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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Czech Is In the Male

The first Mrs. Fuckface Von Clownstick, who in the thirty-some years since the end of their marriage has plied her trade as a....well, let's say a spender of her ex-husband's alimony payments and a waster of good oxygen, has plastered her name on a book, or perhaps a "book."

At least the poor Atlantic reviewer got paid to wade through what sounds like a catty, self-serving mess, but you have to wonder what sort of damaged psyche shells out good money and time to do such a thing. Are they thinking there will be some sort of revelation about Herr Clownstick? Come on, that would constitute a violation of the NDA she signed at the divorce to get her lifetime stipend.

A common theme when it comes to public couples comprised of awful men and their trophy wives is to make some piteous assumption about what the wife has to put up with. The most popular current iteration of this is the Saturday Night Live skit portraying the current Mrs. Von Clownstick as some poor trapped bird in a gilded cage.

To put it mildly, such assumptions are beyond stupid. It's one thing if couples get married young and/or impetuously, before having enough time to get to know each other, and one of them turns out to be an asshole. It happens, and it's not always easy to extricate oneself from such a relationship.

But even by his first marriage he had already been sued for housing discrimination against minorities. All of his wives had ample warning that he's a terrible person. The simplest and most likely explanation is that the women are also terrible; they may not engage in the exact same types of behavior, but there is at least an implicit admission on their part that his money helps offset his awfulness.

Well, sorry, but that also implicates you, dearie. It takes a terrible person to stay with a terrible person and publicly enable their nasty behavior. That there is a financial calculation baked into all that does not absolve you from moral complicity. When that person literally is in a position to ruin the entire world, and constantly acts temperamentally disposed to do exactly that, the complicity is all the more concrete.

Countess Von Clownstick's main skills appear to be an ability to find rich available men, a desire to instill a sociopathic level of competitive behavior in her children (especially for completely useless activities such as Easter egg hunts and lemonade stands), and a bottomless well of unearned self-regard. She could be the honorary queen mother of the endlessly leg-humping Kardashian klan, especially in terms of adding utterly zero value to the world or what's left of a culture.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Maybe It's Just a Coincidence

If you haven't read Jane Mayer's excellent piece in the New Yorker on Mike Pence, get on it post-haste. Lots of good stuff in there, especially Jared Kushner's machinations to get rid of Chris Christie in favor of Pence, and let traitor Michael Flynn in the door after Christie had already warned about him.

But what's perhaps more interesting is the little tidbits of info Mayer includes about Mike Pence's older brother Gregory. He runs an antique store, he cites The Wizard of Oz as a metaphor for his mother's change in political views, and he uses the descriptive "fabulous" at one point.

I think you get the picture. I wonder if his fanatic brother has tried to "cure" him.

Season's Beatings

I'm gonna go ahead and get out in front of the inevitable moron war on Christmas bullshit right now, considering Snowflake decreed that we would all be saying "Merry Christmas" from now on, since the Kenyan Moooslin had forbade us under penalty of death to do so during the long cold winter of his two terms.

During the holiday season, I typically do say "Merry Christmas," but not this year, and maybe not again for quite some time. You don't tell me what to fucking say or not say, old man. Period.

Like the cynical use of the troops to push against basic First Amendment rights to openly dissent, to be a rebel or even an asshole, those lying closet-case valyews voters can kiss my entire ass, and then go eat shit and die in a fire. They are not christian in any real, honest sense of that word -- they hate poor people, want more guns, and have aligned themselves with a lifelong thief and liar, someone who bears false witness routinely, who violates at least three or four of their so-called commandments before his second brunch.

So they can take their Merry Christmas and fuck themselves in the goddamned neck with it -- I'll say it when I fucking well feel like it, and there's not a thing they or he or anyone can do about it.

Thank You for Your Service

Nearly two weeks ago, four Green Berets were ambushed and killed in action on a mission in the Saharan country of Niger. During that period of time, HRH Emperor Snowflake has visited his golf resort five times, and took Rand Paul out for a "make sure you let him win and tell the media what a great golfer he is" round (last week it was Huckleberry Closetcase's turn with Dear Leader). But he has neither called nor written the families of the fallen soldiers, nor publicly addressed their sacrifice. (Don't know or care if he tweeted about it; that doesn't count as formal communication from the office of the country's chief executive.)

