July 31, 2015

Morning Thread (7-31-2015)

—Andy

Happy Friday, all.

Posted by Andy at 06:45 AM Comments



Overnight Open Thread (7-30-2015)

—Maetenloch

Quote of the Day I - Everyone Knows That Edition

At a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry was asked why the administration did not submit the Iran nuclear agreement to the Senate for its advice and consent as an Article II treaty.

Kerry responded that the agreement wasn't treated as a treaty "because you can't pass a treaty anymore."

Quote of the Day II

Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn't know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.

-- Jim Treacher

A Case in Point:

cecil12

What could it possibly be? Oh right:

cecil13

Quote of the Day III

"I started the relationship with [Soon-Yi Previn, his then-girlfriend Mia Farrow's adoptive daughter, who was---at most---21 years old at the time to his 56] and I thought it would just be a fling. It wouldn't be serious, but it had a life of its own. And I never thought it would be anything more," Allen revealed. "Then we started going together, then we started living together, and we were enjoying it. And the age difference didn't seem to matter. It seemed to work in our favor actually."

-- Woody Allen further revealing his moral blindness and bankruptcy

Quote of the Day IV

"Wherever I go to speak, whether it's Brazil or Italy or Norway, I find that upper-middle-class professional women are very unhappy. This is a global problem! And it's coming from the fact that women are expecting men to provide them with the same kind of emotional and conversational support and intimacy that they get from their women friends. And when they don't get it, they're full of resentment and bitterness. It's tragic! Women are blaming men for a genuine problem that I say is systemic. . . . Now we're working side-by-side in offices at the same job. Women want to leave at the end of the day and have a happy marriage at home, but then they put all this pressure on men because they expect them to be exactly like their female friends. If they feel restlessness or misery or malaise, they automatically blame it on men. Men are not doing enough; men aren't sharing enough. But it's not the fault of men that we have this crazy and rather neurotic system where women are now functioning like men in the workplace, with all its material rewards."

-- Camille Paglia

Quote of the Day V

Nope. But it provided an excuse for people who want to turn college campuses into man-hating sexual police states. And that was the goal.

-- Glenn Reynolds on the bogus campus rape studies

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 11:16 PM Comments



Glenn Loury, John McWhorter Discuss the Religion of Antiracism, and Its Current Pope Ta-Nehisi Coates

—Ace

A very interesting Bloggingheads (and every Loury/McWhorter dialogue on Bloggingheads is interesting, and is recommended). Now, they talk about how Obama has "evolved" (in a good, embiggening way) in office, but here's the easy way to avoid that nonsense: skip to 7::06 as they begin to discuss race, and the Religion of Antiracism, generally.

McWhorter is chiefly there to put forth what I'll call the Ace of Spaces Conjecture that most of tribal signaling -- genuflecting to Ta-Nehisi Coates, for example -- is not a form of politics, but is properly understood as a form of religion. You're not supposed to ask about the parts of Ta-Nehisi Coates' claims that don't make sense, in the same way you're not really supposed to ask how Noah fit all those animals on the ark. These are not political arguments, he asserts, but "sermons."

(I've previously called such non-political "political" statements "prayers" and "devotions.")

Glenn Loury entertains that idea, but he's chiefly there to criticize the low state of racial discourse in America, focusing on the black side of that racial discourse, and Charles M. Blow in particular, whom he calls a "disgrace."

Later in the discussion, he also challenges Ta-Nehisi Coates' particular expression of Black Male Authenticity (the street bravado, noting he had a "tool" (a gun) with which to fix a "motherf**cker") as damaging and degrading.

Oh, and he rails against people like David Brooks for their racial condescending -- if you didn't read that already, for one thing, well played, but you can read it here, and see David Brooks ask, solicitously, if he's even permitted to comment upon Ta-Nehisi Coates' book.

This angers Loury, who demands, sensibly, that black people be treated just as you'd treat any other political actor. You are, in short, permitted to disagree with them or critique them without securing permission to do so beforehand.

McWhorter has meanwhile fleshed out the Ace of Spades Conjecture in an article in the Daily Beast.

McWhorter objects to the anti-intellectual, religion-like screams of "heresy" which are spat at anyone (including himself, a black man) who challenges the religion:

One is not to question, and people can be quite explicit about that. For example, in the "Conversation" about race that we are so often told we need to have, the tacit idea is that black people will express their grievances and whites will agree--again, no questions, or at least not real ones. Here and there lip service is paid to the idea that the Conversation would not be such a one-way affair, but just as typical is the praise that a piece like Reni Eddo-Lodge’s elicits, openly saying that white people who object to any black claims about racism are intolerably mistaken and barely worth engagement (Eddo-Lodge now has a contract to expand the blog post into a book). Usefully representative is a letter that The New York Times chose to print, which was elicited by David Brooks's piece on Coates’s book, in which a white person chides Brooks for deigning to even ask whether he is allowed to object to some of Coates’s claims....

As such, even Brooks has gotten the religion, critiquing Coates’s book while also making sure to say that "every conscientious American should read it." Brooks, here, is genuflecting, as America now does in general to Antiracist scripture. One is to accept that beyond a certain point--and one arrives at the point quite quickly--one is to treat logic as optional and simply have faith....

The call for people to soberly "acknowledge" their White Privilege as a self-standing, totemic act is based on the same justification as acknowledging one’s fundamental sinfulness is as a Christian. One is born marked by original sin; to be white is to be born with the stain of unearned privilege.

The proper response to original sin is to embrace the teachings of Jesus, although one will remain always a sinner nevertheless. The proper response to White Privilege is to embrace the teachings of--well, you can fill in the name or substitute others--with the understanding that you will always harbor the Privilege nevertheless. Note that many embrace the idea of inculcating white kids with their responsibility to acknowledge Privilege from as early an age as possible, in sessions starting as early as elementary school. This, in [one] sense, is Sunday school.

One objection McWhorter lodges is that there is no actual political demand here -- he feels, in many ways, this spares white people from any further need to act politically, because they've already Confessed Their Sins and hence are, as the catechism has it, now forgiven from sin.

And not just white people -- both Loury and McWhorter note the underperformance of black students in school, and want to know where are the calls for tangible action to address this in the black community. Actions beyond merely demanding that white people Confess Their Original Sins.

He doesn't dwell on that too long, but notes that's one of the things that differentiates an actual politics from a religion -- politics implies tangible political action, whereas religion can be a purely metaphysical gesture.

A very interesting dialogue -- well worth your time (as long as you skip that first 7:05).

Posted by Ace at 04:41 PM Comments

Rolling Stone Editor Who Oversaw Jackie's Rape Hoax Story to Step Down, Be Promoted Into a More Prominent Position and Be Paid Much More Money

—Ace

I merely assume all that stuff at the end -- isn't that always how it works?

You cannot fail in the progressive politico-corporate-media complex. If you publish things that aren't true, but help The Cause (and why would you ever publish something that doesn't help The Cause?), your failures will be rewarded.

After all -- your heart was in the right place.

So congratulations, Will Dana. I see wonderful things in your future due to your catastrophic failure.

The editor who oversaw Rolling Stone magazine’s erroneous story about a fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia will leave the magazine, more than eight months after the story was published.

Will Dana, Rolling Stone’s managing editor, will step down next month after nearly two decades at the magazine. His departure comes amid a series of defamation lawsuits against the magazine as a result of its publication in November of "A Rape on Campus," which described an alleged gang rape that authorities determined never occurred.

Posted by Ace at 03:22 PM Comments

What a Coincidence: Swiss Bank's Donations to Clinton Foundation Increased Tenfold After Hillary Intervened On Their Behalf in a Tax Dispute

—Ace

There's just no "smoking gun" at all here, so long as you ignore all those guns on the floor, from which smoke is trickling.

