Month: October 2014

Slog on Stephen on #GamerGate

The Colbert Report, 29 October 2014

Imagine that.

Much in the same way Colbert recently dragged the whole Hachette vs. Amazon dispute into the mainstream, this is a significant turning point for Gamergate. I don’t suggest you ever visit 8chan, but the Gamergate boards are in absolute dissaray over Colbert—who for some reason most Gamergaters believed was on their side—making a strong statement in support of Sarkeesian. (He even broke character somewhat at the end there to confirm that he is, in fact, a feminist. This is only something Colbert does when he really believes it’s necessary.) It’s turning into cartoon-villain territory in Gamergate-ville, with people making “you’ll never take me alive” declarations ....

(Constant)

And there is an important point in Paul Constant’s note about how important Colbert’s segment is.

...the Gamergate boards are in absolute dissaray over Colbert—who for some reason most Gamergaters believed was on their side ....

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Hypocridiocy

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH8)

Hey did you hear the one about how Speaker Boehner, unwilling to draft articles of impeachment for lack of anything to impeach President Obama over, decided to assuage the hardliners in his party by filing a lawsuit?

All these months later, some might have forgotten, as the Speaker has been unable to actually manage to figure out how to actually build a complaint that won’t be thrown out of court. Indeed, did you hear the one about how the law firm the House hired backed out last month, citing political pressure, which, in the end amounted to the damage the firm would do to its reputation by attempting such a ridiculous stunt?

It is time for an update, and that comes from Josh Gerstein and Maggie Haberman of Politico:

House Speaker John Boehner’s still-unfiled lawsuit against President Barack Obama for exceeding his constitutional power is in more trouble.

For the second time in two months, a major law firm has ceased work on the lawsuit, sources say.

Attorney Bill Burck and the Quinn Emanuel firm halted preparations for the proposed suit in recent weeks, according to two sources familiar with the situation. Last month, the lawyer originally hired to pursue the case, David Rivkin of Baker Hostetler, made a similar abrupt exit.

A spokesman for Boehner declined to discuss the status of the House’s relationship with Burck and Quinn Emanuel. However, spokesman Kevin Smith said Wednesday evening that House leaders are considering having the lawsuit filed by lawyers already on the House payroll.

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The Iowa Question

Iowa State Sen. Joni Ernst (R-12)

Retrospect. Hindsight. We should have seen this coming. All of that. But the thing about the clarity of hindsight is that every once in a while, we might feel compelled to pause and ask ourself why certain things are expected.

For instance, Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R-12). What’s that? She’s a plagiarist? Well … right. Should have seen that one coming. Andrew Kaczynski and Ilan Ben-Meir of BuzzFeed posted the seemingly inevitable lede:

Passages of local paper pieces under Ernst’s name appear to have been copied word for word from templates sent as guidelines to Republican members of the Iowa Senate.

The Ernst campaign responded by arguing that the copied materials were produced specifically to be compied as if they were a person’s own work.

If it seems reasonable enough to argue that Gov. Terry Brandstad’s “Condition of the State” address in 2012 was intended to be reproduced by fellow Republicans as if it was their own writing, well, that covers plagiarism.

But it doesn’t cover one’s inability to convey their own thoughts and feelings.

Ken Rozenboom, one of several state senators who published articles with text identical or nearly identical to Ernst’s told BuzzFeed News that the common language was drawn from summaries of the week’s events sent to members of the Senate Republican caucus by their communications team.

“Some … use them in their entirety, some use tidbits,” he said, noting the summaries sent were meant to be used as guidelines.

Another state senator, Sen. Michael Breitbach said, “I write my own. I don’t know what they do.”

Gregory Orear, editor of Red Oak Express, one of the newspapers that ran the suspect columns, explained that he “wouldn’t be shocked”, as he considers them “bottom of the barrel” editorials. “I’m sure some of it was cut and pasted,” he told Buzzfeed. “It’d be nice if she had her own thoughts in it.”

Any number of punch lines suggest themselves, here.

Meanwhile, the nation waits with bated breath as election day approaches. Will Iowa send seditious incompetence to the U.S Senate for the sake of a parenthetic note? That is, if the winning argument is that Joni Ernst’s name is followed by an “(R)”, well, frankly there would be many around the nation who just aren’t surprised.

Iowa, we’re looking in your direction.

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Kaczynski, Andrew and Ilan Ben-Meir. “Iowa Republican Copied And Pasted Passages In Newspaper Dispatches”. BuzzFeed. 29 October 2014.

More #GamerGate Fun

Detail of Matt Bors, "GamerGate Contagion Spreads", 29 October 2014.  (via Daily Kos Comics)And then there’s this.

At any rate: What do you call two GamerGaters swapping fantasies about how they want to rape a woman to death?

Closet cases.

What? What were you thinking?

Note to #GamerGate: Seek immediate help.

(Detail of Matt Bors, “Gamergate Contagion Spreads”, 29 October 2014. Via Daily Kos.)

The FOX News Way

Bob Beckel

To the one, we shouldn’t laugh. To the other?

Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Beckel:

Earlier this week, a video showing actress Shoshana B. Roberts getting 100 catcalls as she walked through New York City for a day went viral. The point of the video was to show what women go through, and how uncomfortable this form of verbal harassment can be.

