Archive for the ‘right wing assholes’ Category

So let’s look at conservatives in the UK.

The Tories have proposed a new policy where they will reject all asylum seekers who enter the country without already having a visa. Which is a violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, of which the UK was one of the original signers, as well as being a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights which the UK also signed, and would result in the UK basically rejecting 100% of refugees because the UK has no provisions with other countries to accept refugees in a more formalized way.

How big is the refugee problem in the UK? Last year, around 45,000 refugees crossed the English Channel in small boats and applied for asylum when they reached the UK. The population of the UK is 67 million people. In other words, .006% of their population, a tiny fraction of their population.

Let’s face facts: the proposed Tory policy is all about racism, not about any actual threat to the economy or stability of the UK. And famous footballer(*) Gary Lineker called them on it, calling the proposed policy “an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s“. And the response of the Tory chairman of the BBC, Richard Sharp, who bought his position by “donating” a major sum of money to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was to suspend him for a bogus violation of a social media policy that does not apply to a contract sports analyst, thereby violating his right of free speech, a right (freedom of expression) not guaranteed in the non-existent British constitution but guaranteed in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights that the UK signed.

Here’s the thing, though. Lineker is a multi-millionaire. He doesn’t really give a shit about the BBC trying to muzzle him. The same applies to most of the other sports commentators at the BBC, the BBC hires former sports stars to run their sports programs, and most of them have plenty of money in the bank and are doing it because they love their sport and were bored in retirement. So, most of the other sports analysts stayed home today, and the BBC was showing lots of reruns of non-sports shows to fill dead air space. They weren’t even able to have the few sports reporters remaining interview football stars about the games after the games, because the football stars refused to talk to the BBC in solidarity with their former colleague.

None of these are people that the BBC can intimidate. The butt-hurt Tories can replace their sports commentators with random Tory schmoes with no credibility and lose all their audience as well as create an uprising by a football-crazed viewing audience, but the Tories can’t intimidate them. So butt-hurt conservative snowflakes either are going to have to double down and risk a rebellion by even some of their own supporters, or are going to have to back down with some sort of face-saving gesture. That’s it. That’s their choices. We’ll see what happens… but one thing is clear: Conservatives are fragile snowflakes who can’t stand criticism regardless of what nation they’re in.

— Badtux the Snowflake-melting Penguin

(*) For some reason, Americans call football “soccer”. The term used in the entire rest of the world is used here. 

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Define “win”. If by “win” you mean a free and independent South Vietnam that did not rely on massive US forces and airpower in order to maintain its independence, South Vietnam never had a government that had broad popular support from the majority of its population. The South Vietnamese elites were French-influenced (I’ve encountered many of those former elites here in the United States, all are fluent in French) and predominantly Catholic. The general population of South Vietnam was predominantly Buddhist and viewed the French-speaking South Vietnamese elites as more alien than the North Vietnamese. The elites similarly viewed the majority Buddhist population as basically country bumpkins who weren’t qualified to have a say in the government.

Given that, it seems unlikely that South Vietnam could have ever developed a national culture that would allow it to resist North Vietnamese incursions without direct US involvement. The elites weren’t willing to enroll the “country bumpkins” in the goal of creating an independent nation other than as cannon fodder, and the “country bumpkins” weren’t that motivated by being cannon fodder. Also the elites were corrupt, viewing their first allegiance as being to their social class rather than to the nation as a whole. Thus you had situations where entire ARVN companies existed only on paper while the elite officer who was in charge pocketed their payroll money. Money for buying bombs and bullets was also similarly being siphoned off to enrich the elites, with many munitions existing only on paper with the money instead ending up in the pockets of elite officers. The ARVN consequently was starved of both men and munitions, to the point where ARVN soldiers had to ration bullets.

Add in the fact that South Vietnam had basically no natural resources other than lots of rice, and no way of paying for bombs and bullets on its own. It would have always been dependent upon U.S. aid for those things. Then there’s the simple fact that their population was less than that of North Vietnam. They would run out of soldiers well before North Vietnam ran out of soldiers.

