Ben Carson likes to talk about strong borders. Although the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, which Ben Carson supported, began a cascade of effects that led a devastating civil war in Syria, Carson wants to turn back refugees from that war who are seeking help. Carson wants to change American law so that Syrian refugees can be turned back at the border.
Syrian refugees have been displaced by the Islamic State, but Carson says that they’re likely to engage in terrorist attacks on behalf of the Islamic State once they’re inside the United States. Actually, the number of Syrian refugees who have participated in terrorist attacks within the United States is ZERO.
Simple facts like that don’t matter for Ben Carson. He says, “the key thing is we have to secure all our borders—north, south, east and west.”
For the sake of argument, let’s accept Ben Carson’s suggestion that the borders of the United States are insecure, and that they all need to be strengthened. If that were the case, then we would be in desperate need of a President of the United States who understands U.S. borders.
Ben Carson is not qualified to be that leader. The Boston Globe points out that last night, in a post on Instagram and Twitter, Ben Carson showed a map of the United States with a couple of strange features:
1. In Ben Carson’s map, there is no Alaska or Hawaii. Apparently, Carson doesn’t particularly care about terrorists coming into those states and launching attacks there.
2. More significantly, Ben Carson draws a completely new map of the borders of the northeast United States. In Ben Carson’s map, the border between New York State and Connecticut is directly to the east of the Adirondack mountains. Carson’s map of the United States is completely missing one of our country’s border states, Vermont. Rhode Island has disappeared as well, being absorbed into Greater Connecticut, a new state that lies to the north of a vastly expanded Long Island Sound, which is now at least 300 miles wide from north to south. The borders of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are even further to the north in Carson’s map, claiming territory that had belonged to the maritime provinces of Canada, and blocking the flow of the St. Lawrence River into the ocean. Apparently, the St. Lawrence now flows into Hudson Bay.
This drawing of America’s borders reveals, as expert geographers would put it, that Ben Carson has no stinking idea of where the borders of the United States of America are. If Ben Carson can’t even locate America’s borders, how can he make them more secure? Would Carson send Homeland Security agents up to Quebec City to prevent refugees from entering our country?
Nobody with a high school education should draw a map of the United States like the one that Ben Carson scribbled together. Of course, this mistaken map is not just an isolated error. Ben Carson’s ignorance of basic geography is just one more manifestation of a more pervasive inability to master fundamental information about America’s borders. Carson seems completely unaware, for example, that net migration across the border between Mexico and the United States is zero. U.S. borders are not insecure.
This isn’t the first time that Ben Carson failed to understand the simple facts of American border security. Last year, Ben Carson was warning that unless flights from countries in west Africa were denied entry to the United States, our country would soon be dealing with an Ebola epidemic. He ranted on and on about a border security crisis that simply wasn’t real. There never was a significant threat of Ebola spreading across the United States as a result of lax border policy. The standard safeguards worked very well.
What Ben Carson has consistently demonstrated is that he is willing to exaggerate threats from foreigners in order to gain attention for himself. Carson exploits irrational voter fears to benefit his self-promotion. Such ignorant grandstanding won’t protect the United States. In fact, it will make our country more vulnerable to the dangers that our country actually needs to deal with.
Yesterday, I began a review of the state of the race for the Green Party’s presidential nomination. Jill Stein continues her slow but smooth pace as the frontrunner, while the other contenders, including a venomous virtual viper and a prophetess, announce and then do no actual campaigning.
Today, that review begins. Is anyone but Jill Stein actually campaigning to become the Green Party nominee?
We start today’s search with Bill Kreml, who, like Stein, has some experience in running for a grassroots political campaign. He first ran for national office in 1984, and did so again in 1992 and 2000.
“Please be good enough to enter our presidential campaign into your files, Kreml said to the FEC 14 days ago, in a handwritten note on a piece of paper that had Kreml’s old address in Maryland scratched out, with the new address in South Carolina written above it in ink.
