Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sanders Explains Why Trump Is Winning And Bernie Is Boring

RCP poll average for Democratic campaign opponents. Note that Bernie got very little bump from Biden dropping out. And, one thing is very clear, as voters got a chance to see Bernie Sanders talking alongside Hillary Clinton in the Democratic debates, they chose Clinton. Now, if Bernie cannot even outsmart Hillary, who often seems distracted by all the glitter of being herself, then how would he have any chance against Donald Trump, whom Bernie has just admitted possesses what it take—smarts—to be embraced and promoted by the mainstream media? In the end, and really all along the way, Bernie Sanders is just a boring old man, saying affirming (but given GOP congressional power, utterly unrealistic) things to an audience of whining babies, many of whom have threatened to stay home and elect Donald Trump if "the Bern" loses to Clinton.
Let's imagine for a moment what a Donald Trump versus Bernie Sanders presidential campaign might look like:

Trump would of course be promoting American progress and success and by this Trump would mean that he intends to do to America what he has always done—build another, even bigger, gaudy tower with his name plastered on it. And oh, by the way, yes that means that dangerous park space across from Trump's America, the space the poor, brown, people played in, will have to be bulldozed. In the other corner, actually down on a street corner, standing alongside 20 or 30 supporters, Bernie Sanders would be holding up a little placard denouncing Trump as being a mean-hearted, greedy, racist land baron who would not care about the working class...blah, blah, blah. And then, just when you think a few people might be listening to Bernie about this complaint, Trump steps in to co-opt Bernie's argument. Trump announces that indeed, he will be building another wonderful monstrosity with his name on it, and in addition he will be building the most wonderful new park space—it's gonna be HUGE!—and just the kind of place parents and kids will love!

Bernie releases a statement supporting the building of a new park. And Trump wins. Only later do we find out, and by that time nobody remembers or cares about the tiny park debate anyway, that Trump is building the really huge park space on top of the new tower to be enjoyed only by the richest tenants and their families.

And that's business and politics in America.

And the thing is, Bernie Sanders knows this. It is why he has taken lately to sounding almost like he is working for Trump's campaign. Sanders says he's appealing to the same voters as Trump. And Sanders explained just the other day why Trump is winning, and Bernie isn't. Asked by CNN's Chris Cuomo why Trump was so popular and so successful in his campaign, Sanders, accusing the media of being shills for Trump, said:
“Well, Chris, you’re gonna have to ask the media precisely why. I mean Trump is a smart guy. He’s a media guy. He ran, you know, he did a TV show. I’ll give you one example. Alright. A recent study showed that on ABC Evening News, Trump over a period of time got 81 minutes of time. Bernie Sanders got 20 seconds. Now you tell me why. And I think it has to do with the fact that Trump is very smart. He knows that media is not so interested in the serious issues facing this country. They love bombastic remarks. They love silly remarks. If he says that somebody is sweating—my god, that is a major story and all that silly business, the personal attacks, that kind of works. So, I think this is more an indictment of the media actually than it is of Trump.”
Seriously, if you're running for office, for the highest and most powerful office in the world, you don't explain your opponent's success as a product of what?—Trump being a "very smart" guy. And so where does that leave Bernie then? Effectively, that implies Bernie isn't the very smart guy, which goes along with the fact Bernie is such a horrible media figure or political product.

My answer to Bernie Sanders about why Donald Trump gets media time and Bernie gets ignored is pretty basic:

Because you’re fucking boring, Bernie!

You're about as telegenic as a pile of nasty old cardboard some hobos slept under. You don’t smile. You don’t speak up. You speak down to people because you figure they have to be stupid—which is correct—but jeez, asshole, you're peddling a product to them, you know? And nobody likes you anyway, you cantankerous old coot. Clear?

Now, having said that, I'm not suggesting for a moment that people should vote for Trump instead. And I have admitted for a long time that having the option—really the obligation—to vote for dreary Hillary is hardly a choice. But it is an obligation because of the ghastly Republican alternatives.

If anything, I find Bernie's comments, given that he seems definitely headed for defeat against Clinton, as a kind of endorsement of the likely GOP candidate. And that, combined with Sanders' team having pilfered Clinton's supporter list does call into question whether Sanders is running for a cause, or like his new best very intelligent friend, just for himself.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

New York Times Carpet Bombs The Truth—Once Again

B-52 drops large array of bombs on Vietnam during Operation Arc Light, 1965.
If you really hate, and I mean totally despise, the truth, you’re an ideal customer to get your news and especially your opinions from the war-mongering newspaper, the New York Times.

