- @bjork55 at Bjork Report suggests the not-so-secret real reason for the shutdown.
- Our favorite Earth-Bound Misfit discovers a working stereotype that she applies to every Trump political appointee.
- Jack Jodell at The Saturday Afternoon Post marks the first anniversay of the Trump administration with a fervent prayer that the nation be spared another.
- At Stinque, nojo has developed a truly hilarious account of the Stormy-Donald encounter. Almost like nojo was a greatly amused fly on the … uh … fly.
- M. Bouffant at Web of Evil doesn’t seem to think most of America will be sexually aroused at the mental image of Trump in his underwear chasing after a porn star. I can testify that I intend to spend the whole rest of the day not thinking about that.
- My old, true friend, T. Paine at Saving Common Sense, publishes 31 reasons to love Israel. They go from technical accomplishments and historical achievements to the most petty things conceived by mortal imagination. I confess to a failure of awe. I think it’s enough that Jews, as religious and ethnic group, have faced enough existential threats to justify a special homeland. That would be true even if Israel had not produced a more effective treatment for acne. That was my friend’s reason number 29. Really. Acne.
- Yellow Dog at Blue in the Bluegrass speculates on why a Republican lawmaker in Kentucky would push to legalize marijuana. Is he … well … selling in?
- Vincent at A Wayfarer’s Notes likes songs by Randy Newman because they appeal to those who can appreciate being the targets of intelligent mockery.
- The Journal of Improbable Research finds a study on whether we can know that cooking is complete by throwing spaghetti at a wall.
- This week’s note in Trumpian ‘Alternative Facts’ comes from AP, as German linguists declare a word meaning “alternative facts” to be a non-word.
As 2017 wound down to its unlamented end, President Trump announced that the US embassy in Israel would be moved to Jerusalem, a holy site for 3 Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
The move is almost universally considered to be a sudden gift to Islamic extremists, who immediately cast it as one of many unprovoked attacks in a continuing clash of civilizations.
Early this week, we linked to a well considered post by David Anderson at The Moderate Voice. He suggests that assigning blame or credit to an American “Israel lobby” is a mistake.
Responsibility rests with Christians.
Infidel753, who writes for his own site, responds. He begins by complimenting a good post, then provides a comment that is better.
Good post. Ironically, the growth of violent Islamic extremism in the Middle East since the 1990s, like the growth of militant Christian fundamentalism in the US since the 1970s, is essentially a conservative reaction to increasing secularism in both societies, especially among the younger generation. In both cases the religious hard-liners, alarmed at seeing “their” people turning away from age-old traditional religious taboos and prejudices, reacted with an all-out effort to re-assert control and re-impose the old ways.
The shift of Middle Eastern terrorism from a nationalist campaign focused on territory to a religious jihad expressing age-old hatred for non-Muslims in general and Jews in particular, has made it both more intransigent and also, because it has become resistant to compromise, less likely to succeed. Nationalists can sometimes reach compromises with fellow nationalists in the opposing nation, but people who believe they’re doing God’s will don’t compromise.
The two reactionary religious extremist movements, in the US and in the Middle East, continue to lash out at each other, provoke each other, feed each other. Trump’s Jerusalem move, the “Muslim ban”, and the various ill-considered military operations in Muslim countries (such as the Iraq invasion) help jihadists to demonize the US in the eyes of more mainstream Muslims. Jihadist terrorist attacks and persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East help American fundamentalists to demonize Islam. The cycle will probably continue, at varying degrees of intensity, until advancing secularism (in both regions) reduces the extremists to impotence and/or moderates regain firm political control.
From Australian recording artist Sia Kate Isobelle Furler
According to Wikipedia:
Although the singer has not provided an interpretation of the video’s plot, numerous media outlets have perceived it as a tribute to the 49 victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.
It is difficult to get to the ending and not feel the same conclusion.
Satire from The Borowitz Report:
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Donald J. Trump demanded on Thursday that the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty be revised immediately to exclude nations he considered “shithole countries.”
Speaking to reporters, Trump said that the poem as it currently stands “is basically an open invitation that says, like, if you come from a shithole country, welcome aboard.”
“I don’t know the entire poem, but it’s something like ‘Give us your tired, your poor, your yadda yadda yadda,’ ” he said. “We could keep all that but then put in, right at the end, in big letters, maybe, ‘except if you’re from a shithole country.’ ”
From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:
If nothing else, Republicans over the past few weeks have delivered an important civics lesson to the American people in general–and Democrats in particular. Facing a growing mountain of irrefutable evidence that the incompetent, out-of-his-depth GOP president of the United States has been enmeshed in a network of ties to Russian business and government interests that put American institutions and democracy itself at risk, the GOP rallied not to the nation’s defense, but Donald Trump’s.
