Wounded Warrior “Walkers” Hitch Rides In Arkansas (UPDATE)

Update 1

Chris Senopole (L) and Adam Shatarsky (R) set out June 15 to walk across the country and raise $100,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. But they hitched rides in Arkansas, and now people are wondering whether they ever actually kept the pace they boasted as they crossed the country.

Chris Senopole and Adam Shatarsky are former Marines walking across America to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. This worthy endeavor drew enough attention that a crowd greeted them outside of Clarksville, Arkansas with a brass band on August 8th and accompanied them from the city limits to the courthouse for a ceremony that touched everyone present. But the next day, Senopole and Shatarsky were seen accepting a ride to Morrilton, 52 miles away, where sources say they accepted another ride to Little Rock. That’s 105 miles by car, not on foot. Worse, they had walked into Clarksville after being driven most of the way from Ozark to Coal Hill. In fact, it is not clear whether Senopole and Shatarsky walked enough of Arkansas to count the state as part of their walk.

Senopole and Shatarsky claim to have been marching since their start on the West Coast at a pace of 26 miles a day — not an impossible feat for two former Marines, but not an easy one either. Some of my contacts say they do not appear physically fit enough for that kind of sustained pace. Have they in fact walked the entire distance only to find the humidity too high in Arkansas, or have they actually been cheating all along?

The question would be less unsettling if not for the fact that both men have been observed accepting wads of cash from people — amounting to at least $1,500 in Arkansas alone — but none of those cash donations appear on their GoFundMe page. They have been staying in comped rooms and been treated to both restaurant and home-cooked meals along their route. Are Senopole and Shatarsky overwhelmed by success, or are they playing fast and loose with easy money? Are they in fact walking at a three-mile an hour ruck march pace for nine to twelve hours a day under a baking desert sun to fulfill their pledge of support, or are they thumbing rides and enjoying themselves with the girls they meet?

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Posted in Burn Notices, veterans | 5 Comments

Oregon GOP Picks Crackpot Denier Chairman

UPDATE: Rachel Maddow took note of Art Robinson’s elevation last night. I have a feeling that these events will not slip through the media cracks between now and the midterm election:

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ORIGINAL POST: Art Robinson was elected Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party on Saturday. As Rachel Maddow reported almost three years ago, Robinson denies that the HIV virus is responsible for AIDS. Amazingly, Robinson actually agreed to appear on her show and discuss his views on science and policy. But things degenerated somewhat as soon as he started talking:

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Oregon political observers say that Robinson has a long-running, well-known penchant for denialism and paranoid, tinfoil hat conspiracy theories. In 2011, Robinson went public with a bizarre charge that Oregon State University professors were conspiring against his children:

“Since Mr. Robinson began making these claims last fall, university leadership has had ample opportunity to look into them through the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School and the Office of the Dean of the College of Engineering, and can say, categorically, that the allegations and attacks are unfounded and without merit,” said OSU communication officials in the statement.

Robinson also maintained “Access To Energy,” a long-running crackpot newsletter, for many years. According to longtime observers, Robinson has apparently deleted the most embarrassing articles there, but remaining content includes this icky glorification of nuclear energy:

In the Chernobyl accident, too, we pointed out that in its short life of 25 months, Chernobyl Unit 4 saved more lives from coal-fired pollution than it took, or will ever take, by radiation. And we gave the reasons why the Soviets did not even bother to dilute contaminated wheat with grain from elsewhere. “A little cesium and strontium gave the Russians a more varied diet; for unlike Markey, Solarz, Schroeder and the other antinuclear breast beaters in Congress, the Soviets care only about visible deaths.”

A new poll has found that senior citizens, ordinarily the most reliable demographic for Republicans, are suddenly abandoning the party to its extremists and malcontents. As we get closer to the midterm election, expect more state and local GOP organizations to be chaired by people like Robinson. His many years of regurgitating corporate propaganda and arguing with rational people make him the perfect “grassroots” lunatic to lead a movement that seems determined to march towards the fringe.

