Friday, August 28, 2015

Donald Trump Is The Ashley Madison Candidate

Let's say, just hypothetically, that you're a bored middle-aged white man in a long-term relationship with a major political party. How do I know you're white? Well, I know the party, and I know the kind of guys it's into. You definitely fit a type. Believe me.

Anyway, you two have been together for years, and you're just not getting your needs met. That's what you tell people. It's definitely what you tell yourself.

You want some excitement.

At first you try to make it work with this party. You try to spice things up.

"Tonight..." you whisper to it. "Can we be racist? We used to be racist all the time. We were sooo racist together."

It's true. You and this political party used to be completely, openly racist, and it was kind of a turn-on for you. You have decades of memories of saying and doing the most depraved, hot, sick, hideous stuff together. Now, everything has to be sanitized and safe and boring. Some coded language. Some redistricting. Maybe you pass a few voter ID laws. It's not that you're in a real dry spell. No one thinks that. You're still completely racist. But damnit, the racism is always with the lights off.

So you see an ad, and you respond. You start getting involved - fill out an online form and give your information. You tell a select group of people on Facebook about what you're doing.

Maybe loyalty crosses your mind. Maybe. On some level you know what you're doing could destroy the relationship you have with this political party. And that party might not ever recover. But you find that you don't care.

"The party hasn't been responding to me for a long, long time," you tell yourself. "I have a right to be happy." And what makes you most happy - let's admit it - is not limited government or some crap about capital gains tax. It's the racism. Yes. That's what always really pushed your buttons.

That guy on TV - the way he talks about Mexicans. Jesus, it's exciting. You used to talk about Mexicans that way - right out in public like that. This new thing promises to make you feel young again.

But let's admit something else: It will inevitably go bad. The whole thing will blow up, and it will turn out to be a scam. You won't get satisfaction. You want to explore the outer reaches of your fetish, and you'll just end up helping some rich guy you don't even know collect your money. So you'll torch your relationship with the party. And after it's done all your friends are going to find out that you were one of those guys. Also, everyone's going to say you deserved to get swindled and embarrassed. Because you had a crushing sense of entitlement. And also because you didn't know how good you had it.

You know it ends this way, too. Even now. And knowing it won't stop you.

You're a real asshole.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The New Q-Survey Actually Sampled 666 Republicans

I am not making that up. Here's the quote from the survey:

From August 20 – 25, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,563 registered voters nationwide
with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell
phones. The survey includes 666 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points and 647 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points.

Well played, laws of statistics and probability. Well played indeed.

Q-Poll Matchups Show A Continuing Weakness For Hillary Clinton Among White Women

Back in early August, Politico and the Wall Street Journal both reported on favorability problems Hillary Clinton had among white women. This was particularly disturbing, as the WSJ commented, if you were one of those Democrats who had hoped Clinton would expand Obama's coalition by drawing them in in greater numbers.

The new Quinnipiac poll showing general election matchups indicates the problem hasn't gone away. Clinton does worse among the demo against Bush and Trump than the other Democrats. She pulls even with Biden against Rubio and beats Bernie Sanders in that race by a whopping two points. Here are the numbers:

Clinton/Bush - 38/48  (+10 Bush)
Clinton/Rubio - 42/48 (+6 Rubio)
Clinton/Trump - 41/45 (+4 Trump)

Biden/Bush - 40/45 (+5 Bush)
Biden/Rubio - 40/46 (+6 Rubio)
Biden/Trump - 45/43 (+2 Biden)

Sanders/Bush - 39/44 (+5 Bush)
Sanders/Rubio - 36/44 (+8 Rubio)
Sanders/Trump - 43/43 (Tie)

Even when you run the matchup numbers for women overall, it's not clear that Hillary has an advantage. Biden is slightly more competitive against Bush, and he's equally competitive against Trump. Clinton beats Rubio by a slightly better margin than Biden and does significantly better than Sanders.

