CNN’s Peter Bergen: My cherry-picked data says the right wing is more deadly than jihadists 5

al Qaeda Yemen

Wouldn’t it be great to be a national security analyst who could just cherry-pick data that fits your worldview and then pass it off as an accurate depiction of reality? CNN’s Peter Bergen is a lucky guy, because that’s exactly what he gets to do as a “national security analyst” and director at the New America Foundation.

In his latest piece he argues that Americans have more to fear from “right wing extremists” (e.g., Guys who wear cowboy hats at ranches in Nevada?) than Islamic terrorists. Ironically, his column appears the same day he and his colleagues had to report on an “extraordinary” gathering of al Qaeda in Yemen, the size of which hasn’t been seen in years — but more on that later.

Mr. Bergen writes:

[T]he death toll in the shootings in Kansas is similar to that of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, where three people were killed and the suspects later killed a police officer as they tried to evade capture. (Many more, of course, were also wounded in the Boston attacks; 16 men, women and children lost limbs.)

In fact, since 9/11 extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology. According to a count by the New America Foundation, right wing extremists have killed 34 people in the United States for political reasons since 9/11. (The total includes the latest shootings in Kansas, which are being classified as a hate crime).

By contrast, terrorists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology have killed 21 people in the United States since 9/11.

Just like your friendly neighborhood liberal’s data on global warming — errrm, climate change — Mr. Bergen starts the timeline at a point that benefits the conclusion he wanted to come to the entire time, and then carefully begins adding data.

What a coincidence: his timeline starts on 9/12, which of course denies the 2,977 victims and God knows how many who suffer from Ground Zero-related health problems, PTSD, etc. Cost to the economy? Eh. Never mind. Failed Islamic terror plots and the cost required to keep that death toll at 21? Let’s ignore that one. (Within the piece he also omits any mention of the first World Trade Center bombing from 1993, but then makes sure to talk about the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.)

And hey, the Boston Marathon bombing was basically like the Kansas shooting, as long as we sorta-kinda ignore the hundreds who were injured, those missing limbs and the psychological trauma to all of Boston.

Perhaps we shouldn’t count the first Fort Hood massacre, in which 13 people died and 32 others were wounded when Maj. Nidal “Allahu Akbar!” Hasan went on a rampage, because the Obama administration deemed it “workplace violence.”

Bergen continues:

Despite this history of deadly violence by individuals motivated by political ideologies other than al Qaeda, it is jihadist violence that continues to dominate the news and the attention of policy makers.

Some of this is quite understandable. After all, on 9/11 al Qaeda’s 19 terrorists killed almost 3,000 people in the space of a morning. Since then al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen tried to bring down with a bomb secreted on a passenger an American commercial jet flying over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 and al Qaeda’s branch in Pakistan tried to launch bombings on the New York subway system a few months earlier. Luckily those plots didn’t succeed, but certainly if they had the death toll would have been on a large scale.

Yet the disparity in media coverage between even failed jihadist terrorist attacks and this latest incident in Kansas is emblematic of a flawed division in the public’s mind between killing that is purportedly committed in the name of Allah and killing that is committed for other political ends, such as neo-Nazi beliefs about the need to kill Jews.

It’s cute how Mr. Bergen downplays the near-misses when it came to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed Christmas day attack over Detroit, and it’s sad that he forgot to add in shoe bomber Richard Reid’s failed attempt. Why? Because he wants to impress upon readers that those American right-wing neo-Nazis like Frazier Glenn Cross (who loves books put out by The Nation and is inspired by the history of the National Socialist Workers Party) are more dangerous to national security than a worldwide movement to create an Islamic caliphate.

As I said before, his CNN piece becomes even more hilarious when one considers that it comes on the very same day that al Qaeda hosted an “extraordinary” gathering in Yemen to essentially tell the U.S.: we’re coming for you.

In the middle of the clip, the man known as al Qaeda’s crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears brazenly out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen. Al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has said he wants to attack the United States. But in the video, he looks unconcerned that he could be hit by an American drone.”This is quite an extraordinary video,” Paul Cruickshank, CNN terrorism analyst, said.

The video shows al-Wuhayshi addressing more than 100 fighters somewhere within Yemen, Cruickshank said, a restive nation on the southwestern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. The al Qaeda leader, he said, is “taking a big risk in doing this.” …

In a speech to the group, al-Wuhayshi makes it clear that he’s going after the United States, saying “We must eliminate the cross. … The bearer of the cross is America!”

U.S. officials believe the highly produced video is recent. With some fighters faces blurred, there is worry it signals a new round of plotting.

“The U.S. intelligence community should be surprised that such a large group of al Qaeda assembled together, including the leadership, and somehow they didn’t notice,” said Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst.

Maybe the intelligence community “didn’t notice” the terror gathering because they’re listening to guys like you, Mr. Bergen. Classic!

Yes, while Mr. Bergen and the New America Foundation are busy figuring out ways to cast right wing pro-lifers as a national security threat on par with al Qaeda terror masterminds, enemies like bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri (the guy who provided Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with his device) have been perfecting their deadly craft.

