New Yorkers: 1, Motherfrackers: 0.

New Yorkers: 1, Motherfrackers: 0.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of uncertainty over the disputed method of natural gas extraction.

You’re welcome, New York! I don’t like to toot my own horn or anything, but it’s pretty clear the good governor really took to heart the letter I wrote him in July. I kid, I kid. He doesn’t give a flying fuck what I think. Hell, I didn’t even vote for the guy. And therein lies a lesson.

As New Yorkers may remember, Andrew Cuomo, the incumbent Democratic governor, faced a Democratic primary challenger on September 9: Zephyr Teachout. While it was universally acknowledged that she had no chance of actually winning, she put up fight with the backing of environmentalists (and other lefties who see Cuomo for the corrupt, conservative opportunist he is). While Cuomo continued to drag his feet and waffle on deciding the fracking issue, Teachout flat-out stated that she would ban it.

She had me at hello.

And oh, how I heard that I’d be wasting my vote, and/or to not even bother voting in the New York primary because after all, Cuomo was a shoo-in. And that was just from people who had heard of Teachout. More often the conversation started and ended with who?

Nevertheless, this upstart with a pittance of a budget went up against a Democratic icon with a massive war chest and the backing of a well-oiled party machine—and she came away with 33% of the primary vote. Not enough for a win, of course. But Cuomo is a scion of Democratic politics who harbors national ambitions, and, well, that certainly does not bode well for him. While he may not give a shit about me, or about New York’s ground water, he sure as hell gives a shit about that.

Environmentalists are fawning all over Cuomo:

Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said Mr. Cuomo “set himself apart as a national political leader who stands up for people” over the energy industry.

But tonight I’ll be toasting Zephyr Teachout, and those of us who showed up on September 9 to vote for her. Especially in primaries, it doesn’t take a “win” to win.

By the way, if you want to actually waste your vote, just keep right on voting for the “lesser of two evils.” They’re counting on you.

Recent reads.

library417 Disgraceful Facts Buried In The Senate’s 600 Page Torture Report. Volsky, I., Think Progress (Dec. 2014). [Perhaps the most disgraceful of which is that—like NSA surveillance—the torture program did not stop a single terrorist attack. -Ed.]

Obama says CIA torture report exposed ‘brutal activity,’ won’t criticize Bush administration. Garcia, A., Raw Story (Dec. 2014). (“mistakes were made.”) [By war criminals. -Ed.]

Instead of prosecuting torturers, Obama prosecuted the guy who revealed the program. Lee, T.B., Vox (Dec. 2014).

Let’s not kid ourselves: Most Americans are fine with torture, even when you call it “torture”. Ingraham, C., The Washington Post (Dec. 2014).

Inconsistencies in rape victims’ statements about the trauma are understandable. Tetlow, T., The Times-Picayune of Greater New Orleans (Dec. 2014). (“Carefully trained officers recognize these symptoms as evidence of trauma. Most confuse it with lying.”)

The backlash to Rolling Stone’s story about rape culture at UVa. Reed, K., reedkath (Dec. 2014).

A Texas Grand Jury Recently Cleared 2 White Cops Who Beat a Black Woman in Jail. Brodey, S., Mother Jones (Dec. 2014).

Black Trans Woman Killed While Pounding on Door for Help. King, J., For Harriet via Colorlines (Dec. 2014). (“Anti-Violence Project issued a statement bringing attention to a rash of recent murders of transgender women of color…the organization has “documented 18 anti-LGBTQ homicides last year. Of those homicide victims, almost 90 [percent] were people of color, almost three-quarters (72 [percent]) of homicide victims were transgender women, and more than two-thirds (67 [percent]) of homicide victims were transgender women of color.”) [Fucking hell. -Ed.]

The Global Rich Are a Tribe with Their Own Folkways, Values & Mythology. Those Values Are “Pathological.” Publius, G., Down With Tyranny! (Dec. 2014).

Kinky*Cool. “Fucking the patriarchy with a rainbow strap-on.” [Rainbow strap-on added to shopping list: CHECK. -Ed.]

The Feminist Killjoy Gift Guide. The Belle Jar (Dec. 2014). [Needz moar rainbow strap-ons. -Ed.]

Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People Over Ferguson. Spectra, The Huffington Post (Dec. 2014).

