Thursday, August 25, 2016

They Deserve Each Other

On the very day that Ann Coulter, the whitest woman in America, releases her new book that lathers up her affection and devotion for Donald Trump, he goes mushy on immigration, the one topic that Ms. Coulter never gives ground on.

Oh, she is pissed.

Would you like some popcorn with your schadenfreude?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Short Takes

U.S. agrees to admit more refugees from Central America.

ISIS takes credit for deadly attack on church in Normandy.

President Obama on DNC hack by Russia: “Anything’s possible.”

Northeast hit by heavy storms and heat wave.

U.S. approves release of last Russian prisoner from Gitmo.

Poll: No post-convention bounce for Trump.

The Tigers beat the Red Sox 9-8.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How It’s Done

While we talk a lot about America being a land of immigrants, Canadians are showing us how it is really done.

From the New York Times:

TORONTO — One frigid day in February, Kerry McLorg drove to an airport hotel here to pick up a family of Syrian refugees. She was cautious by nature, with a job poring over insurance data, but she had never even spoken to the people who were about to move into her basement.

“I don’t know if they even know we exist,” she said.

At the hotel, Abdullah Mohammad’s room phone rang, and an interpreter told him to go downstairs. His children’s only belongings were in pink plastic bags, and the family’s documents lay in a white paper bag printed with a Canadian flag. His sponsors had come, he was told. He had no idea what that meant.

Across Canada, ordinary citizens, distressed by news reports of drowning children and the shunning of desperate migrants, are intervening in one of the world’s most pressing problems. Their country allows them a rare power and responsibility: They can band together in small groups and personally resettle — essentially adopt — a refugee family. In Toronto alone, hockey moms, dog-walking friends, book club members, poker buddies and lawyers have formed circles to take in Syrian families. The Canadian government says sponsors officially number in the thousands, but the groups have many more extended members.

When Ms. McLorg walked into the hotel lobby to meet Mr. Mohammad and his wife, Eman, she had a letter to explain how sponsorship worked: For one year, Ms. McLorg and her group would provide financial and practical support, from subsidizing food and rent to supplying clothes to helping them learn English and find work. She and her partners had already raised more than 40,000 Canadian dollars (about $30,700), selected an apartment, talked to the local school and found a nearby mosque.

Ms. McLorg, the mother of two teenagers, made her way through the crowded lobby, a kind of purgatory for newly arrived Syrians. Another member of the group clutched a welcome sign she had written in Arabic but then realized she could not tell if the words faced up or down. When the Mohammads appeared, Ms. McLorg asked their permission to shake hands and took in the people standing before her, no longer just names on a form. Mr. Mohammad looked older than his 35 years. His wife was unreadable, wearing a flowing niqab that obscured her face except for a narrow slot for her eyes. Their four children, all under 10, wore donated parkas with the tags still on.

Meanwhile, we have governors filing lawsuits against the federal government because they don’t want them in their state.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Quoth Mr. Trump:

“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire. “That is a fact and a fact we need to talk about.”

Trump, who read from a teleprompter, then appeared to catch himself after suggesting the shooter was born in Afghanistan. Law enforcement officials said Sunday that Omar Mateen was born in New York.


Birthplaces 06-14-16

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Citizens Uniting

Donald Trump’s campaign against immigration is having an unexpected consequence: immigrants are applying to become citizens so they can vote against him.

DENVER — Donald J. Trump’s harsh campaign language against Mexican immigrants has helped him win a substantial delegate lead in the Republican primaries, but it is also mobilizing a different set of likely voters — six in the family of Hortensia Villegas alone.

A legal immigrant from Mexico, Ms. Villegas is a mother of two who has been living in the United States for nearly a decade but never felt compelled to become a citizen. But as Mr. Trump has surged toward the Republican nomination, Ms. Villegas — along with her sister, her parents and her husband’s parents — has joined a rush by many Latino immigrants to naturalize in time to vote in November.

“I want to vote so Donald Trump won’t win,” said Ms. Villegas, 32, one of several hundred legal residents, mostly Mexicans, who crowded one recent Saturday into a Denver union hall. Volunteers helped them fill out applications for citizenship, which this year are taking about five months for federal officials to approve. “He doesn’t like us,” she said.

Well, whaddaya know… Republicans aren’t the only party with a base.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Short Takes

Cleveland Police fires, suspends officers over deadly 2012 shooting.

Lead pipes not being removed from Flint water system.

F.B.I. arrests Milwaukee man for planning temple attack.

Denmark approves seizing refugees’ valuables.