Again, CNN reported:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as AQAP, is considered the most dangerous al Qaeda affiliate. The CIA and the Pentagon have repeatedly killed AQAP leaders with drone strikes. But the group is now emboldened.

“The main problem about this group is that it has a bomb maker who can put bombs on to planes that can’t be detected,” Bergen said.

That bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to be responsible for severalattack attempts against the United States, including the failed 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber attack in Detroit.

Poor Mr. Bergen — he’s so confused. On one hand his job forces him to admit that we face a determined enemy who now makes bombs that are undetectable, but on the other hand he really, really wants the world to pay attention to the Tea-hadists and the Christian Taliban or whatever insult for conservatives you can come up with.

Perhaps it never occurred to Mr. Bergen, but the reason why Islamic terrorism “continues to dominate the news and the attention of policy makers” is because the seriousness of threat it poses is quite clear to sane people around the world. Perhaps it dominates “the attention of policy makers” because they’re the ones getting intelligence briefings — and in those closed-door sessions it’s obvious that the random whack job with a pistol or a rifle is not the same threat to the nation’s security as a global movement to force Sharia Law down the civilized world’s throat.

I can’t wait until Mr. Bergen puts together another set of analysis that proves that the tea party is more of a national security threat than British jihadists returning from the battlefields in Syria.

 

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Patriots push back feds at Bundy Ranch: America wins as agents, snipers ‘protecting’ turtles retreat 24

Ranchers Bundy

We live in interesting times: the federal government must be dragged tooth and nail to do what is necessary to protect that nation’s sovereignty along the southern border, but it will deploy attack dogs and snipers against Nevada ranchers who have worked the same land for over 100 years.

If you didn’t follow the Cliven Bundy story over the past week, here it is in a nutshell: Mr. Bundy’s family has raised cattle on the same land for over a century. How long? They’ve been there since before the Bureau of Land Management was even created. Somewhere along the line, the federal government came in and told Mr. Bundy’s family they needed to “manage” his land. Mr. Bundy has argued that they federal government has been trying to “manage” him out of business. And so, he’s refused to pay the federal government to ruin his livelihood. The BLM asserts that his family has over $1 million in unpaid management fees to the federal government.

Last week, in an effort to “protect” a species of desert tortoise, agents moved in and confiscated the herd. Ranchers from all over the region got word of what was going on, and joined with him in his stand against the federal government. A pregnant woman was knocked to the ground and a stun gun was used on Mr. Bundy’s son, but the standoff ended with the federal government retreating and all of Mr. Bundy’s cattle returned — for now.

The Las Vegas Journal review reported:

BUNKERVILLE — More than 100 head of Cliven Bundy’s confiscated cattle were released from a corral outside of Mesquite after a 20-minute standoff between angry and armed ranchers and law enforcement officers Saturday.

With rifles pointing toward each side and tensions reaching a critical level, federal land officials backed off and agreed to give up the cattle to Bundy’s family and supporters. …

Locals who make a living on the range and own horses showed up on horseback.

Nearly all of them defended Bundy’s actions and spoke about how tired they were of the federal government micromanaging Americans, including passing too many regulations, not just in Nevada but across the country; not just in cattle ranching, but in all facets of life, from Obamacare to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Brent Mackelprang, 58, a cattle rancher from Arizona, said the government’s decision to seize Bundy’s cattle in the name of protecting “the supposedly endangered” desert tortoise was a mere excuse “to go in and grab land from the people,” including Bundy, who has long claimed that the land belongs to his family and the state of Nevada — “certainly not to the federal government.”

Since Sen. Harry Reid has been M.I.A. during this whole debate, I’ll turn to a quote from Frederick Douglass to explain what went on in Nevada:

“Find out just what the people will submit to and you will have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” — Frederick Douglass

The people finally — thank God — stood up to the power-mad federal government, and they got results.

 

Krissy Thornton, right, looks at blood from a taser wound on Ammon Bundy near Bunkerville, Nev. Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Bundy was tasered by Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers while protesting the roundup of what the BLM calls "trespass cattle" that rancher Cliven Bundy grazes in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Krissy Thornton, right, looks at blood from a taser wound on Ammon Bundy near Bunkerville, Nev. Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Bundy was tasered by Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers while protesting the roundup of what the BLM calls “trespass cattle” that rancher Cliven Bundy grazes in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

And why is it that Sen. Reid has been so quiet?

The Washington Times reported:

The Bureau of Land Management is headed by former longtime Reid aide Neil Kornze, who was confirmed by the Senate as BLM director on Tuesday, just as federal authorities descended on the cattle ranch outside Mesquite, Nev.

Mr. Kornze issued a statement Saturday saying that the bureau would return the cattle and withdraw its agents from the ranch as a result of safety concerns after clashes between law enforcement and the Bundy family’s growing legion of supporters.

“It was likely pressure from upstairs, rather than weapons from the field, that changed his mind on the matter,” the liberal group Americans Against the Tea Party said in an online post. “Fact is, Harry Reid probably didn’t want his name attached to the biggest civilian massacre in U.S. history right before election season.”

