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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Dezinformatsiya

Should rational folks be dismayed, annoyed, concerned even, at the dead-certain likelihood that the Rooskies will deploy their Macedonian troll farms and Serbian voting-machine software and all other means available in order to disrupt the election here? Absolutely. It's a problem, and simply pointing out that "we do it too" to other countries, and have for decades, even centuries, is not a moral offset.

But it should be even more concerning that these preposterously transparent forms of disinformation actually work on anyone. The problem is not that such folks are stupid or gullible or any of that. They're not being fooled; they're being affirmed. They are being fed lies they already take as gospel, and they were never interested in being straightened out on the "facts."

This is what generations of being immersed in mental garbage at every turn, whether it's "reality" teevee, talk radio, pro wrestling, "celebrity" ass-sniffing, "true-crime" dramas, endless iterations of cookie-cutter comic-book movies, music that consists of a thump and an auto-tuned warble. I'm not pretending to be better or superior with these sorts of "cultural" artifacts; I've certainly been known to partake (very lightly) in at least some aspects of these things from time to time.

But we're awash in it anymore, and there are a lot of people who seem happy to just float adrift in that polluted river. Over time, theater and spectacle become more critical factors than wanting to -- or even being able to -- sort facts from lies. They don't care who caused the fifty-car pileup anymore, so long as they get to drive slowly and gawp at the explosions and bodies. It's fun! It's exciting! Someone else will clean up the mess!

This is how you slide -- or push, to be more accurate; this motion has always been at the volition of various and sundry players, some of whom make common cause, and some who have their own agenda -- away from the veneer of democratic republicanism, and into the soft, false security of authoritarianism.

Because we've become conditioned to react only to the emotional peaks and empty button-pushes, we worry more about reacting blindly to Trump's outrage du jour. That just reinforces the trope that he's merely an aberration that will disappear in a year or five years, rather than the culmination of concerted efforts by well-funded, influential entities who have always been in the river, just below the waterline, occasionally coming up just long enough to peer at where the fresh meat might be dangling legs off the boat.

So we have multiple, massive problems in play, which are dangerous on their own, but now operate in symbiosis, gathering strength and momentum. Consider:
  • Money determines political outcomes. Duh.
  • The people least concerned with "facts" or "truth" or "law" or "intellectual consistency" generally overlap with people who are least concerned about creeping authoritarianism. As long as it's their thug doing the pushing, anyway. This fluidity of principles makes them especially subject to cheap marketing and psy-ops tricks, such as microtargeted Fakebook ads.
  • Imagine a politician with the ethos and character traits of Trump -- thieving, lying, scamming, unable and unwilling to discuss or tolerate any dissent, completely unyoked to any semblance of a moral compass -- but without the obnoxious, blustery demeanor, and with a functioning brain and the capacity to learn and do new things.
Just imagine. This really is as much about 2024 or 2028 as it is about right here, right now, this year. It's about whether we keep moving down the road to Junior and Ivanka jumping into the seat when Daddy finally gets bored with telling everyone to go fuck themselves, and toddles off to his resort chain to keep soaking the taxpayers -- while still telling them to go fuck themselves.

There's really (at least) three groups of people whose words and actions are completely against the ideal of a free society with duly elected representatives:  the donor-owner class who will literally burn it all down before allowing their precious billions to be taxed even one more percent; the rubes who buy into every precept that is designed to cut their own throats; the saps who are just too lazy to find sufficient motivation to get off the fucking couch and cast their lot.

That's really what you're up against -- every single day, not just on election day. The people who produce the disinformation, and the people who buy into it because they like it, or they can't be bothered enough to care either way.

But people have to stop buying the ridiculous, debunked notion that Trump is anything but the logical outcome of decades of marketing and agitprop. And they have to stop the equally ludicrous belief that "Americans" are "too good" to endorse the malignant, corrosive antics of this reeking outhouse of an administration. Some people were just looking for a cult to join, and now they got all the kool-aid they could ever want.

For the record, I do believe that much of the performative hand-wringing is yet another artifact of our increasingly useless librul mediocracy. But for those few holdouts whose distress is genuine, stop telling yourself "if only they knew" -- they know, and they fucking love it.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Why Do You Keep Hitting Yourself?

One of the constant refrains of online libs and mods and such is how horrible the putatively liberal members of the mainstream media tend to be, day after miserable fucking day. Columnists for the NY Times receive mild criticism as harbingers of tumbrels and guillotines. Network news anchors such as Norah O'Donnell do PR puff pieces with murderous petrocrats, and praise Dear Leader's showmanship hours after a State of the Union speech that was probably discarded from an early draft of Idiocracy for being too ludicrous. This week, Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd have separately characterized Bernie Sanders and his (admittedly bumptious) supporters in ugly, corrosive terms.

It will be a matter of minutes or hours, a day or two at the most, before another supposed liberal betrays the cause or whatever. And then countless virtual soapboxes will be mounted with alarming quickness, with accompanying videos and Twitter threads documenting the atrocity of the day.

Here is some free advice, and it may not even be worth that much:  Cut them loose. Stop watching them, stop reading them, stop patronizing their networks, their advertisers, all of it. These well-heeled turds have been poisoning the well with their worthless observations and hoary rhetoric for as long as I have been alive, always getting worse and never better as time has passed. Some other rented piece of shit in a suit will step in for each of them after they retire and spend their dotage crowing about how their bullshit kept 'murka's sacred promise alive. Write them off and don't look back. There are plenty of people out there plying an honest trade, not content to be PR flacks for billionaires and defense contractors.

Obviously, conservative outlets such as Fox News, Blaze, OANN, and the vast reserve of talk-radio douchebags have been far more poisonous, for far longer. But those entities barely even bother to pretend to be serious or real. They are comic-book caricatures, a combination of the worst elements of pro wrestling and televangelism, designed explicitly to appeal mostly to the credulous dupes who take both of those things seriously. I mean, come on. You basically have to be a Homer Simpson-level doofus -- a slow-witted, angry sap unwilling to read anything longer than a postcard, and really just needing a daily fix of button-pushing nonsense, to engage with any of those media at all.

But the "legitimate" outlets, the networks, CNN, MSNBC, they all posture and preen like a bunch of fucking show cats, smug and secure in the comfortable lie they tell their audiences, which is the same lie they tell themselves in order to be able to sleep at night. And then they turn around and have Kellyanne Conway or Rudy Giuliani or Alan Dershowitz on, because only by giving liars and propagandists an equal platform with facts and truth can we reliably ascertain a clear narrative, right? There is simply no other way to skin this poor squirrel.

