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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

American Carnage

And crows will eat your eyes. -- Motörhead, Traitor

I promise that I don't intend to make a habit of breaking radio silence, especially just a couple weeks after making a show of pulling the plug, but the events at the Capitol building on January 6th bear some consideration and discussion that I am missing in most of the mediocracy pow-wows so far. Watching the events unfold live, I realized I hadn't had such visceral feelings of genuine revulsion and anger since watching the second plane hit the World Trade Center.

Others have already brought up the 9/11 comparisons. But the thing is, if we are careless in pursuing true accountability and making it sting, the event may actually turn out to be closer to Fort Sumter. I know I've scoffed at the possibility of a true "civil war" dynamic in the past, and I still strongly believe that the lack of foresight, coordination, strategy, or even any aligned goal prevents these people from doing much in the way of setting up an actual competing governmental system.

But that doesn't mean they can't do a lot of damage and kill a lot of people giving it a try.

There appears to be genuine anger on the Democratic side, and a desire for real accountability and even retribution, and that's a great start. This is not something that can just be "let go" for the sake of comity. Many media observers were quick to frame the rioters as "domestic terrorists," and that too is good and necessary. Anyone shying away from those terms and that framing is in on the con, period.

There is nothing to be discussed or broached or reconciled with these rioters. At all. They are traitors and insurrectionists. Fuck them and their "Camp Auschwitz" and "6MWE (6 Million [Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust] Wasn't Enough)" tee-shirts. Fuck their treasonous flags, devoted to one individual rather than a show of loyalty to their country.

I am not joking in the slightest, nor trying to be polemic, when I say that as many of them as possible should be summarily tried in open hearings, and immediately after sentencing, lined up against a wall and shot. In an earlier time, they would have been gibbeted and immured, as a warning to others. Some of them are military. They should be court-martialed and sentenced to death. The death sentence can be commuted to life without parole at the Florence Supermax, or it can be carried out. I really don't give a shit which. They can dump these assholes into a filled swimming pool and toss a fucking toaster in for all I care.

At least some of those poor bastards back in the day, the folks who ended up in the gibbet, had legitimate grievances. These dopes have nothing but the nonsense they've been spoonfed by the lifelong liar Trump and his booze-soaked sidekick Ghouliani, who is probably lining up yet another thirsty pig to receive his slobbering, grotesque sexual overtures.

It has already been noted by multiple observers that it was just a damned lucky break that of the hundreds of legislators and staffers that were forced to quickly evacuate and hide and barricade themselves for hours, none of them were found and dragged and beaten or executed by the braying mob of traitorous slapdicks. Again, it wasn't for lack of trying.

There was a forty-foot gallows erected outside the building. How do you like them apples? Amazing what you can get away with when you're the right shade.

Another thing we need to understand fully is that all of this is exactly what he promised before the election -- and before the 2016 election. If I lose, it's because the election is rigged. Remember that, both times? Heads I win, tails you lose. There are always suckers -- people still purchase music and clothing from Kanye West. There will always be enough impressionable morons to make something happen, through deception and repetition. It's even easier when you have an entire teevee network at your disposal.

As the usual weasels start retconning excuses and strategems for "unity" (with what, precisely? Be specific, show your work, and your plan to get there from here.) and the like, we all need to consider the sort of craven individuals who make such proposals.

Imagine the sort of person who was in very real danger, whose colleagues and employees were in very real physical danger as well, and yet a couple days later, are bleating mealy noises about how we mustn't do anything at all to enrage these terrorists any further.

They were openly shouting for Mike Pence to be hung at their makeshift gallows. They were looking for Pelosi, for Schumer, for whoever they could tase and zip-tie into submission, for their fantasy show-trials. Oh no, we better not do anything to enrage them! Jesus H. Christ.

If you do not know your enemy by now, and truly understand them as such, you never will. I don't know what to tell such people, since they are clearly unyoked from any sort of moral compass, but are welded to a compelling motive of personal profit and ambition. Anyone insisting on a mitigation of accountability is a clear enemy of this country and all of its citizens, and needs to be treated accordingly. Let's not overthink this. They told us who they are, over and over again. At some point, it might be time to take them at their word.

The most important thing to consider about their weird collective psychosis is how they see themselves -- and each other, for that matter. Now, there is some money peppered through these crowds at certain nodes. All that faggy cult swag costs money, as does the tacticool gear, the trips all over the country to the rallies and the be-ins, like deadheads that took the brown acid and chased it with a bucket of Wild Turkey that had been left in the sun for a month.

But you can tell that the median morlock in these crowds is a goddamned loser -- not because their education abruptly halted somewhere around their seventeenth birthday, but because they felt at that point that they had learned and known enough, enough for the rest of their lives. And everything they've done in their lives since those critical decision points, every job and every relationship they've stumbled into and shouted themselves out of, reflects that outlook on life.

The word "loser" should be taken literally here, but like all such folks, they need to envision themselves as victims of circumstance, of the machinations of some malevolent force or baroque conspiracy. It can't just be that you're a willfully ignorant bum with anger management issues. It's always someone else's fault.

And now they're in their forties or fifties, these median dopes, their best years long behind them, and there warn't too many of those in the first place. They don't know much, but they know that much. The only thing they have to look forward to, the thing that informs what passes for their political sentiments, is the hope of pulling as many of their fella 'murkins down to the same level.

Remember the ancient joke about the campers awakened by the approaching bear, how you don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the other campers? Well, imagine the sort of person that just wants to be the bear.

But because these people still see themselves as good people, as decent people, they did what all delusional people do and crafted a story that casts themselves as heroes rather than villains. The crucible of social media, and the common bond of the Q mythos, enabled them to quickly forge a more solid and sweeping narrative for themselves, noble hobbitses headed for Mount Doom to thwart the satanic pedophile cabal headed by Hitlery Clinton.

Did I get all that right? Does it matter? The main thing is that it gives them the excuses and the rhetorical cover they need in order to strive for something they know is monstrous. It doesn't matter that the strike dates of the Q mythos keep shifting, like doomsday predictions from crackpot preachers. It doesn't matter that Trump can't show a single tangible accomplishment that would benefit any of them. It doesn't even matter that Trump turned on Pence -- and even on them -- by essentially conceding the day after the riot, by acknowledging that there would indeed be a transfer of power on January 20th.

Some of them will squawk about betrayal and such, but their hearts aren't in it. After all, they have nowhere else to go. I don't mean the garden-variety asshole coworker or uncle we all have in our lives; I mean specifically the individuals at the rallies, at the Capitol riot. I mean the sort of person who seriously thought that if they bum-rushed the Capitol cops, smeared shit on the walls and vandalized the place good and proper, maybe dragged a couple of heretics out to the makeshift gallows and strung 'em up, that the other 330 million of us would just roll over and go, Oh, okay guys, we see your point now. I guess we can go ahead and flip the script for Fat Orange Elvis' second term. No fucking problem.

No, the people who invaded the halls of American governance last Wednesday afternoon have nowhere else to go, politically, morally, spiritually. These are people who have alienated every sensible person who was in their lives, who have moved on without them. These are people who have been rolling around in an impermeable hamster ball of epistemic closure.

Ted Kaczynski holed himself up in a hundred-square-foot cabin in the remote wilderness, with nothing but his jotted musings and his increasingly fevered aspirations. Imagine if the Unabomber had been able to stew and commiserate for years with like-minded souls in members-only Fakebook groups, steadily bringing each others' sentiments and outlook to a rolling boil.

Cold, alone, and alive
You're afraid but that's not what I asked. Wanna go for a ride?
Sharpen your teeth, my darlings, sharpen your minds
Take a finger -- if the hand feeds you shit, take one scalp at a time. -- Them Crooked Vultures, Spinning In Daffodils

We have a crisis in our angry-yokel population, to be sure (best one I've seen so far is Coup Klux Klan), but it seems to me that the real -- and sorely under-reported -- crisis is in law enforcement, a term becoming an oxymoron on the level of jumbo shrimp or Holy Roman Empire.

