Friday, September 18, 2015

Stop the Inanity

Company man Peter Wehner, in Commentary (hey, I was just there to jerk off to the pictures, not read the articles, m'kay?) finds himself on the horns of a dilemma, what with the bumptiousness of Trump and all, undermining Serious People Doing Very Important Work.

Citing not just the popularity of Corbyn but the rise of Donald Trump and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders in America, as well as unfolding events in Greece and France, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair argues, “There is a politics of parallel reality going on, in which reason is an irritation, evidence a distraction, emotional impact is king and the only thing that counts is feeling good about it all.”

He went on to say this:
The explanation for this parallel reality is something to do with people feeling empowered by their ability through it, to “fight back” against “the system”, the traditional ways of thinking about politics with all its compromises, hard decisions and gradual increments. It is the clarity of full-throated opposition versus the chin-stroking nuance of: “What would we do if we were in government?” It’s a revolution but within a hermetically sealed bubble…

Mr. Blair concluded this way:
Because it is a vast wave of feeling against the unfairness of globalisation, against elites, against the humdrum navigation of decision-making in an imperfect world, it persuades itself that it has a monopoly on authenticity. They’re “telling it like it is”, when, of course, they’re telling it like it isn’t.

Jesus H. Christ. Talk about a hermetically sealed bubble. Blair is firmly encased away from the consequences of his decisions, and the decisions of his friends, hard and otherwise. Corbyn's election, and the candidacy of Trump -- and yes, that of Bernie Sanders as well -- do in fact all share a common thread of frustration with the mendacious tendencies of "the system" Blair worked within. There is much talk about "hard decisions" and "compromises" but no talk at all about who bears the brunt of those things, every goddamned time.

You have to wonder sometimes if these assholes really and truly don't get it, or if they're just Oscar-caliber actors. If one of their hectomillionaire backers loses, say, 10% of their net value in a recession, well, it sucks, but fortunately they have many other tens of millions of dollars with which to cushion the blow. Not so for an average lower-middle-class (since the US hates the fucking middle class, and has driven it into the dirt) family, whose net worth is mostly tied up in the value of their home, which went underwater in the recession, and will take years to recoup its value, assuming he can hang on to it long enough.

Joe Hecto has cash flow, cash reserves, and an economy of scale to help him get back on his feet and recoup his losses quickly and reliably, while Joe Schmo has none of those things, and has to hope his job doesn't pull up stakes from under him and leave him destitute while he's trying to recover from the economic downturn -- the naturally foreseeable result of all those "compromises" Tony Blair described with such smug anguish.

Whatever policies Blair and his ilk -- and this includes the Clintons and the Bushes alike -- the outcomes are predictable: successes accrue to the elites, while failures fall on those least able to bear it. The rich do not send their kids to die or get maimed in some bullshit war, don't have to deal with a fracking company turning their water table into flammable chemicals, never have to worry about their job getting sent to Bangalore so some cocksucker can make one more million on top of the dozens or hundreds he already has.

If the risk-reward scenario were spread out more evenly, if Our Betters (bettors?) faced even remotely the same consequences for their own decisions that everyone else does, it would be a different story. But they never do, and it's not even close. And now Tony Blair has the fucking gall to come out of the woodwork and chastise the peons for their ingratitude. Look, asshole, I'm about the last person to defend a troglodyte like Donald Trump, or the ignorant mouth-breathers who support him. But it's almost impossible not to get why they're frustrated, and that they intuitively understand that the politicians are out to get them.

I don't know enough about Corbyn to comment one way or the other, but that's really the brass ring that just barely evades the Trump-lodytes. They are correct that the system is out to fuck them over; what they miss is that their boy is playing them like a fiddle as well. Like any good huckster, he's going to pull the rubes along until the critical moment, and then pull the rug out from under them.

What's tough to figure out here is what Trump's endgame is. He's almost certainly not as wealthy as he claims, but he is wealthy. And he's already taken some hits, between losing his deals with NBC and Univision. Unless he's got some mad scheme to compete with Shelly Adelson for some Macau casino real estate, where's the financial gain for him? Secondly, while Trump is not as smart as he thinks he is, he's not stupid, either; in fact, primarily because of his immense ego, he probably understands the ideals of rational self-interest more than most people. And he has to know that the odds of actually succeeding are against him; a snake-oil salesman knows better than anyone that the media is geared to a build-them-up-and-tear-them-down cycle, and that his time is coming.

Maybe his ego outweighs his better sense, who knows? Again, this is a guy who spends his time -- or at least pays someone to spend their time -- fucking around on Twitter, picking and responding to fights over the most mundane, idiotic things. You don't see Warren Buffett doing that, you don't see Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, any other billionaire, doing that stupid shit. Trump's a queer duck, no doubt. Good luck figuring out his master plan.

