Thursday, August 25, 2016

Melania Trump is a gold digger, and soft porn poser, but is not, so far as anyone has EVIDENCE, a pricey prostitute

Just Do it!The left side of our blog demands critical thinking and evidence.  We mean it.

The Daily Mail, one source of the story (among others, but notably the one source that has not retracted the story to date) has been threatened with legal action over their reporting of the story by the magazine Suzy that Melania Trump was a pricey prostitute / high end sex worker / escort.   Importantly, the Daily Mail made no conclusions and only reported the story and in fact used language calling the veracity of the story into question.  Even so, Trump threatened suit as is his norm.  Most other websites which carried the story and which are far smaller operations than the Daily Mail, pulled their stories down for fear of suit.  This is a pattern for Trump and a VERY chilling event as it calls into question what Trump might do to the concept of a free press but that's a different story.

In a related story, dug up by equally sleazy and frequently fact-challenged bigot spigot 'Red State', they advance the claim that Donald Trump appears to have licensed his valuable Trump name to an escort service.  Except that as uncovered by the WaPo, NO, Trump never licensed his name or in any way was part of the Trump escort business, now operating under another name after they were hassled over it by the real Trump.

Because serious journalism digs up facts, even when those facts benefit someone like the Trumps.  It is a matter of professionalism and ethical standards. It is about honesty, it is about valuing an objective world view.

More than that, those on the left who ran with the story got push back for it from the left.

The Daily Mail still reported the story, yet at least had the decency to be clear they had no evidence or identifiable on-the-record sources.  Perhaps they should have considered not running the story at all. The Daily Mail, is an unreliable irresponsible freakishly bad sleazy tabloid, hugely mocked in the UK where it is based, and oft quoted by right wing nuts in their alternate reality blog bubbles where facts usually do not penetrate.  They and Red State both deserve condemnation for doing a substandard job of investigative journalism.  Because the right wingers are incompetent and use their media services for slime-ing and to promote a constant and consistent false narrative to taint the world view of their crazier, and more gullible supportive base.

Let us demonstrate in one post a couple of important things.  The first is that so-called 'lefty blogs' like this one apply one single standard by which to evaluate current events and scientific data; there is no double standard hypocrisy here for righties with a different one for the rest of the planet.  The second is that we really DO demand evidence and critical thinking be applied, all the time, to everything, equally, for and from everyone.

The Daily Post ran sleazy porn photos of Melanoma, er, Melania Trump.

That has raised questions about Melanoma's work history and possible immigration fraud.  If one were small minded, one might even speculate that the local right wing media went after Ihan Omar, Somali-American candidate for the state lege, by making a bogus claim she committed immigration fraud. That would be petty; but then the right is often petty.  Building on the sleaze, or at least piling on the sleaze is the claim Melanoma was a prostitute back in the day.

I consider anyone who has a background like Melania Trump unqualified to serve as  First Lady, given her theft of intellectual property in stealing key parts of her speech from Michele Obama; and apparently lying about her higher educational accomplishments, certainly posing for soft porn photos is not a good recommendation, nor is marrying for money as it certainly appears possible she did instead finding someone who is likely to share your life. The Trumps are not honest people, they are not decent people; and they are greedy and bigoted people.

We have a polarized electorate in large part because there is a right wing media that exists to lie, to smear, to ignore and deny facts, while promoting a false narrative that deludes their supporters into believing things which are not true, which makes them paranoid, which leads them to credit crazy crack pot tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theories.  It embraces bigots and extremists, no matter how violent or evil, while driving out moderates who do not pander to the fact-averse or crackpot. 

The right wing media, and their candidate, have dumbed down America and encouraged the most evil and hateful tendencies among us.  They are wrong.  They are bad.  They are destructive - even to themselves.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Castles in the Sky and Voices in My Head

Recent conversation with a conservative friend in a garage down the street:

“RepubliCON: Respect my Authoritayeeh!

Me: Umm… I think I did.