We saw it all last summer, the beatdowns of unarmed college kids and elderly trespassers, in city after city after city. Violence occurred, and buildings were set ablaze, but in countless videos, it was rarely the Molotov cocktail chuckers who were getting the batons, but mostly the passive, unarmed resistors.
 
We've all just come to accept it, since the only people who can do anything about it refuse to. But the actions and behavior of the Capitol Police on January 6th indicate a non-zero percentage of officers and leadership who are coup sympathizers at best, and sabotaging moles at worst. They let these hooting yokels right in to do as they pleased, and escorted them out and down the steps when they were done. They risked the lives of their own fellow officers, and got one of their own killed.  Arrests were comically few and mostly late in the day, after media figures had already been openly questioning their, ah, dedication to their job.

One thing for sure is that they were fucking terrible at their job that day, the Capitol Police. How the hell is it that the terrorists plan openly online for weeks in advance, with the date, time, and location, and there's no preparation whatsoever, no barricades, no reinforcements, no orders to use force early and often? They had bike racks that the terrorists swiped and used as ladders to climb the walls.

Not to mention the fact that this entire time -- during the Capitol invasion and even last weekend in Frankfort, Kentucky -- there have been cells of armed white supremacists menacing state capitals across the country. Kansas, Oregon, Washington, Michigan. They're planning more leading up to the 20th. No one is doing a goddamned thing about any of it. Wonder why that is.

This is not just a constitutional crisis. This is a very real crisis in "law enforcement" and what that entails, quite literally. You have an entire class of people who are held completely unaccountable, who are legally immunized from everything they do, no matter how awful. In the cities, they are militarized, and far more powerful than the legally elected city councils and mayors and such. They decide which laws to enforce, and how rigorously, and upon whom.
 
Their choices in those regards should be clear to all right now. It's certainly clear to the terrorists. They knew they wouldn't be touched, and they were right. Hell, they were given directions to Schumer's office. They put their feet up on Pelosi's desk. They took selfies with these paragons of law and order.

There is no justice if laws are not enforced equally. This is so obvious that it shouldn't need to be said. Yet here we are. It's good that people are finally saying it out loud. But as much effort as it's going to take to send the treasonous cockroaches scuttling back to their swamp caves, it's going to take ten times that effort -- a hundred times -- to weed out all the sympathizers and the thugs and the fascists that infest every level of this nation's law enforcement services.
 
I honestly don't think it's doable, and it's a real problem. We'll see on January 20th, for starters; now that one of their own came up as a casualty of their malicious incompetence, the CP have to at least make a half-hearted show of force for whatever inaugural recognition is taking place that day. Maybe we should all send them reminders to put on their fucking calendars.
 
Some of the assholes are coming back for seconds, and some new assholes are planning on showing up as well. They've printed up tee-shirts and everything, with the date and location. Maybe you should prepare, you know, just in case. Like a security type of thing.

And then people will go back to what they were doing, assuming that the foot-dragging agencies and entities entrusted with making these fuckers pay dearly will actually do their jobs. I have a feeling we'll be disappointed in that regard, which will only embolden them for the next round, for the eventual Tim McVeigh type who isn't a booger-eating cartoon character, but a trained, focused, committed killer.
 
There's been a lot of close calls with this sort of thing lately. Think about how close the governor of Michigan came to being kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by a cell of these "militia" dinks a few months back. You only get so many rolls of the dice before they come up snake eyes.
 
I hope I'm wrong. As of now, it looks like impeachment will happen, as will an effort to expel the treasonous congress-critters who fomented and supported this bullshit. Let them all swing for it.

Now, the right of revolution is an inherent one. When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of the oppression, if they are strong enough, either by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting a government more acceptable. But any people or part of a people who resort to this remedy, stake their lives, their property, and every claim for protection given by citizenship--on the issue. Victory, or the conditions imposed by the conqueror--must be the result. 
-- President Ulysses S. Grant

Let's be clear -- the people who showed up to storm the seat of American governance (such as it is) are not good people, nor are they patriots. They don't give a fuck about this country, only their nihilistic death cult. They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, or they're just going to do it again and again until they succeed. The people defending them and attempting to find points of "reconciliation" are even worse -- they know better and actually have power to do the right thing, but choose not to.
 
They don't want unity or justice, they want appeasement. They want reassurances that once again, for the umpteenth time, angry crackers have the "right" to expect leniency and complaisance. I don't know who they think they're fooling with this bullshit, but it ain't happening anymore. They bought the ticket, they can take the ride.

It's not all grim -- for starters, Sheldon Adelson is dead, as are Josh Hawley's presidential ambitions. Ted Cruz is finding himself more and more on an island. The Powers That Really Be have at long last decided that Fuckface Von Clownstick's antics really are bad for business, and so they are pulling the plug on the whole black op. Assholes are getting deplatformed, and it is glorious to watch them vent and preen in futility.

(Anyone starting in with that "freeze peach" bullshit can go right on ahead and fuck themselves with a pineapple. Not only are you not "free" to organize terrorist attacks and incite violence, you're definitely not free to use someone else's private business to do that shit. I mean seriously, have any of these morons ever even skimmed a EULA? The same question keeps coming up with Trump and all of his dupes -- are these people really that fucking stupid, or is it that they think everyone else is dumb enough to believe their bullshit?)
 
And in fact, so many of these dopes seem determined to prove that they're even stupider than they seem, which is always entertaining. The best part was when some of them -- led, to be fair, by their elite mouthpieces in the media and rump House insurgency caucus -- tried to blame the dreaded antifa. This would be the part in every cult where the cultists prove their loyalty by faithfully regurgitating something that they know not to be true, while insisting that it must be true because the leader said so.
 
Both the cultists and the leader understand this dynamic between them -- the leader knows that the flock know this thing to be false, yet prove themselves to him with this test. If he wanted a night with each of their wives and daughters instead, they'd gladly grant him that. That's not an exaggeration -- it's a death cult. They have shown over and over again that they are willing to die for him, willing to commit acts of violence and kill for him. It's not hyperbole. As dumb as they are, they are dangerous people and need to be treated as such. This goes for the petit bourgeoisie assholes who showed up, every bit as much as for the cartoon characters we mostly saw.

But the idea that any antifa-BLM type of counter-protester was anywhere near there, much less staging a false-flag incident in the midst of the real mob, is of course ludicrous. Here's a few things that should be said in response every time someone tries to pull that line:
  • Gee, it's too bad none of the Real 'murkin Patriots there was able to stop them.
  • If they were antifa, the cops would have actually beaten and arrested them.
  • Even if they were antifa, prosecute and imprison them just the same.
  • I don't believe that you really believe that. We know you know better.
That settles that. The other darkly humorous aspect was in a couple of the terrorist deaths. One asshole tased himself in the balls and had a heart attack, while trying to steal a portrait of Tip O'Neill. One gal got trampled while carrying her "Don't Tread On Me" flag.

You can't say the writers aren't pulling out all the stops this season.

I also enjoy reading the perfunctory, anonymized accounts of how dismayed and disheartened the various minions and dogsbodies have become. Their professional and personal ambitions thwarted, because it turns out that white-shoe law firms not only are notoriously gun-shy about hiring nazis, they also aren't terribly interested in hiring the assistant to the regional nazi. Who would have thought?

I'd say their choices are clear:  they can assess their role in this ongoing catastrophe, and how much time and effort they put into it, and come up with an honest multiplier, and put that amount of time and effort into some charitable pursuit -- helping the unhoused; rescuing animals; distributing vaccines; penning public apologia for being fucking scumbags and promising to do better with their given time in this mortal plane.
 
So, for example, the kid who brings Dear Leader his Diet Coke every hour can just do a 1:1 or 1.5:1 amount of time in such a pursuit. Kayleigh MagaNinny, on the other hand, needs at least a decade or so at a truly charitable pursuit that doesn't line her pockets, a place where she can truly contemplate what an awful facsimile of a human she let herself become. (Recalling, of course, that like so many of these interchangeable minions, she was vocally anti-Clownstick before she started cashing his checks.)
 