If you've seen my NFL playoff predictions over the years, then you know how spotty my record of prognostication is. But I can guarantee you this with ironclad certainty:  they will never stop being terrible until they are forced to. I honestly don't believe too many people need to be told this. But it's like everyone is waiting for everyone else to turn away, so no one does.

And frankly, I literally can't believe that anyone who doesn't have a clear vested interest in the political consulting industry, the machine that never stops churning in this country, chewing up dollars and gaslighting citizens, making them crazy and turning them against each other, actually watches or reads any of these puling dipshits. Seriously -- do you personally, or anyone you know, actually fucking watch Chuck Todd, or read David Brooks?

Clearly someone is patronizing these tools, because they sell ad space and have teevee shows. But if you're not in the game, there is no point in watching them. They're not talking to you. They're talking to the bookies and grifters who infest the seedy demi-monde of influence peddling and favor trading. They're telling each other whom to make book on for the coming week or month.

It's awesome, in a way, that in a week where you literally had a throng of masked, hooded white-power creeps skulking through the nation's fucking capital city, faithfully guarded by their law-enforcement allies, there were dispatches from leading corporate media figures wringing their hands over the unseemly behavior of the Bernie bros. Why, I hear they may have heckled a few unbelievers on the ol' Twitter machine!

(Side note re the DC "Reclaim America" march:  The marchers' stated contention that they are fighting back against elements who wish to see them erased from American society are, in fact, correct. No one in their right mind would miss the cancerous presence of these people. There's a reason they were fully -- and illegally, but they're white, so.... -- masked and wearing sunglasses, like a rural militia with a rather theatrical flair. They don't understand much, but they know very well why they can't afford to be recognized. And they know why they had to be flanked by a cadre of bicycle cops the entire time, like the snowflakes they really are. They can't admit it, maybe not even to themselves, but they know. They know they are failures, that the very act of participating in that....thing is a profoundly shameful, stupid deed. Fortunately only they and their fellow snowflakes know what they've done, who and what they really are. Let them live long with the full shame.)

But the ongoing perfidy of the corporate mediots should encase your anger in carbonite, and ensure your resolve to never give those worthless cocksuckers a moment of your time, except to track the sponsors and toss 'em a quick template email explaining in a hundred words or less why you'll never buy their product again.

There is no other reason to watch any corporate network or cable news, nor to read the NY Times. These people are profiteering from the chaos, nothing more, nothing less. They are in cahoots with the regime, in effect if not in scheme.

I always think about that scene in Howard Stern's Private Parts, where the program manager explains to Howard that the people who love his show listen for an average of ninety minutes, while the people who claim to hate the show listen for an hour longer than that.

If the people who are pissed at Chuck Todd (or whoever the dipshit of the day is; there'll be another one tomorrow, coming right out with the rising sun) simply hit his mentions one last time, simply saying something like, Fuck you, I'm done, and I'm emailing your sponsors to let them know I'm done with them too, it would be over for them. Curtains. Kaput. Because once the hate mail and nasty comments drops off, that's a hit for their audience KPI.

So, uh, let's get this party started already. There are worse goals in life than to see Tweety Matthews and Chunk Toad be forced into cushy retirement.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Groundhog Day

Ho-hum, just every single day now, where you have a trial, and not only does the jury foreman openly collude with the defendant on the outcome ahead of time, but the defendant's lawyers openly bribe the jury foreman and key members of the jury.

This is your country now, America. How do you like it?


Saturday, February 01, 2020

Super Bowl 54 Prediction

I used to do NFL game predictions and analysis throughout the playoffs, but stopped a couple seasons ago, thanks to a mediocre guessing percentage and decreasing interest on my part.

But this year's game should be a really good one, with the Chiefs favored by just a point, probably due to their amazing comeback and beatdown of the upstart Tennessee Titans, who where kind enough to pave the road for Kansas City by knocking out the two best teams in the AFC, the Ravens and the Patsies. After letting the Titans get ahead 24-0 by the second quarter, the Chiefs roared back with four touchdowns in just over six minutes of game time, taking the lead by halftime and never looking back, eventually smoking the overachieving Titans by twenty points.

The 49ers, on the other hand, have won most of their games with a punishing run attack that chews up the clock and keeps opposing offenses off the field. This will certainly be the strategy to use against Patrick Mahomes, who is arguably the best QB in the league right now, and has a wealth of fleet receivers to work with. When Mahomes is on the field, he'll face Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa, whose nine sacks on the year actually understate how disruptive he's been all year for opposing quarterbacks. Bosa finds himself in the backfield on more plays than not, and the Chefs will need to account for him at all times.

Look at the stats from the NFC Championship game from two weeks ago, with the Niners throttling the hapless Packers in a repeat performance from Green Bay's previous visit a couple months ago: Despite Green Bay compiling more total yards, first downs, and time of possession, they were down 27-0 by halftime and ended up losing 37-20, and it wasn't even that close. This is entirely due to just two things:  San Francisco's defense causing three turnovers; and running back Raheem Mostert running like Bo Jackson from the old Tecmo Bowl game.

The Niners actually have three very good running backs, but Tevin Coleman got hurt (dislocated shoulder) early on in the championship game, and Matt Breida has had some fumbling issues lately. So Mostert rolled up 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries, daring the hapless Packers to find an answer. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw just eight times the entire game.

Coleman is apparently healthy and ready to go, and should add some dimension to Mostert and possibly Breida in the running game. Garoppolo is nowhere near the quarterback Mahomes is, but he's mostly been a quietly efficient "game manager" type. SF coach Kyle Shanahan was, of course, the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator in their disastrous 25-point choke to the Patsies in Super Bowl 51, but he has done a fantastic job all year with the 49ers, so if he manages to get up on the Chefs, expect him to drop the boot on their neck and grind the clock mercilessly. Kansas City's run defense was 26th in yards allowed this season, and that's including playing half-assed teams like Denver and Oakland twice each.

If the Niners' defense has a weakness, it's mobile quarterbacks. In five games during the regular season, QBs Lamar Jackson (Baltimore), Russell Wilson (Seattle), and Kyler Murray (Arizona) all proved difficult for SF to stop effectively. Mahomes doesn't scramble a lot (43 attempts for 218 yards and 2 TDs in the 2019 regular season), but when he does he averages 5.1 yards per carry, so he may give them some headaches.

It's really too close to call; this is strength against strength. Maybe the biggest surprise on the betting line was the 54.5 over/under. It seems like it should be something of a shootout on paper.

But it could also be very much like Super Bowl 48, where the irresistible force of Peyton Manning's league-melting offense met the immovable object of Seattle's "Legion of Boom" defense. In the end, I think the Niners' defense is better than the Chiefs' offense, and San Francisco's offense will be able to methodically grind the clock and give them their sixth Super Bowl ring.

Final Score:  San Francisco 34, Kansas City 21.

