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Two F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing aircraft ferry from Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma on May 22, 2013.
F-35 fighters over Texas. Because they were built there.
The Boston Globe went to Texas to find out why a large segment of the American population has gone insane, or more specifically, why they are convinced that a military training exercise named Jade Helm is in fact an Obama plot to take over Texas and put his enemies, by which we mean a scattered passel of rural Texas lunatics, into camps. For some reason.

The short and almost depressingly obvious answer is because Obama.

Interviews with residents of this community illuminate the distrust that has developed across deeply conservative America — fueled by anger at the White House and Congress and a sense among many that the federal government is no longer on the side of the people it is dedicated to serve.
Which, I suppose, is a given. If you're the sort of rube who is so hostile to the first black president that you're already willing to believe he's a secret Kenyan, or Muslim, or any of the other things that even sitting congressmen were willing to pipe up with then believing he's going to use his secret Muslim powers to brainwash the military into invading Texas is not much of a step. I wish, however, we put more emphasis on pointing out that people who believe these things are not "conservatives" or "patriots" or any of the other things they wish to be called. They're mostly just deeply stupid.
“What comes home in the conservative consciousness is: The government is hostile to me,” [Bastrop County GOP chair so-and-so] said. “And if he’s already unleashed the IRS on us, is it a big leap to think he’d unleash the military?”
Yes, actually, it is a very big leap—even if you have convinced yourself of the hostile and IRS parts, "and now the military is going to invade Texas" is indeed a leap. It speaks to the mind-set, though; this other fellow is my enemy. Therefore, he is conspiring against me and doing illegal things, and about to do not just illegal things but nation-shatteringly loopy things. Because I am freedomz, and he is not.

It's particularly interesting that this national conviction among conservatives that they are being terribly oppressed comes immediately after a period of wartime rhetoric in which non-conservatives were, literally, called traitors to the country; one change of presidents later and the Texas governor makes noises about his state leaving the country altogether if that same can-do-no-wrong government starts doing things he isn't fond of. These people don't do nuance. When they are in power they proclaim themselves the only true Americans; when they lose an election they are convinced it is precursor to America collapsing entirely.

Head below the fold for more on this story.

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There's no amount of debunking that will convince the hardcore Benghazi conspiracy theorists or the cynical Republicans who believe they need a Benghazi scandal to defeat Hillary Clinton. But for the sliver of people who care about Benghazi yet aren't 100 percent committed to believing in giant lapses and a cover-up on the part of the Obama administration, former CIA deputy director Michael Morell does his best to debunk some of the myths. For instance:
Earlier last week a handful of number of news organizations, including Fox News, breathlessly reported that they had just gotten their hands on a Defense Intelligence Agency report—acquired through a FOIA request by Judicial Watch—that they say proves that the government knew very soon after the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12 that they had been planned ten or more days in advance. These news organizations suggest that this document puts the lie to what I and other current and former intelligence officials have been saying—that there was little planning before the attacks.

But the only thing that newly released document proves is that the people who trot out these reports do not understand the world of intelligence and do not take the time to ask the right people the right questions before publishing the “news.” The DIA report in question was an “Intelligence Information Report” or IIR. It is what we term “raw intelligence.” It was not the considered view of DIA analysts. Often from a single source, these bits of information represent one thread that some intelligence collector has picked up. The all source analysts in the Intelligence Community are charged with looking at that snippet of information and every other bit of available information from communications intercepts, human intelligence, open source material and much more to come up with an overall judgment.

Those all source analysts—without any input or pressure from above—looked at all the available information and determined that there was not a significant amount of planning prior to the attacks. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can look at the briefing slides produced by the National Counterterrorism Center (which is not part of CIA) and coordinated across the Intelligence Community. These slides were declassified over a year ago and were appended to the report on Benghazi produced by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee. In describing the attacks at the State Department facility, the slides say “attackers moving in multiple directions,” “attackers do not appear well coordinated” and “no organized effort to breach every building.” Not the words one would expect to see associated with an attack planned well in advance.

But some people will never believe an analysis of all the available information if there's one person out there saying what they want to hear. Especially not if it gives them an avenue for attacking Hillary Clinton.
goslings  7
Check out OceanDiver's post.

Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs, Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) normally appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Saturday Spotlight can be seen here. More than 22,650 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

snake in woods
The Daily Bucket - Suspect Apprehended and Brought to Justice—by foresterbob: "I have mentioned in previous conversations that a large snake has been living in my basement. The snake itself had eluded observation, but there were plenty of pieces of shed skins to convince me that my basement had a nonpaying guest. All this would be fine, except that said guest is not potty trained, and sometimes the basement reeks of snake excrement. The way my basement is constructed—concrete blocks with brick veneer—led me to believe that the snake was finding its way in and out of the house with relative ease. Inside, the blocks are not sealed at the top. By burrowing underneath from outside the house, the interloper could, um, snake its way through the blocks and hang out in the safety of the basement whenever it chose to. [...] Suspect was charged with trespassing, failure to pay rent, littering, and disorderly conduct. Efforts to handcuff suspect were unsuccessful, as was the effort to fingerprint. Suspect excercised fifth amendment right to remain silent during the entire proceeding. [...] After a brief trial, suspect was found Probably Guilty, and was sentenced to freedom at a local park. Suspect was transported approximately one mile, to the opposite side of an Interstate highway and a busy city street, and released in a wooded area. Mug shots were taken. Suspect elected not to appeal, and disappeared into the woods."

So You Want To Control Global Population? Easy.—by LaFeminista: "A two step program: 1] Educate women. 2] Easy access to multiple forms of free birth control. In every country, even regions of rapidly expanding population [eg India] where women are educated and there are generally high literacy [eg Kerela] rates there are fewer children. In Kerela there is an average of 1.5 children per family. I don't believe you need laws and draconian programs. [...] It is obvious and I am not alone in this: Surveys in developing countries indicate that most women of childbearing age would like to increase the spacing between their pregnancies or stop having children altogether. There are 300 million couples in the developing world who do not want any more children but who are not using any effective means of limiting family size. [...] If women who do not want to become pregnant are empowered to exercise that choice, population growth rates in the developing world fall by about 30%. [...] By making family planning services universally available, providing financial incentives to allow women to realize their goal of a smaller family, and improving prenatal and infant health care and the education of women, the world's population can be stabilized."

You can find more excerpts from green diaries below the orange spill.

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Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:15 PM PDT

Cartoon: Ireland's rainbow

by laloalcaraz

Reposted from Comics by Barbara Morrill
Ireland's Same Sex Marriage vote this weekend was historic and happy news for gays & lesbians on the Emerald Isle. I believe the Supreme Court will decide this summer that a little rainbow in our lives is not a threat to anyone's marriage in the USA.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush listens to a question during an appearance at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in Chicago, Illinois, February 18, 2015.   REUTERS/Jim Young  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4Q53V
Jeb Bush has tried valiantly to shake off his disastrous Iraq statements, including a lame attempt at deflection, sort of a "well, sure my brother screwed up, but it's so much worse under Obama because ISIS!" ISIS, he says, "didn't exist when my brother was president. Al Qaeda in Iraq was wiped out when my brother was president." Our own Jon Perr debunked that statement last week. Now Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post fact-checker, has followed suit, giving Bush four out of four Pinocchios, meaning there isn't even any room for debate how much he's lying about this.
The National Counterterrorism Center puts it this way: "Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and more recently the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), was established in April 2004 by long-time Sunni extremist Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi." The NCTC notes that Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in 2006 and afterwards his successor announced the formation of the Islamic State.

As analyst Brian Fishman noted in a 2006 report for the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, the announcement was made on Oct. 15, 2006—more than two years before Bush left office. (This paper, interestingly, was one of the reports that Osama bin Laden had on his bookshelf when he was killed by U.S. forces in 2011.)

"Unfortunately, almost everyone in Washington, including those of us that understood and emphasized the political shifts it had made, continued to use 'al-Qaeda in Iraq' as shorthand for the group because it was widely understood nomenclature among policymakers," said Fishman, who is now with the New America Foundation. "This was a mistake; I certainly regret conceding to convenience at the time."

