sofa king's Journal
Member since: Wed Apr 14, 2004, 03:27 PM
Number of posts: 9,377
Number of posts: 9,377
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I think that most humans (as with most animals) have a biological inhibition against killing one another or causing one another severe harm.
That inhibition seems to be very closely related to empathy, the ability to recognize the emotions of other people (and some critters).
So that's evil to me: the willingness to do deliberate harm to people for inadequate reasons. In order to be that way, one has to lack empathy for others most or all of the time (one can also be mechanically trained to do so, which is how most modern soldiers are trained; but the overwhelming majority of those folks do not commit acts of evil in civilized society, as Republican politicians do).
Some of us, like Dick Cheney, have little to no empathy for most others, except of course his own offspring, which is why Cheney's one progressive opinion (in favor of gay marriage) happens to be the one that would benefit his own child. Cheney doesn't give a fuck about any of the rest of us; we're as insignificant to him as the tens of thousands he had tortured, murdered, and dumped in the streets of Iraq.
Dick Cheney has publicly displayed virtually all of the criteria needed for a psychologist to make a diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder--as close as it gets to the Hollywood villain in real life:
Cheney's ignorant pawn, George W. Bush, also lacks empathy most of the time. This permitted Bush to okay stealing elections, lying to start a war, torture, murder, frequently dropping his dog onto pavement, and so on. But Bush seems to have publicly displayed most of the criteria needed to make a different diagnosis, of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
The interesting thing about narcissists is that while they also are capable of acting with malice, sooner or later their beat-down Jiminy Cricket of a conscience turns into a locust, and rips the self esteem of the subject to shreds. The narcissist is prone to "moments of clarity" and subsequent deep depression, in part out of regret for their own actions.
That is probably the answer to the question, "why did George W. take two years of vacation during his tenure as President?" My guess is that a team of psychologists and family members were desperately working behind the scenes to re-inflate the ego of this broken and incompetent person, who can only function when he believes the lies he tells about himself.
It's almost certainly why Bush paints now, because unlike Dick Cheney, Shrub is not immune to the scratches of the Furies who will pursue him to his much-deserved grave. Look at this picture again, knowing Bush is a narcissist who has done unspeakable evil, and cannot forget it:
Here's a guy who can't look at himself full in the face in a painting of a reflection in a fucking mirror. Because he hates himself for the evil he has done and it gnaws at his very soul. That's hardly punishment for what he has done, but it's nice to know that W, at least, cannot escape himself.
So there's two evil people and how they excuse themselves for it (Cheney: easily; Bush, never). It's possible to be co-morbid with both APD and NPD. I think Mitt Romney was one of those rare birds; fortunately, his evil was easier for most to see.
Posted by sofa king | Sun May 25, 2014, 07:24 AM (3 replies)
I don't fully understand why the public cannot see that this was an intelligence operation--a Chinese intelligence operation--from the beginning. Some of the inconvenient facts most of you choose to avoid:
1) Snowden's revelations were made public only hours after the Secretary of State deeply offended the Chinese by discussing the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Mrs. Clinton started a row in September, 2012 by setting up a press conference at the edge of the square itself:
It caused two state newspapers to get in a fight and forced the leader-apparent of China to duck out.
Less than three months later, Snowden first contacted Greenwald.
Then, in June, 2013, Clinton really pissed off the Chinese by commemorating the anniversary yet again after the Chinese had told her not to do it again in 2009:
At virtually the same moment that the rhetoric escalated, Greenwald began publishing Snowden's disclosures.
"When he emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled because we have all these protections for whistle-blowers. If he were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been," she said. "But it struck me as—I just have to be honest with you—as sort of odd that he would flee to China, because Hong Kong is controlled by China, and that he would then go to Russia—two countries with which we have very difficult cyberrelationships, to put it mildly." Hillary Clinton, April 23, 2014
2) Most if not all of Snowden's disclosures were previously revealed by Glenn Greenwald years previously.
Really, this comes as no surprise to DU readers, who were familiar with virtually everything that Snowden reputedly "disclosed" for the first time.
I'm not going to belabor the point by going back through nine years of posts about Greenwald's own work here at DU. Go look it up if you must.
There is a simple operational reason for this, from an intelligence point of view. Anything useful to the Chinese and the Russians was not disclosed publicly; anything that was already out there was happily repeated.