Now, at this point, after writing something like that, I will be regaled with charges I am yet another right-wing looney, who hates the MSM. No, I am not right-wing, nor left-wing, nor a vile centrist, and while I might be as looney as the next American (looney being a defining character trait of USA’uns), my main interest is in looking for whatever facts we can discern underlying and often contradicting the junk peddled as facts in MSM slop.

Today’s example is a NYT editorial entitled “Ted ‘Carpet-Bomb’ Cruz”. In this opinion piece, the Times’ editors argue that Ted Cruz is just another ignorant chickenhawk, who likes to bluster about how with himself as POTUS, America will be militarily strong, while actually the blusterer (almost always a conservative flavor) knows almost nothing about military power and its tools of engagement.

As the Times points out:
"Anyone with any understanding of military strategy knows that “carpet-bombing” is a term used by amateurs trying to sound tough."
Now, I can tell you from a lot of personal experience with this, that whenever you see a journalist preface their statement with "ANYONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING" or something similar, you should be concerned about the strong likelihood that journalist is generalizing about something they know nothing about whatsoever.

Another sign this might be the case is if the journalist then employs some kind of expert to allegedly make their case for them, which the Times did (see below for this). Often, the expert will be found to have either wildly misstated the facts—and strangely the journalist never checks this with other experts or just Wikipedia or something—or to have been so creatively quoted by the journalist as to make a point they never in fact argued.

Remember this as we go along here.

The key evidence the Times editors use to prosecute Cruz as a military amateur is his recent statement about how he would like to dispatch Islamic State:
“We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion.”
Here is Cruz’s statement in context:
“Instead we will have a president who will make clear we will utterly destroy ISIS. We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark. But we’re going to find out. And we are going to make abundantly clear to any militant on the face of the planet that if you go and join ISIS, if you wage jihad against the United States of America, and try to murder innocent Americans, you are signing your death warrant.”
Now, there is a lot there to unpack, chiefly for example that telling jihadists they are signing their death warrants by attacking the USA is not actually likely to dissuade militants from signing up to ISIS or Islamic State. And while carpet bombing Islamic State strongholds will likely be very satisfying to lots of Americans, who love to watch poor Muslims blow the fuck up, it is also very likely to result in the deaths of lots of collaterals (or as Americans like to call them: “collaborators” ), and then further result in the recruitment of lots more terrorists.

So, let us be clear, Ted Cruz’s war-speak, AKA silly jingoism, is not the basis of an effective strategy for winning a war against Islamic State, or jihadism in general. I’m pretty sure Cruz is knows this too. After all, right now, he’s shown the intelligence to so far outmaneuver the alleged smart-guy in the Republican campaign, Donald Trump.

On the other hand, that point about Cruz’s bluster could have been simply made by just letting Ted speak, especially in context. Instead, the Times decided to focus on the term “carpet bomb”, to make a case that Cruz did not understand the term, and to further argue that it was un-American to even suggest such a tactic should be employed or has ever been employed by the United States military.

After all, slaughtering lots of people like fleas in a carpet just isn’t American—is it?

The Times produced this quotation to help make that case, offered by what the editors claimed was a chuckling “Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, a military historian and former commandant of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.”:
“That’s just another one of those phrases that people with no military experience throw around…America has never carpet-bombed anyone at any time because that’s not our doctrine.”
The Times did not at that point fact-check that statement, because the purpose of providing the quotation was to authorize the Times’ claim that employing the term “carpet-bomb” was just an ignorant and un-American thing for Cruz to do.

Instead, the Times' editors claimed the following:
“The only thing close to “carpet-bombing” was Operation Arc Light in 1965, in which two or three B-52 Stratofortresses bombed sections of Vietnam to support tactical operations on the ground, not to flatten the place.”
So there, Ted Cruz, you must be wrong!

But, what if the Times just told you a pile of crap? Could that be a possibility?

Well, let’s see. What would most of us do if we wanted to fact-check a claim. Might we start with Wikipedia’s article on carpet bombing? According to that, there is a little more to the tale of carpet bombing in the Vietnam War than General Scales or the Times wanted to admit:
“The first combat mission, Operation Arc Light, was flown by B-52Fs on 18 June 1965, when 30 bombers of the 9th and 441st Bombardment Squadrons struck a communist stronghold near the Bến Cát District in South Vietnam. The first wave of bombers arrived too early at a designated rendezvous point, and while maneuvering to maintain station, two B-52s collided, which resulted in the loss of both bombers and eight crewmen. The remaining bombers, minus one more that turned back due to mechanical problems, continued toward the target.” 
So, in this version of Operation Arc Light, THREE bombers turned back. In the Times version, two or three bombers actually participated in the operation. Now, what happened?

