Click here to go see the bonus panel!
Learning etymology is like going through the attic of a recently dead uncle, who seemed mostly domesticated, but who spent his life having x-rated adventures.
Learning etymology is like going through the attic of a recently dead uncle, who seemed mostly domesticated, but who spent his life having x-rated adventures.
Did Kavanaugh withdraw yet? No?
HOW 'BOUT NOW? Still no? Okay, let's type fast here. Because our money is on Judge Prepschool McRapenough tapping out any minute now. Let's review this wacky weekend, shall we?
The last hope for Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to save Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination was to stop Christine Blasey Ford from testifying so they could vote on Monday (that's today!) and swear the Roe-slayer in ten minutes later. Almost like they were racing against the clock because they knew more bad news was coming out! (See, that there is what we call "foreshadowing!")
So Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley issued a 10 p.m. Friday deadline for Blasey Ford to submit her prepared remarks and commit to testify Wednesday, despite her lawyer's clear statement that she could not appear before Thursday of next week. Except Susan Collins said no dice, and Blasey Ford's attorney reminded Grassley that her client was busy meeting with the FBI about the death threats raining down on her and her family, so maybe they could back the fuck up already.
The 10:00 p.m. deadline is arbitrary. Its sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family. She has already been forced out of her home and continues to be subjected to harassment, hate mail, and death threats. Our modest request is that she be given an additional day to make her decision.
At midnight Friday, Grassley blinked -- and in the most Grassley way possible.
On Saturday, Blasey Ford announced her intention to testify this coming Thursday. And instead of admitting they got beat and withdrawing the nomination, for the love of God, Grassley and the boys set about trying to find a lady lawyer to interrogate a sexual assault survivor and call her a lying whore. Then they took to the airwaves to say that they had every intention of confirming Kavanaugh, no matter what Blasey Ford says. Because there's a handful of suburban white women who don't hate them yet, we guess?
Interesting choice of words there, Yertle! Republicans took heart when the other party guests named by Blasey Ford said they had no recollection of the party where she says she was attacked by Kavanaugh and his buddy Mark Judge. But they stuck by their refusal to call Judge to the stand to be questioned on the good old days at Georgetown Prep when he and "Bart O'Kavanaugh" would engage in blackout drunken hijinks. And they're still refusing to allow the FBI to investigate or call Judge or any other witness to testify Thursday.
Meanwhile, Grassley's communications consigliere Garrett Ventry, who'd been coordinating the PR response to Blasey Ford's allegations, resigned abruptly on Saturday after it emerged he'd been fired in 2017 from the office of North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. Of freaking course!
Trumpland and Kavanaugh were vowing to fight until the death -- can't get clobbered in the midterms if your donors get pissed off about a failed SCOTUS nomination and close their wallets, can you? So they issued denials that Kavanaugh had been in on GOP hack Ed Whelan's harebrained scheme to exonerate his pal with an evil twin theory. Why was Whelan searching Blasey Ford's LinkedIn page 90 MINUTES after the White House got her name from The Post?
That morning, Ford alerted an associate via email that Whelan had looked at her LinkedIn page, according to the email, which was reviewed by The Post. LinkedIn allows some subscribers to see who views their pages. Ford sent the email about 90 minutes after The Post shared her name with a White House spokesman and hours before her identity was revealed in a story posted on its website.
Faced with admitting that Kavanaugh remembered exactly who she was from being in the room where it happened, or copping to leaking the name to Whelan so he could work his fuckery, the White House suddenly remembered that Raj Shah had "called a number of Trump allies to warn them about the upcoming story."
Kavanaugh spent the weekend huddled at the White House for marathon murder boards to prepare for Thursday's hearing. But he got his wee feefees hurt by all the mean personal questions. The Post reports,
But Kavanaugh grew frustrated when it came to questions that dug into his private life, particularly his drinking habits and his sexual proclivities, according to three people familiar with the preparations, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. He declined to answer some questions altogether, saying they were too personal, these people said.
"I'm not going to answer that," Kavanaugh said at one point according to a senior White House official, who said that the questions were designed to go over the line and that he struck the right tone.
Yes, the guy who insisted upon asking how many times Bill Clinton ejaculated into the sink and touched Monica Lewinsky's genitals, the guy who demanded DNA from Vince Foster's daughter four years after his suicide, the guy who flogged lies about Hillary Clinton having an affair with Foster to journalists, THAT GUY is getting hot under the collar about inappropriate sexual questions.
KARMA'S A BITCH, AIN'T SHE.
