We need WALL to protect our precious concertina wire. And another wall to protect that.
In news that ought to make for a nice subplot in a movie someday, we learn that Donald Trump's stupid, wasteful, militarily useless deployment of Army troops to the US-Mexico border has finally been good for someone. Thieves in Tijuana have been stealing lengths of concertina wire the military recently attached to the US side of existing border fences, and suddenly houses in parts of the city are sporting fancy new concertina-wire barriers to protect the properties from crime! Let's hear it for innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit!
Everything about Trump's appearances with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been just really really stupid.
An unhinged wannabe fascist who tweets about golden showers did a news conference in the Rose Garden this afternoon. Also, Donald Trump was there.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is in town, and everything about today's public appearance with Trump and Bolsonaro has been real stupid, just like how it was real stupid when Bolsonaro's stupid son was the stupid guest of honor the other night at a stupid Steve Bannon event at the stupid Trump trash palace hotel in DC.
During their pool spray, Trump excitedly told reporters that he was making plans to give NATO privileges to Brazil, because of how Brazil elected a big gross dipshit just like America did. Of course, considering how Trump treats actual NATO countries, Bolsonaro might want to reconsider whether he wants that.
Then a reporter asked him about his blubbering whiny-ass attacks on John McCain, who is still dead.
That's right, Donald Trump didn't even avoid the question about his very embarrassing behavior. He spoke about McCain as if McCain were still alive, whined about McCain killing Obamacare repeal, and concluded by saying, "I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be." As for McCain, he will continue living rent-free in the president's nightmares and his face will be the face of Trump's insecurities, because we guess that's what happens to John McCains when they die.
But enough about the pool spray! After they met in the Oval Office and did whatever fascists who should be prohibited entry to the White House via an electric doggie fence do (sniffed each other's butts, probably), they entered the Rose Garden and proceeded to hike their legs on democracy some more.
That was a rhetorical question.
Spoiler Alert: WE ARE. It only took 70 years, but we are now so evil that mainstream German politicians are calling for the expulsion of our Ambassador Richard Grenell for behaving "like a high commissioner of an occupying power." Before everything went to shit, American diplomats would practice actual diplomacy, quietly bolstering our relationship with the host country and pressing US priorities. Not so Grenell, who tweeted a threat to sanction German companies within hours of his appointment last May.
Things did not improve with time. Grenell parroted Donald Trump's unconcealed loathing for the leader of the free world -- Angela Merkel, obvs -- appearing frequently on Fox to give Tucker Carlson an update on "elites in Berlin" and their lamentable failure to secure the border from hordes of scary immigrants. In one such interview in November, Grenell harshly criticized the sitting German government and suggested that the country needed a change of leadership as in Austria, where a rightwing anti-immigrant party took power in 2017.
We're not crying, YOU'RE crying. OK, us too.
Students perform haka to pay tribute to classmates killed in Christchurch www.youtube.com
It is late in the day on what looks like another week of hell, so here is a video of some New Zealand teenagers who burst into a spontaneous "haka" chant in remembrance of two of their friends who were murdered by a white supremacist who expected his terrorism would start a race war. He failed, and the kids -- from schools all over Christchurch -- are wonderful.
This is now your open thread. If you want to comment, you'll need to click the headline!
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The good news is that Trump is too stupid and ineffective to ever make anything like this happen in America. MAYBE.
President Vladimir Putin signed laws punishing online media and individuals for spreading "fake news" or material that's considered insulting to Russian officials.
Prosecutors can now complain about online publications to the state communications watchdog, which has powers to block access to the websites if their owners fail to remove the material promptly. Publications found guilty of spreading "unreliable socially significant information" may face fines of as much as 1.5 million rubles ($23,000).
Individuals also face fines and up to 15 days in jail if they publish material online that expresses "clear disrespect for society, the state, the official state symbols of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Russian Federation and bodies exercising state power."
That's about what we'd expect from the guy who, in 2013, banned "gay propaganda" to minors, by which they meant being open and honest about the fact that gay people exist. (That law is not all that different from a bill that has often been introduced in the shithole totalitarian nation of ... um, Tennessee.)