Or they can all go back to their respective homes, eat one final cheeseburger and jerk off one last time, and blow their fucking brains out. I really don't care which they choose, so long as we are spared any additional public navel-gazing from these dismal parasites, who take and destroy and lie and perpetuate their seedy little hustles, and then expect us to feel sorry for them when it predictably blows up in their faces.
 
Even allowing for the incredibly unlikely conditions I propose above, even where there might happen to be some form of genuine contrition and regret, none of them should be allowed anywhere near the levers of real governmental power again. They've already shown what they're capable of. There are plenty of people who can do government service right. There's no reason to try to rehabilitate traitors and failsons and shitheads. Again, if any of them had any real sense of shame, they'd have already done the right thing. Their problem is that they've been seen for what they are. Head on back home to Goatfuck, Missourah, and prepare to spend the rest of your sad life running dad's Kia dealership.

To listen to the plaints of these turds is to listen to their boss, the impotent threats implied in a cascade of wheedling and cajoling. It's like it never occurred to any of these assholes that it's possible to make money and be happy without being a complete piece of shit, without surrendering your soul.

I try to conjure an image of the sort of person whose biggest ambition is to push ass for Rupert Murdoch's red-baiting agitprop network, or to defend resource extractors and poisoners, to cash those fat checks and spend it on slightly better bottles of single-malt, a slightly bigger McMansion in a slightly better neighborhood, a slightly newer XUV to drive to the Whole Foods. People who think that that's all there is to life, all that's worth having and doing. People who will align and attach themselves to the lowest types in order to fulfill those empty dreams.

They're as bad as the rest of them, really. They hide behind their uptown degrees and their family connections, but they're willing to con violent rubes into doing the wetwork, they're willing to affix their lips to the rump of the despot, regardless of the souls he chooses to squish in his ascent to fleeting greatness and vainglorious conquest. The people who do evil, who commit the acts to further the agenda, cannot do what they do without the ceaseless behind-the-scenes toiling of these little Eichmanns.

They'll never do the right thing on their own, and you hate to use the word "purge," but the house is in dire need of a cleaning, to say the least. And make no mistake, had a few states turned the other way, or just made it close enough to steal, they would have completed the purge they've been doing in plain sight the whole time. The Foreign Service is gutted. There has been zero transition planning or coordination since the election. Even without a coup, the Biden Administration starts off in a deep hole, and that is by design and intent. Everything you see going on right now is because someone wants it that way.

And that's not just Trump, that's the little worker ants who were all too willing and happy to do his bidding. And now they're caught and identified and blackballed. They're worried about their future job prospects Well, fuck them. They deserve to never hold decent employment again. Let them toil away in Jeff Bezos' warehouses for nickels on the dollar. Make sure to send all the corporations who bankrolled the putsch a nice "fuck you" card while you're at it.

This is about retribution, but more than that, it's a deeply practical matter. Everyone involved in this beer-belly putsch -- and it ain't over yet, you just watch -- needs to be made to pay dearly, or it'll just keep happening until they get it right.

The bullshit stops with just two words -- enforce laws. Enforce them equally -- rich, poor, black, white, cops, civilians, famous, anonymous, the powerful and the powerless, from hedge-funders to hedge-trimmers. Maybe the question everyone should be asking is why it seems to be so damned difficult to live up to those two simple words.

Let's end with a poem of sorts, shall we?

The Art of the Fall of Rome, by D.J. Trump (with profound apologies to W.H. Auden):

Knuckleheads ascend the stairs
Approach en masse the blessed doors;
With incoherent yowls and roars
Affix the mall cops with mighty glares.

Messaging in fecal scrawls
The atmosphere grows ever tense,
As chants of "Hang that fucker Pence"
Echo through historic halls.

Cerebrotonic Q-balls may
Wrack their wretched lizard brains,
To seek the secret money trains
Where jooz transport their pilfered pay.

Homoerotic banners billow
As they catch the wafting breeze.
The bozos hear the lilting wheeze
Of the asshole from My Pillow.

Debt-collectors begin to swarm
Around the supercilious jerks
Writing I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
On their non-disclosure forms.

Unsurprised it turned out shitty,
Tremendous birds with the best legs --
Seriously, people, you've never seen such legs --
Flee from plague-ravaged cities.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of morons move around;
Can't get back up, so they can't sit down
Awaiting their quadruple bypass.

And in the end, the bitter cry
Because they never found the nerve
To tell the chumps what they deserve
To please, at last, fuck off and die.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Great Depression

I'm what time and circumstance have made me. -- Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire

It's depressing to consider the fact that nearly half the country looked around at the mass death, chaos, and general failure of 2020, and collectively said yeah, I want four more years of that

Now, the default temptation on the part of mediots and assorted Dummycrats is to reflexively ponder whether they should have microtargeted the Latinx community in Texas or whatever, some boutique bullshit along that line. The Democrats' fatal establishment teleology is that they sincerely believe that if they just act a leetle bit more like Republicans, they can poach some of their constituents.

Or, like a normal human being, you could look at the significant numbers of minorities who voted for a racist, and women who voted for a rapist, and understand that a different tack might be useful.

It's depressing not only to consider the cold hard reality of the situation -- that some people, as the prophet John Cougar Mellencamp sagely advised thirty-some years ago, ain't no damned good, and that unless you have more money or better job prospects for them, it is a waste of time trying to reach them -- but also to realize that there is a billion-dollar perpetual-motion machine dedicated to ignoring that truth.

Real social justice -- however you want to define that -- is empirically impossible without at least some movement in the direction of real economic justice. You need the one in order to get closer to the ideal of the other. The assumption has been in the other direction, and it hasn't worked. Prove me wrong.

Understanding that simple premise -- and then understanding that, again, literally billions of dollars every year are washed into a massive system utterly committed to keeping people from understanding it -- is absolutely critical to seeing with clarity what you're up against.

Biden has promised to "build back better," but without massive infusions of capital from the bottom up -- difficult even if the Democrats win both GA runoff seats and retake the Senate, but an impossibility without that -- the best he'll be able to do is slow the bleeding a bit. He'll get maybe three to six months as a grace period, and then all the Covid casualties and economic fallout will be blamed on him. Hell, the usual suspects won't even wait that long.

The pandemic could easily have been a real opportunity to rethink some basic premises about how we "do" things like health care and education, yet such notions were scarcely if ever brought up, and certainly not among the mainstream thought leaders, such as they are. Somewhere on whatever plane he currently inhabits, the shade of Upton Sinclair is smiling grimly.

If you want to gauge group loyalty, requiring people to believe an absurdity is a far better test than asking them to believe the truth. -- Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

The Republican party has so far cheated a richly-deserved demise by trucking in the usual mixture of lies and vitriol, rightly understanding that their idiot base and insect corporate overlords will never hold them to account for it. The real conundrum lies on the Democratic side of the aisle, where its collective survival as a viable party is entirely contingent on how much it chooses to embrace or reject the (for lack of a better term) "AOC wing" of the party.

Like any young and eager upstart, AOC does not always read a room the way the more established members of her party would prefer. She takes her service to her working-class constituents seriously, and is relatively unconcerned with the trifling blandishments her (literal) seniors expect in expressing eternal fealty to Wall Street parasites. This tends to interfere with the eleventy-dimensional chess the party establishment are always pretending to play.

Gravity works, and the empire is falling. Sure, Elon might be able to cobble together a few pairs of levitation boots for himself and his buddies, but that's about it. It's coming down, and a lot of people are going to get squished. AOC and the Gen Z kids understand this; they've been watching it move along steadily their entire lives. The only question is whether enough of the oldsters get (or care) that they still retain just enough power to mitigate some of the damage for a substantial number of people.

Republicon politicians cannot be "negotiated" with or "convinced" of anything. They are literally at the point where they would much rather screw over their own constituents than give even the appearance of granting the Democrats a "victory" in even the smallest of efforts. The constituents themselves cannot be convinced of anything either, except perhaps in the moment or aftermath of disaster and tragedy -- and in many instances, not even then.

Just a couple years ago, huge portions of Iowa and Nebraska spent most of the spring underwater from weeks of torrential storms. Billions of dollars of crops destroyed. This summer, Iowa had the twin punches of a massive, weird "land hurricane" and a Covid outbreak. Have their voting patterns changed at all, even a little, given the extreme circumstances?