Tech Wars

Interesting deep dive about the competition for G5 infrastructure, between the US and China, and Huawei's role in all that. About all I would add is that the telecom lobby is one of the most powerful in this country, and hey, how are you liking your internets and streaming services that you pay through the nose for? Remember that South Korea and France have waaayyyyy better service, speed, and bandwidth, for practically nothing.

Anyway, the story is a good reminder of the benefits of "soft power," something we used to be pretty good at, but is all shot to hell now, while China methodically encircles us, setting the stage for the rest of the century to be theirs. It's the long game, another thing we once played well, but Grampa Walnuts only plays pigeon checkers:  kicks the pieces over, shits on the board, and struts around like he won.

Travel Bans

I wouldn't worry too much about the travel bans. Another four years of this shit, and this rotting husk of a nation will be a place no dirty fur'ner would want to check out anyway. It will just be a place where the Saudis who own Trump and his shithead failson-in-law buy all the high-end real estate just to squat on it, and the relatives of Russian and Chinese oligarchs to come and have their anchor babies in Dear Leader's hotel rooms.

Which Way to America?

It cannot be overstated or exaggerated -- the more someone professes to be "passionate" about the sanctity of the Second Amendment, the more likely it is that they just mean for white people. These are exactly the sort who, if they saw a black guy with a Glock in his waistband at the Starbucks, would assume the worst and ask questions later. Every goddamned time.

Fun fact:  it is illegal in most states (including Kentucky) to go around looking like you're about to knock over a fucking bank. Again, they get a pass because if it ain't white, it ain't right.

Every. Goddamned. Time.

Don't Retreat, Reload

What A.R. Moxon says. To beat on a recent neologism, this cannot be emphasized enough -- the Democratic House members need to be preparing for another round of investigations and new articles of impeachment. Preznit Sling Blade has provided more than enough material to do so, and all of us -- especially the traitorous Republicon senators who gleefully sold their country down the river for a cheap sack of tarnished silver -- know it.

We already know what the Goopers are made of, and what they've become. They are now openly in collusion with a chief executive that they know and admit to being thoroughly corrupt, and are defying anyone to do anything about it.

No, this is now about finding out what stuff the Democrats are made of, how far they are willing to go to do what's right. There is no percentage in them doing what's expedient, or collegial, or any of that. As Moxon points out, pushing an agenda that is aggressively barbaric and even illegal, and that a consistent majority of the public oppose, has never stopped the Republicons. Never.

The Republican Party needs to be completely dismantled, root and branch, piled up and immolated, the ashes scattered to the winds and the remainder pissed and shat on, covered with lime and salt to prevent anything from ever growing there again. Its members have aligned themselves individually and collectively with thugs, traitors, polluters, tax dodgers, evangelical hucksters -- and that's just Trump we're talking about there.

No, seriously, take a good look at what that party has stood for, for decades, and what it looks forward to, and decide if that is a world you want for your children and grandchildren and so on. Every person in a leading position is pure scum, someone you wouldn't trust with a ten-dollar bill, much less your pension or health-care.

And they're gonna come after your Social Security too, which I would heartily endorse if it just meant the fist-shaking codgers that voted for this shit. I am not remotely kidding when I say that I hope every one of them ends up living on cat food and wondering why their kids and grandkids stopped talking to them, oh, roughly around mid-2016. But there are plenty of seniors out there who voted against that fucking thing, and are every bit as vulnerable to these coming depredations.

Of course, the SS cuts won't hit the current generation; the boomers managed not only to fuck up the world, but really to never pay any generational consequences for it. No, they'll take it out of my generation, like they always have. I just love being part of a generational cohort that has been treated like absolute fucking dogshit by the generation that came before it, at every possible turn. It would be difficult to find a historical parallel of one group of people that had such a palpable, abiding hatred for the succeeding generation.

Ahem. In the meantime, let's hope that Adam Schiff is leading the charge to get the next round moving ASAFP. In fact, it would be a fine publicity stunt if the Democratic members of the HPSCI made a point of skipping the utterly useless State of the Union speech on Tuesday, and made sure every news org understood that it would be so they could have a closed-door strategic session on upcoming matters. A good place to start would be to subpoena Lev Parnas and John Bolton, and broadcast that testimony far and wide. Take away Dear Leader's crowing victory lap while they're at it.

Whether they like it or not, the Democratic leadership is now not only in the role of trying to salvage what remains of the country, but it's going to be a fight for their own survival as a viable political party. Nancy Pelosi turns eighty in March. Who is being prepared to take over when she retires? What will things be like for them when Sling Blade squeaks by in November -- or loses but refuses to acknowledge the results?

There are no easy choices for them anymore, there is only fight or die, roll or be rolled over. They have a few dozen weeks in which to figure out a strategy and begin executing it. Let's hope they see it clearly and act accordingly. Get a fresh set of hearings going, a few talking points to hammer home relentlessly on the Sunday follies shows, flood the zone, stick to the script, speak with passion and conviction, and people will get behind it.

Somewhere between 70-75% of the public wanted witnesses, so that has to have included a good number of Republican voters. This is a popular, bipartisan issue. This is no time to be timid and worry about what Chuck Todd thinks, or some imaginary "swing" voter in Pig's Knuckle thinks, or what their "colleagues" across the aisle think. It should be clear by now that Ben Sasse would slit their throats for a pat on the head from his master. Keep up the great work, Nebraska!

So let's get this party started, again and again, right up until the election. Make the traitor turtle have to explain himself over and over for the next nine months. There is literally nothing to lose by fighting back as hard as possible now.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Learn to Swim, See You Down in Arizona Bay

Character is fate. -- Heraclitus

Some say a comet will fall from the sky, followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
Followed by fault lines that cannot sit still.
Followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits.
And some say the end is near, some say we'll see Armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will.
I could use a vacation from this stupid shit. -- Tool, Ænema


Here we go. After a brief feint at pretending to dither over their foregone conclusion, the cowardly scum that comprise the Senate Republicons did their sworn duty to their orange overlord and wrapped this farce up tighter than Yertle McConnell's favorite leather gimp.

No one is shocked or even surprised. We knew they would do this, because this is what they are. They hate this country, they hate most of its citizens, and they fully intend to cling to power by any means necessary. Now that they have openly authorized the chief executive -- as long as he's from their party, of course -- to do as he pleases, up to and including offering monetary inducements to foreign leaders to influence US elections, expect the phone calls and thick envelopes to fly fast and hard.

Like I keep saying:  Don't despair, prepare. Of course people feel like crying or throwing their hands up and saying fuck it, and checking out from all of it. What good does any of it do, if they're just gonna cheat to win?