Then Sunday morning The New York Times reported that Kavanaugh was going to blow this whole story out of the water by giving the Judiciary Committee his datebook from 36 years ago. Because there are absolutely ZERO entries in 17-year-old Brett's diary saying, "Go swimming, get blasted in the afternoon, corner girl in upstairs bedroom and try to rape her." Checkmate, Libs!
And then the second woman came forward.
Last night, The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer broke the story of Deborah Ramirez, who alleges that a drunken Kavanaugh dropped trou and stuck his penis in her face when they were freshmen at Yale in 1983. Because he is a disgusting lout with no respect for women. (NOT ALLEGEDLY. FACT.)
"We were sitting in a circle," she said. "People would pick who drank." Ramirez was chosen repeatedly, she said, and quickly became inebriated. At one point, she said, a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction. Later, she said, she was on the floor, foggy and slurring her words, as that male student and another stood nearby. (Ramirez identified the two male onlookers, but, at her request, The New Yorker is not naming them.)
A third male student then exposed himself to her. "I remember a penis being in front of my face," she said. "I knew that's not what I wanted, even in that state of mind." She recalled remarking, "That's not a real penis," and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to "kiss it." She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic, in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. "I wasn't going to touch a penis until I was married," she said. "I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated." She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. "Brett was laughing," she said. "I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants." She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. "Somebody yelled down the hall, 'Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie's face,' " she said.
In the interest of fairness, let's acknowledge that Ramirez's memory is fuzzy, and several people she says witnessed the incident are denying that it occurred. But there are others who remember hearing about it at the time.
The story stayed with him, he said, because it was disturbing and seemed outside the bounds of typically acceptable behavior, even during heavy drinking at parties on campus. The classmate said that he had been shocked, but not necessarily surprised, because the social group to which Kavanaugh belonged often drank to excess. He recalled Kavanaugh as "relatively shy" until he drank, at which point he said that Kavanaugh could become "aggressive and even belligerent."
But this isn't some story Ramirez cooked up at the last minute. As Mayer told NBC's today show this morning,
The story broke overnight. But it dates back 35 years ... She didn't come forward with it. What happened was, the classmates at Yale were talking to each other about it, they were emailing about it. We've seen the emails, back in July before Christine Blasey Ford came forward, and eventually the word of it spread. It spread to the Senate. It spread to the media. And we reached out to her.
Also, Kavanaugh's roommate at the time found the allegation credible.
"Debbie and I became close friends shortly after we both arrived at Yale," he said. "She stood out as being exceptionally honest and gentle. I cannot imagine her making this up." He said that he never witnessed Kavanaugh engage in any sexual misconduct, but did recall him being "frequently, incoherently drunk." He described Ramirez as a vulnerable outsider. "Is it believable that she was alone with a wolfy group of guys who thought it was funny to sexually torment a girl like Debbie? Yeah, definitely. Is it believable that Kavanaugh was one of them? Yes."
Brett Kavanaugh a mean drunk? You don't say!
And speaking of boys will be boys will be drunken assholes who abuse women, The New Yorker interviewed Mark Judge's college girlfriend Elizabeth Rasor, who reported that Judge had lots to say about drunken debauchery in high school.
Rasor recalled that Judge had told her ashamedly of an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman. Rasor said that Judge seemed to regard it as fully consensual. She said that Judge did not name others involved in the incident, and she has no knowledge that Kavanaugh participated. But Rasor was disturbed by the story and noted that it undercut Judge's protestations about the sexual innocence of Georgetown Prep.
Which brings us to the Michael Avenatti portion of our program. Because ... 2018.
Now, let's say that you are a Republican Judiciary Committee staffer trying desperately to protect your team's SCOTUS nominee. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer have just brought forward a second accuser, whom you knew about a week ago.
The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh's nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.
Which puts the GOP insistence that they ABSOLUTELY HAD TO vote on Monday in a rather different light. But say you are this staffer -- do you (A) stall for time, or (B) invite Avenatti to tell the Committee what he knows?
Oh, my God! They actually opened the door to let Michael Avenatti suggest that Kavanaugh participated in gang rapes as a teenager. (And they released Blasey Ford's confidential letter to Dianne Feinstein five minutes after the New Yorker story went live, of course.)
But Avenatti wasn't done.
Which we assume is a reference to this.
Democrats are calling for a halt to the hearings and a full FBI investigation. And we are calling for one thousand Silkwood showers. Because this is all horrible and we are done here except to say we support victims of sexual violence and we believe Blasey Ford and Ramirez.
Also, too ...