So when he was called on it at today's hostage video with Mitch the Bitch, Snowflake started dancing like a kid with a late book report, first saying that he'd written letters over the weekend and that they'd be going out today, then falling back on the tried-and-untrue tactic of Making Shit Up About The Blah Guy. "Someone told him" that Obama didn't call or write, or maybe they didn't. It so hard to be sure when you're making it up as you go along, just pulling it out of your ass and not even bothering to brush the peanuts and corn off.

This is at least the third time this fucking guy has said something completely disrespectful to military personnel specifically. The first time was when he mocked John McCain, the second time when he trash-talked the family of fallen combat veteran Humayun Khan. There are no doubt other incidents, of varying degree of seriousness, that I'm forgetting for the moment. (Honorable mention:  "I know more than the generals about ISIS," when he clearly knows jack shit about anything, and it's disrespectful to their position, as well as the work they've put in to fighting that enemy.)

But of course as far as Snowflake and his retard fan-base are concerned, the real disrespect for the troops and the country comes from professional athletes silently taking a knee in principled dissent during the national anthem. That should tell you everything you need to know about him and them -- that their flag-humping and troop-pimping is as cynical as you can imagine. The military is nothing more than a prop to him, and like good little cult monkeys, they live and breathe in rhythm with him. We have always been at war with Eurasia.

On the one hand, this lying criminal monster is exactly the chief executive that a fat, illiterate empire deserves when it's fallen and can't get up. On the other hand, we need more voices like Gregg Popovich to speak up and tell him to fuck off already. Few things are more shameful than cynically hiding behind and lying about military personnel, particularly when they've given their lives for this country, for a senile moron who's never done a goddamned thing in his life for anyone else.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tyrannosaurus Sex

The tale of notorious douchebag Harvey Weinstein is a sordid but all-too-familiar one. Weinstein has been infamous for decades for his volatile temper, screaming at and physically threatening anyone who dares to publish anything he's not happy with. It's sort of ironic that what brings him down is his disgusting behavior with women.

I mean, seriously. You're one of the most successful movie producers in Hollywood -- you should have women throwing themselves at you, successful women and starlet wannabes. There should never be an instance where you have to coerce or use leverage to get sex, and frankly, a few of Weinstein's deeds sound like flat-out rape.

Maybe if Weinstein had played his cards right, he could have been elected to high office. I keed, I keed. But really, what is the qualitative difference between Weinstein and Clownstick, or Bill O'Reilly, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes? The last two would be the worst of that particular group, but the salient fact is that none of them will ever face any real repercussions for their behavior. The careers of Weinstein and Cosby are over now, and Weinstein is now facing what will likely be an expensive divorce, but that's about it.

But you can bet the story gives the Clownstick administration a serious orange old-man chub. For one, it serves as a distraction from the daily failures. Puerto Rico seems to have dropped off the mediot radar. Much easier for the chat shows to just sit and talk to each other about how awful Weinstein is (which, don't get me wrong, is 100% true, but it's been true for a very long time) than to send reporters to PR and get a look for themselves, talk to some residents, write an actual news story.

This lets one side, who elected a dirty old man who has bragged multiple times about accosting women and barging into dressing rooms, play some weird "hypocrisy" card, as if it wasn't the failing New York Times that broke the Weinstein story. And it lets the other side virtue-signal that they're willing to excoriate one of "their own" for such behavior, as if the example would resonate one millimeter beyond their own ideological borders.

Conservatives only care about sexual misbehavior when it's Harvey Weinstein or Anthony Weiner. When it's one of their own, they vacillate between didn't happen and fuck you. Liberals are consistent about punishing their own transgressors, but then seem surprised to find that it doesn't really change anything. This isn't about sex, it's about power, more specifically about powerful people using and abusing powerless people, which is a constant of the human condition.

Pretty sure it was in a Playboy 20 Questions interview in the early '90s, where Joe Pesci said, "Show business turns men into fags and women into whores." However that phrasing may put some people off, he's not wrong. One of the sicknesses of our culture is how badly some people allow themselves to be conditioned to seeking fame for its own sake. The promise of fame -- or even just being in close proximity to it -- gets some people to do things they ordinarily wouldn't.

