WTF Wednesday Wound-Up

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A couple things happened yesterday.

If fast food workers start making $15 hour with union benefits the price of Big Macs will be $10 each. But it’s not McDonalds that will be suffering, it is the small business owners who will take it in the neck.

If I had any money I would invest in restaurant robots and fast food automation. It’s gonna be a growth industry in the near future.


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Jesse Ventura awarded $1.8 million in defamation suit against late American Sniper

Justice may be blind, but it sure isn’t especially fair.

In 2012, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura sued the estate of the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the author of the book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, claiming that he was defamed in that book.

According to Kyle, he and Ventura got into a confrontation in 2006 during a wake for a Navy SEAL who died in combat. Kyle claimed that Ventura made disparaging remarks about the war in Iraq, prompting Kyle to punch the former governor in the face.

The late author of American Sniper, who was shot to death by a Marine Corps reservist while attempting to help him work through his PTSD issues, claimed in his book that he knocked out Ventura who he referred to as “scruff face.” Kyle also claimed that Ventura told him “You deserve to lose a few.”

[...]

On Tuesday, the jury came to a conclusion and ordered Kyle’s estate to provide Ventura with $1.8 million in damages.

Ventura is a noted conspiracy theorist whose kneejerk impulse to blame the American government for everything from the 9/11 attacks, to the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound, to the JFK assassination has netted him frequent appearances on networks like Russia Today. Chris Kyle served his country with distinction in the Navy and lost his life while helping his fellow veterans re-acclimate to civilian life. Justice is blind as a bat.

But a jury has determined that Ventura was defamed, and that offense should be addressed. It seems the height of cruelty to punish Kyle’s widow for her late husband’s offense.


The social media reaction to the verdict has been divided evenly between disgust and outrage. I hope the judge does the right thing and reduces Ventura’s damage award to a nominal $1 and tells him to split it with his lawyers.


Last and least: Obama flew to Missouri yesterday to have dinner with some of his fans. In the morning he is supposed to give a speech that will save our economy.

There must be a golf game and/or a fundraiser on his schedule somewhere. Obama never goes anywhere these days unless there is 18 holes and/or some rich donors involved.


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Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

How Sausage is Made

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There is an old saying that if you watch sausage being made you won’t want to eat it. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain at political sausage being made. Democrat Michelle Nunn’s campaign plan was accidentally made public. Eliana Johnson at National Review has the story:

From all appearances, the document was intended to remain confidential. It outlines the challenges inherent in getting Nunn, who grew up mostly in Bethesda, Md., elected to the Senate in a state with a large rural population. Her father, Sam Nunn, was elected to the Senate when she was six, and Michelle Nunn attended Washington’s prestigious National Cathedral School and then the University of Virginia and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government before returning to Georgia to do nonprofit work and, now, to seek higher office.

The documents reveal the campaign’s most sensitive calculations. Much of the strategizing in the Georgia contest, as is typical in southern politics, revolves around race. But the Nunn memos are incredibly unguarded. One is from Diane Feldman, a Democratic pollster and strategist who counts among her clients Minnesota senator Al Franken, South Carolina representative James Clyburn, and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Feldman, who did not return calls seeking comment, is frank in her characterization of the demographic groups — Jews, Asians, African Americans, Latinos, and gays — that are essential to a Democratic victory. The Nunn campaign declined to comment about the document on the record.

The campaign’s finance plan draws attention to the “tremendous financial opportunity” in the Jewish community and identifies Jews as key fundraisers. It notes, however, that “Michelle’s position on Israel will largely determine the level of support here.” That’s a position she has yet to articulate — her message on the subject is marked “TBD” in the document — and Israel goes unmentioned on her campaign website.

Asians are also identified as key fundraisers. The community is described as “very tight,” one in which people work to “become citizens quickly.” Nunn’s strategists also say there is a “huge opportunity” to raise money from gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals, who are described as having “substantial resources.”