Kreml’s campaign web site is skimpy, consisting only of a little bit of text, bragging of the Kreml’s academic experience, and a video in which Kreml criticizes the Green Party’s distruat of strong government, which he casts as a legacy of the activism of the 1960s. “I am all in favor of the kind of grassroots democracy that Greens are in favor of,” he says, “but that alone doesn’t do it, because you need to have something strong enough in the public sector that is strong enough to stand up to the banks and Wall Street and the oil companies and the arms dealers and the insurance companies and you know the long list as well as I do, and the fact of the matter is that there’s something kind of residual in the Green Party, something in the gene pool there that says, ‘Well, we really don’t want a strong government.’ Really? So you want a weak government? Well, you have a weak government. Just read today’s paper.”
Will Kreml be able to draft an alternative vision for the Green Party, and make some national policy proposals? We’ll check back soon and see.
Justin Murphy of Indianapolis filed paperwork as a candidate for the Green Party presidential nomination seven months ago, but appears not to have been active as a candidate since. In May, Murphy received a notice from the FEC informing him that he would have to file paperwork to become a candidate again, as the name of campaign committee, “Broad ripple village” did not contain his individual name. Murphy appears not to have responded to the FEC.
Yesterday, I ended the review of Green Party presidential candidates with a description of Lesale Venomancer Deathbringer, a candidate whose very name reveals a not-so-serious run for office. I end today’s review with DJ Ultrapervert, who is running his campaign for the Green Party presidential nomination from Colorado Springs.
DJ Ultrapervert announces proudly that he is “One of nine most important cultural and political figures in human history”, and uses his Twitter account to share such important thoughts as: “Watch out for: boner on the dancefloor” and “I know that if i buy snacks at the market, then I will have a snacks breakfast the next day”. DJ Ultrapervert registered as a presidential candidate 6 days ago, but there have been no announcements about this campaign on the DJ’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or central web site. All we can see at these web sites are some images, not very artistically crafted, and not very provocative, even when they contain sexual content.
Unlike Justin Murphy, DJ Ultrapervert has not been contacted by the FEC with a request for a refiling of a statement of candidacy, because DJ Ultrapervert includes his name in the title of his official campaign committee: DJ ULTRAPERVERT for President 2016
Things are getting spiritual in the Republican presidential primary. Over the weekend, Donald Trump suggested that the U.S. federal government needs to get into the business of choosing which religions citizens can practice, and which ones will be outlawed. Trump said that many mosques should be forced to close in the United States, and that those that remain open should be subjected to intense government surveillance. Trump came to this decision in spite of the fact that no significant terrorist event has ever been organized in an American mosque.
On Monday, Trump took the spiritual pitch of his presidential campaign to another level last night, however, when he declared that he has a special psychic ability to know when a terrorist attack is going to take place. “I predicted terrorism because I can feel it… I can feel it like I feel a good location … I really believe I have an instinct for this kind of thing.” Donald Trump did not predict the terrorist attack in Paris last week, but as is the case with many practitioners of divination, Trump’s followers were not dissuaded by the gap between reality and their leader’s boasts.
In an Irregular Times exclusive, we have learned that the fervent faith of Donald Trump’s ability to transcend the truth is not just a manifestation of political enthusiasm. It’s part of a full-fledged religious movement.
45 feet below the corner of Broad and Beaver streets, acolytes enter the Temple of Trump, an underground chamber devoted to Trump worship. The room is a modified sewer junction, refinished in white marble, though the faithful insist that it once was a secret bank vault.
Before entering the Temple, worshippers must pass underneath a fan that blows their hair all to one side. Wearing crimson robes and putting on baseball caps that read, “Make America Great Again”, they form a ring, and begin their chant: “Yuge! Yuge! Yuge!”
After a few minutes, the dark ceremony begins. A Temple Elder emerges from the shadows to walk around the ring, raising his hands above his head in random, jerking motions, until, in one brief movement, he plucks the cap from one of the acolytes, and shouts “You’re fired!”