So anyway, with the signing of this new bill, you can officially get in trouble in Russia -- we say "officially" because you could already get murdered by Putin's thugs for saying something mildly critical about the government or being gay or being a journalist who tells the truth -- if you say mean swears about Russian government officials (all of whom should go fuck themselves with a Matryoshka doll) or if you propagate "fake news," which in an authoritarian state means news that displeases Dear Leader. (Also Donald Trump's definition.)
He was KIDDING about forcing all Missourians to buy semiautomatic weapons, SHEESH!
There's been another massacre with a semiautomatic rifle, so naturally, gun sales will likely boom again, as every American gun humper worries Barack Obama is coming to take their precious precious guns away. And how will they prevent tyranny then, huh? Especially because in New Zealand, Barack Obama, or his puppet, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, announced New Zealand will tighten restrictions on guns and move to ban military-style semiauto rifles altogether. Fortunately, some Americans are speaking out, since they know Liberty rests on a solid base of owning a larger personal arsenal and trolling the libs.
For starters, there's weekend "Fox & Friends" host Pete Hegseth, who proclaimed yesterday that since Beto O'Rourke is calling for renewing the assault weapons ban, now is the time to get out there and start stockpiling weapons:
And Missouri state Rep. Andrew McDaniel (R-NRA) has found himself getting all sorts of attention for a pair of pro-gun bills he introduced last month, well before the massacre. One, the "McDaniel Second Amendment Act," would mandate that everyone in Missouri over the age of 21 purchase at least one handgun, and the other, the "McDaniel Militia Act," would require everyone between 18 and 35 buy an AR-15, because duh they are in the militia! McDaniel's Militia, apparently. It is a very smart law!
Any person who qualifies as a resident on August 28, 2019, and who does not own an AR-15 shall have one year to purchase an AR-15. Any resident qualifies as a resident after August 28, 2019, and does not own an AR-15 shall purchase an AR-15 no later than one year after qualifying as a resident.
The bill would only allow you to sell your AR-15 if you have or purchase a spare, so you always have an AR-15. And yes, it specifies that particular type of gun, because that is the most Americanest gun and an AK-47 or other semiautomatic rifle would not count.
It's your Sunday Show Rundown!
New Zealand is still mourning after the horrific attacks on two mosques in Christchurch. As news and social media deal with their influence on the shooter, there were plenty of comments on CNN's "State of the Union." Let's begin with the US Ambassador to New Zealand, former Massachusetts senator and part-time male model Scott Brown. Jake Tapper pressed Ambassador Brown about New Zealand's prime minister's request that Trump show support for the Muslim community. After Brown affirmed HIS stance & support for the Muslim community, Tapper asked a very illuminating question:
TAPPER: Have you spoken with President Trump about this attack?
BROWN: I speak to the, obviously, the White House, the Situation Room and all parties to be on a very regular basis. There's no need for me to specifically speak to the president because I'm here as his representative and do what I have been doing, which is making sure that whatever the new Zealand government needs, including the prime minister or any of the other agencies, we make sure it's available.
So the answer is "NO," Ambassador Brown. Apparently while Trump hasn't had time to speak with his own ambassador to New Zealand, he's had time to feign ignorance that white supremacy is on the rise and trash the late Senator John McCain. Tapper continued:
A Christchurch massacre round-up, of sorts
So much is still going on with all the news of the New Zealand mosque shooting that we figured it'd be best to just do a general round-up, rather than hitting each of these things individually.
Good news first.
New Zealand Gets Right On Gun Control, Banning Semi-Automatic Weapons.
Less than 24 hours after the mass shooting that left 49 people dead, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that her country's gun control laws will be tightening up and that they will be banning military-style semi-automatic weapons. The country is following in the footsteps of its neighbor, Australia, which enacted strict gun control after a mass shooting in 1996, leading to a 47% decrease in the years following the ban. They have had no mass shootings since.
Here in America, we're just gonna keep throwing our hands up into the air "Gosh, why does this HAPPEN?" while still not doing anything about gun control no matter how many mass shootings we have. You know, because the gun nuts need all that innocent blood for watering their tree of liberty or what have you. [ThinkProgress]
Australia Bans Milo Yiannopoulis, Again.
