Read ’em and weep:
Part 4: To be written when Echidne recovers from writing the preceding.
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Posted by Charles II on April 20, 2015
Read ’em and weep:
Part 4: To be written when Echidne recovers from writing the preceding.
Posted by Charles II on January 1, 2015
A California attorney has begun posting diaries on Daily Kos regarding cases he has defended. They are extremely entertaining. His first:
The transcript was a window into the heart of darkness. Bill apparently thought Stoney was a cop come to reward him for setting up Dave. He apparently wanted everybody to know what a good job he had done. He spared no details. He told about how he was in jail for burglary, drugs, and perjury when the detective approached him with a deal to lighten his sentence. All he had to do was go out and set up Dave. He was instructed in detail as to how he was to approach Dave. He reported his progress regularly to the detective. The detective introduced him to Joyce and told him how use her to get into Dave’s confidence. Bill said he was always afraid Joyce was a cop and actually asked Stoney if she was. Finally, Stoney identified himself as a private investigator working for the defense attorney. Bill was stunned. He asked for an attorney. Stoney advised him that he was going to be confronted in court with the statements he had just made. Bill said “What do I care? I’m in here for perjury anyway!”
Forward to the preliminary hearing. Bill testified under oath to the detective’s version of the story. My turn. I asked Bill if he had ever met the couple sitting in the second row of the courtroom. He looked out and saw Stoney and the stenographer. At that point, I handed a copy of the transcript to that smarmy lying bastard of a DA. He read a couple of sentences and asked for a recess. When we came back, he abruptly dismissed the charges regarding the pill sales.
I have contended that the greatest power a license to practice law confers is the power to compel powerful people to testify under oath. But police have developed a countermeasure. It’s called lying. It’s a powerful device because it’s institutionally protected. Few lawyers can beat them head on. They will always be “believed.” Cops sardonically call it “testilying.” However, there is a workaround. It involves maneuvering them into telling the wrong lies. To do this, you have to exploit a common character flaw – hubris. Cops who lie are generally infected with a compulsion for dominance. They need to let you know they are lying and that you can’t do anything about it. That’s why I love to tell about the missing tape recording.
Posted by Charles II on December 11, 2013
Tim Elliott, Sydney Morning Herald:
Eagle-eyed readers of last weekend’s newspaper may have spotted an unusual assemblage of letters in Harry the Dog’s regular word puzzle.
The puzzle, on page 79, had an “animals of Indonesia” theme, with readers asked to spot words such as “dolphin”, “civet”, and “cassowary”.
But on line three are the letters: LIVESIHCODRUM, or, written backwards…
Too bad his empire is not as mortal as he is.
Posted by Charles II on November 21, 2013
Ed Pilkington, The Guardian:
Barack Obama is facing a fresh offensive against his troubled healthcare reforms as Republican legislators backed by corporate sponsors prepare an attempt to effectively destroy the Affordable Care Act at state level.
With Obamacare still in crisis from its botched technical rollout, the signature reform of the Obama presidency faces threats from state-based politicians who have devised a strategy to scupper the federal health insurance exchanges.
The move is the latest in a sustained effort by conservative states, mainly in the south and midwest, to resist key elements of the changes that are designed to extend healthcare to millions of uninsured Americans.
The idea for the new attack is the brainchild of the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), a group that acts as a dating agency for Republican state legislators and big corporations, bringing them together to frame rightwing legislative agendas in the form of “model bills”.
A new Alec proposal, approved by its annual meeting in Chicago in August and published as a model bill for adoption by state assemblies across the nation, would scupper the federal health insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare. The Health Care Freedom Act, as Alec calls its model bill, threatens to strip health insurers of their licenses to do new business on the federal exchanges should they accept any subsidies under the system.
Alec justifies the measure as a way to protect local employers from the “employer mandate” – the provision in Obama’s act that penalises employers with more than 50 workers who do not offer any or sufficient healthcare cover for their employees. However, health insurance experts say that were the model bill to be taken up widely by Republican-held states, it would seriously disrupt the federal exchanges, and in turn put the whole health reforms in peril.
Legislation with almost identical language is already being debated in the state assemblies of Missouri and Ohio.
“You cannot build the healthcare system based on the free market unless you have subsidies. If they are taken away the whole thing collapses,” said Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive and critic of the health industry.
These people are evil. There is no other word to describe the attempt to deny health care to people who are uninsurable because they are sick or poor. 40,000 American die every year because of their past efforts. To continue to cause people to die needlessly in the face of having lost the argument and two national elections is, very simply, murder.