BRETT KAVANAUGH, YOU GO THE FUCK AWAY RIGHT NOW!
Follow your FDF on Twitter!
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THIS IS ONLY MONDAY??? Help keep your Wonkette snarking all week long for whatever crazy shit is coming by clicking this handy donation thingum RIGHT HERE.
How often would you like to donate?
Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
A Hanime, if you will.
Evolution is beautiful in general but a real asshole in particular.
Meet 2015’s unofficial parents of the year: Tanya and Adam Phillips.
Their daughter Honey-Rae was born with a large birthmark on her leg, so to make her feel more comfortable in her skin, the British couple each decided to get matching tattoos that resemble the red marks.
“Most people might think it’s very extreme but to us it was the natural thing to do to ensure our daughter never felt different or alone in the world,” said Tanya.
At first they said would go out of their way to cover her legs up from the public to prevent other kids from staring or making fun of her, but then they decided to take more extreme measures.
Adam received his tattoo last Christmas as a gift from his wife, and she just received hers on her 40th birthday as a gift from her husband.
And now they are one big, happy birth-marked family.
The post Parents of the Day: Couple Gets Birthmark Tattoo in Solidarity with Daughter appeared first on The Daily What.
It’s like New York’s been soft since Young Thug busted out the bando. Ha! The Kang and the new sensation from the A flourished on this ode to the almighty green. If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.
This post made possible by the Patty Dumpling Endowed Chair for Clean Gas and Clean Coal and Clean Oil Spills and Clean Tar Sands and Word Salad.
In a vote that either killed the economy forever or rescued the environment forever, the U.S. Senate last night fell one vote short of passing a bill calling for immediate approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The bill was supposed to magically make Louisiana Republicans like Sen. Mary Landrieu, although it’s not clear how. But Landrieu was not quite able to round up enough Democrats to support the bill, and now she is reduced to hoping that saying nice things about National Adoption Day will get her reelected.
The only thing that everyone seems to agree on about the Keystone XL pipeline is that it is a very important symbol of either the Republican Party’s commitment to jobs, jobs, jobs, or the Democrats’ commitment to the environment. On the jobs side, it would create several thousand temporary construction jobs, though only 35 permanent jobs to keep the thing running. (Yes, yes, there’d also be spinoff jobs to refine all that oil.) On the environmental side, the case is probably stronger — the tar sands where the oil comes from are incredibly dirty, and just extracting the stuff requires burning more fossil fuels than does conventional oil drilling, and the oil itself is also dirtier and carbonier. But even there, killing XL won’t stop the tar sands from being drilled or scraped or however they muck the stuff out — it’s currently being shipped by rail, which is also far more prone to spills due to derailments than pipelines are to leaks, and there’s no evidence that would change even if the Keystone XL plan vanished forever. We still come down on the side of not building the pipeline, because the poor old world is burning too much fossil fuel already, so why encourage the bastards by making it easier? We’re with Bernie Sanders on this one — we need to be moving in the other direction.
And of course, the entire exercise was kind of pointless, since chances are that Barack Obama would have vetoed the bill — he at least has a realistic view of the actual impact on jobs, telling the New York Times last year that there’s “no evidence” that the pipeline would be the jobs cornucopia the Republicans claim:
“Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator … There is no evidence that that’s true. The most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline, which might take a year or two, and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people.”
He said 2,000 jobs were “a blip relative to the need.”
So, sorry, Mary Landrieu, you probably won’t get Republicans to like you, and sorry, Republicans, even when you take over the Senate and pass your very own Keystone bill in January, it’s still not likely to get signed, probably, unless Barry finds something he thinks he can trade it for. How about confirming some appointees? Ah, yes, and sorry, Midwest: one way or another, you’re probably getting a pipeline and some oil spills.
Hmm… are there some desert tortoises we can go commune with?
As part of our recent shift in focus , I've been playing (and thus writing) about Civilization even more than usual. And for a while, it seemed every time I did, someone deep in the comments section would be whispering about another game I should try that, *gasp*, might be better than Civ. So I did. And whaddya know, in a lot of ways, they were right.
Here at Kotaku, we don't spend nearly enough time talking about JRPGs.
The New York Times has a huge Pulitzer-bait story about injuries to U.S. military forces from old, unstable chemical weapons in Iraq, and how the Bush administration and the Pentagon covered it all up. It’s big, it’s a jaw-dropping exposé of shoddy treatment of soldiers, and you should read it.