Again, Wikipedia:
“Twenty-seven Stratofortresses dropped on a one-mile by two-mile target box from between 19,000 and 22,000 feet, a little more than 50% of the bombs falling within the target zone.”
And of course, that is just in Vietnam, which had many such carpet-bombing raids.

In addition, as General Scales ought to know, carpet bombing, or saturation bombing, was much used in World War II by all sides, but particularly by the Allies as the war advanced, and the Allies repeatedly struck, and thoroughly destroyed, large landscapes of German and Japanese industrial production.

So, whatever you might say about Ted Cruz, he wasn’t just inventing or repeating a false notion that carpet bombing is an acceptable brand of American war policy.

Readers must always be aware that the New York Times exists largely to promote and protect the state and its perpetrators, such as the US military, from any effective criticism. And in doing this, even while attacking people, such as Cruz, who would seem to be a natural ally of the Times, since he also is a big fan of the US military, the Times will exploit and often distort the facts to make its case.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Americans Told By Egghead To "Manage" Their Terror To Win War

Poor Americans trapped in the prison of fear provoked by acts of terror. If only they could be freed from that, then maybe, Professor Stern tells us in a new NY Times op-ed, "we" could win the war on terror. All you have to do is manage your terror—in yourself—by looking up and getting divine with it.
And then, just in case you were in doubt about whose responsibility it is to win the war on nouns (terror, terrorism, extremism, badism in any form), kindly (and aptly named) Professor Stern reminds us that when it comes to the wars, the real responsibility for winning is not that of our leaders or our fighters or our "intelligence" agents, it is YOUR fault if we lose:

"If we are to prevail in the war on terrorism, we need to remember that the freedoms we aspire to come with great responsibilities. And these responsibilities involve not just fighting terrorists, but also managing our own terror."

"aspire to"—code for you don't really have freedoms—because that threatens the security of an unfree state, like we didn't already know that.

By managing your terror, Professor Stern means remembering that the "Divine" (which you have an equal-opportunity-obligation to worship in your own way in the USA) will make you feel better about dying and stuff. That way, maybe you won't want to go slaughter your Muslim neighbors for seeming very dangerous to you, what with all the Jihad going around you know.

Professor Stern tells us that she is well placed to understand the fears Americans feel about the threat of terrorist attacks:
"In many years of studying this subject, I have come to understand that a mass shooting or terrorist attack evokes a powerful sense of dread."
Of course, Professor Stern might have just watched some news video and read articles about—or better yet lived through—9/11 and maybe she could have figured out the "sense of dread" without having to spend years on a study of it.

Academe has arrived DOA at the think-tank. It also has failed the nation by serving the unbelievably idiotic fascism destroying it.

Seriously, this is what all loser regimes always do at the brink of losing—blame anybody but themselves.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ben Carson’s Excellent Point About Rabid Dogs—And Republicans

The moment when Donald Trump went full-frontal Nazi, noting he will employ "a lot of systems" to track Muslims, and presumably all the other "OTHERS" Trump decides are potentially dangerous to the profoundly well-educated crew making up Trump's base. A message from one of these supporters can be see in the middle image, a detail of a photo taken a few weeks ago of an Austin, Texas bus-stop bench, where an endorsement inspired by Trump's hate-mongering against Hispanics can be seen scrawled out in its imbecilic glory. Be very afraid of "The invation" of the Trumpublicans!—or any other brand of Republican.
It is hard to keep track of all the hate-mongering idiocy—one might call it “rabid” idiocy—spewing from the Republican candidates in the presidential primary campaign.

After all, Donald Trump declared war on Hispanics as a class and a potential threat early on, and has had no problem expanding that attack on the “OTHER” to include the GOP’s new, favorite, target of hatred, Syrian refugees and Muslims in general. The vast majority of Syrian refugees are escaping the horrible violence of what is certainly the worst current hellhole on Earth, and the terrible brutality of, among other players in that game of death, Islamic State.

You might think that Americans, even the nutty right-wing version, would have some sympathy for the plight of these victims. 

Nope. Not when there are political points to be scored in Republican nutland by moving ever closer to establishing true Nazi-style values in the GOP.

Donald Trump for example, on Thursday made it quite explicit where he is coming from on the need to honor and mimic Nazi population management, regarding Muslims in the USA. Asked if he would be interested in creating national databases of Muslims “living in the US to protect the country from terrorism”, Trump said:
There should be a lot of systems beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems. And today you can do it. I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.
Trump claimed this was the way in which he would establish “good management” in the US government’s operations.