Fishman added that although the term "ISIS" was not used until 2013, after the group captured territory in Syria, "the Islamic State of Iraq, declared in 2006, was intended to be a sprawling entity like the one we see today. That was its political purpose and ambition. Todays ISIS is the same organization, only stronger."

Oh, and that part about Al Qaeda being "wiped out" by his brother. Nope. Fishman points out that, "despite its setbacks, the ISI was one of the strongest terrorist groups in the world even at its weakest point after the Surge." At least that part of the the Iraq War history of his brother isn't going to be so easy to revise, not like the whole "mistakes were made," "faulty intelligence" canard.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum addresses his Michigan primary night rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex W. Tillerson addresses reporters at a news conference at the conclusion of the Exxon Mobil Shareholders Meeting in Dallas, Texas May 27, 2009.  REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES BUSINESS) - RTXOO0T
'Gentlemen: To evil.'
ExxonMobil has a plan to deal with climate change. The plan is they're going to do whatever they want, and it sucks to be you.
The CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies downplayed the effects of climate change at his company’s annual meeting Wednesday, telling shareholders his firm hadn’t invested in renewable energy because “We choose not to lose money on purpose.”

“Mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity,” ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson told the meeting, pointing to technologies that can combat inclement weather “that may or may not be induced by climate change.”

Until Rex Tillerson sees a gadget that can prevent climate change by burning copious amounts of Exxon-provided oil, he ain't interested. It's up to the kids to adapt to not having a Florida, via technology and whatnot.

I do enjoy Exxon's continued commitment to being flat-out cartoon-villain evil. So much more refreshing than other energy companies' sporadic ad campaigns promising to maybe someday give a damn.

Carly Fiorina, Republican presidential candidate, looks on at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 23, 2015.   REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTX1E82L
Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina hoped to get some attention for her Republican presidential candidacy, which currently has her polling in the low single digits, by taking her relentless attacks on Hillary Clinton to a press conference outside a hotel where Clinton was holding an event. But it seems like Fiorina may not have been ready for the press to notice the nakedness of this particular campaign stunt and the general all-Clinton-all-the-time nature of her campaign:
Ms. Fiorina insisted she had planned her trip here “many, many weeks ago, so perhaps she’s following me.” She said she had lots more to offer than merely Clinton-bashing: “Anyone who has sat through these avails over many months knows that I will take any question on any subject, and the vast majority of my speeches in front of anyone are about a host of issues.”

About 20 reporters and photographers circled her near a side entrance to the Marriott, leaning in to hear Ms. Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive who spoke softly, at times barely audible.

One reporter asked if she was here because of Mrs. Clinton.

“I planned to be here weeks and weeks ago!” she said. “I have a luncheon to go to, with the G.O.P. here.”

At this hotel?

“This trip has been on my itinerary for a very long time,” she said.

Yes, here I am, a Very Important Presidential Candidate, standing at the side entrance of a Marriott like I'd planned all along, to show that my campaign has substance beyond attacks on the Democrat who is, in a total coincidence, the only other woman in the race.

On the plus side for Fiorina, getting the attention of 20 reporters and photographers is probably a step up on quantity, even if the quality she offered them was low.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) formally announces his candidacy for president during an event in Louisville, Kentucky, April 7, 2015. Earlier on Tuesday, Paul initially announced his candidacy in a post on his website. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTR4WET7
It looks like Rand Paul's campaign advisers have requested he dumb it down a few more notches, lest he be considered too highbrow for the sort of raving lunatics that tend to turn out to vote in the first Republican primaries. He'll be attaching himself to the edjucation is skary movement.
“I refuse to accept that our nation’s colleges will always remain bastions of left-wing extremism. I refuse to allow leftists to brainwash an entire generation of American students into hating our country and our free-market system,” Mr. Paul wrote in an email blasted out Tuesday on behalf of the Arlington-based Leadership Institute.

Mr. Paul goes on to write that he’s joining with the group “to help liberate our nation’s colleges and universities from the clutches of the left.”

