another example of the continuing benefits of America's Apollo program, as Bezos himself notes at the 3:10 mark in the video above. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

All Fools Day

Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

Cato the Elder, Plutarch's Life of Cato 

In the search for intelligent life, this may be a good credo. There is certainly a lot to be learned these days. And though it would be nice to avoid the obvious fool in the name of Trump, what better example of a fool is there today? For decades the GOP has been veering from dumb to crazy to stupid to extreme, to now whatever you call the Trump-brand of Republicanism, it is telling that the base of the party has become so extreme that even the GOP leaders are taken aback and in a state of panic. Of course, this is the same leadership that promoted this craziness, but they promoted it with winks, nods, and dog-whistles instead of Team Trump’s megaphone and swinging fists).

Even the right wing National Review is freaking out about the leading Republican candidate in a piece subtly titled, “‘Mental.’ ‘Utterly Stupid.’ ‘Trump Only Cares About Trump.’"

GINGRICH: Tweeting about, or repeating a tweet about Mrs. Cruz is just utterly stupid. It has frankly, weakened everything that Trump ought to be strengthening. It sent a signal to women that is negative, at a time when his numbers with women are already bad. 
[National Review's JIM GERAGHTY:] Oh, what’s that? Trump’s Twitter behavior is “utterly stupid”, Newt? Thanks for noticing; six days ago you were telling the media there was absolutely nothing about Trump that worries you. Maybe your previous comparison of Trump to Reagan was frankly, fundamentally, profoundly wrong from A to Z.

This condemnation from the staunchly right-wing Republican National Review. But as has been pointed out, Trump is not an anomaly of the Republican Party, he is the logical and predictable product of the GOP

Donald Trump didn’t suddenly change in the past few days, weeks or months. He’s the same guy he always was, the same guy that most of us in the conservative movement and GOP have been staunchly opposing for the past year. He didn’t abruptly become reckless, obnoxious, ill-informed, erratic, hot-tempered, pathologically dishonest, narcissistic, crude and catastrophically unqualified for the presidency overnight. He’s always been that guy…

The National Review just listed what has been the MO of the GOP for several decades, but now they want to try to distance themselves from their fraternal candidate? 

The best part of the NR piece is this kicker:

Trump supporters, no one should let you off of that bandwagon now.  You should be handcuffed to that Titanic you volunteered to crew.

The same can be said of the GOP as a whole, not just Trump and his supporters. Which brings to mind this apt quote which can easily be applied to the GOP and its supporters:
Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?
(And, just because I like Gary Larson)

Over several election cycles, Republican voters have supported candidates that are "reckless, obnoxious, ill-informed, erratic, hot-tempered, pathologically dishonest, narcissistic, and crude." In the process of supporting these candidates, Republican voters have also exhibited these same traits. 

Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l'admire.
  • Translation: A fool always finds one still more foolish to admire him.
  • Variant A fool always finds a greater fool to admire him. 

The Republican leadership in the party and the right-wing media have created today’s Republican base that now supports Trump. And why shouldn't Republicans support Trump? All the things that other Republicans only mutter under their breath, Trump says out loud. The hard-core tribalist right-wingers love it. The GOP leadership hasn’t yet figured out a way to tell Trump and his supporters, “Yes, we agree with you, but we’ll lose the general election if you can’t put some political spin on our true intentions.” Republicans as a party are looking in the mirror for the first time and what they see is very ugly. It will be entertaining watching these fools as they alternately fight and dance with each other. 

As a P.S. Some final foolish thoughts for All Fools Day:

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

  • A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

  • A prosperous fool is a grievous burden.

There are three kinds of fools in this world, fools proper, educated fools and rich fools. The world persists because of the folly of these fools.

  • The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

  • Any fool can make a rule
  • And any fool will mind it.

All quotes from -

Dawn of Blog

Is there anybody... out there?