R'CON: You don’t wait around for me to answer you

Me: Uhh… no, not when you take days to answer and are inconsistent at that

R'CON: That’s because what you write isn’t really worth reading

Me: Uhh...ok, I’m sure that was hard for you to say... so how will I know when you’re going to honor me with your reply?  Also why are you reading it at all if it’s not worth reading?

R'CON: You won’t, so just wait.  And on the second question, I read your comments because I respect everyone. I give everyone a voice.  I don’t censor people

Me: Um...yeah.. clearly you are respectful. Ok on the censoring thing, you mean, outside of me and others?

R'CON: That’s different

Me: Oh... how?

R'CON: Because you were mean

Me: Yeah?  Like?

R'CON: You said mean things about me, you compared you to me after I insulted your professional achievements

Me: Yep, that was mean of me…(sigh). 

R'CON: And..when I got mad, you laughed at me

Me: Well, what I laughed at was your hypocrisy, but whatever.

R'CON: See, you were mean, so I censor you.

Me: Ok.

R'CON: And you have to stay on topic, you don’t get to cherry-pick and go off on a rant

Me: Ah.. so when you take small tidbits of my overall point and respond only to those..that’s…

R'CON: That’s me pointing out the flaws in your arguments

Me: Like when you berated me for a typo?

CON: I don’t do that

Me: …northeast Chicago suburbs

CON:  I mean I don’t do it much, and I don’t let others be abusive.  I let a good healthy discussion go on but I don’t tolerate abuse and I don't censor people.  But, henceforth, I’m not going to do that if you don’t wait for my reply and stay on point.

Me: Ah, so when your one friend said he wanted to shoot me?

CON: That was satire

Me: Jeez, and me with my bullet-proof vest on… Ok, so when your other friend decided to lecture me about military careers and about how college ROTC programs work and how it reflected my colossal lack of depth about how the military worked….and here it was me with my having spent 2 years in ROTC and then ultimately joining the service, I mean.. you’re right, respectful discourse, that’s what I’d say you require of your supporters.  Well, shame on me for not being equally respectful… So tell me, was what I did as bad as questioning my commitment to my fellow soldiers?

CON:  I NEVER DID THAT!

Me:  Um… yeah, ok – what would you call it when someone says that you (me in this case) don’t care about the lives of soldiers killed outside combat zones?

CON: That was different, you were saying only combat deaths matter

Me: No, I was talking about combat deaths, but I never said the rest didn’t matter, that was all you, buddy boy.  That was your invention, you putting words in my mouth, and yes, sorry, I found that to be pretty damned insulting – but ok, I get it, I’m mean when I call you out on that.

CON:  You just don’t understand.

Me: Is that it?  Oh, well, good thanks for letting me know.  So, help me out here because I guess I’m just a bit slow.  You refuse to have a discussion on topics that you don’t like and likewise refuse to have a discussion in a forum you can’t censor or control.  You say things that are pretty insulting, let your friends threaten me personally without standing up.  You make incredible statements that turn out to be factually flawed and don’t ever go back and retract them.  You banned me (and others) for pointing these things out and for treating you the way you treated us.  You call others (like me) cowards for not commenting on your blog or engaging you in conversation AFTER telling us to buzz off and get our own blog.  When we do you mostly aren’t brave enough to come to and comment or engage in discourse and the few times you do, you only so under a pseudonym, which is ironic because you often complain about the use of pseudonyms by others and best of all, you make-up conversations with fictional people to assert points you can't otherwise prove and paint unflattering caricatures of people (including your friends), yet complain about the lack of facts supporting the positions of others, is that right?  And to be clear, I’m the mean one?

CON: On the factual stuff, well, I don’t really mean most of it… and yes, you’re mean because you don’t live up to your own standards. 

