Category Archives: Idiocy

Headline of the day: Cruel congressional craziness


Eugenics in action in the House of Representatives, via the Independent:

Kansas Republican lawmaker says poor people do not want health care

  • In an interview about healthcare with Stat News, Obstetrician Roger Marshall argued that the Affordable Care Act could not be structured to only benefit those with low incomes.
  • “Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us.’ … There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves,” he told the publication.
  • “Just, like, homeless people. … I think just morally, spiritually, socially, (some people) just don’t want health care,” Mr Marshall continued.

With Trump, it’s hard to tell when news is fake


Yep, the behavior of the orange-haired menace is so extreme that folks are having trouble figuring out whether the latest outrageous ale is true or false.

Consider one bit of satire that picked up by China’s state news agency as a for-real revelation about the Pussygrabber.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

CNN may get a reprieve as the object of President Trump’s ire, thanks to a serendipitous combination of two of the president’s favorite topics: China and fake news.

Published Saturday in The New Yorker, comedian Andy Borowitz’s humorous satirization of a paranoid president wrapping phones in tinfoil got picked up Tuesday by multiple Chinese news outlets. The truth had come out by Wednesday, but not before highlighting how easy it is for sarcasm to get lost in translation.

Riffing on the president’s Twitter allegations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower phones before the election, The New Yorker article depicted a paranoid commander-in-chief insisting aids Obama-proof all White House phones with a layer of tinfoil.

“The President, still wearing his bathrobe after what was reportedly a sleepless night, personally supervised the tin-foil installation, sources said,” read a line from the piece, which bears the label “Satire from the Borowitz Report.”

But that didn’t stop Reference News, a Chinese website run by state media Xinhua that translates international coverage, from reporting the joke as serious on Tuesday. Publications that fell for the misreporting included respected outlets such as the business magazine Caijing, as well as news portal Sina.

Given Trump’s surreal track record, pretty soon we’re all going to be reaching for our tinfoil hats.

Headline of the day: A lunatic running the asylum


And he’s so outrageous that folks are laughing.

But it would be funny only if the stakes weren’t so high, both for ourselves and our children’s children’s children.

From The Week:

EPA chief Scott Pruitt denies CO2 is a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming

  • Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Thursday he “would not agree” that carbon dioxide has been proven a “primary contributor” to global warming. Despite a statement from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in January noting the planet’s rising temperature has been “driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere,” Pruitt insisted “we don’t know that yet” and need “to continue the debate.” The EPA’s website also cites carbon dioxide as the “primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change.”
  • “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact,” Pruitt told CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Legislator to young Muslims: Are you wifebeaters?


One Republican lawmaker in the Sooner State is showing us all how to make America great again. . .or not.

From Reuters:

Muslim students visiting an Oklahoma lawmaker’s office in the state capitol were required to fill out a form that asked if they beat their wives and other questions that offended them, an Islamic advocacy group said.

The two-page form from Republican state Representative John Bennett’s office, which was shared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also asked whether they believed an adherent to Islam should be punished for leaving the faith and if Muslims should rule over non-Muslims.

A staff member at Bennett’s handed the form to Muslim students who visited his office on Thursday seeking to meet with him, said Adam Soltani, the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR. It was presented as a requirement before they could meet Bennett, Soltani said.

The students were at the capitol in Oklahoma City for an annual Muslim Day event organized by CAIR to introduce members of the community to their state lawmakers and encourage democratic engagement, Soltani said by phone on Saturday.

Back when esnl was first getting involved in the journalist’s craft, there was a standing joke: If you want to discredit a politician, ask them when they stopped beating his wife [politicians were, then as now, mostly men].

It didn’t matter if he never laid a hand on his spouse. If he denied it, you still had a great a headline: Senator denies beating his wife, and nobody would ever be able to think about the hapless sod without remembering the wife-beating question.

UPDATE: Maybe he should hand the same form to Christians.

There’s a growing movement among Christian fundies calling for a return to wife-beating because women are, as the Bible says [Proverbs 20:30],  “Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.”

From the website of Christian Domestic Discipline, instructions on how to beat you wife in a manner Jesus would approve:

When administering physical discipline, take caution not to deliver the lashes anywhere but the buttocks. The first attempt at this punishment should only be delivered by hand so you can get an idea of how many lashings are needed. The best position will be for you to sit at the end of a bed or on a chair (with no arms) and have her lay across your lap. She can also bend over a bed with arms tucked under her chest and your left hand on the small of her back. If a strap (belt) is to be implemented watch that each stoke falls directly on the buttocks and not higher. EDITOR’S NOTE: When using the hand, or a small, short implement, such as a switch or small “hairbrush”-type paddle, over-the-knee positioning can work quite well.

A fearful wife may begin crying or pleading and find it difficult to remain still. Reassure her. of your intent and love (yes this will hurt, that is why it is a punishment) then instruct her to be still. Remind her that she is not in control of this discipline. You should continue the lashing through her tears and pleas for you to stop, until you are certain the message was received. This will insure her remorse and therefore stop the undesirable behavior.