The signs of the expanding counterattack are everywhere. For weeks, special counsel Robert Mueller and senior career personnel at the Justice Department and FBI have been under assault from Republicans in both Houses. Calls to investigate Mueller and “purge” the FBI were followed by the specter of GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley referring Russia dossier author Christopher Steele for charges over unspecified lies made to unnamed government investigators. (The transcript of the Fusion GPS Senate testimony released by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein suggests both why Grassley broke his promise to publish it and the smear campaign underway against Steele.) Meanwhile, the Trump White House and its allies are ramping up their attacks on Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State who left government service in 2013. The Republicans’ misdirection campaign includes the assignment by FBI agents to probe the 2010 Uranium One non-scandal, supposed “pay to play” influence peddling by the Clinton Foundation, and, of course, “her emails.”
The message from the GOP’s best and brightest is unmistakable.
From Brotha Wolf at The Intersection of Madness and Reality:
It’s great not to be alone when dealing with crap. Other people know what you’re talking about and often sympathize.
If you’ve ever been in a forum or thread about racism, you may have seen that one clown that demands of proof of racism. Evidence is presented from articles, excerpts from books or books themselves, videos, charts, data, statistics, graphs, scholarly writings from academia, stone tablets, whatever. You’ve given the doubter everything and anything you can find to make him/her see that you’re not lying.
To the doubter, that’s not enough. Nothing you can give enough. You’re just wrong.
From Wisconsin conservative James Wigderson:
On Thursday, the Republican Party is expected to announce plans to more than double the number of field offices to promote Walker’s re-election and the defeat of Sen. Tammy Baldwin. The party is opening offices in Wausau, La Crosse, Sheboygan, Milwaukee, and Racine. These offices are in addition to the ones in Waukesha, Green Bay, Eau Claire, and Madison.
“Thanks to our tremendous grassroots volunteers, these field offices will serve as hubs for conservatives to organize while we work to re-elect Governor Scott Walker and rally to defeat Senator Tammy Baldwin in 2018,” Party Chairman Brad Courtney said in a statement. “After a highly successful 2016 election, Republicans are building on our best-in-the-nation ground game again for this cycle.”
Republicans were stunned by Tuesday night’s loss in a district Republicans held for 17 years.
Wondering why a few conservative friends fail to be impressed.
From tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors:
Two men who ordered programs for their September wedding from a popular printing company but instead received a boxful of anti-gay pamphlets warning, “Satan entices your flesh with evil desires,” have filed a lawsuit claiming breach of contract and emotional pain.
Well, that’s a turd in the punchbowl now, innit?
This isn’t just denying service do to a deeply held religious beliefs, this is an attack. The programs arrived on the day of their wedding, so there was no time for much to correct what happened.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times refuses the give up on his ridiculous fairy tale that just below the surface of his Republican Party of Bigots and Imbeciles there exists a vast but hidden wellspring of decent, honorable Republican lawmakers.
They are led by Tom Cotton, they are always right on the verge of remaking the Republican Party in David Brooks’ image (David Brooks from November 5, 2014) —
The big Republican accomplishment is that they have detoxified their brand. Four years ago they seemed scary and extreme to a lot of people. They no longer seem that way. The wins in purple states like North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado are clear indications that the party can at least gain a hearing among swing voters. And if the G.O.P. presents a reasonable candidate (and this year’s crop was very good), then Republicans can win anywhere. I think we’ve left the Sarah Palin phase and entered the Tom Cotton phase.
— and their good works are being thwarted by one and only one bad actor named Donald Trump (David Brooks from January 12, 2018)
And there are decent, normal human beings and admirable people like Senator Tom Cotton who wants to sharply cut immigration. And they think they can divide their views on immigration, which are purely policy views, from the white identity, racial undertones that Donald Trump has now permanently — or not permanently — but has taken into this party.
And that is not possible. If you want to restrict immigration, which is a legitimate point of view — I disagree with it, but it is a legitimate point of view — somebody like Tom Cotton has an extra burden to rise up against what Donald Trump said, to show, hey, restricting immigration is not synonymous with bigotry…
According to Mr. David Brooks, his Republican Party was doing just fine until Donald Trump took “permanently — or not permanently” white identity, racial “undertones” into it.