Me: Ah…well, I get it now.  Maybe someday you’ll be brave enough, little soldier, to take your head out of the ostrich hole you have secured for yourself and have real conversations, ones in which you don’t have to be so afraid that you have to control the stage because truly, Mr. CON, you’ve not been roughly treated.  More than that, hopefully you’ll also take accountability, Mr. “Personal Responsibility,” for your own conduct rather than blaming it on others including no longer trying to assert you’re just “reporting” things and aren’t responsible for any bigotry your “reporting” parrots.

CON:  You’re banned again.

Me: Yeah, I figured.  I’ll let you know when I care. (/yawn).  I had already banned myself so it's not too much of a sacrifice.

………..

Narrator:  The speaker wanted everyone to know, to be abundantly clear, the above is a made-up conversation.  It reflects (mostly) the as near as exact course of conversations between the speaker and Mr. CON, and they both likely know it.  It’s not made-up malarkey said to project a false caricature, something the speaker wouldn’t do to his “friend.”  The other difference, and the more important one is this, the speaker realizes this is fiction.  He realizes that it’s just voices in his head until and unless the actual conversation occurs.  Until then, it’s nothing more than lies dressed up as satire.

And… scene.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Conservatives want us to believe they support our military. They do not.

We see this kind of failure to support our military in exclusively Republicans voting against adequate funding for the VA. We see this kind of failure to support our military by failing to pay them enough so they can be independent of a social safety net. We see this kind of failure when the GOP cuts funding for food to feed military families. Shame on conservatives; REAL support for our military and their families who make so many sacrifices for their country means more than bumper stickers -- or bumper sticker thinking. It means we pay them and provide for them adequately.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bigot Spigot 2, Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton versus Michele Bachmann and the Right Wing Propaganda Machine

It is impossible to tighten down the spigot of bigotry that daily spews hatred and disinformation to the willfully ignorant right wing of the political spectrum.  It's not apparently that the conservative side of the political spectrum CAN'T fact check, the problem is that they don't want to know facts or truth.  They want to be lied to as regards their hateful and inaccurate world view.  They LIKE hating other people, and they rigorously resist facts getting in the way of their evil and unjustified prejudice.

The weekend news has a couple of nuggets, well, more disgusting turds really.

Let's debunk them now, before they get a further chance to circulate.  They include an attack on Hillary Clinton by way of going after her long time aide, Huma Abedin.  Then there are a couple of especially stinky, steaming turds, where Crazy eyes Michele Bachmann is touted as one of Donald  Trump's FOREIGN POLICY AFFAIRS advisers, AND religious advisers, helping Trump to exploit the fundie-fools that comprise the religious right.

The poo is organized into two separate but equally steaming, stinking piles.  One is that Huma Abedin worked for a radical Muslim Journal.  She did not. She worked for the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a very prestigious academic publication based in London, associated with educational institutions like Oxford, and Australia's Murdoch University, named for a far more distinguished member of the Murdoch family than crusty Old Rupert.  The JMMA is a publication that has no taint or hint of radicalism.  Here is the page for the editorial board, who set the policy for the JMMA, many of whom are not themselves even Muslim, and all of whom are highly regarded and accomplished individuals, the type the right likes to call 'elites', 'intellectuals', and 'experts', because they actually know the field in depth and breadth.  They have also demonstrated decades of adhering to the highest professional standards and ethics.  Conservatives hate that; they demonstrate repeatedly they prefer the opposite (hence the careers of Bachmann and now Trump).

Here is the current board; however I can find no evidence they diverge in quality in any way from past editorial boards.  THESE are the people who set editorial policy for the JMMA, not assistant editors EVER;  I defy any reader to find a radical extremist in the list below:

JMMA Editorial Board
EDITOR
Saleha S. Mahmood
ASSOCIATE EDITORS
Hassan Abedin
M. Hakan Yavuz
ASSISTANT EDITORS
Heba A. Khalid
Zulekha Pirani
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR
M. Hakan Yavuz
OFFICE MANAGER
Hamid Ismail
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Sanaa Pirani