As southern whites have moved to the right, Democrats have been forced to cobble together a coalition of minority voters. Feldman recommends as a goal winning just 30 percent of the white vote while working to increase turnout among African Americans and Latinos. So while Jews, Asians, and gays are characterized as potential “fundraisers,” African Americans and Hispanics are the ones the campaign needs to get to the polls in historic numbers, the document makes clear.

“This constituency group is critical,” it says of the African Americans who make up much of Georgia’s Democratic base, adding that Nunn must win “a very high percentage of the African-American vote” and attract “a large number of voters who do not typically turn out in an off-election year.” The plan puts a particular emphasis on black clergy. It also highlights the need to “generate passion and enthusiasm” for Nunn in the black community. And it raises concern that Hispanics have not yet been “appropriately engaged” on her behalf.

[...]

To compensate for her difficulties with rural white voters, Nunn’s strategists emphasize the need to turn out blacks and Hispanics. “They know that in order to have a chance of winning, they’ve got to change the turnout from what it would ordinarily be in a midterm election,” Kerwin Swint, a professor of politics at Atlanta’s Kennesaw State University, said, when asked about the document’s conclusions.


Some people are shocked, or at least pretend to be. I’m not shocked, nor am I surprised or disillusioned. This is what political campaigning is in the 21st Century. You and I are not people, we are demographic units.

First of all the plan is an internal memorandum. Of course it is quite blunt. You don’t hire expensive experts and then expect them to pussyfoot around. You want them to cut to the chase.

This assumes you are in it to win it and you are not just running a token campaign of opposition like Wendy Davis in Texas. To win an election you need to get more votes than any of the other candidates. In a two-candidate race that means 50%+1 of the votes cast.

So you look at the electorate and figure out how to do that. Actually, you hire expensive experts to do that. They do polls and analyze demographic data, then they come up with (what you hope is) a winning plan.

Part of that plan is raising money. That means you identify the people who have money who might be willing to donate. Then you try to get them to cough up some cash so you can afford to pay your expensive experts.

Once you have raised some money, the expensive experts will spend it for you. Quite a bit of it will end up in their pockets, or in the pockets of people they hire to do stuff for your campaign. The way they will burn thru your campaign bank account will be good preparation if you get elected, only then the donors have no choice.

There are several things you will need to do in order to win the election. First and foremost you have to identify your likely voters and motivate them to get out and vote for you.

Secondly, you need to identify the undecided voters and try to convince them to vote for you. If you can’t do that, you want to convince them to not vote for the other candidate(s). Better they don’t vote than vote for someone else.

Thirdly, you want to identify your main opponent’s likely voters and convince them not to vote at all, or to vote for some 3rd-party no-hope candidate.

The way you convince voters not to vote for someone is called “negative campaigning.” This begins with opposition research, aka “oppo”. Everybody has a skeleton or six, hidden in a closet somewhere. Not only that but they have probably committed a few errors in judgment too.

They may have some current or former friends as well as some relatives who are shady or even downright criminal. Maybe there is some disgruntled ex-employee, spouse or lover who is willing to dish some dirt. Maybe your opponent was banging his wife’s hairdresser and she is willing to talk for money.

So you hire some expensive “researchers” to go dig. You also hire some “assistants” to follow your opponent around in public with a video camera. Maybe you’ll get lucky and strike gold or even macaca.

On the other hand, you might have a few secrets and shady connections of your own. You need someone to make sure those bodies stay buried.

You may think that you know what you are talking about when it comes to policy. If so, you are wrong and you will probably lose. (See: Akin, Todd) Your policy positions have to be very carefully crafted. That starts with good polling, so you know exactly what people want to hear.

For example, let’s say you are going to be speaking to a group of Jewish women. You want to tailor your message specifically for them. Talk about how much you support Israel, and whatever else they believe in. But you have to be careful to NOT SAY things they will disagree with.

That is where those expensive experts come in. They figure all that stuff out and write your speeches for you. There are a lot of different demographic groups out there, especially if you are a Democrat. You can’t give the same speech in front of a pro-Palestinian group as you give to AIPAC.