So (he intoned gravely, pulling on his systems analyst hat). Let's consider political strategy in terms of allocating scarce resources -- money, time, attention. Your targets, in the broadest of strokes, are the likely voters in each wing of the Corporate Party, which has the ancillary effect of at least nudging the politicians who purport to represent them.

In other words, if you can convince a sufficient number of likely GOP voters to jump the sinking ship and head for the Dem lifeboat, their representatives do have to take note of that. Whether there is an actual tangible effect on the votes they cast and the causes they support and the rhetoric they deploy is another matter. But the possibility is still a non-zero number.

(How'd that work out in 2020, anyway?)

But again, you have a finite amount of funding and time to work with, and an audience that has an infinite variety of outlets to pursue in the noble causes of "news" and "information" and "entertainment." So where is that time and money best spent? What is the "best" (in terms of efficiency and ROI) audience to capture in your conversion funnel?

There are many politicians in the Democratic Party who appear to genuinely mean well and wish to do good. That's not a back-handed compliment -- you'd be hard-pressed at this point to single out a GOP pol at any level who isn't a mendacious cocksucker who supports an entire executive branch chock-full of the same. They lie, cheat, and steal, right out in the open, and cater to the worst fucking people to support those efforts.

A person who is happy to kill themselves so long as it fucks you over along the way, is not a person worth trying to "convert," or even "reach out" to. It is a question that needs to be asked in response every time some corporate media drone does their stink-piece -- "unify" with what? Why does the clear winner need to placate the loser, and not the other way around? How do you convince someone who has made a clear decision to live in their own version of reality?

We have jobs and lives of our own. Why on earth would anyone in their right mind waste precious time "reaching out" to these people? For that matter, I wouldn't bother wasting time hating or antagonizing them either, but I sure as hell know better than to try to teach a pig to sing.

But this is the catechism of an appallingly substantial number of "establishment" Democrats, forever protecting their mythical right flank, frequently by going out of their way to shit on the untapped demographic that might actually show up for them, without a bunch of bullshit qualifiers and litmus test about fellating cops sufficiently or bringing up Jesus at every possible opportunity.

So again, what is the most efficient use of your scarce time and resources -- trying vainly one more blessed time to poach some mythical sliver of truck-owning Latinx in the 35-45 age demo, or bringing the fucking lumber to the thieves and criminals responsible for this controlled and accelerating demolition of the country, and motivating people with clear vision and purpose? AOC at least has been clear on her position. Others seem to at publicly cling to dead notions of comity and collegiality. I don't know if Moscow Mitch has to take a steaming dump on DiFi's podium in the middle of open session for her and the rest of them to get the fucking message, and I no longer have the stomach to keep asking.

That's ultimately the reason (though there are certainly plenty of other, non-political and non-blogging, issues in the mix) why this will be the final post here at least for the foreseeable future. I've come very close several times over the past few years to pulling the plug anyway, but toward the end of 2019 it made more sense to me to just "see it through," whatever that means.

We all hoped for that deus ex machina of the blue tsunami, but it really just confirmed the utter venality of an alarmingly large portion of Americans. Maybe the Dems squeak out the Senate in the Georgia runoffs. Maybe Biden can govern boldly and smack the fuckers down at the same time. We'll see, but I think most of us thought after a year like we've all had, we'd see more.

But this is how it's shaking out, and so there's really not much to comment on, as far as that goes. There are a lot of horrible fucking people in this country, and their low-info laziness does not absolve them in the slightest. But again, there's not much more to say about all that. It's not as if the internets ecosystem will shrivel and die without my surface-of-the-sun takes on the obvious fuckery our elites engage in for profession and sport.

It's better to be strangled by a necklace of Mexicans than to be strangled by no one at all. -- Kenny Powers, Eastbound & Down

Gore Vidal once said in an interview, in a very broad assessment of his body of work, "America, literally, is my subject." Occasionally I will pull up a specific month in a past year, and do a little review. To say "sixteen years" is one thing, but to put it in perspective is another -- that's nearly half my adult life so far. That's three places of employment ago, and even within my current place, I've had three major position changes. I had a high-school diploma and a bad attitude when I started this thing, and now I have a master's degree -- and a far worse attitude.

And throughout, America has been, broadly speaking, my subject. But as eye-rolling buffoonery and pelf-hungry war-mongering turned to empty promises and spineless bromides, and thence to full-throated fascism, my attention turned from the assholes and dirtbags enacting those policies and doing those things, to the assholes and dirtbags who kept sending them back to do the same old shit.

Maybe it took a decade-and-a-half of thorough research and reading and teasing it all out in writing, to process what I had intuited long before I ever got online or even touched a computer -- the system is rigged, and most people are either fine with it, or at least can't bring themselves to oppose it in any meaningful way. Steinbeck sagely observed almost a century ago that poor Americans, more than their counterparts elsewhere, see themselves as temporarily-displaced millionaires. The ship will eventually come in, the golden ticket will show up when you need it most desperately.

Generations of Americans were conditioned by people like Horatio Alger and Horace Greeley to buy into the bootstrap theology of divine opportunism, and that idle religion still holds dear for many. Others have positioned a serially-failed fake tycoon blowhard as the Dully Llama of that religion.

The more I found myself transferring my attention to them, to the bastards who keep putting the bastards in, the more it became clear, that thing all of us know, but don't want to admit or internalize:  they're not being fooled or tricked. I think self-styled liberals and some professional Democrats are beginning to realize the awful truth, but they're still willing to sub out the wetwork to career assholes like Rick Wilson (who at least owns it and is very good and very entertaining at what he does). But without acting on that knowledge, it won't matter.

So it's an exercise in futility to talk about "changing" or "saving" things, when no one can agree on what things are to be changed or saved, or for whom, or if they're even worth saving anymore.

So we're each an army of one, I guess, millions of little individual nano-nations, free-floating on a skim in a petri dish, occasionally colliding with one another, occasionally banding in loose agglomerations, waving our internet flagella and pretending to be higher organisms.

I'd like to leave it on a more optimistic note, if there is one to be found. For myself, it's all good -- I'm taking classes and working on projects to improve my skill set, working on creative ideas. There may be a new brand to build in the future, or it may just be a side hustle to push toward my mountain of usurious student-loan debt.

Hell, I might even find after three or six months that I miss getting in here with the virtual kvetching. But it's mostly a matter of my bucket runneth over, between professional obligations and aspirations, and creative endeavors that need to be pushed over the hump into reality, and I have to prioritize.

But I also tend to be more solution-oriented than process-oriented by nature, and so it grinds my gears to see that too few in the entire decision-making chain are interested at all in "solutions." The money and the power lie in perpetuating the problems, and so there is no urgency to solve anything. And as a writer, there are only so many angles to approach that from. The next frontier for that would be to fictionalize the scenario and the dynamics, but frankly, it would take some time for me to be able to tackle something of that scope and scale with an acceptable level of competence.

In the meantime, the basic Stoic principle of focusing on what you can control, and leaving what you can't, seems to be the best ideal to strive for. I can't change the minds of my Fakebook-addled friends and relatives, but I can sure as hell nuke my page. I don't have to engage them in any conversation beyond "How's your family?" when I see them in person.

I don't argue with them, I don't rebut them, I don't present them with a sheaf of empirical data refuting their nonsense. Instead I let them know with subtle but very real cues, facial and body language and so on, that I am completely disinterested in their opinion, absolutely unencumbered by what they think about anything in the realm of current events or politics. It's not a matter of being offended, but that I simply don't care anymore. They have chosen to identify themselves as ridiculous people who are enthused about ridiculous things, and I see them as such, and I have chosen to walk away from all that. I refuse to give them any more oxygen. That much I can control.

It's amazing how quickly they get the picture, and don't even bother with the bullshit anymore. That, to me, shows a path forward. The old saw says that if we don't hang together, we hang separately, but it's times like these that force us to think closely about the immortal question:  Who's we, kemosabe?