Quinnipiac also reports that Biden's general matchup numbers are a little better than that of Clinton's, and that the vice president "has the best favorability rating among top Republican and Democratic candidates."  But Clinton still leads the Democratic field at 45%, with 22% going to Sanders and 18% going to Biden. This number, however, represents a drop for her from 55% in late July.

It's early, most of the numbers are within the margin of error, and it's only one poll. Plus, this group is only a component of a successful Democratic campaign - we need a broad coalition. But still, it's worth noting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Oshkosh Wins A Major Military Contract For Humvee-Replacements To Go To ISIS

The Washington Post reported that Oshkosh Defense scored a contract worth up to $30 billion to build more than 55,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles to give to the US Army and Marines, before eventually handing them over to ISIS.

The Wisconsin-based company competed against Lockheed Martin and AM General for an agreement that could provide manufacturing jobs through 2040. The new vehicle is intended to replace the aging fleet of Humvees, which are already deployed with the extremist group.

The Post reports that the vehicle improves armor and mobility over previous models, adding:

The new design is an acknowledgment of the kinds of wars the Pentagon has been fighting, conflicts that often don’t have frontlines, with often invisible enemies whose bombs can turn the most pedestrian roadway into a death trap.

Current US strategy is to use these vehicles in a series of interventions over the next few decades, where they will be abandoned and delivered to ISIS as the political and military situation spirals out of control. Of course, at some point ISIS itself may be replaced by a better-armored and more agile organization. But representatives at the defense company are confident the new vehicle will be up to the task:

In an interview, Oshkosh chief executive Charles Szews called the company’s offering “one extreme mobility vehicle” that could outrun both a Jeep and Humvee. “And it looks kind of mean, which is good for a military vehicle.”

ISIS executives could not be reached for comment.

(Photo by Oshkosh Defense)

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Donald Trump White Supremacist Roundup

"I am hereby making an official endorsement of Donald Trump as President of America... I do not believe he would solve all or even most of the problems we are facing, but he is absolutely the only candidate who is even talking about anything at all that matters."
- Andrew Anglin, editor of The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website

"Late last week, a neologism was born. Twitter was the incubator. 'Cuckservative,' a portmanteau of 'conservative' and 'cuckold' (i.e. a man whose wife has cheated on him) burned up Twitter as fans of Donald Trump's politicking warred with the movement conservatives who opposed it."
- Washington Post

"A cuckold, of course, is a legitimate word for the husband of an adulterous wife — but that doesn’t really do justice to what they’re suggesting here. The people who throw this term around are most likely referencing a type of pornography whereby a (usually, white) man is 'humiliated' (or ironically thrilled) by being forced to watch his wife having sex with another (usually, black) man. I’m not going to link to this, but feel free to Google it. So what does this have to do with conservatism or politics? By supporting immigration reform, criminal justice reform, etc., a white conservative is therefore surrendering his honor and masculinity (and it won’t be long before his women folk are compromised, as well!). A cuckservative is, therefore, a race traitor."
- A post in The Daily Banter titled ‘Cuckservative’ Is a Conservative Who Isn’t Quite Racist Enough For Donald Trump Fans

"Massachusetts State Police arrested the brothers on Wednesday, alleging they urinated on and beat up a homeless man while he was sleeping outside a Boston subway station. The man suffered a broken nose and a large bruise across his torso. Police believe the Leaders targeted the man because he was Hispanic. According to the police report, while in custody, Scott Leader told officers, 'Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.'” - PRI

"He is not on his knees to Mexico and Mexican immigrants. Americans - real Americans - have been dreaming of a candidate who says the obvious: That illegal immigrants from Mexico are a low-rent bunch that includes rapists and murderers." - Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, a white nationalist website

