Monday, August 31, 2015

Windows 10 Paranoia - Justified?

Click here for an article that claims Windows 10 is Big Brother.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Important Words From Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney says politicians can't protect the country with "warmth and friendliness and so forth." How do you know, Dick? You've never tried.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Give It Up, Jindal

Click here for an article by Andrew Rosenthal at The New York Times entitled "Insane Things Republicans Say: Bobby Jindal Edition."

Jindal wrote an open letter to President Obama on the eve of the president's visit to New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, urging him not to bring up the subject of climate change and its role in the ever-increasing number and ever-increasing violence of environmental disasters . He made the following moronic statement:
While you and others may be of the opinion that we can legislate away hurricanes with higher taxes, business regulations and EPA power grabs, that is not a view shared by many Louisianians.
Yeah, you're right, Governor: It's not a view shared by many Louisianians. Nor is it a view shared by many outside of mental wards.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Donald and The Bird

I haven't been able to get the embed code for this video, but paste the following into your address bar to see The Donald and The Eagle.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Read This, And Follow The Links!

Click here! The link is to an article at Crooks & Liars entitled "Your Weekly Guide To The Wingnutosphere: August 20, 2015. It's chock full of good stuff. Click, and follow the links.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Read This - Then Wash Out Your Mind With Soap

Click here, for an exercise in the macabre depths of right-wing America.

Harper's Canada - The New Yorker

This is the entirety of an article entitled The Closing of the Canadian Mind, by Stephen Marche, a writer for Esquire magazine who lives in Toronto, on August 14, 2015 in The New Yorker. The subtitle is Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada, is creating a legacy of secrecy and ignorance.
The prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has called an election for Oct. 19, but he doesn’t want anyone to talk about it.

He has chosen not to participate in the traditional series of debates on national television, confronting his opponents in quieter, less public venues, like the scholarly Munk Debates and CPAC, Canada’s equivalent of CSPAN. His own campaign events were subject to gag orders until a public outcry forced him to rescind the forced silence of his supporters.

Mr. Harper’s campaign for re-election has so far been utterly consistent with the personality trait that has defined his tenure as prime minister: his peculiar hatred for sharing information.

Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education.

But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively. He has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking himself and his Conservative Party in an entitled secrecy, and the country in ignorance.

His relationship to the press is one of outright hostility. At his notoriously brief news conferences, his handlers vet every journalist, picking and choosing who can ask questions. In the usual give-and-take between press and politicians, the hurly-burly of any healthy democracy, he has simply removed the give.

Mr. Harper’s war against science has been even more damaging to the capacity of Canadians to know what their government is doing. The prime minister’s base of support is Alberta, a western province financially dependent on the oil industry, and he has been dedicated to protecting petrochemical companies from having their feelings hurt by any inconvenient research.

In 2012, he tried to defund government research centers in the High Arctic, and placed Canadian environmental scientists under gag orders. That year, National Research Council members were barred from discussing their work on snowfall with the media. Scientists for the governmental agency Environment Canada, under threat of losing their jobs, have been banned from discussing their research without political approval. Mentions of federal climate change research in the Canadian press have dropped 80 percent. The union that represents federal scientists and other professionals has, for the first time in its history, abandoned neutrality to campaign against Mr. Harper.

His active promotion of ignorance extends into the functions of government itself. Most shockingly, he ended the mandatory long-form census, a decision protested by nearly 500 organizations in Canada, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Catholic Council of Bishops. In the age of information, he has stripped Canada of its capacity to gather information about itself. The Harper years have seen a subtle darkening of Canadian life.

The darkness has resulted, organically, in one of the most scandal-plagued administrations in Canadian history. Mr. Harper’s tenure coincided with the scandal of Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto who admitted to smoking crack while in office and whose secret life came to light only when Gawker, an American website, broke the story. In a famous video at a Ford family barbecue, Mr. Harper praised the Fords as a “Conservative political dynasty.”

Mr. Harper’s appointments to the Senate — which in Canada is a mercifully impotent body employed strictly for political payoffs — have proved greedier than the norm. Mr. Harper’s chief of staff was forced out for paying off a senator who fudged his expenses. The Mounties have pressed criminal charges.

After the 2011 election, a Conservative staffer, Michael Sona, was convicted of using robocalls to send voters to the wrong polling places in Guelph, Ontario. In the words of the judge, he was guilty of “callous and blatant disregard for the right of people to vote.” In advance of this election, instead of such petty ploys, the Canadian Conservatives have passed the Fair Elections Act, a law with a classically Orwellian title, which not only needlessly tightens the requirements for voting but also has restricted the chief executive of Elections Canada from promoting the act of voting. Mr. Harper seems to think that his job is to prevent democracy.

But the worst of the Harper years is that all this secrecy and informational control have been at the service of no larger vision for the country. The policies that he has undertaken have been negligible — more irritating distractions than substantial changes. He is “tough on crime,” and so he has built more prisons at great expense at the exact moment when even American conservatives have realized that over-incarceration causes more problems than it solves. Then there is a new law that allows the government to revoke citizenship for dual citizens convicted of terrorism or high treason — effectively creating levels of Canadianness and problems where none existed.

For a man who insists on such intense control, the prime minister has not managed to control much that matters. The argument for all this secrecy was a technocratic impulse — he imagined Canada as a kind of Singapore, only more polite and rule abiding.

The major foreign policy goal of his tenure was the Keystone Pipeline, which Mr. Harper ultimately failed to deliver. The Canadian dollar has returned to the low levels that once earned it the title of the northern peso. Despite being left in a luxurious position of strength after the global recession, he coasted on what he knew: oil. In the run-up to the election, the Bank of Canada has announced that Canada just had two straight quarters of contraction — the technical definition of a recession. He has been a poor manager by any metric.

The early polls show Mr. Harper trailing, but he’s beaten bad polls before. He has been prime minister for nearly a decade for a reason: He promised a steady and quiet life, undisturbed by painful facts. The Harper years have not been terrible; they’ve just been bland and purposeless. Mr. Harper represents the politics of willful ignorance. It has its attractions.

Whether or not he loses, he will leave Canada more ignorant than he found it. The real question for the coming election is a simple but grand one: Do Canadians like their country like that?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Republicans: Democrats Leading Us To Holocaust And/Or Slavery!

Click here for an article at Daily Kos by Jon Perr entitled "The Holocaust, slavery, and the Republicans' routinely repulsive rhetoric." Here's a taste:
As a review of recent right-wing rhetoric shows, for today's Republicans, Obamacare, the national debt, tax hikes on the rich, abortion, federal regulation of for-profit colleges, gun control, social safety net programs, marriage equality, torture detainee rights, and just about everything else conservatives hate are little different than Hitler's slaughter of 6 million Jews or America's original sin.

CPAC: Annual Conservative Funhouse

Click here for an article by Lou Dubose, editor of the Washington Spectator, entitled "A Republican Party Held Captive By Its Radical Base." He characterizes CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) as a right-wing Brigadoon (title of a 1954 film about a miraculously blessed village that rises out of the mists every hundred years for only a day, so that the village would never be changed or destroyed by the outside world:
After four days of immersion, 8,000 to 10,000 participants depart, convinced that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax; government warnings about BPA plastic bottles are a plot designed to create hysteria to drive the public into the arms of the Nanny State; and that Rand Paul is a viable candidate for the presidency of the United States.
His conclusion?
The Republican Party is at war with itself.

It appears to be losing.