Well, again, if they weren't worried about the outcome, they wouldn't need to cheat at every turn, now would they? Just a little over a year ago, people showed up for the midterms, and it paid off. Democrats retook the House. All the hearings and witnesses and evidence that came out during this process, the very fact that you were allowed to know about any of it is entirely due to the fact that people showed up in November of 2018. It's the difference between Adam Schiff running things, and a corrupt shit like Devin Nunes brushing it under the rug and running to lick his master's boots.

You don't have to wait until November to start voting either. Vote with your wallet, every day. Make your choices count. You know how much money things like the Kentucky Derby and NCAA basketball and Jim Beam bourbon dump into Kentucky's economy? Sit 'em out this year, until that festering turd McConnell finally gets flushed. Tons of teevee shows and movies are made in Georgia. What companies are still buying commercial time on Fox News?

You want things to change and improve, it's going to take a little work. Those things are bare minimum, but I guarantee you if enough people do them, it will make a difference. If you have more money, donate to some of the opposition candidates; if you have more time and the inclination to act like a Jehovah's Witness, I guess you could go door-to-door or hit the supermarkets, and get people to register to vote. If you have free time and some speaking skills and the patience to deal with idiots in the audience, maybe you run for your local planning commission or school board or city council.

(I've actually been asked by quite a few people in my area over the years, liberal and conservative, to run for some sort of local government seat. I'd be fucking terrible at it. I have the knowledge and passion, but not the patience. I've sat in on a few city council and county board meetings over the years. I know some of the members of these groups. It is nothing more than assembly-line tedium. Everything starts with pro-forma nuisances like reciting the pledge of allegiance, then before actually getting to business you have to give the audience a chance to speak. The only people who have time to attend these things are either elderly folks with nothing else to do, or idiots who are riled up over some $2.00/year mosquito abatement assessment being voted on. (That one is real, I can still recall it quite clearly.) Look at every time a new Krispy Kreme shop opens, or a new $1,000 phone is released with a slightly improved bezel. There is simply a certain percentage of people whose time is worth literally nothing to them. And they all show up at local gov't meetings. The first few episodes of the sitcom Parks & Recreation were pretty much a documentary of that phenomenon. So, thanks but no thanks.)

It's going to be difficult to keep the faith between now and then. The corporate media are engineered and incentivized to demoralize you, the better to keep you in your place. That's why they beat on Sanders and Warren, because either one of those two will actually do something. The media will go after Biden and Buttigieg and Klobuchar as well. It's always someone's turn in the barrel. They want to stir up infighting between the candidates' supporters, to depress turnout in the general election.

This is not incidental, this is the goal. An actual liberal media would not keep doing these tired-ass Cletus safari pieces, venturing out to talk to these spiteful hicks who won't fucking die already, who hate their grandkids and whine about communism but hey, where's my entitlements?

So boycott them too. Seriously, when was the last time CNN gave you anything of value? Why on earth would you read most of the Times columnists, or their lap-dog "reporting" and "anonymous" sourcing?

Of the five remaining "main" Dem candidates, I would honestly say each of them has some chance to win. There are people who have a vested interest in maintaining that Bernie or Warren are "too left" and therefore susceptible to a McGovern-type landslide. You may want to check if any of those folks offered predictions about 2016, and how that turned out.

Everyone got 2016 wrong. I got it way wrong (though, oddly enough, I do think that some of the breakdown and analysis in the linked post might still hold at least some water). Nobody, not even Trump himself, thought he would or even could win. A fake businessman with multiple bankruptcies, ridiculous appearance, a long track record of failure and incompetence, no experience in public office, had no chance against probably the most over-qualified person ever to apply for the job.

But he won because there really is a deep current of frustration and anger in this country, and he understood it well enough to monetize and weaponize it. Sanders clearly taps that discontent with just as much efficiency. Warren is getting better at it too. The panel monkeys and smart-set slop-ed columnists all beat the how're we gonna pay for it? drum like it's the only song they know.

It doesn't occur to them that some under-employed single mom with a sick kid or two and no insurance -- or hell, even with insurance, it's not like it's a vast improvement -- hears that argument and reflexively thinks about all the bullshit that gets paid for without so much as a blink. And now we're three years into paying that fat fuck to play golf on his own courses every goddamned weekend, so he can force the Secret Service to rent golf carts and jet skis and hotel rooms directly from him. Tell us again how we just can't find any money to cut working families some slack on the decades of interest payments they're forced to make to student-loan corporations.

That's the real reason the Cletus safari doofuses need to get their heads out of their asses and talk to some Democratic voters once in a while -- because we're fucking pissed too. There is a misconception that Trump's cult of cousin-fucking yahoos have some kind of monopoly on righteous anger, and that's entirely because they're the only ones the corporate media will talk to. They don't realize that Sanders and Warren have just as much of a shot as Biden -- maybe more -- because those two have learned very well how to empathize with the anger, and give it voice.

The bottom line on all this is to keep in mind one definite inevitability -- none of the remaining candidates will be ideal for everyone. Someone will have to compromise, someone will have to hold their nose for someone they really don't care for. To which I would respond, Are you sure you dislike Candidate X more than the doddering asshole that's been in there? Because that's the choice right now. It's a process -- you remove the person you're tired of, replace them with someone you can live with for the time-being, and then start looking for someone better for the next go-round.

Think of it as a slump-buster, if that helps. Sometimes you just need a warm body for a short period of time to get you out of a rut, until you find your rhythm again. I am fine with having Amy Klobuchar as a slump-buster, if it gets that clog out of the White House toilet. Hell, I'll vote for Mike Bloomberg or Tom Steyer if that's what it takes. We all need to focus on getting that fucker out, period. Worry about policy specs later.

Take a good, long look at the last two weeks, that despicable sham in the Senate. Get pissed. Make them pay, with your votes and your wallets. Be creative, be consistent. Make it hurt and don't stop the pain. Most of all, show up every time. Never forget that that's exactly what they don't want you to do.

Every election is always the most important one ever, which is another way to desensitize people over time to how things really are. I don't think it's hyperbolic to say that this year really is that important, and in fact may actually be a make-or-break scenario for the continuation of what we might still recognize and hope to be a relatively free country. The upcoming sham "verdict" will legitimize what these fuckers have already done, as well as what they are going to do, and they've probably already started doing it.

It's not an exaggeration that a we saw this week a major step toward formalizing the turn into a "soft authoritarian" state, a shell of a representative democracy but really just an open rubber stamp parliament at the behest of the despot and his cronies. This country has always been run by the wealthy and conniving, and we've been heading down this road even before Trump got into politics. But it was done with a wink and a nod and at least a sop to the proles here and there.

