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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Drumpferdämmerung; Or, Appetite for Distraction

After seven months that feels like an eternity, it is possible to hear a swirling sound, a rushing of water into a bottomless chasm. This toxic floater of an administration is on the verge of being flushed, and the world will be the better for it, if the clear majority of this country steps up and keeps its collective momentum. Who coulda seen it coming?

The media monkeys are welcome to chase their daily fixations for the time being, because it is important that our putative leader fails to clear even the lowest of ideological bars. The theater exile of porn/meth magnate Steve Bannon back to his propaganda post fools no one. The alcoholic slob is better able to do his real job back on the outside anyway, free from pesky oversight and pernicious leaks.

These people campaigned on being "outsiders" because that is how they function. Every breath they draw, everything they say and do, is designed to be an act of defiance. It makes sense that they would go back to focusing on how beleaguered they think they are (yes, with the Very White House, both houses of congress, and two-thirds of the state legislatures, so very persecuted). When your team is always girding for an epic battle against an implacable foe, it's much easier to distract from the sheer ineptitude that characterizes the team's operations.

But the numbers don't lie, no matter how much one's accounting ledgers resemble cookbooks. All the corporations populating the great dealmaker's bidness councils have scrambled over one another to flee, forcing all of them to be disbanded. Corporate events at the Maga-Lardo are being cancelled as well. People -- most importantly, people with money -- are leaving in droves.

Even Fatboy's best partner-in-crime, corporate-raider asshole Carl Icahn, probably the true eminence grise behind the gold-painted shitter, has joined the rest of the rats overboard, even after pocketing a half-billion clams in just a few months. Pretty good work if you can get it -- which you can't, unless you suck up to this fucking loser.

This has all happened in the last few days, while Emperor Snowflake has been on vacation. There's no other way to put it -- this is enormously fun to watch, the downward spiral of these fuckers. If you know of a  publicly-traded popcorn company, you may want to consider buying stock in it.

It's a mistake, though to ascribe this impending failure to toxic ideology. Clearly the US has no shortage of toxic people who are fine with having a white supremacist (more accurately, a brainless old bigot) in charge. No, this comes down to incompetence, pure and simple, and these people are so goddamned incompetent, their own voters oughta sue 'em for malpractice. And it's important to keep pointing this out. Emperor Snowflake is the epitome of the idiot who shoots himself in the foot repeatedly and sues the gun company.

Incompetence is also, incidentally, an ideal area for the Democrats to focus on in the midterms. The Russian treason being unearthed plank-by-plank by Mueller's team is part of the picture, and a significant one at that. And per Napoleon Bonaparte's sage advice, it's understandable that the Dems don't want to interfere with an enemy intent on destroying himself.

But if there's one lesson they should have learned from last year's debacle, it's the old (but true!) football advice that prevent defenses prevent you from winning. So the Democrats need to market their product better, and get better pitchmen. Who will be the face of the Democratic Party in four, eight, twelve years? What will they stand for, and what will people think they stand for? Narrative, logline, protagonist, sales pitch -- goddammit, storyboard that shit and find a fresh face to push it.

This is not complicated, and it's nothing against Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi or DiFi, but those three names add up to over two hundred years in age, most of it spent pushing stones uphill in DC. A grateful nation appreciates those years of honorable service, but maybe it's time to hand the reins over to someone below retirement age. For Christ's sake, Feinstein appears to be running for re-election next year, when she will turn 85 about five months before the election. It's probably the safest Senate seat in the country; maybe it's time to hand it off to someone who can lead the party forward in a time that, whether or not Snowflake does the right thing and abdicates, is going to get weirder and worse before it gets better.

People have chosen their own realities and their own facts, and some of these bozos will back Snowflake no matter what the Everest of evidence against him looks like. Against all logic, they will presume it's all a conspiracy to a coup, and some of them will act accordingly. Bet on it.

In the meantime, though, the money is leaving, and that's critical -- especially when you consider that despite winning more than five times as many counties as Hillary, there's still a 2:1 disparity in economic output. This will be a much bigger decider than ideology or racism, of the midterms and 2020. Follow the money.

Don't Stop Believing

The carnage continues --  not only is it possible that Emperor Snowflake may be responsible for the breakup of Journey (and hey, how surprising is it not only that he has a "spiritual advisor," but that said "advisor" is willing to admit to that?), but his earthy rubes are "embarrassed" by him.

To which I would say to those rubes:  hey, the rest of us are embarrassed by you numbskulls, and I am truly sorry that I have only two middle fingers to wave in your general direction. As long as he's too stupid and weird to get anything meaningful done, he can stay for all I care, and the more it reminds these idiots that their dying towns are still dying, the better. Choke on it, assholes.

In Other News

Best wishes to Freddie de Boer, and to anyone enduring a similar struggle. It seems like mental illness is on the upswing in this country, or maybe we're just hearing more about it these days.

I seriously think that a lot of it has to do with how the US is run in general:  banana republic levels of wealth and income disparity; consumerism as an unofficial religion; superstition passing for science and knowledge; "reality" being whatever people feel it should be, a vacant, toxic emotionalism taking over for basic empiricism and a shared epistemology. We used to have those things, but as Carlin memorably put it, we traded them for jet skis and flat screens.

Anyone who allows themselves to care with any level of sincerity about those and other social issues sets themselves up for being driven up the wall by this country and many of its inhabitants -- those who are proud of their ignorance and stubbornness and rage, who want nothing more than to tell others to fuck off, just for the joy of doing so. We strive to be conscious and aware in our lives and outlook, all the while knowing that truly total consciousness and awareness would be emotionally crippling.

Good for de Boer for recognizing what he needs, and taking care of himself.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blut und Scheisse

We can't honestly say we weren't warned, nor can we honestly claim to be surprised. This is who he's always been -- not just bigoted, but stubborn and vain past the point of rational self-interest. People are welcome and correct to focus on Clownstick's insistence on both-siding with nazis, the most slam-dunk of all political oppositions to take.

He's sunk so low in approval ratings, and the bar has been lowered so much for him, he literally would have gained credence and political capital just by beating on the white power assholes. And of course he couldn't do it -- every single time he tries to speak spontaneously, he reveals and projects exactly who he's always been. He's incapable of doing otherwise. I will never not be utterly baffled that so many people couldn't see that characteristic. It's not like he ever tried to hide it.

At some point there will be some sort of political reckoning, if for no other reason than that he's making it easier for his congressional compadres to distance themselves from his poisonous agenda and toxic personality. In the meantime, keep on diggin', fucko. By the time this is all over, even Fixed Noise won't have his fat back, and the world will be boycotting his name, and everything it's plastered on.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Promises Made, Promises Kept

I don't know if Charlottesville will turn out to be the Fort Sumter of the current "cold civil war," as all the kids are calling it, but things seem to be heating up, slowly, surely, inexorably. The joke has been that maybe Clownstick ran over an old gypsy woman, and she cursed him to live out all his peanut-gallery tweets at Obama. The truth is that Yeats was a prophet, and we are all living out his warning. Clownstick may be Orangemandias, faded glory that never was in the first place, but the Pepe-the-Frog Jew-baiting douchebags are the falcon to his falconer.

These racist assholes and their racist bullshit are being normalized right in front of us. They are not bothering to conceal it at all, you have to give them that. David Duke is a loathsome tool, but when he's right, he's right:
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back,” Duke said. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
Yes indeedy. They got their panties all up in a wad every time the Black Lives Matter folks blocked traffic, but in the meantime, these small racist rallies have been going on all over the south, and you know what you have not heard of? Some random BLM activist pulling a Mr. Mercedes and running these losers down.

Plz Moar Tardz

Well, it's about that time again, time for the lamestream media's periodic ass-spelunking tour into dipshit country, to reinforce Emperor Snowflake's rapidly dwindling coterie of ball-lickers that somewhere out there, there's a derpelganger jes' lahk thaym:
Out on Colorado’s eastern plains, an agricultural region where voters went overwhelmingly for Mr. Trump, the response to the president’s remarks was one of support, with little fear of repercussions.

“He needs to step all over that little twerp,” said John Stout, 71, who sat with three retired friends over coffee at the Sinclair gas station in Wiggins, Colo., on Thursday. The other men nodded in agreement. “If it had been me up there,” Mr. Stout continued, “I’d have done it a lot quicker.”
Sure you would've, old man. Everyone's a fucking tough guy when they have no skin in the game. Why, I recall the last time I played a Civilization 4 campaign, I finally got bored and decided to finish off the last AI opponent -- Korea -- by nuking....wait for it....Pyongyang. Then I smoked a cigarette. [cough cough hack] So satisfying.
Mr. Stout said he did not fear for his safety, and hoped that [Fuckface Von Clownstick] would take action to “take out” the North Korean leader’s nuclear abilities.