The front page of Art Robinson's crackpot  denial website

The front page of Art Robinson’s crackpot denial website

Posted in Kulturkampf, Rachel Maddow, Republican tinfoil hattery | 1 Comment

A Twitter Thread With Dana Rohrabacher

I actually want to thank Mr. Rohrabacher for being a good sport. Twitter can be cruel and he doesn’t actually have to answer me. In fact, I applaud his engagement, if not his politics. Good on him.

threaddanarohrabacher

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Robert Stacy McCain Says That Liberals Are Terrible People

R.S. McCain with right wing heroes Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe III

R.S. McCain with right wing heroes Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe III

Karoli is away from her blogging for jury duty at the moment, but her name has seen quite a bit of exposure at the blog of one Robert Stacy McCain in the last few days. I called her over the weekend and learned that McCain’s blog links are among the most commonly-shared items in the email trail of Groundswell, a conservative organization whose electronic footprint — like McCain’s website — is made possible by Ali Akbar. Karoli happens to be reporting on the story.

McCain is something of a professional hate artist. His years as a neoconfederate and racism apologist are the reason he’s listed as a hate speech advocate on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. But ask him about hate speech, and McCain will tell you the SPLC are simply terrible people, and liars, and should be hated for it. See how that works?

It is not enough to dismiss McCain as a racist, or homophobe, or misogonyst, all of which apply to him. His hate-writing is all-inclusive: McCain simply hates everyone, but especially liberals. He has developed relationships with Ali Akbar and Michelle Malkin to create a tableau of electronic diversity, but McCain remains as much of a professional hatemonger as he ever was. The execution is simply more personal than political.

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Posted in Breitbart, East Blogistan, Kulturkampf, paranoid universe, Republican tinfoil hattery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Robert Stacy McCain Versus Rock And Roll

stacy-mccain

Robert Stacy McCain (pictured) began blogging about Brett Kimberlin in 2012 at the instigation of Ali Akbar of National Bloggers Club “fame.” At Akbar’s ViralRead website, McCain uses a 1996 quote of Brett Kimberlin in the Washington City Paper to accuse him of pedophilia:

Not all the songs on his album … have political overtones … others, like “Waiting to Meet” and “Teen Dream” (both about having sex with teenage girls) are lacking in subtlety and tend to make one squirm. But this is exactly what Kimberlin wants.

“I say things a lot of people are afraid to say. Yeah, ‘Teen Dream’ is about f–king a teenage girl. Every guy who’s seen a good-looking teenage girl has thought about it. I’m talking about that lecherous quality that every man, though he won’t act on it, has.”

I don’t think the essential problem with McCain’s reportage could be distilled any better than his unspoken assumption that the theme of attraction to, and even bad intentions toward, younger members of the opposite sex is unique to Brett Kimberlin’s rock lyrics. Not only is this wrong, the category isn’t even limited to male artists. Examples include NRA cheerleader and birther Ted Nugent, who appears in the following video slideshow. You will note a spectrum of styles and sounds. I have more to say below the fold:

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Posted in Kulturkampf, music, Piltdown politics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Brett Kimberlin Is Not The Watchful Avenger

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Prompted by some tweets, last night I did something that I have avoided doing for over a year now. By reaching out to a few contacts, I obtained Brett Kimberlin’s phone number and called him. We spoke for a few minutes — just enough time for me to establish that one of the primary tales his detractors spread about him is simply untrue: Brett Kimberlin is not the Watchful Avenger of BreitbartUnmasked.com. I have spoken with the Avenger on the phone a couple of times now, too, and can definitively say their voices and speech patterns aren’t even remotely similar.

I realize this news will be rejected by the Walker Clan, which has relentlessly pursued a bizarre vendetta against Mr. Kimberlin for years as they developed into a kind of Westboro Baptist Church that files lawsuits instead of picketing funerals. It is easier for them to believe the website is Kimberlin’s creation than accept that they have ever been wrong about anything. But they are wrong about this, as they are wrong about so much else in this story, and it points to the primary reason why the Walker Clan has failed to penetrate the wider media world with their stupid fantasy of harassment by an evil mastermind.

Any reporter who commits a few acts of journalism  – even minimal due diligence — will quickly debunk their narrative on key points like this one, and wisely refrain from reporting it quite their way. Correspondents like Robert Stacy McCain and Lee Stranahan lack any journalistic integrity, however, which is why they spew these fables at high volume and then insist they are only being ignored because of Brett Kimberlin’s sinister, unseen stranglehold on the media. It’s all a conspiracy!