Even a heaving fat sweaty tub of shit like Harvey Weinstein could get laid. This wasn't about getting laid. This was about a tubby schlemiel who never got a decent piece of ass until he was a wealthy Hollywood weasel trying to seduce Ashley Judd or Asia Argento or someone people had actually heard of. I produced her goddamned movie and got her an Oscar, the least Gwyneth Paltrow can do is give me a fucking handjob! That sort of thing.

And like Pesci, Weinstein wouldn't be entirely wrong in that assumption. It's one of the oldest what would you do for.... questions around. If giving a fat guy a handjob would make you a rich movie star and get you an Academy Award, would you do it? Probably most average people would say no, but a much higher percentage of people in the entertainment industry would say break out that dick. And that's the world guys like Weinstein and the rest of them live in.

Don't get me wrong; I find Gwyneth Paltrow to be insufferable, but I do not think she gave Harvey Weinstein a handjob, although I really don't care if she did. It's just an example to illustrate where the brains of people who function at Weinstein's level can easily be, if they have that kind of personality and temperament.

Despite the usual "casting couch" clichés that abound, I suspect that is the exception these days, rather than the rule it probably was back in the day. These are corporations with HR departments and risk-management protocols, and that sort of shit is bad for business. But if you put a dysfunctional person in that sort of position, of course he's going to exploit the opportunity and go after all the ass he can get. Dysfunction+Power=Bad Shit Happening. Who knew?

But again, the fact that a good chunk of the 'murkin media have gone off after this particular squirrel, while 3 million Americans continue to suffer without food or electricity or gasoline, and the turd stinking up the Oval Office continues to rage-tweet the voices in his head, speaks volumes.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Put a Cork In It

It's nice that Bob Corker has put His Travesty on notice that he's not taking any of his shit, but Corker was one of the "serious" Republicans that gave his approval to candidate Clownstick, and as such, is part owner of this shithead, no matter how much he tries to disown him now. When Corker actually does something concrete, then he can come out of his "go fuck yourself" corner.

They all try to hide behind the notion that they "reasonably" assumed that the gravitas of the job and the Oval Office and all that was going to transform Shit-for-Brains into a serious man. Someone needs to tell them that such a thing was never a reasonable assumption. Everyone except cheap hucksters and soulless political opportunists saw this coming.

Clownstick is who he has always been, and who he always will be. There is no other side. What you see has always been what you've gotten, and to his credit, he's never pretended otherwise. All along, media monkeys and common taters and other such unaccountable dipshits just assumed it was all bluster, hyperbole, showmanship, whatever. It's like it never occurred to any of them that maybe he's really just an asshole.

Now they know. Well, fuck them, and fuck Bob Corker. They all own whatever this monster has already done, and what he'll do in the days and weeks to come. War with Iran and/or North Korea, the corrosion of previously boilerplate free-speech rights; the incitement of rage, anger, hateful nonsense; the active pitting of Americans against each other in order to deflect from the constant, rolling incompetence.

Political realists from both major parties, people who would classify as more or less "true" conservatives and liberals in the heretofore conventional sense, saw all this happening, and correctly sussed Mister Man's temperament well before he suddenly became viable. The only surprise since then is that he's somehow managed to turn out to be dumber, crueler, more childish -- and very possibly demented and/or mentally ill -- than most people would have guessed.

But the people who chose to ignore what was right in front of them, what he was directly telling them over and over, thinking they could ride his coattails or diaper band or whatever bulges his fat ass out the way it does, they own it. All of it. It's up to them whether they want to step up now and do something to salvage what's left of their reputations. It's tough to imagine what's stopping them; it's not like he can turn them into a jack-in-the-box or send them into a cornfield. The money people who own him right now will find someone else to rent after he's gone, whether now or later. But they might want to get on the right side of this while there's still time.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Tea for the Tillerson

Everyone's aflutter about how Secretary of Oil State Tex Drillerson accurately described the emperor as a fucking moron. But as this extensive profile shows, while Drillerson himself isn't a moron, he's not exactly a genius either. Consider this episode from just a few weeks ago, at the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) meeting of the signatory nations:
Tillerson took the microphone and began again, his voice unwavering. The real problem, he said, was that Iran had been attacking Americans since 1979, when Iranian students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held fifty-two diplomats for more than a year. “The modern-day U.S.-Iran relationship is now almost forty years old,” he went on, still looking at Zarif. “It was born out of a revolution, with our Embassy under siege—and we were very badly treated.” He enumerated Iranian-sponsored attacks in Lebanon in the nineteen-eighties and in Iraq more recently, which together killed hundreds of American citizens. “The relationship has been defined by violence—against us,” he said.