Donations to the Clinton Foundation by Swiss bank UBS increased tenfold after Hillary Clinton intervened to settle a dispute with the IRS early in her tenure as secretary of state, according to a published report.

According to the Wall Street Journal, total donations by UBS to the foundation grew from less than $60,000 at the end of 2008 to approximately $600,000 by the end of 2014. The Journal reports that the bank also lent $32 million through entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs it launched in association with the foundation, while paying former President Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of corporate question-and-answer sessions with UBS Chief Executive Bob McCann.

Though there is no evidence of wrongdoing,

What?

The media, and people generally, misuse the word "evidence," conflating it with the word "proof."

There may not be any firm proof of wrongdoing -- but there's a lot of circumstantial evidence.

But they're The Experts, you know. And they're Master Wordsmiths and such. Words are their stock in trade and words, allegedly, mean something to them.

....

The UBS case is unusual in that it shows a top U.S. diplomat intervening on behalf of a major overseas bank in a situation where federal prosecutors and the Justice Department had been the lead entity.

UBS' legal battles with the U.S. government date from 2007, when a whistleblower told the Justice Department that UBS had helped thousands of Americans open secret accounts to avoid U.S. taxes. In 2009, the bank paid a $780 million fine and turned over the names of 250 account holders to U.S. authorities as part of a deferred-prosecution agreement.

The Justice Department sought the names of 52,000 Americans who had secret accounts with the Swiss bank. But then Hillary intervened, and this ask was scaled back to 4,500, less than one-tenth the original demand.

And then the money flowing in increased by a factor of ten.

Meanwhile, there is a two-month gap in the emails Hillary provided that cannot be explained, except, of course, by the glaringly obvious way that everyone understands is actually what happened.

The emails embarrassed Hillary, so she erased them.

But there's "no evidence" of this, you understand, except for the fact that she was supposed to turn them over, and instead, erased them.

Among the hundreds of emails released by the State Department from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private account, there is a conspicuous two-month gap. So far, there are no emails between Clinton and her State Department staff during May and June 2012, a period of escalating violence in Libya leading up to the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.

A State Department spokesman told The Daily Beast that for the year 2012, only those emails related to the security of the consulate or to the U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya were made public and turned over to a House committee investigating the fatal Benghazi assault. But if that's true, then neither Clinton nor her staff communicated via email about the escalating dangers in Libya during those two crucial months. There were three attacks during that two-month period, including one that targeted the consulate...

Emails from that two-month period have also drawn outside interest for an entirely different reason. In the spring of 2012, a senior Clinton aide obtained a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband’s foundation.

Understandably, the State Department hasn't turned over any emails about the employment status of that aide, Huma Abedin, to the Benghazi Committee, which asked only for Libya-related material. Less understandable is Foggy Bottom's continued rebuffing of journalists' requests to obtain those messages under the Freedom of Information Act. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton’s account about Abedin.

It's all perfectly understandable: She's a criminal, and she routinely destroys records of her criminality.

Can anyone really blame Bill Clinton for his allegedly blonde, allegedly busty mistress?

[Author Ronald Kessler] reports some very scandalous stories in the book, including allegations of former President Clinton carrying out liaisons with another women when his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is not around.

"He has a blonde, busty mistress, and she’s been code named Energizer by agents. This is unofficially, but that is what they call her...She comes in to the Chappaqua [NY] home whenever Hillary leaves. The details coordinate to make sure they don’t cross paths. She, unlike Hillary, is very nice to the agents. She’ll bring cookies."

...

And the agents assigned to Hillary’s detail, says Kessler, don't usually look forward to the assignment.

"Hillary Clinton pretends to be this champion of the little people -- she's gonna help the middle class, she’s compassionate. But the reality behind the scenes is she treats her agents and others less powerful than she is with contempt. In fact she's so abusive to her agents that behind assigned to her detail is considered a form of punishment," he said. "That tells you something about her character."

But there's no evidence of that.

Posted by Ace at 02:11 PM Comments

Wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 Washes Up On Reunion Island, 4500 Miles From Where Expected to be Found

—Ace

One part of the mystery is now over, but the rest of it remains.

American investigators tell The New York Times that a part of an airplane found washed up on a beach on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion is from a Boeing 777. "A person familiar with the matter" tells Reuters the part was almost certainly from a 777.

This can only be MH370....

The piece of debris is part of a wing and probably a control surface from that wing. Control surfaces are among the most likely part of airplane wreckage to survive for a long while as flotsam...

Why is it so far from where the experts involved in the search had predicted the wreckage would show up? The Australian authorities leading the search for Flight 370 said last fall that they were working on a drift model to accurately plot where wreckage might first show up. Their prediction: the southern coast of Sumatra--4,500 miles away from Reunion.

Don "Black Hole" Lemon Hardest Hit

There's more there, about the possible reasons why Computer Modeling failed to predict its drift.

Posted by Ace at 01:14 PM Comments

US Dentist Sought by Zimbabwean Police in Connection With Shooting of Beloved (Protected) Lion

—Ace

The lion, named Cecil, lived in a protected state park.

The dentist, for his part, says he paid local guides to find a lion for him, and relied upon them to know where they were, and what laws applied, and what lion they had actually found.

It's a mess.

Cecil, who was 13, was a prized lion in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, where visitors reportedly sighted him frequently. A video of the animal, regal, indifferent and sleepy-eyed, has been widely disseminated.

He was a participant in a study that Oxford University in Britain was conducting, and he had been outfitted with a GPS collar.

A police official in Zimbabwe said that two Zimbabweans had been arrested in the case and that police were looking for Palmer.

The Zimbabwean guides were arrested but have been freed on bail.

I'm sure this will shock you -- the dentist is now being hunted by internet vigilantes, despite the fact that we don't know yet if his claims of innocent intent are true or not.

Two signs posted on the door of a nondescript dental office here asked passers-by to mourn the death of Cecil, a lion who was lured off his sanctuary and killed during a game hunt this month in Zimbabwe.

"WE ARE CECIL," one read; "#CatLivesMatter," read another. Nearby was a sign with a darker message for the dentist who said he killed the cat: "ROT IN HELL."

In the hours since Dr. Walter J. Palmer apologized for killing the lion, he has gone from a dentist and longtime hunting enthusiast to a villain at the center of a firestorm over the ethics of big-game trophy hunting.

...

The outrage and attention surrounding the lion’s death online caused Dr. Palmer to keep his office closed on Wednesday as he joined an ever-expanding group of people who have become targets of Internet vigilantism, facing a seemingly endless shaming until the next issue comes along.

Frequently outraged hysteric Mia Farrow of course had to tweet the man's home address, an action that even Salon has criticized. (No link; you can google if you like.)

She wasn't the only hysterical actress tweeting his personal information, either.


Posted by Ace at 12:00 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


C. Morgan McIlhenney, "Nantucket Sand Dune" (1890)

--via @JohnPlunket

Posted by rdbrewer at 11:35 AM Comments

Fourth Planned Parenthood Video Released

—Gabriel Malor

flaming_skull2a.gif

This one stars Dr. Savita Ginde, of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

This requires criminal investigation:

In the video, actors posing as representatives from a human biologics company meet with Ginde at the abortion-clinic headquarters of PPRM in Denver to discuss a potential partnership to harvest fetal organs. When the actors request intact fetal specimens, Ginde reveals that in PPRM’s abortion practice, “Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then we are intact.”

Since PPRM does not use digoxin or other feticide in its 2nd trimester procedures, any intact deliveries before an abortion are potentially born-alive infants under federal law (1 USC 8).

Note, in case you missed it in the second video, the reason they don't use feticide is because then the organs aren't viable. Meaning they crush the babies and tear them apart while they are still alive and able to feel pain.

