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“Real men go to Tehran”

"Real men go to Tehran"

by digby

Those who followed the craziness of the lead up to the Iraq war will recall that among the neocons, it was an article of faith that Iraq was kind of a wimps choice for a big Middle East war that would Change Everything. Real men wanted to invade Iran.

Apparently, the dream has never died and a new generation of warmongers has taken up the cause, led by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas (the man who wrote the ridiculous letter slamming the Iran deal that embarrassed the entire GOP caucus who failed to read it before signing.)


Cotton‘s recent speech at the Council on Foreign Relations is of special significance here, as The Washington Post has reported that his address seemed “to preview the main elements of the administration’s plan” for dealing with Iran, starting with decertifying the JCPOA. Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, approvingly tweetedthat Cotton’s speech showed “clear understanding of the Iranian regime and flaws in the nuclear deal.”

If one reads the speech closely, it is hard to escape the conclusion that Cotton’s actual goal is not attaining a better nuclear deal, but rather confronting Iran militarily and achieving regime change. Several passages in the speech clearly telegraph this objective, as do Cotton’s prior statements. The senator also so grossly misrepresents the JCPOA that one has to question whether he is more interested in improving the agreement or destroying it. Finally, Cotton’s own arguments contradict the notion that he seeks a better deal and instead imply that military force or regime change are the only viable options. Put simply: Cotton’s advocacy for a better nuclear agreement is a smokescreen for his true objective, which is putting the United States and Iran back on a path towards war.

Overtly Pushing Regime Change

Cotton frames the speech as offering a prudent strategy for improving the deal and pushing back on Tehran’s aggressive regional behavior. Yet it is obvious at several points that regime change is the senator’s deeper goal. Early on in the address, Cotton argues, “The threat is not the nature of Iran’s weapons; it’s the nature of Iran’s regime.” This is an explicit declaration that preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is not the primary issue, and that the Iranian threat can only be fully addressed through regime change, not through technical arms control arrangements.

Cotton’s desire for regime change is further illustrated by his critique of the Obama administration’s decision to ease sanctions pressure in exchange for Iran limiting its nuclear program. As he puts it, 

the multilateral sanctions were the toughest sanctions Iran had ever faced, and they helped to drive the regime to its knees. One thing I learned in the Army is that when your opponent is on his knees, you drive him to the ground and choke him out. But President Obama extended a hand and helped the ayatollahs up.

The macabre wording clearly implies that Cotton believes the Obama administration should have “choked out” the Iranian regime by keeping the sanctions in place, rather than using the promise of sanctions relief as a carrot to negotiate limits to Iran’s nuclear program.

If you doubt this analysis of Cotton’s speech, you can take his own word for it. Earlier this year, he stated flatly, “The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran,” adding, “I don’t see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism.” read on ...

Nikki Haley is reportedly on board with this too, pushing Trump to keep his hawkish posture. They're calling her his "Iran whisperer." 

Trump wants a war, there's no doubt in my mind. The only question is where he's going to have it. The dynamic duo of Nikki and Tom seem to be pushing him to this one. It worked out so well the last time why not try it again?


The monopolyplace of ideas by @BloggersRUs

The monopolyplace of ideas

by Tom Sullivan

George Lakoff's simplifying assumption for explaining people's political persuasions was based on whether their "strict father" (conservative) or "nurturant parent" (liberal) cognitive frame for rearing children was more dominant. If you'd rather not wade through 450 pages to better understand the conservative model, Shel Siverstein, the children's book writer, reduced it to two lines in his song, "A Boy Named Sue":

"Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
That's even simpler.

Johnny Cash made it famous, singing, "It's the name that helped to make you strong." Not a good father. Not a good husband. Not a good citizen. Certainly not a good president. But strong, you know? Which is why ours is not about to be outgunned by any of his predecessors.

As for strategy, liberals give their conservative counterparts too much credit. It's simple, too. At the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Steve Bannon announced he is going to war against the Republican Party. (He'll settle scores with the left later.) The Hill reports Bannon boasted his former boss, the sitting president, will "'win with 400 electoral votes in 2020,' following reports that he had lost faith in the president's ability to complete his current term."

Which is to say, as does Hullabaloo alum David Atkins, that "it’s all bluster and no real strategy." At least for the front men. The billionaire backers and the remaining sane-ish Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have a semblance of strategy. But what passes for strategy is, as Silverstein described so colorfully, simply alpha-dog behavior behind a half Windsor knot.

Which is to say, there is often less than meets the eye to the chest-thumping and Value Voters Summits and competing in "the marketplace of ideas" rhetoric. What matters is not values or the Constitution. What matters is dominance, and whose dog and whose religion is in charge.