But whatever it is, the fact is that the rage he's channeled, however poorly, to whatever end, much of that rage is justified. Because these elites, these transnational merchant princes and their political dogsbodies, like Tony Blair, with no loyalty but to themselves and each other, have screwed them over royally. The plebes don't know much, and they don't know what exactly to do about it, but they know that much well enough. When they finally figure out the proper direction to focus their anger and frustration, it might be a good idea to look at property in The Okanagan or some such.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Something for the Ladies

Although most of my musical tastes tend to revolve around various shades of metal, with a bit of classical and Beatles/Beach Boys pop once in a while, I grew up on old-school R&B, and still have a soft spot for it. And this is a great rendition of a newer song that harks back to those classics. Just amazing. And almost poignant, stripped of the production doodads of the original.

Fuck You got billed as something of a novelty hit by a can't-miss auteur, but it's exposed here as a truly sharp, bitter cri de Coeur. Anyone who was ever sixteen years old and had an unrequited crush can relate to this. It's every bit as legit as anything Marvin Gaye or Al Green did.

Lie of the Crier

Not sure what the hell Mike Huckabee thinks he's going to get out of bandwagoning and orchestrating the small (300 people? really?) pep rally for oft-married, recently converted super-Christian Kim Davis' release from county jail. If he thinks his single-issue preaching to the converted is going to get him so much as a low-level cabinet appointment in a never-gonna-happen Ted Cruz administration, he's even dumber than he sounds trying to defend this sanctimonious dunce.

Are her fifteen minutes up yet already? Again, who gives two shits what a handful of inbred rubes and jokers think about anything? They've already got their minds made up; we know who they'll be voting for next year and for the next ten to twenty years. There's no mystery about places like this. These are people who literally cannot decide whether or not they should be allowed to purchase alcohol. Are they Moooslims, or just stoopid?

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

No Lives Matter

Oh good -- the organization whose protected members decided to accost and assault an innocent man for no reason, in broad daylight on a busy city street, is going to investigate itself. Awesome.

While they're at it, they might want to investigate precisely why these assholes need to go all Delta Force on "a ring believed to be using fraudulent credit cards to buy cellphones". Since when do they give two shits about white-collar crime?

Wait, that's right -- when it's banksters stealing billions of dollars and rigging interest rates, fucking the world over, they do jack shit. But if they suspect you might be a credit-card fraudster, they will throw you down on the sidewalk and fuck your shit up before they even ask your name. I suppose Blake should just be thankful they didn't fill him full of lead.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Speak English or Die

If this nation had any sense of irony anymore, it would be ironic -- a vapid, notoriously incoherent moron whinging about immigrants not learning Gawwwd's Favrit Language quickly enough for her liking. But irony is deader than William McKinley at this point, so not only does no one get the joke, most of 'em don't even understand that there is a joke.

Let me tell ya something, sugar-tits:  if I had just a goddamned penny for every time I saw a native-born 'murkin confuse you're/your or they're/their/there, write "ect." instead of etc. (which fucking stands for et cetera, see), or throw apostrophes around like they got paid for each use, I could have retired at the ripe old age of fifteen.

And there seems to be some sort of law of inverse proportion to these mutton-heads -- the more strident they are that everyone should learn English the day they get off the boat and receive our blessings, the more likely it is that they make these comically dopey, basic errors of usage.

I am just arrogant enough to tell you with 100% confidence that I can tell you with almost absolute certainty how much  -- or if -- someone else reads, just by reading a few lines of what they write. Even celebritard ass-sniffing magazines know how to use homophones and apostrophes (or in the current dipshit parlance, homophone's and apostrophe's, since every word that ends in s need a fucking apostrophe).

But, you know, the last thing the world needs is another tedious language lesson. What's more interesting about La Palin's plaint is that, as Suckaterry o' Energy in a Trump administration (brought to you by Brawndo), her goal would be to disband that agency. Because we have an infinite supply of oil and coal, and no other energy source matters or is useful, and climate change is a complete hoax. Seriously, what fucking planet do these idiots live on?

The real problem with people like Sarah Palin is not their opinions per se, which any reasoning person can instantly dismiss as the random, opportunistic jabber that it is. The real problem is that plenty of fools buy into the nonsense, believe what these dummies are saying. Worse yet, they drive automobiles, reproduce, vote. It's like they set out to prove Mencken right, over and over again.

Monday, September 07, 2015

1 Thing You MUST Know About Assholes

That douchebag dentist is back to work, and probably with little to no drop-off in business, since his long-term patients will pull the Yew Cain't Tell Me Whut Ta Do card, and show all y'all jest whut the deal is. Or he might actually be proficient at his job, in which case his patients almost certainly won't pull away. Maybe their insurance doesn't cover a lot of other dentists.