“Hell yes,” he said. “And they can pinpoint it to where they are not killing a lot of innocent people. That will be the big goal there.”
The worst thing this country ever did -- and continues to do, through its estimable coven of city-mouse scriveners -- is ascribe some sort of earthy wisdom to random jabber, simply because it comes from the piehole of a fist-shaking codger in a dumpy shithole town.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Axiomatic

John Holbo over at Crooked Timber asks what is turning out to be the defining question of this wondrous new millennium:
What do I think the really important, consequential issues are for humanity for the next hundred years?  Climate change and environmental destruction generally; the threat of some catastrophic, global war and/or the use, somewhere, of weapons of mass destruction. I guess number three would be: inequality and the threat it poses for the stability of societies and political orders, long-term.
I would agree 100% with all of those. I would also note for the record that the primary cause for these issues is generally the same across the board:  overpopulation. We have reached the carrying capacity of our planet, for the lifestyle we wish to lead. If we don't mind living asshole-to-teakettle in urbanized stack flats, invest massively in desalination, irrigate every hectare of arable land with perfect seasonality and soil management, stop raising beef and pork, and eliminate every non-essential species over 100 pounds, then sure, we could probably stuff another few billion in. Why the fuck not?

To answer Holbo's question about whether to be pessimistic or optimistic about the next hundred years, I am extremely pessimistic about the near future (to 2040 or 2050), and very cautiously optimistic about the longer term (2050-2100). I'll sketch out some ideas further down, but the proverbial elevator pitch is one of my all-time favorites, which any regular reader here has seen many times (but like so many things, bears repeating):
People do not change until they realize that the cost of not changing is greater than the cost of changing.
I'd love to lie to you and say I coined that one myself, but it's been such a long time I honestly don't recall where I first encountered it. I'm pretty sure it was at The Oil Drum, but I couldn't tell you which writer; whether they poached it from some organizational theory seminar is anyone's guess. The main thing is that it's true and it applies so well to so many issues going on right now.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Clear and Present Danger

One thing should be starkly apparent to all, as tensions ramp up with the Hermit Kingdom:  civilized nations cannot sit idly while an erratic, impulsive man-baby with ridiculous hair, who surrounds himself with sycophants, and who believes his own hype and nothing else, has his tiny hands on the nuclear trigger.

Rock the Vote

Looks like Jester's got the answer:


It might get in the way of Supergeeeenyus Snowflake Von Clownstick's tireless efforts to write off the three million more people who legitimately voted for his opponent, but them's the breaks.

Consider:  since the founding of the republic, between stuffing and/or tossing ballot boxes, voter intimidation, literacy tests, poll taxes, crooked or "broken" machines, deliberately shorting busy districts in order to create three-hour lines to frustrate voters, and on and on, this nation has almost certainly never had a one-hundred-percent free and fair election in every part of the country. Some ward heeler or local factotum always has their thumb on the scale in some location(s).

That's a different matter than saying that the will of the people has always been thwarted, but obviously it would be very difficult to forensically go back and re-litigate all those past exercises in civic futility. All of which is to say that it would simply be interesting, to say the least, to get a truly untainted picture of What The People Really Want, to the extent that they actually know.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Poisoning the Well

Once in a great while, it's fun and even illuminating to reread books. Depending on how long it's been, you can get a lot out of it. I first read Stephen King's Needful Things back in the early '90s, half a lifetime ago. It was billed more or less as a horror version of Our Town, and that was essentially how I recalled it, until actually sitting down and rereading it over the last week.

(We here in Northern Cali are in the midst of a protracted heat wave; the number of days below 100 degrees in the daytime is maybe five since Memorial Day, so more than enough time to read. I think I knocked out seven full-length books in July, somewhere around 3,500 pages. It's too fucking hot to do much else.)

As intrigued as I am by King's explanation in the link that Needful Things is in some respects a satire of '80s excess, I came away with more specific impressions this time around. If I were to condense this 700-page doorstop (not an insult; it's a richly rewarding and fun read, but it's a big-ass book) into a logline or elevator pitch for someone who for some reason hasn't gotten around to reading the book, it would go something like this:
The devil comes to a small New England town, and turns the townsfolk against each other.
That's a radical oversimplification, though it gets the broad points across. The devil (pun intended) is in the details, and contextualized against our current real-world backdrop, can be fleshed out more interestingly.

The main theme of the book is cupidity, the sort of slavering covetousness that spurs otherwise rational humans to abandon good sense in order to pursue an object that they connect perhaps too deeply with, for whatever reason. In NT, these objects are at once mundane and yet important on an intimate level -- a mint-condition Sandy Koufax card; Elvis Presley's sunglasses; a splinter of wood from Noah's Ark.

So maybe now the elevator pitch is a bit more expansive. The "devil" understands his target audience, their vacant desires and what they will do to attain them. He hooks them and sets them in motion against each other. Desire and surrender and our willingness to see what we want to see are central to the trickster demon's nefarious plans. And when the objects of desire turn out to be junk -- the ratty card of an unknown player; a busted pair of cheap sunglasses; a rotted hunk of lumber infested with bugs -- the marks (at least the ones that manage to eventually see the objects for what they actually are) are appalled at themselves, at what they did for an empty promise.

Any sort of deceptive person -- a used-car salesman, a cheating relationship, a grifter or con-man, a politician -- cannot do what they do effectively without the complicity of the mark. The old saw about a grifter being someone who gets you to empty your pockets, but a con-man being someone who gets you to empty you pockets and then go home or to the bank and get the rest of your money to hand over, holds true here.

A good liar understands the value of pride and the need for respect that we all have, the intrinsic need to not be thought a dummy or a rube. Pride becomes the hook for the con-man to reel in his fish -- the fish cannot admit that he was dumb enough to fall for a shiny rubber lure, even as the barb hangs out his cheek and he is being reeled toward the boat.

Leland Gaunt's goal in Needful Things is ostensibly to collect souls, but it is really just to make mischief, the sheer joy in turning neighbor violently against neighbor. The discord is the reward, you might say. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

In a consumerist society, we are used to our thoughts and desires being monetized. It is so routine at this point it barely merits notice. But what if those thoughts and desires are escalated, taken to the next logical level? Someone who figured out how to weaponize those things would wield unspeakable power. That is how cults are built, and whether that cult leader is Alex Jones or Kim Jong Un or Fuckface Von Clownstick is irrelevant -- the principles are the same, and they work on the same type of people.

Perhaps worst of all is that when it comes to deprogramming brainwashed cult victims, the consequences can be almost as bad as leaving them in the cult. It's not they're going to thank you and jump across to "your side." By definition they are in need of something, usually something that jibes with their preferences thus far -- so when that something gets removed, there's a good chance they'll find something worse.

The symptom gets treated, but the disease -- ignorance in the broader sense, but specifically things such as living in a bubble with their own facts, racism or racist assumptions, a daily addiction to outrage du jour stories (again, without bothering to check whether there's any factual basis to them or not) -- persists and mutates.

Obviously, the root causes go back generations, but the more recent origins do stem from persistent systemic inequality, that most Americans did not get to share in the "recovery" anywhere near to the extent that their betters (who, after all, caused the collapse in the first place) enjoyed. Until that gets adequately addressed, we are simply heading deeper into an extended cycle of viciousness, regardless of whether the con-man gets impeached and removed.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The President Show

I don't do much in the way of promoting basic-cable teevee programs, but Comedy Central's The President Show has been one of the best things about summer so far. Princess Snowflake's endless candidacy and now regime of daily fuckuppery has provided a rich goldmine of content for late night hosts, Daily Show defectors, and such like. Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert have been hitting on all cylinders the last six months. Samantha Bee has provided intelligent catharsis via angry snark, and John Oliver has carved a solid niche with his HBO show, primarily by tackling in-depth topics that our sound-bite media entities no longer bother with.

But with TPS, creator Anthony Atamanuik has done something a little bit different. For one, his Snowflake impression is spot-on, far better than anyone else's that I've seen (and I like Alec Baldwin's impression, but Atamanuik's is way better). Atamanuik honed his take for a year or so, on the road with Bernie Sanders impersonator James Adomian, so both players had their targets dialed in pretty well. Even better is that each TPS episode ends with a rather serious "big picture" monologue in the Snowflake voice, which is weird and unsettling, but perfect all the same. And Mario Cantone nailed Da Mooch in the most recent episode.

It will be interesting to see what sort of art will be produced under this regime of disillusionment and indifference and societal despair. It's not just about the daily fodder provided by the inept antics of the bozos in charge right now; it's about the conditions that allowed such people within a thousand feet of any position of responsibility, much less the White House. As I said shortly after the election, the real shock many of us felt was in trying to figure out which was worse --  that the result was a warning about what kind of nation we were becoming, or a reminder of what we've always been.

It sounds pretentious, but it's true all the same:  art can help illuminate the dark corners of our ongoing collective cathexis, and maybe even turn that grim fixation into something productive or useful, even just as a warning. A record number of Democratic candidates will be running for state and federal office next year, and that's a start right there. But artists are supposed to be a barometer of the culture (or a niche) as it stands, and where it's headed.

Comedians are always way out in front on this sort of thing, acting in real time, and writers won't be too far behind. Music and movies will be way behind the curve; if they check in at all, it will be indie projects. The only major music acts anymore are auto-tuned, song-doctored douchebags, and ancient retreads milking the last few bucks out of their aging fan-bases. Movies are even worse, as it seems that the only major movies getting green-lit anymore are franchises, reboots, and animated Hero's Journey template iterations.