Furthermore, the overall geography of the area, far different from that of Korea, made such a thing difficult. I notice that there’s a number of people here who talk about the “Viet Cong” as if they remained a fighting force after the Tet Offensive. No. All of the fighting after that was done by regular infantry of the NVA. South Vietnam was not overthrown from within, it was overthrown by an invasion by North Vietnamese tanks and infantry. There was continual warfare in South Vietnam after Tet, but it was because it was impossible to seal off South Vietnam’s borders. Vietnam is a long skinny nation that hugs the ocean, and to properly secure that border would have required more soldiers than anybody was willing to send to Vietnam. So North Vietnamese units were continually sneaking around through the jungles of Laos and Cambodia into South Vietnam to the point where entire divisions of NVA were operating within South Vietnam having infiltrated piecemeal at night over the course of an entire rainy season where South Vietnam’s F-5 fighter-bombers were largely grounded due to inability to operate at night or in bad weather.

Okay, so it’s impossible to keep the NVA out of South Vietnam. The solution then seems to be to destroy the NVA. The only way to do that is to invade North Vietnam. The US actually started massing troops at the border between North and South Vietnam in order to do that. In response, the Soviet Union then started massing troops at the border between East and West Germany. It was well known at the time that the Army in West Germany was basically the worst of the worst, it was where the Army’s goofups and dregs were sent, so the chances of holding off a Soviet invasion were dim. West Germany was a lot more valuable than South Vietnam. Oops. Not gonna invade North Vietnam.

Nuke North Vietnam? The Soviets promised to nuke South Vietnam. Oops. A free and independent glow in the dark nuclear wasteland wasn’t the goal, so that’s out too.

Well, South Vietnam can’t defend itself, so let’s put enough troops into South Vietnam to secure its borders. It’d only take a couple of million troops. Military spending peaked at nearly 10% of GDP in 1968, when we had around 536,000 soldiers in South Vietnam. So figure four times that. Oops, that would have us spending 40% of our GDP defending what’s basically just a bunch of jungle and rice paddies. The reality is that the US economy was groaning under even the weight of nearly 10% of GDP spent on defense, spending 40% wasn’t gonna happen.

Basically, there was just no way, given these realities, to have anything more than an ugly stalemate in South Vietnam where U.S. troops were constantly playing whack-a-mole with infiltrated North Vietnamese troops. And doing that was enormously expensive and honestly, what you’ve managed to do at the end of all this is to secure a bunch of jungle and rice paddies. In the end it just wasn’t worth it to the United States to continue to pay what would be trillions of dollars in today’s money to defend a bunch of jungle and rice paddies, so in the end South Vietnam was doomed.

So anyhow, despite right-wing assholes continuing to whine that Jane Fonda lost the Vietnam War, there was no “there” there. Anybody who looked at a map in 1963 could have seen this. So why did the United States go in there in the first place? Well, it was because of a) LBJ’s ego, and b) a bizarre theory called the “Domino Theory” that said if we let the Communists take over some worthless jungle and rice paddies, soon they’d be taking over places that *really* counted, like the countries where we got the natural resources to feed our war machine. It was a bullshit theory in the first place, as the fall of the former French Indochina proved (the Communists didn’t then go on to take over any otehr nations in the area). But the reality was that there was no “there” there, and devoting what would be trillions of dollars to defending a bunch of jungle and rice paddies was as insane as spending trillions of dollars defending a bunch of opium poppies and goats in Afghanistan. In the end there are no US interests served in doing so, and we had no business being there.

Badtux the Realist Penguin

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You might wonder how a Senator who was once called the “Senator from Chase-Manhattan” because he was so friendly to big banks and big business in general could be called a “socialist” by Republicans once he started running for President.

The word “socialism” as used by Republicans doesn’t mean “a system where all economic assets are owned by the government”. Rather, it’s a dog whistle for “I don’t want none of them thare n-words to get the same advantages as me.” It’s coded racism. The word “socialist” as used by Republicans is a dog whistle for “people who oppose white supremacy.”

This is why poor whites consistently are voting against Democrats these days. They still have not forgiven Democrats for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1965. LBJ muttered that he’d lost poor whites for the Democratic Party for a generation because poor whites wouldn’t vote for a “n-word lover”. He was off by a couple of generations. And this is also why poor whites consistently label Democrats as “socialist”. It’s not because Democrats want all businesses to be owned by the government. It’s because Democrats are against white supremacy. And that makes them evil because taking white supremacy away from white trash Americans… what do white trash Americans have left after that? Other than seething resentment and hatred of everybody who isn’t white, I mean?