3) Any claim that China was not involved in the protection and movement of Mr. Snowden after his disclosures is totally false:
The Chinese appear to have brokered the first in-person contacts between Snowden and Greenwald, then protected Snowden, refused to extradite him to the US, and let him go after months of debriefing.
I'm pointing all of this out because I have seen this sort of psyops being played out on the American people dozens of times. The Man is encouraging lots and lots of you to go out on a limb for these fellows, Snowden and Greenwald. Then, when the time is right, they're going to pull away the curtains and smear most of you with the commie patsy brush.
You can say what you want to me now, but I'll come right back with this thread in the summer of 2016 and remind you that the mass discrediting of liberal journalists was part of the "make lemonade" damage control efforts of US counterintelligence, after the Chinese spanked the shit out of us with this embarrassing event.
And you watch: John Kerrry ain't gonna say jack shit about Tiananmen Square on this year's anniversary.
You may now hate me.
Posted by sofa king | Fri May 2, 2014, 08:39 AM (4 replies)
The Port Authority official who oversaw the lane closing at the George Washington Bridge said that he had he informed Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey about it at a Sept. 11 memorial while the closings were occurring, according to an internal investigation released on Thursday by lawyers for the governor.
The official, David Wildstein, told Mr. Christie’s press secretary of the Sept 11 conversation at a dinner in December just before his resignation from the Port Authority, according to the report.
So, let's just see if that fellow doesn't land on his feet--and on the Bush campaign staff.
Posted by sofa king | Thu Mar 27, 2014, 11:14 AM (0 replies)
There's plenty of time, and some must be spent allowing Republican sheep to wander into Rand's herd.
Rand will be allowed to grow his little flock for awhile, but eventually--probably before the end of 2015--Jeb's people will crush Rand in a public relations debacle, and Jeb will be there step in as shepherd.
Posted by sofa king | Thu Mar 27, 2014, 11:09 AM (0 replies)
Touching off the nuclear option is a clear, obvious signal that Democrats in the Senate no longer fear the possibility of a Republican resurgence in the Senate... ever again.
I'm totally serious about that. Republicans aren't coming back from this. It's a bit of an anthropomorphic argument, I'll freely admit, but I see it like this: one simply does not use this sort of a rules change if one's opponent is in a position to come back. Instead, we are using it as a hedge for our expected margin of victory: either we bag a supermajority in the next election, or we implement a series of majority-rule changes that have already been tested in practice over the course of 2014.
Democrats have been winning statewide elections somewhere between 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 over the past two elections, and one can use Virginia's off-off year election this November as an indicator that those conditions continue to prevail. Un-sticking the log-jam of nominations in the Senate will break the conservative hold on the courts. It's going to flush out the Bush stay-behinds in the Executive Branch and prevent the next election cycle from being tainted by Republican-generated "scandals" within the Obama administration and make election-theft-by-judge less likely.
The reason for this, and I encourage all of you to begin looking into it, is because thirty years of voracious conservative policy has devoured the American middle class--but it chewed through rural, conservative America first. Over the past twelve years, rural Republicans have been at least as likely as Democrats to lose their good jobs, their homes, their pensions, their retirement accounts, their health care, their farms and property holdings, and so on. Rural America is where Wal-Mart turned on the vacuum cleaners and sucked every small business out of the region, so once they hit the skids in rural America, what do they do?
They wander into the cities, seeking better services and shorter transit times to the things one needs--the "socialist" services they once tried so hard to kill. But once there, the ignorant conservative's vote is completely absorbed by the more realistic people around them, and the more realistic Republicans realize that they are now the targets of Republican victimization. They are learning empathy the hard way: by having the results of their policies fall squarely and even disproportionately among themselves and the vanishingly small number of people outside of themselves that they actually care about.
The conservatives sacrificed their own lives and treasure to keep gay people from marrying in 2004, so it's awfully damned hard for me to summon up a lot of empathy for them and their callous stupidity--but chances are good there was an empty seat at your own table yesterday, because someone you loved--one of the conservatives all know and love and consider part of our families--fell to conservative policy in the past few years. Make no mistake, this is a human tragedy of enormous proportions, and I think Democrats have become the beneficiaries of it by failing to prevent it from happening, though none of us can be accused of not trying. But others may look at it differently.