You do all this for several months, then in the evening of the Tuesday after the first Monday in November during even-numbered years you find out if it all worked.

And that is how sausage is made.


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Posted in Politics | Tagged | 138 Comments

Trapped on the Not-So-Merry-Go-Round

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“Vote for me!” “No, vote for ME!”


Jazz Shaw puts his finger on the problem:

The committees have apparently recruited and deployed more than 16,000 workers on the local level – primarily precinct captains and minority outreach coordinators – to make first person contact with “low propensity voters” and obtain buy-in well in advance of the mid-terms. To be sure, this is important work in an area where Democrats had the upper hand two years ago, but the more important question is precisely what message these ground level agents are taking with them to the masses. Somewhat disturbing is the highlighting of studies showing the general dissatisfaction among voters about the nation’s direction.

In reality, this is nothing more than the overarching strategy of both parties over the past several decades. A shorter way of describing it is that the party currently out of power wants to rely on the fact that people are generally unhappy with the state of affairs in the country and are willing to throw the bums out this year, only to put a new set of bums in charge of the store. Unfortunately, while this has been a successful short term strategy in the past, it does not lead to any actual change.

In order to achieve the long sought dream of a sustainable majority, you have to do more than point out how bad the other guys are. You need to provide a demonstrable case where you offer a plan to actually make the lives of the voters better, not just today, but into the future. And then, of course, the hard part comes. If you win, you have to actually do it. Failing that, all you’ve managed to do is grab the tiller for two or four years until the ousted party does precisely the same thing to you. The GOP definitely needs to turn out a tide of less likely voters willing to give them a chance, but they also need to show them exactly what the change will look like and how it will reach into their lives in a positive way. If you can manage that, they just might show up to vote again next time. And the time after that…


When you go to the amusement park and ride the Merry-Go-Round, does it really matter who is working the controls? You just keep going around and around in circles.

The Democrats promise free stuff. The Republicans promise to cut taxes and spending, but when they get elected they just cut taxes. The national debt is $17.5 TRILLION and climbing, but neither party has a serious plan to pay it off or even get the deficit under control. All they both keep offering us are different flavored magic beans.

Neither party can achieve a sustainable majority because neither party has a sustainable plan to govern.

This is what happens when ideology takes a backseat to winning elections. First and foremost, you need policies that will work, not just for a little while, but long-term. Then you need to sell them to the voters.

Otherwise the whole country is just circling the drain.

I gotta tell you, I’m not feeling optimistic.


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Posted in Klown Musings | Tagged | 121 Comments

Sunday Morning Nothing Breakfast Burrito

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I just spent the past two hours looking for a topic to discuss. I found nada planada.

I’m gonna go back to bed and try to sleep until Monday. Maybe the world will look better by then.

This is an open thread.


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Posted in Uncategorized | 60 Comments

It’s Caturday Open Thread

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Tiger finds out the hard way what a “swirly” is.


The original working title for this post was “Hollywood, Race, Sexism, Homophobia and the Rulz” but after staring at a blank screen while stuck on stupid for about an hour I realized how late it was and put this thread up instead. I am filing the original title away in my “some day” basket.

We are celebrating my grandson Thomas’ birthday today. His actual birthday is in a few days but today is the party. He will be seven. His brother Ben is nine but Thomas is already taller than Ben.

About three months from now Thomas will no longer be the baby of the family. That is when his yet-unnamed baby sister arrives. (She will NOT be named Khaleesi.)

My son and grandsons have no idea how much their lives are about to change. The females in my family tend to be very assertive, starting at a very young age. It’s generally better to just give them whatever they want right away, because they will get their way eventually anyway and it saves a lot of stress on everyone.

What are you doing today?


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Posted in Uncategorized | 77 Comments

Flood Control

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From the Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?:

Mexico concerned about Texas’ plan to deploy National Guard on border

The Mexican government on Tuesday expressed its “concern” over the decision by Texas authorities to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border to help stem the massive arrival of undocumented child migrants from Central America.