It's all wide out in the open now. It's Lamar Alexander -- who turns eighty in July, is independently wealthy, and is retiring later this year -- casting the die for this treachery, as one final favor. Not to Trump, but to Bill Barr, who now heads an organization that has been more or less explicitly empowered to engage in whatever tactics domestically that Barr sees fit.

Bearing in mind, of course, that Barr is an Opus Dei fanatic who is on record as another one of those "moral decay" assholes that really wants to force everyone to go to the same church. Notwithstanding the inconvenient fact that Barr's own father was a pervert who wrote sex-slave pulp sci-fi books and gave Jeffrey Epstein his first real job, a job that Epstein was literally unqualified for.

Remember when the Feds raided Epstein's Manhattan sex castle last summer and confiscated truckloads of evidence? Yeah, good times. Wonder how that all turned out. I don't mean Uncle Jeff's "suicide," I mean what happened to all the fucking evidence? Maybe someone could get a House subcommittee going to investigate that.

I get why people might get confused or frustrated with this endless barrage of connections and people and timelines and dirty deeds done for fun. They can only get so far in before they throw up their hands and decide that they all do it. Everyone is corrupt, doing the same awful things to the same lurid degree. I might as well just either check out, or at least cast my lot with the guy that pushes my buttons.

That's how you end up with a mendacious pro-wrestling clown. That how you end up with fifty-one grown-ass adults who are perfectly willing to sell their country all the way down the road to despotism, under an erratic, impulsive, vindictive, blindingly stupid criminal -- someone they all know full well is guilty and incompetent and corrupt to his bones, someone they all deeply detest on a personal basis, because he is weird and pathetic and needy and completely unlikable in the way a whiny, self-absorbed brat is unlikable. They sold their souls and their country for nothing, for a brief extension to their tenuous grasp on power, and the money they can't take with them when they die.

That's how you end up with such despicable, miserable people -- by abdicating your responsibilities, by not showing up, by hoping someone else will come along and do it, because someone always does. Welp, Superman's not comin' to save the day this time, podna, so you best take stock of the situation, figure out what you can and what you can't control, and prepare accordingly.

There are many ideas and emotions that compel me to persist in pissing my thoughts into the electronic void ad nauseam, but if there is a single key defining characteristic, it's this:  a sense of justice. I hate seeing scumbags go unpunished or rewarded, while decent people who work hard and play by the rules get trampled. It drives me nuts when people just accept it as "the way things are." No, the reason things get that way is because enough people are willing to accept it. As long as it's not them or theirs, it doesn't matter. It's someone else's problem, even if it's preventable.

All that we need to do is to look at these people and the things they do, assess them accurately and objectively, and act accordingly. Liars, hypocrites, thieves, killers, the people who enable them and do their dirty work for them -- bring them to account in all the possible ways. Maybe that means bringing them to account in a court of law if they've committed a crime, maybe it means heckling them out of restaurants if they're just really awful excuses for humanity.

The reason you hear the phrase "cancel culture" so much these days is because there is a subsection of wealthy or powerful or influential people who, thanks to the wondrous technology of social media, are being held publicly to account by people from "lower" classes, who in the past had no way to effect any sort of recourse at all for the Important Person's misdeeds. The Important People can't stand it that the great unwashed can now tell them to go fuck themselves, either in Twitter or Instagram, or in public if there's a sighting.

Sometimes this gets out of hand and hits people who just made a slightly off-color comment that they later wish they hadn't. Sometimes people over-react. Who knew? But the good outweighs the bad, and the proof of that was last summer, when within the space of a few weeks, you had Maureen Dowd and Bret Stephens, two wealthy and influential people who are rewarded handsomely even though they are terrible at their job, both whining (again, in their well-paid sinecures at the nation's (erp!) flagship newspaper) about how all the nasty emails and tweets they got presaged guillotines and Kristallnacht.

I mean, when you can get that level of high-pitched whining and pearl-clutching, you know you've hit the mark. But it's also a sad reminder that, since Dowd and Stephens still have their jobs, someone still enjoys reading them. People out there still plan to vote for Trump enthusiastically, no matter how much of a thin-skinned, incompetent criminal he is, no matter how many farmers hang themselves because his genius trade war bankrupted them.

Having a sense of justice is also the inevitable, hard understanding that it is truly rare. Plenty of horrible shit never gets resolved; countless horrible people throughout history were never held accountable. They slept fine right up until the end and died comfortably. No one did jack shit about them.

That's what you really have to prepare for -- more and worse things could and probably will come out as this year progresses, and there's still a good chance that he wins. The Democrats are already showing their talent for fucking things up in the nomination process, and their fallback position is to complain that the media tools are never fair to them. Obviously the reality goes further than that. There are a lot of people in this country whose actions are incoherent and spiteful, and there are plenty who are so untroubled by all of it, they can't even be bothered to show up. If he wins, it means they win; it means once again that maybe this country isn't what you thought it was.

I don't know much, but I know at least two things:  one, that my dad didn't fight the fucking nazis and imperial Japanese in WW2 for this bullshit, any of it; two, I'm getting old and really don't feel like spending the rest of my years concerning myself with an idea that doesn't exist anymore. In other words, if the majority wants to make Idiocracy a documentary, then maybe it's time to seek greener pastures. I can't imagine doing that to my daughter and eventually grandchildren, sentencing them to some pinched, cruel, oligarchic fascist state that thinks The Handmaid's Tale is an instructional text.

We've got about 277 days or so to figure this out, folks; there really may not be a next one at this rate. We might not even get this one. It only works if enough people have enough spine and sense to stand up for themselves.

And if they can't be bothered or roused or convinced -- well, that too is an answer.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Everything Trump Touches Dies

As irritating and demoralizing as it can be to watch an entire political party give its collective soul away to a vile would-be caudillo, there are some entertaining and even strategic points to observe in the ugly process. It seems only fitting that these points were mostly provided by none other than John Fucking Bolton.

The most superficial point has been watching the F Troop of slapdicks at Fixed Noise scramble themselves into a frenzy, trying hastily to excise Comrade Bolton from the photos and narrative of the People's Soviet, lest Comrade Von Clownstick be enraged or even inconvenienced by seeing a hint of Bolton's Cap'n Crunch facial hair. I don't know which frontal-lobe-impaired sliver of codgers in their withered audience is going to buy that truckload of horseshit, but Bolton was Trump's handpicked National Security Advisor, and the very same Fox hand-puppets crowed and snorted at all the libturds crying about Dear Leader's wise choice.

Ever heard of YouTube, motherfuckers? They can try to paint Bolton as a trouble-making commie all they want, but there ain't no memory hole anymore. The only people still buying Fox's tripe need it to stay alive now, to offset the possibility they walk too slowly past a mirror, realize what they support and what they've become, and blow their worthless brains out.