"After white supremacist Craig Cobb tried and failed to start a whites-only enclave in the tiny North Dakota town of Leith, he set his sights on another community: Antler, population 20-something... Cobb wanted to turn the bank into a church for his racist religion, Creativity Movement, which teaches the superiority of white people. The residential lots would be for church members to settle and start a new community together. He also planned to change the town's name to "Trump Creativity," or "Creativity Trump," in honor of Donald Trump, who Cobb admires deeply."
- Grand Forks Herald

"Kevin Mac­Don­ald, a white suprema­cist and anti-Semite, wrote an arti­cle about Trump’s can­di­dacy in his online pub­li­ca­tion Occi­den­tal Observer on July 10. Mac­Don­ald claims that 'Trump’s state­ments on the crim­i­nal ten­den­cies and gen­er­ally low func­tion­ing of Mex­i­can and Cen­tral Amer­i­can immi­grants have struck a chord with White America.'” - ADL blog

"White nationalist Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute explained Trump’s appeal to Dave Weigel: 'a) he is a tougher, superior man than ‘conservatives’ (which isn’t saying much), and b) he seems to grasp the demographic displacement of European-Americans on a visceral level. We see some hope there.'” - Crooks And Liars

"Donald Trump may be the last hope for a president who would be good for white people."
Jared Taylor

"He’s certainly the best of the lot. And he’s certainly somebody that we should get behind...”
David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ordinary People Have Been Fighting Terrorists Since 9/11

The heroes who stopped last week's terrorist attack on a Paris-bound passenger train remind us of one of the most important mistakes - yes, mistakes - we made after September 11.

We didn't give ordinary people enough credit.

It sounds like happy talk, doesn't it? Like a cliche. It is not. It is crucial, because that failure led to so many others, and recognizing it is key to building a stronger and safer world. Two of the people on that train who stopped the attack were US military personnel who were off-duty. They were aided by a civilian friend from back home, but also a British IT consultant, a French banker, and a college professor with dual French-American citizenship.

This was an assortment of ordinary people - people who will sit next to you on the next train ride, the next plane. And what they assembled in those moments was a goddamned Coalition of the Willing. And that particular coalition actually worked.

Why is this so crucial? Because we've been here before. Many, many times. On 9/11, the most powerful military and intelligence organization in human history utterly and miserably failed to protect its citizens against two dozen determined men with box-cutters and an inventive plan. Al-Qaeda launched four attacks that day, and three of them hit their marks.

One of those four attacks did not succeed however. It was stopped by a very similar group of people. A random assortment of travelers who used their cellphones to figure out what was going on, made a decision, and saved lives at the cost of their own.

As a culture we immediately turned this into one of our hero legends, but we completely ignored its significance. September 11 should have forced us to become much more skeptical of the people who say they're protecting us and much more aware of our own strength and resilience. Had we done that, it would have taken the most important tool of the terrorists away from them. That tool was, and is, the ability to terrorize.

What did we do instead? Dick Cheney told us we'd have to let his operatives spend time doing horrible things in the shadows, and George Bush told us to go shopping. Commentators like Pat Buchanan insulted us:

To defeat a faith, you need a faith. What is ours? Individualism, democracy, pluralism, la dolce vita? Can they overcome a fighting faith, 16 centuries old, and rising again?

The people in charge - and their friends in the media - told the common citizens of the nations under threat that they were soft, that they were weak, and that they'd been deluding themselves about their enemies. George Will wrote about how America's "holiday from history" was coming to an end. As if the desire to live your life, leaving people alone and being left alone in turn, was something foolish and extravagant.

You're in over your head, people told us. Let us handle this, and don't ask too many questions.

What happened as a result was the explosive growth of a security state whose chiefs lie to us, waste our money, show a great contempt for our rights and our values, and send our soldiers and spies into operations that alienate potential allies in this struggle at the same time they help recruit new soldiers for the people who want to kill us. And so often, for all its terrible costs, this security state does not actually provide us with security. So often the much-maligned everyday citizen is the one who stops the terrorist attack or limits the damage.