ADVISORY EDITORIAL BOARD
Shahram Akbarzadeh
University of Melbourne, Australia
Ameer Ali
Murdoch University, Western Australia
Ali Asani
Harvard University, USA
Goulnara Baltanova
Kazan Technological University, Russia
Allan Christelow
Idaho State University, USA
Dale F. Eickelman
Dartmouth College, USA
John I. Esposito
Georgetown University, USA
Marc Gaborieau
Centre d'Etudes de L'inde et de L'Asie du Sud , France
Dru C. Gladney
Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, USA
Bruce M. Haight
Western Michigan University, USA
Riaz Hassan
Flinders University of South Australia, Australia
Tahir Mahmood
Law Commission of India, India
Ali A. Mazrui
Binghampton University, USA
James Piscatori
Durham University, UK
Jan Slomp
Leusden, The Netherlands
John O. Voll
Georgetown University, USA
Imtiaz Yusuf
Assumption University, Thailand
Lawrence Ziring
Western Michigan University, USA


First we have the New York Post, a Rupert Murdoch tabloid the right wing propagandist uses for his sleazier efforts.  Here is what hate poo Murdoch's minions are throwing to their bigot audience this week:
Hillary Clinton’s top campaign aide, and the woman who might be the future White House chief of staff to the first female US president, for a decade edited a radical Muslim publication that opposed women’s rights and blamed the US for 9/11.
One of Clinton’s biggest accomplishments listed on her campaign Web site is her support for the UN women’s conference in Bejing in 1995, when she famously declared, “Women’s rights are human rights.” Her speech has emerged as a focal point of her campaign, featured prominently in last month’s Morgan Freeman-narrated convention video introducing her as the Democratic nominee.
However, soon after that “historic and transformational” 1995 event, as Clinton recently described it, her top aide Huma Abedin published articles in a Saudi journal taking Clinton’s feminist platform apart, piece by piece. At the time, Abedin was assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs working under her mother, who remains editor-in-chief. She was also working in the White House as an intern for then-First Lady Clinton.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
Headlined “Women’s Rights are Islamic Rights,” a 1996 article argues that single moms, working moms and gay couples with children should not be recognized as families.
No.  I can find no such article published by the JMMA, much less any evidence that Huma Abedin was in any way associated with writing, editing or publishing an article with this title, or that she simultaneously lived in Saudi Arabia and Washington DC during this time.  That appears ridiculous on the face of it, especially since Abedin did not work for the MMA in 1996, but rather worked briefly part time as the Clinton White House wound down, beginning in 1998.  It might be explained away by the device of an evil twin named Skippy, if you go in for cartoon plots.

Further elaborating on how NOT fundamentally radical or extremist Huma Abedin is regarded, apart from being married to Jewish former congressman Anthony Wiener,  is the Newsweek Nugget of gold about Abedin:
But after a career of being seen but not heard, she has been promoted to a post that makes her a public figure. She’s already living the downside: the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) last month put her on a hit list of Muslim apostates,
Perhaps Michele Bachmann, the staff at the New York Post, and the broader spectrum of conservative bigots don't know what the word apostate means?  After all Trump operates at the level of 3rd graders verbally.  From dictionary.com:

Apostate:
noun
1. a person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.

I can find no evidence that Abedin has ever held or espoused the extremist or radical religious views attributed to her in the past, and certainly the penultimate Muslim radical extremists now do NOT embrace Abedin as one of their own.  No, not given Daesh demands the death of apostates; Abedin is clearly the opposite, the antithesis, of Daesh and radical Islamists.