A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States. Deutsch, B., Everyday Feminism (Oct. 2014). (Comic.)

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Some Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King for the Quotes collection. D00d is as relevant now as ever.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.

We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

See also: Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did. HamdenRice, Daily Kos (Aug. 2011).

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent reading.

library4
There’s Been HOW Many Pipeline Spills in Alberta in The Last Four Months?? Gwennedd, Daily Kos (Nov. 2014). (“Our main media, CBC, does not provide any coverage of the many, many spills and gas releases that happen every month, nor the efforts to clean up the messes. They’re simply not considered news.”)

Darren Wilson Breaks His Silence: I’m Sorry, And I Would Shoot Michael Brown Again. Badash, D., The New Civil Rights Movement (Nov. 2014). [#sorrynotsorry -Ed.]

Near-collisions between drones, airliners surge, new FAA reports show. Whitlock, C., The Washington Post (Nov. 2014).

Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid: Violence works. Nonviolence does too. Coates, T.N., The Atlantic (Nov. 2014).

Do not judge a person, until you know their story. oldnerdybasterd, The Meta Picture (Nov. 2013).

The Feminist Vampire Movie That Teaches ‘Bad Men’ a Gory Lesson. Barcella, L., Jezebel (Nov. 2014).

The Debunking Handbook. John Cook, J. and Lewandowsky, S., Skeptical Science (Jan. 2012). (pdf)

‘I can’t think of a time when it was worse’: US abortion doctors speak out. McVeigh, K., The Guardian (Nov. 2014).

Women find their voice in Ferguson protest movement. Pearce, M., Los Angeles Times (Nov. 2014).

I Belong to Me: Learning Agency & Consent Outside Christianity. Kelly, D., Patheos (Nov. 2014).

Everything We Know So Far About The Oil Rig Explosion In The Gulf Of Mexico. Atkin, E., Think Progress (Nov. 2014).

Violence isn’t the answer, unless I’m asking the question. Cromwell, I., Crommunist (Nov. 2014).

Man stabbed 9 times after asking catcaller to stop harassing his girlfriend. Kutner, J., Salon (Nov. 2014).

Battered Victim Marissa Alexander Back In Jail On Plea Bargain – Florida Injustice Wins Again. Salzillo, L., Daily Kos (Nov. 2014).

No One Wanted to Talk About Bill Cosby’s Alleged Crimes Because He Made White America Feel Good About Race. Traister, R., New Republic (Nov. 2014).

Bad Teeth, Bad People: Another Way Privileged America Shames The Poor. Parker, E., If You Only News (Nov. 2014).

5 Thanksgiving Disasters You’re Probably Not Prepared For. Cheese, J., Cracked (Nov. 2011).

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent readz.

library4The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare. Taibbi, M., Rolling Stone (Nov. 2014). [Important reading, especially for anyone who mistakenly believes the U.S. is a democracy operating under the rule of law. -Ed.]

Top 10 Jesus Pranks. JUST FOR LAUGHS GAGS via youtube. [h/t SJ] [OMFG LOL. -Ed.]

Forget the 1%. It is the 0.01% who are really getting ahead in America. The Economist (Nov. 2014). (“Rising wealth inequality could presage the return of an 18th century inheritance society, in which marrying an heir is a surer route to riches than starting a company.”)

Nigel Farage’s new friend in Europe: ‘When women say no, they don’t always mean it’. Graham-Harrison, E., The Guardian (Nov. 2014). [I swear this article reads like an Onion satire, and this Janusz Korwin-Mikke d00d comes off like a comic book supervillain—and yet people vote for him. He says there is no proof Hitler knew about the Holocaust, and that Mussolini was trying to protect Jews; also FYI “the attitudes of men are passed to women by way of the semen which penetrates the tissue”; and he wants to convert part of the EU headquarters into a giant brothel. WHAT. He might actually be onto something legit about abolishing democracy, though, since it gives power to people like him. -Ed.]

Life Size Tyrannosaurus SkeletonHammacher Schlemmer (Nov. 2014). [Grab this year’s hottest holiday gift for each of your friends and family for the low, low price of $100,000! Treat yourself to one, too. -Ed.]

trex
CHAPPIE – Official Movie Trailer. Sony Pictures Entertainment via youtube (in theaters March 2015). [OMG OMG OMG I LOOOOOVED Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 and Elysium—plus there is no such thing as “enough Sharlto Copley.” -Ed.]