TPS is still a little rough around the edges (which actually is part of the fun), seeing as it's only aired about a dozen episodes so far. But it started strong, has improved steadily, and mines its subject with skill and glee. Check it out, support it, tell your friends, even your Clownstick-supporting friends. They probably won't watch it, but you never know.

Managing Oneself

Let's take a step back from our usual f-bomb-throwing hijinks in discussing the various mutant species currently pushing our fine country into permanent ruination, and step back and discuss the goings-on in more business-oriented perspective.

Unlike HRH Princess Snowflake von Clownstick, I actually completed my MBA, and have the massive student-loan debt to prove it. More importantly, I regularly read actual business books by actual business thinkers and innovators, as opposed to ghost-written celebrity memoirs that all end in Chapter 11.

One of those thinkers I like a lot is Peter Drucker, one of the true OG business innovators. Drucker, who passed away in 2005 a few days before his 96th birthday, was around so long that he literally was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He coined the business axiom "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it," which seems obvious enough, but go ahead and apply it to the current regime using the conventional metrics. The GDP and unemployment rates have held steady the first two quarters, but every econ novice knows that these are lagging indicators, and the market does not like instability or volatility.

Drucker also laid out basic principles of management competencies in his essay Managing Oneself, which later became a full-length treatise. Again, at the risk of stating the obvious, Drucker proposed that the competent manager's self-actualization consist primarily of awareness, knowledge, and discipline -- that is, awareness of one's strengths and skills, the ability to acquire knowledge as necessary, and the discipline to not only be consistent, but to assemble a team of complementary strengths, and to delegate appropriately.

So consider all that, and compare to what you see now, and what you saw in past administrations. Every president from Washington to Obama understood what they were good at -- and more importantly, what they weren't good at -- gathered people around them that could help fill the gaps and provide other perspectives for a more balanced approach, and let them do their jobs within the constraints of agreed-upon policy. Obviously, the better leaders did this more effectively, and the poorer ones (Andrew Johnson, for example) who ignored this concept usually paid the price.

But it all starts with having the self-awareness to know (at the risk of sounding like Don Rumsfeld) what you don't know, and to let others help you in those areas. So when you're a spoiled man-baby who's had everyone kiss your fat fucking ass your entire life, and you've never been wrong about anything, ever, and facts are no longer empirically verifiable points of data but merely riffs that you decide on the fly, how are you ever supposed to assemble such a team?

This is the true, practical danger not only of having an aristocracy that by nature becomes insulated from its collective shortcomings, but of having an individual from such an environment be put in charge of immensely complex systems that they are simply not equipped to comprehend, nor have they acquired the discipline necessary to learn about those systems and their components.

This is really the heart of the argument for Hillary Clinton, and against Princess Snowflake -- whatever her flaws, she put in the work over the years to learn these things, and applied herself within those systems, while he spent his entire adulthood failing upward and talking shit about people much, much smarter and more accomplished than he could ever have dreamed of being.

That's not even snark; that's just the way it is. An average West Wing intern from any of the past ten administrations knows light-years more about the mechanics of government than the current asshole-in-thief. The most important thing to know is that the day-to-day operations of running an efficient White House office is mechanical, and not ideological. It's not a panel show where everyone screams over everyone else about some inane talking point, nor is it a reality show where ten people and five sharp knives are dropped on an island. This is how you end up with bridge-and-tunnel dipshits like "The Mooch" running your office into the ground.

So when you have someone who sincerely believes that it is both of those things, a reality show and a poli-panel screamfest, you get what you have now -- a narcissistic moron who thinks the sun rises and sets out of his asshole. Nothing but drama. No awareness, no knowledge, no discipline, just buckets of bluster and bullshit that remind most sentient observers that if this guy was your employee, you'd fire his worthless ass, and if he was your boss, you'd quit and punch him in the throat on your way out the door.

That's what amazes me most about the people still steadfastly defending Princess Snowflake. Not just that they fell for the "great bidnessman" schtick, but that they buy the "alpha dog" schtick as well. He's not a true alpha, he's just louder and more obnoxious, and unafraid to pull nonsense straight out of his bunghole and pass it off as truth. I don't know what sort of idiot "feels safer" with this guy. It's more like having your senile grandparent live at your house because you can't afford the rest home, and you have to hide your car keys and deadbolt all the doors to keep him from wandering off.

As a counterfactual, it's actually pretty easy to consider a scenario where not only is Snowflake competent and qualified for the job, but finds a way to beat the Democrats at their own game and win some of their flock over. He could have come up with an actual infrastructure plan that wasn't a transparent beak-wetting cronyfest, but created tons of good-paying jobs for people who don't necessarily have college degrees. He could have just not been a lying dick every single day. Seriously, this could have gone a whole different direction, even with the tone of the campaign. Someday we'll look back at all this and think about how much effort went into just being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole. Completely unnecessary.

This will blow your mind, and sound like some self-help Tony Robbins shit (confession:  I like Tony Robbins a great deal) but good managers and leaders don't pit team members against each other, they don't engage in routine humiliation of subordinates, they do understand that loyalty is in fact a two-way street. And yet that's 90% of what's gone on the last six months.

One of Robbins' better aphorisms is that leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders. Think about it from that perspective -- if he's such a great fucking bidness leader and all-around Wile E. Coyote-level genius, name one person from Princess Snowflake's "organization" that "leads" in any sense of the word. His doofy sons try not to fuck up their intertwined grifts too badly, while biding their time before they get to drop more than honest working people make in a year to jet to Africa and murder an endangered animal. His daughter lamely pretends not to get involved in politics, while she runs the branding operation for her knock-off handbags from their White House office. It is utterly impossible to imagine any of these inbred dipshits working an honest job. You see any real companies trying to pull any of them onboard, like ever? No, and you know that will never happen. They know that will never happen.

I had an unexpected chat this morning with a close friend who voted for the "change" Clownstick promised, and is now feeling a bit sheepish about all that. I think that feeling is going to become more pervasive among sizable chunks of that bloc. What liberals and Democrats can do to accelerate and intensify that feeling heading into the midterms is to approach it from this "competent management" perspective described here, and color with plenty of mockery and ridicule, which will bait Snowflake into ever more entertaining tweet-rages.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Credit Where Due

So after verbally abusing our good friend Poor Ol' Straight Talk the other day, he goes and Does The Right Thing, and even does it in such a way as to screw over his erstwhile compadres. Good for him, and he even gets style points. I'm more than happy to admit when I'm wrong, especially about something that was done with such "fuck you" panache.

I keep saying that this regime is itself an act of defiance, a huge Or what? to all comers, and that the only sensible way to respond is in kind. Well, McCain just proved that theory. What's Yertle gonna do, fire McCain, screw him out of some pork?

McConnell twisted every arm he could, skirted every possible good-faith procedural measure he could, tried to sneak a blank piece of paper through in the middle of the night, and still couldn't get it done. He lost serious juice from this, and so did Clownstick. Nobody respects these mutts -- and worse, nobody fears them. It's too soon to get too optimistic, but this may actually be the beginning of the end already.

Kudos also to Susan Collins and especially to Lisa Murkowski, who has made a point of bucking her party since retaining office as a write-in against a teabagger insurgent in 2012. The Goopers tried to strong-arm Murkowski for her vote on this blank turd of a bill, and she stood up to them. Compare and contrast with the loathsome Huckleberry Closetcase, who made a point of trash-talking the bill before heading in and dutifully eating the shit sandwich.

Like McCain, Graham just got re-elected last year, and therefore has very little risk -- and potentially greater reward -- in sticking to his so-called principles and telling a rapidly imploding clusterfuck of a regime to go fuck themselves in the neck. He's so used to carrying their water [again, that's not water -- Ed.] it's just a habit at this point.

Phony-Tough

Aside from a truly epic level of sheer incompetence in every conceivable area, the defining characteristics of the Clownstick regime are projection and overcompensation. Few things are more off-putting than obvious pussies pretending to be tough guys. Clownstick is a sundowning man-baby who hasn't soiled his tiny hands since he was a teenager, most likely picking on first-graders. Da Mooch is a sawed-off wannabe made guy, the typical chihuahua acting all pit bull.

To take just one of the examples from today, I couldn't care less if these MS-13 fuckers get lined up and machine-gunned into an open pit. It would be doing the world a favor; they have nothing to offer except misery and violence. That doesn't mean it's a good idea for the putative leader of the country to be exhorting police to get physical on citizens. Do we really need more people getting shot by jumpy police trained to think of themselves as "bulletproof warriors"?

Here's a thought -- maybe put more police in the neighborhoods where the gangs are proliferating. They could, I dunno, walk a beat, talk to the people and businesses in these areas, get acquainted with the humans in the area, instead of just driving through periodically with menacing glares. The idea that gangs can be completely eradicated from urban areas is a pipe dream of course, but if it's going to happen, it's through either community policing or all-out war. And if you choose the latter, then be prepared for more collateral damage.

This projection naturally trickles down to the fatties and closet cases of the 82nd Chairborne keyboard martyrs, the hardcore Pillsbury cowboys amped up on Mountain Dew Code Red and an sense of entitlement inflated like their blow-up wives. It culminates in fart-knockers like Alex "More Extra Cheese" Jones and Michael "Last Name Is Really 'Weiner'" Savage trying to gin up a mob with their Hutu Power Radio horseshit.