More:

Yesterday, a judge in California issued a temporary injunction barring CMP from publishing videos that include footage from a May 2014 meeting between officials at StemExpress and CMP investigators posing as potential buyers of fetal organs. The StemExpress lawsuit alleges the covert recording of that meeting at a restaurant is the product of unlawful electronic eavesdropping.

California has unusually tough prohibitions on electronic recording. One of those restrictions is that all parties must consent to the recording of "confidential communications." This isn't my area of law, but a quick survey of the case law suggests that recordings in restaurants may sometimes be considered confidential communications and sometimes not, depending on the circumstances. It's going to be a fact-specific determination, so CMP may ultimately be in a bit of trouble there depending on what the testimony and evidence turns up. On the other hand, the temporary injunction is a prior restraint, which typically isn't the right solution to alleged newsworthy conduct that can be remedied post-litigation. The temporary injunction was ordered to last until a hearing can be convened on August 19. StemExpress also alleges theft, fraud, and interference with contract.

Other CMP videos can be released, so long as they don't include the StemExpress meeting.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:21 AM Comments

Morning Thread (7-30-2015)

—Andy

Dave in Texas has a nice Storified tweet analysis of the sham that is Planned Parenthood's non-abortion revenue from the taxpayers.

Posted by Andy at 06:37 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (7-29-2015)

—Maetenloch

Can You Spot the Israeli Missile Launcher Here?

israelitanklaumncher

Can You Spot the Swiss Bunker?

swissbunker

Can You Spot the Sniper?

hidden sniper

Can You Spot the Kitteh?

findkitteh2

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 11:09 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Albert Bierstadt, "Sunrise on Mount Tacoma" (n.d.)

Posted by rdbrewer at 08:17 PM Comments

Cautionary Tale: Computer Hijacking, Extortion, and Sh*tware, Part 2

—rdbrewer

This is a follow-up to my computer post the other day. I received an email from fellow Moron "TheCoat" that was wonderfully informative, and I asked him if I could share it. He said okay, but he was worried about the curse words. I told him to think about that for a second: not a problem.

So yea, for many years now the most annoying malware has been software that masquerades as anti-virus/anti-malware software.

There are three general types of malware:

1.) Advertisement malware, which generally seeks to hijack your web browser. Basically it tends to load webpages you go to through their website, adding advertisements to each webpage you load. The key initial indicator that you’ve contracted something is when your browser homepage suddenly changes on you. To make matters worse they generally send you adds from less than reputable add services. Many sites use something like google adds, they put a google applet on their website that loads up adds out of a database when a visitor hits the site, and they get a small bit of revenue for each hit. Malware like this loads adds from someone else hence the creator/distributors financial incentive to do this. They endeavor to get their crap on as many systems as possible to cash in on advertisements, but these come from sources that are less than secure in who creates adds for them, and the content of said adds. Often times this means that the adds that get loaded have embedded exploit attempts, to load… you guessed it even more of this add crap. These exploits and pieces of software tend to be created by really shitty programmers, which means not only are they malicious but they tend to be buggy and do things that you shouldn’t be doing to a system in an attempt to hide themselves.

2.) What you seem to have gotten. Fake malware/spyware/virus protection and removal. These tend to be easier to track down and source simply because they give you a website to go buy their product, and often times their other product is what’s screwing up your system. The quickest way to tell you’ve gotten this tends to be a popup for security software you never loaded. Often times in an effort to hide it’s self from simple removal, and to change your system and cause problems, even if you do pay them they don’t get your system restored to the right state, because their programing is again done by crappy coders who don’t care.

3.) The latest is the cryptolocker series. What this little bag of hell does is scan your drives looking for any document types and then encrypts them. When it’s done it gives you instructions on how to go to their website pay them money and they’ll give you the key to unencrypt your files. Unlike the prior two, these are reputable scoundrels. If you pay them they will indeed give you the key and you can fully recover, however this funds them to keep spreading their ransomeware. I honestly think this one is based in an organized criminal racket. They make no bones about the fact that they are the ones screwing you over… but if you pay them they want to make good because that encourages others to do so.

I’m a developer for a software company, and we tend to see quite a bit of this stuff when we get calls about something with our software not working. Our support gets hooked up only to find that our software is having problems because they have infections of this nature messing things up. Although it’s technically not our problem we often times help people get this crap cleaned up, however in some cases the infections are so bad we have them call in someone local simply because to clean it up you either have to reload the system or do the clean ups outside the operating system, making it impossible for us to clean it up remotely. Sometimes people just get infected due to bad luck, more often we see repeated infections at the same clients… usually because they allow their employees to go to social and gaming sites at work, or whatever else they feel like. In one instance I got a maintenance guy fired because I tracked down the source of their infections and was able to piece together enough info to show them that the porn sites their computer was visiting late at night were the source of infection… this in an accounting office. They setup a sting and caught the guy sneaking in and surfing porn while he was supposed to be working.

Some of the things I’ve seen in the past few years make me think I really specialized in the wrong area. I’m no novice when it comes to computer and network security. I run my own firewalls and intrusion detection systems at home and do penetration testing on my home as well as our corporate network, and yet these last few years I’ve done more security related stuff to my home network out of fear than out of general playing around. Many years ago in the age of dialup I ran a full computer based firewall and dialup server for my home network… because I could 8). Now I run things like an intrusion detection system on the edge of my network because I feel I need the security. There has been a ton of security gains made since the early days of the internet revolution, however this has just made the crooks get smarter and more insidious. What bothers me is if I had steered less toward business software development and more toward network security which I pursued as more of a hobby I’d be in a better position to do what I really get a kick out of doing, and that is taking the fight to these assholes, not just cleaning up their messes. Eh it’s probably a good thing though, as much of what I’d like to do to them and their criminal enterprises would probably be legally grey at best even if it’s unquestionably morally white.

No, everyone hates computer pirates. Anything short of taking a Ghurka kukri knife to them is fine with me.

Thanks, "TheCoat," and thanks again to all others who helped.

Posted by rdbrewer at 06:21 PM Comments

Some Economists Say Greece Should Stay In the Euro -- But Germany Should Exit It

—Ace

I missed this when it was floated earlier. But it seems interesting, and people are talking about it again.

It's not so much that it's proposed that Germany exit the Euro-- they'd continue to have the Euro as a currency, if I understand this right.

It's that they would re-introduce the hard-currency Deutschmark, to compete with the Euro; their relative values would fluctuate against each other.

Germany (and the hard-money northern/central European states) would have what they want -- a stable, hard currency which is not devalued due to Mediterranean spending habits, and the rest of Europe would get the falling-in-value New Lira that it really seems to want.

A better, bolder and, until now, almost inconceivable solution [to the Greece crisis] is for Germany to reintroduce the mark, which would cause the euro to immediately decline in value. Such a devaluation would give troubled economies, especially those of Greece, Italy and Spain, the financial flexibility they need to stabilize themselves.

Although repeated currency devaluations are not the path to prosperity, a weaker euro would give a boost in competitiveness to all members of the monetary union, including France and the Netherlands, which is why they might very well choose to remain in it even if Germany were to gradually leave. A resurgence of manufacturing would also allow the vast unemployment rolls of Spain, Portugal, Greece and other countries to begin to decline. The tremendous loss of human capital and human dignity we are witnessing would ease.

...

Unlike Greece -- whose exit from the euro would require either a redenomination or outright repudiation of its euro-denominated debts (with potentially catastrophic financial consequences) -- Germany would be able to reintroduce the mark without altering the form of any current asset, liability or contract. For example, euros deposited in German banks would remain euro-denominated. So would outstanding German sovereign and corporate debt now denominated in euros.

It's not all upside -- German industry would be hurt, due to (if I understand this) their hard-currency Deutschmarks making their products more expensive.

Meanwhile, German economics experts say that countries unable to get their finances in order should be invited to exit the Euro.