I don't have too many non-empirical beliefs, but one that I hold dear to (and there actually are some studies in this regard) is that stress causes cancer. I'm not going to get into the weeds about correlation versus causation and all that, just the basic notion that when we make ourselves miserable with endless bouts of stress and worry, it eventually eats us alive. Look at the parlous slobs toting their dopey li'l swag-flags to their tiresome little be-ins at the Wal-Mart parkin' lot, all het up about the antifa and the BLM and knee-grow commie hommasekshuls a-comin' ta turn yer kid queer.

I'm going to tell you right now, with a very high confidence level -- very few of these braying slapdicks will see their seventieth birthday, and I'm padding it a bit. It's not just the smoking and drinking and processed food that a stressful lifestyle naturally goads you to, it's being eaten alive from the inside out with an inchoate hatred that eventually metastasizes. It's that there appears to be nothing else in their odd little existences to balance out the poisons they ingest daily.

And even if they do see the other side of seventy, jesus what an unnecessarily bumpy road they've chosen for themselves. Who needs it? Deciding to exit from the fray of the unresolvable is not a concession to fascism, nor is it a blind eye to their nefarious efforts. It's an understanding with the universe that life and time and sanity are finite resources that we are wise to conserve, that these useless motherfuckers are never worth the time.

On the other hand, I'd be lying if I said that I haven't immensely enjoyed sharpening my verbal steel on their granite skulls in here. It's been a fine and fun way to hone my writing skills, such as they are. But for now, it's time to learn and create and produce and prepare. For what, we'll see. But it's time to take that step that starts the next journey.

Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. -- Sir Anthony Hopkins

It's not all depressing, far from it, even in the midst of worldwide catastrophe and chaos. Hopefully most of us still have a core of folks we can connect with and occasionally commiserate, who remind us that we are here for so much more than to worry about what Nancy Smash or Huckleberry Closetcase are up to any given week. Hopefully we have skills and hobbies and interests that bring us joy, and brains and eyes and hands that can bring those things to fruition.

All of us -- yes, even the worst turd-sucking MAGAt -- have something great and wonderful to share with the world. (I think the most toxic people are simply the ones who've never even bothered to consider the possibility of their something, much less make an effort to find it.) Many people never realize that, and most of the people who do realize it spend their entire lives trying to find what exactly it is, and nurture it, cultivate it. A precious few are born with it and have the opportunity to run wild with it. (Sometimes that rare genius comes with its own steep price.) Some know they have it, but never get the chance to put it to work.

But most of us can do something, one small thing to move ourselves forward in finding it and refining it and showing the world. I did this. This is mine. Check it out. It doesn't matter if everyone likes it -- hell, it really doesn't matter if anyone besides you likes it. You did it all the same, and you can do another one, and another.

And if the effort is honest and true, that really is all that matters.

Take a minute -- literally sixty seconds -- and check out the link in the last quote above. It's a message from Anthony Hopkins about the 45th anniversary of him becoming sober, but there's so much contained in that brief message. Mostly the message of hope, but also of perseverance.

I imagine most of us have known someone in our lives who's struggled with serious drug and/or alcohol issues. You want to help them, and you try to help them when the opportunity presents itself, but frequently the severity becomes such that you simply have to walk away from them, because they'll drag you down with them. Sometimes the only way people can sort themselves out is when the people closest to them disassociate themselves for some indefinite period of time. Until you get your shit together, I can't be around you anymore.

That's what America is now. No, I don't mean Trump voters -- I mean the country itself. Collectively we are in the throes of serious substance abuse issues. Yes, the obvious opioids and reality teevee problems have corroded an already frail edifice. But too many of us are also irretrievably high on the toxic fumes of imagined past vainglories, those good old days that never really were, or were only for a select few.

It's no coincidence, then, that an impossibly vainglorious fool, like a caricature of a degenerate Roman emperor in the last days, should be chosen to oversee such a nation. Trump is, after all, the epitome of the rich asshole who is so coddled and insulated from the consequences of his own actions, that he never experiences any real repercussions. He borrows money from other idiots so he can live like a pimp, welshes on his debts, and finds another mark. Everybody shrugs their shoulders and gives him a pass, and a millionth chance. Why should he change? He's literally never been given a real reason to change anything.

That's what the country's been doing for at least as long as I've been alive, and the bloodsucking has only accelerated over the past four decades. Why should Wall Street stop milking Main Street dry? What disincentive to that behavior has ever been presented? Who has always borne the real consequences of their bad behavior? Seriously, why the fuck should they change?

But as with Commander Babyfingers, eventually the bill comes due, eventually the debtors find you. The fantasies Trumpkins and Qballs tell each other about blowing up the deep state, the fantasies liberals and Democrats told themselves about how Bob Mueller was going to bring everyone to account, at the end of the day turned out to almost be mirror images. The fact that one was true and the other was fantasy turned out not to matter, no matter how much either side wished otherwise.

And like with any drug, there's going to be a withdrawal period, and it will be ugly to watch and endure, and there's no way to know how long it will take. The body shakes and contorts and sweats and convulses, the mind sees spiders on the walls and skin. There's not much anyone can do until the poison leaves the system.

Sometimes withdrawal effects can be fatal, if the physiological addiction has been sufficiently severe and long-running. Sometimes the poison wins. Sometimes there's something you can do to help, sometimes not. One thing is certain -- it's going to get worse before it gets better. (As always, what and for whom are going to be highly subjective. The best way to make sure your proverbial mileage varies is to find ways to insulate yourself from the marching morons.)

One thing Sir Anthony imparts in his message is not just the idea of hope, but the principle that the fight is always worth waging, whatever form that fight takes for you. It can be something as simple as what I've incessantly preached, voting with your ballots and wallets, rather than taking to the streets like a chump and getting your head performatively caved in by a pig in a costume. It can be creating something that adds light to your world, and to other people's worlds as well. Sometimes you get lucky and those positive things spread, uh, virally. Even if it's just for yourself, though, it's worth doing.

It's been a hell of a lot of fun, whatever this has been and become over the years. I appreciate everyone who's ever taken the time to stop in and pore through the frequently scatological content in here. All the folks who kept coming back, kept commenting and providing words of encouragement, I appreciate you all even more, much more. The only way anyone gets better at what they do, whether you're a musician or a painter or an accountant or a lowly internets scrivener, is to see what lands and what doesn't, what makes people laugh out loud in spite of themselves, and what makes them scratch their heads. I never worried about whether people agreed with me, so much as they understood the point I was attempting to convey. That's the only metric worth bothering with.

So thanks again to everyone, and don't be too surprised if you see me turn up somewhere in this vast virtual void. The archives here will be open for the foreseeable future, but I may restrict access sometime down the road.

Don't let the bastards win. Hang in there. Stay safe and happy.

 



Hilarious

This is one of those weird, harmless, funny stories making the rounds this week:  apparently Alec Baldwin's wife has been engaging in some sort of long-running Andy Kaufman performance-art exercise in pretending to be of Spanish heritage. Even funnier is that some of the self-appointed keepers of the "cultural appropriation" watch have declared themselves put off by this peculiar avocation of Hillary -- ah, I mean Hilaria Baldwin.

These subcultures are fascinating to me when they reveal themselves to the larger "culture," such as it is. If I understand the situation correctly, Hilaria has ensconced herself in the coveted "momfluencer" niche, getting attention and teevee time and emoluments not only for being married to a talented actor (who is a quarter-century her senior), but for being seen using certain brands on her Instagram feed.

Imagine being able to get a nice check delivered to your mailbox, simply by taking a selfie of you, for example, using Goya beans in your kitchen. Amazing times we live in.

It's all about what aspects of this "story" people want to fixate on. What's weirder -- that a thirsty celeb-adjacent milf entered an arena where such characteristics tend to be CV boosters, and leveraged a mythical aspiration as an extra foot in the door; or that there are upper-middle-class women out there for whom such a person is considered to be "influential" in some respect? How dare this person, whom I don't know but from whom I take merchandising cues, present herself as something she is not! Why, I never! (Well, maybe you should.)