Fortunately for the rest of the country, these dipshits are as hilariously inept as their clown-shoes idol. The best thing the rest of us can do is convince them not to reproduce. Maybe tell them that their flat-faced, squint-eyed, fetal-alcohol progeny would simply be out of place in a rapidly browning gene pool. Throw in a coupla Tyler Perry movies for good measure, that oughta skeer 'em real good.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dog and Pony Show

So apparently at today's "press conference," Huckabee Junior read a fan letter from a fourth-grader:
 

If this thing is remotely real and totally not fake, we are in deep fucking shit, people. A nine-year-old who cannot spell simple words like "know" and "seem" and "money" and "how" (among others) and prints like someone half his age is probably doomed. I look forward to my tax dollars going to pay for his eventual opioid treatment, and the litters from whatever trailer-bound hose-monsters he knocks up.

It's difficult to believe this is real, because at the very least, only the child of a cult member would write this sort of thing to the, erm, p-word. And a cult member in good standing would never let their child write to their false demigod in such a sloppy, haphazard fashion. At minimum they would coach the kid past all those tricksy four- and five-letter words that most six-year-olds can master. They would helicopter-parent the young'un to a base level of competence.

(Then again, if you look at the inbred magalos (h/t Samantha Bee) at last night's Youngstown rally, maybe not. Maybe that was the best their progeny could do with their help. A few more years of Betsy DeVos skull-fucking the public school system and they'll all be writing like this, if they write at all. After all, you can't write effectively if you don't read, and as we all know, reading books is now an elitist activity, done only by effete swells after the cucumber-and-watercress-sandwich croquet soiree, but before the shower-room buggery. That's just science.)

But whatever. Let's say the letter is real, and was written by an actual nine-year-old child with the odd nickname of "Pickle," whose family has no association with this regime, and who scrawled this bootlicking jabber entirely of his own volition. So fucking what? Why on earth should anyone care what any kid writes to any gubmint office-holder? I don't care what kids wrote to Obama, or Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan, or Orrin Hatch, except insofar as their letters might reveal something about themselves or their parents and the motives of either. People seem to think this sort of shit is charming, but it's usually just peculiar. Nine-year-olds should be playing video games and watching cartoons, not penning mash notes to politicians.

It makes a weird sort of sense that a senile, incontinent old man who acts like a nine-year-old would appeal to actual nine-year-olds, but still:  why are we supposed to care? Does Huckabee Junior really think this stupid shit offsets the very real damage her boss is doing to the country, the world, in real time? Or does she lamely think that we all think that? If that's the case, these people are somehow even stupider than we had all previously assumed.

Obviously, there is no useful purpose for bringing such things up at a press conference, but then these events barely meet that low bar these days. The cameras are kept off most times now (though today was an exception), and no content of any value is ever conveyed, at least not deliberately.

I persist in the odd notion that perhaps this is time wasted by all involved, and that maybe the journamalistas might hew closer to their supposed craft if, rather than stenographing cheap PR copy that all parties know are untrue at best, they get out and uncover something useful, we might all be better off. Heck, we might not even get stuck with a half-bright rage-clown next time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Twitler Youth

The Boy Scouts are one of those organizations, like the Catholic Church, that are utterly mystifying in how they manage to persist. Like the Church, the Scouts don't really teach anything you can't learn elsewhere -- in this case, from modestly attentive parenting, a few weekends camping every year, and maybe some team sports along the way. And like the Church, you would have thought that the Scouts would have been damaged more by the decades of pederasty that have been uncovered in recent years. Seriously, what the fuck is up with people? Maybe (again like the Catholics) it's the cosplay and the oaths and ranks and such.

Whatever the case, Princess Snowflake's latest in a practically daily litany of me-me-me grumbles ranks up with some of his better insult-comic routines. From lambasting a former president to nudging up against a sex-yacht anecdote to threatening to fire a cabinet member if he couldn't deliver the votes for a non-existent wealth-care bill -- did we mention this was a fucking Boy Scout Jamboree? -- the guy just never stops. It's exhausting just keeping up with all the toxic levels of incompetence.

And yet, as always, Snowflake proves once again to be merely a symptom. The Scouts profess an ethos of apolitical selflessness, and here they are, cheering on this nonsense, spouted by a man who has never done a goddamned thing for anyone else that didn't have a transaction involved, a man who literally paid his son's seven-dollar BSA admission fee out of the coffers of his money-laundering "charitable" foundation.

This has been the problem all along. Scumbags like Snowflake cannot succeed without fellow scumbags to root for their lies and bluster, to cheer for the nonsense and hate. Whether it's at another tedious rally in Youngstown, or some cholera-ridden Deliverance holler in Bumfuck, West Virginny, they are responsible for him, and by association, whatever else he does before the actual majority of this country decide to take our country back. Shame on every last one of them, and shame on the BSA organization for their mealy-mouthed non-apology for this nonsense.

Deep Thought

When the smoke eventually clears and the Nuremburg trials of the near-future are held, people like Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Anthony Scaramucci will be the ones playing dumb, as if they genuinely do not understand how truly awful they are as human beings, what routine evils their daily banalities serve. Nor do they realize that no one is fooled by their act. The one thing that is true about them, and the other vile minions and dogsbodies that clutter this steaming turd of an idiot regime, is that they are fully invested in the classic George Costanza philosophy that it's not a lie if you believe it.

Lucy in the Sky with Footballs

You know, I can admit to a second or two after John McCain's brain cancer diagnosis where it would almost have been tempting to post some nice, ecumenical, utterly meaningless pap about his sacrifice and how we can all come together and hope he "gets well soon" or whatever. And then reality crept back in, and all the memories of McCain's shameless, self-serving opportunism, concealed under the idiotic media-perpetuated rubric of "maverick" came back.

John McCain is a maverick the way Fuckface von Clownstick is a good bidnessman, which is roughly the same extent to which I'm the starting power forward for the Golden State Warriors. I mean, give me a fucking break. McCain's legend, which he ignominiously added to yesterday, is that of the tough "straight talker" tellin' those rascally DC types the hard truths they need to hear.

And again, yesterday was a prime example of this all-talk-no-walk ethos McCain has always embodied in his political career. He had a prime opportunity to walk that talk, once and for all -- fresh into another six-year term, turning 81 in a few weeks, and being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, McCain literally had nothing to lose by sticking to his so-called principles. He could quite easily have gone into the Senate chambers, and cornholed that toxic fuckhead McConnell but good, with his non-existent bill. Or he could have just stayed home. Dude has brain cancer and just had eye surgery, and he owes nothing to a guy who taunted his years of torture in Vietnam. The GOP base despises McCain anyway. People would have understood him sitting this one out.

Instead, McCain found a way to be even more cynical than the cynics, pulling some second-rate Aaron Sorkin "bipartisanship" horseshit out of his ass, as if his worthless excuse of a party has ever made an honest effort to work on the ACA, as if the Democrats are just supposed to go along with whatever Princess Snowflake rage-tweets during any given morning dump.

Speaking of which, McCain did essentially the same goddamned thing today, vocally repudiating Snowflake's call to expel transgender military personnel -- except, of course, McCain lobbied forcefully against allowing transgenders into the military in the first place. You can put your next ten paychecks down that should anything on this come up for a Senate vote, McCain will pull yet another hidebound more-in-sorrow-than-anger bromide out of his worthless ass, and then go on ahead and side with his party. Every fucking time. The man is about as rebellious as Pat Boone.

A real rebel would have at least verbally tuned up the vile, hypocritical machinations of the so-called Senate leader, Addison "Mitch the Bitch" McConnell, who has made it a point of pride to devolve into the absolute scummiest operator in the Senate in at least a generation. McCain makes some empty noises and goes along with the party line.

What's even worse, though, is how the legend persists among the putatively liberal media dipshits. Last night on MSNBC (I know, I know) Lawrence O'Donnell and then Brian Williams fell all over themselves with the Poor Ol' Straight Talk encomia, refusing to recognize McCain's usual cynical rhetoric for what it's always been -- a cheap tactic to conceal his routinely party-line actions and votes. McCain has always gotten a break from the media because he's accessible and quick with a funny retort, but when push comes to shove, they never hold him accountable, and never have.

I've seen a lot of folks on the internets wish McCain a swift and painful death lately, things like that. I understand the rage, even if I don't quite agree with it. Seems like it would be a much more fitting punishment for McCain to live another twenty years -- under whatever health-care "plan" he and the rest of the shameless scumbags in his party finally settle on.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

King for a Day, Fuckface for a Lifetime

Let's say it out loud for what must me the 1001st time:  this administration is an act of defiance. Its very existence, the tone of the entire campaign and candidate, the cult-like mentality of the hardcore followers -- these are all elements of an authoritarian movement that dares all comers to oppose.

 I am not kidding when I say that the vision statement of these people is Or what? What are you gonna fuckin' do about it, buddy? This is not a joke -- these assholes are dead serious, and they cannot be swayed. It is very much a cult, and it will take time and focus to deprogram at least some of them. That's if they don't take away your right to vote, which they are actively and openly striving to do.