Countries should be able to exit the euro as a "last resort" if they are unable to manage their debts, the German government's independent economic advisers say, in a sign of Berlin's hardening attitude towards propping up fellow members of the single currency....


"A permanently unco-operative member state should not be able to threaten the existence of the euro," the economists said in a special report, published on Tuesday, calling for countries to exit the eurozone if it is necessary as an "utterly last resort".

The panel is made up of five so-called "wise men" of German economics, so this is fairly influential suggestion.

Posted by Ace at 05:01 PM Comments

Of Course: Another American Citizen Murdered by an Illegal Alien Who Had Been Set Free By Police

—Ace

At Hot Air.

The key bit from WKYC:

According to the report, Razo, 35, admitted being in the country illegally. However, U.S. Border Patrol officials declined to take custody of Razo, the report shows.

#SomeLivesDontMatter

Posted by Ace at 04:14 PM Comments

Steven Hawking Leads $100 Million Effort to Find Intelligent Alien Life

—Ace

No government money-- the project is being funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner.

Well, I guess that's a lot of Russian government money siphoned off, probably. But none of your money.

The project will just listen, not send out signals. Because, no seriously, you cannot simply assume these will be peaceful, Reeces Pieces eating ETs.

Hawking famously revealed his worry that any aliens advanced enough to contact earth would be "looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach" during a 2010 episode of the miniseries Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking.

And he clearly hasn’t changed his mind completely. "If you look at history, contact between humans and less intelligent organisms have often been disastrous from their point of view, and encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced," he told reporters at the Breakthrough announcement. "A civilization reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria."

The project will undertake to scan the million stars closest to us.

Posted by Ace at 03:01 PM Comments

Camille Paglia on "Snark Atheism," and How Jon Stewart Has Debased Political Discourse

—Ace

Via @rdbrewer4 in the sidebar, she's on to something here.

The whole interview is worth reading, but I'll just excerpt the zestiest bits.

You're an atheist, and yet I don’t ever see you sneer at religion in the way that the very aggressive atheist class right now often will. What do you make of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and the religion critics who seem not to have respect for religions for faith?

I regard them as adolescents. I say in the introduction to my last book, "Glittering Images", that "Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination." It exposes a state of perpetual adolescence that has something to do with their parents-- they're still sneering at dad in some way....

I’m speaking here as an atheist. I don’t believe there is a God, but I respect every religion deeply. All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced. We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny....


But this sneering thing! I despise snark. Snark is a disease that started with David Letterman and jumped to Jon Stewart and has proliferated since. I think it's horrible for young people! And this kind of snark atheism–let's just invent that term right now–is stupid, and people who act like that are stupid....


I think Stewart’s show demonstrated the decline and vacuity of contemporary comedy. I cannot stand that smug, snarky, superior tone. I hated the fact that young people were getting their news through that filter of sophomoric snark.....

As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States....

The resistance of liberals in the media to new ideas was enormous. Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true! Liberalism has sadly become a knee-jerk ideology, with people barricaded in their comfortable little cells. They think that their views are the only rational ones, and everyone else is not only evil but financed by the Koch brothers. It’s so simplistic!

Now let me give you a recent example of the persisting insularity of liberal thought in the media. When the first secret Planned Parenthood video was released in mid-July, anyone who looks only at liberal media was kept totally in the dark about it, even after the second video was released. But the videos were being run nonstop all over conservative talk shows on radio and television. It was a huge and disturbing story, but there was total silence in the liberal media. That kind of censorship was shockingly unprofessional.

She argues for the liberal view of information, which is to say, we should have that information, whether it helps the right or left, and we should not suppress it, whether it helps the right or left.

That latter idea -- suppressing information based upon what politics the information might help or hurt -- is of course as illiberal and authoritarian an idea as you can have.

Paglia has an interesting mind, despite her incurable leftwing political tendencies, and interesting minds despise the make-the-world-simple-to-understand-by-censoring-any-unpleasant-or-politically-troublesome-information world we live in.

Whether the Planned Parenthood videos help or hurt the abortion lobby is quite beyond any possibly-legitimate point. It is information, and human beings, possessed of reason and moral intuitions, ought to have this information, so that they can make judgments about it.

Otherwise, we are simply cattle in one of Temple Grandin's slaughterhouses, in which the cows are led through a serpentine course which prevents them from ever seeing what's up ahead, what's happened to the cows further up in the queue.

That's fine for cows. The slaughterhouses are intended for humane treatment -- of animals.

Humans should not be subject to the "humane treatment" of a media-enforced serpentine ramp. We should know-- we should see -- what's happening to the other humans.

Posted by Ace at 02:03 PM Comments

"Cuckservative" Is A Racist Slur, Part 2

—Gabriel Malor

We've been over this. It's weird how people get super-attached to a slur they just heard for the first time last week. Yesterday, in response to the whitewashing of the word "cuckservative" by the website abusing the good name of Andrew Breitbart, I tweeted about the racist origins and usage of the term "cuck."

In short, "cuck," a derivative of "cuckold," is a noun used by white supremacists to refer to whites who invite the destruction of the white race by tolerating other races, which they view as weak whites inviting the other races to rape their wives, steal their homes/schools/society/etc. People saw white supremacists who were enthused by Donald Trump's Mexican rape statement yelling "cuckservative" at the GOP leadership and others who condemned Trump.

Unfortunately, many of these folks who saw the slur being slung did not realize the term's racist origin or meaning. They just saw one group of people yelling a new word they'd never seen before at another group of people they already hate. So they started using the term, most of them without knowing where it came from. Now that they know, however, they want to keep using it.

The responses to my tweets came in two general categories: (1) well-meaning people who said that they didn't realize and yeah that's bad; and (2) people who did this:

apeeters.PNG

And this:

My experience was by no means unique. Today, Erick Erickson discusses the racist origins and usage of the foul term and provides some further examples of the sort of people who use it.

The other day I was attacked as a “cuckservative” and the proof that I was one is that I fill-in for Rush Limbaugh. The proof that Rush is a “cuckservative” is that, according to the person with the confederate flag for his twitter picture, Rush had hired outside “his tribe” for his call screener. Yes, Bo Snerdley is black. Seriously, that was the argument.

The Breitbart piece defending the word suggested it came from the bowels of the internet, but if you look at its first usages beyond 4chan, what do you get?

Erickson takes a dive into the bowels of the internet. It's not pretty, but you should read it.

The tumult over the term has made its way into the legacy media, because of course it has. How could the media resist a story about people on the right consciously giving an assist to white supremacists?

yns.PNG

Updated: Eh, I'm not sure why it's not embedding those tweets. Replaced them with pics.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:02 PM Comments

Obama: Shit Yeah, I Could Totally Win a Third Term, If I Felt Like It

—Ace

He probably could, actually.

"I actually think I’m pretty good president," he said today in a speech before the African Union in Ethiopia. "I think if I ran, I could win. But I can't."

Even though he's confident in his re-election abilities, Obama said he's more interested in life after the presidency.

"I'll be honest with you, I'm looking forward to life after being president. I won't have such a big security detail all the time," he said. "It means I can go take a walk, I can spend time with my family, I can find other ways to serve, I can visit Africa more often."

And watch Sports Center, and enjoy fine dining with Interesting Italians, and get shined on by Sir Elton John, and watch Premium Cable Dramas, and all the things we know he actually prefers doing.

Posted by Ace at 12:03 PM Comments

Congressman Files Resolution To Remove Boehner As Speaker Of The House

—DrewM.

Congressman Mark Meadows is apparently a subscriber to the "Animal House School Of Politics"....."I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"

And he's just the man for the job.

Meadows said he introduced the resolution to spark a "discussion" about how leaders are running the House and did not intend to force a vote on removing Boehner.

“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation on making this place work, where everybody’s voice matters, where there’s not a punitive culture,” Meadows said.