The unlucky person who now is missing a cap becomes the ritual scapegoat for the night. The ring of Trumpists turns on this person, who is pronounced “Mexican”, and is placed in an iron cage known as the “Detention Facility”. The remaining acolytes divide the possessions of the outcast amongst themselves, and then chase the “Mexican” through the tunnels under Manhattan until he or she is completely lost. They call this “Securing The Borders”. With the sacrifice, the group makes a donation to a Super PAC supporting Trump’s presidential campaign, then retires to a phone bank to make angry calls to cable TV news networks while eating bon bons.
Rumor has it that Trumpist temples are spreading rapidly across America, meeting in oak groves, American Legion halls, and dollar stores after business hours.
As you’re probably aware, Republican Party governors across the United States are declaring that they don’t want any Syrian refugees coming into their states because there might be a secret terrorist sneaking in among them, posing as a refugee.
It’s tempting to try to find empirical evidence to the contrary, to consult profiles of refugees to demonstrate their worthiness, or to point out that it seems most of the attackers came from within Europe.
But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’ll agree with the Republican governors on one point: it’s possible that terrorists might sneak into the country posing as refugees. They might also sneak across the border. They might also immigrate as students. Terrorists might slip into the United States by filing for a green card as a family member of a citizen of resident. Sneaky bombers certainly could get into the USA by getting a work visa.
Most Americans, unlike these closed-minded Republican governors, welcome refugees despite some risks because we care about helping vulnerable, threatened people. We offer to help even though we could in a remotely likely sense be hurt. We are willing to take in victims of war not because it will benefit us without cost, but because we believe the benefit of a world in which people help one another is worth the cost.
That is what makes the decision to welcome refugees a moral one, and not strictly a strategic one. You’d think that a Republican Party that claims the territory of “moral values” and tries to push manger scenes onto government land would better understand. But to the contrary, the GOP seems more intent on turning away the likes of Mary and Joseph, erecting signs that declare “the least among us are not welcome here.”
“The campaign is going awesome,” Green Party candidate Jill Stein told Yes! magazine a few days ago. The truth is that Stein is not just struggling to be heard – she’s struggling to speak, with her campaign releasing statements that are few and far between, so that even her most fervent supporters have a difficult time promoting her campaign.
Jill Stein is the best known of the Green presidential candidates, given that she ran for President 4 years ago, but she isn’t the only one. The following are some other officially registered candidates for the Green Party’s presidential nomination:
Jacob Patrick Amoroso says that he’s running for President because “Jacob is an person like you. He was raised in California right in the central valley. He does what is best for the people of the United States of America.” I haven’t heard anything specific about what Jacob Amoroso has done that’s “best” for us, but I might be willing to listen, if Amoroso had anything more to say on his campaign web site, but there isn’t much else there, except that Amoroso “plans on helping California with the drought”… somehow… and that he wants to “prevent discrimination among the racial and sexual orientation”. He declared his candidacy back in August of 2015, and has neither raised nor spent any money.
Willita Bush declared an exploratory committee for a presidential candidacy with the Green Party back in January, and then again in March, but there hasn’t been much action from her since. She has, however, declared herself to be a prophetess, saying, “I exist to aid in the upliftment of souls; fighting injustice, disorder, dictatorship, & oppression.” Like Amoroso, she has neither raised nor spent any money on a presidential campaign.
Lesale Venomancer Deathbringer declared his candidacy for the Green Party presidential nomination back in September, and registered officially with the FEC. It’s not clear, however, that Mr. Deathbringer actually has the legal status required to serve in the Oval Office. That’s because Lesale Venomancer Deathbringer appears to be nothing more, or less, than a character in Defense of The Ancients, a modified version of World of Warcraft.