“We tried nice guys,” Value Voters Summit attendee Pat Flynn of Catholics for Freedom of Religion told the Guardian. “We had John McCain. Mitt Romney. They were nice, smiling at everybody, but they couldn’t beat out Hillary." What values voters value isn't values. It is to crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women. (2 Chronicles 17:35)

So there was, naturally, much bashing of “creepy little scribblers” from the press who expose such values to sunlight. (Like Adele Stan.) The press recording and accurately reporting what people do and say at such events is, of course, a longstanding gripe the right has against a free press.

“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should look into it,” said the man who pledged January 20th to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. (And who seems not to have read the 25th Amendment before Steve Bannon mentioned it sometime later.)

The Baltimore Sun, after quoting from the Constitution about the government not "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press," had a more to teach him Sunday about its origins:

How the heck did that get in there, you may ask? It turns out that even with these pesky limitations on federal power, some people at the time feared that the Constitution would give the national government too much authority. So these anti-federalists insisted on specific protections for the rights of individuals against possibly tyrannical government actions like cruel and unusual punishment, seizure of property and forced self-incrimination. (There’s another one in there about the right to keep and bear arms that we’re pretty sure you’re familiar with, Mr. President.)

But surely the author of that amendment didn’t intend it to protect the press from saying mean things about the president, did he? Um, actually, yeah. It turns out that’s exactly what James Madison thought the First Amendment means, as evidenced by his opposition to the Sedition Act that was passed during the John Adams administration to insulate the president and his allies from criticism.

It set out criminal penalties for those who published “any false, scandalous, and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with an intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either, or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States.” And to be clear, the Adamsites had a pretty broad definition of “false” to include anything they didn’t like; they thought everything was “fake news,” too.

Just in case in addition to the 25th Amendment the 45th president was unaware of the Sedition Act.

Silencing critics, if not successfully drowning them out, has been a long-term goal behind the growth of conservative media organs such as Bannon's Breitbart News. The Columbia Journalism Review considers what happens if the conservative project succeeds:

IT DOESN’T REQUIRE AN OVERLY ACTIVE IMAGINATION to picture the post-apocalyptic news landscape that so many conservatives seem to be working toward. Media fragmentation accelerates to warp speed. Agenda-driven publishers—be they professionally staffed websites or one-man YouTube channels—churn out narrowly tailored news for increasingly niche audiences. There’s still plenty of factual reporting to turn to when you want hurricane updates or celebrity news, and adversarial investigative journalism doesn’t quite go out of style. But it’s easier than ever for news consumers to ensconce themselves in hermetically sealed information bubbles and ignore revelations that challenge their worldviews. For most people, “news” ceases to function as a means of enlightenment, and becomes fodder for vitriolic political debates that play out endlessly on social media. (Like I said, it’s not hard to imagine.) Inevitably, the rich and powerful—those who can afford to buy and bankroll their own personal Pravdas—benefit most in this brave new world.
Reducing the press to rival outlets with the loudest, most dominant able to define reality to suit them is what the billionaire backers of conservative media are hoping for—not competing in a marketplace of ideas, but monopolizing it. It's not Orwell, but an oligarchs's version of Orwell. There is no principled allegiance to truth. There are no values to fight for. That's for the rubes. There's just dominating:
The concept of an obstinately objective press has been under assault in America for some time now, of course, and not just from the right. Critics like NYU’s Jay Rosen argue persuasively that news outlets do a disservice to their audiences when they coat their journalism in a sheen of artificial neutrality. Better to aim for transparency, the argument goes—to be honest about where you’re coming from, and to then strive for fairness and open-minded engagement. But there is a considerable difference between the proponents of this theory and those who cynically celebrate the “weaponization of information” and the rise of “alternative facts.”

The so-called marketplace of ideas only works when reality serves as a regulating force. For constructive debates to take place in a society like ours—and for national consensus to emerge on any given question—it’s essential we start from a broadly agreed-upon set of basic facts. Who will provide them if the mainstream media collapses into a melee of warring partisan publications?

Inevitably, the rich and powerful—those who can afford to buy and bankroll their own personal Pravdas. See above.

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.



Q: Where the fuck have these people been for the last few decades?

A: Running Republican political campaigns and hiring themselves out to major American teevee networks as political analysts.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Today on Goooood Morning Oceania!

Without constant firmware updates like these the reprogrammable meatbags of the Right would never be sure who they were supposed to be hating on any given day.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Sunday Morning Comin’ Down

Since the Sunday Shows were the same fawning, repetitive puppet theater of trite, played-out nonsense they have consistently been year after year after year --

-- I going to jump back in time.