But the point was lost on “The Five” hosts.

“She got 100 catcalls, let me add 101,” said cohost Bob Beckel in video posted online by Mediaite and Media Matters, among others. “Damn, baby, you’re a piece of woman.”

(Mazza)

Sigh.

Yeah. About that.

#NotAllMen are smart enough to figure it out.

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The Future, Revealed?

Jobs, jobs, jobs ... j'abortion!

We might for a moment pause to recall 2010. Republicans achieved a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the real story was in the state houses, where the GOP made astounding gains by hammering away at the economic instability their Congressional partners worked so hard to create.

And then they tacked away from jobs. As Rachel Maddow memorably put it, “Jobs, jobs jobs … j’abortion”. State-level Republicans passed record numbers of anti-abortion bills, knowing that most of them were unconstitutional. And it is certainly an old conservative scheme, to tilt windmills, lose, and then bawl that the sky is falling because the Constitution is Sauron and Democrats and liberals the armies of Mordor.

With many predicting a Republican blowout in the 2014 midterms, some are looking ahead to figure out just what that will means in terms of policy and governance. And some of those are Republicans.

Yet there is a week left; perhaps this isn’t the best time to be telegraphing the Hell they intend to call down upon the Earth.

Or, as Lauren French and Anna Palmer of Politico explain:

Conservatives in Congress are drawing up their wish list for a Republican Senate, including “pure” bills, like a full repeal of Obamacare, border security and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline — unlikely to win over many Democrats and sure to torment GOP leaders looking to prove they can govern.

Interviews with more than a dozen conservative lawmakers and senior aides found a consensus among the right wing of the Republican Party: If Republicans take the Senate, they want to push an agenda they believe was hamstrung by the Democratic-controlled chamber, even if their bills end up getting vetoed by President Barack Obama.

Their vision could create problems for congressional leaders who want to show they aren’t just the party of “hell no.” And while conservatives say they agree with that goal, their early priorities will test how well John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can keep the party united.

Two points: Swing voters can’t say they weren’t warned. And conservative voters complaining about gridlock should admit that’s what they’re after.

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FOX News and World Domination

It's time for an 'American jihad' (Keith Ablow/FOX News, 28 October 2014)

An American jihad would embrace the correct belief that if every nation on earth were governed by freely elected leaders and by our Constitution, the world would be a far better place. And an American jihad would not only hope for this outcome, but work toward it.

Keith Ablow

Is there a doctor in the house? No, no, Mr. Ablow, not you. A real doctor.

A nagging whisper at the back of pretty much any politically aware American’s mind is the question of what point would mark the unmistakable, irrevocable transition of the American Dream from a shining city on the hill to an empire akin to Coruscant. And while there are plenty who would denounce the demonstrable aspects of imperialism in American society and governance, one might be tempted to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the solution isn’t to throw down and go full Palpatine.

Just sayin’.

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More Iowa Insanity

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice

Credibility is one of those things like a coin, that has two sides. To the one, credibility earns extraordinary respect for one’s opinion. To the other, that credibility also accentuates occasions when one exploits, and thereby squanders it.

Steve Benen offers an impressive effort, hoping to explain the magnitude of former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s betrayal of her own prestige in backing the U.S. Senate campaign of Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R-12):

The notion that Joni Ernst has an admirable understanding of America’s role abroad is tough to take seriously.

It’s Ernst, after all, who recently argued that Saddam Hussein really did have weapons of mass destruction – reality be damned – based on secret evidence that Ernst has “reason to believe,” but can’t explain.

I can see why such nonsense might endear the far-right candidate to a veteran of the Bush/Cheney team, but it doesn’t exactly reflect someone with sound judgment on international affairs.

For that matter, Ernst also argued in a recent debate that “there’s no sense” in having members of Congress meet their obligations under the Constitution when it comes to authorizing the use of military force abroad.

And, then, of course, there are Ernst fears about the Agenda 21 conspiracy.

Then again, maybe Dr. Rice hasn’t actually betrayed any credibility. It could be that she never really had any in the first place, while Beltway journalists pretended she did. It makes for a better story that way.

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Benen, Steve. “Condoleezza Rice praises Ernst’s foreign policy vision”. 29 October 2014.

Speaker Boehner at His Finest

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH8)

Here’s a quote from the Speaker of the House:

“Does anybody think that Vladimir Putin would have gone into Crimea had George W. Bush been president of the United States? No! Even Putin is smart enough to know that Bush would have punched him in the nose in about 10 seconds!”

Laughter is certainly acceptable at this point.

After all, Bush had his chance in 2008, and didn’t take the swing. Why Speaker Boehner feels the need to make up random excrement is not really a mystery; he’s a Republican operating in a post-policy, post-fact political mode. This is what Republicans do. For them, the greatest triumph of the American people would be if the people chose to believe in lies and ignore facts. There is a difference between acknowledging human frailty and exploiting it.

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Bookman, Jay. “Boehner: ‘Bush would have punched Putin in nose'”. Atlanta Journal Constitution. 28 October 2014.

Boehlert, Eric. “Flashback, 2008: When A Russian Invasion Made Fox News Shrug”. Media Matters for America. 4 March 2014.