Sunday, September 14, 2014

And The Tally Is In

A million dollars?  They should be so lucky.  Box Office Mojo is now reporting Atlas Shrugged III to have achieved a first weekend gross of $355,000.00 on 242 screens, or $1467 per screen.  My quick calculation tells me that that works out to about 21 paid customers per screening.  Well, at least you wouldn't have had a problem getting a good seat.

I want to state clearly that, although I do take a good deal of pleasure in reporting on right wing humiliations like this, that is not the reason I keep writing posts about them.  This is just one more proof that the great right wing populist rebellion in this country simply does not exist, and is nothing but the product of Republican lies and the press' willingness to repeat them.  Whether it's national marches on Washington that can't get 500 people or Impeach Obama demonstrations that cant get 10, or the Republican party's obvious knowledge that they can't win elections even in Republican States without rigging the vote every way they can, or even the pathetic turnout for right wing movies like this one, it is obvious that there is no popular movement behind the Repubican party, and it exists today only on the votes it can buy with hundreds of millions of dollars from hyper-rich sociopaths who are in the end their only real constituency.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Story So Laughable There Aren't Words To Sufficiently Mock It

Did you know that the third part of the grand Conservative movie trilogy of Atlas Shrugged is being released this weekend?  From Breitbart News:

'ATLAS SHRUGGED: WHO IS JOHN GALT?' HITS THEATRES THIS WEEKEND... 

For those of you waiting for the final chapter of the Atlas Shrugged trilogy, the wait ends today, Friday, when "Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?" lands in 254 theatres this weekend.  Box Office Mojo expects Shrugged fans to bring in a cool $1 million this weekend, which lines up with the openings of the previous chapters. Part 1 (2011) opened to 1.69 million. Part two (2012) bested that with $1.75 million."

"A cool $1 million this weekend!"  The mind boggles.


I've got nothing else to say.

Friday, September 12, 2014

You Can Come Out From Under the Bed Now, Republicans

At various times in the last couple of months, I have been tempted to report on endless predictions by right wingers that various Islamic groups were preparing to carry out massive attacks on the United States on this September 11th.  But I didn't bother- too boring.

Well, it's now September 12th, and guess what?  No attacks.  The thousands of sleeper agents which wingnuts confidently assert have been implanted all across our country apparently stayed home and slept in.  No nuclear missiles came zooming at us from Northern Iraq.  None of those 12 imaginary stolen Libyan airliners crashed into anything.  Nothing.  That's what happened.

But keep worrying, Republicans.  Because it's bound to happen next time.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Best Story of the Day

You betcha!  Just go and enjoy.

Oh what a tangled web we weave

And what a tangled web we weave, when we just go along with those who practice to deceive, and let them have the stage to spread their lies unchallenged.

I have said, as long as I have made political comments, that there is only one thing Progressives need to do to wipe the Republican party off of the earth.  That thing is to tell the truth.  That's it, just tell the truth.  But we've stood by for decades now waiting for the gutless Democrats in this country to figure that out.

The current case in point:  We have a President who has had a six year long chance to be honest with the American people about Bush and Cheney's miserable, incompetent war of aggression in Iraq, and the hopeless position it has left us in.  But he has never bothered to do that, scared to death of the mean things that Republicans will have to say about him.  Now, he is caught in a miserable no-win situation, in which that very war of aggression has spawned what may be the most violent Islamist group in history.  And the Republicans who caused this entire disaster through their gigantic act of war criminality are succeeding very well, with the assistance of the mainstream press, in blaming it all on Obama.

Had he consistently condemned what is clearly the greatest military blunder since Austria invaded Serbia in 1914. he would now be in a position to take a new tack based on something that might actually work.  As it is, he tied a rope around his own neck, and it is strangling him.

Too bad.  Too bad for us.  Too bad that "well-meaning but gutless" wasn't enough to make a good President.

Bartharbunga

I haven't posted anything about the Icelandic volcano situation for a few days now, but I don't want you to think the problem is going away.  Here's the latest of the excellent daily reports we have been getting from Daily Kos, if you care, and a picture.  On the whole, things seem to be getting gradually more intense.  Something like this can take months or years to reach the critical stage, or it could subside.  Right now the bets of the experts seem to be on it getting worse.  I guess we'll see.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

They Hate Us For Our Freedom

And they are a pack of insane, violent murderers because of their religion.  That's pretty much it, right?  People in the Middle East wouldn't have any other reason to hate us or be suspicious of us, because we are Western Civilization, the best thing that has ever happened in the whole universe.