To Friday.

For this absolutely textbook example of how completely the biggest and most corrosive lie of all -- the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It -- has polluted out nation's political groundwater.

(And, as I confirm anecdotally every single day out here in the middle of Middle America, when talking to any Republican or Conservative about anything remotely related to the subject of "political accountability" the interval between the first words out of your mouth and a mindless, fully-automated riposte of "Yeah, but really, it's Both Sides.  Yadda yadda what mainstream Murricans really want... Yadda yadda Coastal Elites..." can be measured in nanoseconds.)

Behold how utterly the Beltway Republican Alibi Machine has destroyed our ability to have an honest, grownup political conversation about anything with anyone on the Right...

Rush transcript thanks to the lovely and brilliant Blue Gal, with highlights added to attract your eye:

​CHRIS HAYES:  Tom Reed is a Republican from New York who voted for the House bill to replace Obamacare. How does stopping the payments make anyone's lives better when we know it will make people's lives worse?

REP TOM REED:  Well, first of all, these are illegal payments. It has been ruled by the courts they are illegal. They are not in the law, they are unauthorized by the executive branch and what the president has done is put the pressure on Congress to deal with this problem and I'm part of 46 members on both sides of the aisle that put together a proposal that will address this issue of the destabilizing of the marketplace.

HAYES:  So just to go back for a second. A federal judge had ruled that the -- the payments were not appropriated by Congress. But he stayed that pending appeal. So just to acknowledge, this is an affirmative decision by the president he is under no obligation to do this and he is choosing to do this and explicitly, he is taking people's health care ransom.

REED:  And these payments are not authorized and we have to go through congressional process to get it paid and the president is following the law and we're elected to fix this problem.

HAYES:  This is the thing that drives people crazy. It is 266 days -- there is nothing in a has passed --

REED:  Because we have been playing shirts and skins, us versus them.  Enough -- enough of -- that's why I'm in the Problem Solvers Saucus...

HAYES:  I know from your the Problem Solvers Caucus but people in Oregon that said their premium is going up and across the country --

REED: And I've been seeing those notices for years and the lack of choice across the country.  This is a problem.

HAYES:  I know that. But this is gone up more over and above, it is not just the same thing. Yesterday the premiums were one thing and today they are 15 or 20% higher. So you have a complaint from those people getting the bills in the mail where you guys, Republicans, in Congress-- which controls all three branches of government-- can't solve the problem without making them pay more money out of -- pocket.

REED:  This is not about Republicans, this is about Congress. Democrats and Republicans solving this problem. For the people we represent. --

HAYES:  Congressman, you control --

REED:  --appreciate the people in the Problem Solvers leading on this issue.

HAYES:  But you are not leading!

REED:  Yes, we are.

HAYES:  But I hate to tell you

REED:  -- it is 80% victory on both sides of the aisle to come forward to solve the health care problem...

HAYES:  If you were leading and "solving the problems" was happening we wouldn't be in a position where people are getting notices from insurance companies saying your premiums are going up.

REED:  And that is why the extremes on both sides and right and left putting us in this gridlock positions have to be broken. We are part of the effort to do this.

HAYES:  Congressman, the President of the United States took this action today. I feel like we're -- we're not acknowledging that. The president took an action today. It was an action he had not taken before and an action that he didn't have to take as evidenced by the fact that it took him 266 days to take it. So why is it the case that people should have worse health care or pay more money for it, because Congress, and the Republican Party in particular, which controls Congress, cannot fix their health care?

REED:  I think you nailed it right there. Congress needs to act to fix this problem. And that is where it rests and I fully take that -- that path in order to solve this -- it will take legislation working together to get things done.

HAYES:  So here is a proposal, a lot of people in your party do not like long legislation, one of the knocks on the ACA. You could find a three or four lines appropriation bill to appropriate the bill to the floor tomorrow. Can do you that?

REED:  That will not fix the whole problem. We could start with the marketplace --

HAYES:  But it is a problem!

REED:  Repeal the employer mandate up to 500 employees and pay for it in reimbursement that will drive health care costs down and you have a solution to build off of and find a foundation to grow.

HAYES:  I hope you have success in Congress forestalling the disaster and we have you back on the program. But..

REED:  -- I'm working for it.

HAYES:  But forgive me for sharing the skepticism of a lot of Americans.

REED:  I appreciate that. There are many that want to get this done for the American people.

HAYES:  We'll see. ...
It's as if they made a word cloud of every single shitty column David Brooks has written since 2005.

Creamed off the top five percent.

