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TPM reports another gun shooting that you just shake your head at:  A Georgia police chief putting a loaded gun in bed with his wife, where it….well, you know.

So I got my inner folk singer on:

There are no gun accidents
There are no gun accidents
We must confront reality:
When there’s a gun fatality,
There are no gun accidents.

Guns don’t grow on trees like apples,
Or peaches or like pears.
They don’t wash up on the beaches
Or fall out of the air
You buy them at the gun store
You buy the bullets too
And when the gun you own is fired
Then brother, it’s on you.

There are no gun accidents
There are no gun accidents
When gun safety is neglected
You get just what you expected
There are no gun accidents

When a gun is fired
It doesn’t mean that you will die
You might just be disfigured
Or simply lose an eye.
But when it’s time to place the blame
It’s easy to know who:
When the gun you own is fired
Then brother, it’s on you.

A gun fires where you aim it
That’s why you want a steady hand
The safety must be disengaged
--An act you must have planned
The bullets must be loaded,
As we all understand.
Which part of a so-called “accident”
Was not in your command?

There are no gun accidents
There are no gun accidents
When gun safety is neglected
You get just what you expected
There are no gun accidents

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I hate the  Village-- that DC-based  insular knot of narcissists with jobs in politics, lobbying and media,  whose full time occupation regardless of party, as a pack of unprincipled Eddie Haskells, is  sucking up to one another to get insincere praise, along with money.  But we're stuck with them.

The GOP faction of the Village has a clear understanding of what it is doing:  It is seeking power, by any means necessary.  It has cobbled together a voting bloc of Evangelicals, ammosexuals, authoritarians, militarists, and libertarians, and united them against a common enemy, liberals.  They never lose sight of wanting to get power.  They never stop campaigning against liberals.

The Democratic faction of the Village, on the other hand, mistaken thinks that voters are motivated to get to the polls because of policy rather than tribal loyalty.    As a result, when the Dems lose big, they also  lose twice.   First they campaign ineptly against GOPers who never let facts get in the way of drumming up votes.  Then they misinterpret the lost election as a mandate to adopt GOP policies.  

Saw this when Reagan got his sweep in 1980.   Saw it again in 2000.  The Village media whores and Dem consultants will push this idea again, aided by the Republicans, who benefit from this narrative.  

I voted against Republicans yesterday, but there are few Dems who affirmatively deserve my vote.  It is hard to feel loyalty to the Dems, when they show no loyalty to me.

I want Elizabeth Warren to run for President.  She explains progressive policies clearly and in a way that connects emotionally for voters.  The Dems need that.  The demographics of the country give the Dems a chance to pull together their own gang of voters.  

What the  Dems need to do is make their constituents willing to vote FOR Democratic candidates, and not assume that demographics alone will do the hard work.


ISIS may not be the panic-worthy threat that Lindsay Graham is wetting himself over.  Still, they are damned awful, and the US has decided to get involved in attacking them.

But I have trouble taking seriously the bluster of US politicians--the President included--about attacking ISIS, when I read stuff like this:  

[I]f ISIL is making $3 million per day [through smuggling oil from wells in areas it controls, and extortion of populations it dominates]—at the higher end of the various estimates out there—then it makes slightly more than $1 billion per year. Just to be conservative, in case ISIL is doing more business than we’re aware of, let’s double that to $2 billion per year. …

There is little that outside forces can do to halt the extortion and skimming that take place within ISIL territory. Oil smuggling, though, can be disrupted, at least to an extent. Intelligence resources from the United States, Iraq and any other country that takes on ISIL should be focused on identifying middlemen and buyers for the smuggled fuel and using any means necessary to halt those purchases.

It would be counterproductive to destroy oil field infrastructure, since repairs would be expensive and legitimate governments will need those oil revenues when they reestablish control. But mobile refineries should be targeted, and roads and other pathways that tanker trucks use to transport oil to and from oil fields should be made impassable by military means. The refineries and roads can be easily repaired when the time comes, but for now, ISIL should find it very difficult to move oil from fields.

Emphasis added.  More over the fold.
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Enough of this not speaking ill of the dead stuff at the Paper of Record.  

If a dead unarmed black teenager villanized by Fox News can snag an NYT obit line that he was “no angel,” then the gloves need to come off when Dick Cheney finally bites it.

My suggestion:

“Usually when someone is described as heartless, the term is a metaphor.  In the case of Richard Bruce Cheney, former Vice President of the United States, eminence gris of the Bush Administration, and notorious architect of the 2002 US invasion of Iraq, the term was both metaphorical and literal.

