Thursday, March 15, 2018

Both Sides Now

I don't really have much to offer on the subject of MSM concern trolling of "liberals" and "leftists" as those definitions even still exist as we might have understood them ten or twenty years ago, because whether it's coming out of James Bennet's troll farm or from the soi-disant conservative end, the results are the same, and you shall know their sloppy thinking by their works. Their crapulence should be self-evident enough that you don't need some random numbskull such as yours truly to connect the dots.

But the opening example from the above-linked AmCon essay deserves a bit of extra scrutiny:

Earlier this March, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors David Hogg and Cameron Kasky appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Kasky used the opportunity to respond to those like NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch who he feels have used the activists’ young age as an excuse to say they don’t know what they are talking about. Kasky boldly declared: “We’ve been locked in a classroom. We have seen our friends text their parents goodbye. We are the experts. We know exactly what we’re talking about. How dare you tell us we don’t know?” Having endured a horrific and traumatizing experience, it’s understandable that Kasky would answer critics with emotion.

The bigger problem is that such emotional arguments have become the norm in our society. As Charles C.W. Cooke recently argued in National Review, it is wrong and belittling to dismiss Hogg and the other activists from Parkland simply because they are young, just as it is wrong to say that they should be immune from criticism on account of their age. If these students want to chime in on a national debate, it is their right to speak their minds and enter the scrum. Accordingly, their ideas should be criticized and praised under the same criteria as anyone else’s. In that spirit, it is rather difficult to accept Kasky’s claim to expertise solely by his being present at the scene of a horrific crime.

This is disingenuous enough to give a bad name to concern trolling, which is saying something. Let's break down the operational phrase "NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch," shall we? The NRA lobbies on behalf of gun manufacturers, not gun owners. It's a crucial difference between customer and product -- gun owners are the product that the NRA brings to their customers, by pushing booga-booga nonsense about so-and-so coming to take your arsenal, which you totally need in case you have to fight off the eeevil gubmint you claim to revere. Something like that; it becomes increasingly difficult to parse their self-contradictory jabber.

Anyhoo, Dana Loesch is the (urp!) spokesmodel peddling said paranoid jabber to old white men who buy into such guff, and regard her as eye candy. Loesch regards herself as eye candy as well, as she has also tried to pitch a sitcom idea for herself to star in as a "hot young mom." Um, okay. Can't believe they passed on that one.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that not only is Dana Loesch delusional, she is a carny peddling gun paranoia to Dale Gribble burger-militia types between "jobs" out in BFE. Loesch's thinly veiled threats of armed insurrection may give the Cletii a chub, but the main thing is that she is making nakedly emotional appeals to the rubes she's selling to the gun manufacturers.

You see, it turns out that orange is not the new black after all -- since Fuckface Von Clownstick slithered into orifice, gun sales have tumbled, and Remington has filed for bankruptcy. The reasons have a cultural component, but it's mostly just math -- most people purchasing a gun these days already have one, or ten, or fifty, and so are not incentivized to buy more without something tickling their prostateparanoia gland. Enter Dana Loesch. [giggity]

So this glib chuckler walking past Loesch's role in all this really is not only inexcusable, it's the crux of the biscuit in this here argument. True, Cameron Kasky's role as victim/bystander in a tragic mass murder does not automatically confer upon him the role of "expert" in determining Second Amendment policy. His arguments can and should be scrutinized and contested where they might be flawed, just like anyone else.

But Dana Loesch is no expert either. She's a paid shill for a group that by its own inflated estimation accounts for maybe 5 million people, which is not peanuts, but is also a drop in a bucket of 320 million citizens. The NRA wraps themselves in the fucking flag and claims to represent all Americans, when in fact they represent weapons manufacturers, and count (probably falsely at that) a thin sliver of Americans as paid members. It's actually a pretty impressive racket when you think about it.