Posted by Charles II on February 18, 2013
Kos linked an important Business Insider article by Walter Hickey that explains the mechanism by which the gun industry funds the NRA. This is a very important distinction to get. As long as public anger is focused on the NRA, it is not focused on the manufacturers. As I think it was Rachel pointed out, Wayne LaPierre is the rodeo clown who keeps the heat off The People Who Matter:
Since 2005, the gun industry and its corporate allies have given between $20 million and $52.6 million to it through the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor program. Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun industry include Cabala’s, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.
The NRA also made $20.9 million — about 10 percent of its revenue — from selling advertising to industry companies marketing products in its many publications in 2010, according to the IRS Form 990.
Additionally, some companies donate portions of sales directly to the NRA. Crimson Trace, which makes laser sights, donates 10 percent of each sale to the NRA. Taurus buys an NRA membership for everyone who buys one of their guns. Sturm Rugar gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold, which amounts to millions. The NRA’s revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the gun business.
The NRA Foundation also collects hundreds of thousands of dollars from the industry, which it then gives to local-level organizations for training and equipment purchases.
The chief trade association for gun manufacturers is the National Shooting Sports Federation, which is, incidentally, located in Newtown, Conn. But the NRA takes front and center after each and every shooting.
“Today’s NRA is a virtual subsidiary of the gun industry,” said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center.
It’s possible that without the NRA, people would be protesting outside of Glock, SIG Sauer and Freedom Group — the makers of the guns used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre — and dragging the CEOs in front of cameras and Congress. That is certainly what happened to tobacco executives when their products continued killing people.
This is what the gun industry is protecting:
The photos show an arsenal of weapons the reader just legally bought including a Russian made Saiga-12 shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle, a huge cache of ammo, and several accessories.
The reader bought the shotgun at a gun show where there was no wait or background check. He left with the Saiga, a 30-round drum, a 10-round magazine, and an additional 5-round magazine. On top of that he added night vision, three laser sights, and a tactical light.
the reader has been in plenty of legal trouble.
In addition to a restraining order, and time in jail for violating it, the reader was tried for conspiracy to commit murder against his wife.
Yeah, yeah, innocent until proven guilty.
Start the dragging.
Posted by Charles II on December 29, 2012
The following is one of the more recent right-wing salvos circulating the Net (my emphases in color; crossposted to DK):
Laura Hollis, Nov 08, 2012
Laura Hollis is:
Current: Associate Professional Specialist and Concurrent Associate
Professor of Law at University of Notre Dame. [Note: ND Law lists Hollis as an Assistant professor.]
Past: Director at Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Associate
Director and Clinical Professor at University of Illinois at
Education: University of Notre Dame Law School, University of Notre Dame.
Summary: She has 20+ years’ experience in curriculum and other program
development and delivery.
I am already reading so many pundits and other talking heads analyzing the disaster that was this year’s elections. I am adding my own ten cents. Here goes:
1. We are outnumbered. We accurately foresaw the enthusiasm, the passion, the commitment, the determination, and the turnout. Married women, men, independents, Catholics, evangelicals – they all went for Romney in percentages as high or higher than the groups which voted for McCain in 2008. It wasn’t enough. What we saw in the election on Tuesday was a tipping point: we are now at a place where there are legitimately fewer Americans who desire a free republic with a free people than there are those who think the government should give them stuff. There are fewer of us who believe in the value of free exchange and free enterprise. There are fewer of us who do not wish to demonize successful people in order to justify taking from them. We are outnumbered. For the moment. It’s just that simple.
2. It wasn’t the candidate(s). Some are already saying, “Romney was the wrong guy”; “He should have picked Marco Rubio to get Florida/Rob Portman to get Ohio/Chris Christie to get [someplace else].” With all due respect, these assessments are incorrect. Romney ran a strategic and well-organized campaign. Yes, he could have hit harder on Benghazi. But for those who would have loved that, there are those who would have found it distasteful. No matter what tactic you could point to that Romney could have done better, it would have been spun in a way that was detrimental to his chances. Romney would have been an excellent president, and Ryan was an inspired choice. No matter who we ran this year, they would have lost. See #1, above.
3. It’s the culture, stupid. We have been trying to fight this battle every four years at the voting booth. It is long past time we admit that is not where the battle really is. We abdicated control of the culture – starting back in the 1960s. And now our largest primary social institutions – education, the media, Hollywood (entertainment) have become really nothing more than an assembly line for cranking out reliable little Leftists. Furthermore, we have allowed the government to undermine the institutions that instill good character – marriage, the family, communities, schools, our churches. So, here we are, at least two full generations later – we are reaping what we have sown. It took nearly fifty years to get here; it will take another fifty years to get back. But it starts with the determination to reclaim education, the media, and the entertainment business. If we fail to do that, we can kiss every election goodbye from here on out. And much more.