And then we have NPR summarizing the expanded role of the idiotic and notoriously fact-averse Bachmann before the Trump money-grabbing-and-extorting event this past Friday in Minnesota.  Via Newsweek:
According to MPR, the former congresswoman stopped in for a meeting with Trump before the event where she admitted that she is counseling him on world affairs as well as advocating for the concerns of Christian conservatives.
According to Bachmann, who stepped down in 2014 when faced with a losing campaign and questions about campaign finances, Trump understands the threat of Islamic terrorism.
“He also recognizes there is a threat around the world, not just here in Minnesota, of radical Islam,” she explained. “I wish our President Obama also understood the threat of radical Islam and took it seriously.”
There is zero evidence that the president fails to understand the threat of radical Islam; there is enormous evidence that Bachmann doesn't understand much, least of all anything about Islam, Huma Abedin whom Bachmann has attacked in the past, the JMMA, or any aspect of foreign policy.  She's pretty radical and extreme however when it comes to her own wacko brand of religious belief; apparently she hears crazy voices in her head, including those telling her God wants her to be president, that natural disasters are the punishment of God, and she associates with people who believe crackpot crap about demons controlling people and events. And unlike Huma Abedin or the editorial board of the JMMA, Bachmann has never demonstrated either expertise in any field of endeavor, much less an academic one, OR particularly high standards of ethics or competence in her conduct, least of all in any field where she has been employed.

Liars are losers, and clearly the conservatives pushing the Abedin lies are losers without ethical standards of any validity.

Shame on the right.  They deserve to perish as a party, and have brought their disintegration on themselves with conduct like this.

Ilhan Omar and Morality

My friend, Mitch Berg, over at his blog "Shot in the Dark", is having a field day going after the Democratic Primary winner of district 60B in the Minnesota State House.  The woman who won, Ilhan Omar, defeated a long-serving representative Phyllis Kahn.  Kahn was a (really) weird, unhelpful, and vengeful representative who did little to bring meaningful issues to the floor and less to help her district.  I worked on a campaign to replace her 20 years ago which failed when the local "machinery" decided to stay with Kahn, even though they knew she was deeply flawed.  It took 20 years to finally move her out and the state and district 60B are the better for it.  Democrats have bad politicians too, and Kahn was one of them.

But like all humans, her vanquisher Ms. Omar, has flaws too.  Her "big" flaw, as reported by the right-wing hate site PowerLine, was she married a Somali man (per Somali custom), divorced him (per custom), married another man (for which she obtained a license), and then left him to go back to her first husband.  She didn't get a formal divorce from the second (from a man who currently is in England)  Should she have?  The answer is "yes" if she or either men claimed that marital status to the government (as part of tax papers), but there's no evidence she ever has done so.  So, her big "crime" is that she failed to document to authorities her marriage to husband 1 and divorce and divorce from husband 2 (to rejoin husband 1).  Wow, pretty serious crime there.  Or, well, no crime whatsoever, actually.

The false flaw, also reported by PowerLine was that husband 2 was Omar's brother.  This was an ugly, race-baiting lie, and unfortunately my friend Mitch, ever mindful of wanting to kiss up to right-wing power, big or small, failed to repudiate when he decided to make this his new cause.

First thing's first.  Omar's conduct is not outside the customs of her nor even a number of American cultural norms.  People get married by a church but some who are "anti-government" or even just don't see a need, chose not to memorialize that marriage with the authorities.  To some of us it may seem a rather obvious thing to do, but in Somalia (or coming from it) where the government essentially doesn't exist for any productive purpose and interacting with it may be dangerous?  Maybe, just maybe, not so much.  Certainly not if your custom suggests it's at best a "nice to have."  In fact, even in the US, unless you want to claim some sort of benefit, there's no legal requirement to document it with the state.  In fact Mr. (Don't call me a hypocrite just because I'm complaining about something I say IN THE SAME ARTICLE I'd do myself) Berg, said he likely wouldn't file marriage papers should he ever marry again.  In fact, in Pennsylvania, home of the Quaker Society, Quakers undertake something called a "self-uniting" marriage which allows for a marriage to be done without an third party.  They offer a license for these marriages as well but Quakers being Quakers, notoriously don't obtain them.  Maine offers a similar option to Quakers and members of the Bahai faith.  So, it seems that, just maybe, this 'aint a Muslim thang' or (only) a Somali 'thang' as Berg implies might be the excuse offered, even though Omar never used such an explanation at all.  In fact, it's not a 'foreign thang' either, yet Berg goes on to claim that Omar (and her husband) should have learned the laws upon coming here.  My question for Berg is this, how do you know they didn't?  Maybe they simply didn't care and since they didn't break the law, how does this matter to you? (Oh, I actually can answer that question and will do so below).