His resolution argues that Boehner has been "bypassing the majority" through centralized decisionmaking and that he has "caused the power of Congress to atrophy." The motion says Boehner punishes members who "vote according to their conscience," limits amendments on the House floor and doesn't allow enough time for lawmakers to review legislation before votes.

All reasonable points but this will lead to exactly nothing happening.

The resolution will be shuffled off to the Rules Committee where Boehner loyalists will do....nothing about it. Well, they might shake their heads and laugh a bit but basically nothing.

Meadows could get a majority of the House to sign a discharge petition to bring it to the floor but that's not happening. Sure a handful of Republicans are annoyed at Boehner but most aren't. And do you think the Democrats would support removing him? Of course not. He's the best deal they are going to get as Speaker from the GOP. Hell, Pelosi would fight harder for him than any Republican.

Conservatives aren't serious abut getting rid of Boehner. If they were they would have organized behind a candidate in January and made a real run at him. A handful of people voting for nonsense names like Rand Paul and Alan West isn't a serious effort.

In other futile GOP gesture news....

The Senate spent all weekend telling conservatives to go to hell over the highway bill, Iran, Planned Parenthood and the Ex-Im Bank. Well, they are now going to cave and accept the House's short term patch, which doesn't include saving the Ex-Im. It was pretty clear all along that the House was never going to take up the Senate's bill but McConnell put everyone through the dog and pony show anyway.

Next time Team GOP tells you to stop attacking them and focus on Democrats, remind them of this bit of needless blood shedding.

The only possible good to come from the Senate passing it's highway bill and then ditching it in favor of the House's version is that we *may* have seen the last of the Ex-Im from the Senate.

Personally I have my doubts. Sure McConnell claims he's personally against it but it did get 64 votes in the Senate. If members want to keep offering it, well that's the Senate. What I object to is McConnell giving it priority status over all other amendments. If supporters want to offer it again ok but it can't be the only amendment allowed while conservative amendments are locked out.

We'll see.

Posted by DrewM. at 11:25 AM Comments

It's Hooky, But It's Not Fun Hooky

—Ace

Just a word on why I've been away: Once again, things have hit a stage in the unending lawsuits requiring my attention. These come occasionally; you might remember another not-fun-time-away-from-the-blog last February and March.

I will post here and there, but once again I am forced to work a second job and not do my actual job.

Posted by Ace at 11:01 AM Comments

AoSHQ Interview With Dan Holler Of Heritage Action On All Things Conservative And GOP

—DrewM.

First, sorry about my audio on yesterday's interview with Noah Pollak (If you missed it, it's all about the Iran deal. Listen here.). Not sure what happened. Today's sounds fine so no excuse for you there.

Dan Holler (@danholler) is the Director of Communications at Heritage Action where he does a great job of keeping track of the ins and outs of policy and politics from a conservative perspective.

You can listen to the interview (which is under 25 minutes) here.

We spoke late yesterday afternoon about a number of things including:

This weekend's clown show in the Senate where Mitch McConnell told conservatives where they could stuff it.

Why the battle to end the relatively small and obscure Export-Import Bank is so important for anyone who wants to shrink the size and scope of government. Fun fact: The law requires the bank to be closing up shop but in typical Obama fashion the head of the bank has said, nah.

We also discussed the first 7 months of the GOP Congress and the many ways and reasons it's been such a dumpster fire.

Dan tries to convince me that the GOP is salvagable without burning it down. I felt a little twinge of something in my cold, black hear. It might have been....optimism. But then it unlike any legislation conservatives support, it passed. You might have better luck.

To give you some fodder for discussion while you're listening (and hey, tell your friends!) Tim Carney writes today about something Dan touches on in the interview...Mitch McConnell's flawed vision.

Next fall, when Hillary Clinton and her proxies in the media point to government shutdowns to argue that Republicans aren't mature enough be left in charge, McConnell wants to point to two legislative years full of accomplishments. Already, he boasts of passing a budget (something Harry Reid basically never did), an update of No Child Left Behind, Trade Promotion Authority and a permanent "doc fix."

...

From a simply political perspective, there are reasons to question McConnell's strategy. The electorate complains about dysfunctional Congress, but are they really going to reward a Congress that passes small-fry bills that most regular people will never hear about?

Then there's the policy strategy: Can you possibly set the stage for an agenda of shrinking government by passing a bunch of bills that mostly increase government — restarting an expired subsidy agency, increasing Medicare spending and increasing federal spending and revenue through a highway bill?

My argument is, no. If you don't make the case when you have the power (even if Obama vetoes everything), you can't sell people on the idea that if you give them more power you will use to do the exact opposite of what you spent 2 years doing. The lesson the GOP will learn is cutting deals with Harry Reid and Patty Murray comes with no cost from the right and in fact they will be rewarded for it.

Does anyone, other than McConnell and Boehner, think that if you keep handing the Democrats all these "compromise" bills (aka, government expanding laws) they will suddenly become more pliable if Jeb! is in the White House? Of course not. They will double down on their demands and obstruction. Then the argument will be, "well, we have to cut a deal with the big government types because the mid-terms. We have to show we can govern after all."

Either you make the case for what you want to do with to the public and let the chips fall where they may or you just simply accept that the job of both parties is to manage the growth of the government in a way that isn't to shocking to low information voters. If it's the latter, the GOP serves no real purpose other than as the right wing of the Democrat party.

Did I mention that the tinge of optimism from Dan didn't last long?

Listen for yourself. Maybe it'll work better for you.

Thanks to our own Andy for the technical support in getting these interviews up online.

Posted by DrewM. at 09:54 AM Comments

Morning Thread (7-29-2015)

—Andy

Happy hump day, people of the Internets.

Posted by Andy at 06:07 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (7-28-2015)

—Maetenloch

Quote of the Day I

Now that unobtainium is due to be on store shelves for Christmas, the impossible is set to become commonplace.

-- Pixy

Quote of the Day II

Like all radical egalitarian philosophies, feminism appeals to the ambitious malcontent who, feeling herself somehow disadvantaged by the status quo, dreams of a utopia in which women will be treated according to a "fair" standard, which is to say, a standard that will make her Queen Bee of the hive. A woman who declares that she is "oppressed" by "male supremacy" usually means nothing more than this: Men don't treat her the way she would like to be treated, and so she wants to destroy civilization as we know it, and institute a gynocracy in which women will be empowered to inflict humiliating punishment on men. Whatever else feminism may be, it is always in large measure a sadistic revenge fantasy whose strongest appeal is to women of unlimited cruelty. If any man doesn't like her "feminist perspective," his disagreement proves he's a "whiny piss baby," and she will celebrate by drinking your tears.

She hates you. She really, really hates you.

-- Robert Stacy McCain

WFB: Vox Explains Liberals, Shoes

Vox has written an insightful explainer on why buying a certain brand of shoe doesn't necessarily make you a good person. The piece also, perhaps unintentionally, explains a lot about the young liberal hipsters who read Vox.

The gist of the explainer is as follows: The shoe company TOMS is popular among a certain crowd of enlightened trendsetters (Vox readers, Daily Show watchers, Obama voters, etc). One reason is because TOMS offers more than just a trendy pair of shoes, it also, critically, provides customers with wearable proof that they care about poor people. That's because whenever someone buys a pair of TOMS shoes, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in a poor country. Vox's Amanda Taub explains that, yes, wanting to help poor people is a good thing, but buying TOMS shoes is one of the worst ways do it. Not only is TOMS exploiting its customers' charitable impulse to persuade them to buy its products, which is problematic to begin with, but there is also research to suggest that "buy one, donate one" programs aren't a terrible efficient or effective way to improve the lives of poor people. At worst, they're counterproductive.

"What the Trump and Cosby Allegations Reveal About Rape Culture" By Amanda Marcotte in Rolling Stone

Safe link but trust me the title, author and publication tell you everything you need to know.