Behind the scenes, you know that men like Sen. Reid are furious. It wasn’t supposed to play out the way it did. Mr. Bundy was supposed to fold. He was supposed to just accept the slow and steady infringements on our rights to life, liberty and property like so many other Americans — but he didn’t. That act of defiance stirred something inside the stomachs of locals and patriots from other states that they knew to be just and right, and so they came to his aid.

Bundy Ranch

Hopefully, what happened at the Bundy Ranch will inspire more Americans to push back against the injustices imposed upon them by an out-of-control federal government.

Related: If you want to read stories about the federal government’s overreach, check out Cheryl K. Chumley’s ‘Police State U.S.A.’ I’ll be reviewing the book when it comes out in May.

Telling: Comcast PAC cash accepted by every senator probing Time Warner Cable merger 8

Chuck Schumer

When you give the federal government more things to do, you give the men and women in charge more things to buy and sell at your expense. If you ever doubted the deleterious effect that growing the government has on the health of civil society, look no further than the Comcast-Time Warner hearings.

Every member of the committee — every one — has taken money from Comcast PAC. I now give you…crony capitalism:

The Senate Judiciary Committee held its first congressional hearing on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger Thursday, and every single member of the committee has taken money from Comcast PAC — even Democratic senator Al Franken of Minnesota, who is generally considered to be anti-Comcast.

Out of 18 committee members, 10 Democrats and eight Republicans, 17 got money from Comcast’s federal PAC, according to the database at OpenSecrets.org, technology website Ars Technicareported.

Ars Technica then confirmed with Mr. Franken’s spokespeople that he did accept $5,000 in Comcast PAC cash in 2009 for his recount fund, since OpenSecrets.org did not have that donation listed.

Why on earth would Comcast donate money to every single senator unless its top brass thought that it could influence every single senator with cash? Answer: Because that’s precisely what Comcast’s money men thought.

The full list of Senate Judiciary Committee members and the cash they’ve accepted from Comcast PAC donations are:

Comcast PAC donations to Democrats:

• Chuck Schumer, New York: $35,000

• Patrick Leahy, Vermont, Chairman: $32,500

• Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island: $26,500

• Chris Coons, Delaware: $25,000

• Dick Durbin, Illinois: $23,000

• Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota: $22,500

• Dianne Feinstein, California: $18,500

• Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut: $11,500

• Mazie Hirono, Hawaii: $5,000

• Al Franken, Minnesota: $5,000 (2009 recount fund)

Comcast PAC donations to Republicans:

• Orrin Hatch, Utah: $30,000

• Chuck Grassley, Iowa, Ranking Member: $28,500

• John Cornyn, Texas: $21,000

• Lindsey Graham, South Carolina: $13,500

• Jeff Sessions, Alabama: $10,000

• Mike Lee, Utah: $8,500

• Ted Cruz, Texas: $2,500

• Jeff Flake, Arizona: $1,000

The sad thing is that there are people out there who still blindly defend the idiocy of both parties. No matter what “their team” does, they’ll defend it it to the death, which is fitting, since that’s exactly the kind of mentality that is killing the freest nation ever created.

Think of all the issues that senators influence, either through legislation or their close relationships with bureaucrat overlords in Executive agencies manning the administrative state. Now think of all the companies that know that if they just cough up the right amount of cash, that the guy or gal “representing” you in the nation’s capital will bend over backwards to find a way to vote against your best interests while still managing to hold onto a job. Infuriating, isn’t it?

If you want to get the nation back on the right track, find your friends and family members who defend the the most boorish behavior and inflammatory rhetoric displayed by the losers in their favorite political party, and then convince them that they are doing the nation a grave disservice.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to sit and think about how pathetic our state of affairs must be for me to bite the bullet and end a blog post with Calloway’s “I Wanna Be Rich.”

OkCupid’s hypocrite CEO Sam Yagan admits he donated to the ‘enemy’ — because it benefited him 3

Sam Yagan

It was only a week ago that Mozilla’s Brendan Eich was forced to step down as CEO of the company he co-founded, in part because he once held the same view on gay marriage that pre-2012 election President Obama did, and in part because of a self-righteous smear campaign orchestrated by OkCupid’s data broker CEO Sam Yagan.

Mr. Yagan slimed Brendan Eich as an “enemy” of love a human decency shortly after after it was revealed that OkCupid secretly collects users’ personal information and sells it to the highest bidder. Some of us wondered if the whole thing wasn’t just a self-serving attempt to get some good press after countless OkCupid users and potential customers found out that the company operates more like the NSA than a dating service on many levels.

We now have an answer.

OKCupid, the online dating site that took Mozilla’s CEO to task for a donation to a campaign to ban same-sex marriage in California, is now under fire for its own CEO essentially doing the same.

OKCupid CEO and co-founder Sam Yagan in 2004 gave $500 to Rep. Chris Cannon’s campaign, despite the fact the lawmaker, during his tenure from 1997 to 2009, voted for a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage, Mother Jones reported.

Mr. Cannon also voted against a measure that would have added sexual orientation to the federal rules against job discrimination, as well as voting to outlaw adoptions by gay couples.

Square that news with OkCupid’s personal attack on Mr. Eich:

Ok Cupid Mozilla

Now read the statement Mr. Yagan released after his own political donation to the “enemy” became known.