Indeed, the conspiracy conveniently includes anyone and everyone with a contrary opinion about Kimberlin, or who debunks any point in the Walker Clan’s story. This dismissive rationalization is absolute: Kimberlin is the most evil human being alive, so anyone who deconstructs their mythology about him must be at least as evil as he is, right? And so they carry on with their obscure persecution narrative, blissfully unaware and unconcerned that they look like idiots.

Posted in Breitbart, Piltdown politics | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Snowden and Greenwald: The Areas Of Their Expertise

Edward-Snowden-HK2-620x362

It must be nice to be Glenn Greenwald. He can claim expertise in things that he has never seen or touched, citing Edward Snowden as his authoritative source. Of course, Snowden has almost certainly never seen or touched those things he describes, either. This huckster act keeps earning credulous headlines from reputable journalists who don’t know better.

Take the latest hyperbolic charge in which Greenwald claims that “even low-level NSA analysts” are allowed to search the phone calls and emails in NSA databases. This new permutation of the Edward Snowden sensation is supposed to frighten us with visions of evil, low-level NSA employees run amok, all spying on our lives with sinister intentions. Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Unlike either Greenwald or Snowden, I have actually sat at a secure workstation hooked into the NSA. (All military signals intelligence passes through the NSA.) My workstation had the power to submit a CRITIC report at any time which would go directly to the President of the United States in ten minutes or less, with the standard being four minutes. Moreover, this system is considered so vital to our nation’s security that CRITIC messages take priority over anything else the president is doing. As a mere E-4 Specialist, I supposedly had the power to wake up the commander-in-chief in the middle of the night with a report of flying saucer attacks if I wanted to.

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Posted in Glenn Greenwald, national security | Tagged | 5 Comments

Rush Limbaugh Losing Cumulus. Will Clear Channel Wake Up?

rushshady

Cumulus Media is reportedly dropping both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from their talk show lineup at the end of the year. On one level, this is about the overall decline of conservative political rhetoric. But it also represents victory for the StopRush campaign, which Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey credited in May with a steep decline in advertiser revenue. The StopRush campaign has been so successful that volunteers are down to stripping away the Public Service Announcements (PSAs). We are close to the day that Rush Limbaugh only ever breaks to a few minutes of dead air — but you would not know that from the behavior of Clear Channel. POLITICO:

The decision comes after negotiations between Cumulus and Premiere Networks, the division of Clear Channel that distributes Limbaugh and Hannity’s shows, broke down due to disagreements over the cost of the distribution rights, the source said. Cumulus is known to drive a hard bargain on costs, and Clear Channel is known to seek top dollar for big names.

As industry insiders caution, Cumulus and Clear Channel have come to the brink before during contract negotiations only to resume talks. But the source told POLITICO that Clear Channel was unlikely to reduce the cost for distribution rights to a level that would satisfy Cumulus.

Back in May, Limbaugh was threatening to leave Cumulus if they didn’t meet his asking price. It doesn’t seem as if Clear Channel has enjoyed any more success in that negotiation than Limbaugh did. They are asking Cumulus to accept a high price while bleeding advertiser revenue with every commercial break.

Perhaps Clear Channel imagines that StopRush will be unable to find Limbaugh on the radio if they change networks? If so, the company ought to understand that it will not be that easy. Whoever picks up Limbaugh, they will surely bleed cash, too. StopRush will make sure of it. As I said nearly eighteen months ago, we are a social movement dedicated to deflating the artificial monetary value of Rush Limbaugh. We are succeeding. The sooner Clear Channel accepts that, the better for their business and their bottom line.

You can help Flush Rush! Join our Facebook group.

ProgLegs keeps a great Daily Kos diary for StopRush.

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#StopRush Down To Stripping Limbaugh’s PSAs

limbaugh

A dedicated StopRush volunteer named Carol Wallin will deliver 188,000 signatures to the AARP’s Washington, DC office at 10:00 AM today asking them to pull their PSAs from his show. I cannot improve on this press release.