Liquefied it.

Added the extract of Matthew Dowd's pineal gland. Ron Founier's toe-jam and the ashes of David Broder.

And then passed it around the Beltway like a bottle of Boone's Farm at a drive-in movie.

And lest you think this is some recent Republican Trump-deflecting innovation, allow me to direct your attention to this amazing performance by Little Marco Rubio back in 2012 when he got locked into a recursive dumbass coding loop and literally could not stop replying to every fucking question with the same stupid answer (despite a million angry emails, the embed code Comedy Central uses still auto-starts all videos, which I hate, so here is a link to the video if you want to see it, and here is some of what I wrote about it back in 2012):
In case you missed Jon Stewart's award-verging "interview" with Marco Rubio, here is your rush transcript of Senator Rubio's answer to Jon Stewart every single time Mr. Stewart tried very respectfully to point out that Senator Rubio was, um, lying, and that the relentless, pathological obstructiveness of the Republican Party was unmatched by anything Democrats have done in modern history.
"Both sides..."

"Well, you know, both sides..."

"Both Democrats and Republicans..."

"That's just politics..."

"The Democrats left us no choice..."

"Both sides..."

"Democrats and Republicans..."

"Both sides..."

"Both Democrats and Republicans..."
And so forth, to the point of being comical...

To repeat the same point I have made thousands of times already, Both Siderism is the crutch that holds up the Right.

Knock it down, and the Right begins to collapse.  Let it stand and nothing will ever change except for the worse.

It's that simple.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


It’s Now RepubliCare by tristero

It's Now RepubliCare 

by tristero

Republicans now own healthcare in the US. Not Trump. Republicans.

And healthcare in the US is atrocious. So if Democrats are smart, they will call it RepubliCare and vigorously dispute any attempt to label the present catastrophe by the names for healthcare legislation tossed out during the previous administration.

Democrats need make sure that every single American knows that Republicans are now fully and entirely to blame for this country's awful health care system. And they should never let the American people forget it.


The evil clown thing

The evil clown thing

by digby

It just fits:


“Give me what I want or the planet gets it”

"Give me what I want or the planet gets it"

by digby

During the campaign, Josh Marshall astutely named the Trump phenomenon "dominance politics" which I think is a really accurate way of looking at what drives him and his supporters. He had some thoughts about the recent moves by Trump:

This morning President Trump tweeted out: “The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”

This is almost word for word the kind of chilling message a hostage taker sends. I’ve got your kids. You need to call me.

Why is Trump doing this? That’s a question I want to address on a broader canvas below. But why is he taking this particular step? Part of it is dominance. The desire to act, dominate, destroy. There’s the need to produce something for his most ardent supporters. But the biggest drive is what is contained in this tweet. To force Democrats hands by using Obamacare beneficiaries as hostages.

“Dems should call me to fix!”

Setting aside any moral calculus, this is folly in political terms. A lot of Senate Republicans get this. This hurts millions of Americans. But Trump is doing the damage in plain daylight. He’s shooting himself without even realizing it. If the ‘deal’ Trump wanted was one that helped people, Democrats might face a dilemma over whether to follow their political advantage or making good policy. (Actually they faced this question and chose policy – that was the bipartisan stabilization legislation that was being negotiated before it was torpedoed by Graham-Cassidy.) But there’s no conflict. For Democrats politics and policy line up entirely.

So again, why is Trump doing this?

The underlying driver here is Trump’s transactional, bullying way of approaching business which he brought from his predatory business to the White House. I don’t think you can understand what’s happening here except through that prism. For Trump, Democrats own Obamacare. It’s theirs. If he breaks it, it’s still theirs. It’s all on them. The “Obamacare” brand is the entirety of it. The more he breaks it, the more they need him to fix it. It’s like if the Democrats owned a building or a company. They more he damaged it, the more they’d need him to stop. This is a logic Trump understands. It’s his native environment. This is an organized crime mentality, one he used again and again in his private business. But that’s not how big social programs like this work.

Legislation and governance is fundamentally about people. That’s not just lofty rhetoric. The consequences of government play out in elections. Trump doesn’t get that. A lot of Republican Senators do.

But let’s draw back for a moment. President Trump signed his executive order on cross-state insurance policies yesterday. He just cut off CSR funding. He’s about the decertify the Iran nuclear deal. Each action is consistent with the campaign he ran in 2016. But they’re coming in a rush. Why now? Each move has some contingent logic. But I suspect the big driver is that rising pressures on the President are leading him to act out. And the acting out is escalating. As I wrote a year and a half ago, beyond the policy specifics and verbiage, Trump’s politics is about dominance and destruction. It’s a drive deep in him and one that he shares – albeit with very different life experiences – with his core political supporters. That’s the bond.