“A decade ago, I made a contribution to Representative Chris Cannon because he was the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversaw the Internet and Intellectual Property, matters important to my business and our industry.  I accept responsibility for not knowing where he stood on gay rights in particular; I unequivocally support marriage equality and I would not make that contribution again today.  However, a contribution made to a candidate with views on hundreds of issues has no equivalence to a contribution supporting Prop. 8, a single issue that has no purpose other than to affirmatively prohibit gay marriage, which I believe is a basic civil right.” — Sam Yagan, hypocrite and CEO of OkCupid.

So bringing “all people” together is of utmost concern to Mr. Yagan, and yet he didn’t care enough to look into the stance on gay marriage of the politician he was going to donate to? Mr. Yagan labels men like Brendan Eich and “enemy,” whom he wishes “nothing but failure” for, because of his stance on gay marriage — and yet he now tries to say with a straight face that he it just sorta-kinda slipped by him that Rep. Cannon was a vehement opponent of gay marriage?

Mr. Yagan isn’t “accepting responsibility” for anything, because if he were he would apply the standard he used against Mr. Eich and step down as CEO. Mr. Yagan hasn’t accepted responsibility — he released a statement and hopes that the fetid stench of his hypocrisy will all disappear. He voted for a Republican when it would put cash in his pocket and he voted for President Barack “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman” Obama when it was financially beneficial.

By Mr. Yagan’s own definition, he is an “enemy” of decent people and someone who deserves “nothing but failure.”

Personally, I do not wish Mr. Yagan failure. Instead, I wish that that all the people who blindly believed that his campaign to oust Mr. Eich as CEO of Mozilla was sincere will now think twice before they declare “enemies” on complex social issues. I wish that more people become aware that OkCupid harvests its users’ most intimate personal information and sells it to anyone with deep pockets — including those who Mr. Yagan would define as the gay and lesbian community’s “enemy” if it would give him good press.

And with that, I leave you with the ’60 Minutes’ story on data brokers like OkCupid, which are “okay” letting the world know about your medical history, your religion, politics and sexual proclivities if the price is right.

Related: OkCupid: Brendan Eich is the ‘enemy,’ so ignore the fact we sell your personal info to the highest bidder

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ keeps the Marvel movie train rolling full steam ahead 25

Captain America Winter Soldier shield

Captain America is back, and he’s better than ever. In just a few short days, audiences have rewarded Marvel’s latest effort with cash — lots of it.

The Hollywood Reporter tallied the numbers:

Continuing Marvel and Disney’s enviable winning streak, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is making history at the global box office, debuting to a record-breaking $96.2 million in North America for an early worldwide total of $303.3 million.

Reviewing ‘Captain America: The Winter Solider’ is tough to do without adding spoilers. How do you critique an espionage tale without giving away the best parts? I’ll give it a shot.

Long story short: Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johannson (Black Widow), Anthony Mackie (The Falcon) find themselves in a situation where it’s essentially them against the world as they try and unravel the mystery behind an attack on Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. They handle the situation with wit, intelligence, strength, speed, and agility. The chemistry between each of them was great, and Marvel would be wise to continue keeping the three of them together moving forward.

At one point in the film, Cap manages to find a way to directly address agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He wants them to disobey a direct order — one that may end up costing them their lives — and in doing so he tells the audience what the film is essentially about.

Attention all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, this is Steve Rogers. You’ve heard a lot about me over the last few days. Some of you were even ordered to hunt me down. But I think it’s time you know the truth. S.H.I.E.L.D is not what we thought it was. … They almost have what they want: absolute control. … I know I’m asking a lot. The price of freedom is high. It always has been. That’s a price I’m willing to pay. And if I’m the only one, then so be it — but I’m willing to bet I’m not.

What is the price of freedom? If you’re a wise guy who enjoyed ‘Team America: World Police,’ you might say “freedom costs a buck-o-five.” If you’re a serious person, you might say that it’s a tough call because those in positions of power have to find a way to maximize both individual liberty and security.

Winter Soldier

How do you protect a nation when there are individuals and organizations tirelessly plotting ways to take down free societies? When you’re facing down enemies who see no difference between civilian and military targets — when you’re up against an opponent who has erased any notion of the traditional battlefield and replaced it with one where everything is fair game, how much power are you willing to grant your protectors? As Captain America says to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s agents: our leaders want “absolute control.” But then the question becomes: Who watches the watchmen? What happens when the ones who protect us lose their way?

Captain America

Director Joe Russo fills in the details during an interview with Mother Jones:

“[Marvel] said they wanted to make a political thriller. [...] So we said if you want to make a political thriller, all the great political thrillers have very current issues in them that reflect the anxiety of the audience. … That gives it an immediacy, it makes it relevant. So [Anthony] and I just looked at the issues that were causing anxiety for us, because we read a lot and are politically inclined. And a lot of that stuff had to do with civil liberties issues, drone strikes, the president’s kill list, preemptive technology. [etc.]“

While I’m actually rather shocked that a Hollywood director had the guts to say that concerns over President Obama’s “Terror Tuesday Kill List” helped inspire a top-notch Marvel movie, on some level it’s no surprise given that the industry’s old-reliable when it comes to political thrillers is to blame America.