Some, for example, might see this past four years as a little bit like a past season of the Walking Dead, where an angry authoritarian leader punished his constituents for failure by killing them all. The Republican Party may be on its way to dead, but the evil that animated it for most of its existence is bigger, meaner and more powerful than ever.
Posted by sofa king | Sat Nov 30, 2013, 03:37 PM (0 replies)
As noted above, Democrats have a chance to flip the House, lord willing and the creeks don't rise.
But if we have to deal with a Republican-controlled House in the next Congress, we'll almost certainly be dealing with John Boehner as Speaker, for a number of reasons.
First, Boehner and the combined staves of the House Republican Leadership are infinitely more adept at exploiting parliamentary rules than the Tea Partiers who have slashed their way into the Republican works. Being a Tea Partier almost necessarily shackles that person with predictable um, abilities, or lack thereof. One of those lacking traits is an inability to learn easily or well. Yes, I am calling them stupid. Stupid Congressmen make stupid choices about their own staff and stupid choices about how they execute their plans--as we have so vividly experienced in the past month.
A right-wing authoritarian loses to a sociopath who pretends to be a right-winger, like Boehner, every time. This is because the socipaths are not beholden to any moral, ethical, or dogmatic considerations. It's true that Republican leadership has been losing its grip over the past several years. In the past I have likened this process to a melting peanut butter cup: a thin shell of evil containing an oozing mass of stupid inside. The hold of "evil" Republicans over "stupid" Republicans has been steadily eroding, to be sure, but I don't think they're going anywhere just yet--not in this case, anyway.
Second, Boehner has successfully fought off such challenges in the past and those opponents, such as Eric Cantor, have quite likely already been neutralized through threat of disclosure. It is entirely safe to assume, I think, that all Republicans in Congress are corrupt, and therefore vulnerable to disclosure of some sort. The longer they stay in the House and the more times they plot to usurp the standing leadership, the more likely those people are to have already had the dirt dug on them. So the new kids get no help from the schemers on the fringes of Republican leadership, this time.
Third, the position of the Speaker, historically, has been most powerful when wielded against one's own party. Consider for example the failed coup attempt against Newt Gingrich in mid-1997. John Boehner himself and a fellow you've never heard about named Bill Paxon plotted to overthrow Gingrich and put Paxon in his place, but their plan was betrayed by Dick Armey to Newt Gingrich. Gingrich totally destroyed Paxon's up-and-coming career, forever (by threatening to toss Paxon out of the closet, I have it on the best authority).
Boehner himself was ejected from his leadership position the following year and he spent eight years on ice until his scheming against Tom Delay finally paid off in 2006. He shall never forget that lesson.
So Boehner knows all the tricks, tips and pratfalls of this game, and his opposition is too stupid to learn them. Speaker or Minority Leader, we are still likely to be dealing with him.
Posted by sofa king | Tue Oct 22, 2013, 03:34 PM (0 replies)
On October 25, 1944, off the island of Samar, one of the larger nightmares the U.S. Navy could envision actually happened. A Japanese surface fleet of 12 battleships and cruisers (including the largest battleship in the world, IJN Yamato, which displaced more than all American combat ships on the scene), a dozen destroyers, and thirty of the first kamikaze planes descended upon a sizeable portion of the Philippine invasion fleet--transports and auxiliary ships that could not defend themselves. The main US carrier fleet had been deliberately lured hundreds of miles away and was in no position to help.
Standing in the way of Admiral Kurita's dreadnoughts were two groups of tiny escort carriers, fielding a few hundred obsolete planes without armor-piercing bombs, and a handful of destroyers and destroyer escorts. The Japanese bore down upon the nearly helpless American combat ships, firing enormous shells that were fitted with colored dye-packs, ripping the ocean between them with huge columns of brightly-colored water.
The American admiral in charge, Clifton Sprague, was outnumbered and outgunned, and being chased down as it ran before the Japanese at half their speed, the escort carriers firing back with the single five-inch guns (nicknamed "stingers" or "pea shooters") they had for anti-ship defense. Meanwhile, American planes attacked, sometimes faking strafing runs without ammunition, and the destroyers turned into the pursuing Japanese ships and fired spreads of torpedoes, which disrupted the Japanese formation at heavy cost.