And one can easily see how this would soon be expanded to include all the other threatening classes of human beings Trump and his white imperium decide need to be specially suspected and monitored and perhaps locked up for their own good in concentration camps. Welcome to Auschwitz, Hispanics.

Meanwhile, Ben Carson, carving out his own Nazi space, had earlier on Thursday said the following about the need to watch out for what he called “rabid dogs”, in other words Syrian refugees who might go “radical” (AKA “terrorist”):
If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog.
In other words, “that dog” meaning Syrian refugees should not just be assumed to be OK. That would be too dangerous. After all, some crazy people might get into the USA if you were accepting and merciful and things like that.

Well, absolutely right…wing…nut. If there is some rabid dog wondering around, people really should be very wary of it and absolutely be on guard to not embrace it, or anything it might bark out as a campaign slogan or a threatened policy if it should be elected.

Yes, rabid dogs are bad things. 

Now, the only question for the American people—the question that has become the central one in judging the quality of the political process in the USA: who are the rabid dogs in American politics? Are they really Muslims, or Mexicans? Or might they just be that unbelievably ignorant, hateful, and just plain stupid pack of mad dogs who represent the best and brightest of the Republican Party?

Monday, November 16, 2015

George W. Bush And His Pals Killed Liberty With Crazy Terror Wars

Politico has declared this guy, Michael Morell, former deputy spy-master at CIA, to be the sharpest critic of US anti-Islamic-State policy. Morell argues it is time to have the anti-Snowden debate in America, by which Morell means one defined by fear of another Paris-style attack, and so one enabling the US government to have complete control of encryption keys employed by commercial companies. The attack-clampdown process is an essential ingredient of the Bush-style erasure of American liberty.
Dubya didn’t do it all alone. 

He had lots of accomplices, from jackasses like US Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who infamously asked what good your stupid civil liberties were if you were dead—Patrick Henry already answered that long ago—to craven (or just dumb?) politicians like Hillary Clinton (and lots of Democrats), who voted to plunge the world and not just America into Iraq’s long death dance.

You think it was just Islamic State that killed a bunch of rich French in Paris a few nights ago? Nope, American taxpayers helped out too, by carving out with blood and the stupidest kind of vengeance plenty of hate-space for Islamic State to be born and to flourish.

And as the clampdown came on poor collateral Muslims all over the Middle East and the world, so did it come to the liberties of the allegedly free peoples of the West. So anxiously did Americans rush to the alter to worship the vain, hideously foolish, alter of George W. Bush and his evildoers, they had no problem surrendering all their meaningful liberties to anti-Constitutional trash-laws like the ironically-titled Patriot Act.

So horrible was George W. Bush’s assault on the very core of what Americans had thought they believed in, that in 2008 voters actually elected a black man to be president! Now that’s some change, people hopefully chanted, as Barack Obama came into power. Again, hope was smashed by the cynical reality of the state. Whatever Obama might have believed about significantly changing things, he kowtowed to power, and basically did things Bush-style, continuing and even expanding massive, and Constitution-destroying, invasions of privacy that made a complete joke of the idea of liberty. 

Only when Edward Snowden took up the mantle of latter-day patriot, standing up to the entire power of the United States government, which no doubt would love to assassinate Snowden, did the world learn of the extent of the crimes of the Bush-Obama tag-team of tyranny. 

Even American corporations responded to these revelations, finally made public, by demanding that government should not have the power to invade their most sacred investments—the products they peddle for profit! Companies like Apple vowed they would redesign their products to lock out the NSA. Encryption that the governments of the world could not break became the new, best, way to protect the remnants of liberty.

Of course, the governments of the world were not going to accept that outrage against their power. One by one, attack after attack, terrorists (who might as well be on the payrolls of the state security agencies), argued in favor of erasing privacy altogether and enabling the establishment of a great—oh what should we call it?—Big Brother of protection. 

After all, the Inner Parties demanded: what good are your rights if you are dead?

Patrick Henry would have an answer and in these dark, last days of liberty, he would be in an American prison—or assassinated by the American government.

On Sunday, ex-CIA deputy chief, Michael Morell, articulated the government's argument against liberty:
I think what we are going to learn is that these guys are communicating via these encrypted apps, right, the commercial encryption, which is very difficult if not impossible for governments to break, and the producers of which, don’t produce the keys necessary for law enforcement to read the encrypted messages...So, we need to have a public debate about this. We have, in a sense, had a public debate. That debate was defined by Edward Snowden, right, and the concern about privacy. I think we’re now going to have another debate about that. It’s going to be defined by what happened in Paris.
"Defined by Paris" means of course, tyranny enabled once again by widespread panic at the idea that liberty has enabled death and mayhem at the hands of the terrorists.