White supremacy is a hella drug. As lethal as meth, in the end. These white trash Americans will literally vote to kill themselves rather than allow black people to have the same rights that they have. And I doubt there’s a damned thing we can do about it other than to ignore their racism while making sure they have access to health care, education, and other necessities of life, which we Democrats will do because we’re good people, not because there’s any hope of us converting people who think it’s okay to rip babies out of their mothers’ arms and put them into cages to anything resembling human decency. There’s no way to reach out to hate-filled people and make them *not* be hate-filled people. All we can do is treat them with kindness while making sure they’re as far the fuck away from the reins of power as we can manage.

– Badtux the Dog-whistle-recognizing Penguin

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Two Florida judges violated Florida law by requiring cash bond for “unlawful assembly” charges. The reason? The police union personally threatened them if they did not issue cash bond amounts that exceeded the bail schedule for protesters who were protesting against police violence.

The police union. Threatened judges.

And the judges buckled.

Our police are out of control. They feel they are judge, jury, and executioner, and can dictate to judges and prosecutors what charges to file and what penalties to inflict. And I don’t think it’s resolvable within the current structure of policing.

The only — ONLY — way to fix this is to completely abolish police departments as they currently exist, as a paramilitary occupation force that has impunity to do anything they like with the sole punishment being a paid vacation for anything short of murder (and sometimes for murder, too). Abolish all police departments and all police unions, and replace them with Community Safety departments staffed with Community Safety officers armed with pepper spray and nightsticks and a *small* armed unit (perhaps a dozen armed officers for a city of 250,000) to respond where the Community Safety officers can’t handle things.

This is how policing is handled in most Western nations — most Western nations do *not* put handguns and rifles into the hands of barely-trained kids just out of the police academy, you have to work hard for many years showing you can handle the job without resorting to deadly force before you’re promoted to a position where you are allowed to carry deadly force. Only the United States, and tinpot 3rd world dictatorships, dresses up their cops like occupation soldiers complete with machine guns and tanks.

Or if we can’t do that: Defund police departments. Strip all the Robocop equipment from the police. Make them walk beats wearing dress shirt and dress pants and black shiny shoes and a police hat, rather than combat BDU’s and steel-toed combat boots and a combat helmet. Fire those with white supremacist tattoos or white supremacist “fashi” or “skinhead” haircuts. Arm them with .38 revolvers and a nightstick with a civilian style 12 gauge pump as backup rather than military-style high-tech semi-automatic pistols and selective-fire assault rifles. Make them drive regular SUV’s and regular cars with a $1,500 police radio and dashcam setup, rather than specially-equipped $60,000 SUV’s outfited with $50,000 worth of high-tech electronic equipment that officers regularly operate while the car is moving and as a result regularly end up with officers — or civilians forced off the road — dead after smashing into a tree. Take police departments back in time to where Officer Obie enforced the law without needing to be frickin’ robo-cop. A small SWAT team armed with better equipment is all that most departments need. Every officer being armed with assault rifles and pistols with enough rounds to ventilate an infantry company? Madness.

And REMOVE ALL ‘WARRIOR TRAINING’ AND THE INCESSANT PARADE OF VIDEOS SHOWING COPS BEING KILLED from the police academy training curriculum. They aren’t helpful. They teach cops that all suspects are violent murderers out to kill them, and thus if a suspect even twitches, kill the suspect. There are some training scenarios that are useful for improving the decision-making of police officers, but these aren’t.

Will any of this happen? Nope. The reason? Racism. White America relies upon police to be their personal racism valets, keeping them thare darkies in their place, operating as occupation forces in minority communities to make sure those communities do not erupt in overt violence against the structural racism that keeps them from thriving. And if police are used by white America as an occupation force to keep the darkies down, they have to be armed and trained as an occupation force.

And so it goes. At least until America is majority-minority, at which point all hell breaks loose.

– Badtux the Racism-smellin’ Penguin

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I’d feel better about having a flexible schedule if the weather wasn’t so damned gloomy. It’s been cloudy and drizzling on and off every day since I started “sheltering in place” on March 13. My yard is starting to look like a jungle, but it’s too wet here in the Newark Swamp to do any kind of yard work unless I want to use my rubber boots. Yeesh.

I say this as water drips off my roof and falls to the ground. It’s drizzling *again*! Ugh, what’s the use of being at home if you can’t even get some daylight?!

So anyhow, my sourdough starter is bubbling away as I feed it twice per day. I’m having trouble regulating its temperature, the oven gets too warm when I put the light on and the starter gets overactive, then it gets too cool when I turn the light off. I’m thinking maybe open the oven door slightly while the light is on? Because of the cold damp weather outside, the house is usually pretty cool even during the daytime, much less at night when it gets down in the lower to mid 60’s inside. Too cool for yeast to do its job, anyhow.