4. America has become a nation of adolescents The real loser in this election was adulthood: Maturity. Responsibility. The understanding that liberty must be accompanied by self-restraint. Obama is a spoiled child, and the behavior and language of his followers and their advertisements throughout the campaign makes it clear how many of them are, as well. Romney is a grown-up. Romney should have won. Those of us who expected him to win assumed that voters would act like grownups. Because if we were a nation of grownups, he would have won.
But what did win? Sex. Drugs. Bad language. Bad manners. Vulgarity. Lies. Cheating. Name-calling. Finger-pointing. Blaming. And irresponsible spending. This does not bode well. People grow up one of two ways: either they choose to, or circumstances force them to. The warnings are all there, whether it is the looming economic disaster, or the inability of the government to respond to crises like Hurricane Sandy, or the growing strength and brazenness of our enemies. American voters stick their fingers in their ears and say, “Lalalalalala, I can’t hear you.” It is unpleasant to think about the circumstances it will take to force Americans to grow up. It is even more unpleasant to think about Obama at the helm when those circumstances arrive.
5. Yes, there is apparently a Vagina Vote. It’s the subject matter of another column in its entirety to point out, one by one, all of the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of the Democrats this year. Suffice it to say that the only “war on women” was the one waged by the Obama campaign, which sexualized and objectified women, featuring them dressed up like vulvas at the Democrat National Convention, appealing to their “lady parts,” comparing voting to losing your virginity with Obama, trumpeting the thrills of destroying our children in the womb (and using our daughters in commercials to do so), and making Catholics pay for their birth control. For a significant number of women, this was appealing. It might call into question the wisdom of the Nineteenth Amendment, but for the fact that large numbers of women (largely married) used their “lady smarts” instead. Either way, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are rolling over in their graves.
6. It’s not about giving up on “social issues” No Republican candidate should participate in a debate or go out on the stump without thorough debate prep and a complete set of talking points that they stick to. This should start with a good grounding in biology and a reluctance to purport to know the will of God. (Thank you, Todd and Richard.)
That said, we do not hold the values we do because they garner votes. We hold the values we do because we believe that they are time-tested principles without which a civilized, free and prosperous society is not possible.
We defend the unborn because we understand that a society which views some lives as expendable is capable of viewing all lives as expendable.
We defend family – mothers, fathers, marriage, children – because history makes it quite clear that societies without intact families quickly descend into anarchy and barbarism, and we have plenty of proof of that in our inner cities where marriage is infrequent and unwed motherhood approaches 80 percent. When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, many thought that the abortion cause was lost. Forty years later, ultrasound technology has demonstrated the inevitable connection between science and morality. More Americans than ever define themselves as “pro-life.” What is tragic is that tens of millions of children have lost their lives while Americans figure out what should have been obvious before. There is no “giving up” on social issues. There is only the realization that we have to fight the battle on other fronts. The truth will win out in the end.
7. Obama does not have a mandate. And he does not need one. I have to laugh – bitterly – when I read conservative pundits trying to assure us that Obama “has to know” that he does not have a mandate, and so he will have to govern from the middle. I don’t know what they’re smoking. Obama does not care that he does not have a mandate. He does not view himself as being elected (much less re-elected) to represent individuals. He views himself as having been re-elected to complete the “fundamental transformation” of America, the basic structure of which he despises. Expect much more of the same – largely the complete disregard of the will of half the American public, his willingness to rule by executive order, and the utter inability of another divided Congress to rein him in. Stanley Kurtz has it all laid out here.
8. The Corrupt Media – is the enemy too strong? I don’t think so. I have been watching the media try to throw elections since at least the early 1990s. In 2008 and again this year, we saw the media cravenly cover up for the incompetence and deceit of this President, while demonizing a good, honorable and decent man with lies and smears. This is on top of the daily barrage of insults that conservatives (and by that I mean the electorate, not the politicians) must endure at the hands of this arrogant bunch of elitist snobs. Bias is one thing. What we observed with Benghazi was professional malpractice and fraud. They need to go. Republicans, Libertarians and other conservatives need to be prepared to play hardball with the Pravda press from here on out. And while we are at it, to defend those journalists of whatever political stripe (Jake Tapper, Sharyl Atkisson, Eli Lake) who actually do their jobs. As well as Fox News and talk radio. Because you can fully expect a re-elected Obama to try to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in term 2.