No reason to hate us at all, except maybe for a few irrelevant issues like this:

Egypt:

"The French Campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801) was Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in the Orient, ostensibly to protect French trade interests, undermine Britain's access to India"

And then:

"The Anglo-Egyptian War occurred in 1882 between Egyptian and Sudanese forces under Ahmed ‘Urabi and the United Kingdom. It ended a nationalist uprising against the khedive Tewfik Pasha and vastly expanded British influence over the country, at the expense of the French."

More:

"...by 1882 Islamic and Arabic Nationalist opposition to European influence and settlement in the Middle East led to growing tension amongst notable natives, especially in Egypt which then as now was the most powerful, populous, and influential of Arabian nations.  
A large military demonstration in September 1881 forced the Khedive Tewfiq to dismiss his Prime Minister and rule by decree. Many of the Europeans retreated to specially designed quarters suited for defence or heavily European settled cities such as Alexandria. 
Consequently, in April 1882 France and Great Britain sent warships to Alexandria...when the British succeeded in defeating the Egyptian Army at Tel El Kebir in September and took control of the country to the 1952 Egyptian revolution which made Egypt a republic and when British advisers were expelled.

Morocco:

"Two times in the decade before WWI, disputes over Morocco ignited extremely dangerous European crises. 
Germany felt threatened by the loose alignment between France and Britain.  Twice, Berlin came up with the scheme of deliberately provoking a crisis by challenging the growing French influence in Morocco, hoping to humiliate France and force it to break off its association with Britain.  Both times, the plan backfired - ties between France and Britain were strengthened, and Germany was left more isolated than ever.  Although war was narrowly avoided in 1905-1906 and in 1911, both of the Moroccan Crises sharply ratcheted up European tensions and helped bring on the First World War."

Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine:

"The Sykes–Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and France,[1] with the assent of Russia, defining their proposed spheres of influence and control in the Middle East should the Triple Entente succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I... 
The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence...Britain was allocated control of areas roughly comprising the coastal strip between the sea and River Jordan, Jordan, southern Iraq, and a small area including the ports of Haifa and Acre, to allow access to the Mediterranean.[6] France was allocated control of south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.[citation needed] Russia was to get Istanbul, the Turkish Straits and the Ottoman Armenian vilayets"

Sudan

"With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt and Sudan's economic and strategic importance increased enormously, attracting the imperial attentions of the Great Powers, particularly the United Kingdom. Ten years later in 1879, the immense foreign debt of Ismail Pasha's government served as the pretext for the Great Powers to force his abdication and replacement by his son Tewfik Pasha. The manner of Tewfik's ascension at the hands of foreign powers greatly angered Egyptian and Sudanese nationalists who resented the ever-increasing influence of European governments and merchants in the affairs of the country. The situation was compounded by Tewfik's perceived corruption and mismanagement and ultimately culminated in the 'Urabi Revolt. With the survival of his throne in dire jeopardy, Tewfik appealed for British assistance. In 1882, at Tewfik's invitation, the British bombarded Alexandria, Egypt's and Sudan's primary seaport, and subsequently invaded the country. British forces overthrew the Orabi government in Cairo and proceeded to occupy the rest of Egypt and Sudan in 1882. Though officially the authority of Tewfik had been restored, in reality the British largely took control of Egyptian and Sudanese affairs until 1932. 
Even when the British ended their occupation of Egypt in 1936 (with the exception of the Suez Canal Zone), they maintained their forces in Sudan. Successive governments in Cairo, repeatedly declaring their abrogation of the condominium agreement, declared the British presence in Sudan to be illegitimate...It was the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 which finally set a series of events in motion which would eventually end the British occupation of Sudan."

Iran:

"...in 1905-1906, Persia had the first democratic revolution in Asia.[43] Known as the Constitutional Revolution, massive popular protests forced Mozzafar-e-din Shah to allow for the Constitution of 1906, which limited his powers. It allowed for a democratically elected parliament Majlis to make the laws, and a prime minister to sign and carry them out. 
The Constitutional Revolution was opposed by the British and Russians, who attempted to subvert it through the backing of Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar (the son of Mozzafar-e-din Shah), who tried to break up the democratic government by force. A guerrilla movement led by Sattar Khan deposed him in 1910."

