All entries by this author

If not a Russian bot, might as well be

Feb 19th, 2018 12:17 pm | By

Three days ago Mary Beard mused aloud on Twitter.

And lo, there was a pile-on. (I read Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed a couple of months ago. I recommend it.) There are currently 828 replies.

She attempted to clarify her point many times but most of the pilers weren’t listening.

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Votybot

Feb 19th, 2018 11:30 am | By

Newsweek reports:

White nationalist provocateurs, a pair of fake news sites, an army of Twitter bots and other cyber tricks helped derail Democratic Senator Al Franken last year, new research shows.

While everyone has been focused on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to support Donald Trump, the Franken takedown originated in—and was propelled by—a strategic online campaign with digital tentacles reaching to, of all places, Japan. Analysts have now mapped out how Hooters pinup girl and lad-mag model Leeann Tweeden’s initial accusation against Franken became effective propaganda after right-wing black ops master Roger Stone first hinted at the allegation.

A pair of Japan-based websites, created the day before Tweeden came forward, and a swarm of related Twitter

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Guest post: Let’s politicize the shit out of this

Feb 19th, 2018 11:15 am | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on No politics, please, we’re here to solicit $$$$.

Here’s what I want someone (well, someone other than me, someone with actual influence) to say after the next mass shooting:

The NRA and its lackeys don’t want us to talk about guns now. They say that would be “politicizing” this tragedy. And I say: yes, it would, and that’s exactly why we should do it.

“Politics” has come to be a dirty word, that brings to mind petty bickering and disingenuous posturing. But that’s not all that politics is. Politics is the means by which we, as a society, decide how to govern ourselves. It’s how we make changes that might prevent or … Read the rest



The howling and unreflective void at his core

Feb 19th, 2018 9:26 am | By

From David Roth in The Baffler last August:

The most significant thing to know about Donald Trump’s politics or process, his beliefs or his calculations, is that he is an asshole; the only salient factor in any decision he makes is that he absolutely does not care about the interests of the parties involved except as they reflect upon him. Start with this, and you already know a lot. Start with this, and you already know that there are no real answers to any of these questions.

It is not quite fair to say that Donald Trump lacks core beliefs, but to the extent that we can take apart these beliefs they amount to Give Donald Trump Your Money

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No politics, please, we’re here to solicit $$$$

Feb 18th, 2018 3:35 pm | By

Paul Ryan doesn’t want to “talk about politics” at his own fundraiser. That’s his version, at least; what he apparently means is that he doesn’t want to talk about gun control – way too political, that.

Two protesters chanting “no more guns” were removed from a Republican fundraiser in Key Biscayne Friday night after confronting Speaker of the House Paul Ryan about the mass shooting that happened days earlier and miles up the road.

Maria Thorne, a Key Biscayne activist, said she noticed motorcade traffic clogging up her commute home from her job as a fifth grade teacher at iPrep Academy, where she spent the day reassuring scared students that she could keep them safe from a shooter.

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To defy the PC goblins passes as radical truth-telling

Feb 18th, 2018 1:13 pm | By

Virginia Heffernan on John Kelly and “political correctness”:

How good it feels; it’s almost a high. When we can’t be bothered to temper our provincialism — or lechery and racism — we get to dress up ignorance as bravery, rebellion. To defy the PC goblins passes as radical truth-telling. In a flash, our existential terror about being obsolete and left behind — at being a “dinosaur,” as Harvey Weinstein once described himself — turns into bravado about that very same backwardness.

We know the type.

John Kelly, the beleaguered White House chief of staff, despises political correctness.

And he doesn’t just hate it on behalf of geezers who can’t get girls to laugh at their off-color jokes anymore. He

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Derelict

Feb 18th, 2018 11:53 am | By

Ruth Marcus at the Post points out that National security adviser H.R. McMaster wrote a book titled “Dereliction of Duty.”

Now, in the White House in which McMaster serves, the dereliction of duty starts at the top. And, as the past several days have shown, President Trump’s failure is dereliction on a grand, unprecedented scale: We find ourselves at war without a commander in chief; in national mourning without a consoler in chief; and in political gridlock without a negotiator in chief.

The first is the most appalling and most terrifying. “Incontrovertible,” McMaster said, and so it is for anyone who bothers to read the indictment of 13 Russians for running a massive operation not only to disrupt the election

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The interim

Feb 18th, 2018 11:38 am | By

David Frum too is underwhelmed by Trump’s attempt to show sympathy for the student of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school.

As the rest of America mourns the victims of the Parkland, Florida, massacre, President Trump took to Twitter.

Not for him the rituals of grief. He is too consumed by rage and resentment. He interrupted his holidaying schedule at Mar-a-Lago only briefly, for a visit to a hospital where some of the shooting victims were treated. He posed afterward for a grinning thumbs-up photo op. Pain at another’s heartbreak—that emotion is for losers, apparently.