9. Small business and entrepreneurs will be hurt the worst For all the blather about “Wall Street versus Main Street,” Obama’s statist agenda will unquestionably benefit the biggest corporations which – as with the public sector unions – are in the best position to make campaign donations, hire lobbyists, and get special exemptions carved out from Obama’s health care laws, his environmental regulations, his labor laws. It will be the small business, the entrepreneur, and the first-time innovators who will be crushed by their inability to compete on a level playing field.
10. America is more polarized than ever; and this time it’s personal. I’ve been following politics for a long time, and it feels different this time. Not just for me. I’ve received messages from other conservatives who are saying the same thing: there is little to no tolerance left out there for those who are bringing this country to its knees – even when they have been our friends. It isn’t just about “my guy” versus “your guy.” It is my view of America versus your view of America – a crippled, hemorrhaging, debt-laden, weakened and dependent America that I want no part of and resent being foisted on me. I no longer have any patience for stupidity, blindness, or vulgarity, so with each dumb “tweet” or FB post by one of my happily lefty comrades, another one bites the dust, for me. Delete. What does this portend for a divided Congress? I expect that Republicans will be demoralized and chastened for a short time. But I see them in a bad position. Americans in general want Congress to work together. But many do not want Obama’s policies, and so Republicans who support them will be toast. Good luck, guys.
11. It’s possible that America just has to hit rock bottom. I truly believe that most Americans who voted for Obama have no idea what they are in for. Most simply believe him when he says that all he really wants is for the rich to pay “a little bit more.” So reasonable! Who could argue with that except a greedy racist? America is on a horrific bender. Has been for some time now. The warning signs of our fiscal profligacy and culture of lack of personal responsibility are everywhere – too many to mention. We need only look at other countries which have gone the route we are walking now to see what is in store.
For the past four years – but certainly within the past campaign season – we have tried to warn Americans. Too many refuse to listen, even when all of the events that have transpired during Obama’s presidency – unemployment, economic stagnation, skyrocketing prices, the depression of the dollar, the collapse of foreign policy, Benghazi, hopelessly inept responses to natural disasters – can be tied directly to Obama’s statist philosophies, and his decisions.
What that means, I fear, is that they will not see what is coming until the whole thing collapses. That is what makes me so sad today. I see the country I love headed toward its own “rock bottom,” and I cannot seem to reach those who are taking it there.
[From the right-winger who forwarded Hollis’ message] If we cannot regain control of those critical institutions (“that instill good character – marriage, the family, communities, schools, our churches”), that Ms. Hollis enumerated, and rekindle the rational, sane and conservative values they once represented,…..WE ARE DOOMED TO CONTINUE THIS SLIDE INTO A LEFTIST, PROGRESSIVE, LIBERAL LED DECAY and ULTIMATE COLLAPSE.
Please share this with as many as you can!!
Many of the right-wingers of Hoover’s day at least had the grace or the wit to understand that they had done something wrong by blowing up the capitalist system. Today’s conservatives are so puffed up with hubris that the only place they see faults is in the people they demonize as being irresponsible children engaged in sex, drugss, and filthy language (even while accusing those same people of demonizing conservatives).
Hollis doesn’t even seem to recognize that there was another hurricane before Sandy which the government had trouble responding to.
So, please, Ms. Hollis. Since you’re so personally dishonest and so completely bereft of ideas, please do walk away from politics and let America hit rock bottom. If you leave this country alone long enough, it might just recover from the stupidity and greed of your party. Small thanks to the Democrats, I’m sure, but at least they aren’t actively trying to spend more than the taxes the government collects.
Posted by Charles II on April 17, 2012
So Ted Nugent, speaking to NRA, says that he will be “dead or in jail” this time next year if Barack Obama is re-elected, and the Secret Service is interviewing him over what certainly sounds like a threat of assassination. This much you know.
So, here’s the Free Republic response (click to view):
About the most critical they got was saying Nugent’s hyperbole might be off the rails.
Your Republican Party: skipped over crazy and went straight to evil.
Posted by Charles II on March 2, 2012
I do not understand why, in discussing Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of Sandra Fluke as a “slut” because she wanted health insurance to include birth control (Limbaugh called this “being paid to have sex”) that almost none of those who spoke in opposition to Limbaugh noted many of the women who use birth control are married. As Keith Olbermann (the only person I have heard who made this obvious point) said, Limbaugh probably just called his four wives and his mothers prostitutes.
Nor has anyone asked whether people who have insurance against cancer, including prevention, are being paid to have cancer, another rather obvious question. [Added: or, for more perfect parallelism, paying to get anally probed. What does that make Rush?]
I am not surprised that Democrats/liberals/feminists/etc. lose rhetorical battles when they are so poor at listening to their opponents.