While New Zealand is making good decisions on gun control, Australia has once again banned Milo Yiannopoulos over his stupid ass Islamaphobic comments regarding the shooting. Again. They banned him before, it somehow got lifted and he was planning to tour the country this year, but that's not happening now. Good!
On Instagram, Yiannopoulos claimed that people like the New Zealand shooter are not radicalized by conservatives, but rather by liberals and "barbaric, alien religious cultures."
Whatever you think about her, @realcandaceowens had nothing to do with what happened in New Zealand. People aren't radicalized by their own side. They get pushed to the far-Right BY THE LEFT, not by others on the Right.
Everyone on the Right in public life is constantly rejecting ethnonationalism and violence. I, for instance, have spent my entire career denouncing political violence. Candace has never been especially controversial and has never had many far-Right fans. She gets less popular the further Right you go.
Likewise, the violence directly inspired by grassroots Right-wing media figures comes from Antifa, not our supporters. Attacks like this happen because the establishment panders to and mollycoddles extremist Leftism and barbaric, alien religious cultures. Not when someone dares to point it out.
Yeah, this is all definitely our fault and not the fault of people who say things like "barbaric, alien religious cultures."
It's very interesting how conservatives just can't take personal responsibility for their own views. It's always our fault! We push them! They're delicate! If everyone just agreed with them on everything and told them they were wonderful and special all the time, they wouldn't have to do things like shoot up mosques!
That is bullshit. I defy any conservative to name one thing they wouldn't be so "far right" on if the left hadn't "pushed them too far." If that's your reason for believing something, you're a weird, spiteful moron and no one should take you or your beliefs seriously. [NYDailyNews]
In Which The Right Scrambles Desperately To Pretend The Shooter Was A Secret Leftist...
Just like every other time this kind of thing happens, the Right is going all googoots trying to find a way to claim the shooter was actually a big giant liberal who shot people for liberal reasons. Kellyanne Conway insisted the shooter was actually an eco-terrorist. Rush Limbaugh claims this is all a false flag and that the shooter was only pretending to be a white supremacist in order to make white supremacists look bad.
Via Media Matters:
The idea that there is far more crazed right-wing terrorism in America than there is any other kind is nothing more than a media narrative manufactured out of whole cloth, and it's just waiting for events like this to take place, and this is what happens, folks. I don't know, you probably get up and you see this news story and you just -- in addition to all of the emotion you have over the sheer shock, terror, and horror of it all, then you realize you're going to face a whole day of the politicization of it. You realize you're going to face a whole day of Donald Trump being blamed for it, or you being blamed for it, or things you believe in being blamed for it.[...]
Another thing that happens here when these events happen, you have all kinds of speculation that erupts. And there is an ongoing theory -- Mr. Snerdley, correct me if I'm wrong about this. There's an ongoing theory that the shooter himself may in fact be a leftist who writes the manifesto and then goes out and performs the deed purposely to smear his political enemies, knowing he's going to get shot in the process. You know you just can't -- you can't immediately discount this. The left is this insane, they are this crazy. And then if that's exactly what the guy is trying to do then he's hit a home run, because right there on Fox News: "Shooter is an admitted white nationalist who hates immigrants."
Sure, because it is, after all, really hard to make white supremacists look bad. [Media Matters]
Tucker Carlson, for his part, said that the real thing we all need to fear is not crazy ass white supremacists going on shooting sprees, but those who would seek to prevent crazy ass white supremacists going on shooting sprees by taking away their guns. Of course! He then claimed it was "absurd" for those on the left to suggest that Conservatives like himself were at all to blame for the massacre. You know, even though white supremacists themselves have repeatedly named Carlson and all his scaremongering about diversity as an influence and a force for radicalization. [Daily Beast]
Teenager Cracks Egg On Asshole Australian Senator's Face. Good For Him!
Following the shooting yesterday, conservative Australian Senator Fraser Anning thought it would be a swell idea to go on Twitter and ask "Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?" Which is a lot like saying "Does anyone still dispute the link between women existing and rape?" The shooter's violence was not the fault of Muslims immigrating to Australia, it was the fault of the psychopath who decided to murder a bunch of Muslims.
Anyway, his comments did not go over well. During a press conference, he ended up getting an egg cracked on his face by a 17-year-old boy, whom he promptly punched in the face.