At 0924, his own flagship having been hit several times and still dodging torpedoes, Admiral Sprague heard one of his signalmen suddenly yell, "dammit boys, they're getting away!"
It was true. The Japanese fleet was turning away short of the auxiliary fleet and retiring in the direction from which it had come. Admiral Sprague had "won" the Battle off Samar.
The US Navy never let up on the Japanese after that, and the battles of Leyte Gulf effectively ended concerted opposition by the IJN. We still had to land on Japan's own turf and burn them out one-by-one, for another eleven and a half months, but after Samar, it was only a matter of time.
This is where we Democrats are today. Republicans, heavily armed with unlimited dirty money, drove straight at the United States, bent upon its surrender or destruction, and were turned away at the last moment, primarily by their own incompetence.
And now, they're getting away!
It's time to send the Republican Party to its half of the American political seas--the bottom half. The Tea Party is already doing us the huge favor of fielding a large number of primary candidates against the money-Republicans, but that does us no favor at all if the winner of that fight gets to run unopposed in the general election.
I'm calling upon all the people of DU to look to your own districts, to help us to identify which ones do not have announced Democratic candidates yet, and to fill every candidate's slot in every Congressional district in the nation for 2014.
And, if no Democrat has the stones to step up and strike while the iron is hot, well, you have to do it, and so do I. We don't have to win in every district; we must make certain that Republican money gets blown keeping safe districts safe--from their own trog internal opposition first, and then from us. This is how we can politically, temporarily, de-fang the most powerful and most malevolent Americans, the people who have stolen half our nation's wealth from us in twelve short years.
This is our chance to throw the window open for the two last years of President Obama's term. We need to flip the House and could really use a supermajority in the Senate. Then and only then do we get to see what President Obama really wants to do. He deserves that chance and it is our duty to provide it to him.
I don't feel I'm particularly well liked or heeded here at DU, because I call this crazy world in the crazy way I see it. But others of you--those of you in positions to act, and to even step up to bat yourselves like our pal Representative Grayson--must pick up the standard and carry it forward now. This is our chance. We must not let the Republicans get away with what they have done.
Posted by sofa king | Fri Oct 18, 2013, 01:45 PM (16 replies)
Special hat tip to melody for posting this here:
Posted by sofa king | Tue Oct 15, 2013, 10:18 PM (0 replies)
Think back to what happened in 2011. Boehner played brinksman, and as soon as the economy was destabilized, some sort of national security provision kicked in which permitted the President to call in Congressional leadership to a closed meeting and send them out endorsing the President's own plan within 48 hours. The President (eventually) flensed a trillion dollars from the Department of Defense, and the Republicans did not get an extension of tax cuts for the rich, which killed them in the election the following year.
So this time the Republicans are offering to avoid the debt ceiling crisis, so that they can continue their shutdown stranglehold without the President being able to privately tell them that he's gonna shoot 'em if they don't sign on the line.
Conversely, Democrats have no reason whatsoever to give in. If they do nothing at all now, they win on Thursday night, and by "win," I mean that they get the best possible deal that they are going to get this year, because it's going to be the President's solution, which will give not a fuck about what Republicans want or care about, which is precisely what the United States needs.
By telling them to fuck off, we get this. The moment the problem becomes a crisis, we win and they get nothing at all.
So, I strongly suspect, we're going to wait and see what happens on Thursday.
Posted by sofa king | Sat Oct 12, 2013, 10:16 PM (1 replies)
These are elected officials meeting with a private citizen. Until the law was trampled into irrelevance by the Bush Administration, such meetings were required to be disclosed, and are still required by the premises of good taste and good government, if not also the law.
It is comparatively easy to deduce the overall intent of the meetings, which is that Mrs. Clinton is ironing out some details regarding her expected Presidential run.
The meeting with Biden is actually the more important one. Joe Biden might be considered a dark horse in 2014, but he's also one of the most prominent and qualified warhorses of the Democratic Party. As President of the Senate, Biden has also been unusually adept at helping to coordinate and implement the plans made between the Executive Branch and the Senate.
It's entirely possible that Joe Biden likes his job as chief cat-herder in the Senate, which opens up the interesting possibility that Mrs. Clinton is asking Joe if he'd like to keep his job as Vice President. That's highly speculative at this point in time, but it's worth filing away....
Posted by sofa king | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 02:37 PM (0 replies)