Even funnier is that she has been playing this character for years, and only now some enterprising celebrojourno decided to do about thirty seconds of digging through public records to figure it all out. Well done, yournamalistas. Good thing there's nothing else worth getting to the bottom of these days.

If nothing else, her and her parents' love for Spanish culture appears to be sincere. Maybe she really wishes she were Spanish, rather than from privileged Boston Brahmin stock. Big deal. Look at the extended tedium of the Kardashian-Jenner tribe, and their exhausting, constant leg-humping to pimp and peddle and schmooze every goddamn product straight up 'murka's collective asshole. Look at Kanye's tiresome attempts to pretend to be a genius, or even pass as a functional human being.

This is going to sound completely sexist and lookist and chauvinistic, and I don't give a good goddamn -- anyone who can squeeze out five kids in seven years and still look like that can pretend to be whatever the hell she wants, and good luck with it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Thug the Police

I get why articles such as this consistently approach the stories from the "race" angle. I do get it, and it's certainly an important element. But an even more important element, which goes completely unmentioned, is that any cop who guns down an unarmed civilian taking groceries into their house is just not very good at their job, at all. In fact, they're really fucking bad at the job.

And when your job lets you literally get away with murder, that's a problem.

Clearly this Meade character is your standard Hollyweird issue high-toned-cowboy type. This is a problem, and it transcends race. Hell, I'm a middle-aged white married guy with a degree and a good job, and I look the part. And I wouldn't want to be pulled over or approached by that asshole.

Or these fuckers. What the hell is this shit? Why are we forced to pay people like this to terrorize citizens, indemnify them from their misdeeds, and foot the bill for the inevitable lawsuits? For what? Is anyone any safer because they made this kid roll his window down, and pepper-sprayed his father for filming the encounter (as is his legal right)?

Or you can visit Greg Doucette's Twitter feed, and dig back through the hundreds -- I'm sure it's well over a thousand by now -- of videos from all over the country, of militarized punks beating the shit out of unarmed citizens peacefully exercising their rights. He's got a new one up tonight, of a Vacaville cop holding his K-9 partner -- yes, a dog -- down and repeatedly punching the animal in the head.

It's an understatement to point out that this is precisely the mentality that needs to be identified and weeded out of all local law enforcement agencies now, not that it will happen. They'll give this scumbag some public slap on the wrist, transfer the dog to another cop -- who probably won't treat it that way; I've known several K-9 officers over the years, and they absolutely love and spoil their canine partners as much as possible -- put the human cop on some bullshit desk job for eighteen months until it all blows over, then put him back on the street with some rook that no one else wants to work with.

Then he cashes out at age fifty with ninety percent of his wages, starts some "security" side-hustle mostly to chase tail, maybe coaches pee-wee soccer for the same reason, and never experiences a moment where he has to think back on things he's done, people he victimized. If the guy's holding down a fuckin' trained Malinois and punching it, there's at least a few humans he's done the same to, and will again. Maybe his wife, maybe someone he pulled over for a seat-belt ticket got lippy with him, but someone. Count on it.

Anyone who's interested in this topic is probably already aware of the broader counter-arguments:  the vast majority of cops are nothing like these bastards, yet that ninety-nine percent of "good" cops are constrained by the culture and the leadership of The Job, blah blah blah. and there's a lot of truth to all that. As with prison guards, when the nature of your job is dealing with assholes all day, it's only a matter of time before you just reflexively assume everyone is an asshole.

But I know this much -- if George Floyd was white, he'd still be alive. Ditto Breonna Taylor, and Philando Castile, and Eric Garner, and countless others. I know that the Minneapolis PD, and many other urban police departments, take a notorious "training" by the name of "Bulletproof Warrior," where the instructor basically trains cops to act and think as if they're IDF forces patrolling the Gaza Strip, dealing with suicide bombers and shoulder-launched missiles. That is not an exaggeration.

And until that stops, we're going to be doing this dance over and over again. And they don't just do it to minorities either -- don't forget about Daniel Shaver or Justine Damond. (Damond's killer, a cop of Somali descent, was eventually convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter, and is currently serving a 12.5-year sentence. Shaver's murderer had the benefit of being tried in Arizona, and so walked away from his crime scot-free.)

So it is about race, but it's mostly about power, and what sort of people are allowed to exercise it, and what sort of judgment some of these people have, and the lack of accountability when that judgment proves tragically wrong. This used to be a redneck-south commonplace sort of thing, but many of the more noteworthy incidents in recent years have occurred in relatively liberal enclaves, run by Democratic city councils and mayors, in states with Democratic governors and senators.

"Defund the police" is an unrealistic goal; not only won't it happen, but it shouldn't happen. There are bad people out there, and you do need some sort of enforcement mechanism to protect the public. But there's a ton of stuff that can and should be done along that spectrum -- demilitarize; remove the army toys; better psych batteries to screen candidates; better and longer training periods (in some states it literally takes more hours to become a hairdresser than a cop); ending qualified immunity; insisting on real accountability.

Returning to the top link as an example, it doesn't really matter to me whether Jason Meade can be proven to be a racist or not. I mean, it's awful if he is a racist, but the deeper problem is that he's demonstrated -- repeatedly, as his record shows -- that he's unqualified for his job. We don't need these self-styled "avenging angel" cowboy-preacher types. This is not a fucking Gary Cooper movie, and the people that can't handle that fact need to find another line of work.

Nobody forces anybody to be a cop, so if someone's at the point where they feel it's too thankless and dangerous, well, as the free-marketeers always tell us, get out there and create the future you deserve.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Mood for Thought

Fintan O'Toole has been making a name for himself this year with his scathing, pithy essays on our collapsing empire, and the doddering oaf we chose to run it the past half decade. His newest piece is making the rounds, and you should check it out.

Also, too. The Democrats are not your enemy the way the Republicons are, but they aren't your friends, either. Save yourself.

Extremely Plowed and Incredibly Gross

Now this is the good stuff I'm gonna miss. Just inject it right into my veins!

After going through what some called a scripted monologue that also featured interjections from Guilfoyle, Trump Jr. eventually paid some attention to what his girlfriend means to him. “And I’m reasonably thankful for Kimberly,” Trump Jr. began the awkward message. “Maybe not… not so much. I don’t wanna, you know, I’ve managed to maintain a very low bar with Kimberly, so I don’t want her to get too big of an ego, accustomed to kindness.”

I wouldn't spare too much sympathy for Li'l Kim there. Truly a nasty cunt, and that's not a word I use lightly. She deserves a companion like El Chupo, coked-up and vainglorious, forever stuck between desperately seeking his daddy's approval and wishing he was a Guccione.

One thing I'm absolutely certain of, and it brings me joy to no end, is the knowledge that Junior is one of the most miserable fuckers you could ever hope to avoid. All you have to do is listen to him and look at his facial expressions. He's an easy read, because like his old man, he's so painfully needy. He knows he's a pile of shit, that he could disappear tomorrow and no one would miss him, besides maybe his children. He has five, you know, and if even three of them are still on speaking terms with him by the time they reach adulthood, he should consider it a lucky break.

Don't feel sorry for any of these people. Unlike most people in that state of mind, Junior and Li'l Kim actually have the money and means to get off the pain train and work on themselves for as long as it takes to get right. They could take a year or two and just get away from the scumbags and pimps and chiselers that surround them, and figure out what their lives should really be like.

They choose not to, again and again, They want this. This is all they have. It takes courage to arrive at the understanding that you really are better off "broke" (relatively speaking) and happy than "wealthy" and miserable. It takes guts to realize that you need to work on yourself, and that the work never really ends -- that in fact there is joy and catharsis in the work itself.

Every single person in this grotesque "family" is a coward -- morally, ethically, spiritually. They have nothing else in their little lives but the unquenchable thirst -- for approval, for popularity, for the official cover to push around the haters and losers who see them for what they really are.