Who's gonna stop 'em, Chuck Schumer? The fifty secretaries of state? Come on. There are plenty of ways to skin that particular cat, and they go on all the time. The touch-screen electronic machines in Georgia that still don't give a paper receipt. The four-hour lines in urban precincts, because durrr, we just didn't have enough functioning machines. Like fucking Election Day snuck up on them.

The fuck you gonna do about it, hoss, protest in the fuckin' streets? We'll wait you out. Weather changes, and everyone has lives to get back to. Ask the Occupy Wall Street folks how that all went.

Six months into this clusterfuck, and the best we can hope for is that this deeply stupid, arrogant egomaniac continues to simply be too incompetent to get anything done. That won't cure the disease(s) of dysfunction plaguing our system, but it might keep us afloat long enough to get to a point where some of those things can be addressed. I don't think so, but it doesn't hurt to hold out hope for the possibility, however remote.

What's happening now was entirely foreseeable to those who were paying attention, who knew this "man" for what he was long before he ever had political aspirations. The only surprises have been that he is even dumber, crueler, more of an insufferable prick than we thought (which was considerable). Every interview, whether reading the transcript or listening to the jabber, sounds like an episode of Drunk History. He takes a delight in publicly humiliating the underlings to an extent previously seen by, say, Caligula.

An example:  recently departed dipshit liar White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Now, to point out that Spicer is a worthless human being doing a useless job would be an understatement, but still, the man was loyal if nothing else. Literally from day one, when Agent Orange forced Spicey to truckle out there and convince us all that the barren inaugural attendance was like totally the mostest ever so STOP YOU GUYS, this guy carried some serious water like the most dutiful hack. And uh, rest assured that it was most definitely not water.

So Spicer is apparently a devout Catholic, and when Clownstick went abroad in May, including the Vatican on his itinerary, Spicer wanted simply to meet the pope. Considering the shit the man willingly shoveled for his spray-tanned overlord, this seemed like a modest request. And yet, no dice. Clownstick fucked Spicey over just because he could, just to remind him who's boss. Loyalty only goes one way with this fucking guy. He really is a rotted, desiccated soul. It's pitiful to watch.

One interesting phenomenon that began for me a couple months ago, and has only increased and accelerated since then, is that there's less a feeling of doom and gloom watching these putzes, and more of a frisson of....I dunno, part schadenfreude and part nihilist glee. As I always hasten to point out, this is what makes me a bad liberal or whatever -- I like when people get exactly what they voted for, and I especially love when dipshits get one broken off in their asses, hard.

When I say fuck these people, it is not schtick. I fucking well mean it. Their "working-class rage" means fuck-all to me -- I am working class as well, and just as pissed. But I had better sense than to throw it all into the lap of a skeevy con-man who has hung around like a fucking barnacle since the 1980s.

It turns out that the great Carrier deal -- remember, the guy owns fucking stock in the parent company -- wasn't all he sold it as back in December. The union rep said so at the time, and got death threats for his trouble. The jobs are going to Mexico, and guess what -- Preznit Fart of the Squeal can't cut a fucking deal to save his miserable life. Who knew? I mean, if only this intensely secretive man had interacted with the media a bit more, so that we could get, you know, a sense of his character, the cut of his (as they say in the hood) jib.

Oh, who the fuck are we kidding? People saw what they needed to see, heard what they wanted to hear, and the average attendance at a given Two Hours of Hate rally probably hadn't collectively read a single (non-ghost-written) book since they dropped out of tenth grade.

This is the most surprising feature of the whole thing, more than the stupidity and cruelty of the spray-tanned homunculus -- just how gullible the cult members really are. I mean, we are seriously not far removed from everyone packing up and heading for a South American jungle for the endgame, such is their pathetic buy-in with this assclown.

The cliché would be to compare him to a used-car salesman, or some such character. But this is insufficient -- even the dumbest, most unethical used-car salesman knows something about the vehicle he's selling. Yes, he oversells the features and lies through his teeth about the structural integrity of the lemon he's trying to sell you, but he knows some factual information about it.

This is not remotely the case here. The "health-care" fiasco is a prime example; not only is it a barely concealed tax cut, it is clear in interviews that Clownstick literally has no idea how the health insurance system even works. And why would he? He's gone to "Doctor" Lebowski his whole life, and someone else handles the bill, the insurance plan, the EOB, all that shit.

What everyone "resisting" this bowel movement of an administration needs to keep in mind is the act-of-defiance dynamic in play here, which permeates every single aspect of the organization, such as it is. It goes for the congressional Republicans as well. They are playing a tricky game, one that in a functional democracy would doom them, but in this country of ignorant fucktards will only dent the brand a bit.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

ROI

The endless discursions on Uday Clownstick's moronic need to publicly confess his malfeasance are a distraction. Per usual, Charles Pierce has the correct angle on this. It is about nothing more nor less than a fake tycoon whose value is mostly trapped in the distressed properties his daddy snapped up in the '70s, when NYC was a crime-ridden shit-hole, but is mostly cash-poor.

And none of the banks down the street from him would lend to him anymore, because he'd fucked them over every goddamned time. So he had to turn to Ze Germans for his project capital, and the bratva for operating cash. You have to give the Russians some credit here -- they played the long game, the 1000:1 one-trick pony that should have been turned into glue and dog food before the turn of the millennium, and it paid off, bigly.

Uday's meeting just scratches the dismal surface; the iceberg that awaits below the waterline is so much greater. Mueller's investigation is about to go full-tilt up this sleazy crime family's collective asshole, and it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people. I love reading that minions such as Michael Caputo are literally having to pawn off their children's futures in order to cover their legal bills. Sleep with dogs, wake with fleas, and all that. Serves him right; Caputo sold his soul only to find out that his dark lord left him to twist in the legal gibbet.

The reckoning is coming, slowly but inexorably, and a hard rain is about to fall. These are all fucking vile people who have betrayed their country, top to bottom, and they should pay the price. I don't need to see them up against a wall; it would be perfectly satisfying to see them selling oranges at the freeway off-ramp for the rest of their scuttling cockroach lives. Let them live out their lives with the eternal blemish of their sins.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Evil of Banality, Part 3: Exceptional, My Ass

[I had the basic skeleton of this third part worked up back on the 5th or 6th, then went on a reading bender, and things went pear-shaped with Uday's epic fuckuppery last week. I swear, you practically have to keep up with these morons on an hourly basis. Which is ultimately the point of this one.]

Reading Nancy Isenberg's White Trash is at once reassuring and dismaying, basically for the same reason -- we are not in unique times. Things have always been thus, or at least mostly. We were granted a relatively brief respite of about sixty years or so, roughly from our entrance into WW2 to 9/11, give or take.

Isenberg patiently and effectively busts the tired "godly puritans escaping oppression" myths we were all fed in school, and paints a more real, more lurid picture. London had a surplus population centuries before Dickens coined the phrase, and many of the early colonists were vagrants and vagabonds and other such undesirables, pressed into servitude and shipped across the ocean.

That these folks came from "mean (mostly as in 'average,' but also to some extent as in 'cruel') stock" was less of a factor in their generational fates than was the concerted effort by colonial masters -- merchants, politicians, builders, tradesmen -- to keep them down so as to ensure a steady supply of cheap, generally compliant laborers.

What shines through is how consistently the low-born cracker class, as a generalized demographic, are kept in their place with fairly modest efforts, mostly empty appeals to pride, religion, jingoism, racism, whatever. But those efforts worked, and continue to do so quite well.

So the ugliness of the campaign, the "winning" candidate, the sentiments that were appealed to, the tenor of the electorate, none of those are unprecedented.  American history is littered with such examples of worse behavior than what we saw last year. That is strangely reassuring, to know that the nation as a whole has been able to get past such things in the past.

But it took a lot of blood and pain and time, and despite all that, the dipshit mentality still persists, and seems to be on the rise. The stupid is like mercury, it cannot be beaten or bred out of anyone, it spreads when you hit it, and it poisons what it touches. And it is getting on pretty much everything and everyone these days.

We already know that Clownstick and his crew are gaslighting America, but I'd take it the extra logical step and say that the media are gaslighting us as well, and in pretty much the same fashion. Clownstick demagogued the rubes with a lurid picture of bullshit, a flaming hellscape that only he could fix. Similarly, the media keep the twenty-four hour news cycle going by pushing the most sensationalized stories they can find. You would never know that the violent crime rate has been steadily declining for years, and is relatively low. And as mentioned above, as toxic as the 2016 campaign was, it was presented as an unprecedented, do-or-die cataclysm.

Most of us probably (hopefully!) never imagined a day where someone got into high office with the express assistance and collusion of a hostile foreign power -- and all the politicians and voters from that party were just fine with it. Such a thing seemed to be unthinkable a short time ago, but perhaps it had been lurking just below the surface the whole time, watching, waiting for the right moment to seize the opportunity.

Well, it's been seized, and too many people seem just fine with all that. Even though the truth of the matter is that, if those 80,000 rust-belt rubes not shown up and Butter Emails had squeaked in instead, those same folks would be swinging from the rafters over every jot and tittle. They would be seeing collusion in every crack in the pavement.