I'm not sure what the ultimate intent or endgame of the Parkland survivors will be; it's possible they don't even know for sure yet. They're probably still in "mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore" mode, and they should be. So far what they've done is impressive, and I hope they are able to accomplish more. Even if I end up disagreeing with the specifics of this or that policy proposal, I respect the fact that they've organized and mobilized and made it clear that they're not taking shit from any of these scumbags. Because that is exactly what Loesch and Wayne LaPierre and all the politicians they rent really are. Their gun fetish and the money it brings in are much more important to them than the safety of schoolchildren, every time.

We should be disgusted that not only is this the only nation on the planet that has these events occur, much less with regularity, but also that when they happen, there is always a claque of paid actors (such as Loesch, whom you can be sure does not work pro bono) who will scuttle out of the woodwork and claim that the survivors are paid actors.

Forget the false equivalences and the harrumphed pronunciamentos about arguing from emotion instead of reason: the real problem here is that when these tragedies occur, equal time and footing is given to horrible people, who are not yoked to any moral compass, who have no sense of shame or common decency, who are comfortable arguing from bad faith, peddling lies and hypocrisy.

And then you have the professional commentariat trotting out with their same tired-ass chin-stroking both-sider template. We'll see how creative they get when Loesch's calls for armed rebellion turn into bouts of domestic terrorism, because that's really the demographic she's been stoking all along, trying to gin up gun sales in a down market.

Let's cut the shit here, folks: what we've been watching here is a bunch of high-schoolers taking on one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country, as well as all of those rented political weasels. There's no fucking equal footing here; no one is paying any of these kids to stick their necks out on this, but every single one of the talking heads pitted against them is paid quite well, count on it.

Fuck those people, every last one of them. At this point, I don't care if gun-control advocates do start wanting full confiscation, as improbable as that might be, as impossible as it would be to carry out. Because no matter which party is power anymore, I want to see these motherfuckers lose, every time, from here on out. If they order a hot pastrami sandwich from a deli, I want them to get shit on a shingle.

Enough is enough. This nation has been held hostage by a handful of fetishists for far too long, and they need either to accept some very reasonable and modest checks on their "inalienable right," or we need to start revisiting the whole concept. The other 315 million people who are not NRA members do not owe that 1.56% sliver a goddamned thing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Yes Man

The NY Times' op-ed page is a big bowl of boiled ass these days, but once in a while they cook up an article that breaks out some useful info and details. If half of what's here is true -- and there's no reason not to believe it's 100% accurate -- we are in deep shit.

There's no way to overstate how much the US strategic position in Asia has been abruptly diminished by these fucking morons running the show now. This is much bigger than two fat guys with fucked-up haircuts battling over who has the coolest comb. The world is already headed toward a period of dominance centered around the Indian Ocean. The morons are simply accelerating that trend with alarming quickness.

This is what happens when you start your tenure as [fart] chief executive by gutting your entire foreign service apparatus, through a potent combination of spite, ignorance, mendacity, and negligence. When I've referred to Clownstick as a "barstool drunk," the sort of nasty idiot who thinks he knows everything and provides no evidence at all to back it up, this is Exhibit A. Clownstick has jabbered on and on and fucking on about how much they are shorting us on the security invoice, as if the US military was just a bunch of mall cops hired out to contain the shenanigans in the galleria food court.

It literally does not occur to the dotard that we have logical reasons for carrying more of the burden in NATO and the UN, that the greater outlay buys us far more credibility in calling the shots and providing direction. There are reasons we stay in Germany at greater expense to us, as well as Japan and South Korea. All of those countries would just as soon we packed up and went home, even as they grudgingly recognize that in the end, we do serve as a bulwark against Russian and Chinese hegemony. And the fact is, humanity is just at that point where there is going to be a hegemon regardless, so it might as well be the Americans.

But none of these things have any meaning to someone whose every thought and move and impulse is purely transactional, on a level that a crack-whore kneeling in an alley for her fifteenth blowjob of the day doesn't operate at. All the dotard sees when he looks at a map is how many more venues he can slap that worthless name of his on. He couldn't care less if he steps on the toes of allies he may need for something else in the future, or if he fucks up generations of established international diplomacy norms that have kept billions of people safe, however imperfectly.

These things were already in motion regardless, as we are now nearly four generations removed from the post-WW2 arrangements. Japan in particular has seen a resurgence of right-wing militarism and nationalism; the current generation clearly no longer has any use for the terms of surrender acceded to by their great-grandparents. Germany, like the rest of Western Europe, have already had enough of Mister Man's bullshit, and are trying to figure out a way to deal with the bear without our guns parked in their backyard. They seem to figure that they can trade and finance their way into some sort of arrangement, and given that Russia faces a serious succession crisis whenever the 65-year-old Putin retires or dies, they may be right.

All of it points to the same thing:  the other powers under our longstanding security umbrella have been growing restive, and were in the process of testing the waters anyway. Obama was reflexively conservative (in the old-school sense) about flexing US military power, and his over-reliance on soft power set the stage for the current volatility in the MENA region, and no doubt emboldened China and Japan at the very least to start charting their own courses.

The dotard's approach to North Korea, as detailed in the Times article, will eventually serve as a template of this group's disastrous approach to international diplomacy. It's one thing for him to bluster about ignoring Democrats and liberals on the foreign policy front, but this guy is undermining his own team, and it's a shortchanged team to begin with.

Think about it:  their big diplomatic feint with the Norks was to send his knockoff-handbag-peddling brandbot daughter to the fucking Olympics to stare them down. There is no official presence in the diplomatic corps for this part of the world, no ambassador to South Korea, no Undersecretary of State for the region, a shortage of qualified interpreters and translators in the foreign service.

Considering the various consequences and ramifications, and the singularly inept track record of the moron and his gang of dopes and fools, there's too many ways for them to fuck this up royally -- even if Kim and Clownstick never actually meet -- and only a couple ways to get it right.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Fucking Traitors

Remember these names. They hate their own country, and sold it down the river. We'll see how they split and spend their thirty pieces of silver.

But keep their names in mind, because some of them may try to slither away from what they've done. They might read the tea leaves and "retire" early, though many of them are in safe districts and/or are longtime incumbents. They might even get voted out in November, at which point some of them will try to come back in some form or other, most likely as lobbyists of some sort, since scum merely change form as needed.

That's when you write the companies that employ them, the teevee networks that give them guest spots, the newspapers and magazines that grant them op-ed space, and fucking boycott them as well. This cannot go on anymore; these motherless fucks must be held accountable for what they've done, and the only thing they really listen to is financial ruin.

It's shameful that these things -- they are no longer human, afaic -- have freely chosen to do what they've done. But it's downright baffling and pathetic that they've chosen to do so for someone so clearly unworthy of such devotion, because Fuckface Von Clownstick would throw each and every one of them into a wood chipper, if he thought it would make another half-empty airport hangar of losers and goons chant along with him.

This was clearly a desperation gambit on the part of these puling weasels, and from the looks of every one of their Twitter feeds, it's going to backfire bigly on them. Every single post on most of the pages is absolutely livid. This bullshit will not stand. These fuckers need to be put on the street, and their corrupt, treasonous party needs to be put down for good.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

At the Movies

We're only reviewing one movie this time around, but it's a long review, and you should take the spoiler warning seriously.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


This one presents a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, you have a Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) project with a top-notch cast, and solid performances throughout; on the other hand, the whole thing is wrapped in a tendentious Swiss-cheese plot that gets more annoying the closer you think about it.

By now, even if you haven't seen the movie you probably know the broader strokes -- a mother puts up billboards outside her small town, asking why her daughter's rape/murder from a year ago remains unsolved, and the town (especially the police force) turns against her. Naturally, hijinks ensue.

Tooth and Consequences

It would be easy to work up any number of hard-hitting riffs about this busted-grill asshole trying with all his meager might to intimidate a niche lefty bookstore located in -- wait for it -- Berkeley, but life is increasingly short, and there are always better things to do. People are freaking out about this dope, and they really shouldn't, because he's about as threatening as a fart in a hurricane.