Tillerson wondered aloud whether the entire effort to improve relations with Iran wasn’t doomed by history. “We have more pounds, and our hair is gray,” he said. “Maybe we don’t have it in our capacity to change the nature of this relationship, because we are bound by it—maybe we leave it to the next generation to try.” He thought for a moment. “I don’t know. I’m not a diplomat.”

As Lavrov, muttering loudly in Russian, stood and led his assistants out of the room, the meeting broke up, with the officials talking in hushed tones about what had happened. For proponents of the nuclear deal, it was an unacceptably risky bit of brinkmanship. For the [Snowflake] Administration, it was an ideal expression of a bellicose new foreign policy, based on the campaign promise of America First. An aide to Tillerson later told me, “It was one of the finest moments in American diplomacy in the last fifty years.”
[emphasis mine]

Consider that for a second:  the top American diplomat conducts a sensitive negotiation that directly affects the national security strategy by asserting that he is not a diplomat.

Even if you give Drillerson some benefit of the doubt and assume that the comment was his way of framing the supposed intractability of the US-Iran impasse, this is an amazingly stupid and unproductive strategy, assuming your goal is to avoid a completely unnecessary war. Maybe we shouldn't assume that.

The larger strategic implications are even more counterproductive. We've clearly signaled the Iranians that there is no upside to making any concessions to enter into a non-proliferation treaty with us, since we've done everything possible to undermine it. The signal is equally clear to North Koreans that they shouldn't even bother to negotiate with us, since our word is no good.

Perhaps most dangerous of all is the signal being sent to our most important allies and friends (and, you know, Russia). This is yet another instance in which they have to decide whether to go on without us, since we have shown the world that no one else matters, and that we are more than willing to shoot ourselves in the foot if it gives us an excuse to tell everyone else to go fuck themselves.

This is poker of the highest stakes, being played by middling checkers players who don't really care about the outcome. It's a dangerous game, and we're all going to get burned. But hey, Big Daddy Cheeto gets to pretend to be a tough guy again, right? The scariest part is imagining who this toxic dipshit will select to replace Drillerson in the coming days when he decides he's had enough.

Uncle Sam's Cabin

Via Charles Pierce, here's a little tale that oughta make your blood boil. The entire article is excerpt-worthy; suffice to say that there's a modernized version of the old southern work farms going on here, except this one is a food-industry-created temp agency where the "employees" don't get paid at all.

Should anyone be surprised that this particular slave-diversion outlet pretends to be a christian rehab, even though most of the "participants" have committed no drug-related crimes? No more than one would be surprised that the vile cow overseeing this scam is well-paid, runs some of the slaves to work her daughter's egg farm, etc.

Most exposés of the ever-expanding, ever-more-privatized carceral state focus (with good reason) on the disproportionate ratio of minority inmates exploited and abused under the system. But it's really a socioeconomic issue -- the slave drivers are just as happy to exploit poor whites as they are any other poor person. The race of the exploited person doesn't matter nearly as much as the captivity of the victim, the complete inability to fight back or resist against the evil perpetrated on them.

Considering the article mentions plenty of popular food brands that buy product from these slave farms, it would be nice to think some sort of economic pressure could be pushed onto these companies. In the real world, however, this is an unfortunate fart in a now endless hurricane. Beef is relatively easy to buy locally sourced, chicken much less so. But maybe if enough people hear about this atrocity, these monsters can be shut down and shunned.

In the meantime, this serves as an apt metaphor for the way our wonderful world really is:  you're either profiting from the racket, or being victimized by it. That's their ultimate goal.

The Devil In Miss Jones

If our ongoing cold civil war ever goes hot, be sure to send Alex Jones a thank you card. Not that it will matter, since he'll have gotten his fondest wish.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

No Bubble! No Bubble! You're the Bubble!