Ah, the secret liberal conspiracy to be liberal at America's youth, teaching them arts and sciences and indoctrinating their young minds with all the secret liberalism that Maxwell's equations or a nuanced understanding of mitosis can impart. The notion that the nation's colleges and universities have been working toward imposing a sort of educational sharia has been in vogue since long before the current generation of Fox News watchers learned that "sharia" was a word, regularly propped up by one ideological nutcase or another who has convinced themselves that their own presented theories on why people with black skin are inferior or why James Madison would have thought such-and-such or why climate change is shut up have not been more widely accepted not because their work was shoddy or their "proofs" tendentious but because of a global liberal science-knowing conspiracy against them, personally, to keep these great conservative truths from being more widely known.

It plays well to the base, though. The idea that book-learners in their ivory towers think they're better than you, or even just the notion that someone who has devoted their entire adult lives to the particulars of one niche of human understanding probably knows more about that topic than you and your Innate Conservative Grasp of All Things can muster, grates horribly on a certain segment of the population. Anti-intellectualism is alive and very, very well in America today, and apparently Rand Paul has appointed himself its champion.

  • Today's comic by Matt Bors is Reasonable measures:
    Cartoon by Matt Bors --  Reasonable measures
  • Mexican drug cartel builds its own surveillance-cam network:
    Authorities in northeastern Mexico’s Tamaulipas state recently dismantled an internet-operated video surveillance network used by a criminal group to monitor both government security forces and civilian life. The CCTV network comprised 39 cameras, according to El Universal, and is an unprecedented feat of counter-surveillance in an ongoing technological arms race between Mexican and American authorities and cartels.

    The cameras could each be controlled wirelessly via modem, video card and data encoder, and power feeder, El Universal reports, and were scattered across Reynosa, a border town and coveted entry point into the United States for crime syndicates trafficking in narcotics and humans.

  • Germany evacuates 20,000 from Cologne to dig up unexploded WWII bomb:
    The unexploded US-made device, which lay five metres (16 feet) underground and was discovered Friday, was set to be defused later in the day, and river traffic on the nearby Rhine was to be halted during the operation, city officials said.

    Residents living within a kilometre (about half a mile) of the site have been told to leave their homes, among them around 1,100 people from a large old people's and care home, they said.

  • Senators introduce anti-microbead bill:
    Senate Democrats have introduced legislation to protect the Great Lakes from the small plastic microbeads used in body washes, soaps and other personal care products to exfoliate the skin.

    Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) unveiled the Microbeads Free Waters Act of 2015 on Tuesday, a bill to phase out the manufacturing and sale of microbeads found in household products.

    Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) introduced the bill earlier this month in the House.

  • Merriam-Webster's adds "clickbait" and "WTF" and 1,700 other words to its new unbridged dictionary:
    WTF joins emoji, NSFW, net neutrality, clickbait, click fraud, photobomb and other words reflecting modern life among the latest entries in Merriam-Webster's unabridged dictionary. Some 1,700 words have been included, along with 3,200 new examples to add context.
  • These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook May 26:
    1 Percenter Spends $350,000 to Murder Endangered Rhino, by noweasels

    46 Degree Programs Eliminated Across UNC College System, by LamontCranston

    In Regards to Conservatives Fierce Defense of Child Rape, by SemDem

  • NRA magazine ads prey on fear:
    The results of an 18-month survey of advertisements in the National Rifle Association's (NRA) magazine, America's 1st Freedom, squared neatly with the gun group's own tendency to use to fear as a marketing tool.

    Media Matters reviewed advertisements that appeared in the NRA magazine from January 2014 through June 2015 and discovered that they appealed to a wide range of fears, including the threat of starvation due to food shortages, the dread of losing the ability to live independently because of declining health, the prospect of a terrorist attack, and the need to carry a collapsible assault weapon in a briefcase for self-protection.

    The ads tout a lamp commemorating the Confederacy, overpriced food for hoarding against disaster, supposedly precious stones from the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's and Walther pistol said to violate Newton's third law (for every action, there is a reaction).
  • On today's encore Kagro in the Morning show, our 5/29/14 episode. Greg Dworkin with more from Kinsley & why he's wrong. New EPA regs & likely fallout. Terry Lynn Land & McConnell are terrible. Cuomo as test case for pulling Hillary left? Gun news roundup. A little NatSec chat.