The one thing that it does not do is vindicate George W. Bush’s brilliant decision to invade Iraq to put an end to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s supposedly active program to manufacture chemical and biological weapons. All the chemical weapons that U.S. forces found were old and deteriorating, leftovers from the Iran-Iraq war:
The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.
You’re going to hear a lot of conservatives — like the nine paid staffers of Twitchy, for instance — saying, “See? Bush was right, so shut up, libs!” We especially loved Dead Breitbart’s take on the story, which leaves out a few somewhat important details. They say only that the Times story “details U.S. forces in Iraq finding thousands of chemical weapons during the Iraq war.”
“From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule,” Chivers wrote. “In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.”
See? Bush was right! Saddam had WMDs! USA! USA! USA! Suck it, libs!
Funny, though, what U.S. troops found was not those mobile chemical weapons labs that the Bush administration insisted were there but a lot of munitions left over from the 1980s:
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.
Then, during the long occupation, American troops began encountering old chemical munitions in hidden caches and roadside bombs. Typically 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets, they were remnants of an arms program Iraq had rushed into production in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.
All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all. Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin. Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area, according to those who collected the majority of them.
In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.
In a pretty brilliant bit of revisionism, the ever-thoughtful American Thinker blog proclaims “NY Times admits Saddam had WMDs” in its headline, and then accuses Chivers and the Times of revisionism:
Chivers, of course, can’t very well say that Bush was right all along: His readers wouldn’t stand for it. So he tosses a bone to them, claiming the Bush administration’s goal in Iraq wasn’t merely to disarm Saddam of his WMDs — but to destroy “an active weapons of mass destruction program.” Instead he claims that American troops only found “remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.” Yet the fact remains that these chemical agents still had military value — a fact that Chivers concedes
Yep, they had “military value”: They could be wired together to create roadside bombs. Remember how Colin Powell went to the UN to warn the world that Saddam had rotting remnants of a weapons stockpile that could be used as components of roadside bombs? They were truly a terrifying international security threat.
The main thing we take away from the story is that the Bush administration did everything it could to not call attention to these old chemical weapons. They were an embarrassment. The were the wrong weapons. They were actually not the droids we were looking for. Worse, they would have raised awkward questions about where they came from:
In five of six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies.
To have announced that we were finding these suckers would have required Bush to say that he’d discovered where Saddam got his chemical weapons, and then, presumably, we’d have to bomb some American and European defense contractors. Even when the Pentagon did announce that some weapons had been found, it scrupulously avoided talking about where they came from:
The publicly released information also skirted the fact that most of the chemical artillery shells were traceable to the West, some tied to the United States.
These shells, which the American military calls M110s, had been developed decades ago in the United States. Roughly two feet long and weighing more than 90 pounds, each is an aerodynamic steel vessel with a burster tube in its center …
The United States also exported the shells and the technology behind them. When Iraq went arms shopping in the 1980s, it found manufacturers in Italy and Spain willing to deal their copies. By 1988, these two countries alone had sold Iraq 85,000 empty M110-type shells, according to confidential United Nations documents. Iraq also obtained shells from Belgium.
Strangely, these details aren’t getting mentioned so much in the rightwing media. Saddam had some WMDs, all right, and they were top-notch American military technology.
Getting beyond the question of whether Bush is vindicated — say, we mentioned that he isn’t, didn’t we? — the story is just amazing. The Pentagon was not about to expose the existence of these old weapons that were injuring soldiers, so the soldiers got inadequate preparation before being sent out to dismantle what they expected to be conventional shells that might be used in IEDs. And then, after they were injured, they were given a gag order, because what they found was TOP SECRET. But at least they got Purple Hearts for their trouble.
At every step, the military leadership did whatever it could to downplay just how many of these old embarrassing weapons were still floating around Iraq. By 2004 the mission had shifted to fighting insurgents, and documenting old chemical weapons and reporting them just slowed things down.
Go read this thing. It’s important, and lord knows the conversation needs to be about the incompetent handling of the chemical weapons that were found, and the shoddy treatment of those who found them, not merely dragging out the “Bush was right!” claims again. Because, as we may have mentioned, he wasn’t.
Baker Mitchell is a politically connected North Carolina businessman who celebrates the power of the free market. Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell’s chain of four nonprofit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls.
This is the intro to the almost-out Civilization: Beyond Earth. I hope you weren't expecting a merry jaunt as humanity smiles its way to the stars along a rainbow made of puppies.
We’ve spent all morning talking about crazy people, and yes, that includes anyone willing to birth Ashton Kutcher‘s baby, so for change of scenery even though I have no clue what Party Down South is, here are some hot, sexy bikini ba- *actually looks at more than just the first pic* – Fucking shit.