None of them has ever made an honest cent or been in a fair fight. That is all you need to understand about any of them. Guilfoyle's a perfect fit for them, because she's impossibly ambitious -- that is, her ambitions clearly exceed any actual talents by a country mile, and she knows it, so she has to make up for those deficits. She'd suck a roomful of random dicks to win a sack race. And she's fine with shacking up with a cokehead who talks about her like she's a stray dog. Her performance at the Republicon Convention a few months ago was not an act, it was her id unleashed, her true self boosted with what she knew her boyfriend and his creepy, ogling father would want to hear from her.

I would literally bet my next paycheck that Senior has grabbed her tits and/or ass at least once, or made some sort of obvious comment, and that Junior knows it, and will never confront his old man about it. Look at them, listen to them, you know it's true. Probably worse than that even.

I'm not saying that money can't buy you happiness -- despite what they tell you, it can. At the very least, having money is better than not having money, if you're a halfway well-adjusted human being. But if you're a miserable asshole to begin with, someone who's been able to coast through life never having to earn or justify anything you do or say, more money will just magnify those problems. It papers over them for a while, but sooner or later, it becomes clear that the demons are driving the bus, it's just a somewhat nicer-looking bus. Eventually the gold leaf and cheap filigree peel away and reveal things for what they always were.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Beltway Syndrome

Story time, kids -- pretty sure I have not told this one before, if I have it was years ago. After sixteen years, the Blogheimers is kicking in with some regularity.

So back in the mid-'70s, when I moved from smoggy Los Angeles to the epic glories of the Great State of Jefferson, we lived for about two years out in a rural district, probably ten miles removed from what was then a town of about 3,500 to begin with. I was in second grade, rode the bus, which given the distance it had to cover took about thirty to forty minutes to get to the school. Fun times.

Even at that age, I was a voracious reader, and would walk to the library on the next block over from the school to grab three or four books for most weekends. I liked the Hardy Boys "mysteries" in particular; as cheesy and twee as they might be in retrospect, they probably provided an early synaptic pathway for my adult love of most crime fiction.

Mind you, I'm not saying that the Hardy Boys are a gateway drug to Dennis Lehane and James Lee Burke, but if you start reading that genre (even peripherally) at seven years of age, you might hard-wire yourself to later, more adult iterations.

Anyway. So one fine morning we're on the school bus headed into town. Most of the kids got along fairly well, but one kid, a former friend from up the road who was a year older, and had several meaner older brothers (one of whom later did nine years for rape, and was ultimately murdered by his own adult daughter in retribution -- take a wild guess for what) who enjoyed egging him on, decided to give me a hard time. You know, for being a reader. As Homer Simpson so poetically put it, Egghead likes his booky-wook!

So first a couple of taunts and head-slaps, then shoving my books onto the floor. Even at the ripe old age of seven, I could sense a couple of important things quite clearly:

  • This was going to escalate, one way or another.
  • I can get out in front of this, or I can curl up and wait it out.
  • If I choose option #2, this is going to be a daily occurrence. Plus, since I go to the same school as this asshole, and he's only a year older than me, this might go on for a while.

As the bus, piloted by a crotchety tart lovingly nicknamed "Myrtle the Turtle," trundled its way past the rural district cemetery, I picked up the top book from the pile on the floor, and swung it directly into the other kid's face. Didn't break anything, fortunately, but there was blood suddenly. I dropped the book and started swinging wildly, the way a kid who's never thrown a punch yet will do, connecting maybe one in five but getting a message through -- don't fuck with me, I will fight back.

After what seemed like an hour but was only a few seconds -- we were, after all, still moseying past the maybe two-acre cemetery -- I had enough awareness to consider the possibility that fighting on the bus might Get Me In Big Trouble. I stopped for a moment and glanced up the seemingly endless center aisle of the school bus, toward that large rectangular mirror where you could see what or whom the bus driver was looking at. Myrtle looked directly at me, and beneath that grim squint I could see the barest trace of a tight-lipped smile. All bus drivers know who the troublemakers are on their routes.

So I did not Get In Trouble; as I departed the bus, Myrtle looked over at me and said, "Don't do that anymore," with that same tight-lipped smirk. "Okay," I peeped meekly, just relieved that whatever that Trouble was, it wouldn't find me that day anyway.

Better yet, those other kids left me alone after that. We didn't magically become all friends, but they at least understood that, for their purposes of cheap amusement, I was more trouble than I was worth. And for the entire next year, until we moved across town, there wasn't any guff from anyone.

By now, you see my broader point. It's a staple of every cheesy prison movie, from The Shawshank Redemption on down -- you don't have to be a brutal predator, but if you show yourself as a victim, there will always be a line of takers to treat you like one.

I'd like to think Joe Biden has seen, far more intimately than any of us can imagine, how the empty tropes of collegiality and courtesy and comity work out in reality, when the other side is actively invested in engineering your failure, and makes it clear that they couldn't care less about how it all affects non-elite citizens. I'd like to think he understands that he doesn't have to take suggestions from professional cynics, that if he wants to purge bad-faith weasels and little Eichmanns out of his offices, that is his prerogative, and it is entirely in his own rational self-interest.

If Biden hopes to get anything done, he needs to start with wiping the functionary scum, the bureaucratic enzymes that processed the previous maladminstration's endless fecal waste, out of the body. And he doesn't owe anyone any apologies for it; in fact, he -- and the rest of the octogenarians running his party -- need to step up and take credit for as much as they can, shout it from the rooftops.

The "performative" aspect of politics has been gone into at great length here and elsewhere, increasingly so over the past half-decade. It sucks that it matters, but it matters. Just like in that little-kid "fight" on the school bus nearly a half-century(!) ago, it was less important that I "won" the fight, than that I showed all those kids that I was willing to fight, that they weren't just going to roll me.

Biden doesn't need to ask anyone's fucking permission -- not Moscow Mitch, and certainly not some Beltway scriveners who are directly dependent on their access and their surface-of-the-sun hot-takes, suffused as they are with the hoariest of conventional wisdoms. Only Democrats need to seek the permission of the opposition party. Only Democrats need to seek "unity" with the hopelessly angry, hopelessly incoherent bloc that comprises the base of the opposition party. Only Democrats are expected to "moderate" with purposefully immoderate people. Every fucking time.

They need to operate as if their backs are against a great big immovable wall, because they are. They need to remember back to 2006, when they took a midterm win and literally managed to save Social Security from privatization. They fought like they understood that it was real life-or-death shit, that the usual gutless incrementalism wouldn't cut it anymore. That was engineered by none other than Nancy Pelosi, which proves she can do it.

But they have to stop fretting and prattling about how they're going to "explain" their moves to some hostile low-info dipshit out in East Overshoe, Arkansas. Those motherfuckers will never vote for you, even if you came to their doorsteps with duffel bags full of cash. Bokay? They just won't.

When the Democrats stop worrying about "explaining" and "framing" shit, and putting real energy and effort into motivating people, it's an ironclad guarantee that they'll be surprised at the results. Say what you will about the conspiracy-addled doofuses on the right, but they are motivated, passionate, and they show up. I mean, they're motivated and passionate about all the wrong things, but what would a motivated and passionate counterpart to them on the left look like, people motivated about things that would actually benefit them and their communities and regions, the country and planet as a whole?

What might that look like? Since we are not permitted to vote for any parties other than the two (or two wings of the same one) duly anointed by the holy dollars of Corporate America and its mediaopoly octopus, we'll never know.

But in the end, this will be the one true barometer you can use to determine whether the Biden administration has a chance at "success," however you want to define it, and whether the next decade in the US can start undoing the ravages of the first two decades of this wondrous new millennium, or if we have more 'n' better decline of empire in the years to come.

It all starts with whether Biden and his team understand that this is their one and only chance to fight, that when the zombie apocalypse comes, capitulation is really not an option -- you can only strive to find slightly safer ground, and take as many of them down as you can in the process. They are not going to negotiate with you on anything.

So whom and what do they intend to fight for? We're about to find out, and the answer will either raise or doom their party, whether they understand that or not. But they need to decide, or Moscow Mitch and his merry brand of treasonous bandidos will be happy to make that decision for them.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Children of a Lesser Clod

Interesting thread here about a group of, um, freedom fighters storming the Oregon State Legislature in Salem. As they say in the 'hood, read the whole damned thing.