And later, of course:

"The 1953 Iranian coup d'état, known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup, was the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran Mohammad Mosaddegh on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the United Kingdom (under the name 'Operation Boot') and the United States (under the name TPAJAX Project). 
Mossadegh had sought to audit the books of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), a British corporation (now BP) and to change the terms of the company's access to Iranian oil reserves. 
Popular discontent with the AIOC began in the late 1940s: a large segment of Iran's public and a number of politicians saw the company as exploitative and a central tool of continued British imperialism in Iran. Despite Mosaddegh's popular support, the AIOC was unwilling to allow Iranian authorities to audit the company accounts or to renegotiate the terms of its access to Iranian oil. In 1951, Iran's oil industry was nationalized with near-unanimous support of Iran's parliament in a bill introduced by Mossadegh who led the nationalist party the National Front. In response, Britain instigated a worldwide boycott of Iranian oil to pressure Iran economically. Initially, Britain mobilized its military to seize control of the British-built Abadan oil refinery, then the world's largest, but Prime Minister Clement Attlee opted instead to tighten the economic boycott while using Iranian agents to undermine Mosaddegh's government. With a change to more conservative governments in both Britain and the United States, Winston Churchill and the Eisenhower administration decided to overthrow Iran's government, though the predecessor Truman administration had opposed a coup.  Classified documents show that British intelligence officials played a pivotal role in initiating and planning the coup, and that the AIOC contributed $25,000 towards the expense of bribing officials. 
As a condition for restoring the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company... five American petroleum companies, Royal Dutch Shell, and the Compagnie Française des Pétroles, were to draw Iran's petroleum after the successful coup d'état—Operation Ajax. The Shah declared this to be a "victory" for Iranians"

Libya

"The History of Libya as an Italian colony started in 1911 and was characterized initially by a major struggle with Muslim native Libyans that lasted until 1931. During this period, the Italian government controlled only the coastal areas of the colony. 
After the Italian Empire's conquest of Ottoman Tripolitania (Ottoman Libya), in the 1911–12 Italo-Turkish War, much of the early colonial period had Italy waging a war of subjugation against Libya's population. Ottoman Turkey surrendered its control of Libya in the 1912 Treaty of Lausanne...After prolonged discussions through the 1920s, it was not until 1935 that the Mussolini-Laval agreement was reached and Italy received the Aouzou strip that was added to Libya..."

Algeria:

"French Algeria lasted from 1830 to 1962, under a variety of governmental systems. From 1848 until independence, the whole Mediterranean region of Algeria was administered as an integral part of France...The conquest of Algeria was initiated in the last days of the Bourbon Restoration by Charles X, as an attempt to increase his popularity amongst the French people, particularly in Paris, where many veterans of the Napoleonic Wars lived. His intention was to bolster patriotic sentiment, and distract attention from ineptly handled domestic policies by "skirmishing against the dey".

Afghanistan, Pakistan:

"The Great Game" was a term for the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia.[1] The classic Great Game period is generally regarded as running approximately from the Russo-Persian Treaty of 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. A less intensive phase followed the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917."
Here's a crude map of all of this:


I'm sure I've missed some countries, but everyone's patience must be pretty well exhausted at this point.  Let me make just one observation about all of this:  Whenever motivations for this behavior are recorded, the interests of the people there are never, ever mentioned.  It was all about what was good for the European powers, and later the United States.

We've been involved in the morass of the Middle East for a good part of all of our lives, and yet after all the waste of lives and money, it is still essentially taboo in this country to mention a single bit of what is above.  So instead, the battle cry remains "they hate us for our freedom."  How long do you think it will take for that kind of thinking to result in finding a way out of the violence over there?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Just a Brief Note

I'm really having trouble finding anything that's worth talking about these days.  That's because it really does get tiring pointing out the same mixture of corruption and stupidity which the Republican party dishes out day after day.  A small sample from today:

"A bill passed the lower house of the State of Wyoming with an amendment to study the conditions under which the State should acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.  The only place in Wyoming big enough to hold an aircraft carrier is a lake in Yellowstone Park."
"House Republicans Cut Administration Funding Request To Fight Ebola...According to a source familiar with the negotiations, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) agreed as of Tuesday morning to spend a total of $40 million to fight the epidemic in the 2015 spending bill...The White House had asked for $88 million for Ebola in total"
"Pat Robertson Calls For More Guns In Churches: 'Blessed Are The Fully Armed'...TV preacher Pat Robertson on Tuesday argued that more guns in churches was a "good idea" to protect Christians because "blessed are the fully armed."