Which, honestly, I am surprised that mainstays like Lou Dobbs and Alan Doucheowitz and the morning-zoo crew haven't already done. You can see it in their eyes now. They know what they are -- and worse yet, they know that we know. Let them live with that, long and hard. This isn't business anymore, assholes. They're openly supporting the open betrayal of their country, hooting and yukking it up.

But that's small potatoes compared to watching #MoscowMitch's dopey gang of treasonous shitheads. They were sure as hell going to railroad this shit through, right up 'murka's poop-chute, and the Dummycrats were just going to have to sit there and take it, like Paul Manafort with his cellmate. McConnell was enjoying the prospect, you could see the evil gleam in his soulless eye-holes. He was getting off on it. He was going to get it over with before the SOTU speech, just the way Dear Leader wanted, and then they could get back to bamboozling the cult loons just long enough to make it to November and renew the prospect of looting the many for the very few.

They even brought in the most cynical team of dipshit "lawyers" imaginable:  the main White House counsel, who literally lied during his arguments on the Senate floor (which is grounds for disbarment); a professional "Christian" who is currently being investigated for (surprise!) embezzling millions of dollars from his megachurch (when he's not playing drums with a couple of discards from the band Kansas); Ken Starr, a sanctimonious, hypocritcal scumbag who would be tarred and feathered in any decent society; the drunk frat girl who took $25k from Trump to not investigate his fraudulent "university" in America's Wang. Like something out of central casting in a fourth-rate Animal House knockoff.

(Side note:  I have honestly lost track of how many times in the last few years some weird instance or assemblage of goofballs has occurred, where I seriously thought, If you wrote this in a treatment or script and pitched it, they'd kick it back for being too on-the-nose.)

So it was all set to go down, in the most humiliating way possible, and here comes Bolton -- and with him, a set of flash polls all showing that even a majority of Republican voters want to hear witnesses and evidence now. Turns out that even people who disagree passionately about the nature of the thing currently occupying the office of chief executive, still agree on the basic principle of if he's innocent, he shouldn't have a problem with presenting testimony and evidence that show how perfect the call was and how he did nothing wrong.

People who are old enough to recall the O.J. Simpson trial from a quarter-century ago remember that moment immediately after the bodies were found, the LA media copters hovering over the white Bronco, futilely trying to escape to Mexico. Certainly innocent people get railroaded and unjustly convicted sometimes, but only guilty people immediately assume that everyone else will assume they're guilty. You follow me?

The innocent person's initial instinct is almost always, Hey, I know I'm innocent. I have the truth on my side, and nothing to hide. I'll just tell them what I know, and go on about my day. Again, sometimes things don't work out that way once investigations and procedures get their wheels set in motion, but that's the initial response.

And of course the guilty person has the opposite response just as reliably. Their first -- and usually only -- instincts are to conceal and/or to escape, if they can. Since Trump cannot escape, he has to conceal, which is what he's done at every possible turn. He's had a million opportunities to straighten this whole thing out; the Democrats have pleaded with him to present all this evidence of how perfect everything was, to refute the sworn testimony provided last month by his subordinates that directly implicated him and Mike Pompeo, among others.

And at every opportunity, he's refused the chance to do so, angrily, insultingly. He thinks his sub-Nelson Muntz taunts of "Shifty Schiff" and the like are going to do anything but make Adam Schiff -- a trained prosecutor who's dealt with organized crime figures and competes in triathlons -- more dogged and determined to stuff that burger-hoisting garbage pail into the nearest jail cell, and strip him of every dollar they can find.

(Incidentally, this is just one of many reasons why intelligence really does matter to some extent. You should at least be sharp enough not to poke the people who can actually harm you.)

So everyone knows he's guilty -- the public, his own supporters, and the Republican members of Congress. The last two groups have made their own calculations about how and why they keep supporting someone whom they know is corrupt, and again, this is something they get to live with for the duration. They've rationalized themselves this far, you can be sure they'll continue to do so.

But it's that third group's calculations that become interesting in the strategic sense. Baked into the cynicism of the McConnell gang is the assumption that the general public will forget because they're easily rolled dupes, their own supporters will get ginned up over whatever bullshit they concoct for them in the fall, and they can all cruise to re-election. But throughout, they know not only that he's guilty of the bare minimum that he's being impeached and tried for, but that there's almost certainly plenty more shit that just hasn't bubbled to the surface yet, and that any or all of it could start coming out all through the rest of the year.

It was the only move they had, really, sticking with him at this point. You're all in or all out, bottom line. "The "heads on a pike" line may or may not have actually occurred, but does anyone seriously doubt that that's really the case? It's what his supporters like about him. It's why dozens of Republican House members, even from safe districts, have abruptly quit, finding suddenly that they no longer possess the intestinal fortitude to continue betraying their country day after miserable fucking day.

So the GOP Senate assholes had no choice. It was a sizable gamble, and it may be starting to backfire on them now, thanks to Bolton (who, again, let's be clear, is not motivated by any illusions of "patriotism" so much as an overweening arrogance and sense of self-regard). Because it turns out that Trump knew Bolton had a manuscript ready to drop -- and didn't even warn McConnell. So now they know that not only is more of his fuckuppery going to trickle out and stain all the carpets in the coming months, but there isn't even any honor among thieves.

What they've always said about Trump and "loyalty" is true, and can be empirically observed over decades of him never shutting the fuck up about anything (other than his money laundering):  The loyalty only goes one way, from you to him. It is never mutual, except as a matter of convenience to him.

So it is immensely entertaining to watch these genuinely despicable people find all this out the hard way. They richly deserve to be tossed out on their asses as soon as electorally possible, and then shunned for the remainder of their lives, and then rendered destitute by lack of further prospects, karma, worsening health, etc.

It won't happen, of course -- this is, after all, the nation that still allows a glowering pustule like Newt Gingrich to not have to live in a needle-filled alley sucking diseased cocks to feed his drug habit, like he deserves -- but there is at least a chance for them to lose at the ballot box, and they're starting to realize that. Nothing ever gets better with this guy, none of the scandals ever turn out to be less than initially thought. Always worse; always more. They're starting to realize that as well. More and more incriminating, stupid stuff is going to come out, and they're all going to be up to their necks in it.

Because they're accomplices, in the end, and even some of their own constituents, the ones not chugging the kool-aid and asking for thirds, are getting that as well.

They decided to have a Jersey Shore cult rally last night, and the Hoarse Whisperer has a very entertaining live-take thread of the festivities. I didn't (and wouldn't) watch the rally, but like Hoarse, I did watch some of them back during the campaign, all the way through, mostly to get a sense of why people were falling for this ridiculous grifter so hard, and what sort of nonsense was resonating with them, that sort of thing. They were just what you think they were -- amazingly dumb, hopelessly repetitive, demoralizing in that you realize that no matter how cynical you've ever been about the stupidity of people, it wasn't nearly enough.