Italy covers up nude statues during Iran presidential visit.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Friday, December 18, 2015

Don’t Quote Me

Every now and then even Fox News can catch a Republican flat-footed and flustered.

Ted Cruz is a smooth political operator. Even his critics have to give him that. A former debate champion at Princeton, the Texas senator seldom gets tied in a rhetorical knot, not matter how tangled a situation might seem.

Recall the masterful way he talked around Stephen Colbert’s surprise mention of same-sex marriage during an appearance on “The Late Show” in September. Aware that his opposition to gay marriage is unpopular with the host — and apparently with the audience, based on audible reactions — Cruz quickly flipped the discussion into one about states’ rights to make their own marriage laws.

So it was borderline stunning to see Cruz squirm on Fox News Channel on Wednesday evening, when Bret Baier challenged the Republican presidential candidate’s assertion — made in Tuesday’s debate — that he has never supported allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status.

Baier cited interviews and statements Cruz made on the Senate floor in 2013, when he was pushing an amendment to the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration bill (Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another GOP White House hopeful, was in the gang) that laid out a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Cruz wanted to take citizenship off the table but made clear at the time that he would be willing to grant some legal status.

As Baier pointed out, Cruz’s earlier statements don’t jibe with what he said on the debate stage in Las Vegas: “I’ve never supported legalization; I do not intend to support it.”

Baier played a tape of Cruz’s May 2013 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which he said: “I don’t want immigration reform to fail; I want immigration reform to pass. And so I would urge people of good faith on both sides of the aisle, if the objective is to pass common-sense immigration reform that secures the borders, that improves legal immigration and that allows those here illegally to come out of the shadows, then we should look for areas of bipartisan agreement and compromise to come together.”

Mr. Cruz tried to wiggle out of it by claiming he was using a Jedi mind trick: he was really trying to kill immigration reform by being for it.

Cruz was clearly stuck. He tried to argue that his objective was to “defeat Marco Rubio’s amnesty” with his amendment. But Baier fired back with Cruz’s own words: “The problem, though, is that at the time you were telling people like Byron York with the Washington Examiner that this was not a poison pill. You told him, ‘My objective was not to kill immigration reform.’ You said you wanted it to pass at the time.”

Look, the guy is slick and smug, but thank Dog there is video and Google.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Yes, It Can Happen Here

In 1935 Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel titled It Can’t Happen Here about  Senator Buzz Windrip who rose to popularity and became President of the United States by running on a ticket of social and economic reforms and a return to patriotism and traditional values.  After he’s elected he imposes a plutocratic/fascist regime with the help of a paramilitary force called the Minute Men, much like Hitler’s SS.  The title of the book comes from the idea that such an event can’t really happen in America.

Yes, it can.  We’ve gotten close on several occasions, most recently in the mid-1930’s when, out of the depths of the Depression and in the fear of Bolshevism in Europe, Huey Long — on whom Lewis based Windrip — came very close to running for president in 1936 only to be stopped by an assassin in 1935.  And now Donald Trump is doing it again, and if yesterday’s declaration of banning the admission of “every” Muslim, including American citizens coming back from a trip to Toronto, is any indication, he’s just getting warmed up.  He’s already demonized blacks, veterans, the disabled, women, and anyone who raises an objection to his rhetoric, so of course picking on the religion that is being portrayed as the enemy — another pickup from you-know-who — is the next step.

Of course everyone with the sense nature gave a goose will condemn him, including his rivals for the GOP nomination, but he’s going to get a bump in the polls and he’s going to roll on as the establishment Republican Party reels in horror and asks, with no sense of irony or self-awareness, “How could this happen?”

Charlie Pierce thinks that Mr. Trump has reached the stage of desperation and this plan to ban all Muslims from coming into the country is his last flail before he gets taken over by the comparatively moderate Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

It is utterly immoral, completely unworkable, incredibly expensive, and the person proposing it admits he has no idea of the nature of the problem this proposal was designed to combat—except that it was designed by He, Trump, which apparently makes all the difference.

We keep saying that this won’t last, that certainly Donald Trump is going to go too far and the country will finally turn against him and he’ll drop off the screens.  We thought that after he dissed John McCain’s time as a P.O.W. in Vietnam, after he tangled with Fox News, and after any number of declarations that heretofore would have killed off any other presidential campaign, but unless we’re waking up this morning to nation that has finally had enough, he’s going to keep on stomping.

Footnote: See also All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, which truly follows the life and death of Huey Long.  The film version with Broderick Crawford is stunning and scary as hell.

Friday, November 20, 2015

It’s What They Do

I expected the Republicans to vote as a bloc on the stupid and chickenshit bill to gum up the works for Syrian and Iraqi refugees.  It is, as the current meme goes, what they do.

