Posts By: Mark Alexander

Quote of the Day

The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist—like tomorrow—remember this: I don’t believe government should take over the grocery store down the street or own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families of this country who produce the wealth of this country deserve a decent standard of living and that their incomes should go up, not down.

I do believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America, companies that create jobs here rather than companies that are shutting down in America and increasing their profits by exploiting low-wage labor abroad.

I believe that most Americans can pay lower taxes if hedge fund managers who make billions manipulating the marketplace finally start paying the taxes that they should.

I don’t believe in special treatment for the top 1 percent, but I do believe in equal treatment for African Americans who are right to proclaim the moral principle that Black Lives Matter.

I despise appeals to nativism and prejudice of which we have been hearing a lot in recent months, and I do believe in immigration reform that gives Hispanics and others a pathway to citizenship and a better life. I don’t believe in some foreign “ism”, but I believe deeply in American idealism.

I’m not running for president because it’s my turn, but because it’s the turn of all of us to live in a nation of hope and opportunity not for some, not for the few, but for all.” ~ Bernie Sanders


While I don’t feel this is a completely accurate depiction of politics in these United States, I think it is a good rendering of its overall Zeitgeist. Yes, I agree that the Democrats by and large do much, much more for the 99% than the Republicans would even consider, and by and large (there are exceptions, of course) they are —at least for now—foregoing the current fear-mongering being spewed by the Right Reich, but when it comes down to the interests of the 1% who ultimately control both parties, I think this is pretty much spot on.

Frightened, Ignorant and Cowardly is No Way to Go Through Life, Son

From John Scalzi:

So, this week.

The last few days are a reminder that a large number of Americans are in fact shrieking, bigoted cowards, and that’s a sad thing, indeed.

Seriously, I don’t think the bedwetting about Muslims has been this bad in a very long time, which is saying something, and the panic on Syrian refugees is particularly ridiculous. Here’s a nice, juicy quote from a just released essay on the subject:

Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks on targets outside of the United States and none was successfully carried out.  That is one terrorism-planning conviction for a refugee for every 286,543 of them who have been admitted.  To put that in perspective, about 1 in every 22,541 Americans committed murder in 2014.  The terrorist threat from Syrian refugees in the United States is hyperbolically over-exaggerated and we have very little to fear from them because the refugee vetting system is so thorough…

The security threat posed by refugees in the United States is insignificant.  Halting America’s processing of refugees due to a terrorist attack in another country that may have had one asylum-seeker as a co-plotter would be an extremely expensive overreaction to very minor threat.

What horrifyingly liberal commie soviet came up with this load of codswallop? The Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank co-founded by Charles Koch, i.e., the fellow who with his brother is currently trying to buy the entire right side of the political spectrum for his own personal ends. When the Cato Institute is telling you to maybe take down the pearl-clutching over the Syrian refugees a notch or two, it’s an indication that you’ve lost all perspective.

It’s been particularly embarrassing how the mostly-but-not-exclusively (and thankfully not all-encompassing) GOP/conservative politician freakout about the Syrian refugees points out that, why, hello, bigotry really is a thing, still. From small-town mayors declaring that FDR had it right when he put all those US citizens of Japanese descent into camps to presidential candidates alluding that might not actually be a bad idea to make special IDs exclusively for Muslims here in the US, to the House of Representatives passing a bill to piss on the Syrian refugees, it’s been a banner week for bigotry here in the US, enough so that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement of concern with reference to the Syrian refugees. And as many have noted, there is irony in the freakout about Syrian refugees coming into a season which celebrates a notable middle eastern family who famously were refugees at one point in their history, according to some tales.

But as this asshole politician said this week, “Mary and Jesus didn’t have suicide bomb vests strapped on them, and these folks do.” Well, no, they don’t. Leaving aside that the perpetrators on the attacks in Paris all appeared to live in Europe to begin with, the actual process for placing refugees in new countries is so long and arduous and so selective, with just 1% of applicants being placed, that (as the Cato Institute astutely notes) there’s a vanishingly small chance that someone with ill intent will make it through the process at all — and an even smaller chance that they would be assigned to the US when all the vetting is done. To worry about terrorists in the refugee pool is, flatly, stupid — no terrorist organization is going to pour resources into an avenue with such a small chance of success, especially when it’s easier to apply for a friggin’ visa and get on a plane (they can buy their guns when they get here, don’t you know). The reasons why so many people are voiding their bowels about it are simple: Ignorance, racism, xenophobia and bigotry.

“But people are scared!” Okay, and? Being scared may be the excuse for abandoning all sense and reason in the moment one is actively under attack; it’s not even close to a reasonable excuse for, thousands of miles away from an attack and with no immediate threat on the horizon, vilifying innocent co-religionists of the attackers and plotting to slam the door on refugees running from the very people who claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks. Taking the Paris attacks out on Syrian refugees is security theater — it doesn’t make us safer, it’ll just make the most ignorant among us feel safer. It’s the TSA of solutions to the Daesh/ISIS problem.