Now, Ms. Omar did get a license for her second marriage.  She did, though, fail to get a properly documented divorce.  Good for getting the license (to me), but even by her admission, bad for not formalizing the divorce.  Her former husband is in England where it's kinda, ya' know, hard and expensive to get legal proceedings completed through given the distance and differing legal requirements.  So, is it unusual for folks to not formalize a divorce, no.  In fact, in a recent NY Times article, the authors noted that it is quite common for married people to separate but never follow through with formalizing the divorce.  They see tax and financial advantages in those cases, but the outcome is the same (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/fashion/01Undivorced.html?_r=0).  So, is it a "foreign thang" to not go through with the expense of a divorce?  No, not in the slightest except if you intend to remarry.  In THAT, I personally think Ms. Omar erred, and she does to saying it is something she is working to correct now (as she should) given that she has rejoined her first husband and considers herself married to him (though she never actually remarried him).  Apparently she DID regocnize the law and did follow it... wow, and to think she's Somali, I wonder however she wrapped her pretty little head around all those complex legal thingies...? 


There's no evidence whatsoever she's broken any law (and least of all any law that matters) and yes, I'm putting a value judgment on her conduct, but look if she's broken a law against speeding, do we really care very much?  Long and short, she lived within her culture.  Would I have rather that she documented her first marriage and both divorces, sure, but no one was harmed.  She did not, as PowerLine asserts and Berg implies, engage in polyandry (Berg stupidly refers to it as polygamy).  It's clear she was with one man at a time.  Given the general cultural intolerance of adultery (especially by a woman) in Muslim culture, does anyone SERIOUSLY think two men would have allowed their wife to be concurrently married to another man in practice (not on paper)?  If you do, you're both a xenophobe and a fool.  If you repeat that kind of lie when you have to know it's not true, well, you've pretty much self-identified as (journalistic) pond scum.

The larger point about her conduct is this.  In society people behave in varying ways.  Nearly all of us do small deeds which are at best along the grey line of the law but not along a grey line morally.  Some smoke pot to ease pain in states where pot is not legal.  That's not just grey, it's downright black, right over the line legally, but hardly over it morally.  Some let their 5 year olds light a fire-cracker.  Probably on the grey line there, hardly a wantonly immoral act.  In the end, this woman acted within her faith and culture and decided to not tell the government.  Would I do the same, no, I recognize there are benefits which I would want to accrue from documenting it, but were it something else, like my having bought a boat that I'm going to restore and never put in the water and therefore don't owe tax nor need a registration.  Maybe I SHOULD tell Uncle Sam (or Uncle Paul Bunyan in Minnesota), but I don't have to so long as I don't care about accruing the benefits.  People live together, raise children together, leave each other and start new relationships (or restart them) all the time without getting married.  Had this women NEVER gotten married in her culture, and instead only married husband 2, left him and taken up with someone else without divorcing, in short having a relationship with man one, marry man 2, separated from him and then gone back to man one, it would follow a story line that has happened in the US 100,000 times if it happened once (and it has happened once).  Her "mistake" it seems was in saying she married in her culture and divorced in her culture without getting it memorialized by the state.  Yet, that "mistake" is something which isn't required if you don't care about any of the societal benefits.  So, she neither broke the law, nor did anything any more immoral than anyone else who leaves one spouse and takes up with an old flame.  In short, she did NOTHING immoral. 