I've enjoyed (most of) Michael Moore's schtick and work for decades, starting with Roger and Me, and undeniably powerful evisceration of corporate greed and lies. But his inane critiques at supposed "bubble" liberals have taken on the catechistic sheen of a mindless dogma, untroubled by critical thought or intellectual honesty.

There's no second-guessing Moore's unfortunate accuracy as a political prognosticator; he predicted Clownstick winning six months before it happened, when catfished pollsters and punch-drunk journamalists were veering between snickering at the folly and regaling the slow-motion collapse of his futile campaign. So much for the smart set, right?

But Moore has said his share of stupid, unhelpful shit as well. In Moore's view, liberals are in the bubble, as are New York and Hollywood. It's never the hallowed opioid havens of his sacred rust belt ghost towns that might need to listen to other people once in a while, or maybe get at least some of their "facts" from somewhere other than Fixed Noise and reality teevee.

No, it's always, always Moore's supposed ideological compadres that need to listen to....well, to be honest, I have no idea what precisely we're supposed to be hearing. Because countless journos have spelunked up 'murka's gaping asshole, vainly trying to get the perfect post-mortem from Real 'murkins. I've read far too many of them, and most of them make no sense at all (I just trust him), or rely on things we know to be flat-out lies (he's a great businessman with a history of turning things around).

Just as stupid is Moore's vapid assertion that liberals should watch Celebrity Apprentice and American Idol and The Bachelorette (as if, you know, none of them ever do). Leaving aside the momentary surprise that he left out Duck Dynasty and the various Real Housewives franchises, again I would ask Moore if he's ever suggested to "them" that they watch something that "we" supposedly all watch. I've never seen any of those shows, and I never will, though I am aware of them thanks to endless commercials and The Soup. Life's too short to actually sit through that mess.

If other people want to rot their brains on that shit, more power to them. But it adds nothing to the discussion, although it does explain the bizarre epistemology in play with that generalized demographic. They probably throw money they don't have at millionaire megachurches and televangelists, and trust the astrology section of their newspapers. Should we faithless heathens entreaty those ethereal demons as well?

Think about it, in the context of the five aforementioned shows, and how what those shows really entail dovetails with the electoral reasoning Moore implores us smug smarties to plug into, for some insane reason. Let's take those shows (are they still even on?) one at a time:
  • Celebrity Apprentice:  Slightly well-known people, fallen on hard times, compete to start a fake business that they will never run, and are judged by a fake billionaire who pretends to fire them, one by one. Proceeds go to the Human Fund!
  • American Idol:  Do they still do that thing in the first few weeks where they humiliate really untalented wannabes on-camera? Boy, that whole William Hung thing was just awesome, wasn't it? Good times. Aside from Carrie Underwood, have any of the finalists or winners really "made it", whatever "it" is these days?
  • The Bachelorette:  I think I made the analogy at some point during the campaign that maintaining the belief that Clownstick is a good or even competent businessman is roughly equal to believing that the "winners" in these stupid hookup shows actually get married or even engaged. If I want to watch people fuck in a hot tub, I'll just go to XHamster or something. But Moore's ZOMG! She chose Thorn instead of Brick! fangirl gushing as a serious example of the sort of Real 'murkin decision-makin' that smug bubble-libruls must embrace is just embarrassing to read. Seriously, dude, take some testosterone supplements and eat a steak, before you find yourself on the same menstrual cycle as these suckers.
  • Duck Dynasty:  Fake hillbillies who spout real jingoism. Their main selling point seems to be that they actually like each other and pray before dinner. [mimes jerkoff motion] Oh, and the patriarch has a side hustle going around to mega-churches and political campaigns spouting off about how fags are like dog-fuckers. He was at the Roy Moore rally the other night, so there's that.
  • Real Housewives:  A bunch of botoxed, fake-tit cunts trying to out-cunt each other. Bitch I'll pull yo weave!
I've said it since the first season of Survivor, and my opinion has not changed one iota:  reality teevee is the most noxious, toxic spew to permeate the boob tube. It's ruined this country to an incalculable degree. It's certainly made some people visibly dumber, less lucid, less cognizant of the real world around them. It's (literally) mindless escapism, and nothing more. Your brain would be less polluted by watching keyboard-cat and log-fireplace videos all day.