As I said in October when the first trailer came out:

The trailer for Captain America: Winter Soldier is finally here. The good news is that it looks like it has all the makings of solid espionage fare: Robert Redford? Check. Russian spies? Check. Shady spy agencies? Check.

The bad news? It has all the makings of a blame-America espionage flick. …

Mullah nuts in the Middle East who deny the Holocaust and call for pushing the Jews “into the sea”? Eh. Chinese Communist intelligence agencies who have never met a U.S. business or defense contractor they wouldn’t hack? Eh. Nebulous terrorist organizations that don’t fly under a flag, even as they plot and plan to kill military and civilian targets on a massive scale? Eh. CIA attempts to “connect the dots” and “neutralize” threats before thousands of Americans die on their way to work on a Tuesday morning? Now there’s a movie!

Is it annoying that Marvel went for the easy layup by once again putting America in the cross hairs? Yes, slightly. Was the movie entertaining? Of course. In fact, I highly recommend it. It’s just odd that critics of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ would have a point if they said it would have been better off going with ‘Captain America: Disillusioned with America.’ The movie has an assassin with a big red Soviet star on his metallic arm but no one talks about Communism, except for a passing reference? If the next installment doesn’t get into KGB agents and the world-wide espionage perpetrated by the Evil Empire, then Marvel should just openly admit that its favorite movie bad guys are aliens and Americans.

At the end of the day, there isn’t much to really complain about regarding Cap’s second solo outing. If Marvel continues churning out quality products like this, then Phase II, III, IV and V should roll along quite nicely. If you get a chance to see ‘Winter Soldier’ in theaters, check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

OkCupid: Brendan Eich is the ‘enemy,’ so ignore the fact we sell your personal info to the highest bidder 27

Brendan Eich Mozilla

If you haven’t been following Mozilla’s Brendan Eich story, all you need to know is that OkCupid and the thought crime brigade within Mozilla’s software developer community  were successful in getting the co-founder of the company to resign as CEO, all because he apparently believes the definition of marriage has a very specific meaning that isn’t in line with the gay community.

The Washington Times reported:

Brendan Eich, the co-founder of Mozilla, has stepped down as CEO over the controversy that erupted after his $1,000 pledge in support of California’s anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8 became widely known.

“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves,” read a statement from Mozilla. “We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

“That was shocking to me, because I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness,” [Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker] said, Recode reported. “But I overestimated that experience.”

Yes, even though the guy wasn’t on television bashing gay people, Mozilla has been known to be a very gay-friendly company for years, that Mr. Eich kept his politics to himself and didn’t bother anyone, we know he must be a monster because he joined with millions of other religious Californians who believe marriage has a definition that can’t be squared with the gay community’s desires.

OkCupid didn’t take too kindly to that, so they started a campaign against Mozilla (which has since been rescinded with Eich’s resignation) in order to put pressure on Mr. Eich to step down. It succeeded.

Ok Cupid Mozilla

Politics is not normally OkCupid’s thing, in part because if it were its top brass would be forced to talk about how they’re willing to secretly sell your personal information to the highest bidder.

OK Cupid Third Parties

Just for fun I started an account just to see how many third-party sites would show up before I even filled out a profile or perused the site. It looks like I was well on my way to racking up a screen full of nosy little triangles. What’s up with that, OkCupid?

How many devout Christians, Muslims and Jews have used OkCupid? Do you call them your “enemies”? Do you wish them “misery” and “failure,” or do they not count because you’re making tons of money from all the information they provide in their search for a mate?

In OkCupid’s attempts to smear Mr. Eich, its statement read that the dating company knows there is “a lot more wrong in the world than misguided CEOs.” True — and OkCupid is in the “more” category.

Who is more of a threat to the happiness and health of the nation: Mr. Eich and his belief that the union between a man and a woman — with the implied understanding that they will procreate and raise their biological children in a loving home — is essential to any civil society, or OkCupid, which harvests all sorts of personal information about you and sells it to third parties without you knowing who they are or what they’ll do with it?

Do you suffer from depression? Anxiety? Do you watch kinky pornography? Do you have cancer or some other disease? Do you believe in God (like Brendan Eich)? Are you a Socialist? A Communist? A hard-core Conservative? If so, then you need to understand that companies like OkCupid want to know because it’s worth big bucks.

It turns out OkCupid actually does like religious men...provided that it can secretly make money off them by selling that information to third parties.

It turns out OkCupid actually does like religious men…provided that it can secretly make money off them by selling the knowledge of their faith to third parties.

If you really want to see just the size and scope of OkCupid’s hypocrisy, watch the 60 Minutes piece ‘Data Brokers.’ Our self-righteous friends are featured prominently.

How convenient is it that shortly after the 60 Minutes piece aired that OkCupid found a target that would allow its management to stand on a moral pedestal and get good press for it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a video of President Obama to watch from 2008. Apparently, he officially held the same view on marriage as Mr. Eich did up until the 2012 election. I wonder how many outraged Mozilla employees voted for him, knowing that he was a “bigot.” I don’t remember OkCupid running any political ads against him in 2008 either. Strange.