This shit here feels like the whole entire world is about to collapse. Presented by Shaheem Reid, Busta Rhymes and his Conglomerate are it again with their second Catastrophic mixtape. Download or stream below.
Of all the games that have been announced as coming soon, between Freedom Wars and Destiny, the only game that I'm particularly excited over is the reincarnation of Doom. Why? Because the original Doom is still the greatest game I ever played, and while none of the sequels (including Doom 2) captured what I possibly subjectively consider Doom's perfection, they were double-barrels of fun and a hel of a good time. Get it? Because, shotguns, and imps, and... yeah, nevermind.
From the San Antonio Express-News, we have a photo update on the Great Big Militia Border Protection Jamboree, which appears to have actually drawn a few manly men with manly guns, albeit a touch short of the 20,000 that one of our more optimistic deleted commenters predicted. The militia groups claimed to the paper that they have ten “teams” along the border with Mexico, and they have been very busy patrolling with their guns, taking pictures of their guns, pretending to aim their guns at off-camera targets, and crouching in desert scrub with their guns while shouting “Serpentine! Serpentine!”
The paper reports, undoubtedly through the suppressed giggles of reporter Kolten Parker, that
A spokesperson for the group provided the photos under the condition that members’ faces be blurred because of fear of being identified by “cartel and gang members.”
We also suppose they must be worried about the Muslim radicals and their radical soccer-shirt prayer rugs, too — you just know that they probably have some bacon to wrap around their guns in case of Muslim Attack.
The Very Serious Tough Guys have also been posting their fantasies on Facebook, explaining that they are not at all afraid of the filthy tide of immigrants, drug traffickers, and bad guys from B-movies that no doubt are lurking out there and waiting for a chance to attack our American Way Of Life:
“(Rules of Engagement) is if in fear of bodily injury, weapons free, if fired upon, return fire. Real simple,” member KC Massey posted along with a photo on Facebook. “We are not worried about an “International” incident if they shoot at us.”
Chris Davis, the skeezy less-than-honorably-discharged former army man who allegedly commands this full-metal-jacketed clusterfuck, is apparently seen in some of the photos, looking tough (we didn’t look too carefully). He’s the squirrel who told the Express-News in early July that his border protection LARPers would act in a “legal and lawful manner,” which are apparently different and separate things, but had also posted a YouTube video, since removed, suggesting that the proper way to deal with border-crossers would be less legal and less lawful, saying
“You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the border or you will be shot.’”
Spokeskook Barbie Rogers of “Patriots Information Hotline” said that she was glad that Rick Perry will be sending the Texas National Guard to the border to do something or other, but also wants Perry to know that he should send a lot more, and that “if cost is an issue” he should “call the militia. They will come if you call them.” We’d like to think that would make even Rick Perry roll his eyes in disbelief.
The militias, through Ms. Rogers, also provided the paper with a list of the Very Important Operation Names for the ten groups of military roleplayers, many of whom are camping out with permission on border-area ranches:
Bolinas Border Patrol, Central Valley Militia, Independant Citizens Militia, Alpha Team, Bravo Team, FOB Harmony, Operation Secure Our Border: Laredo Sector, O’Shanessy’s Team, the 77′s and Camp Geronimo.
We’re not sure if the [sic] for “Independant Citizens Militia” should be credited to the paper or to the militias, as we don’t have a copy of the cereal-box cardboard the list was written on. We’re hoping these stalwarts will soon be joined by Gandalf’s Army, the 301st Imperial Stormtrooper Battalion, and the brave men of the Eltingville Comic Book, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Role-Playing Club.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He likes to hope that this operation is drawing militia dudes out of Idaho
Fifty reservists in the Israeli military—the majority of them women—have written an open letter expressing opposition to the institution’s discriminatory culture and policies, the current operation in Gaza, and the militarization of their society.
“Whenever the Israeli army drafts the reserves—which are made up of ex-soldiers—there are dissenters, resisters, and AWOLers among the troops called to war,” the letter begins. “Now that Israel has sent troops to Gaza again and reserves are being summoned to service, dozens are refusing to take part.”
The current campaign against Gaza, which began July 8, is “inseparable” from the way “militarization affects Israeli society,” they continue. “In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means—it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard.”
The tone of the letter is that of regret for performing a service that the authors, who held a “wide variety” of positions in the forces, once thought to be relatively harmless. “In truth, the entire military is implicated,” they write. “[I]n our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives.” Hence, they say they refuse to participate in the current operation.