Even if you believe women “should” like cat-calling, that’s no excuse to do it. Marcotte, A., Raw Story (Nov 2014). (“My boyfriend doesn’t like eggs. My mom doesn’t like punk rock. These are things I like. Do I react to this difference of opinion by constantly shoving eggs in his face or blaring punk rock at her while saying, ‘You SHOULD like it and I’m going to KEEP DOING IT until you learn to like it!’ No, that would make me an asshole. So even if you think women should like being hollered at all fucking day—and again, I recommend having someone text you banalities 100 times a day to make sure you really think that it’s so wonderful getting all this attention before you open your fool mouth again on the subject—women told you they don’t like it. Persisting is clearly just an effort to hurt and punish them for not giving you what you want.”)

Separating Church and State Still an Issue in the US. Bader, E.J., Truthout (Nov. 2014). [h/t SJ] [Christ. This is just what we need: theocracies. Dear Lard, won’t someone think of the children? -Ed.]

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For the Quote collection, a new acquisition from the late, great Carl Sagan, whose birthday is today:

“If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote. As with the face on Mars and alien abductions, better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. And in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy.”
Please join the Palace’s Carl Sagan Day celebration in The Bar today, where we will be serving Pale Blue Martinis.
bluemartini-with-twist-david-thompsonPHOTO: Blue Martini with Twist, David Thompson.
The Carl Sagan Pale Blue Martini:
Grey Goose vodka, Blue Curacao, fresh lime juice, twist.
Cheers for a man who inspired so many people to pursue science, skepticism and critical thinking. Our pale blue dot is a better world for having had him on it.

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Reads.

library4

Federal appeals court rules in favor of gay marriage ban. Sewell, D., ABC-TV Eyewitness News (Nov. 2014).

Americans Are Working So Hard It’s Actually Killing People. Kaplan, E., The Nation (Oct. 2014). (“businesses are not hiring new workers; they’re just expecting the old workers to work more, and spitting them out after they get injured.”)

Despite Election Losses, Obama Still Sees Hope For Bipartisanship. McMorris-Santoro, E., BuzzFeed (Nov. 2014). (Dear Lard, we are soooo fucked. -Ed.)

Could a common blood pressure drug completely reverse diabetes? Medical News Today (Nov. 2014).

Why Feminism Needs Men. Solnit, R., The Nation (Nov. 2014).  [h/t SJ]

The 5 Most Important Things They Never Taught You in Sex Ed. Thomas, M., Cracked (Nov. 2014).

Bats Make Calls to Jam Rivals’ Sonar—First Time Ever Found. Arnold, C., National Geographic (Nov. 2014).

Adam Savage on #Gamergate and Harassment of Women Online. Watson, R., Skepchick (Nov. 2014). [with VIDEO.]

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

A November joke.

On the way home from his successful fund-raising meeting, a powerful US Senator drives his car into a tree and dies. His soul arrives at the Pearly Gates, and is met by St. Peter. “Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, we have a special protocol for a person of your stature, to make sure that you are given appropriate accommodations.“

“No problem, says the Senator. “Just let me in and we’ll work it out.”

“Actually,” St. Pete says, “our process requires that you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Not necessary. No need to waste my time. I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the Senator.

“I’m sorry, but those are our rules, and there can be no exception,” says St. Peter, who escorts the Senator to the elevator and hits the “Down” button.

The Senator gets anxious as the elevator wooshes waaaay dooooown.

The elevator stops abruptly, the doors open, and the Senator steps out into the middle of a lush resort. The sun is shining, there’s a beautiful beach, tennis courts, golf courses, yoga studios. At the main lounge, he finds all of his old friends and colleagues who greet him enthusiastically—everyone as healthy and charming as the day he met them. Also present is the devil, who turns out to be a very friendly guy, and who welcomes the Senator warmly. The Senator passes the day with the lot of them, frolicking in the sun and surf, and in the evening he joins his companions in a gourmet dinner, followed by drinks and dancing.

Before he realizes it, the day has passed, and he finds himself in the elevator, going up, up, up. When it stops, the door opens, and St. Peter greets him, saying: “Now it’s time to visit heaven.” So the Senator passes the next 24 hours with a small group of contented souls, going from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing his favorite Beatles’ songs.