Banner Ad linked to Daily KosT-shirt store
U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch speaks as U.S. President Barack Obama (R) looks on, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington November 8, 2014. Obama on Saturday picked Brooklyn federal prosecutor Lynch to replace retiring Attorne
The White House is increasing pressure on the Senate to figure out how to save the Patriot Act before major provisions expire on Monday. That includes President Obama telling reporters that Congress needs to act to "keep the American people safe and secure." The White House's preferred option is the House-passed USA Freedom Act, which maintains the dragnet surveillance of phone metadata, but makes telecoms responsible for holding the date. That administration's push includes this bit of fearmongering from Attorney General Loretta Lynch:
AG Lynch: "Without action from the Senate, we will experience a serious lapse" in anti-terror surveillance
That's just a week after the Inspector General of the Justice Department—her shop—issued a report that states that FBI personnel were "unable to identify any major case developments that resulted from use of the records obtained through use of Section 215 orders." While they said there was some use in the dragnet surveillance in corroborating information they already had, there was no finding that the lapse of the bulk collection program the administration is trying to maintain would harm national security. That's in part because there are plenty of other tools the government can use to track actual terrorists.
It can use administrative subpoenas or grand jury subpoenas. It can use pen registers. It can use national security letters. It can use orders served under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. If Section 215 sunsets, it can use the provision that Section 215 amended, which will allow it to collect business records of hotels, motels, car and truck rental agencies, and storage rental facilities.
There are actually a few other things that IG report contained that Lynch should be paying more attention to. Like the fact that the FBI, which actually administers the program and makes the applications for collections to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on behalf of NSA and itself, "took seven years to obey a law intended to protect Americans' privacy" passed in 2005. Beginning no later than 2006, the FBI was supposed to be using "minimization procedures" to limit the amount of private information about Americans that it kept and disseminated. It didn't comply with that requirement until March of 2013. In the intervening seven years, it sent who knows how many collection applications to the FISC on behalf of itself and the NSA. It purposefully did not comply with the 2005 law because it unilaterally decided that their old requirements were sufficient.

This is a program overdue for reform and oversight. That's where the administration should be directing its energies, not to mention Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is clearly not going to get his way—Congress will simply just not reauthorize the program for any length of time. The confluence of the IG report on the program and the imminent expiration of it gives the reformers a very real opportunity to end this program.

Send this letter to Congress. Demand that Section 215 and other provisions expire once and for all.

U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listens as she sits with workers and management of Whitney Brothers children's toy and furniture factory during a round table while campaigning for the 2016 Democratic presidential
While the political press corps moans about how Hillary Clinton isn't taking their questions and isn't talking to regular people, Clinton is ... out talking to people, and actually incorporating their top issues and concerns into her campaign. She turned her attention to heroin addiction, for instance, after repeatedly hearing that it was a problem, and that's not the only issue for which this is true. Clinton is actively relaying what she hears back to her campaign headquarters for staff to study at the policy level, on a range of issues:
Bryce Smith, a 23-year-old owner of a bowling alley near Des Moines, told Mrs. Clinton that his biggest challenge in starting a business was his $40,000 in student loans affecting his access to credit. “I went for education in college so I could teach, but I fell in love with bowling,” Mr. Smith said. “So that’s my biggest thing, is the barrier of entry and financing.”

Mrs. Clinton lit up. “We all know about the student loan debt, but I’ve never heard anyone so persuasively link it to the slowdown in business start-ups,” she said. “You’ve given me an insight that nobody else has and I’m grateful to you,” she told Mr. Smith.

Mrs. Clinton told her campaign team that the separate advisers working on college affordability and small-business policies needed to more closely coordinate, thanks to Mr. Smith, now a minor celebrity who is seeking elected office in Iowa. Mrs. Clinton sent Mr. Smith and other round-table participants handwritten notes thanking them for their insight.

Gosh, it's almost like answering inane reporter questions about Benghazi and email or taking shouted-out questions at big cattle call events is not the only way to talk about policy, and that having in-depth conversations with people, taking notes, and doing some research into the issues they raise could be good politics and good policy.
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