I used some of the starter for pancakes this morning. They weren’t bad pancakes, but they were a bit tougher than I wanted too. I think the flour I’m using for the starter is a bit higher in gluten than the flour in the pancake mix I usually use, and I’ll need to add more egg to make it fluffier. Oh well.

About 40% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 are between ages 20 and 54. All these young fools out there partying like they can’t get COVID-19? Fucking #covidiots , that’s what they are. Not only are they spreading the virus, but they’re also getting sick themselves.

Nancy Pelosi unveils a $2.5 trillion dollar COVID-19 stimulus package aimed at bailing out ordinary Americans, not giant corporations. Which of course means it can’t happen. SIGH.

Trump suggests that we allow 8.5 million Americans to die in order to protect the stock market. This a day after Texas’s Republican Lt. Governor suggested that let’s kill granny in order to save the economy At this point the only difference between Republicans and Nazis is branding. Mass deaths are fine as long as they make money off of them. WTF?!

Of course, the problem is that 8.5 million sick old people in need of hospitalization, of whom 850,000 need ventilators would utterly overwhelm our healthcare system. We have around 825,000 beds total in our entire healthcare system, and on the average day around 750,000 of those are full. We have around 80,000 total ICU beds in the United states, and on the average day around 60,000 of those are full. We normally have around 62,000 ventilators of which normally around 50,000 are in use, and can surge maybe that many more older models if needed for around 130,000 ventilators total. So…. we’re talking about people on blankets in the streets outside of hospital doors because there isn’t even room on the floors to put more patients into the hospitals. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people gasping their last breaths like fish out of water because there’s no ventilators. And not all of these would be COVID-19 patients. If you’re in an auto accident and need emergency surgery to stay alive? Forget it. All the supplies, all the doctors, all the facilities are overwhelmed by people in front of you. So you just die. Have a stroke and need emergency surgery to put a stent in your brain to prevent further brain damage? Sorry, no doctors, no hospital beds, no supplies, you die. And so forth.

In other words, the Republican death cult wants to not only kill 8.5 million old people (who, remember, are their base, for fuck’s sake, it’s not that these Nazi-admiring motherfuckers are evil, it’s that they’re stupid evil who don’t even do evil that benefits them!), but they also want to kill hundreds of thousands of other people who need life-saving interventions on any given day. This is deranged. This is just fucking deranged. And evil. Let’s not forget evil. But hey, it’d save on Social Security and Medicare expenses in the future, right?

And that’s all for now. I’m going to go eat the last of the pulled pork and some brownies from the batch I baked on Sunday, then feed my sourdough starter, then go back to work. Tomorrow, eh?

– Badtux the Overeating Penguin

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For cryin’ out loud, what kind of rock have these people been living under? It wasn’t even illegal until 1978, and it still happens often enough today that pregnancy discrimination lawyers advertise on the Internet trolling for women who’ve been fired for being pregnant. Granted, since it’s illegal now, employers won’t say “I’m firing you for being pregnant”, they’ll make up some other reason, but it’s provable in enough cases to keep those lawyers in business (remember, they don’t get paid unless they win!).

As for why employers fire pregnant women: “They take too much leave time.” “The cost of child birth drives up our health insurance costs.” “I have to hire someone to do their job while they’re out on their post-pregnancy leave, might as well hire someone full-time in their place” “Mothers of young infants perform poorly in the workplace, they’re always tired and having to leave to deal with a sick baby.” Yada yada yada. Back in the days when Elizabeth Warren was fired for being pregnant, they didn’t even bother with those reasons, they just said “a mother’s place is in the home” — i.e., the Mad Men misogynists who ran everything back then were fine with women in the workplace if the women were unmarried and had no children, but the moment the woman had a child, nope.

But apparently all this current and past history just eludes some people, who continue to insist “nobody gets fired for being pregnant because it’s illegal!” Yeah right, just like nobody exceeds the speed limit because it’s illegal….

Badtux the “it ain’t even ancient history!” Penguin

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That new California law is, of course, a law requiring all candidates for President and Governor to provide 5 years of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot. And they’re screaming, “This adds qualifications for president beyond what’s in the Constitution!”