Deathbringer certainly has the most interesting biography of any presidential candidate. It reads, “In the Acid Jungles of Jidi Isle, poison runs in the veins and bubbles in the guts of every creature that scuttles, climbs or swoops between fluorescent vines dripping with caustic sap. Yet even in this toxic menagerie, Venomancer is acknowledged as the most venomous. Ages ago, an Herbalist named Lesale crossed the Bay of Fradj by coracle, searching for potent essences that might be extracted from bark and root, and found instead a nightmare transformation. Two leagues into Jidi’s jungle, Lesale encountered a reptile camouflaged as an epiphyte, which stung him as he mistakenly plucked it. In desperation, he used his partial knowledge of the jungle’s herbal bounty, mixing the venom of the (swiftly throttled) reptile with the nectar of an armored orchid, to compound an antidote. In the moments before a black paralysis claimed him completely, he injected himself by orchid-thorn, and instantly fell into a coma. Seventeen years later, something stirred in the spot where he had fallen, throwing off the years’ accumulation of humus: Venomancer. Lesale the Herbalist no longer–but Lesale the Deathbringer. His mind was all but erased, and his flesh had been consumed and replaced by a new type of matter–one fusing the venom of the reptile with the poisonous integument of the orchid. Jidi’s Acid Jungles knew a new master, one before whom even the most vicious predators soon learned to bow or burrow for their lives. The lurid isle proved too confining, and some human hunger deep in the heart of the Venomancer drove Lesale out in search of new poisons–and new deaths to bring.”
You would think that the people at the FEC might have suspected that this presidential candidacy isn’t genuine when Mr. Deathbringer listed his address as 200 Poison Nova Drive, Jidi Isle, AS 73556 and the address of his campaign committee as 360 Dire Ancient Way, The Dire Side Of The Map, FL 11111. Who knew that the dire side of the map is in Florida?
I can’t help but admire the chutzpah of someone who can run a campaign from a virtual world, all while being barely human and having to fight off trolls. So, for any of you who may be big fans of of the Deathbringer for President campaign, I’ve created a bumper sticker just for you.
There were a number of interesting ideas aired in the Democratic Presidential Debate last night (11/14/15), but to me the most interesting statement of the debate came from former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “We need to have a resolve that will bring the world together to root out the kind of radical jihadist ideology that motivates organizations like ISIS, a barbaric, ruthless, violent jihadist terrorist group.”
I can understand an effort to root out a barbaric, ruthless, violent jihadist terrorist group like ISIS. But how do you go about rooting out an ideology? To root something out is to dig all around it and only then yank it out, so as to be sure that one has removed it completely, eradicated it, removed all traces of it, ending the possibility that it will grow again from a remnant. How can the nations of the world possibly do that to a set of ideas? To root out an ideology, you must pull out not just the elements of the ideology itself, but of all the ideas, notions, values, preferences and beliefs that support such an ideology and prevent it from being pulled out.
What exactly will transpire if Hillary Clinton enacts an ideological root-out? Will screenwriters, authors, reporters and public intellectuals be brought before government officials to answer for utterances that contain or support radical jihadist ideas, and to identify others who have been promulgating such ideas? Will the First Amendment be cancelled? Will the nations of the world find all books and documents related to the kind of ideology that motivates ISIS, then burn them? Will INTERPOL monitor conversations over social media, in newspapers, and at street cafes and interrupt them when they begin to veer into the kind of ideology that motivates ISIS?
What precisely does Hillary Clinton really have in mind when she says she wants the world to be brought together to “root out” an entire ideology from the face of the planet? What is the policy to accomplish this? Or are Hillary Clinton’s words empty of any coherent, organized meaning… which is to say, ideology?
I will not help the terrorists’ recruitment pitch by waving my hands. I firmly exercise the right to choose where to focus my attention.
If we must focus on death, why don’t we focus on something within the realm of our control? Did you know that a recent study of 75 cities concluded that a 10-μg/m3 increase in springtime particulate air pollution leads to a 2.9% difference in mortality? Did you know that according to recently published epidemiological research of stillbirths in Ohio, the risk of fetal death in the third trimester of pregnancy increases by 42% in areas of high particulate air pollution? Did you know that you probably didn’t read about that cause of death in the newspapers, but you certainly will read all about some zany act in some place you have no power over for days on end? Did you know who chose which story to publish?
Don’t let violent terrorists and their media companions convert your public fear into their next sales pitch. Focus on the harm you have the power to abate.
“It is theorized that the coconut provides all of the required natural properties for survival.”