The Vile Cartoonist Ted Rall Fired by the LA Times For Dishonesty

You'll be shocked, shocked to find out that Rall is a lying liar who lies. In fact as far back as 2003 Ted Rall was known as a long-time scumbag. The fact that he was ever employed by reputable publications after this cartoon is reason enough for the MSM to be destroyed in a cleansing fire of incandescent righteousness.

In a May 11 post on The Times' OpinionLA blog, Ted Rall - a freelance cartoonist whose work appears regularly in The Times - described an incident in which he was stopped for jaywalking on Melrose Avenue in 2001. Rall said he was thrown up against a wall, handcuffed and roughed up by an LAPD motorcycle policeman who also threw his driver's license into the sewer. Rall also wrote that dozens of onlookers shouted in protest at the officer's conduct.

Since then, the Los Angeles Police Department has provided records about the incident, including a complaint Rall filed at the time. An audiotape of the encounter recorded by the police officer does not back up Rall's assertions; it gives no indication that there was physical violence of any sort by the policeman or that Rall's license was thrown into the sewer or that he was handcuffed. Nor is there any evidence on the recording of a crowd of shouting onlookers.

It turns out that pretty much everything Rall claimed about the incident was a complete provable lie.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 11:02 PM Comments

Jonathan Pollard To Be Released In November

—Gabriel Malor

The suggestion has been made that the feds didn't oppose this because Obama is hoping to soothe the Israelis.

Hey, want to hear another coincidence? The US government, which has adamantly refused to release Pollard to the Israelis up to now, didn’t put up any opposition to release with the parole board. The WSJ also notes that the parole hearing turns out to be … quite unusual. As it turns out, he wasn’t due for consideration for another 14 years, but then four weeks ago, something changed.

Ehhh, I can see them doing it because it really matters to Israel and doesn't matter much to Obama. I don't think it's Obama's style to try and placate Israel. He doesn't care that much. And, obviously, this doesn't offset the Iran deal.

"Here, take Pollard, I'm not sorry about the nukes," doesn't really cut it.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:19 PM Comments

The Most Amazing Bit Of Agitprop In Favor Of The Iran Deal

—DrewM.

This is unbelievable.

Morgan Freeman, Jack Black, Queen Noor of Jordan and other celebrities are raising their voices to get Congress to back the nuclear deal with Iran.

Without a deal, “ultimately we could be forced into a war with Iran — another dangerous, drawn-out and expensive conflict in the Middle East with many lives lost,” Freeman says in a new three-minute video produced by Global Zero, an organization aiming to eliminate all nuclear weapons.

Apparently several war loving Democrats didn't get to see the video yet.

There's so much crap it here it's hard to tell where to start.

Actual quote, "If Congress sabotages the nuclear deal with Iran." Stop. Right. There. Congressional oversight (such as it is) is not "sabotage". It's actually a rather important part of ensuing liberty and preventing the devolution into tyranny. But yes 3rd rate celebrity, tell me more about your feels on this matter.

And then there's a Valerie Plame sighting. Why won't you people let her live her life in privacy? Why are you forcing her in political ad on highly charged subject matters with people like Morgan Freeman and Queen Noor of Jordan? Damn you people!

Yes if you want to stop Iran from getting a nuke or 12, it's going to take military action. That's horrible but so is the alternative....an aggressive Iran with hundreds of billions of dollars to spread around to terrorist groups and a nuclear arms race in the Mideast.

You can't stop Iran from getting the one thing they want without force. It will be costly but the alternative is more costly. I know that gives people the sadz so they'd rather stick with Jack Black making "Whoa!" faces. But that's what children do, retreat to the comfortable. Adults are supposed to deal with the harsh realities of life.

Oh and the group that put this out, Global Zero...former Secratery of Defense Chuck Hagel was (and might again be) a supporter.

Seriously, watch the whole sorted mess. It's jaw droppingly vapid.

Then listen to my interview with Noah Pollak of the Emergency Committee for Israel for some actual facts about the deal and its consequences.

Posted by DrewM. at 05:46 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


Harald Sohlberg, "Natteglød Night (Night Glow)" (1893)

Posted by rdbrewer at 05:13 PM Comments

Virgin Galactic Pilot's Long Fall

—Gabriel Malor

This is a fun little story. It recaps Peter Siebold's testimony about the destruction of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo and his fall to earth.

Here's a taste:

Then there was a single bang, he said in the interview. The cabin rapidly depressurized and he felt the air leave his lungs.

Suddenly he heard a high-pitched whistle of the wind and he realized he was in "a very high slipstream of some kind."

He had to work to open his eyes, he said. And when he opened them, he saw the desert below.

His helmet was not straight on his head and his oxygen mask had shifted.

Siebold said he believes he was still sitting in his seat. It was extremely cold. He reached for his seatbelt.

And he falls and falls. The other pilot, Michael Alsbury, did not survive.

***

Oh, and while we're talking about space travel, scientists are saying that a reactionless thrust device called the EM Drive might actually work. A very big deal, if true. Although, it seems to me that even its proponents are treating it like magic. They literally don't know why thrust is occurring and so can't really explain why the drive isn't breaking the law of conservation of momentum.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 04:02 PM Comments

Hard Choices: Hillary Clinton On Keystone

—Andy

I'm surprised she doesn't reflexively answer, "yes, I'll take two" to a question about Keystone XL ...

... but apparently the former Secretary of State has no position on a major issue that her State Department strung along for years.

Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Tuesday, where she was asked a yes-or-no question on whether she would sign a bill in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Clinton answered the question, but did not answer the question.

...

“This is President Obama’s decision, and I am not going to second-guess him because I was in a position to set this in motion, and I don not think that would be the right thing to do. So I want to wait and see what he and Secretary Kerry decide—if it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question,” Clinton said.

That's just the kind of leadership America is crying out for!

Posted by Andy at 02:56 PM Comments

Boy Scouts Votes To End Ban On Gay Leaders

—Gabriel Malor

This has been a long time coming. Boy Scouts has faced increasing pressure from businesses and municipalities to drop the ban.

The historic vote shifts the specter of discrimination onto local scout groups and those sponsored by religious organizations, which retain the right to set their own policies on whether they'll allow gay men to lead scouts.

Monday's vote by the group's 71-member board followed an impassioned plea in May by the Boy Scouts President Robert Gates, a former U.S. defense secretary, who told the group, "We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be." Gates, an Eagle Scout, told leaders, "The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained."

This was inevitable after the Scouts dropped the ban on gay scouts back in 2013. The idea that the organization was fine with gays until they turn 18 and then kick them to the curb was never going to fly for long. After that decision, some troops switched from Boy Scouts to different youth organizations. After this decision, the Mormons are exploring the possibility of creating their own Scouts-like organization and take them at their word: troops will bail on the Scouts over this.

The board says the decision whether to allow gay leaders will be left to individual troops, but I don't think that will be very successful. This decision blows a giant hole in the rationale Justice Rehnquist used in BSA v. Dale to allow the Scouts to exclude gays.

Rehnquist rested his decision on the notion that, although they are considered a public accommodation, Boy Scouts has a right to expressive association. Part of that expression was the belief that homosexuals should not be role models and that gays can therefore be excluded from the organization, despite public accommodation anti-discrimination laws. Forcing the Scouts to include gays, Rehnquist held, would "significantly burden" the Scouts' expression in opposition to homosexuality.

But now the national-level organization has abandoned this expression of disapproval. This leaves it to individual troops to argue when they are sued (and c'mon, of course they are going to get sued) that although the national organization Boy Scouts doesn't disapprove, Troop #734, sponsored by a church in Sometown, America, does? And Troop #734 is going to have to hire its own lawyers? How do you think that's going to go?