“Perhaps that was why the attending nurse pressed a pound of fresh ground beef into Cheney’s palm in his final moments on Earth: ‘I wanted him to die as he lived, with blood on his hands,’ said the nurse.”

 And the obit for Dean Baquet:

“No one ever called Dean Baquet an Uncle Tom.

“To his face.”


President Obama was asked a question about tax inversions (companies moving HQs overseas to duck US tax) at yesterday's press conference.  His response, in part:

"These accountants are saying, you know what, we found a great loophole -- if you just flip your citizenship to another country, even though it’s just a paper transaction, we think we can get you out of paying a whole bunch of taxes.

"Well, it’s not fair.  It’s not right.  The lost revenue to Treasury means it’s got to be made up somewhere, and that typically is going to be a bunch of hardworking Americans....And in the meantime, the company is still using all the services and all the benefits of effectively being a U.S. corporation; they just decided that they’d go through this paper exercise....

"And I think it’s something that would really bother the average American, the idea that somebody renounces their citizenship but continues to entirely benefit from operating in the United States of America just to avoid paying a whole bunch of taxes."

That sounds pretty similar to this:
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
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C’mon, ammosexuals, you know you want to just come right out and say it.

The actual quote by Joe the Plumber was “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”    He was speaking about last week’s gun mass murder in Santa Barbara (old news), not this week’s gun mass murder in Las Vegas.    

Joe was only trying to be cruel to gun victims, but he does a good job of demonstrating why he and his fellow gun nuts are enemies of civilized society.

I’m surprised that more cops and law enforcement organizations don’t challenge gun proliferation as a direct threat to the safety of law enforcement personnel.   Cops wind up getting into the line of fire when gun situations are created.  In Las Vegas, it looks like cops were directly targeted.

The right wing, particularly the gun-thug wing, displays the belligerent, self-righteous narcissism of cult members who don’t give a damn about anyone who is not part of their clan.

The barbarians are inside the gates.

The Republicans brought them in and give them support, as part of the angry base Republican voting bloc.  

To control guns, we need to replace the right-wing Federalist Society hacks on the Supreme Court in the short term, and in the long term repeal the 2d Amendment.


When all the right-wing accusations, finger-pointing, name-calling, pants wetting, fear-mongering and frothing at the mouth about Bowe Bergdahl gets sorted out, it comes down to one thing:

The right wing doesn’t want Obama to get a win, for anything, ever.

Not for seeing impacts of wider health coverage finally kick in.  Not for taking baby steps administratively to deal with climate change.  Not for presiding over a rebounding stock market and slowly improving labor market.

Not even for bringing home an American soldier held captive for 5 years.  

The GOP has jumped the shark.

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I couldn't believe my eyes, but it is true.  The high school newspaper of the Village, Politico, has actually performed bona fide, readable, non-sucky, non-"both sides do it" journalism, in 3 long-form stories over the past week:

"The Obama Paradox"--nice portrait of last laps in the presidential term.    

"The real origins of the religious right"--(Spoiler alert: It's racism)

"Big Money, the Koch Brothers, and Me"--Punch line: both parties lose influence when the big money can buy politicians direct; still pretty good.  

Don't read the comments sections in Politico.  You can literally feel  IQ points being shed as you go down the comments section in any story there.  

Kossaks with guitars, just sing along:

I’m rich and I bitch
When you call my BS

I’m rich and I whine
When folks don’t fall in line

Harry Reid, why are you so mean?

I have the most money
I deserve the most say
Politicians should thank me
And do things my way
When I buy their votes
I’m quite happy to pay

Harry Reid, why are you so mean?

I’m rich and I’m irked
When propaganda won’t work

I’m rich and my lies
Should look true in your eyes

Harry Reid, why are you so mean?

If the US goes Third World
That’s OK by me
In a banana republic
I’m the top of the tree
I like less for you,
‘Cuz it means more for me.

Harry Reid, why are you so mean?

I’m rich and my flunkies
All tell me I’m great

I’m rich and my statements
Aren’t up for debate

Harry Reid, why are you so mean?

Since I have lots of money
I never have shame
When I say, “let’s compete,”
I win every game
It’s rigged in my favor
So let’s keep it the same

Harry Reid, why are you so mean?


Brief diary.  Over in TPM, they have a story up about how Tom Perkins, the billionaire venture capitalist claimed that liberals are on the verge of  "Kristallnacht" because they criticize the wealthy, said in a speech that the 1% should have more votes.

"The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes," Perkins responded, as quoted by CNNMoney. "But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How's that?"

From Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, first published in 1961:

Then there was the educated Texan from Texas who looked like someone in Technicolor and felt, patriotically, that people of means -- decent folk -- should be given more votes than drifters, whores, criminals, degenerates, atheists and indecent folk -- people without means....

"You're right," Yossarian shouted back. "You're right, you're right, you're right. The hot dog, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mom's apple pie. That's what everyone's fighting for. But who's fighting for the decent folk? Who's fighting for more votes for the decent folk? There's no patriotism, that's what it is. And no matriotism, either."

The difference, of course, is that Catch-22 intended to be funny.

Politicians should never be taken at face value.  Each statement should be assumed to include its own asterisk and warning label:  "* The foregoing statement is subject to a number of qualifications, exceptions and conditions that I am not telling you; should not be considered effective if conditions change; and should not apply to you if I later am seeking your vote and you don't like what you hear."

The underlying, unspoken premise for politicians--and I suppose the Village stenographers who slavishly take down their words and DO report them at face value--is what I put in the title:  "You pretend to tell the truth; I pretend to believe you."

And....sometimes that is OK.

Over the weekend Oklahoma State basketball player Marcus Smart fell into the first row of the stands under the basket at Texas Tech after trying to stop a fast break at the end of the game. The footage has been shown over and over: You see him starting to get back to his feet, then his head whips around as he hears a comment behind him.  Smart (black) confronts a fan, Jeff Orr (white), and shoves him. Smart complains to the refs about the man and angrily walks away.

Smart got a 3-game suspension.  All in all, this is a good outcome--you can't have athletes at any level getting into altercations with fans, regardless of circumstances. Smart apologized for his actions. The fan apologized for his actions, and will not attend the rest of his school's games.  That too is a good outcome--fans should be loud, exuberant, and enthusiastic, but for the sake of their fellow fans and players, shouldn't be abusive.  But the fan denied that his comment included any racial slur.

I don't believe Jeff Orr for a second. Not seeing the speed and anger in Smart's reaction. Smart by all accounts is a good guy; Orr has a reputation for being that guy you really wish you weren't sitting next to at a game.

But right now, everyone is walking away, and that is as good as the outcome needs to be in the circumstance.  No one, ultimately, is served by trying to get to some baseline truth about whether Orr cracked a racist comment.  Colleges get a teachable moment about athletes not going into the stands, and about the need to police fans.  Hopefully there will not be a next time, or something will be learned that gives colleges better tools to deal with the next incident.

In the meantime, Jeff Orr is pretending to tell the truth, and I will pretend to believe him.


Right wingers whine.  A lot.  So....what is their payoff?

I collected right wing whining stories from the month of January 2014 to see if I spotted any themes.  I had more than 40 by the third week of the month [A summary of my top 10 in right-wing whining for the month is below, linked to the original stories].  

Impressionistically, I thought there was a lot of right-wing whining over the past several years, and my hope was to get a sense of its volume and persistence.   I picked right-wing whining to look at because I thought the category “lying” would be too big.  It turns out that whining was plenty.

My initial reaction is that right wingers get multiple, sometimes overlapping, payoffs from whining:

It communicates, and reinforces, tribal identity.  Like racist “dog whistle” statements that are understood by the speaker and intended audience to convey racial animus, whiners and their intended audience circle the wagons against the threatening “others” who are being so unfair:  prosecutors, investigative committees, the media, liberals, etc.

It is the start of the ask for money.   Whining is just part of the grift.  I am looking at you, Mike Huckabee.

It is part of authoritarian worldview.  Not all Republicans are authoritarian personalities, but pretty much all authoritarians (either followers or leaders) are right-wingers. The authoritarian followers like to be told who they can hate, and scapegoating is a big part of the authoritarian leader playbook.

Distraction from, and distortion of, the facts.  Right wingers also use whining to divert attention from the underlying bad behavior that they are accused of.    I am old enough to remember Spiro Agnew’s attacks on “left-wing media bias.”  Before modern-day “both sides do it” stenography style journalism was invented, reporters actually liked to break stories about politicians doing stupid things in office.  Since Republicans—then and now--did more stupid stuff than Democrats, Spiro griped reporters hated Republicans.  Over the years, those “liberal media” attacks have hardened into an article of faith on the right.

The goal of Republican policies is to transform America into a third-world banana-republic dystopian hellscape (the phrase “dystopian hellscape” should be TM Digby, who sees deeply, writes concisely, and is the poet laureate of exasperation with the American political elites).  For right-wingers, whining is just another cheer for the home team at their pep rally for the Apocalypse.

For January 2014’s top hits in right wing whining and victimization, please follow me over the fold.

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