This has been a bad week for the United States, folks. France was directly attacked by terrorists and its response was to promise to house 30,000 Syrian refugees; we weren’t and one branch of our government fell over itself to put the brakes on accepting a third of that number. France is defying the very organization that attacked it while we, on the other hand, are doing exactly what that organization hoped we would do. We’re being the cowardly bigots they hoped we would be, and as loudly as possible.

So congratulations, America. We’ve successfully wrested the title of “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” from France. Enjoy it.

Home of the Brave

From Wil Wheaton:

“A Philadelphia man was temporarily barred from boarding an airplane Wednesday after a fellow passenger overheard him speaking Arabic and complained that it made him uncomfortable, The Associated Press reported.”

Man Briefly Kept From Boarding Flight After Complaint That He Spoke Arabic

I’m investing in adult diaper stock, because these idiots are wetting their pants very easily these days.

A Little Note to Republicans…

To all Republicans who insist on banning abortion because it “kills innocent humans”:
So do chemical spills in our water. And gun rampages in our malls at at our schools. And starvation because mothers can’t earn a living wage even working 60-hour weeks. And curable diseases when parents have no access to affordable healthcare.
And yet you insist on sanctimoniously sticking your noses into family-planning choices, have smugly opposed every attempt at safety regulations, gun controls, raising the minimum wage, and the ACA you DARE to fixate on banning abortion.
You are the worst kind of hypocrites: arrogant and ignorant. YOU ARE WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICA TODAY.

I am Reminded…

…of a certain Calvin & Hobbes strip from long before any of this Middle East bullshit was even a gleam in Dick Cheney’s eye, but it seems even more relevant today than when it was published in 1995:

In the most deadpan voice I can muster, “Oh no. We are all going to die.”

Here is a Test for the Foes of Abortion

I’m holding a baby in one hand and a petri dish holding an embryo in the other.
I’m going to drop one. You choose which.
If you really, truly believe an embryo is the same thing as a baby, it should be impossible for you to decide. You should have to flip a coin; that’s how impossible the decision should be.
Shot in the dark? You saved the baby.
Because you’re aware there’s a difference.
Now admit it.

Oh No He Di’n’t!

Oh yes he did. What an fuckin’ ASSHOLE.

From AMERICAblog:

In a lengthy interview with Yahoo News, Trump promised to deport Syrian refugees who are already in this country, doubled down on his promise to monitor mosques and, when pressed by Yahoo News as to what other drastic actions he would take, expressed an openness to warrantless and widespread surveillance on the general Muslim population:

Donald Trump’s historical precedent, via Wikimedia Commons

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said. “And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

Yahoo News asked Trump whether this level of tracking might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. He wouldn’t rule it out.

Trump didn’t elaborate on whether the “form of special identification” could be, say, a yellow crescent that every Muslim would be required to sew into their clothing. But he may as well have. I’m a big proponent of reserving Hitler comparisons for the most extreme circumstances, but this is one of them. Donald Trump just pulled a policy proposal straight out of the Nuremberg Laws.

What’s more, unless he’s called on it, he’s going to say something worse tomorrow. Since the attacks in Paris, Trump has been inching further and further toward advocating for open fascism. First he said we should “seriously consider” closing mosques associated with extreme clerics. When that claim didn’t hurt him, he went a step further, saying we have “absolutely no choice” but to close them. He’s going to keep going back to the anti-Muslim bigotry well until the Republican base signals for him to stop. And they’ve shown no intention of doing so.

Yesterday, we heard an elected official say that Japanese internment wasn’t actually that bad of an idea. Now we have the frontrunner for the Republican nomination seriously considering a policy that was one of the defining characteristics of pre-war Nazi Germany. All over a contrived threat and an irrational bout of Islamophobia.

America needs to chill the hell out. This is going south fast.

Quote of the Day

Religious pluralism in U.S. foreign policy predates our own Constitution. Which, by the way, makes no reference to God.

There is no doubt that the Islamic State poses a threat to the Western world, including the U.S., its allies and global interests. Still, we needn’t turn this campaign against terrorists into something that it isn’t—a holy war. Doing doesn’t just go against the First Amendment, but it also runs counter to everything our founders tried to establish.

Cruz, Bush, Kasich and others that would have American foreign policy end with “in Jesus name amen” are foolish and, as President Obama would correctly say, un-American.

Suffice it to say that they either don’t understand America’s history with regards to religious pluralism here and abroad, or they’ve chosen to ignore it.” ~ Chris Walker at AMERICAblog