He has a good enough time, which passes quickly, and before he realizes it, another day has gone by, and St. Peter returns.

“Well, then, Senator you’ve now spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Choose your eternity.”

The Senator thinks for a minute, then answers: “Well, I never thought I would say this, but, although heaven has been delightful, I think I would rather be in hell.”

So St. Peter puts him in the elevator and he goes back down to hell.

Now, when the elevator opens, the Senator is in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage, reeking of the foulest odors. He sees all his friends, covered in shredded rags, scrounging in the muck for offal. The devil himself comes over to him, puts his arm around his shoulders, and says: “Welcome to eternity.”

“I don’t understand,” stammers the Senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a beautiful beach, and beautiful people, and great food, and fun and dancing. Now there’s just a horrid wasteland full of miserable, tortured souls. The devil smiles at him and says: “Yesterday we were campaigning. Today, you voted.”

[via Greanvillle Post]

‘Swut I been sayin.

Conservative Bruce Bartlett has a recent piece in the conservative magazine The American Conservative:

Obama Is a Republican
He’s the heir to Richard Nixon, not Saul Alinsky.

Longtime Loyal Readers™ will hardly be astounded by the headline, which at this point should be a self-evident fact. It’s the source that makes it worthy of attention. Bruce Bartlett served as a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and as a Treasury official under George H. W. Bush as a champion of “trickle-down economics“—or, as I like to call it “piss all over the 99% economics”—the dismal legacy of which is with us today in the form of record poverty, soaring inequality, rotting infrastructure and, not coincidentally, unprecedented power and profits for America’s Owners. For conservatives, of course, this is a right and just state of affairs. And Bruce Bartlett makes a pretty airtight case that Obama is one of his tribe.

I was going to quote Bartlett at some length here, but fuck it. You should just go read the whole thing. If you can stomach it.

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One more thing we feel we should note. We debuted this snazzy, slick, state-of-the-art graphic in July of 2011:

obamarepublicanFort the image accompanying the Bartlett article, The American Conservative has seen fit to create an obvious rip-off of our copyrighted intellectual property—and with no attribution! Worse, they apparently hired some hack who clearly knows nothing about snazzy, slick, state-of-the-art graphics to produce it:

obamaelephantThis is an outrage, people. Write your congresscritters today.

Conservatism kills.

A new video by some outfit called the Agenda Project Action Fund entitled Republican Cuts Kill is the kind of thing we’d like to see a lot more of. It takes the silly Ebola paranoia emanating from the right-wing cesspools of The Greatest Country EVAR and turns it on its head:

Of course as Loyal Readers™ well know, Republicans are hardly the entirety of the problem: conservative Democrats, including the Cutter-in-Chief, are equally worthy targets. Conservatism kills, regardless of who enacts conservative policies.

Relatedly:

ebolaGOP

“So far every case of Ebola in this country got it by helping people. So relax, Republicans, you’re in the clear.” -@TinaDupuy

I don’t know who this Tina Dupuy person is—but I like her style.

BREAKING: Influx of involuntary organ donors from Louisiana.

abattoir2Extraction teams standing by.

A piece by Alana Semuels and Maria L. La Ganga in the LA Times this weekend documents the coat hanger lobby’s template in Louisiana, the same state-level strategy it has been using to successfully shutter abortion clinics across the nation, most recently and devastatingly in Texas. While the article will likely offer nothing new to Loyal Readers™ here, it does offer up a fresh slate of involuntary organ donors, i.e. those would happily force others to donate lifesaving organs without their consent. Since they feel so very strongly about this principle, it is of course only right and fair that they live (or die) by it. Just think of all the lives we will be saving by extracting a kidney and maybe some skin grafts from each of these principled Americans:

  1. Charmaine Yoest, president, Americans United for Life
    Qualification: says of the successful state-level strategy of forced childbirth, “There wasn’t much opportunity on the federal level, so pro-life [sic] Americans said, ‘We are going to make a statement with the government that’s nearest and closest to us.'”
  2. Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, Republican.
    Qualification: “has been so consistent in his opposition to abortion that the state is celebrated as the most ‘pro-life’ in the country by Americans United for Life.”
  3. Bill Shanks, anti-abortion protester and member of fundamentalist Christian group Operation Save America.
    Qualification: “This is like a victory celebration. Last time we came here, there were 10 free-standing abortion clinics. One by one, they’ve crumbled.”
  4. Benjamin Clapper, executive director, Louisiana Right to Life Federation.
    Qualification: well, he is the executive director of the Louisiana Right to Life [sic] Federation…
  5. Gene Mills, Christian pastor and head of the Louisiana Family Misogyny Forum (founded by fellow involuntary organ donor Tony Perkins).
    Qualification: publishes antiabortion scorecards on Louisiana legislators, distributes them to churches and encourages pastors to unconstitutionally speak out about elected officials in violation of their tax-exempt status: “We want to let [pastors] know that it is not the government’s right to limit your free speech even when you stand on the pulpit.”
  6. Katrina Jackson, Louisiana State Representative, Democrat.
    Qualification: Sponsor of Louisiana’s TRAP law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals: “I look forward to the day abortion is not legal in this country.”
  7. Warniesha Berry, garden variety asshole.
    Qualification: “if you close them down and there is no possible way to get an abortion, you’re going to think twice about having unprotected sex.” Hahaha nope.

Everyone, and that includes our new involuntary organ donors from Louisiana, knows these things:

coathangerAll of those who find themselves today unwilling participants in our groundbreaking involuntary organ donation program are well aware of these facts: these are features, not bugs, in their ideology and the laws spawned from it. Unlike our donors, we take no pleasure in enslaving and violently harming people. We do, however, take some small measure of satisfaction when justice is served fairly and equally to all people. Pregnant or not.

Welcome to the Abattoir, shitweasels.

Can liberalism be saved from Sam Harris?

Ooh, look, everybody. It’s Sam Harris saying some shit with no idea what he’s talking about. (Again.) In a post on his blog entitled Can Liberalism Be Saved From Itself? written in response to some altercation with Ben Affleck on the insufferable Bill Maher’s show, Harris is as determined as ever to blame the supposedly unique evils of Islam for jihadist terrorism. As it turns out of course, there are people (not named Sam Harris) who actually know a great deal about Islamic radicalization and terrorism, including:
  • The U.S. Defense Science Board Task Force;
  • MI5’s behavioral science unit;
  • forensic psychiatrist and former CIA officer Marc Sageman;
  • political scientist Robert Pape;
  • international relations scholar Rik Coolsaet;
  • Islamism expert Olivier Roy; and
  • anthropologist Scott Atran.

You see, these people—or experts, as the scientifically literate like to call them—have all “studied the lives and backgrounds of hundreds of gun-toting, bomb-throwing jihadists and they all agree that Islam isn’t to blame for the behaviour of such men.” (Yes, unfortunately, they’re almost exclusively men.)

I am not inclined to do a truly thorough fisking of Harris’s latest piece, partly because it is unworthy of my attention. Or anyone’s attention, really, because just like his fellow Horsedouche Richard Dawkins, he can never, ever be wrong about anything. More importantly, his writings are far too tedious—just achingly, agonizingly annoying—to render such an exercise any fun at all. Life is short, people. Today I have other priorities way more entertaining (like taking my recycling to the trash chute down the hall). But for my beloved Loyal Readers™, I will magnanimously take on one paragraph, as I think it reveals quite enough:

As I tried to make clear on Maher’s show, what we need is honest talk about the link between belief and behavior.

No, dear. What we need is honest and informed talk. What this means, of course, is that we can safely dismiss the opinions of people like Sam Harris who bravely ignore demonstrable facts and informed opinions. (Seriously, does this d00d get his information from frothing-at-the-mouth, wild-eyed “experts” on Fox News?)

And no one is suffering the consequences of what Muslim “extremists” believe more than other Muslims are.

This is true—a fact which should lead those concerned with the well-being of people in the Muslim world to investigate the actual causes of extremism, particularly the psychological, economic, cultural and structural factors that spawn it. To that end, in 2004 then-Shitweasel of Defense Donald Rumsfeld commissioned a report (pdf) from the Defense Science Board Task Force, which concluded (among other things):

American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies. (p. 40.)

The report goes on to describe a litany of intersectional factors that support that conclusion in great detail, some of which are specifically relevant to Harris’s claims here (see below), and all of which refute his entire thesis. Just read page 40 of the report to halfway down 41, and you too can have the same understanding that the George W. Bush-era U.S. Defense Department did. This alone will immediately make you more knowledgeable on the subject than Sam Harris, who goes on to say:

The civil war between Sunni and Shia, the murder of apostates, the oppression of women—these evils have nothing to do with U.S. bombs or Israeli settlements.