Enjoy.

Related: OkCupid’s hypocrite CEO Sam Yagan admits he donated to the ‘enemy’ — because it benefited him

Dan Slott gives fans zombie Peter Parker — then counts his precious sales 51

SSM Otto Anna Peter Parker

Superior Spider-Man #30 is finally here, and with it comes the guy we’ve all been waiting for: Zombie Peter Parker. Fans are supposed to rejoice now that Dan Slott’s “memory fragment” of Peter Parker has assumed the role of Spider-Man after Doctor Octopus decided to call it a day — conveniently as everything was crumbling around him.  With great power comes…ducking responsibility? Since the real Peter died in Amazing Spider-Man #700 and the downloaded Otto maybe-sorta-kinda just committed suicide, fans are left to wonder: does Spider-Man have a soul or is he an empty husk whose able to say witty one-liners and think about Uncle Ben from time to time? I suppose it’s possible that the real Peter Parker was simply brainwashed the entire time, which would mean that Dan Slott made him do all those dastardly deeds over the course of SSM’s run, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

Regardless, for those who want to know how SSM #30 transpired, all you need to know is that Otto’s love interest, Anna Maria, is being held hostage and will die unless Spider-Man finds her. As all the evil Ock has done as Spider-Man has come back to haunt him, he realizes that only Peter Parker could save Anna, and thus he relinquishes the role of the hero back to Peter.

Fans of the book are supposed to sniffle just a wee bit as Otto disappears into a Dr. Manhattan-blue mind dust and gets wind-swept into the super unknown. This fails because people who aren’t suffering from anterograde amnesia remember that this is the same character who blew a guy’s face off at point blank range only months ago.
Superior Spider Man Gun

And it’s the guy who wanted to surpass “Pol Pot, Hitler and Genghis Khan” in terms of evil perpetrated upon the world — “combined!” just over a year ago.

Doctor Octopus

So the question becomes: Was it worth it? If you’re like Dan Slott and you only think in terms of sales, then yes.

Dan Slott Twitter SSM

If you’re like the retailer who went online to criticize the book because some things (i.e., the integrity of a character) are more important to you than a buck, then no.

Justin Bieber sells a lot of tickets, but the world knows he’s no Jack White. Dan Slott sells a lot of comics (by 2014 standards), but the world knows that sales are but one metric by which success is measured. As the years go by, critics will come to regard the Superior Spider-Man more as a bizarre embarrassment in the character’s rich history than a run to be treasured and adored.

To make matters worse, there’s also collateral damage to consider. Take how dumb The Avengers have become during the course of Superior Spider-Man. Their stupidity reaches a crescendo in issue number #30 as Iron Man and Captain America freak out about an “illegal medical facility” that Spider-Man turned a blind eye to. Blowing off a guy’s face as he’s on his hands and knees in front of you? Eh. Taking a page out of President Obama’s NSA spying scandal playbook and putting an entire city under surveillance? Zzzz. Amassing a militia of thugs and arming them with an arsenal that would cause Libyan Islamic terrorists to giggle like schoolgirls (if they allowed girls to attend school)? Yawn.

Didn’t go through the proper bureaucratic red tape necessary to open a medical center? Gasp! Dan Slott’s and Christos Gage’s Captain America wants to “arrest” that man. The Department of Health and Human Services is going to hear about this one, buster.

 

Captain America Superior SpiderMan

Should the world be happy that Peter Parker is back? Sure. But the problem is that we don’t know if he’s back because, as far as Dan Slott is concerned, a “memory fragment” without a soul is just as good as the real thing.

H/T to Colossus of Rhodey for the “sales” tweet.

And with that, I give you a preview of Jack White’s new album “Lazaretto.” Dan, since I know you’re reading this, I suggest listening to “High Ball Stepper” while imagining me doing the vocals two inches from your face. As long as you continue to write Spider-Man, I will continue to write high ball steppin’ reviews. Cheers.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson makes another ‘invariably’ and ‘exceedingly lovely’ film 5

The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson films are like little cinematic snow globes. They’re intricate. They’re meticulously put together by someone who loves his craft. They’re truly unique little worlds that I wish I could jump inside and wander around in for hours at a time. With The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mr. Anderson adds yet another “snow globe” to a body of work that fans will treasure for years to come.

The story centers around Grand Budapest concierge Mr. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), his friendship with lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori), and the adventures that ensue when Gustave is framed for the murder of the incredibly wealthy Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). With a large inheritance at stake the “vipers” come out, as Gustave puts it, and it’s up to he and his friends (including Zero’s love interest Agatha, played by Saoirse Ronan) to set things right.

 

Grand Budapest

As with most Wes Anderson films, the thing I love about them is that so many of his characters are incredibly refined, yet they possess numerous idiosyncrasies that set them apart from one another. They’re all smart, but they don’t come across as clones because so much attention to detail has been paid to flesh out their histories, likes, dislikes and dispositions. If each character were compared to a color I would say that they are often similar shades, but that the pleasure comes from noting the subtle differences between them.

In between each shade of the same color are in fact infinite differences, and Wes Anderson’s appreciation for that is what resonates with this moviegoer.