But once again, a reasoned response to this will ask—but which terrorists? And where is this terrorism HQ truly located? Raqqa? Or Washington DC? And is liberty the real problem here? Or insanely self-destructive government policy?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

NY TImes Verdict on Obamacare: "All But Useless"

The federal government stands before pelts of Americans, taken in its yearly Obamacare slaughter. The cynicism of America's evil political class in the construction and perpetration of a worthless healthcare program points to the nature of the USA political system. Not broken, as many allege—but working just fine for the people who truly own it.
While the world scampers about playing "terrorist, terrorist, who's got the terrorist"—again—enabling the national security apparatuses of the global empires to further tighten their nooses on liberty, the New York Times published an article whose conclusion is late (I've been saying this for a while now), but nonetheless remarkable: Obamacare has turned out to be "All but useless" to many of the people it was intended to help.

While Democrats, who knew they were signing a very bad bill when they affirmed a Republican plan authored by Mitt Romney!, have always bragged about how many people were now saved from having no medical insurance, they left out a key point about that insurance: it was so expensive to use because of the extraordinarily high deductibles, that many (most?) of the people for whom it was intended, i.e. poorer Americans whose budgets were already stretched to the breaking point, cannot afford it.

The article makes it quite clear who is really to blame (all the useless politicians as always):
In many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more, a New York Times review has found. Those deductibles are causing concern among Democrats — and some Republican detractors of the health law, who once pushed high-deductible health plans in the belief that consumers would be more cost-conscious if they had more of a financial stake or skin in the game."
"Skin in the game" is the Republican phrase for saying poorer Americans, most of whom work very hard just to survive at all, are worthless scumbags with their filthy hands in the pockets of good, rich folk. What the GOP wanted were the pelts of poor people, charged so much money for healthcare—they would never actually use it, and that is what they demanded and got from Barack Obama and the Democrats.

And it was Democrats who enabled this, by signing off on it. Democrats controlled the entire government when Obamacare was passed and signed into law. It was conservative Democrats who also pushed Obama to make the new healthcare law expensive for poorer Americans to use. Again, however, Obama did not lead against that push. He did what he always does—adopt the conservative position imagining that would protect him from criticism by Republicans. Of course, as we know, that has never quite worked out like Obama hoped.

Ultimately, cowardice is to blame. That and greed and enormous cynicism. Republicans initially wanted to be able to say they helped craft a conservative healthcare bill. Then right-wing lunatic talking heads claimed that Obamacare was a socialist healthcare program, and no Republican could be a Republican without opposing its existence. So that is what they did. Democrats meanwhile claimed Obamacare was a success, because they were coercing people to sign up for it with big tax penalties if they did not do so. When Americans responded by signing up, Obama claimed the whole program was great for America.

Of course, as has been pointed out, the reason these pols, and Obama, said all these things is ultimately they don't care about the welfare of average, hard-working, Americans. The politicians are rich, and have great healthcare programs they can easily afford. If a poor family someplace can't afford to use their nice, shiny, useless, Obamacare health insurance, that matters about as much to these American politicians as the deaths of thousands of poor, brown-skinned, Muslims in their insane wars on the poor (or "terror").

The politicians have betrayed the USA over and over again. And yet their skin is not in this game. Just yours. And yet you imagine voting for this political class of masters will make some difference. You deserve what you vote for—over and over again.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Difference Between The Middle And the Working Class

A few of life's wieners, not engaged in any practical work, because most people admit that is of no interest, but engaged in the work of convincing others they are not yet expendable—after all, they have so much time to waste looking down and seeming to be busy.
Lately I have been rather intently watching and listening to the difference between middle-class and working-class labor.

Middle-class labor consists of a psychotic fusing of one's head to a "smart" device of some sort, wherein the fused engages in a constant, really quite unbearable, stream of jargonized prattle, meant more to convince other fused persons the prattler is not yet so inadequately informed about the newest thing or word or belief that they are expendable, rather than to achieve any practical end.

Working class labor is quite easy to recognize by the presence of a particular tool: the trash grabber. Pretty much all working-class jobs consist of picking up trash to enable a middle class or especially a ruling class person to both profit and to feel cleaner about themselves and their "best system in the world." Even construction workers, who are paid pretty well, are just moving trash into configurations that will convince passersby and future inhabitants they are viewing or working in a finely-constructed, geometrically-pleasing sky-stabber.

It is way past the time for a labor rebellion, and any number of other rebellions. But as you see, sheep just wait to be shorn, like good farm animals.

At some point I say: good for the rich.