We should have trusted ourselves more, and we should have trusted the people who say they protect us a hell of a lot less. And we should have done that right at the beginning.

But there's still time. We could actually demand a government that respects the 4th Amendment, doesn't imprison whistle-blowers, and doesn't launch new wars all over the world. We could work together to create a country that invests in infrastructure, so it's durable in the face of attacks or disasters. We could demand transparency and accountability - because we really are on the front lines here. We need to know what our government is doing in our name, because that creates new threats. And we need to know what threats actually exist now. We could demand an end to demonizing Arabs and Muslims, here and overseas. They've been fighting this threat, and dying in greater numbers than we have. We don't recognize this, because we take bigots much too seriously.

Most of all, we could finally learn that fear really is the only thing to be afraid of. It takes away everything we have - everything we are. The people in our government who use our fear to get what they want have never delivered the safety they promised. Never.

We'll have to look to ourselves for that.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A poem

I’m on a nearly empty train
trying not to miss you,
on a clear and cobalt twilight in early November.
The only other person here is this old guy I knew--
I thought he’d died seven years ago, but he seems fine,
just annoyed at the Q
which rumbles so slowly through Dekalb station,
before rising above ground to grumble past
the glass and brick checkboard
of the Watchtower building.
"Read God’s Word," the sign there says,
while the digital clock glows an evil orange,
and I try not to think of the last things you said to me.

The first two pigeons flutter down and roost outside the windowsill.
I start, the old man nods,
while they hang on and
nuzzle each other, purring like lovers.
I hear two more on the other side window,
and 1, 2, 3 land quickly out in front.
I look through the door portal,
and all along the train’s side there’s a dark snow of them
coming down from somewhere out there
up and past
the cables of the Manhattan Bridge
past the dull yellow wash of security lights
from out in the silent Long Island Sound, thousands of these birds are
to trail along this train.

"They look like passengers," I say,
"But they’re all gone, and that can’t be."
"They are," the man tells me,
"Look at the notes they have attached -- each one," he says,
"Tied to each left leg."
I see thousands of small slips of paper
each one thin as the fortune in a cookie,
folded over loops of dark string.

"They’ve been gone for years," he says,
"But some nights the wind changes and blows them back
from sea,
and they follow the trains inland
carrying all the old messages that never made it home.
They land on headstones and abandoned cars
and shuffle into the open windows of certain empty houses
along blue roads.  They light on weedy fields.
They land on cracked blacktop.
And they trill to each other in dead languages
all the disappointments that have ever
trailed a man or a woman all the way to the last place they left,
and if you could understand what they say to each other
you’d know everything you need."
But it’s just shuffling and pearls and caws to me,
and the notes are tightly folded up -- I can only catch
a half letter now and again,
a place where the paper is dark with ink on the other side,
the smudge of some symbol.

"There’s something here addressed to me," I say.
But he won’t answer.
"There’s some lost note she wanted me to have, isn’t there?"
I tell him.
He tucks his chin away and sleeps.

The train doesn’t dip down after it reaches
the end of the overpass.
It keeps rumbling darkly west
weaving between the skyscrapers
on an elevated track that shouldn’t exist.
It crosses the Hudson on some bridge I know can’t be
past Hoboken,
past Newark,
and out to the Elizabeth chemical fields
where the sky turns blood brown, and
gas fires pop open on the horizon.

A beautiful and poisonous snow begins to fall there--
it is a Christmas phosphorescent green
and it lights the back of each roosting bird,
and one by one
they drop off the train,
each murmuring, almost content
to die and litter the countryside
glowing with snow all along the line.
The trail goes for miles,
and I know the dying of them will take all night.
I know that even if I wake up in my own bed tomorrow,
some part of me
will wander the rest of my life
down an imaginary trail
in a deadly sleet only I can see,
plucking the notes from tiny piles of bone,
and dirty feather,
sifting through all the problems in the world
looking for your handwriting
and my own name.
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