When enough people stop believing or caring about empirical facts and informed analysis, when enough of them seriously think that pulling some foolishness out of one's ass is just as valid as paying attention and strategizing accordingly, you are in deep trouble as a nation. The US has come a long way in a relatively short period of time, and it can slide back just as far just as quickly.

And we may very well be on that path after all. The sheer amount of toxic dumbfuckery in play right now, at the political, electoral, and cultural levels, cannot be offset or countered quickly. We have been focused on the foam at the crest of the wave, rather than the overall current and the tide direction.

The tide takes time to turn, but so far it has not shown any signs of abating or turning. Too many things seem to be a wink or a nod to the white-power crowd, people who we had hoped had essentially disenfranchised themselves by this point. But they found their champion in the sort of toxic narcissist who will jabber about "fake news" as a euphemism for "stuff I don't like," again bearing in mind too many of our fellow rubes no longer count "facts" or "information" as anything of any value at all.

Such a person, who does not want to do the hard work of leading but merely wants to be feted like an Egyptian god-king, is the ideal useful idiot to blithely toss dog-whistle rhetoric to the punters, perhaps even unknowingly. After all, they're just words on a teleprompter, which proved how stupid Obama and Hillary were, but apparently is acceptable now. Alrighty-then.

Honestly, it's a small wonder that he doesn't have a team of minions carry him around on a litter on these trips abroad. Maybe some chickens could be sacrificed to secure His favor. Whatever it takes to distract from the actual work of overseeing the (for now) world's largest economy and military.

But this current trip begs the classic question:  How many Polacks does it take to wave a confederate flag? This will get bypassed in the torrent of news and nonsense, but it is an important symbol of something much greater than what we normally think of it as. Focusing on the traitor-slaver rag's history of pain and racism is necessary, but again focuses on the foam (the, erm, whitecaps) while ignoring the actual current.

Again, we are now a country where the average citizen knows more about some "real housewives" characters than they do about who represents them, and how well. Again, maybe we were always that country, and we're just now realizing it. Technology has amplified the voices of outraged ignoramuses, along with all the other wondrous things that are provided. Those morons are emboldened by that amplification, and we are seeing the consequences.

Starting to see the consequences. Hope you're in it for the long haul, because it is about to get weirder. I stand by my earlier prognostications that the stupidity and arrogance of the current administration will prevent them from doing as much damage as they'd like. But they will do some damage, and more importantly, containing the symptom doesn't necessarily affect the disease.

When facts are what you want them to be, and reality is what you tell yourself it is, new and interesting possibilities open up for you. Flags and symbols that have been universally recognized for generations now mean just what you say they mean, neither more nor less. You can tweet a doctored photo of your hero throwing a kill-switch on his political opponent in a gas chamber, and have your kindred chastise the majority for not getting what was clearly a high-larry-us joke.

You no longer have to familiarize yourself with the source documentation of your own country, because you stopped reading a long time ago, and besides, reading books is for fags. So it makes sense that you might interpret the Declaration of Independence as a call to insurrection, and get all indignant when someone mentions it, even when they've been mentioning it every year at this time since the late '80s.

The beauty of being this type of complete fucking retard is that everything means exactly what you want it to mean, what you need it to mean -- words, deeds, people, flags, symbols, documents.

Obviously, it's a very short putter on your mobility scooter to arrive at the conclusion that if you studiously avoid knowing or learning anything of value, you can simply declare unilaterally that everything means exactly what you want it to mean, neither more nor less.

Fuckface Von Clownstick's supporters made that decision many moons ago, well before FVC decided to run. It just happens that he is the perfect empty vessel for their nonsense -- or any nonsense, really, as long as the check clears, he'll say whatever you want him to say on any given day.

But the potentially dangerous conclusion that we all need to understand is that these rubes, through their refusal to learn or experience anything new, or question their idiot dogma, believe that the country is what they say it is. That's how you get an anonymous Polack waving the traitor-slaver flag at a rally in Warsaw in 2017. The contents of the speech given at that rally hammer that whole idea home -- the country is what we say it is, and we're not letting you libtards take it away.

And this is how we end up with utter mediocrities and total fuckups in extremely important positions. I am not kidding, and this is not snark -- as I have mentioned before, Clownstick is the sort of person you would never work for or with, nor would you hire him for anything more complicated than moving rocks from one end of the property to the other. And even then you'd have to keep an eye on him.

His children are no better. One is a dyed-in-the-wool brander like Himself, pushing her knock-off handbags and glad-rags. One rides the charity grift racket, throwing epic fundraisers at dad's golf courses, then acting all surprised when dad charges roughly what the fundraiser took in. And Uday "runs the business" more or less like dad always did -- seat of the pants, skin of the teeth, fart of the squeal, whatever. Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ. Seriously, is there one (1) serious person out there who would really work for this fucking guy?

Well, the same goes for most of the people he's selected to "run" the gubmint. They're all hacks and dipshits and money-grubbing assholes. It should be unthinkable that a spoiled princess like Betsy DeVos, who has spent her adult life trying to buy and marry her way into influence, should be picked to run the American public educational system into the ground by making it into another goddamned profit center.

I'm out of solutions on this one. It's hard to force someone (or millions of someones) to not be a moron or an asshole. But we have collectively engendered this type of stupidity, simply by not squashing it.

That should be the real takeaway here:  beyond the insult-comic jabber, the alt-right fascist trolls, the skeevy grifter con-man mentality of these people, what really shines through is how mediocre they really are. All of them -- Himself, the kids, the thieves and poltroons in the cabinet -- these are people who are literally unemployable in the real world, and they literally know nothing besides how to fill their pockets. This needs to be pointed out at every possible opportunity, every bit as much as the Russia stuff.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Evil of Banality, Part Two

The commemoration of Independence Day is always an opportunity to reflect on the good things about this country, even if for too many of our fella 'murkins it seems to be a chance to gorge on food and blow off our fingers.

After the last two years and counting, it seems now more to be a chance to reflect on whether we have the collective will to keep those good things and move forward. It's all well and good to write ourselves missives about how we can outlast the senile, doddering oaf currently at the helm. But we need to start working on how to overcome the factors that put him there in the first place, remembering once again that he is the symptom and not the disease.

The bigger problems are much more pernicious. All the wondrous technology we take for granted now, most of which was unimaginable just twenty years ago, was supposed to set us free, presumably on an ocean of infinite information and enlightenment. Instead, it has become the two-fisted tool of the would-be oppressor -- free porn (not just sexual, but things like "reality" teevee and celeb-sniffing and political bafflegab would count as well) for the masses, and tools of control for the owners.

Both are nothing more than sophisticated distractions, one more troubling than the other, but both working hand-in-glove. It's bad enough that people are besotted with kardashians (no longer capitalizing that word; they are merely nouns and objects), fake hook-up shows, and bottled lies from suspect content providers. What's even worse is that one party has systematically gerrymandered itself into a position of dominance, that their agenda is unabashedly regressive and ruinous. They seriously do not give a shit about anything but power, and are nakedly hypocritical in their pursuit of it.

And yet, gerrymandering or no, someone keeps putting them there -- or more accurately, many voters are putting many scumbags in there, over and over again. It's such a cheap cop-out to attribute it to voting habits, social influence, media bias. Individuals should take responsibility for their choices, and suffer the consequences for their poor choices, isn't that what we keep hearing? Failure to pay attention to reality is not an excuse, it's the con artist's invitation to do what he does best.

From the second New Yorker article linked above, let's take Texas Governor Greg Abbott as an example. Abbott was in his mid-twenties when he was paralyzed by a falling tree. He had no medical insurance, but sued the homeowner and the company that failed to identify and remove the tree, and won a settlement of about nine million dollars. Once he got into power, Abbott successfully got tort settlement amounts in Texas capped at $250,000.

It would be difficult to find a more stark example of how these fucking people think, how they don't even blink at their own rank hypocrisy. Abbott proudly belongs to a party that looks at uninsured people who fall into misfortune, and tells them to go fuck themselves. I think it's a goddamned shame that when Abbott had his accident, he wasn't stuck with the consequences of the very policies he has always supported. They should have dragged his broken ass into the street and told him he was on his own -- no payday, no free medical care. That is exactly what he thinks should be done to everyone else. Real christian of him.

So vile people have figured out how to use technology to do more efficiently what they have always done -- turn the lower classes against each other, against themselves, while the owners continue hoovering up all the wealth. They won't be happy until they have it all for themselves, and probably not even then. It is a pathology, a sickness of the soul they profess to believe in, but somehow never act accordingly. They always find some bullshit excuse to justify their rotten behavior. They have no shame, mainly because their constituencies keep letting them get away with it.

Voters are such cheap dates, it turns out. You don't have to take them to dinner, buy them flowers, any of that shit. You just tell them what they want to hear, empty platitudes and hoary bromides, scare talk about the other, whoever it is this week. And they buy it, every fucking time. Because it's easier to believe than to think rationally and skeptically. It lets them get back to their goddamned nothing that much more quickly. Who has time to read?

As a result of too many of our peers being stuck in their rut, content in having the intellectual lives of farm animals, we find ourselves in a bit of a pickle now. It has culminated -- again, for now, as this is systemic -- with the aforementioned doddering old man. He promised to fuck shit up, and that is one promise he is intent on making good on.