No. Donald Trump can still run for President. Nothing bars him from running for President. He just has to file all the required paperwork. Which has been expanded a bit, but there’s nothing physically preventing him from filing it, it’s not as if the state passed a law saying that no person who is orange can run for President in the state of California. Furthermore, the Constitution gives the states the right to set how electors for President shall be selected, via Article II, Section 1, Clause 3.

The biggest argument is going to be that the State of California cannot tell the Republican Party how they will select their candidate. That is true. Freedom of association says that the Republican Party can select their candidate any way they wish. If they want to select a candidate via party delegates meeting in a smoky room, or via holding party-sponsored caucuses, or any other method they determine, they can do so — as long as they don’t use state money to do it. But if they want to participate in the state-funded primaries they have to abide by the rules the state lays down. The candidate has to pay a filing fee, provide the signatures of X number of registered voters, provide the name and address of his campaign organization, and otherwise provide information that — oh yeah — now includes 5 years of income tax forms too.

And if the Republican Party doesn’t want to abide by those rules, nobody is forcing them to do so. They can hold their own party-funded caucuses like Nevada does. But if you’re going to accept the state’s money, you abide by the state’s rules. That’s just how it is.

– Badtux the Law Penguin

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So serial dipstick and frothy rectal ooze Ricky Santorum says that the solution to mass shootings like in El Paso is moar gunz.

More guns than in Texas? For real? Has this frothy ass ooze even looked at gun stats for the state of Texas? They practically hand you a gun at the state border! 6.5% of Texans are concealed carry permit holders. There were at least 1,000 people in that store at the time the shooting happened. What that means is that there were at least 65 Texans in that store who had a concealed weapon.

And not a single one of them engaged the shooter.

So what were they doing instead? Well, what everybody else was doing — they were screaming and running. Because that’s what untrained people do when confronted with someone shooting at them — they run as fast as they can to leave that person’s presence. That’s behavior built deep into the human genome, we were prey, not predators, for millions of years before evolving to the point where we could use spears and clubs to become predators ourselves, and prey doesn’t run toward predators. It takes training and balls of steel to actually run toward someone who’s shooting at you, which is what would have been necessary in order engage someone with a rifle when you’re armed only with a handgun. Cops have that training and even they sometimes freeze or run away, like the school resource officer at Parkland High, who was a trained and certified Sheriff’s deputy and now is a former cop because he couldn’t overcome the natural instinct to run like hell when someone is shooting at you.

Sixty-five concealed weapons holders in that store, and not one of them engaged the shooter.

Can we drown this whole “moar gunz will solve mass shootings” bullshit forever now? Because clearly if even 65 people with concealed weapons can’t stop a mass shooting, the chances of even more people with concealed weapons stopping a mass shooting is…. well, what’s zero times anything? Hint: Zero.

– Badtux the Numbers Penguin

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“It’s a mental health problem!” say the right wingers about the recent spree killers.

No. Mental health in the United States is no worse today than it’s ever been. Yet spree murders continue to rise, to the point where we had two spree killings this weekend alone.

We don’t have a mental health crisis causing spree killings. What we have is a Nazi crisis. We have a problem with young white men being radicalized with white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies in much the same way that the Middle East has a problem with young Arab men being radicalized in Islamist ideologies, with the same result — they commit terrorist acts.

Because that is what these are: terrorist attacks. They may claim these are “lone wolf” attacks, but you look at what these young white men actually believe, you’ll see that they’ve been radicalized just as much by neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideologies as Middle Eastern terrorists have been radicalized by Islamist ideologies. They choose to engage in spree killing rather than don a suicide vest because guns are easier to buy here than bomb-making materials are, but that’s a difference in murder technique, not a difference in motivation — which is terrorism, period.

And it doesn’t help that Hair Twitler encourages them….

– Badtux the Observant Penguin

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Devin Nunes sues Twitter over mean tweets from parody accounts.

You can’t get more ridiculous than this. Simultaneously complaining that Twitter silences its critics while asking Twitter to silence his critics is a curious legal strategy, but that’s Devin Nunes for you. He’s always been a twit, the kind of kid who probably wore bow ties and carried a briefcase when he was in high school, and being so far up Mango Mussolini’s ass that he can see the back of Mango’s teeth hasn’t made him any less a whiny asshole.

Such a pathetic special little snowflake, wah, parody accounts was *mean* to you! Wah! What a whiny baby!

— Badtux the Soon to be sued by Nunes like rest of Twitterverse Penguin

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