“It is theorized” is such a useful phrase. A theory is nothing more than a story, either validated by data… or not. I’m guessing that the makers of this cultured coconut milk are working on the not end of the spectrum. Why, their own in-house marketers could be the theorists. All they have to do is come up with a story, and whoosh! Bang! It’s a theory! Queen Elizabeth has developed a successful cold fusion prototype? It’s a theory! Smoking improves the thickness of the toenails? Certainly a hypothesis!
Clearly, further research is needed.
Shane Stone doesn’t go by his real name much any more. Instead, he promotes an alternative identity he calls Profit Mole. He’s gone so far into this role that he’s lost much of his ability to communicate in coherent sentences. “I tweet, sleep and breathe B2B Customer Acquisition strategy”, Shane says, speaking to anyone who will listen.
Imagine what it’s like to be around Shane, engaged in B2B customer acquisition strategy with every breath he takes, even in his sleep. Judging from his Twitter profile, he’s a new father. Will his baby ever discover any aspect of his father besides B2B customer acquisition? What is it like for his clients, when Shane tries to keep the B2B customer acquisition going during a diaper change? Does Shane simply not change the baby’s diapers, hoping for a B2B solution?
Shane isn’t alone in this problem. Social media reveal vast networks of marketing addicts, hooked on the promise of being always on, always hustling, never resting until they get their next hit: Sale.
Mike P. Weiss writes, with shaking hands, that, “Stories used to be told around campfires. Now we are telling stories 24/7.”
Gary Vaynerchuk tells his suppliers that, “Social marketing is now a 24/7 job.”
The Ketchum PR firm says, with more than a hint of desperation, “Marketing is not M-F 9-5 anymore. 24/7 has to be standard.”
Gianni CJ Valentino advises other addicts, “If you don’t want a 9-5, be prepared to hustle 24/7.”
24/7, apparently, is some kind of code in the marketing underground, used by addicts to indicate where they can get their next fix.
Identifying with the systems of marketing automation that they hope will deliver them the wealth they have long pursued, these addicts begin to look at themselves as similar to the machines that threaten to replace them, needing no rest, day after day, until their youth is spent, like meth heads, only with sagging eyes instead of oozing sores.
Please sponsor Shane, or one of our other compulsive professionals. Join our intervention network. With just a small donation, you can help them get off the treadmill to nowhere. In exchange for your help, you’ll receive a personal letter and a photograph of your recovering market addict. Don’t wait. Just $5 a month can get buy a market addict a walk down the street without a smartphone, or a novel to read that provides no insight whatsoever into the nature of leadership. Call now.
For decades now, nearly all federal campaign finance reports have been filed electronically so we can find out as soon as possible who’s been getting funded by whom. I say “nearly all” because there’s a lone holdout: the U.S. Senate. The United States Senate allows its members to file campaign finance reports on paper, which means that it takes months for staffers to type in all that data so that you and I can read it at the Federal Election Commission website. By the time we read about campaign contributions in a Senate race, chances are good the race will already be over, when we can’t change our votes. That’s just what some senators prefer.
For years now, the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act has been introduced to the Senate for consideration. It would end this antiquated practice and speed up campaign finance reporting for the Senate. But for years, a small cadre of senators has blocked the action by refusing to sign their names on in support. Every year, as a result, the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act has died.
We’re in the 2016 presidential campaign season now, and a good share of the candidates have served in the U.S. Senate. What is their record of support for the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act? Congressional database reports for this bill in the 110th, 111th, 112th, 113th and current 114th Congresses tell the tale. Candidates’ records are shared below for the time they were in office in the U.S. Senate.
Q: Did 2016 Presidential Candidates Cosponsor the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act?
Hillary Clinton (D): YES (110)
Ted Cruz (R): NO (113), NO (114)
Lindsey Graham (R): YES (110), YES (111), YES (112), YES (113), NO (114)
Rand Paul (R): NO (112), NO (113), NO (114)
Marco Rubio (R): NO (112), NO (113), NO (114)
Bernie Sanders (I): YES (110), NO (111), NO (112), YES (113), YES (114)