This garbage is not even intended to be any kind of serious governing.  It is nothing but an attempt to squander the energy of every rational, decent person in the country, while the real work of Republicans- advancing the agenda of the Koch Brothers and other sociopathic multibillionaires, goes on as always, ignored by the complicit press in this country.  That's all the news there is- Republicans turning this country into a theocratic dictatorship in which 99.99% of the people will have no rights at all.  And that story isn't worth telling, compared to bullshit about aircraft carriers in Wyoming.

And here's something depressing:  the irresponsible treachery of the press is so great in this country that, as I read in a poll today, by a margin of 10% the American people trust the Republicans to run the economy more than the Democrats.  This appalling stupidity is the real reason the Republicans are likely to win in November; no halfway informed electorate would ever place a Republican in a position of trust ever again.  But as long as "free speech" means how much money you have, that's the country we've got.  Love it or leave it.



Links:  Here, here and here.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Bad Timing

This recent repost of an article by Henry Makow, one of the real loons I occasionally like to ridicule in Wingnut Wrapup:

Makow makes the final comment:

"This then is the real story of Jack the Ripper, straight from the 'horse's mouth' .  These facts must be known by the current establishment but as always, they close ranks to prevent the truth from becoming known.  All of the multiplicity of theories that abound as to the identity of the killer and the many films, documentaries and TV programmes that portray an unending search for the 'truth' are nothing more than elaborate smokescreens, born from the deliberate confusion engendered by the Elite to protect the guilty, as is their usual modus operandi.  This is another tiny example of how easy it is for these psychopaths to provide us all with a completed distorted view of both the past and our existing reality."
Completely distorted view of our existing reality indeed.  If you were to scroll down on Makow's site, you would find another post entitled "Evidence that Michelle Obama is a Transvestite," or "Does a Satanic Cult Rule the World." (answer: yes, in case you wondered.)

_____________________________________________________
Don't get the joke?   Look here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Little More On Bartharbunga

Not much to indicate much of a change in Daily Kos' incisive reporting on this event, but a wonderful comparison of two pictures that I cannot resist reprinting:

At the top, a picture from the current eruption, at the bottom, a rendering of Mordor.

Things like this can go on for months or years- I'll keep an eye on it.


And More, from Saturday Night:  Another great report from Daily Kos:


"But we're not here because of small eruptions. We began covering this because of the potential of a big eruption, from Bárðarbunga herself. And there's a growing belief that this data suggests that it's increasingly likely to happen."

Earlier, I thought things might be leveling off, but I guess not.  I don't want to keep stealing things from Daily Kos, so I suggest that, if you are interested in this, you click on the link, and scroll down to the bottom of the post, where you will find an absolutely spectacular video of the eruption.  It's the first thing I've seen that really suggests the magnitude of this event.

I hope I'm not getting too obsessed with this, but I find it really gripping.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Conservative Legal Logic At Its Finest

And this is about as fine as it gets.  Right wingers finally found a judge (in Louisiana- are you surprised?) to rule against marriage equality, utilizing the following supreme logic:

"This Court is persuaded that Louisiana has a legitimate interest…whether obsolete in the opinion of some, or not, in the opinion of others…in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents, as specifically underscored by Justice Kennedy in Windsor."

Apparently, during his consideration of this lawsuit, it never occurred to judge Martin Feldman that this exact wording could be used in the case of parents who divorced and then married other partners, to take away their children, since the children would no longer be part of  "an intact family formed by their two biological parents."  It also could be used, for the same reasoning, to take children away from a parent if the other parent died.

But for right wingers, making a total mockery of our judicial system and involving it in endless, useless mean spirited litigation, is a small price to pay for the right to continue to exercise their hatred.

One only need look at the dozens of "opinions" written over the years by Antonin Scalia, which knowingly misstate the history of our laws, and rely on reasoning so flimsy that even non-lawyers can see how absurd they are, to understand that these people care nothing about the great responsibility they have been given, and everything about forcing a hideous antidemocratic government on the American people.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oh God! Stolen Jets! Let's All Panic and Hide Under the Bed!!!

In the last few hours, in a superb example of the wingnut noise machine's ability to generate panic from nothing, a story involving the theft of perhaps a dozen passenger jets by militant Islamists has spread like wildfire around the right wing media.  Here's an example from Newsmax:

Naturally, there is not one single story about this from anything but right wing sources on Google.  That ain't stoppin' these guys, oh no.  It's such an easily disproven lie that this particular wingnut outrage will probably not have legs, but we'll see.


Update:  Hours later now, but still not a story about the theft of all of these passenger planes in the regular media.  It's still spreading around in wingnut world- let's just see how long they go with it before dropping it for a new lie.