What reality teevee does -- and again, though I really have never directly watched any of it, I've read reviews and critiques here and there over the years, been inundated with commercials and promos and news items about the various "winners" and "contestants", and hate-watched The Soup during the Joel McHale years, so I have a pretty good idea -- is culturally unhealthy and corrosive in the aggregate. It wallows primarily in these main traits:
  • Cutthroat behavior and backstabbing.
  • Public humiliation.
  • Toxic behavior.
Perhaps the most pernicious aspect is the rather obvious issue that it's not any more real than professional wrestling. Everything is in fact scripted and scrupulously edited toward a pre-planned outcome. The whole thing is meticulously staged, if at times to conform to flash polls and the like. Many of the reality teevee fans I know personally seem to watch at least several of them, all the time. The "seasons" are scheduled so as to be constant; there is no "off-season" anymore for this sort of hastily-crafted discount programming.

Imagine letting this crap through your eyes and ears to steadily erode your cerebellum for going on two decades now. What do you think that does to your perception of "reality"? Throw in the more recent epistemological conveniences of social media, and you have a sizable contingent of addled people who are being poked with a culture-war stick. They can pick which "facts" and "reality" suit them best, and since they have eroded their capacity to discern or care what is empirically "true," they simply act on pure id and volition.

In fact, this is an ideal situation for them. As mentioned in a recent post, this is also a contingent that routinely fetishizes the symbols and ceremonies of "democracy" as they perceive it, but they are actively hostile toward the actual principles of democracy, especially free speech that they disagree with, especially when it comes from uppity black folks.

So it's dismaying to see Moore throw in with the tedious rube-whisperer lectures of the likes of Mudcat Saunders and Chris Arnade and such. It's a sucker's bet; either you take seriously the reasons and principles why you believe in and agree with conventionally "liberal" ideals, and you try to find ways to bring other reasonable people into the fold, or you don't.

Someone who addles their brain with reality teevee, watched Fixed Noise for their "information," and hasn't read a book in years, is not a serious person. At all. That doesn't mean you write them off completely, but it does mean you don't waste the effort of crafting a significant part of your party strategy around catering to their dipshit notions.

In 2008, Barack Obama won by the largest margin -- by far -- since Reagan in 1984. The Democrats took a supermajority in the Senate, and a considerable majority in the House. Did you see any "important" or "influential" conservative "thinkers" imploring the rubes to maybe take a look across the aisle and see why Obama won? Did any of them crank out any sort of Listen, Conservative jabber?

Even the current "heterodox" conservative writers who do lambaste the base, such as Kevin Williamson and J.D. Vance, are not encouraging those folks to listen to ideas from the "other side" in order to synthesize some sort of magical winning coalition that can actually get shit done. They're simply telling the goobers on their side to get their shit together and start taking responsibility for themselves. They sure as hell aren't telling them to watch The Wire and listen to Beyoncé.

Look. None of this is to say that all pop culture is shit, and all the people who enjoy it are stupid. The problem is Moore's thesis that centers the most vapid pop culture artifacts as some sort of barometer for understanding the mindset of the average American. And the sad fact is that if Moore is correct in that estimation, then we are waaayyyyy more fucked than we can possibly imagine.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Twilight of Hot Take Nation

I don't have any pithy thoughts on What Happened In Las Vegas. It's tragic, but not unexpected; as mentioned here countless times, we have become inured to the mayhem, accustomed to thinking of these events as the cost of doing business. So this is the cost, an annual blood sacrifice of several dozen innocent lives, so that the oppressive state doesn't impose too harshly on the rights of lawful gun users.

It would be no surprise at all to find that Stephen Paddock had no political agenda whatsoever, that he was neither a Clownstick hater nor supporter, just a lone nut with lots of legally obtained firearms. This is the inadvertently nasty trick the founding fathers played on later generations, the blank insistence that any citizen has an absolute right to any sort of weapon they desire, no test for qualification or competence.

There are, I believe some exculpatory perspectives on the absolutism of the Second Amendment. The main one is that, in societies with real gun control, there is an overt emphasis on the "monopoly of force" that is to be the prerogative of the state. Technically, if the state apparatus is popularly elected and supported, then said force should represent a willful and lawful majority of the citizens, versus the accumulated stockpiles of regional warlords and assorted cranks. Still, the view is at odds with the actual history and culture of the United States.