On Thursday, July 25, a representative from #StopRush will deliver a petition of 188,000 signatures to the AARP Office in Washington, DC. The petition asks AARP to request stations move AARP to the “No Rush Play List” to support civil discourse. As one petition signer from California stated, “I will be old enough to join AARP in a few years but as I hear the things Rush says about women, minorities, and seniors, I wonder how well you are representing seniors by being associated with him. Please redeem yourselves and remove your public service announcements from his show.”

AARP PSA’s are filling dead air on the Rush Limbaugh Show. Limbaugh calls women “feminazis,” “infobabes,” “sexretaries,” and, worst of all, “sluts” and “prostitutes.” Limbaugh calls Latinos “weak,” “lazy,” and “unskilled.” And, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder trial, Limbaugh even used the “N-word” and claimed it was not racist. “If seniors can afford their worthless offspring moving back in with them, just how poverty-stricken are they?”

Over 2,600 advertisers have stopped supporting Limbaugh’s shows, and AARP shouldfollow suit. The AARP name placement is free and in partnership with the Ad Council. This does not lessen the impact a name with a good reputation can do to lend credence to Rush Limbaugh’s racist and sexist language.

#StopRush volunteers have worked tirelessly to make sure there is dead air on Limbaugh’s breaks, and none have worked harder than Carol. We are closer than ever to the day his entire program break is dead air. Click here to see the petition. 

Posted in rush limbaugh | 1 Comment

On Drones, Stuxnet, And Dismal Statistics

drone

Over the weekend, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported obtaining a Pakistani government report on drone strikes in tribal areas that largely confirms their estimates of civilian casualties. While the BIA deserves praise for crackerjack journalism, these numbers reinforce exactly the opposite conclusion than the one drone hysterics want to draw. Contrary to hyperbole, the US drone war in Pakistan continues to be the most accurate bombing campaign ever, with fewer civilian casualties than any comparable indirect fire campaign. In fact, as we get further away from “shock and awe” the noise level of protest and condemnation for each drone strike seems inversely proportional to the amount of firepower the United States actually uses. The smaller the bang, the louder the shouting.

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Behind The Irony Curtain: Edward Snowden’s Outlaw Getaway

prettyboyfloyd

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro offered asylum to Edward Snowden, and Nicaragua and Bolivia and Ecuador agitated to win his residency too. Unhappy with this menu of possible refuges, Snowden is now asking Russia to let him defect. The prospect of a Russian pleading presents Glenn Greenwald with a problem, however: because it is actually against the law to be gay in Putin’s Moscow, Snowden would more inaccessible to Greenwald there than Assange is at the Ecuadoran embassy in London. And surely a South American country would provide a more fitting base of operations for Snowden’s world outlaw tour. Didn’t Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid go to Bolivia?

Yes, just change “NSA” to “bank,” substitute “money” for “secrets,” and a truer complexion of Snowden’s actions becomes possible to appreciate. He presents himself as a Robin Hood of secrets when a better analogue is Pretty Boy Floyd. Floyd had fans, just as Edward Snowden has fans; he had propagandists, most famously Woody Guthrie. Floyd lived in an America that was probably less sympathetic to bankers in 1930 than we are today, but it was still against the law to rob a bank.

Oh, you say the bank was too big to fail? Sorry, but you still go to jail.

So you can call Snowden an internet folk hero if you want, but you cannot say that he did not break the law. And before anyone trots out Daniel Ellsberg to concern-troll about the possibility of a drone strike on poor Mr. Snowden in a paranoid scifi update of Bonnie and Clyde, remember that the applicable federal whistleblower statutes in this story were created because of Ellsberg’s revelations. Those same laws were never good enough for Ellsberg, and they have been summarily ignored by Mr. Snowden, who would rather cut his own libertarian path to transparency-hero status. He don’t need no stinkin laws!

Moreover, Snowden’s lawbreaking had clear motivations putting it outside the realm of whistleblowing and into the realm of purely political action. This is why Snowden’s “whistle” sounds more and more like hostage-taking all the time. Whereas his chief interlocutor used to say that Snowden had carefully vetted his stolen information to avoid harming the United States, now Greenwald warns that Snowden may use his stolen information to hurt the United States if Obama doesn’t stop being mean to him. That is hostage-taking behavior, not heroism, and Greenwald is abetting it.  Continue reading

Posted in Glenn Greenwald, national security | Tagged | 859 Comments