#EggBoy, as he is being called, may have been arrested, but he is also being hailed as a hero across the internet. #WORTHIT [ITV]
Also Worth Your Interest...
As things develop, I may drop a few more things in here! Keep an eye out!
We could use a little hope today.
The kids are at it again, and it's beautiful. All over the world, young people today are marching and giving speeches and demanding political leaders show some leadership, please, as part of the World Climate Strike. The idea started last summer with a 16-year-old girl in Sweden after that country's hottest summer on record; Greta Thunberg protested outside the Parliament building for months, and it kind of caught on with the hashtag (and later a website) called "FridaysForFuture." So here we are on the Ides of March, and in the USA, the action (centered in DC but with related marches nationwide) was organized by three young women, Alexandria Villasenor, Haven Coleman, and 16-year-old Isra Hirsi, who's the daughter of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. (Get ready for rightwing trolls to condemn the climate movement as anti-Semitic.) Over a million young people in 123 countries are expected to participate by the end of the day.
This truly is a global thing -- though not a globalist thing -- reports Gizmodo's Earther:
The sun rose first on [the] Pacific where students in Australia, New Zealand, and small island nations walked out of school. Since then, mass walkouts have spread from South Korea to India to Nigeria to major European capitals. In Stockholm, an estimated 10,000 students pressed against barricades like a rock concert to see Thunberg, a far cry from her solitary strike that began seven months ago. In Torino, thousands sang "We Will Rock You." In Dakar, students gathered in the shade under the blistering sun. In Zurich, they huddled under umbrellas in the rain.
There was even a demonstrator in Antarctica.
It was hard to pick just 174!
Another sad day for the world, as Muslim worshippers in New Zealand have been murdered and terrorized in a way that feels all too familiar for Americans. We could spend a thousand hours talking about the online culture that radicalizes white supremacist terrorists, how it's spreading worldwide, and how the anti-immigrant/anti-Islamic hatred that motivated the killer in New Zealand is much the same as the hatred spread by the types of people in America who say there were many fine people on both sides in Charlottesville.
But other writers will do that, some of them at Wonkette. In this post, let's just look at some of the immediate terrible reactions, because "how are right-wing assholes responding" is kind of one of our traditions when there is a hate-fueled massacre.
Let's start with just fucking gross and weird, from one of the American congressmen who specializes in both gross and weird, Louie Gohmert of Texas.
Terrorism plus trolling. O brave new world that has such people in 't.
Guys, I hate to defend Candace Owens, a garbage human being who loves riling up low-information idiots, but no, she did not "inspire" the racist who murdered 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand. Yes, even though he almost certainly agrees with her about immigration. He's trolling us, and while hatred should always be taken seriously and studied, the things said by racists, especially when they're repeating all their favorite little inside jokes, shouldn't necessarily be taken at face value, because sarcasm and shitposting are part of the online fascist's toolkit. Apart from the obvious commitment to racism and the desire to eradicate nonwhite immigrants, statements in the shooter's online manifesto should be considered skeptically. Let's do some unpacking.
We're not going to link to the copy of the manifesto we're working from, both because it'e evil and because hosts are scraping copies of it off their servers quickly enough that no links are likely to last. Believe me, you can find it without much effort if you want to see the filth.
Instead, take a look at this smart analysis of the manifesto's trolling by journalist Robert Evans, who knows a thing or two about terrorists and their recruiting methods. This manifesto has several audiences: potential future white nationalists, but also unwary journalists seeking to comb through it for easy answers to why someone would murder people in a house of worship. The title is straightforward enough: "The Great Replacement" partakes of the same white paranoia that motivated the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter and the marchers who chanted "Jews will not replace us" in Charlottesville: There's a shadowy conspiracy by very bad people to destroy the beautiful white race through immigration and high minority birth rates.
But as Evans puts it, the manifesto is also full of rhetorical booby traps:
A bad thing happened last night.
Racist terrorists killed 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand, targeting worshippers during Friday prayers. The attack appears to have been carried out by a single shooter, a 28-year-old Australian man, who has been charged with murder. New Zealand authorities have arrested four people, although they said one was not involved in the violence. The shooter wrote a manifesto claiming he was acting to save white people from immigration of nonwhites, and that he considered himself "a lawful, uniformed combatant." Authorities said none of the four arrested had been on terror watch lists.