Mr. Gustave is a man with whom, even if I were to disagree, I would not find him disagreeable. He harkens back to a day when strong differences in opinion were handled with class and dignity. It’s humorous for modern audiences — raised in the time and age in which the politics of personal destruction are the norm — to see on the big screen, but deep down we long for the world to breed more Gustaves:

M. Gustave: “Rudeness is merely the expression of fear. People fear they won’t get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower. I’m reminded of a verse: ‘The painter’s brush touched the inchoate face with ends of nimble bristles.’”

Even when he’s vulgar, he has class:

Mr. Gustave: Oh, how the good die young. With any luck she’s left a few klubecks for your old friend, but one never knows until the ink is dry on the death certificate. She was fabulous in the sack, by the way.

Zero: She was 84, Mr. Gustave.

Mr. Gustave: I’ve had older. When you’re young it’s all fillet steak, but as the years go by you have to move on to the cheaper cuts, which is fine with me because I like those. More flavorful, or so they say.

He has standards. He lives by a set a principles and does his best to stick to them.

Mr. Gustave: “The beginning of the end of the end of the beginning has begun. The sad finale played off key on a broken down saloon piano in the outskirts of a forgotten ghost town. I’d rather not bear witness to such blasphemy. … The Grand Budapest has become a troops barracks. I shall never cross its threshold again in my lifetime.

And when facing Death’s door, he is stoic:

Mr. Gustave: If this to be the end, ‘Farewell!’ cried the wounded piper boy whist the muskets cracked and the yeoman cried “Hurrah!” and the ramparts fell. ‘Me thinks me breaths me last me fears,’ said he…”

We laugh at Gustave’s idealism, but we secretly wish we had 1/10 of his decency and decorum.

 

Grand Budapest Lobby Boy

There are two scenes which, in my mind, best sum up Gustave’s friendship with Zero. Because I don’t want to include spoilers, I will only refer to the exchange where Gustave asks if he can officiate Zero’s future wedding with Agatha:

Mr. Gustave: May I officiate, by the way — the ceremony?

Zero: With pleasure.

Mr. Gustave: I must say, I find that girl utterly delightful. Flat as a board, enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half her face. Sweating for hours on end in that sweltering kitchen  where Mendl — genius that he is — looms over her like a hulky guerrilla. Yet, without question, without fail, always and invariably she’s exceedingly lovely. Why? Because of her purity.

Zero: She admires you as well, Mr. Gustave.

Mr. Gustave: Does she?

Zero: Very much.

Mr. Gustave: That’s a good sign, you know. It means she gets it. That’s important.

Zero: Don’t flirt with her.

The audience knows that Gustave is at his core a good man, but like all of us he is deeply flawed. He wishes to officiate at his friend’s wedding, but both know that if given a chance he would sleep with Agatha. He admires her purity, but can not help himself for wanting to steal it. He strives to embody the best within him, yet regularly succumbs to his basest desires. He lives to serve others, yet often uses that service to fulfill his own selfish needs.

Like all of us, Mr. Gustave is a fusion of the decadent and the divine. With that said, he also aims to project that fusion in its most presentable package. Like the Mendl’s confectionery treats that play an important part of the film, The Grand Budapest Hotel shows us that beneath the pristine packaging and painstaking work we go to in order to appear a cut above the rest, our pomp and circumstance and cute little bow ties often belie our insides.

Mendls

Some might say that such a message is a hopeless one — we’re all rotten inside. I disagree. Like I said: we are a fusion of the depraved and the sublime. That is the service rendered for human flesh. The Grand Budapest Hotel’s message, to me, is that while we may not be pure, by striving to become a better version of ourselves we can more often than not be “invariably and exceedingly” lovely.

Agatha says at one point in the movie: “Whence came these two radiant celestial brothers united for an instant as they crossed the stratosphere or our starry window — one from the East and one from the West?”

Answer: the mind of Wes Anderson. Hopefully, he’ll be turning out “radiant celestial brothers” on screen for years to come.

Related: Moonrise Kingdom: The Young Person’s Guide to Great Movies

Colbert cannibalized by liberals for joke using Asians: The thought police always turn on its own 18

Colbert Asian

Dutiful liberal Stephen Colbert decided to wade into the Washington Redskins debate by making a joke on air and over Twitter, which has now highlighted quite nicely where you end up when you follow that worldview to its logical conclusion: the land of livid thought police.

Colbert’s tweet — “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” — sparked the ire of our old friend Suey “only white people can be racist” Park, and now #CancelCobert is trending on Twitter. Sadly, Mr. Colbert, for some weird reason, still doesn’t understand that his own ideology breeds intellectual cannibals. Conservatives have the same problem, but the difference between a liberal and a conservative is that the conservative doesn’t want an all-power federal government — and the weapons at its disposal — filled with thought police. The conservative just wants to be left alone.

Suey Park and her “allies”? They want power and control.

Colbert Suey Park

But the great thing about Suey Park feminists is that they never miss an opportunity  to burn bridges. Disagree with them and you’re not an “ally,” which means that although her venom is typically spewed towards white people, she has a way of also turning off fellow Asians, black people, and any other minority who isn’t a political radical.

