Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Good Take / Really, Really Bad Take

Surely not even the most hardcore Talibangelicals could defend a serial child trafficker, you would would think.

Not so!, says Erick ‘Studying to Be A Pastor’ Erickson…

Hey, when you look at it right, *anything* can be an opportunity…

The War Con Is On


I’m sure that the situation with Iran isn’t your central focus, but I wanted to share an important insight into the current issue – Iran having passed the allowed threshold for storage of low-level enriched Uranium. If I’m incorrect, I’m sure either Adam or Cheryl will pop in.

So Iran announced, and the IAEA annnouced, that Iran had passed the threshold Monday this week. And this sounds scary, it sounds like that pesky Iran is being bad again, and will have to be taught a lesson, now doesn’t it? Well that’s the thing – this is a manufactured event and I’ll explain how. And it just kills me that no media I’ve heard, read, or seen has bothered to explain this development in context that is so badly needed.

Iran was allowed, under the agreement, to store up to 300 kg of lightly-enriched Uranium, while the rest that it produced was to be sold and shipped to overseas buyers. This agreement held, and Iran kept to it, selling it to European and Russian interests. But once the US backed out of the deal and re-leveled sanctions, this forced the other signatories to choose to either support us, or be wrapped up in severe sanctions for trading with Iran. Of course they chose to work with us and cut Iran off while, at the same time, working on some “third way” plan to keep the Iran economy from going into the pits and all the side-effects that would create. So far, this effort to find a way around the sanctions has failed to materialize.

Well, the problem regarding enriched Uranium is that, as Iran warned a few weeks back, since no one is buying that enriched Uranium that their nuclear program legally produces because of the sanctions, their stockpile is quickly building up. They don’t want it, they’d love to sell it, but that market is closed by the sanctions. So our sanctions are now causing Iran to violate the agreement.

It is my understanding (and Cheryl or other experts are welcome to jump in and explain or contradict, etc.) that, in order to stop producing this excess enriched Uranium, they would need to shut down one or more reactors, and they aren’t willing to cut off a major source of already-limited electricity in order to not cross a threshold defined in an agreement that no other signatory is following. So they won’t stop producing this low-level enriched Uranium, and since they can’t sell the output, the stockpile keeps growing.

So the deal is kaput, and there is now casus belli for the US to strike. I hope today’s “emergency” and the big “pro-US” speech on Thursday with all the martial trapping isn’t the start of a new horror.


Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Which #@%^ Keeps Queuing Up ‘Moldy Oldies’ on the History Channel?!?

Is there a ‘President Eisehower face-palm’ gif out there somewhere?

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“I Have Never Made But One Prayer To God…

…’Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’…”

And, for us as well as Voltaire, “God granted it”:

More than 20,000 Christians have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Good Omens, the television series adapted from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 fantasy novel – unfortunately addressing their petition to Netflix when the series is made by Amazon Prime.

The six-part series was released last month, starring David Tennant as the demon Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale, who collaborate to prevent the coming of the antichrist and an imminent apocalypse.

The petition is the work of Return to Order — a program of the American Society for the Tradition, Family* and Property, which is itself a project of the Foundation for A Christian Civilization — all of which is tied up in radical right anti-Vatican 2 revanchism in its modern guise.  The group(s) is/are deeply offended by contraception, all things to do with same-sex relationships, and the entire notion of a secular democratic state. to be replaced, according to the Brazilian founder of the movement, by a feudal form of governance in which the husband exercises authority over his family, more powerful family heads over their lessers, and kings over all.

There is, of course, a whiff of sexual scandal in and about these defenders of family, tradition and all that property — the speediest of google searches turned up an abuser at a school run by one tentacle of these folks.

They are, in other words, radical authoritarians who want to establish religious dictatorships in which women are subordinated and non-extremely-conservative Christians (perhaps all non-Catholic followers of Jesus) will have a very rough go of it indeed.

So, nasty bits of work, but, as it appears from their so-well-placed howls of rage about a satiric comedy in which neither Satan nor his counterpart come off that well, not the sharpest implements of torture available to the Inquisition.

TL:DR — you can’t fix stupid, which we knew. You can’t repair self-righteousness either, and the stew you get when both combine is…


Open thread.

*Approved traditions do not, it seems, include the Oxford comma.

Image: Hieronymus Bosch, inner right wing (Hell) from The Garden of Earthly Delights, between 1480 and 1505.


Open Thread: Say It Ain’t So, Joe

I like Joe Biden — it’s hard not to — but this, if true, is just terrible. (I refuse to buy a sub to the WSJ, so I can’t read the whole article, and am open to the idea that they’re trying to shiv Biden as the ‘most electable Dem’ to their readership.) Very few actions are less likely to attract Democratic voters in 2020 than being suspected of ‘talking to big donors’ in order to ensure ‘good finance optics’ in advance. Even for someone who isn’t already widely caricatured as ‘(D-MBNA)’.

It does reinforce my suspicion that Biden is less interested in actually running than he is in… doing what’s required / unable to give up going through the motions / out of touch with what 2020 Democratic voters, specifically women and people of color, want from a President. Better to rest on your laurels, Uncle Joe — don’t break your spirit and our hearts relitigating the Reagan era!

An almost equally tragic trial balloon:

There’s been a great many reports about Biden and Stacey Abrams meeting privately last week. Although doing so would certainly attract a lot of ‘earned media’ (as the Village Idiot pundits prefer to refer to free media, since they are in every sense professionals), at least 75% of it would be derisory — and that’s not even counting Twitter snark. Frankly, I respect Abrams too much to think she’d fall for so cheap an attention grab.

Now, Beto O’Rourke, on the other hand — I think he’s the guy Biden’s backers had in mind in the first place. And I think he’s perfectly capable of saying, off the cuff at some coffeehouse rally, that he’d gladly accept Biden’s offer to serve in a Beto administration just as he did for President Obama. And wouldn’t *that* just set the horserace-tout media to squawking about Dems in disarray