In one of the letter’s most inspired sections, the authors state:
The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority on who is valued more and who less in society—who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real argument about non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors.
The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights. They live under a different legal system from their Jewish neighbors. This is not exclusively the fault of soldiers who operate in these territories. Those troops are, therefore, not the only ones obligated to refuse. Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians.
Furthermore, rather than being “an institution that enables social mobility” insisted upon by its leaders, the military “perpetuates segregation”:
We believe it is not accidental that those who come from middle- and high- income families land in elite intelligence units, and from there often go to work for high-paying technology companies. We think it is not accidental that when soldiers from a firearm maintenance or quartermaster unit desert or leave the military, often driven by the need to financially support their families, they are called “draft-dodgers.” The military enshrines an image of the “good Israeli,” who in reality derives his power by subjugating others. The central place of the military in Israeli society, and this ideal image it creates, work together to erase the cultures and struggles of the Mizrachi, Ethiopians, Palestinians, Russians, Druze, the Ultra-Orthodox, Bedouins, and women.
Read the rest of the letter and see the authors’ names at AlterNet.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Last weekend, Max Temkin, co-creator of the popular card game Cards Against Humanity, wrote a blog post about rape accusation. The post went up somewhat unnoticed, thanks to a combination of EVO, the World Cup, and GaymerX happening all at the same time—but it's something that we, as a gaming community, should talk about.
“We can, thankfully, remove one threat to the future existence of the human male from our worry list,” Alice Shabecoff writes at Environmental Health News via Scientific American. “The male Y chromosome, after dwindling from its original robust size over millions of years, apparently has halted its disappearing act.”
But don’t start cheering yet. Contrary to cultural assumptions that boys are stronger and sturdier, basic biological weaknesses are built into the male of our species. These frailties leave them more vulnerable than girls to life’s hazards, including environmental pollutants such as insecticides, lead and plasticizers that target their brains or hormones. Several studies suggest that boys are harmed in some ways by these chemical exposures that girls are not. It’s man’s fate, so to speak. First of all, human males are disappearing. Mother Nature has always acknowledged and compensated for the fragility and loss of boys by arranging for more of them: 106 male births to 100 female newborns over the course of human history. (Humans are not unique in this setup: Male piglets, as an example, are conceived in greater proportion to compensate for being more likely than female piglets to die before birth.) But in recent decades, from the United States to Japan, from Canada to northern Europe, wherever researchers have looked, the rate of male newborns has declined. Examining U. S. records of births for the years between 1970 and 1990, they found 1.7 fewer boys per 1,000 than in decades and centuries past; Japan’s loss in the same decades was 3.7 boys.
Boys are also more than two-thirds more likely than girls to be born prematurely – before the 37th week of pregnancy. And, despite advances in public health, boys in the 1970s faced a 30 percent higher chance of death by their first birthday than girls; in contrast, back in the 1750s, they were 10 per cent more likely than girls to die so early in their lives. Once they make it to childhood, boys face other challenges. They are more prone to a range of neurological disorders. Autism is notoriously higher among boys than girls: now nearly five times more likely, as tallied by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are more susceptible than girls to damage from very low-level exposure to lead. Yet another problem: Boys also suffer from asthma at higher rates. There’s also a stronger link between air pollution and autism in boys. What is up here? Why do boys face such a burden of physical challenges?
The answer is that the male’s problems start in the womb: from his more complicated fetal development, to his genetic makeup, to how his hormones work.
Read more here.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
We read a thing. A thing that is so stupid, we literally don’t know where to begin. It is from a sad little newspaper thingie, by Richard Pollock, their “senior watchdog reporter,” and it purports to compare health care plans from Walmart to those offered by Obamacare. So far so good! Except that it is mentally disabled.
The thesis is that Walmart’s employee insurance plan is not terrible — we are not actually a healthcare reporter, so maybe that is even true! And if Richard Pollock, senior watchdog reporter, had stuck with that thesis, he might have even been able to convince us! But watching him struggle through cherrypicked, conflated, and shockingly false data has left us with the teeny impression that since every word out of this guy’s fingers is a lie, we will probably not believe him about the Walmart plan either.
Here is his “nut graf” (journalism!):
But a Washington Examiner comparison of the two health insurance programs found that Walmart’s plan is more affordable and provides significantly better access to high-quality medical care than Obamacare.