Some (religious police) might want her to stay with the first but those same (right-wing religious police) also don't want people to divorce, let alone to divorce 3 or 5 people, nor to be an adulterer while married, nor at least presumably to demean the opposite sex, to treat them as if they are objects rather than people, to muse about dating their children... All conduct which most people, not just religious police, find more than just a little less than a whiter shade of pale on the moral scale.  Yet, this latter conduct is the conduct of the Republican Presidential nominee.  Where's the outrage from Berg or PowerLine?  (Crickets..)  Berg dutifully regurgitated the story and took the time to attack this woman and PowerLine and Berg went even further, saying she may well have been engaged in polyandry or had married her brother to defraud the immigration process (a flat-out bigoted lie).  I wonder when they'll get to Trump's infidelities (well, not really, I don't wonder).

Rather than be honest, much less even-handed, Berg instead engaged in race-baiting, saying that if someone comes to the US they should learn our laws and abide by them, as if not filing for a marriage license is a foreign "thing" only.  It's race-baiting because in saying it is a "foreign and Muslim" thing he purposefully (and dishonestly) demeans Ms. Omar. SHE didn't say that non-Muslim's wouldn't understand, she didn't belittle or demean others, but Berg by his "non-accusation" accusation plays on a fear among whites of being accused of being told they can't understand.  She didn't say it but he most certainly played to it even though it was irrelevant.  

Worse, though, was the anti-Somali/anti-Muslim tone of his screed.  He basically said something akin to, "If you're going to come to the country, you damned well should learn to speak the language."  Laws are more important than language in terms of the need to adhere, but there are laws with serious ramifications if not followed and there are laws which say you shouldn't engage in oral sex.  No one listens and even less care about those laws (except for a scant few homophobes).  In short, there are laws which mean something and there are those which due to culture/upbringing many folks simply ignore.  That's not news, not to Berg and not really to anyone.  Because it's not news, saying it's about being "foreign" is just taking a chance to stoke anti-immigrant fears.  He's demeaning her, and with her other Somalis for whom she's an emblem, because of her ethnicity.  He's claiming it's her "foreign-ness" which is the problem when it's no problem at all.  How was Mr. Berg harmed?  How was anyone?  Her cultural diversity created no real issue for anyone except for her and her current "husband."   I agree that her ethnicity may very well have driven her decision, but I also see that it could have been someone with a European ethnicity.  Even more, I (and others) should and do strongly question whether the issue would have been an issue at all if she were Swedish or German.  I am convinced it wouldn't have been raised as an ethnic or "foreign-ness" issue if she had been.  Berg engaged is the most basic form of hate-stoking.  It's her "African Culture" which is the problem, like similar claims about Muslims about Sharia Law and Islamic hatred broad brushing.  What Berg knows, but cares not a whit, is that by drawing this cultural line and claiming it's an hypocrisy (for liberals) and a problem for all, is that he's drawing out a line of "them" rather than "us."  He's doing it on purpose, and that's the real issue here.  Her culture may and is different, but this country has welcomed (more or less) many cultures, including their differences, over the years.  Calling those differences out and then saying they represent conceit or contempt for US culture is a symptom of that same problem.  It creates a resentment (on purpose) for those who won't "conform" even when "us" do the exact same thing.  It's yellow-journalism and nothing less or more.

One last point, Berg claims that liberals love regulation and the "mommy state" and thinks we're hypocrites for not going after Ms. Omar.  In this Berg again shows his deep and abiding ignorance of what liberalism is and who liberals are.  We are committed civil libertarians.  If Ms. Omar didn't engage in some sort of fraud about her marital status, I embrace (and liberals embrace) her cultural choices, not condemn them.  I embrace her right to privacy, not condemn it.  I embrace the idea that the government only has a right to information for which it has a good and proper purpose (e.g. the 14th Amendment's key point).   I don't reject that right to privacy as so many conservatives do (including one Mitch Berg).  I certainly don't feel more needless laws are a good thing, such as needless voter ID laws or "women's health laws" or Patriot Act laws or secrecy laws (which have exploded in number and use since 2001).  I do believe in a common interest where those with the most should not be allowed to abuse those without power (like PowerLine going after the Somali community via yellow-journalism).  I don't think we need a law to end that practice but we do need the courage to accept cultural variety and the integrity to not use variety to stoke hate when that very same variety would be entirely acceptable if the person's name was Anderson instead of Omar.