Perhaps they imagine that no one could be so morally sick that they would deny health insurance to people at risk of getting cancer. But what poor imagination, considering that for sixty years the right wing has denied that insurance to tens of millions of people annually, leading to death and suffering that probably exceeds all of the American casualties of World War II.
Yes, they are that bad. It would help if the people who represent progressive causes would stop sputtering and start really listening.
Added: What makes Jon Stewart a great comedian? He listens to what people are actually saying, and verbalizes it. The problem with progressive spokespeople like NOW president Terry O’Neill, is that so many of them trained in the law, while so few of them trained in being class clown, which is where the real action in rhetorical efficacy is to be found.
Posted by Charles II on February 14, 2012
Thanks to Quentin Compson on Eschaton, in comments.
Documents from the Heartland Institute reveal its donors. Its “policy positions, strategies and budget distinguish it clear[ly] as a lobby firm that is misrepresenting itself as a ‘think tank’
Based on these documents, Joe Romm names names of paid denialists, including David Wojick of Carnegie Mellon/US Office of Naval Research/Naval Research Lab and currently a consultant with DoE.
And who else is on the gravy train? “At the moment, this funding goes primarily to Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), Fred Singer ($5,000 per month, plus expenses), Robert Carter ($1,667 per month), and a number of other individuals”
Not to mention useful tools, like Andrew Revkin, who used the NY Times to spread confusion and doubt.
This is a very big deal. The denialist network and who pays for it is now public knowledge. And nothing is more lethal to professional liars than the truth.
Posted by Charles II on January 4, 2012
Figuring out what politicians will do in office is very difficult. Most of them are masters of disguise and deception. Tens of millions of people imagined that Bush would be a compassionate conservative (despite the fact that he was well known to be personally sadistic). Tens of millions imagined that Obama would not get involved in all sorts of optional wars, even though he told people ahead of time he would have American troops cross Pakistani borders whether they gave permission or not.
A very important part of anticipating what politicians will do is understanding where they get their ideas. Obama’s close ties with guys like Austan Goolsbee was a warning sign that he wasn’t an economic liberal. An economic liberal would have aligned himself with guys like Joe Stiglitz (for the record, there were some liberal economists like Jamie Galbraith and Bob Reich among his advisors. They just were not in any clear majority or among his personal associates). Understanding which wells or sewers a candidate drinks from in forming his ideas is a much better predictor of what he’ll do than what he says.
So, Ron Paul’s links to the John Birch Society, which are much more recent than his survivalist newsletter should be a focus for those who want to understand what Ron Paul would actually do. American Opinion, the JBS newsletter, gives Paul a 100% rating on 20 recent votes. Now, the JBS is a very strict grader. In the House, I count only 4 South Carolina Republicans, 1 North Carolina Republican, and Ron Paul who meet their exacting standards. In the Senate, there are none. The JBS is remarkably mainstream in Republican circles, considering they were once drummed out of the Republican Party. They sponsored a recent CPAC meeting.
Since there is no clear distinction between the John Birch Society and the conservative movement, one may wonder what the special interest in them should be. The answer is that the JBS is, in effect, the Bolshevik Party of the right. They are intensely conspiratorial, use deception routinely, and–because they have pre-determined that the world governments are all in the hands of the communists–have completed the process of dehumanization that is necessary for the use of ruthless means. For the latter, see for example this article, which includes such interesting lines as:
But now there appears to be another secret cabal, known as the Shadow Party, controlled by radical billionaire George Soros who operates secretly to influence the direction our government is going in. He has boldly proclaimed his intentions, so they are not secret. But how he controls events in Washington is another story. We suspect that he is behind Barack Obama’s presidency…
John Dewey and his colleagues were all socialists and made no secret of their intent to take over the public schools and use them as the means of converting America from an individualist society to a socialist one….Most readers of The New American are familiar with the Illuminati conspiracy that was launched by Adam Weishaupt on May 1, 1776, at Ingolstadt, Germany….The earliest conspiracy I know of in the United States was created by the Owenite socialists who wanted to convert America into an anti-Christian communist society.
So, let me speculate on what a couple of Ron Paul’s positions which are so attractive to the left might actually mean:
* does withdrawal of American forces from wars mean that we will use nuclear weapons when our interests are threatened?
* would legalization of drugs without any compensating effort to help people get off and stay off drugs mean that drugs would effectively become a means of medicating and controlling the population?
What does the John Birch Society say about these things? I’d really like to know. There’s been a lot of talk about how the Republican Party will never let Paul gain the nomination. I don’t see why not, not when some of the biggest money in the GOP comes from corporate libertarian/John Birchers like the Koch brothers.