Coupla minor and fairly obvious observations:

  • These people are fucking stupid. Like, aggressively so, like Pfizer developed a mega-vaccine to inoculate these bozos against the ravages of coherent thought, and pumped it straight up their asses until it was coming out their ears. It takes real effort to be that much of a dipshit.
  • While thread writer Laura Jedeed is indeed correct that these folks are dealing with tough times and economic fallout from the plandemic, that even in "normal" times these are not people who are swimming in top-shelf liquor and prime rib and all, that's not the real problem. Every protest has some sort of goal:  as ludicrous as I might find the idea that mobbing the streets of American cities is suddenly going to make our militarized urban police squads think twice about killing black people, it's still a goal. "Defund the police" is never going to happen, but it is a mission statement.

    These hard-up slapdicks have no goal beyond durrr, let us into your sneaky Chinee meetin', so's we can cough all over ever'body while regurgitating half-remembered Alex Jones bits! Great. And then what? That's the thing about all these wannabe Braveheart doofuses -- they have no idea what they would do if they "won," or even what the act of "winning" would look like.

    Not much offends me, but as someone of some measure of Scots ancestry (but hey, also English, Welsh, Irish, French, German, Polish, Russian, and even a bit of Norwegian, so go figure), I do find it a bit off-putting every time one of these pathetic assholes tries to flex nuts on their William Wallace game. Wallace fought against real oppression and suffered one of the most brutal deaths you can imagine; these ridiculous fuckers might accidentally get maced (or "maced") by a nervous cop. Beyond being begged to wear a mask, and maybe not being able to get away with using hundred-round ammo drums on their full-auto village sweeper anymore, The Man ain't exactly knuckling down on them in any appreciable way.

  • How many of these jerkoffs drove to their little zombie gathering in $50k trucks, waving $100-200 flags? How many of them are going to hit the swag kiosk for more of that shit? Tell me more about their economic anxieties. That song never gets old.

I wonder how much longer our boys in blue are going to feel comfortable having two sets of rules for protesters, kicking the shit out of unarmed hippie-types, while letting the angry right-wing losers run amok. You saw it in the Million Thousand Magat March in DC a couple weeks ago, where a few cops got hit by stray projectiles, while fascist gangs vandalized black churches. No Antifa to blame it on, so sad, too bad, truth sucks don't it boys?

All these herrenvolk fascists know that they're protected, that the one thing their ludicrous caudillo promised them was to be in the group that was protected by laws but not bound by them, rather than that other group that is bound by laws and mercilessly persecuted with them. So when they don't get their way, and the armored shock troops not only aren't helping them but are [gasp!] obstructing their righteous entry into the Halls of Representative Democracy, well, that is an unforgivably perfidious action.

If there's one thing these dirtbags drag around with them like a fucking cross, everywhere and anywhere, it's this overweening sense of betrayal, that they've been cheated out of something they think they earned, that they're sure they were entitled to. Prob'ly some black or meskin had it given to them, by some bleeding-heart Soros-owned libturd who's setting the stage to re-edumacate the good foke.

Heh. Re-educate? How the fuck do you re-educate someone who isn't remotely educated in the first place? How do you retrain someone who sincerely believes that the one skill they sorta learned thirty years ago is the only thing they should ever have to learn in life? How do you convey any sort of new idea or concept, any advancement or improvement in life and how we all live it, to people who haven't so much as looked at a book since they dropped out of high school? That's not snark, I know motherfuckers like that, literally like that.

It would be nice if someone were out to educate them, maybe drop some truth on their heads, that all that cheap shit they get at Wal-Mart -- hell, all those fucking lame-ass "flags" they fly, like they think it's something special -- all that sweatshop shit comes with a price. It warn't as cheap as you were led to believe, bunky, and here's the bill for it, right here right now. Fucking morons. Who says karma doesn't turn up once in a while.

Looks like things are about to get worse, probably in multiple ways. A new Covid-strain, probably engineered by Bill Gates, Xi Jinping, and the restless shade of Hugo Chavez, has hit the UK, so we'll see how all those "warp speed" vaccines do with the Covid-21. We'll see how all those salty goobers do with the $600 checks Uncle Mitch generously cut for them, and who they decide to blame for it.

Six hunnert bucks prob'ly don't buy too many of them "no step on snek" flags. Maybe they can go terrorize more retail outlets with their tiresome idiocy. Maybe one of them, or a splinter cell of them, decides to take things up a notch, while we're tagging more than a 9/11-sized body count every fucking day now.

Two infamous quotes, from two diametrically different people, running through my mind right now:

"Life's tough. It's tougher when you're stupid." -- John Wayne (possibly apocryphal)

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." -- Hunter S. Thompson

A modern, industrialized nation -- even in the best of times, even when not beaten down by a worldwide plague -- cannot survive being driven by its dumbest and cruelest elements. It just can't. People like that are always going to be part of the scenery, but if we don't find a way to push them back to the margins, and stop being responsive to every dumb thing they do and say and react to, it's going to be a long, ugly road down.

Probably a good time for each of us to do a quick personal inventory, make sure things are in order and stocked up. I don't mean going full prepper and hoarding 55-gallon drums of rolled oats in your concrete bunker, but just making sure that your home is secure, you have at least a couple weeks worth of food -- dried, canned, preserved and shelf-stable, you go out only when necessary for the next four to six months. Might not hurt to have a gun or two, just in case.

Next year is shaping up to be even worse than this one, and that will be the case right from the start. Until the agents of law enforcement decide to apply the laws equally to these increasingly violent and restive factions among us, this is how it's going to be -- only more so.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Fuck Your Feelings

As far as any actual librul or Democratic voter is concerned, it's just locker-room talk. Hell, Jen O'Malley Dillon should be given a promotion, a raise, and her own nightly show if she wants it.

Fuck that cheap plastic cuck Marco Rubio and all the rest of the pearl-clutching swine. They can all get on the next express train straight to hell, and rest assured I do not mean metaphorically or figuratively.

It's not even worth bothering with the countless levels of hypocrisy baked into Rubio's empty plaint. Suffice to say we can all recite dozens of examples, we see these people for what they are, and we count on the people we elected to see that as well.

Better get used to these moments for what they truly are:  a test of the Biden administration's nerve. If they even do so much as make Dillon apologize -- to whom? for what? if the treasonous scum of the GOP are not "fuckers," then the word has truly lost all meaning -- then you know what you're gonna be in for.

If we all agree that it's going to take difficult, coordinated work by committed, dedicated, intelligent people just to start undoing the fuckery of the last four years, then we also should agree that the basic fundamentals of such an undertaking involve realizing what's to be gained by compromise and comity and cooperation with the treasonous opposition. Maybe Li'l Marco can go have a chat with some of his colleagues who still -- nearly seven weeks after the most heavily scrutinized and verified election count in our lifetimes -- refuse to acknowledge the duly elected winner, even after all the electoral votes have been duly ratified.

The Biden administration needs to start from a simple premise, before it does anything:  Fuck them. Fuck them all. They act in bad faith. They are not interested in civility, but in capitulation. Treat them as you would a violent intruder in your home -- grab your trusty twelve-gauge and give them the choice of surrendering, leaving, or dying. They cannot be bargained with, and that has been their choice all along.

Once the Georgia runoff is done, however it shakes out, Biden needs to call in the DNC chair and tell them to find someone now to take on Rubio in 2022, and shovel $150 million at them if need be. Invest heavily in oppo research; a smug little shit like Rubio is guaranteed to have some poorly-buried soil falling out of his shoes at random moments.

Understand these people for what they really are, and start acting accordingly. They cannot be worked with. They cannot be compromised with. They can only be beaten into the ground, or succumbed to. If the last half-decade hasn't clarified that, nothing will.

Make no mistake, this is a clarification for the voters more than anything else. Is Biden going to see his moment for its possibilities and be a bold FDR type, or a cringing, whinging "our hands are always tied" font of lame excuses? We're about to find out.

But I think one of the unspecified things many of us voted for is someone who wouldn't bother to listen to a worthless piece of shit like Marco Rubio about anything.