I also expected a number of Democrats to cringe and curl up into a ball and vote along with them because, y’know, it’s also what they do.  They’re not afraid of jihadists sneaking into the country under the guise of being poor wandering ones from war-torn countries; after all, the people who committed the attacks in Paris were either Belgian or European Union citizens; the Syrian passports found at the scene were forgeries, most likely being carried as a part of the plan to throw off the investigators.  I doubt they were thinking, “Gee, after we do this, the U.S. House is going to play right into our hands and completely lose their shpadoinkle over the idea of Syrians sneaking into Deadcat, Indiana, and waging jihad while washing dishes at the Cracker Barrel.”

What they’re really afraid of is being called soft on terrorism by the Republicans who have completely lost their shpadoinkle over a group of people who are running for their lives from a bunch of vicious thugs and murderers and have no more capacity to wage guerrilla war on the West than Rush Limbaugh has of doing the macarena with Hillary Clinton.

Aside from the fact that the law is doomed and short-sighted — after all, if the intent is to block only Syrian and Iraqi refugees, what’s to stop a determined jihadist from picking up a false set of papers from say an Albanian or a Serbian or whatever set of forgeries are available from the guy at the copy shop who sells them on the side — it was another in a long series of GOP attempts to call out the weak-willed and bed-wetters among the Democrats. And it worked; now we know who can be held hostage via e-mail and who could be coaxed into voting for laws that basically put Muslims under the same yoke of suspicion and ostracization as the Japanese citizens in Los Angeles on December 8, 1941, or the Jewish shopkeepers in Nuremberg in 1938.  After all, Donald Trump says “he’s potentially open to the creation of a database to track Muslim citizens, or requiring that Muslim Americans carry a special form of identification noting their faith.”  What, wear some version of the symbol of Islam on their clothing?

I have gotten used to the Republicans and their candidates sucking up to fascism and religious intolerance American style (not to mention the irony of labeling gun registration as the road to tyranny but registering Muslims as a bulwark of freedom).  And sadly I have gotten used to Democrats caving in to this mindset.  It’s what they do.

Short Takes

France and Belgium tighten security measures and restrict civil liberties in response to the Paris attacks.

Veto bait: The House voted a bill to restrict admission to Syrian and Indonesian refugees.

Mexican immigration to the U.S. is actually in the negative; more are leaving than arriving.

Protesters and city leaders plead for calm in Minneapolis in the wake of another unarmed black person killed by police.

Catch of the Day: GMO salmon is approved by the FDA.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Short Takes

Winter weather and tornadoes hit the Midwest.

Over 100 people indicted in Waco biker brawl that killed nine.

Two relatives of Venezuelan president indicted on drug charges.

Another fence is built in Europe to thwart immigrants.

Weather may have caused Ohio plane crash.

Hurricane Kate heads east across the Atlantic.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Starting Off With A Lie

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is beginning his term as Speaker of the House in typical Republican fashion: lying through his pearly-white teeth.

Newly elected Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday he’s willing to work across the aisle with Democrats but won’t do immigration reform with President Obama in his final 14 months in office.

“The president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue, because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does,” the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referring to Obama’s executive actions this year to ease immigration policies.

“The president’s proven himself to be untrustworthy on this issue.”

This is crap.  The Republicans are deathly afraid of touching any kind of immigration reform no matter who writes it because they have already invested so much time and effort demonizing immigrants to the point that it has become The Issue for them.  It’s what launched Donald Trump’s campaign, it’s what makes the base fork over the dough, and any attempt to repair the system will be seen as caving in to sanity, and you sure can’t do that and win the primaries.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Short Takes

Volkswagen CEO resigns over emissions scandal.

Hackers stole 5.6 million sets of fingerprints from the federal government.

Pope Francis talks about immigration and climate change.

Eastern Europe lightens up on migrant quotas.

The Tigers beat the White Sox 7-4.

Tropical Update:  TS Ida moves a little to the north.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

And The Bag It Came In

Mike Huckabee continues to prove why he’ll never be president of anything ever.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, whose presidential campaign has become a crusade for “religious liberty” and the rights of the unborn, told social conservatives this weekend that they should be skeptical of allowing more Syrian refugees into the United States.

“Are they really escaping tyranny, are they escaping poverty, or are they really just coming because we’ve got cable TV?” Huckabee asked, in an audience question-and-answer session at the conservative Eagle Forum conference in St. Louis. “I don’t meant to be trite. I’m just saying: We don’t know.”

If you think that the epitome of the American dream is to risk life and limb so you can get screwed over by Comcast, you really are a douche.