Regular listeners to the podcast know that I go off on public accommodation laws from time to time. I think they cover way too much. Under the English common law, which is where the notion originates, public accommodations were common carriers and inns and pubs. The reason common carriers, inns, and pubs were required to be open to any with the ability to pay is literally because it was matter of life and death. You have to let people have access to food and water, shelter, and travel. But that was it. It wasn't every business.

The modern trend to declare everything a public accommodation, including membership organizations that any idiot can see are private groups, abandons the notion that people have a right to associate with only those who they care to and also to not associate with those those they don't. Discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, and sexual orientation is abhorrent. But so is using the government to force groups or businesses to associate with individuals that they would rather not.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:41 PM Comments

Open Thread

—rdbrewer


François Charles Cachoud, "A Village in the Moonlight; The Road at Night" (n.d.)

Posted by rdbrewer at 01:17 PM Comments

Trumpmentum!

—DrewM.

Surely there would be a backlash against Trump after his slur against John McCain's military service, cried the GOP!

Um, no.

A new poll of voters likely to take part in the New Hampshire Republican primary shows Donald Trump with the biggest lead he has yet held in the GOP race. The Monmouth University poll, released Tuesday morning, has Trump at 24 percent -- double the support of the next-highest Republican, Jeb Bush, at 12 percent.

Perhaps Trump's growing following (I wouldn't go so far as to call it "support") will lead the GOP to rethink its strategy of calling these disaffected types every name in the book and instead provide a credible alternative to channel their anger.

Or not.

Interesting take away from this *one* poll....Trump's favoribility rating isn't underwater in it and he's crushing it with younger voters.

I don't buy the idea that Trump is a serious candidate. Oh sure, he's going to campaign and do whatever it is he thinks will get votes but I can't believe when push comes to shove people will vote for him.

One advantage, and it's a big one, he has over the flavor of the month candidates last time (like Bachmann and Cain) is there's nothing that can come out about him that would make people say, "oh no, that's beyond the pale in terms of charachter or temperament".

He is who he is and every negative that would sink anyone else is simply "The Mystique of The Donald." It's all already priced in. Hell, it's part of his appeal.

I know the GOP is getting worried about this and there will be some movements to exclude him from debates (everyone will have to swear not to run 3rd party/indy) or keep him off ballots through some rules machinations.

If the GOP tries to keep the man who is at the top of the polls out a debate or off ballots, they are just asking for trouble.

Trump isn't running to raise his speaking fees or get a TV show (remember he gave one up to do this). He's in this because he's an egomaniac who has nothing better to do with his money and the name recognition he's built up over the years.

I don't see him as a "Well, if the rules say I'm out, then those are the rules" kind of guy. Anything other than a legit flame out that crushes his ego is only going to lead to him lashing out.

He may not be worth as much money as he claims but he's sure as hell worth enough to run a spite campaign that will sink any hope the GOP has next year.

There are no good answers here for the GOP but my guess is they will find away to come up with the worst one possible. That's kind of what they are best at.

Added: Matthew in the comments asks a great question.

5 He's rabidly pro-abortion, essentially pro-illegal immigration, and fundamentally pro big-government.

Why don't the GOP higher ups love the guy?
And why do the rank and file not hate him?

What kind of topsy turvy world is this?
Posted by: matthew at July 28, 2015 12:12 PM (Z/WIA)


Posted by DrewM. at 12:10 PM Comments

AoSHQ Interview: Noah Pollak On The Iran Nuke Deal

—DrewM.

(Bumped back up top after breaking Planned Parenthood story)

Noah Pollak (@noahpollak) is the Executive Director of The Emergency Committee for Israel and a contributor to The Weekly Standard and The Washington Free Beacon.

We spoke yesterday afternoon about the Iran nuclear deal.

Here's the full interview.

Topics covered include:

Some of the most egregious provisions of the deal. We couldn't get to them all because I wanted to keep this under 30 minutes and an extensive accounting of the deal would take hours.

Why Obama was so desperate for a deal (legacy and/or remaking the Mideast more to his liking).

Implications for the future of the Mideast (spoiler: there are many and none are good from a US perspective). In short, Obama ran on an anti-nuclear proliferation platform and will in the end be responsible for a major escalation in the spread of nuclear weapons.

The Corker-Cardin charade and the fecklessness of Democrats on the matter. Watch Democrats like Schumer to vote against the deal but to uphold Obama's veto.

And finally, because I forgot to do it earlier, the idiocy of so-called "snap back" sanctions. It'll never happen because too many countries will have too much pride on the line and there's too much money to be made.

The timing of this discussion is fortuitous because Secretaries Kerry, Moniz, and Lew are back on Capital Hill today testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the deal.

In related news, John Yoo, the former DoJ lawyer most well known for authoring the legal justification for the "enhanced interrogation" regime during the George W. Bush administration, argues that the Iran deal isn't a treaty for purposes of Senate ratification but the GOP still played its hand poorly.

But critics of the Iran deal should save their strength when it comes to the Constitution. Last spring, Republicans in Congress created a process to review the agreement by majority vote. If Congress disapproves the deal, President Obama can still veto the resolution. In other words, two-thirds of the House and Senate will have to agree to stop the Iran deal — a bizarre inversion of the Treaty Clause.

Congressional Republicans may have scored a political victory by putting every Senate Democrat on the record on the Iran deal, but they have also inadvertently bolstered the deal’s legality. In foreign affairs, as the Supreme Court has observed, the president acts at the height of his constitutional powers when backed up by Congress. In Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer, which blocked President Truman’s seizure of the nation’s steel mills during the Korean War, Justice Robert Jackson famously observed: “When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum, for it includes all that he possesses in his own right plus all that Congress can delegate.” While only a concurrence (and one I tend to disagree with as a misreading of the separation of powers), Jackson’s approach has found its way into the justices’ majority opinions in recent foreign-affairs cases.

In providing a legal basis for the Iran deal, congressional Republicans have only themselves to blame. Nevertheless, conservatives are weighing legal challenges in court. This would be a waste of valuable resources.

Read his whole argument, it's worth the time.

I agree that the Iran deal falls outside the purview of the Ratification Clause but on other grounds. Yoo is far too much of an Executive supremacist for my liking but that doesn't change the facts that all Presidents have tremendous leeway in foreign affairs. Absent some sort of internal restraint (which the Constitution's "checks and balances" was designed to limit the need for) or the political will in the legislature to provoke a showdown, there's not much this or an Congress can do.

Iran and Obama will get their deal. He will ride off into the sunset in a less than a year and a half and then the real work of dealing with this fateful agreement will begin.

Added just because of course it was....


Posted by DrewM. at 10:58 AM Comments

Third Planned Parenthood Video Released

—Gabriel Malor

Update 10:32

I've added the content warning below because the video includes some images of chopped up babies that are likely to stick with you.

Original Post:

flaming_skull2a.gif

The Center for Medical Progress has released a third Planned Parenthood video, promising to be the first of a series. This one focuses on a phlebotomist who was hired by StemExpress as a "procurement technician." She says she found out after she was hired that rather than drawing blood (which is what a phlebotomist does), she was dissecting aborted babies so their parts could be sold off.

Some quotes:

"They do get some kind of benefit."
"They wanted someone who can get the numbers up."
"For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage. The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated."

CONTENT WARNING FOR DISTURBING IMAGES

"We were asked to procure certain tissues like brain, livers, thymus, pancreas, heart, lungs, and pretty much anything on the fetus. It's basically a huge trafficking of fetal tissues."

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:52 AM Comments

Morning Thread (7-28-2015)

—Andy

Help us, SMOD 2016. You're our only hope.

Posted by Andy at 05:57 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (7-27-2015)

—Maetenloch

Bringing Back That Old New York Rap

All those who waxed nostalgic over the grittier, realer New York of the 70s and 80s are about to get their wish.