“Attention to the immigration phenomenon must be paid from a long-term regional perspective and based on the principles of good neighborliness and shared responsibility,” the Foreign Relations Secretariat said in a statement.

“The strategy for responding in an effective and humane manner to this phenomenon includes the necessary shared responsibility among the countries of origin, transit and destination of migration flows,” the statement continued.

The secretariat declared its commitment to the protection of the migrants’ human rights and the orchestration of “specific actions directed at the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied children and teenagers.”

The secretariat emphasized that Mexico had opted for a strategy favoring dialogue and cooperation, and it is working “with the countries of Central America to improve conditions in the medium and long term that contribute to the development of that region and strengthen its prosperity.”


Because everybody knows that Mexico is a world leader when it comes to human rights. I’m sure that it has nothing to do with the fact that until those people cross over the border to the United States they are Mexico’s problem. Because everybody knows that Mexico is a paradise on Earth than no one wants to leave and Mexico is famous for strictly enforcing their laws that make it a crime to illegally enter the United States from Mexico.

/snark

What a bunch of mierda del toro!

But wait! There’s more!

New solution to border crisis: Send U.S. officials to Honduras to give kids refugee status?

A foolproof plan to ease pressure on the border that’s currently being considered by the White House. Why force kids to make a dangerous trip through Mexico only to end up as illegal immigrants in the United States when we could go to them, grant them legal status, and send them north to America ourselves? It’s so crazy it just. might. work.


It’s been lovely but I have to scream now.


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M@#$F%(+)ERS!!!



Posted in How Stupid Do They Think We Are?, Illegal Immigration, Immigration Reform | Tagged , , | 130 Comments

John Kerry – The Rodney Dangerfield of Diplomacy

The facial expressions tell the story

The facial expressions tell the story


From the Beeb:

Egypt media applaud tough security check on John Kerry

A highly unusual security check that US Secretary of State John Kerry and his senior aides were subjected to at the presidential palace in Cairo before meeting Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has made a splash in the local press.

The top US diplomat is usually treated with every courtesy in Cairo, but the front-page coverage in both private and state-owned papers hovers between factual reports and applause, describing the check with a hand-held metal detector as a “surprise” and saying that Mr Kerry had had to “comply” with orders of the security officers.

A note of pride can also be detected in the headlines.

“Checking Kerry at the doors of ‘al-Ittihadiyah’,” announces private daily Al-Tahrir. The report mentions twice that “Kerry and his team complied” with the procedures.

Similarly, privately-owned daily Al-Dustur’s headline proclaims in red letters: “A heavy surprise: John Kerry subject to strict inspection procedures before his meeting with Al-Sisi”.

The paper complements the report with a photo showing Kerry passing through the security scanner at the doors of Al-Ittihadiyah Palace.

And, again in red ink, private daily Al-Yawm al-Sabi adds to its headline: “Bravo Sisi”


For most of us emptying our pockets and passing thru metal detectors at security checkpoints at airports, sporting events and government buildings is just one of the minor hassles of modern life. But VIP types usually get to skip such inconveniences.

I’m guessing that what happened in Cairo was no coincidence. It was a not-so-subtle way of sending a message. As was the look on Benjamin Netanyahu’s face when Kerry arrived in Israel.

What makes this significant is that both Egypt and Israel are our allies. Our friends don’t respect us and our enemies don’t fear us. These are dangerous times indeed.

Meanwhile, Jews in Europe and America are being attacked by “pro-Palestinian protesters”, most of whom are Muslims. Yesterday they rushed onto the field at a soccer game and attacked the players of a Jewish team. So why are so many news outlets reluctant to identify the attackers?

A couple more planes got shot down over Ukraine yesterday. Fighting continues in Iraq. A commercial jet liner has disappeared over Africa somewhere. Scandalpalooza keeps going in Washington D.C. like the Energizer Bunny.

So where in the world is Barack Obama? He’s in California on a west coast fundraising tour!

We are so fucked.


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Posted in Barack Obama, Worst President Ever! | Tagged , | 119 Comments