Suey Park Colbert

Poor Haichi only wants to fight real racists. I guess he’s not one of Suey’s allies.

Haichi

Ditto for Oliver. It looks like his eyes are starting to open. Keep going, Oliver! Suey Park is the face of liberalism, and it is totalitarian at its core.

Oliver WillisDon’t believe me? Look at her feed. Suey Park and her fellow leftists are angry and they have no intention of engaging in civil discourse. Due to her scorched earth campaigns, which take out large numbers of people she needs in order to build a real movement, she is mostly relegated to throwing online temper tantrums that go nowhere. News outlets get the clicks, the marketing department is happy, and Suey gets to feel as though she did something productive for “the cause.” That said, you can see that the seeds of violence are there. In the right political climate — if a perfect political storm occurs — people like her sometimes come to power.

For a good example of what happens when raving socialists get control of the wheel, see Venezuela.

 

Suey Park Stephen Colbert

Ultimately, Stephen Colbert will survive professionally. The left likes him too much to ever make him pay for any transgression he might be guilty of in the eyes of its fringe elements. Bill Maher also knows this all too well. Given that, I believe the best way to take advantage of this moment is to reach out to your independent (but left-leaning) friends and family, and explain to them how those who claim to be the most “tolerant” among us are, in fact, totalitarians in training.

Related: Quintessential feminist Suey Park blames ‘structural whiteness’ for her personal problems

Related: U.S. feminists worry over pressure to ‘wear Ugg boots’ while India still deals with dowry

Update: Suey Park recently went on Huffington Post Live and demonstrated just how self-destructive her worldview is. She can’t even go on a show with two liberal men for over five minutes without ensuring that they’ll never want anything to do with her again, if possible.

Suey Park

Hi, My name is Suey Park. I like to go on liberal shows and complain about liberal white men. I wish the world wasn’t so structurally white, whatever that means. If only it was more structurally Korean we could all enjoy North Korean-inspired gulags and dance to K-Pop Asian women doing their best sex-doll imitations.

Sorry, Ukraine: Putin knows Obama ‘consciously uncoupled’ himself from foreign affairs long ago 2

Russia

Say you’re Russian President Vladimir Putin. You rolled your tanks in to Crimea, snatched it up, and all that really happened were some angry press conferences by representatives of western nations. You took yourself a nice warm-water port, you’ve expanded your sphere of influence, and the only real pain you received came from some economic sanctions put together on the fly by President Obama and the gang. John Kerry got a little flustered. So what. You know that Mr. Obama pulled a Gwyneth Paltrow and “unconsciously uncoupled” himself from foreign affairs long ago.

The question then becomes not whether or not you will go for more inside Ukraine, but why on earth you wouldn’t. That’s why U.S. intelligence believes that an invasion is likely (not a hard assessment to make when there are suddenly 30,000 troops amassed along Ukraine’s border), and so does NATO.

NATO Source reported:

Russian forces have been concentrated for possible offensive action on the borders of Ukraine, in vast numbers and in a high state of readiness, according to U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. In a series of military maneuvers on the Ukrainian border, Russian paratroopers (the VDV corps) and the air force have been preparing to spearhead a possible push deep into Ukraine. …

If Putin decides to send in his troops, he has a narrow window in which to act. …

Ukraine has scheduled a national presidential election for May 25 that may further legitimize the regime the Kremlin hates and wants to overthrow. The Kremlin may find it hard to resist the temptation to attack Ukraine and “liberate” the south and east while Russia is ready, the Ukrainian military weak, and the regime in Kiev unstable. Such a move could lead to more Western sanctions, but this risk maybe dwarfed by the vision of a major geostrategic victory seemingly at hand.

Geostrategic victory, indeed.

Imagine a scenario where Putin takes another chunk of Ukraine and then when things get particularly bloody he throws up his hands and says, “Okay, I’ll play nice if you do away with the sanctions.” Does anyone think the West would not capitulate? Does anyone think bureaucrats would not jump at the opportunity to stop the violence, pat themselves on the back for their efforts and declare a win for “diplomacy” — all while conveniently ignoring the massive shift in power orchestrated by Putin?

Take a look at Syria: The Obama administration told the world Bashar Hafez al-Assad had to go, yada, yada, yada, red lines, red lines, red lines, and then it essentially just morphed into, “Well, maybe if you just turn over your chemical weapons we can work something out.” Syria turned over its rotting old WMD and has been dragging its feet on the rest. Maybe it will turn them over…when it gets around to it. What’s the world going to do about it now? Answer: nothing.

This is what the world looks like when an American president divorces himself from foreign affairs. The problem is exacerbated because for years now Americans have fed from the trough of moral relativism — they’ve willingly slurped down the slop that says, “the values of your founding fathers are no better or worse than the mullahs in Iran or the former KGB agents in Russia or the shirtless Somali warlords with automatic rifles slung over their shoulders while sporting a pair of tuxedo shoes.”

 

Putin

Free nations around the world wanted to see what it would look like if America retreated into its shell and acted as if its destiny paralleled countries like Zaire or Bolivia — and the world got an answer. Will America reverse course or continue on the current trajectory? We know what direction Vladimir Putin is hoping for. What about you?