From the same report:

Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states. (p. 40) [emphasis added.]

NOTE: unlike most Americans, the majority of people of the Muslim world are under no illusions about exactly what the U.S. has been doing in the region—including supplying “friendly” tyrannical regimes with U.S. made weaponry. Unsurprisingly, the report continues:

American actions and the flow of events have elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims…What was a marginal network is now an Ummah-wide movement of fighting groups. (p. 40) [emphasis added.]

Harris continues:

Yes, the war in Iraq was a catastrophe—just as Affleck and Kristof suggest. But take a moment to appreciate how bleak it is to admit that the world would be better off if we had left Saddam Hussein in power.

Perhaps Sam Harris might take a moment to appreciate how bleak it is to admit that the world would be better off if the U.S. had not put and kept Saddam Hussein in power and armed his regime for so long? I’ma just state the bloody fucking obvious here: any thought that begins with “Yes, the war in Iraq was a catastrophe” followed by the conjunction “but” can be rejected out of hand. There is no silver lining there (unless you are an oil company). And especially not for Sam Harris to use the tragedy of possibly the most strategic military blunder the U.S. has ever made to slam the evil Muslims, as opposed to, oh I dunno, say, decades of U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Next, Harris says about our longtime ally Saddam Hussein:

Here was one of the most evil men who ever lived, holding an entire country hostage.

Yes. Over just ten years under Saddam’s regime:

  • Iraqi civilian death counts range from 250,000 to over one million, based on the most reliable estimates.
  • almost two million Iraqis—some 10% of the population—became refugees from their country (arguably the largest refugee crisis in Middle Eastern history).
  • five million were “internally displaced”—read: rendered homeless.
  • infrastructure and social fabric of Iraqi society was completely demolished, unleashing sectarian violence the likes of which Iraq had never before seen.
  • Unsurprisingly, chronic psychological trauma and post-traumatic disorders are widespread.

Oh wait, no. Those are the consequences of the U.S. invasion and occupation, which astute readers may recall were sold to the U.S. public with deliberate lies by the Bush administration, with an able assist from their servants in the media.

That Saddam sure was evil, though. The evilest, like, EVAR.

Finally, Harris says this:

And yet his tyranny was also preventing a religious war between Shia and Sunni, the massacre of Christians, and other sectarian horrors. To say that we should have left Saddam Hussein alone says some very depressing things about the Muslim world.

Why, it’s almost as it Harris has no concept of history, let alone the known causes of radicalization and terrorism—by Muslims or otherwise. He is also apparently under the bizarre impression that either (a) leaving Saddam Hussein “alone,” or (b) destroying the entire country and the lives of millions of innocent people, were the only two paths available to the richest, most militarily advanced country in the world—ever. That speaks for itself.

Glancing at my feeds, I see that others have already taken on more of his latest rant, in which they will have found many more examples of his historical and scientific ignorance, petty histrionics and easily demolished factual inaccuracies. (For a takedown of Ben Affleck’s part in this clusterfuck, and without endorsing all of it, see here.)

If I seem rather irritated by this story, well, that’s because I am. I am disinterested beyond words in any panel discussion about Islam and terrorism between three wealthy, Western, white d00ds—with zero connection to Muslim communities, with not even a minimal grasp of the extensive scholarship on the subject of radicalization and terrorism—having a dick-measuring contest on national TV. Anyone paying them the slightest bit of attention on this subject really ought to ask themselves: why? Now if you will excuse me, after the tedious simplicity of debunking Sam Harris’s pet hobbyhorse, I am excitedly looking forward to inspecting my bellybutton for lint.

I will leave you with one question: Can liberalism be saved from Sam Harris?

Hahaha! I kid, I kid! Thanks almost entirely to Democrats (e.g. the Clintons, Barack Obama, Steve Israel, Steny Hoyer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, etc.), the “liberal” media, and of course “liberals” like Sam Harris, liberalism in the U.S. has been dead for a very long time.

Have a nice day.

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* For those who may be interested in honest and informed talk on the subject of Islamic radicalization, jihadist movements and Muslim terrorism, please see: