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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Charles P Pierce - Death In Paris

Well, I guess nous sommes Charlie Hebdo now. At least for a while.

The barbaric assault on the French satirical publication truly is an attack on everyone who thinks and writes and, yes, snarks for a living. CH is a French institution -- albeit one that went out of business for a flat decade a while back. It made a meal of anyone and everyone. Thanks to the BBC -- which possesses an attention span surpassing that of the average flea, as opposed to most of our American media, which already is rounding into Eek, Monsters! mode -- we learn that CH took nothing seriously, and treated every institution in French society as scabrously as an angry drunk in an alley full of bricks.

Drawing on France's strong tradition of bandes dessinees (comic strips), cartoons and caricatures are Charlie Hebdo's defining feature. Over the years, it has printed examples which make its representations of Muhammad look like mild illustrations from a children's book. Police would be shown holding the dripping heads of immigrants; there would be masturbating nuns; popes wearing condoms - anything to make a point. As a newspaper, Charlie Hebdo suffers from constant comparison with its better-known and more successful rival, Le Canard Enchaine. Both are animated by the same urge to challenge the powers-that-be. But if Le Canard is all about scoops and unreported secrets, Charlie is both cruder and crueller - deploying a mix of cartoons and an often vicious polemical wit.

This is a publication that took a shot at Charles deGaulle the day the guy died.

In 1970 came the famous moment of Charlie's creation. Two dramatic events were dominating the news: a terrible fire at a discotheque which killed more than 100 people; and the death of former President Gen Charles de Gaulle. Hara-Kiri led its edition with a headline mocking the General's death: "Bal tragique a Colombey - un mort", meaning "Tragic dance at Colombey - one dead." The subsequent scandal led to Hara-Kiri being banned. To which its journalists promptly responded by setting up a new weekly - Charlie Hebdo.

I think we can all imagine in the abstract the reaction of the American right to a French (eek!) publication that ran cartoons of masturbating nuns and of the pope sporting a condom. However, the 12 people who were slaughtered there were killed by the right people, so the masturbating nuns are long forgotten, and the dead likely now are conscripted into involuntary martyrdom by our professional keyboard warriors and green-room commandos, people whom the murdered cartoonists would have drawn with condoms on their heads, had they lives. Steve M has the gory instant reaction from FoxWorld, which is baptizing itself in borrowed blood again. (I especially like the way Elisabeth Hasselbeck hangs this on...wait for it...Bill de Blasio. Unless NYPD officers are allowed to strangle people in broad daylight, the terrorists in France will kill us all in our beds. To borrow once again from the great Dan Jenkins -- if Elisabeth had a brain, she'd be outside playing with it.) I think it's important to point out that we don't know what any of these murderers actually look like yet. We know what they yelled, and we are entitled to suspect that CH's lampooning of Islam was the cause of this butchery, since it seems to have inspired someone on a previous occasion to firebomb the publication's offices. But we don't know yet what they look like -- they were wearing ski masks -- so we don't know yet what "political correctness" has to do with anything. Unless it has to do with masturbating nuns.

Nevertheless, and despite the fact that the witnesses make the murderers sound like Bond villains straight from central casting, this was unquestionably an assault on the right of free expression, probably committed in the name of religious fanaticism. It was an act of medieval, anti-Enlightenment barbarism, and the fact that a lot of people who aren't usually so tender toward France and its leftists -- or towards the Enlightenment itself, for that matter -- have attached themselves to the horror in order to proclaim their righteousness atop a pile of corpses ought not to obscure the truth of it. There are genuine values -- honored only in the breach by some, but no less genuine for that -- under armed assault here. Charlie Hebdo's staff was murdered to stifle the publication's voice, no less than Elijah Lovejoy was murdered to stifle his. This is the mass, unbridled, brainless Id of the barbarian at war with modernity in all its expressions. This is where anti-science leads, where a contempt for education leads, where the suppression of women leads, where marrying political fanaticism to religious fervor almost always leads. This is where theocracy brings us, over and over again. In 1572, in Paris, on St. Bartholomew's Day, 3000 French Huguenot Protestants were butchered by Catholic mobs. (The death toll throughout France is thought to have been over 70,000.) None of this is new. It rises from the same foul ground it always has. This is why Mr. Madison believed that the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine to be one of the worst things that ever happened to both religion and government. Official religions end in blood, always. That's why we don't have one here. Nous sommes Charlie, I guess, but, deep in us all, in that part of us that reeks of stale incense and the smell of old and guttering candles, nous sommes des barbares, aussi. And "political correctness," that empty, impotent phrase, is inadequate to account for the monsters that lurk in the shadows there.


Dems Respond To McConnell Taking Credit For Economic Growth: 'Hahahahahahahahahahaha'


The way Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sees it, recent good news on the American economy is directly linked to the fact that there's a new Republican majority in Congress.

"After so many years of sluggish growth, we're finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope; the uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama administration's long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress," McConnell said on Wednesday. "So this is precisely the right time to advance a positive, pro-growth agenda."

The comment provoked snide chuckles from Democrats. The Democratic National Committee emailed out a statement with the subject line "DNC to McConnell: Hahahahahahahahahahaha."

Here's the statement from DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee:
Hahahahahahahahahahaha. That Mitch McConnell is one funny guy. He likes to remind people all the time that he’s not a scientist. Now we know he’s not a mathematician or an economist either. The fact is, under President Obama we’ve had 57 straight months of private sector job growth leading to nearly 11 million jobs added. All Republicans have given us is a government shutdown that cost the economy $24 billion. I get why he wants to take credit for the economic recovery. But maybe he should first do something to help contribute to it.


Elizabeth Warren: 8 ways to restore the middle class

"The average family not in the top 10% makes less money than a generation ago," said Warren, a Harvard bankruptcy law professor who was elected to the Senate in 2012.
Here's what Warren says should be done about it:

1 Raising the minimum wage so no one should work full-time and still live in poverty
2 Supporting the right for workers to bargain together
3 Enforcing labor laws so workers get overtime pay and pensions that are fully funded
4 Giving equal pay for equal work
5 Protecting Social Security, Medicare and pensions
6 Investing in roads, bridges, power grids, education and research to create good jobs in the short run and help build new opportunities over the long run
7 Making sure all Americans and corporations pay a fair share to build a future for all
8 Having trade policies and tax codes to strengthen the American economy, raise living standards and create jobs



Meet the new Gang of Six

McConnell finds his go-to Dems

Senate Republicans are reaching out to about nine Democrats they see as crucial swing votes in the new Congress.

With his 54-seat majority, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is six votes short of overcoming Democratic filibusters, making bipartisan support a necessity for getting most legislation to President Obama’s desk.

Republicans have identified six go-to centrists: Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Warner (Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and independent Sen. Angus King (Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats.

Several other Democrats, including Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Chris Coons (Del.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Martin Heinrich (N.M.), are also targets, though they are seen as riskier partners.
“If Republicans want a minimum of six or more Democrats to work with them and they’re sincere about policy and good policy moving forward, they’re definitely going to reach out, and I’ve reached out to them,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday.



Warren takes swipe at Reagan, trickle-down economics

Sen. Elizabeth Warren savaged trickle-down economics and took a swipe at President Ronald Reagan on Wednesday, blaming both parties for policies she said have devastated U.S. workers while propping up the wealthy.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who many on the left are pressing to run for president as an alternative to Hillary Clinton, also praised President Barack Obama for efforts she said were aiding the economic recovery, but said most Americans still weren’t seeing their lives improve.

“The trickle-down experiment that began in the Reagan years failed America’s middle class,” Warren said in her fiery keynote address to an AFL-CIO conference on raising wages.

“Pretty much the whole Republican Party, and if we’re going to be honest, too many Democrats, are overly cozy with the financial industry and make decisions that benefit the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans while leaving others to struggle, she said. Over the past 32 years, she added, every penny of America’s economic growth has benefited the top 10 percent of earners, while the bottom 90 percent has been squeezed.

“We know that democracy does not work when congressmen and regulators bow down to Wall Street’s political power,” she said. “And that means it’s time to break up the Wall Street banks and remind politicians they don’t work for the big banks, they work for us.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/elizabeth-warren-criticism-trickle-down-economics-114032.html

Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest








Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Police

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1-They have Plans

Mexican town's entire police force detained over journalist disappearance

Source: The Guardian

State prosecutors have detained a town’s entire police force following the disappearance of a journalist in the southern state of Veracruz.

Thirty-six members of the Medellín de Bravo police department were brought in to give statements, according to a statement from the Veracruz state prosecutor’s office. Authorities detained three police officers there on Monday.

Prosecutors said the investigation is in an advanced stage and one of the lines of investigation is looking at the social activism of journalist Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, some of which was aimed at Medellín’s mayor, Omar Cruz.

Sánchez’s brother Juan Carlos Sánchez said on Monday that his brother had been threatened by Cruz. Cruz denied any involvement at a news conference on Monday. A group of nine armed men took Sánchez from his home on Friday along with his computer, camera and telephones.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/06/mexican-police-force-detained-journalist-disappearance

In holiday message, Alabama Democratic Party chair describes getting stuck on the toilet

By Kyle Whitmire

Maybe some folks thought they were giving me a late Christmas present or an early birthday present, but my first reaction was maybe this was a really early April Fool's Day joke - there they were, one forwarded copy after another in my email inbox when I returned from the holidays, and for a week I haven't known what to do with this thing.

The short version is this: The chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party, Nancy Worley, sent a holiday letter to friends and Democrats all over the state describing, among other things, how she got stuck on the toilet and couldn't get up.

What do you do with something like that? Reading it is kind of like watching a dog humping a cat. You kind of want to stop it but you aren't sure how. Maybe you're supposed to be OK with it if they are OK with it. You feel shame for the part of you that is amused by it, and nothing will ever erase the image from your brain, but you'll still try to pretend it never happened.

But then there's another part of me that screams, But she put it in her damn Christmas letter to Democrats all around Alabama!

Only through some sort of late-inning Christmas miracle is blood not pouring from both my ears.



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