Really? Is it more affordable than “zero dollars”? Because that is what a lot of people are paying for their healthcare under Obamacare. This is called “subsidies,” and it is rather a major portion of the act. We will get back to costs later. First, let us skip around and find all Richard Pollock, senior watchdog reporter’s, evidence that Walmart’s plan is of higher medical quality than “Obamacare.” (Hint: one slight problem with this watchdog reporting is that “Obamacare” is not actually just one plan! There’s, like, at least three.)
The retailer’s employees can use eight of the country’s most prestigious medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic, Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.
At these institutions, which Walmart calls “Centers of Excellence,” Walmart employees and their dependents can get free heart or spinal surgery. They can also get free knee and hip replacements at four hospitals nationwide.
Many top-rated Walmart hospitals — such as the Mayo and Cleveland clinics — are left out of most Obamacare exchange plans.
Let’s parse. If you are within a reasonable distance of the Mayo Clinic, you can use the Mayo Clinic. That is awesome! Good job, Walmart! There are a total of 12 hospitals, including eight “centers of excellence” — in the nation — where Walmart employees can get free heart surgeries or hip replacements. Great! We are sure the distance and travel costs to these excellence centers is totally negligible for all Walmart employees. And did you catch that last line? Here, we’ll repeat it: “Many top-rated Walmart hospitals — such as the Mayo and Cleveland clinics are left out of most Obamacare exchange plans.” Not all Obamacare exchange plans, but “most.” We live in California. We do not believe our Obamacare exchange plan comes with benefits at the Mayo Clinic, in Minnesota. THANKS OBAMA.
Here, let us read more evidence from Richard Pollock, senior watchdog reporter.
Robert Slayton, a practicing Chicago independent insurance agent for 11 years and the former president of the Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters, described to the Examiner the differences between Walmart and Obamacare provider networks.
Slayton said the BlueChoice exchange network for President Obama’s hometown has very limited hospital participation. “In downtown Chicago, the key is the number of hospitals: 28,” he said.
“Now we’re going to the national network — this is what the Walmart network would most likely be — and you have 54 hospitals. That’s a big difference,” he said.
So their expert picked one network in Chicago (one), and compared it to what the Walmart network would “most likely be.” Cool expert! (Also, is it just us, or is having a choice of 28 hospitals in one city a pretty good spread of choices? Eh, it is probably just us.)
Walmart also offers a free preventive health plan that mirrors the Obamacare plan. Its employees can take advantage of a wide range of free exams and counseling, including screenings for colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, chlamydia, diabetes, depression and special counseling for diet and obesity.
“Mirrors Obamacare” = “is better than Obamacare,” obvs.
Very excellent evidence for why Walmart’s medical care is better than “Obamacare’s,” Richard Pollock, senior watchdog reporter. Now let us move on to costs.
Unlike Obamacare, there are no income eligibility requirements.
Age and gender do not alter premium rates. The company plan is the same for all of Walmart’s 1.1 million enrolled employees and their dependents, from its cashiers to its CEO.
Hey, you know where else gender doesn’t alter premium rates? Obamacare! That is another rather large portion of the act! Of course, it does alter by age, with rates for the oldest and sickest among us capped at three times the rate paid by young invincibles. (The GOP finally has a “replace” to its “repeal” that caps the rate paid by the eldest as five times that of the kidz.)
A Journal of the American Medical Association analysis from September showed that unsubsidized Obamacare enrollees will face monthly premiums that are five to nine times higher than Walmart premiums.
The medical journal reported a 30-year-old smoker would pay up to $428 per month, in contrast to roughly $70 each month for a Walmart employee.
You know whose Obamacare is unsubsidized? Ours! And we are a 40-year-old smoker, paying $300 a month, because we chose the Gold Plan, because we are rich and fancy and also tend to get hospitalized a lot for stupid things like “our ovary exploded” and “what the fuck is going on in our breast oh sweet jesus christ,” so we went with the ZERO DOLLAR DEDUCTIBLE. (Thanks Wonkers, for all the muneez. We appreciate you!)
Todd looked at a 30-year-old woman who could qualify for the government subsidy. “The nonsubsidized premium is $205 a month for this 30-year-old. If they get a subsidy, then the premium is zero. But that person has to come up with $6,300 if something catastrophic happened,” he said.
Gold Plan, dudes. Go for the Gold Plan.
The Walmart monthly premium for the same 30-year-old woman would be about $40. Her deductible would be $2,750, minus $250 in cash advance, for a total net deductible of $2,500.
Hmmm, surely healthcare for that 30-year-old woman wouldn’t actually cost only $40 per month. Perhaps someone — maybe even Walmart — is paying for a hefty portion of it! Good on you, Walmart!