And what Hoarse observes from tonight's rally is what I'm seeing lately in general, this kind of low-octane, lukewarm support. Don't get me wrong, they'll still vote for him, but the passion is fading, the novelty is wearing off, the "vote for change" excuse from before is no longer valid. You know what he's about, so you can't talk about "change" anymore -- you're either with this spiteful idiocy, or you're not.

I saw a lot of links today crowing about how all the hotels in Wildwood sold out in anticipation of the rally, all the crowds, blah blah. So here's the deal about that:  Wildwood has a population of a little over 5,000. That's five thousand. It's a resort town, so they do have more and better accommodations than most towns that size, but it's still barely more than a village in size. And Trump's rally promoters have been infamous in recklessly overselling these events. The convention center has a capacity of 7,000, which means they probably gave out 30-40,000 tickets, maybe more.

It has been their deliberate attendance model to pack the parking lot as well as the venue, which for a small resort town means traffic nightmares for a couple days around the event, and probably the stretching of the town's police resources, and definitely a security bill that Cheapskate McFrightwig will refuse to pay. All for a relative handful of suckers who think they want to be used as stage props for a traveling medicine show, who think they're pwning libturds by driving for hours and waiting for more hours out in the January cold of a Jersey Shore seaside town.

And then they get up there and realize they're really just there to hear the greatest shits, to chant USA and Lock her up! when prompted, like the barely-trained farm animals they really are. To spend an entire day waiting around, hoping above all else to get into an arena with a bunch of strange, sweaty groper types, to listen to a demented old man rant about dishwashers and how he'll fix their health care, while never really explaining even the broad strokes of how.

Clearly these are not the sharpest tools in the shed -- all you have to do is listen to them rattle for thirty seconds in any random YouTube video to see that -- but it may be starting to dawn on them finally. They're not really rubbing anyone's noses in anything, if they still can't afford health care, if they still have to work two jobs to survive, if they still live in crappy, boarded-up towns where the smart kids have left, the others are stuck or dead, and all those boarded-up lots are squatted on by out-of-town owners who don't care if the property ever re-opens or helps the town turn a buck.

And fuckin' Jim Jones up there at the podium in the high-school gym, with all the colorful insult-comic lines they can sing along to by now, like some discount Don Rickles, after the jokes are done and the circus has left town and they're back to their opioids and fast food and boredom, he's not going to do anything about any of that. Because he doesn't really care, not even a little bit. Shit, his dick-waving just got four dozen military personnel hospitalized with traumatic brain injuries, and he laughs it off as headaches. Walk it off, you pussies!

The schtick wears thin after a while; like any drug, the user has to chase more and more of it just to get anything out of it, never quite approaching that original euphoria. I think there is a very real cultural thread from Duck Dynasty to Trump, and as popular as that show was, it was done in five years. I mean, they basically beat everyone over the head on a constant basis with 130 "episodes" (I once caught one to see what all the fuss was about, and seriously felt stupider by the end of that interminable half-hour) and an unholy barrage of promotion and advertising and Wal-Mart swag and all sorts of cheap shit like that, but it wore out its welcome.

The human brain, no matter how dull and desensitized, can take daily barrages of nonsense and cognitive dissonance for only so long. And then it's old. If Trump knew how to give it a rest, or if the media knew how to change up their coverage a bit, it might be different. But they are all one-trick ponies, and maybe the American public is starting to get a bit war-weary. People are exhausted, and the one-liners are long past their sell-by date.

And even the most die-hard cultist has to wonder at some point, if Crooked Hillary is so crooked, and Republicans are in charge right now, then why haven't we actually locked her up? What's the hold-up here? Even the cynic has to wonder to themselves why they continue to sing along, if they know it's bullshit.

I make no predictions; my observations on the messiness of human nature are what they've always been. But the patterns are clear from an operational perspective, and from a perspective of how a rational actor would craft a strategic response to save their job and reputation:  the boss is erratic and impulsive and dumb and cruel, and would incarcerate every loyal minion and nuke the entire Midwest if it would make him a buck or save his worthless hide. Everything that is politically bad for them now is only going to get worse, never better. What do you do?

Either they hang together, or they hang separately. They know that. All it takes is for a few key players to break, though, and the floodgates will open. It is enormously fun to watch these mendacious shits twist in the wind.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Amor Fati

He'll get away with it, you know. All of it. He always has. No one has ever really held him accountable for much of anything. The closest call he ever had with real accountability was back in 1990, when he nearly bankrupted one of his shitbag casinos in AC, and as part of the bailout the creditor banks put him on an "allowance" of $450k -- per month.

And so he never learned anything from his many failures and stupid excesses, because why should he? There's never been any reason to. Just like the Wall Street wizards who lawn-darted the economy a decade ago, looted the wreckage, and still had the balls to insist on their performance bonuses. We don't hold rich and/or powerful people accountable.

Well, Bill Cosby and Jeffrey Epstein might beg to disagree with that. There are always exceptions. But they are notable precisely because of their scarcity.

And this impeachment trail farce. Right out in the open, like whaddaya gonna do about it, same as it ever was. Ol' Moscow Mitch, he didn't even bother with the pretense of a reach-around, the thin veneer of fake comity and moderation. In what trial court does the jury foreman declare his intent to work with the defendant and the defendant's counsel throughout the process and to acquit the defendant before the trial even starts? And what jury pre-emptively decides that they don't need to call any witnesses or demand any evidence that might prove the defendant's guilt?

More importantly, what sort of diseased society is okay with all of that? We may just be too far gone at this point, seriously, as a functioning republic or democracy or however you want to term it. This is pure despotism, right here. That's all there is to it. And an incredible percentage of people seem to be okay with it, or inexplicably apathetic to it.

The fix is in, and nobody will or can do anything about it. Not his party, because they're all in at this point, counting on cheating, suppression, and pig-blind stubbornness to carry them over the line. Not the opposition party, too intimidated to fully commit to what they've started, yet seemingly not understanding that if they fail and he stays, they're all targets. They should be setting up an ad hoc committee to investigate and draft more articles of impeachment right now, ready to load soon as this dog-and-phony show is through.

The media certainly won't challenge them, long as there's a buck to be made selling tickets to the circus. The librul media helped him in his ascent, every filthy, corrupt step of the way. He may be dumber than a bag of rocks, but intelligence and cunning are two different things, and the ability to read people and spot the most credulous, dull-witted saps in the room is a by-god bona-fide skill.

