The Widdershins

Archive for May 14th, 2014

Angry old white guy

Angry old white guy

Yes, they’re afraid.  Oh my they are indeed very afraid.  So afraid that, as Prolix pointed out yesterday, one of the Repubs preeminent strategists had to resort to lies to try to insinuate that Hillary might be old and her health too frail be president.  Now never mind that Clinton’s doctors at the time said that Clinton suffered no permanent damage of any type and they expected her to make a full recovery.  And at that time, even Newt knew that if she ran she would be formidable:

Even Republicans concede that were she to run, Clinton would be a force to be reckoned with.

“Trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl,” former House Speaker and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said in December. “The Republican Party today is incapable of competing at that level.”

Of course we know that “turd blossom” is one of the dirtiest players around when it comes to politics.  Ask John McCain.

Rove has been accused of using smear tactics in past campaigns. A 1994 Alabama judicial campaign under Rove’s stewardship was reportedly behind a whisper campaign claiming that the rival candidate was a pedophile. And ahead of the 2000 South Carolina presidential primary, Rove used a push poll to suggest Bush rival John McCain had fathered “an illegitimate black child.”

Now it’s sad to say that Rove’s antics were probably the opening salvos in the attacks on Clinton.  The not-so-select committee on Benghazi! Benghazi!  Benghazi! will be starting soon.  And even before those hearings start, the right has been unable to resist mouthing off about how Obama and Clinton didn’t do enough (or anything) to stop Boko Haram when she was Secretary of State…except that she did.  The Repubs are trying to make political hay of the situation and as usual, didn’t bother to do their homework.

The Daily Beast, in their “gotcha” piece on the situation:

In the House, leading intelligence-minded lawmakers wrote letter after letter to Clinton urging her to designate Boko Haram as terrorists. The effort in the House was led by then-Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King and Patrick Meehan, chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

Meehan and his Democratic counterpart Jackie Speier put out a lengthy report in 2011 laying out the evidentiary basis for naming Boko Haram a terrorist organization, including the group’s ties to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and to Somalia’s al-Shabab terrorist organization.

In an interview Wednesday, Meehan told The Daily Beast that if Clinton had placed Boko Haram on the terrorism list in 2011, U.S. law enforcement agencies now being deployed to Nigeria to help search for the girls might have been in a better position.

The cheap political shot as written in the Beast article is easy to take.  Apparently the “going into why” was a bit more difficult and apparently not worth the effort that Think Progress took.

…Clinton didn’t act in a vacuum to determine not to designate Boko Haram back in 2011. Scholars on Twitter who focus on the region, terrorism broadly, and Islamist groups in particular were quick to point out that not only were there few benefits and many possible costs to designation, many of them had argued against listing Boko Haram several years ago. In a letter to the State Department dated May 2012, twenty prominent African studies scholars wrote Clinton to implore her to hold off on placing Boko Haram on the FTO list. Acknowledging the violence Boko Haram had perpetrated, the academics argued that “an FTO designation would internationalize Boko Haram, legitimize abuses by Nigeria’s security services, limit the State Department’s latitude in shaping a long term strategy, and undermine the U.S. Government’s ability to receive effective independent analysis from the region.”

Further, Clinton had received input from African studies scholars in the form of a letter sent to Clinton:

In a letter to the State Department dated May 2012, twenty prominent African studies scholars wrote Clinton to implore her to hold off on placing Boko Haram on the FTO list. Acknowledging the violence Boko Haram had perpetrated, the academics argued that “an FTO designation would internationalize Boko Haram, legitimize abuses by Nigeria’s security services, limit the State Department’s latitude in shaping a long term strategy, and undermine the U.S. Government’s ability to receive effective independent analysis from the region.”

Furthermore, even the Nigerian government back two years ago was against the idea of labeling Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

The federal government raised its objection to the plan ahead of last Tuesday’s meeting of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, with top White House and State Department officials in Washington DC.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, who confirmed Azazi’s meeting with the American officials, said the government was opposed to such a designation because it might subject Nigerian travellers to intensive search and scrutiny around the world, especially in western capitals and cities.

So, the right-wing attacks begin, going from questioning Clinton’s “30 day hospitalization” and “traumatic brain injury” to her lack of action, on several fronts, in her time at the State Department.  However, if she decides to run in 2016, it’s going to take more than this to stop her.  If the Repubs think this will do it, they have made yet another serious mistake:  underestimating Hillary Clinton.

black-line divider-no-background-th

I caught this on Rachel Maddow’s show Monday night and if you missed it, I’ll describe something a Harvard Law School guy has developed.

Have you ever seen those graphs on tv shows, usually the political ones, that tries to show a relationship between two things?  It can be said that those two things have a correlation.  However, just because there *can* be a correlation between two things does not mean that there is causation with them.  (This is giving Fredster headaches and bringing up his nightmare experiences with Prob. and Stat.) For example, Arthur Laffer of the infamous Laffer Curve tried to create a correlation that showed unemployment benefits cause unemployment.
So anyway, this student Tyler Vigen created a site where you too can create your own “spurious correlation” using any number of odd variables to create said correlation such as the per-capita consumption of cheese correlating with the number of people who died by becoming entangled in their bedsheets:

Scary isn’t it?  Makes you want to stop eating cheese…at least possibly right before going to bed

Here’s one I generated and probably if I suggested it to the right audience (not our Widdershins of course!) I could probably convince them that yes there is a correlation between total revenue generated by bowling alleys AND suicides by sharp object:

Correlation of …nothing really

Go the site:   http://www.tylervigen.com/
and try it yourself by clicking on Discover a new correlation.

 * * * * 

Oops, forgot this!  When I first heard the talk about Boko Harum on the teevee, I was half listening and doing things on the computer and I first thought they said this and wondered why they were talking about a band from the 60s.

Fredster will now toddle off back to his corner and rocking chair, muttering to himself.

 

 

 

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