He is doing his grim best to non-strategically bluster the world into a nuclear conflagration. It may be us going at it with the Norks to defend Japan and South Korea, or it may be the "let's you and him fight" gambit he's trying with the Chinese -- who, like the Russians, see this fucking clown exactly for what he is, and are playing him as such.

It is actually something of a surprise that throughout, the stock market has held firm, even gained for the most part. Economic statistics tend to be lagging indicators, but one factor that was always presumed to be a given was stability, lack of volatility. Institutional investors do not typically like rolling dice and trying to guess what's coming day to day.

But here we are. We'll see how long it holds out, and then something will come next -- the same but worse, because it'll be smoother, more likable, less of a blustery prick. Pick any number of "moderate" Republicans who talk a good game when the cameras are on, but go along with the most vicious of policies every single time.

Hope is not a plan, but it is a way to keep one's bearings when times are darkest. So it's not the worst thing to try to maintain the dim hope that eventually enough people will see who their real enemies are and vote accordingly, not just at the ballot box, but with their wallets. Find out who's supporting these vile, lying bastards and put them out of business.

The Evil of Banality

Looks like Uday Von Clownstick is "curious" about all the commie pinko queers out there in the blue states:
But hey, to answer the "question," there's always plenty to celebrate, despite the efforts of your cheap, awful, grifter family to lower the collective stock of the nation. And you can bet that if karma ever kicks in on your worthless asses, we'll throw the biggest fucking party the planet's ever seen. Nothing would please me more than to watch this crime family lose every ill-gotten dime of their pelf, and end up selling oranges at the freeway off-ramp.

Why don't you take your fourth-rate troll ass and go plop down more money than people who actually work an honest living see in a year, and gun down an endangered animal, asshole? Maybe set up another fake charity to line your pockets. Seriously, is there a single adult in this fucking family that does not deliberately make the world a worse place?

Monday, July 03, 2017

Beat the Press

It seemed like a joke for so long, that once people actually started taking it seriously, it was too late. The clay-eaters, in their earthy wisdom, had decided on their own sets of truth and facts, and had appointed their ideal avatar to represent them in all their empirical confusion. Gotta nuke somethin', right?

And so, in our post-millennial, post-irony, post-reality subsistence, it inevitably came to pass that this avatar, an impossibly small man in every way but with a large arsenal (giggity), decided to attack a corporate media entity for daring to report the truth about him. In that light, it made wondrous sense that he would choose to do so by retweeting a video of him pretending to pin Vince McMahon.

Imagine all that:  a fake billionaire, who spent the previous decade pretending to fire unemployable morons who didn't really work for him in the first place on a fake teevee show, somehow tumbles into the most important job on the planet, and as a cartoonish show of strength, promotes a doctored image of himself participating in the most fake "sport" in existence. (Also keep in mind that the head of that much-hated "fake news" network also helmed the network that aired the fake-boss show -- so, you know....) It's so on-the-nose, true absurdists such as Kafka and Vonnegut look on from the shadow plane and shake their heads at it.

It is going to be enormously difficult for creative people to keep up with the scenery-chewing destruction of this wood-chipper administration. I have a feeling most of them will throw their hands up at the sheer futility of it all and create purposefully escapist drivel in order to cope.

The sprig of withered parsley to this truck-stop buffet is that the retweeted image was created by some Reddit douchebag with a clear and nasty history of going after Muslims, blacks, Jews. Shocking, I know. These dumb motherfuckers chugged the kool-aid, and may never come out of their hangover. At any rate, this is (as I have been pointing out for months) textbook cult behavior, and such a thing takes much longer than five months to undo the culmination of years of Hutu Power Radio programming.

The process takes longer in a system with norms and institutions, but it is the same process nonetheless -- delegitimize and dehumanize. Declare the norms and institutions problematic to The Righteous Cause of MAGA, and the participants of such things as a subversive fifth column.

Count me in as one who ridiculed Scott "Dilbert" Adams' posts on why Emperor Snowflake was succeeding as a candidate and would eventually win, but it has become clear that he was correct on many things. First, we have to accept several things as givens:
  • If Snowflake has a skill, it is as a marketer and promoter. Let's face it -- he's been selling America the same ol' flaming bag of shit for decades now, and they can't get enough of it.
  • In the internets age, one of the most potent tools marketers have available to them is split (or A/B) testing. The marketer has at least two ideas in the bag to try out on potential customers, and they may try them concurrently in separate venues, or consecutively in the same venue or multiple venues. You can see where the possible combinations can surface rapidly. A skilled internet (or, get this -- social media) marketer will niche simultaneous marketing strategies depending on the content outlet.
  • The Mercer family backed Snowflake hard, and provided him with the necessary marketing data. Between their stake in Breitbart and their ownership of Cambridge Analytica, they provided Snowflake with sophisticated data and tools to target voters, and propaganda outlets (including Fixed Noise as well) with which to fine-tune that message. Facebook and Twitter played immensely in that strategy as well, obviously. Also, the Russians.
  • The strategy of the internet marketer (which Adams leaned on in many of his posts supporting Snowflake) can be boiled down to "move fast and break things." Of course, this is completely at odds with the staid, moribund, mechanical processes of Big Gubmint. For the Snowflake admin team, it was a selling point, and now it's an operational point. This is why the wealth-care bill has been such a clusterfuck from the word go. This is why they really haven't been able to get much done, for which we should be grateful for the time being.
But the last point also illustrates why Congress and the media have had such a difficult time adjusting to How Things Are Now. They are focused on procedural mistakes and breaches of etiquette, when the fact of the matter is that the cult deliberately eschewed those things when they cast their lot.

When people Americans think of "civil war," they tend to think of heroic struggles among brothers in empty fields, equally valiant sides opposing in an ideological equilibrium. More often than not, this is something people who are ignorant of the specifics tell each other in order to reassure themselves that people are essentially Good. The reality of that tends to be one side fighting against an injustice gleefully perpetrated by the other side. The sides are almost never equally balanced, whether in size or in having a moral center, or in engaging in the fight with reasoning based on good faith.

The main difference now, though, for better or worse, is that one side is not shy or embarrassed at all about their disdain for facts or even a fixity of purpose and basic definition. They have collectively decided that "facts" and "truth" are whatever the emperor says they are on a given day, and if that changes tomorrow or next week, they just roll with it. If he says he never said the thing we all just saw and heard him say, they buy it without thought or question.

This makes it just about impossible to counter with anything from the rational world, for politicians, the media, and ordinary people. About all you can do is wait for the incompetence and chaos to peel away the base as reality hits them, one by one. And it will happen, on a variety of fronts -- natural disaster, terrorist attack, economic slump, trade war, real war, probably all of the above to some degree. Even then, some of them will stick with him. As the saying goes, you can't fix stupid.

But the media need to face reality as well, and decide what their best collective course of action should be against aggressive agitprop. It's a very real problem that the firehose of incompetence overwhelms their ability to report it all, as well as the audience's ability to absorb it all.

So when they expend too much time or space fixating on his trolling and taunting them, that takes away from their ability to get something more substantive out in front of everyone. Reminders of how unfit the occupant is for the office just end up as more choir-preaching.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

In Other News

Today is Canada's sesquicentennial, as well as Pamela Anderson's 50th birthday. In celebration of the latter event, this is a fun read.

Disenfranchise

While we're all distracted by the terrible awful no-good abuse of the enablers at Morning Joke:
  • Clownstick's pet shitbird Kris Kobach saw his bullshit attempt to gather voter data get repudiated -- for now. I'll be more than happy to tell these cock-smokers to their faces why I've never voted for them, and never will -- just as soon as Emperor Snowflake shows those tax returns.
  • We don't know who all the players are on that "very distinguished" panel, perhaps because they're just too distinguished to refer to by name. (IOW, Kushner, Bannon, Stone, Manafort, the usual gang of grifters and psychopaths.)
  • Because the issue of "voter fraud" is sooo important in its prevalence, the GOP budget just happened to kill off the only federal agency that ensures the integrity of voting machines.
  • That $50m congressional election in GA a couple weeks ago? Karen Handel was GA's Secretary of State -- you know, the person in charge of ensuring the integrity of the voting process -- from 2007 to 2010. Handel and her successor, Brian Kemp, have done everything they can to ensure the fine standards of voter suppression one would expect from a southern state -- or a banana republic.
  • Georgia's voting machines are out-of date, easily hacked, and do not give paper receipts. As shown in the WaPo link above, this was pointed out to Handel in great detail, and for some weird reason, she chose to ignore it, as has Kemp. I wonder why that might be.
  • Jon Ossoff led in most GA-6 polls right up to the very end. Funny how all these slam-dunks seem to be going tits-up lately. Pollsters are inept and voters are flaky, but there is also something janky going on here. Oh well, too bad the great state of Georgia doesn't believe in having a forensic account of what actually took place. Maybe someone could assemble a panel or commission to look into all that.
Make no mistake -- if these fuckers had their way, only good upstanding white christian men would be allowed to vote, the way the founding fathers intended it. They're going to try to find a way to make that happen, and you can bet that there are just enough of your friends and neighbors and gamily who just fine with all that.