Take a walk around the Grand Hyatt and neighboring Grand Central Terminal these days. It's often like stepping out of Jules Verne's time machine straight back into the 1970s or 1980s. Vanderbilt Avenue, in particular, is becoming once again the urinal of the universe, with one block wall-to-wall "bum stands," as my son, with childhood inventiveness, used to call them: the stolen supermarket shopping cart, the garbage bag full of scavenged cans and bottles for redemption, the prone figure wrapped mummy-like in a filthy blanket. The heart sinks. It took so much effort by so many people to clear up the human wreckage that so many years of liberal "compassion" had created in a dying New York. And to see it all - I can't put it any better than the esteemed New York Post - "pissed away" by a mayor not smart or perceptive enough to have learned one thing from the experience of the last 20 years, since his own personal demons have left him stuck in the politics of the 1950s and 1960s, is tragic. It is so hard to build; so easy to destroy.

Listen, Mayor: the first job of government is to keep the people safe in their homes and in the streets. If you can't do that as a municipal chief executive, you are a flop. Equality is not the job of government, unless you are a Communist, in which case equality usually comes at the barrel of a gun or the end of a noose.

Also: New York Court Orders the Re-Pornification of Times Square.

nyc1980gritty_br headlesspost

Hillary and the Dead Puppy Democrats

MSNBC Commentator Thinks FCC Should Fine People For "Misgendering" Caitlyn Jenner

Never mind that Bruce Jenner is still legally a man named Bruce Jenner.

Another Killer on the Loose in Sanctuary City, San Francisco

WaPo Investigation Reveals That Air Conditioning Is A 'Big, Sexist Plot'

See if you can guess why without me having to mansplain it to you.

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Posted by Maetenloch at 10:55 PM Comments

Planned Parenthood Hacked, Says Hacker Group

—Gabriel Malor

Updated 7:25pm

Confirmed.

The women's health and abortion provider said Monday it has reported the crime to the Department of Justice and the FBI.

"Extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood's mission and services have launched an attack on our information systems, and have called on the world's most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members," said Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens Monday afternoon.

Yes, yes, hacking is a crime. Very bad. Don't do. Much punish.

And this feeds the laughable victim mentality of these genocidal vampires.

And yet . . . my sympathy meter is pinging a big fat zero. Let's see those emails.

Original Post

Pro-life hackers? Pro-life hacktivists? Tomato, tomato.

One of the hackers, who goes by the pseudonym “E,” told the Daily Dot that the cyberattack was politically motivated.

“Trying to mold an atrocious monstrosity into socially acceptable behaviors is repulsive,” said E. “Obviously what [Planned Parenthood] does is a very ominous practice. It'll be interesting to see what surfaces when [Planned Parenthood] is stripped naked and exposed to the public.”

Planned Parenthood Chief Information Officer Tom Subak told the Daily Dot on Sunday night that the organization was previously unaware of a breach in their systems.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood says it is investigating the claim.

The hacker group 3301 hasn't released any stolen data yet, but they say they got the Planned Parenthood website databases, names and email addresses of employees, and internal emails.

This part sounds like typical juvenile internet warrior bravado, but take it how you will:

The hackers say they attempted to deface Planned Parenthood's site or have it redirect to the hacker group's Twitter account. However, they were unable to accomplish this goal because, according to E, Planned Parenthood's website “backend is so terribly configured,” which thwarted their attempts to gain further administration access to the site.

Defacing someone's webpage is the internet equivalent of having your pants pulled down in a public place. Embarrassing, but fixable. I'm more interested in these internal emails, which no doubt contain plenty of juicy details.

Think about it. Put some wine in them and the Planned Parenthood people were just fine discussing crushed baby parts over foie gras and brioche toast. One can only imagine the horrible things they say to each other in the comfort of their own emails.

A couple of the broadcast nets gave Planned Parenthood's very own Cruella de Vil an opportunity to defend the organization's enthusiastic organ trafficking efforts this weekend. Mollie Hemingway recaps the ABC appearance in case you missed that horror show.

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:20 PM Comments



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Cute and bitey

My wisdom for today: When out of office, Joe Biden should do whiskey commercials. He'd be perfect. Now, I know you have today's news in mind, so not like this (NSFW). Like this. Big smile. Dark room. Fireplace light shining through the iced booze. YES, wizards think about things like that.
CNBC: Alan Greenspan: This is 'extremely dangerous'
"On Wednesday, Greenspan decried a rise in entitlement costs, which he contended have pressured the U.S. economy." [rdbrewer]

The Wrap: Inside NBC News Turmoil: Deborah Turness Sidelined, Brian Williams Eyed as MSNBC’s ‘Face of Daytime’
Williams should be the face of The Daily Show. Anyway, that's all she wrote for Deborah Turness. And Pat Fili-Krushel is already gone. Why does NBC hate women? [rdbrewer]

Reuters: Virginia college graduates sue Rolling Stone over rape story
My heart goes out to Rolling Stone. [rdbrewer]

Daily Mail: Could your work behavior be killing your career? Business icon Jack Welch warns which common pitfalls will keep you from getting ahead [rdbrewer]

Elite Daily: 15 Summer Destinations That Will Make You Forget All About Home
Very nice pictures. [rdbrewer]

Video: Parrot does Irish jig [rdbrewer]

CBS Philly: Author Ronald Kessler On Bill Clinton: ‘He Has A Blonde, Busty Mistress’
Code name "Energizer." The Secret Service likes her. They hate working with Hillary, and guarding her is considered a form of punishment. [rdbrewer]

Yahoo: Earth Will Only Have 12 Hours To Prepare For Massive Solar Storm
If we have one. I'm telling you, we need to get the national power grid protected. That would work in the case of an EMP attack too (caused by a detonating a nuclear bomb in space). [rdbrewer]

RT: Alien swarm? 10 UFO-like objects filmed flying over Japan [rdbrewer]

Hey, remember the 80's?
This commercial pissed off the USSR so bad, they lodged complaints with the White House. Added: Wendy's pulled the ad. [rdbrewer]
Uhhhh, why is plankton hanging on to the outside of the Space Station?
I guess they need to bring it back to Earth to confirm what it is. I see no possible way that could end badly. [@ComradeArthur]

First Alien Auroras Found, Are 1 Million Times Brighter Than Any On Earth
Also from Space.com, video of the moment Spaceship Two began to feather its re-entry wings. It looks like they intentionally cut out the moment the ship was destroyed. [rdbrewer]
False alarm on that breaking news story
About the boys lost at sea. It was an old story. I won't mention who I got it from, but I will say she has a beautiful smile, and she works at... eh. Never mind. I should have checked. [rdbrewer]

Look, I know this is a terrible p-shop, but at least give me a couple of RTs for my wounded soul.
BoingBoing: Naomi Wolf wants young women to stop speaking with "vocal fry"
Don't care that it's Wolf or BoingBoing, this issue is too important. The fad of forced vocal fry among women these days is the most annoying thing    i n    t h e
u n i v e r s e.   Video.
[rdbrewer]

ARC: Direct Thrust Measurements of an EMDrive and Evaluation of Possible Side-Effects
Looks like the actual paper. Via @ScottyE_FL [rdbrewer]

ExtremeTech: NASA's Curiosity does a double-take [rdbrewer]

Boehner cries at his own heroism
"...Never got in trouble or anything. They were good, well-mannered children." Paragraphs 9, 10, and 11 suggest otherwise. *shiver* [NDH]
Camille Paglia: How Bill Clinton is like Bill Cosby
It's Salon, but it's Paglia. [rdbrewer]

Betsy Rothstein, TheDC: Trump’s Lawyer Threatens To Drain Daily Beast Reporter’s Bank Account
"Trump’s ex-wife is legally barred from gabbing about the case, but she did say The Daily Beast story based on her own statements in her deposition was 'without merit.'" Uh-oh. [rdbrewer]

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