The ultimate point, though is this.  Like Donald Trump, Mitch Berg is a willing wielder of hate-based rhetoric.  His complaints have almost nothing really to do with Ms. Omar and nearly everything to do with exploiting that hate to get people to vote.  In the end, it's about winning, about winning in any way possible, by any means necessary, saying any ugly thing that can be spun up.  Ms. Omar's conduct isn't even news really, it's at best a slightly embarrassing reality but one that a host of others might well fall into.  No matter, if you can make hay, well, throw truth and decency under the bus baby, we have a political football game to win and in the end, it's our team that has to win or we feel like we're losers so if someone gets hurt (punched) or defamed, who gives a flying rip? If a whole class of people are labeled and hate toward a large segment of our society is ratcheted higher, if the integrity of our democracy is called into question, imperiling it, what the hell, at least we win.  I'm sure that's not immoral.

Conservative lack of compassion, Conservative inaction, Conservative exploitation of disaster and misery

Remember when we saw the compassionate conservative indifference of Paul Ryan showing up at a soup kitchen for a photo op showing him helping? Except, he wasn't helping; he was exploiting the very real pain of poverty for his own self-promotion.
From CBS news: The head of a charity in northeastern Ohio where Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and his family were photographed cleaning dishes over the weekend said Monday that Ryan was not authorized to be on the premises and "did nothing" while there. Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society in Youngstown, told the Washington Post that the Romney campaign had not asked to make the Saturday visit to the soup kitchen. He said that he runs an apolitical faith-based organization which has bylaws barring it from hosting political candidates, and that the visit jeopardized donations from private individuals. "They showed up there and they did not have permission," he said. "They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors." Antag added that Ryan and his family "did nothing" while on the premises. "He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall," he said.
To elaborate on just how staged the exploitative and manipulative Ryan/Romney non-event was, a parallel to the later Trump event in Louisiana, demonstrating a pattern of conservatives and natural disasters:
The Vinidicator, in Youngstown, reports that according to Juanita Sherba, the coordinator who gave Ryan permission to come to the soup kitchen, Ryan did wash dirty dishes while he was there. The newspaper reports that Ryan's staff asked volunteers "to leave some pots and pans unwashed so the VP nominee and his family could do something when he arrived." "We had to save dishes," she said. "We would have gone home by the time he arrived. We didn't need him to do the dishes. It was getting late, and I said that we were closing in five minutes. I waited longer than that, and he finally arrived." Sherba expressed regret that she had allowed the visit to take place. "It was the phoniest piece of baloney I've ever been associated with," she said. "In hindsight, I would have never let him in the door."
We are seeing that again from the right with the performance of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump showing up in Louisiana in spite of the expressed request of the Governor that he not do so.   What did he do? Trump passed along a few boxes of playdough for about a minute. Then he left. Where he went to after his little exploitive photo op was here in Minnesota, hitting up people here to fund that campaign he keeps claiming is self-funded. Yeah. That campaign. The one where he insists he won't lie, and the lies like a cheap rug.   Here is Trump in similar inaction, dragging along Mike Pence his Veep candidate. THIS is the level of help, the level of incompetence, that the nation can expect in the event of a national tragedy. Trump would be like Dubya, and like Ryan / Romney, only WORSE.  

Can we deport the dangerous Trump extremists? The fascists, the racists, the homophobes? Oh, wait - no one wants them!

No one wants them here.  No one wants them in any foreign country.  We're stuck with them, but we don't have to like or approve of their views, or approve of how their ignorance and hate allowed them to be exploited and manipulated.

These people are the bigots propagandized by the bigotry spigots on right wing radio and other right wing media.  This kind of belief and thinking is encouraged and fueled; it does not exist independently or in a vacuum.

The Daily Show:


from the one and only John Cleese