At any rate, the salient point here is that this guy clearly still doesn't get it. The problem is not that he killed a lion that had a name, or was "popular" with locals; the problem is that he, Walter Palmer DDS, enjoys killing things just for the sheer fun and pleasure of killing them, and he gives zero fucks whether the animal in question is already endangered to the point that every act is an impactful destructive act.

Hang your fucking trophy on that, asshole. You're part of the problem; you are what's wrong with humanity. And either your actions mean nothing in the scheme of things, in which case nothing you do means anything at all, or karma is actually a thing, in which case you are well and truly -- and deservedly -- fucked.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Right, Stuffed

Of course "right people" can (and for the most part should) be interpreted to mean whites, but the teabaggers' disdain runs deeper and broader than that, and who comprises the "right people" is even simpler than that. They really just don't want any gubmint dollars going to anyone besides themselves, or some rich asshole who might "create" a "job" for them, even if they're beyond working age, or don't have any marketable skills, or are too addled on meth and/or oxy to do much in the first place.

Working in social services for several years now, I've seen and heard many people and stories in this area, both pro and con. One of the most common sentiments is that people shouldn't have children they can't afford, which is reasonable enough in principle. Nobody wants to feel like they're being forced to subsidize the bad habits and poor impulse control of others.

But many of the people saying that have nothing at all to say about the billionaires and corporations that they're also forced to subsidize. They have an iPhone, but no reservations about the conditions under which their devices are constructed, and no thoughts about Apple offshoring billions of dollars in order to avoid paying taxes. They shop at Wal-Mart, but can't be bothered to care about the fact that if the employees can't get by on their shit jobs (and can't get a second job because of unpredictable scheduling constraints), they have to seek gubmint services to supplement the shortfall. Great racket for the multi-billionaire Walton family, to soak up the profits and force taxpayers to pick up the tab for food stamps and medical care.

The teabagger "movement" itself, regardless of what its addled adherents think, is bought and paid for by Koch Brothers types who hire shithead consultants who know how to sell shit to these rubes, over and over again. These are the people who lose to tic-tac-toe-playing chickens at county fairs. That people like Reihan Salam and Frank Luntz and all the others continue to have lucrative careers either selling the scam or writing about it proves that maybe the rest of us should just get in on the racket, since it never seems to run dry.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Snark Week

Look, I'll go along with the argument that verbally smacking Kentucky dingbat Kim Davis around for her looks or her (in the past) apparently loose moral code might not be all that productive, might even be something that the flying monkeys on the other side would do. [Ed.: There's no "might" about it.]

But Davis chose to put her selective religious observations above the law, above the functions of her job, above basic common decency. And because her cause is explicitly deciding who can and can't get married on her watch, because said institution is a sacrament in the eyes of gawwwd, it is fair game to point out that Davis' own track record with said institution is a hell of a lot worse than what she takes it upon herself to impose on others.

Since Davis was elected rather than hired, she can't simply be fired. But instead of letting her make herself into a martyr behind bars, maybe the county board of supervisors might initiate a recall election, or a recommendation to suspend and dismiss Davis, something along that line.

Over the past year or two, we've seen several high-profile stories where small businesses owned by religious people have been fined, threatened online, etc., by your garden-variety social justice warriors looking to set them straight. Those folks I can see a little more neutrally, in the sense that within reasonable bounds, small businesses should have the right to refuse service to people you deem objectionable.

The line gets finer and the slope gets more slippery as you try to parse the intellectual difference between refusing to bake a cake for a neo-Nazi versus a gay couple versus a black person, but for now, if I don't want to (for example) give a guitar lesson to someone who posts on Stormfront and talks about his love for Hitler and hatred for those people, that's my right. The point (and there is one) is that it is possible to have an intellectually honest debate about small business rights, and air both sides to at least some extent. (Should a neo-Nazi who owns a small business be compelled to serve me, even though he's offended by what I said about people like him?)

But Kim Davis is a public servant, and the Supreme Court has affirmed the right for same-sex couples to petition the state to recognize their union. No clergyman can be compelled to officiate their ceremony, no beleaguered baker or hand-wringing photographer can be forced to cater or capture the magic moments. But the person who issues the licenses can and should be expected to do her job.

The hypocrisy of Davis' personal history simply serves to illustrate not only her own ethical impasse with what she's trying to impose on others in defiance of the law and the government she works for. Like the Duggar family and countless other religious folks who've made it their mission to hector and lecture us heathens about our wicked ways, Davis' hypocrisy serves as yet another in a long line, a veritable pattern of this sort of "do as I say, not as I do" behavior. That is precisely why it is not only okay, but practically necessary to hoist these idjits on their own petards every time it happens.

And the louder they proclaim their virtue, the more likely it is bound to happen. Say what you want about Larry King and Mickey Rooney, they never took it upon themselves to serve as moral arbiters of the personal lives of consenting adults.