In conclusion, Washington Examiner, you are bad at your job of being a newspaper, Richard Pollock, you are bad at being a senior watchdog reporter, and all of you also too go fuck yourself.
Know what we hate? The leftwing mainstream media always being so leftwing-y and librul and stroking Obama’s knob by not investimigating his super-fake birth certificate and not focusing enough on BENGHAZI (enough = 25 hours per day) and generally being lamestream.
Which is why we are glad to see the recent report about how clean energy is miserably failing on that reliable bastion of truth-telling: Fox News. Wait, what? That was on 60 Minutes?!? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING US, CBS?
The report was so full of errors we were SURE it was Fox News. And we were prepared with like a million jokes about Bill O’Reilly making sweet love to Megyn Kelly on top of solar panels and getting run over by White Santa’s sleigh. Ugh, let’s sadsplore how CBS and 60 Minutes failed yet again at the very simple job of reporting a semblance of the truth.
In its latest segment of ‘Right Wing Lies We Will Report As True Because We Suck At Journalism,’ 60 Minutes explored the clean tech industry with a totally balanced segment, “Cleantech Crash.” And by ‘explore,’ we mean they bashed clean tech as having failed miserably without bothering even to mention any successes in the industry, via ThinkProgress:
But for 60 Minutes, this incredible boon is a bust. Here’s a transcript of a clip from the show:
LESLEY STAHL (over pictures of solar panels, biofuels, wind turbines): “It’s called clean tech. And the new technologies that were developed in the energy sector were supposed to create jobs, and help America break its reliance on fossil fuels. The government supported it, and billions of tax dollars were spent. So how is the investment going?
STAHL (to DOE interviewee): “Solyndra went through half a billion dollars before it failed. Then I’m going to give you a list of other failures. Abound Energy. Beacon Power. Fisker. VPG. Pfff…I’m exhausted.”
INTERVIEWEE: “As I told you at the beginning, the energy business is tough!”
That is very balanced reporting there about Department of Energy loan program on clean energy: THEY ALL FAILED. Taxpayers lost billions and this is just an example of how government sucks. Yep, them there’s the facts, and there is no way that there are any other facts that would contradict those facts, right?
Moreover, 60 Minutes is apparently unaware that the DOE Loan Guarantee Program has a whopping 97 percent success rate, while the companies CBS focuses on such as Solyndra and Abound Solar were just three percent of the portfolio.
Yeah, but that’s just the Department of Energy spewing liberal lies on behalf of failed programs. They probably cooked the books or something. It’s not like there are any conservative people out there saying that these programs are successful, right?
Every major independent review, including one by John McCain’s former National Finance Chairman, found the loan guarantee program was cost-effective for taxpayers.
Seriously, was there any ‘research’ done by 60 minutes? Well, they did do some reading:
Inexplicably, the 60 Minutes correspondent asserts that according to “everything I’ve read there were not many jobs created”
Really, 60 Minutes?!? Really, you’re going with the ‘everything I’ve read’ line? Because we did some reading as well and found out:
In fact, the Atlantic Wire reported last year that this one program successfully shepherded 28 companies with clean energy projects creating over 20,000 jobs — with a net cost to the public that will either end up being very low or zero. DOE projects that all of its clean energy loan programs taken together will generate some 55,000 jobs.
Wowsers, reading sure is fun!
There are plenty of other example showing that clean technology is doing well, from the increase in sales of electric cars to the increase in sales (and lowering in price) of energy-efficient light bulbs, but our main point is getting lost in ‘data’ and ‘facts.’
The main point is this: 60 Minutes has decided to abandon all journalistic integrity built up over decades of quality reporting in order to produce right-wing hit pieces. Bravo, guys. Could it maybe, possibly, have anything to do with your new-ish President of CBS News, David Rhodes? We only ask because before he joined CBS in 2011, he was Vice President of News at Fox News. We are disappointed that it took Rhodes a full 2+ years to ruin all the credibility that 60 Minutes built up — we thought he could have done it in one year if he really set his mind to it. Anyway, we totally look forward to a thorough exploration of how Obamacare will usher in an era of beheadings.
We have unconfirmed reports that Dan Rather is rolling over in his grave. Because according to everything we have read, he is dead.
Follow DDM on Twitter (@Wonksplainer), because why not.
Drake premiered this a few nights ago on the New Orleans leg of his tour. But now, we have the full 9 minutes shot in the heart of Memphis. Features include Drizzy’s dad, Juicy J, Project Pat, and one long ass skit. Ha! Cop Nothing Was The Same here.