I don’t think there was even that much thought involved. I think he completely forgot what he was there for, because there’s not room in … Read the rest



Don’s bumpy morning

Feb 18th, 2018 11:12 am | By

That was just one of many deranged tweets from “the president” today. He’s more bonkers than ever, he’s more self-obsessed than ever, he’s as recklessly indifferent to the fate of the country and the world as ever. He’s also very very cross.

President Trump, in a series of angry and defiant tweets on Sunday morning, sought to shift the blame to Democrats for Russia’s virtual war to meddle in the 2016 election, saying that President Barack Obama had not done enough to stop the interference and denying that he had ever suggested that Moscow might not have been involved.

Mr. Trump, who has said little to publicly acknowledge a threat to American democracy that even one of his top

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What it’s all about

Feb 18th, 2018 10:47 am | By

Trump. Today.

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Special rules

Feb 18th, 2018 9:59 am | By

Not at all scary or abnormal or reckless.

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, whose inability to obtain permanent security clearance has come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks, requests more information from the intelligence community than any other White House employee who isn’t working on the National Security Council, according to an unnamed source who spoke with the Washington Post. Kushner continues to only have interim security clearance after 13 months in the White House, since his background check still isn’t finished, most likely because he has had to repeatedly revise his disclosure form regarding foreign contacts to add information he had previously omitted.

And for extra added bonus alarm, he has no foreign policy or intelligence … Read the rest



17 CHILDREN MURDERED

Feb 17th, 2018 4:14 pm | By

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Incredible job, and everybody is talking about it

Feb 17th, 2018 4:09 pm | By

Josh Dawsey in the Post on the nightmare zombie visit of Trump to the Florida hospital yesterday.

President Trump, as he often does while responding to natural disasters, mass shootings or unfolding crises, spent much of his time congratulating the responders instead of memorializing the victims of Wednesday’s school shooting during a visit here Friday.

Trump, in two quick stops at a hospital and sheriff’s office near the school where 17 were killed and scores were injured, praised the doctors, police officers, fire officials and others who responded quickly to the mass shooting in Parkland, casting their response as heroic and record-setting.

“Incredible job, and everybody is talking about it,” Trump said of the response, with dozens of officers flanking

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Theory and practice

Feb 17th, 2018 12:04 pm | By

Meanwhile Trump sticks to his policy of hiring foreign workers for his own enterprises.

A Vox analysis of hiring records for seasonal workers at three Trump properties in New York and Florida revealed that only one out of 144 jobs went to a US worker from 2016 to the end of 2017. Foreign guest workers with H-2B visas got the rest.

Why would that be? Because they accept lower pay and crappier working conditions.

The H-2B visa program allows seasonal, non-agricultural employers — like hotels and ski resorts — to hire foreign workers when they can’t find American ones. The Trump administration temporarily expanded this guest-worker program in 2017 while restricting other avenues of legal immigration, including the H-1B program

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He voiced no concern

Feb 17th, 2018 11:10 am | By

Trump yesterday found time to make survivors of the Florida massacre smile in his photo op, but not to say anything about stopping Putin and gang trashing what there is of our democracy.

After more than a dozen Russians and three companies were indicted on Friday for interfering in the 2016 elections, President Trump’s first reaction was to claim personal vindication: “The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!” he wrote on Twitter.

He voiced no concern that a foreign power had been trying for nearly four years to upend American democracy, much less resolve to stop it from continuing to do so this year.

None, zip, zero. His first concern was for himself, and his second concern … Read the rest



Smile, god damn it

Feb 17th, 2018 10:36 am | By

You in the bed, you too.

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Smile, all of you

Feb 17th, 2018 10:34 am | By

Smile as if you mean it.

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Gaze into the abyss

Feb 17th, 2018 10:32 am | By

How dare he.

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Don has a festive day out

Feb 17th, 2018 10:16 am | By

Oh christ. You think he can’t go any lower and then…

My god he is standing there grinning and doing a thumbs up gesture!

He’s standing by a victim’s hospital bed in a sea of forced grins for his photo op!

He’s clapping his hands!

He collected all the nearby staff and made them grin next to him and his horrible thumb!

And, to top it off, he … Read the rest



The lioness thwarted the wolves

Feb 17th, 2018 9:58 am | By

Tarek Fatah on Asma Jahangir’s final victory over the angry Islamists.

For over 40 years the lioness of Pakistan stood alone, surrounded by a snarling pack of hyenas circling her for the kill. But they never dared come close to Asma Jahangir whose stare alone used to send many a jihadi and military general packing with tails tucked between their rears.

Asma Jahangir didn’t ever wrap her head in hijab, the flag of misogyny that has enamoured so many white women of privilege. She knew the piece of cloth represented Islamic radicalism.

Only 66, she was also the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran. While most Pakistanis, Indians and Iranians were shocked at the news of her

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