Most of us have seen this raft of articles talking about rising pressure in the White House, that the President is coming apart, angry, isolated. I’m skeptical of these reports, to the extent they suggest he’s about to blow apart or lose it entirely. But he does seem increasingly erratic, impulsive. He’s under pressure because he feels like he’s losing. For Trump these policies and policy moves are not just about politics. They are characterological. The more pressure rises, the more he feels besieged, the more he’ll take unilateral actions to assert himself, to balance himself.

I don't know how much he's cracking up but I suspect it may be more than Marshall thinks. Still the man has a sort of feral instinct taht got him where he is today and part of that is to throw tantrums until people give him what he wants. In a way, that's what he's doing now. He's saying, "if you call me a fucking moron and write stories about how I'm losing my mind, I'm going to fuck over Puerto Rico and deny health care to sick people. And if you don't get the message, I might just start a nuclear war. How do like them apples?"

He's holding the world hostage with this crazy, domineering behavior. So far, nobody seems to be willing or able to stop him.


Existential dread

Existential dread

by digby

The right finds this hilarious. They think the economy is "Trump strong" and well, that's it. 

I'm with Krugman. I find this era just terrifying. I hope we're both just being paranoid. 



10 Free iOS 11 UI Kits, Mockup Templates & Icon Sets

The launch of iOS 11 has resulted in a great selection of resources being designed and released.

These include iPhone X grids, full iOS 11 app designs, beautiful device mockups, app icons, and complete UI kits.

Many of these have been executed to an incredibly high standard and are available for various applications, including Sketch, Photoshop, Adobe XD, and Figma. As well as this, most resources are free for personal and commercial use, meaning you can download and play with as many of them as you like.

They are a perfect aid when building your next app, and also a valuable resource to learn the specifications and features of iOS 11 and the iPhone X.

In this collection we bring together ten of the most beautiful and free iOS 11 resources for you.

Dark & Light iPhone X Minimal

Dark Light iPhone X Minimal Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

These minimal iPhone X mockups for Adobe XD are perfect for showcasing your iOS 11 app designs. They come in both light and dark variants.

iOS 11 GUI

iOS 11 GUI Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

This iOS 11 GUI Template is incredibly useful as a resource and reference when designing an app for iPhone X and/or iOS 11. It has almost every element you could ever need and also comes in handy for copying across visual effects and spacing.

8 iOS 11 Icons Sketch Resource

8 iOS 11 Icons Sketch Resource Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

These 8 icons are a great starting point if you’re designing or redesigning an app icon for iOS 11. The style is much-refined, as are the icon graphics.

Food Dark iOS 11

Food Dark iOS 11 Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

This dark food app resource for iPhone is a stunning example of what can be achieved within iOS 11 guidelines. It has effectively carried through many elements you’ll find in default iOS apps like the app store.

iOS 11 Grid Template Sketch Resource

iOS 11 Grid Template Sketch Resource Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

This grid template is incredibly handy when starting out on a new iPhone app design project. The grids are clear and structured and save a great deal of time and energy when laying out a new user interface.

iPhone X Wireframe with iOS 11 Guides

iPhone X Wireframe with iOS 11 Guides Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

These blue iPhone X wireframe templates are beautifully put together and serve as the perfect base for building mid- to high- fidelity wireframes upon. They would also be great for printing and sketching low fidelity wireframes on.

If you’re looking for more free wireframe templates, take a look at this collection.

Verb App for iOS 11 Sketch Resource

Verb App for iOS 11 Sketch Resource Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

Another great example of an iOS 11 app design is this Verb app kit for Sketch. It’s beautifully presented and incorporates a wide variety of elements and styles from Apple’s user interface guidelines.

iPhone X Clay

iPhone X Clay Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

These clay iPhone X mockups offer a slightly different style to standard mockups. They strip away the intricacies of the actual iPhone design and work perfectly when combined with minimal user interface designs.

iOS 11 App Store Sketch Resource

iOS 11 App Store Sketch Resource Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

This recreation of the redesigned iOS 11 app store is a great resource when examining the new direction of iOS. It includes many of the new elements and styles including buttons, icons, rounded images, and larger input fields.

iPhone X 4K Mockups

iPhone X 4K Mockups Free iOS 11 UI Kits Mockups Icon Sets

This realistic iPhone X mockup, made in Cinema 4D, is extremely close to being mistaken for a photograph. The shadows and highlights are perfectly crafted and present a resource that would look exceptional on any landing page design.

You might also like:


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