The number of injured is also high; Christchurch health authorities stated 48 patients, "ranging from young children to adults with gunshot wounds," are being treated at Christchurch Hospital alone, and that additional patients with gunshot wounds had been taken to "other health facilities in the community." Injuries ranged from critical to minor. Remember; "wounded" by an assault rifle does not necessarily mean "lucky."
Oh, we WISH we were kidding.
All the My Generals have left the building, and Grandpa Gangster is wilding out! We've known forever that Trump wants to turn the US military into a protection racket. Because when you're a dimwitted thug, a collective security agreement that keeps the planet out of another world war and leaves the US as undisputed hegemon is clearly a sucker's game.
For the past two years, Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly managed to keep a lid on most of Commander VD's worst impulses. But no more! Now the only ones left are nativist loons like Stephen Miller, who actually believe that shit, and power-humping sycophants like Pompeo and Bolton, who know better but don't care.
Bloomberg reports today that Trump is actually ready to pull the trigger and turn the US military into a lean, mean profit-making machine.
Under White House direction, the administration is drawing up demands that Germany, Japan and eventually any other country hosting U.S. troops pay the full price of American soldiers deployed on their soil -- plus 50 percent or more for the privilege of hosting them, according to a dozen administration officials and people briefed on the matter.
American GIs are wildly unpopular in Okinawa, and opposition to deployment of the US anti-missile shield in South Korea almost swung the last presidential election there, but ... sure, Poppy! Foreign governments will just bust open their piggy banks for the privilege of hosting the American military on their soil. For the record, Japan actually does pay the lion's share of the cost for US troops. But think of how much more power we'll exert when we switch to a fee-for-service model!
He just paints what he sees.
Jon McNaughton, the Art Genius who documented true historic events like Jesus handing the Constitution to George Washington and Barack Obama burning the very same Constitution, is back with another masterpiece, this one titled "National Emergency." Truly a fine example of McNaughton's work, which combines the fine art techniques of Thomas Kincaid with the subtle political commentary of Ben Garrison and an army of Twitter trolls.
It's your Sunday Show Rundown!
Let's begin today's Sunday show roundup with National Security Adviser and least favorite Bolton (after Michael and Ramsey), John. Trump's NSA appeared on CNN's "State of The Union," proclaiming the "unquestionable success" of the second Trump/Kim summit, even though no deal was reached and Trump was humiliated. Jake Tapper asked Bolton about Trump's statements regarding Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was sent home in a coma from North Korea and died shortly after being returned to the US; Trump said at a press conference that Kim Jong Un denied knowing anything about Warmbier, and so case closed. Trump stated, "He tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word. Those prisons are rough. They're rough places, and bad things happen. But I don't believe he knew about it."
TAPPER: He's going to take Kim Jong-un at his word that he didn't know about it. The Warmbier family put out a statement. They disagree. They say Kim Jong-un is responsible. Are they wrong?
BOLTON: Look, the president made it very clear he considers what happened to Otto Warmbier an act of brutality that's completely unacceptable to the American side. I have heard him before the summit itself, before the press conference, talk about how deeply he cared about Otto Warmbier and his family. The fact is, the best thing North Korea could do right now would be to give us a full accounting of what happened and who was responsible for it.
That's quite a change or non-commitment for Bolton. Especially when, shortly after Otto Warmbier's death, Bolton was basically egging on a full scale regime change in North Korea.
Wait! How about TWO?
Donald Trump really, really thinks he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. After all, that fake Kenyan president got one for doing nothing, and Trump insists the Japanese Prime Minister showed him a beautiful letter he'd written to nominate Trump for freeing his small island nation from being terrorized by rocketships. That's usually Gamera's job! (He is the friend of children everywhere.)
But now, just after Donald Trump's failure to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula, we learn that at least one person really did nominate Trump for the Nobel. Except it was a forged nomination. And the same fraudulent sender apparently tried to do the same thing last year, too. We bet the nomination letters' constant use of weirdass capitalization was a tip-off.
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