But yeah, let's fixate on some spoiled journo getting dissed in some asshole's internet slam-book. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Anhedonia

Tired of all that winning yet, of waking up to yet another morning of Grampa Walnuts' morning-dump rage-tweet blocks? Welp, tough shit, Hopalong, because this is the way it is.

Without having any clue what specifically the Morning Blow crew did or said to set off Agent Orange this particular time, it bears noting that Joe 'n' Mika spent plenty of time building him up, sucking up to him. They played a role in helping him get to where he is.

In a short (barely) fiction piece I posted here a couple weeks before the election, I tried to get into this senile, incontinent bastard's orange leather, and get a sense of what passes for his inner life. And honestly, after listening to this fucking jackass bray his nonsense to a complicit and compliant media for my entire adult life, I'll be goddamned if I can detect anything resembling what normal people consider an inner life.

To take two infamous examples, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, longtime readers here know that my loathing for those two is deep and boundless. They are the architects of what will likely turn out to be the beginning of the unraveling of the delicate (and to be somewhat fair, fatally flawed to begin with) power balance of the most volatile area of the planet. They are liars and frauds and moral cretins.

But Bush and Cheney conduct themselves more or less as human beings with regular motivations and inner lives. They love their wives and children, and that love is clearly reciprocated. They appear to read and listen to music, to engage with various and sundry cultural artifacts. They have largely shunned the spotlight since leaving office, thankfully.

I think you could say the same thing about, say, Chris Christie, whose gushing fanboy love for Bruce Springsteen is at once embarrassing to watch in a fifty-two-year-old man, but also charming. Few people will ever love anything with the genuine affection Christie has for Springsteen. Paul Ryan, John McCain, even Mike Pence all seem, once you look past differences of policy and opinion, to at least operate within, as P.J. O'Rourke memorably put it, normal parameters. They are absolutely wrong about everything, but they are wrong within normal parameters.

(Addison M. McConnell is notably left out of this group, because if there's a lower, scummier person in Washington right now than Emperor Snowflake, it's McConnell. He spent eight years sabotaging Obama's presidency, starting in a time of severe crisis, and culminating in stealing a Supreme Court seat outright. Yertle is a textbook example of someone putting party before country at every possible opportunity. The only joy to be found in any of that is that he has been every bit as dedicated to selling out his home state right along with the rest of us. Because fuck you Kentucky, for foisting this neo-confederate closet-case asshole on the country and keeping him in office. Enjoy your lack of health insurance.)

Anyway, I keep using the term "inner life" as it denotes the set of activities and thoughts and (yes) values that make us who we are, that form our worldview. The books we read, the music we listen to, the movies and teevee shows we engage and identify with through vivid narratives and strong characters -- ideally this should be an endless quest to experience creative things that make us happy. It's a reminder that, whether you are "spiritual" or "religious" or not, there are great works out there that are worth getting acquainted with, things that transcend ourselves as individuals, a grain of sand gradually accreting to a pearl.

Snowflake has always seemed to be the sort of person who cannot be made happy by such things, precisely because they are not about him, because he is literally unable to see or conceive of anything greater than himself. This is not snark; this is how he has always been. Despite his apparently inability to sleep, he is incredibly lazy when it comes to actually producing anything useful. And his malignant narcissism manifests itself in endless waves of greed and self-centeredness. These are his defining personality traits.

So when you're the sort of person who is lazy, greedy, and self-centered, it makes sense that your chosen path to make money is by grifting morons and lying about yourself to a degree that would embarrass Kim Il Sung. It also makes sense that when you surround yourself 24-7-365 with suck-ups and yes-men who do nothing but reinforce those lies to tell yourself, that that sort of sycophancy becomes one of the few things that makes you happy.

People are reluctant to psychoanalyze others from a distance, and not without good reason, but that is usually predicated on the idea that you can only know so much about a person based on what you see from that distance, through a small window of time.

But we've been watching this asshole for almost forty fucking years now, with fuck-up after failure after tax dodge after bankruptcy. He humiliated his ex-wives in the NY press with a few phone calls to the mendicant whores at the Post and Newsday. He ruined Atlantic City, hyping a junk-bond casino and then pushing the dog-shit debt he racked up into a paper bag and lighting it on fire on AC's front porch. He pushes little old ladies out of their homes to build bigger parking lots. He's stolen countless dollars from the taxpayers -- which everyone else then has to cover -- every single year he's ever been in "business."

All of this was years before he ever ran for office. There are no surprises here. He is exactly who he's always been -- deeply stupid, vicious, hypocritical, monstrous in his behavior toward women in particular. If he truly felt slighted by something specific that Morning Joe or Mika Brzezinski in particular said about him, all he had to do was bring that item up, say it's untrue, challenge them to provide substantiation.

But that would take actual work, and more importantly, it wouldn't be as much fun. This is the thing that brings him the most joy, more than using money to keep score, more than ripping off morons. The blue pills probably don't work as well as they used to; I'd bet serious cash that "humiliating" critics and opponents is one of the precious few things that gives him a tiny chub anymore. Not that he can do anything with it, and besides, even when he does bust a nut, these days it's just a slightly audible puff of cheeto dust.

It's all part of a pattern. The flip side to his annoying neediness for adulation is this mean, thin-skinned, vituperative side. It's the side that finds true joy in watching opponents grovel -- and even though they rarely do (again, aside from Chris Christie) actually grovel, because he lies to himself constantly, and because he really just needed his dad to give him a fucking hug, he tells himself they're groveling. But Hillary Clinton didn't grovel, nor did Rosie O'Donnell, nor Kristen Stewart. No one really gives half a fuck what you think, old man. For a man who was given everything, and still found a way to do absolutely nothing of value with it, who never cultivated any sort of inner life, it makes a warped sense that this would be his favorite thing.

HRH Fuckface Von Clownstick campaigned mostly on one unvarying theme:  Preznit Chocolate Hussein Thunder has turned Gawwd's Favrit Nayshun into a flaming hellscape, just for the sheer fun of it. By Clownstick's own logic, he should not have the time to keep engaging in this sort of nonsense, and yet it's all he does.

It should be worrisome even to his own supporters that Clownstick is so obsessed with these petty exercises in public humiliation. Because the thing is, sooner or later, his targets will actually grow a spine and stand up for themselves. Like all bullies, he's a gutless punk at heart, and the second one of his victims tells him to go fuck himself, or maybe reminds everyone that his wife has some dude on the side, he'll move on. Because again, that's who he's always been, a gutless little shit who talks big and never ever comes through.

I don't think I've ever even watched five minutes of Morning Joe, and I don't intend to start. I don't regard what they do as anything resembling journalism. Scarborough, while quick and intelligent, has always been a smarmy little shit, exactly the kind of guy that ends up fucking and marrying his married co-anchor. And I have no interest in defending Mika Brzezinski, and in fact think they need to do a little self-reflection about the sorts of people they have on their program, and how deferential they want to be to some of them.

They are everything that's wrong with "journalism" these days, in that they want to be taken seriously in their day jobs, but they also want to go to all the parties with the kewl kidz they're supposed to be covering objectively. And you can't do that. There should be an emoluments clause for anyone who wants to be thought of as an actual journalist.

But it's no less of a perfect textbook case of what sort of human being Emperor Snowflake really is. Not only is he awful, he's proud of it. This should be intolerable. Should I be compelled to live another fifty years on this overheated, overcrowded globe, I will never understand how so many people who should have known better chose to give a pass on basic rules of conduct to such an undeserving asshole.

Even the sort of mow-ron who spews that "he tells it like it is" nonsense has to see that Clownstick is (and again, has always been) the sort of person working-class people hate. He's the boss that busts you balls about cutting out five minutes early the other day to pick up your sick kid, even though you cut your lunch hour short the next day. He drives a new Beemer or Porsche every couple of years, while you're still driving your twenty-year-old Camry because he hasn't given you a raise since Fredo Arbusto was swinging his dick all over Fallujah. He's the neighbor that slips the HOA board a couple hundred bucks so he can put up a fence that obscures your view. His kid throws loud parties all night and tells you to fuck off when you finally call the cops at 3:30 AM. He checks out your wife's tits at every block party, and hits on as many wives as he can, figuring that for every twenty face-slaps, one of them will be drunk enough to give him a quick, sloppy blowjob in his three-car garage. Winning!

Depending on your gender, there are different reasons for knowing him, but whether you're a woman or a man, you know this fucking guy, and you hate him, because he's never not a fucking asshole. He hates women, because he doesn't understand them, and because he sees them only as working for him or fucking him. This should be clear by now, and again, it is incredibly baffling to see how he keeps getting so many breaks on so many things that used to be career killers.

It would make at least some sense to give him a pass if, by some miracle, he provided any value in exchange. If the Dow tops 30k and minimum wage jumps up to $20, and we're all millionaires, fine. It still wouldn't be easy to put up with his idiot shenanigans, but at least there's some sort of return.

But there's no such value added, obviously. The best thing you can say about this administration so far, seriously, is that they're simply too stupid to get anything done, and too arrogant to realize how stupid they are. It is past time to start holding these people -- and their constituents -- to the same standards their counterparts have always been held to. No more special rules for special people.