A sound lashing is five to ten strokes with your hand, or three to five strokes with a strap; some wives need more. To avoid brusing do not strike the same area in repetition. Gauge your decision to proceed based on your wife’s readiness to repent.

You may find it difficult to cause your wife pain, but as a woman she needs the release of guilt that this form of punishment brings. Afterwards, help her up gently and hold her while allowing her to cry for as long as you both feel necessary. If you have children instruct her to wash her face before emerging from the room.

And from another post on the same website:

Maintenance discipline is a practice of giving your wife regular spankings to maintain her proper behavior and attitude. From our experience when Kim receives this type of discipline she is more humble and her attitude is greatly improved.

Headline of the day: What else did you expect?


From the New York Times:

E.P.A. Head Fills Posts With Climate Change Deniers

  • Scott Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general who built a career out of suing the agency he now leads, has moved to stock the top offices of the agency with like-minded conservatives — many of them skeptics of climate change and all of them intent on rolling back environmental regulations that they see as overly intrusive and harmful to business.
  • Mr. Pruitt has drawn heavily from the staff of his friend and fellow Oklahoma Republican, Senator James Inhofe, long known as Congress’s most prominent skeptic of climate science. A former Inhofe chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, will be Mr. Pruitt’s chief of staff. Another former Inhofe staff member, Byron Brown, will serve as Mr. Jackson’s deputy. Andrew Wheeler, a fossil fuel lobbyist and a former Inhofe chief of staff, is a finalist to be Mr. Pruitt’s deputy, although he requires confirmation to the position by the Senate.
  • To friends and critics, Mr. Pruitt seems intent on building an E.P.A. leadership that is fundamentally at odds with the career officials, scientists and employees who carry out the agency’s missions. That might be a recipe for strife and gridlock at the federal agency tasked to keep safe the nation’s clean air and water while safeguarding the planet’s future.

Headline of the day: Hashtag #Alt-Infotaintment


From the Guardian:

Google accused of spreading fake news

Featured snippets in search function repeatedly shares false information, which can result in Google Home speakers reading out conspiracy theories as fact

Obama wiretapped me: Trump goes full Breitbart


First, the tweetstorm:

blog-trumpet

And the story, first from the New York Times:

Speculation online quickly turned to the possibility that Mr. Trump had been reading an article on the Breitbart News site or listening to the conservative radio host Mark Levin; both have embraced the theory in recent days.

The Breitbart article, published on Friday, alleged a series of “known steps taken by President Barack Obama’s administration in its last months to undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and, later, his new administration.”

It has been widely reported that there is a federal investigation, which began during the 2016 presidential campaign, into links between Trump associates and the Russians.

The New York Times reported in January that among the associates whose links to Russia are being scrutinized are Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign chairman; Carter Page, a businessman and foreign policy adviser to the campaign; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative who has said he was in touch with WikiLeaks before it released a trove of Democratic National Committee emails last summer.

Mr. Trump appeared on Saturday to suggest that warrants had been issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, alleging that Mr. Obama’s administration had once been “turned down by court” in its supposed efforts to listen in on conversations by Mr. Trump and his associates.

The origins: Breitbart and wingnut radio

Yep, they’re even better than Fox News!

From the Guardian:

Trump’s tweets follow claims made by the conservative radio host Mark Levin on his Thursday night show about the alleged steps taken by the Obama administration to undermine the Republican candidate’s campaign to win the White House.

The presenter called the effort a “silent coup” by the Obama administration and called for a congressional investigation into the issue. That contrasts with demands from across the US political spectrum to examine Russian interference in the presidential election.

Levin’s comments were followed up by Breitbart News, the “alt-right” website formerly run by Steve Bannon, who ran the Trump campaign and is now the president’s chief strategist.

The article stated: “The Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorisation to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA [National Security Agency] rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.”

The Breitbart report references recent claims that the FBI asked the foreign intelligence surveillance court for a warrant last year to monitor members of the Trump team suspected of being in contact with Russian officials. The request for the warrant was initially rejected before being granted in October, the reports have said.

So let’s get this straight. . .

The FBI tried to get wiretaps on TeamTrump™ last year. Then when they failed in the normal federal court system, they headed to the one court that rolls over more than 99.97 percent of the time.

That the FISC granted the request was, then, hardly a surprise.

But what is noteworthy is that you only go to the FISC for a warrant in case of espionage and other national security matters.

We wonder on what grounds the regular court denied the requests. In normal criminal cases of the cases that require the FBI’s participation, wiretap subpoenas allow recordings of conversations between specific individuals named in an FBI agent’s sworn affidavit accompanying the wiretap request.

We’ve never covered the FISC, but in other jurisdictions, state and federal, documentation of wiretaps becomes public once the wiretap authorization ends.

But because the application was moved to the FISC, a whole different set of rules apply. Because the court deals in state secrets and the court itself is closed to public access, almost all of what happens there stays classified.

Trump may be correct in asserting his campaign offices were wiretapped, but unless he was named in the affidavit, any conversations he had would not have been monitored or recorded. If he was named, then an FBI agent was willing to go on record stating that the Bureau suspected him of involvement in criminal behavior.

We await further developments with interest.