If you really think about it, the main ability required to screw people over, lie to them constantly and poison their brains, is just a willingness to do it and stick to it. Never relent, never break character, never admit guilt or defeat. There will always be people who want to believe the lies, and there will always be people who will ingratiate themselves to your cause and assist with it, in order to capitalize on the opportunity.

So it comes now to the people of this fair land to sack up, show up, and hold them all -- there's that pesky word again -- accountable. Like the impeachment, and even the crimes that led to the impeachment, it is an all-or-nothing proposition. It is not enough merely to remove Trump; a Democratic president with the House and Senate as is will be hamstrung and obstructed at every opportunity, with no small amount of assistance from the agitprop fiends at Fixed Noise.

The Republicon party has to be removed from power at every possible point, at every possible level. Period. They are nothing more now than a malevolent, destructive force that wants only to sow discord and wreak havoc. That is not an exaggeration. You want this bullshit to end, they have to end. There is no other way.

Frankly, I think voting is pretty much a waste of time. You're either outnumbered by the bastards, or cheated and no one does anything, or you win, but your guy gets prevented from doing much of anything regardless, and is mostly undone within months after leaving office anyway. It historically changes very little, and as Emma Goldman famously put it a century ago, if it did change anything, they wouldn't let us do it.

Having said all that, you should still vote anyway. Not because of any moral or patriotic duty, or any of that flag-humping, group-chant nonsense. Do it because it's the practical thing to do, because of game theory -- if you don't show up, things will definitely not improve, but if you do show up, not only is there at least a small chance of improvement, but the odds go up in direct proportion to participation.

You have the ability to increase the odds. The proof of that is if you didn't, if there really was nothing to be done regardless, they wouldn't keep investing so much in cheating and suppression. You don't need to cheat at a game that doesn't matter in the first place. Again, let math and logic and reason demonstrate what mere "patriotic duty" apparently does not.

And after all that, after all the fine thoughts and good deeds, he still might win again. There's actually a pretty good chance of it. What then? I wish I knew the answer to that.

Back in my wild youth, I did have my quieter moments when I read philosophy and economics, classics, things like that. I probably had a grip at the time on philosophy about like Otto in A Fish Called Wanda, but being older and hopefully a bit wiser now, it comes back around with more heft. Re-reading the Stoics, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus and Seneca and such, is a good reminder about understanding what we can and can't control, and adjusting accordingly for ourselves.

So at the very least, don't despair, but prepare. Think about what specific aspects of your life will be adversely affected by the return of this demented old wet-brained pervert. It could be something concrete like your access to decent health care, or something more abstract, like the sinking realization that this country has a very deep sickness in its collective soul right now, and it simply may not recover in your lifetime. Maybe never.

All the people and things that we care about eventually come to an end. Toxins build up, systems break down, parts corrode and fall into disrepair. You can treat it and maybe prolong the inevitable, but sooner or later the bill comes due. The people who yap loudest about how much they supposedly love their country, refer to it as a living thing, as she or her, often seem to be the ones causing the most damage. The old gal is taking on some serious water these days, and the people who have the most power to help seem intent on drowning her.

So each of us really needs to consider the odds, and what our responses are to various scenarios. Maybe you decide you've had it, you don't want to leave but you can't stay anymore to continue watching the controlled demolition, helpless and mute. How do you move on? Maybe it's time to get your passport in order, see what the emigration requirements are to various places. Just in case.

For me, it's still a bit cathartic to vent and complain about the whole lot of it, but it's a very small part of my daily life, and I do and engage in other, more constructive things. I'm sure most of you do as well, and maybe it's healthier for us all to do more of those things and less of this thing.. I think we all need to find ways to insulate ourselves from the penumbra of pro-wrestling madness from these people, as well as to assure ourselves of the ability to just keep going with our jobs, families, money and health issues, all the things that we are all affected by to some degree, and can be made worse if we let ourselves get demoralized by the bastards.

There are some things you simply cannot get around -- the monopolies you pay each month for all your utilities; the needs for food and shelter and love and culture -- but we have choices about what we read and see and where we spend our money. Instead of bitching about the New York Times just drop them like a sack of manure, and don't look back. Instead of complaining about CNN having the teen rapist Alan Doucheowitz or the liar Kellyanne Con-Way defiling our teevee screens one more fucking time, just cut CNN loose. They're fucking useless anyway. Instead of griping about why no one is doing anything about climate change, look at what your contribution to that is, and reduce it by ten percent, then another ten percent.

If enough people do these things, all of which are within their power, things will change. A big part of it is the gatekeeper corporate media, whose vested interest is to get you riled up about shit you can't control, and hey while you're here check out our ads for cheeseburgers or boner pills or a big gas-guzzling truck to take your mind off your tiny dick. I stopped watching all teevee news, except for local weather, and that's one sure way to clear your head. I can't recommend it enough.

I don't necessarily agree 100% with the concept of amor fati -- to love or embrace whatever fate has in store for us, but you get the idea. If the fate of the country is Trump getting re-elected and ramping up his agenda, knowing he can get away with literally anything now, I don't think it's necessary or even wise to simply embrace that, or even passively accept it.

But we should prepare for it, not only because of how it will enable him and his henchmen to continue killing off this country, but because of what it clarifies about the citizenry. Blame the electoral college or the media or Russian Fakebook nonsense or whatever, but the fact of the matter is that there are enough people here who are okay with all of it -- they either actively support it, or are simply too goddamned lazy to get off their asses and do their job as citizens.

The 2016 election posed a conundrum to the engaged observer -- did the result reflect what the country had become, or did it reveal what it has always been? It seems to be a large measure of both, now infused and empowered with technology and authoritarianism and incoherent rage.

We can laugh at those dorks in Richmond yesterday, with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle camo-drag and their dick substitutes positioned in often comically dangerous places. Look at the photos of these morons, you wouldn't hire any of them to sweep your front porch. They're useless and they know it. Their biggest enemy is not Antifa, it's hardening arteries and sodium benzoate.

But they won. They marched with masks and .50 cal sniper rifles and even grenade launchers, through the streets of a state capital, defying laws and challenging authorities to do something about it. Their intent is to set up "sanctuary counties" where people can have whatever weapons they want, and the sheriffs won't enforce the laws.

And no one did or will do a goddamned thing about any of it. You think these assholes are up on it now, you wait until their boy skates on impeachment, tells Schiff and Pelosi to go fuck themselves in the SOTU speech, and openly cheats his way to re-election.

The beauty of it is, if everyone just ignores all that and shows up anyway, we can beat them back. Always remember, there are more of us than there are of them. We just have to stop dicking around, herding cats and worrying about what MoDo and Bobo and the rest of the slop-ed losers think about anything. They are trying to demoralize you. Stop letting them.