Second to that is the hoary but still true analogy that we don't take everyone's cars away when some dipshit careens through a farmers' market and takes out a dozen pedestrians. (Of course, we do test for driver competence, but go out on any given road for, say, fifteen minutes, and try to keep count of how many morons you encounter.)

People can and do go back and forth on all the facets of this issue, with the usual results. Whatever else you may hear over the coming week, however cynical or political or naively idealistic, the bottom line is this:  the cost of not changing is not yet greater than the cost of changing. This is the operative axiom for any major (or even moderate) societal change, period. It is as universal a law as gravity.

Tragically, in a geographically secure nation of 320 million people, you probably never reach that point of equilibrium where gun control laws would be implemented across the nation. There is too much invested in the rhetoric of "states' rights" and "tradition" and that sort of thing. Even standardizing basic background checks and waiting periods would be impossible.

If the Sandy Hook massacre -- a crazy asshole using his mommy's Bushmaster rifle to murder a classroom full of first-graders -- didn't change anything, you unfortunately have to start considering the moral calculus at work here. It's a ghoulish exercise in reverse engineering:  what would it take to get meaningful gun control laws across the country, 100, 200, 500 people? What is the benchmark, the casualty count at which enough people say, "Okay. Fuck this."? Seriously, try to conjure up a suitable number and setting for yourself.

The really strange thing about all this is that Americans are notoriously willing -- eager, in fact -- to embrace any manner of intrusions for the illusion of security. We'll stand in line for hours on end to be randomly searched and probed by TSA schmucks so's we can fly to Hawaii; we've passively accepted the mass surveillance of our emails and online communiques; we routinely let overzealous Barney Fife types push us around at traffic stops. Considering the statistical facts that fewer individuals own more guns, it's weird that the majority of 'murkins seem to be fine with this absolutism when it comes to gun rights.

So this is all old, well-trod ground. We've been hashing this bullshit out for as long as I care to remember, while the NRA continued -- and still does -- to build political influence on the bodies of the slain, fear-mongering to the fearful and paranoid.

What's more interesting (to me, anyway) is the meta aspect of it all -- the collective commentary on the event, then the secondary commentary on the initial commentary, etc. Something like this:  The Gateway Pundit retard posts a bullshit item about the shooting, it gets carried on Facebook because Zuckerberg gives less than a quarter of a fuck about anything besides raking in dough, and lowly bloggerses futilely attempt to clear up the facts as they are known. And nothing results from any of it, ever.

This dynamic has become at best a collective catharsis, a tacit acknowledgement that we are well and truly screwed, and can't do jack shit about it but complain and hope that the benevolent aliens hear us. And then we're all right back at square one for the next one, like it'll turn out any different. This is a classic death spiral; if you had a cousin like this, you'd get together with family and hold an intervention, if only to register your concerns before it was "too late."

I think it's too late, in many respects. When it comes to the daily concern of how to manage the mad emperor, I have a reasonable level of competence that Bob Mueller has unearthed at least enough evidence to shame and disempower him, if not remove him from power outright.

But that does fuck-all about the disease of which Snowflake is but a nasty symptom -- it brings no jobs back, it doesn't lessen the causes or effects of ongoing climate change, it doesn't get opposing cadres of 'murkins out of each others' collective asses, stoked by the ministrations of the orange insect overlord.

The commentariat --- and hell, I'll even throw myself in as a barnacle on the hull of internets discussion -- is as bad as the "conventional" mediots at this point. We can all poke fun at the media monkeys dancing to the corporate tune, penned in at a rally, having to contend with barely ambulatory morons screaming at them and flipping them off, and dutifully transcribing the proceedings like a bunch of assholes. But we bloggerses are much the same, meta-commenting and snarking and such like, but not really affecting anything meaningful. Yes, so-and-so is a certifiable, provable asshole, but the proof means nothing when said asshole just got elected, because enough of your fellow countrymen are toxic douchebags.

Maybe this is what a dying post-industrial empire looks like:  everyone endlessly commenting on everyone else and nobody listening, just shoveling shit into an entropic void.