I am, however, small enough to freely admit that you don't need to be Ace Ventura to observe that this snaggle-toothed dipshit is not, to put it mildly, one of life's heavy winners, and that that fact brings me joy. This is the prototype of every tiresome Cletus safari article that's been foisted on us thus far -- broke-ass loser in a broke-ass town, trying desperately to find someone else to blame their troubles on. Who's keeping an eye on the meth lab while Goober is sliming up Durant Avenue with his jabbering nonsense?

I warned well before the election and probably since then, that the genuine magat cultists (as opposed to the mere professional opportunists, your finance-weasel types and such like) would be sore winners just as much as they'd be sore losers if Hitlery had won. This is proof of that very thing, if your Facebook feed hasn't convinced you yet. You'd never guess from listening to this mouthful-of-dice knock-off-lid halfwit and his nutty sidekick (what books, exactly, has anyone been burning?) that their side won.

I've lived my entire life in Cali, and been in Northern Cali since 1974. I know every area of this state, and the people in each area. So believe me when I tell you that there's no fucking way these bozos live within fifty miles of Berkeley.

So you do the methmath:  these assholes -- again, their god-emperor won and has majorities in Congress and the Supreme Court -- drove probably close to an hour each way into the city to harass an indie bookstore. Do they think they will convince anyone, change any minds? Do they think that their tiny group of moron-rabble-rousers will intimidate a business into closing its doors?

I mean, I'm skeptical as a matter of principle as to the efficacy of street protests to being with. But it's impossible to discern what the goal is here. What do they intend to accomplish, or even dream they might accomplish? Outside of maybe Barbara Lee or a local supervisor or two, there is no politician at any level that is going to make any effort whatsoever to represent the concerns of Revolution Books and its customers. Hell, by definition the "revolutionaries" have committed themselves to working outside and away from the system as much as possible; there is no upside for any "establishment" politician to expend any political capital looking out for a handful of Antifa types.

So this much is true, in the most literal sense possible:  every second the insane clown posse spends, driving to the store and cluttering up the sidewalk for however long and schlepping back home, is a complete waste of time. It can have no possible net political outcome for their lost cause. At most, it might incite a couple of like-minded losers to waste some of their time moseying down to the lose-in. Okely-dokely then. Good luck with that.

I would like to think there is indeed a demographic force-ten storm brewing; if so, it will happen in spite of, rather than because of the Democratic Party, an entity in need nearly as much as the Republicans of a controlled demolition. Both parties are like decrepit Vegas hotels at this point, built on blood money and in business only to fleece customers and grease palms. The Republicans are traitors and enablers, but in the face of treason the Democratic leadership is as feckless and gutless as ever. They can all go straight to hell.

I'm going to use a lot of quotes here because people need to really think about what they want each word to mean:  If "we" "want" "our" "country" "back", it will have to be reclaimed at a true grass-roots level. Whatever is left of this nation will have to be wrested from the greedy, insatiable maw of the corporate scumbags who own and operate both parties.

But the fact is that regardless of the outcome in November, the true cultists like these losers on the sidewalk will be back in some form, unless gingivitis or the die-uh-beet-us does 'em in while they fester out in Opioid Flats. Because that's what Gomer and his empty tough-guy threats are really all about -- the impotent rage of someone who failed utterly at the business of life and knows it, and who needs to constantly find windmills to tilt at in order to distract him from an existence of abject failure.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Social Justice Worriers

A thorough post-mortem analysis of the 2016 election will include the inevitable effects of reactionary sentiments, especially against putatively "progressive" causes that made the rounds in that year and the couple years preceding it. Some of this reactionarism certainly had its roots in racism, as the folks in the Black Lives Matter movement (insofar as it even qualifies as such) can attest.

Some of the working-class frustrations, whether real or cynically exploited by the Koch-Mercer-Murdoch axis of evil, had at least a strata of truth. Imagine someone out in the 'murka's vaunted heartland, town decimated by outsourcing, smart kids left and dumb ones stayed and impregnated each other, no prospects, no future, just the steady drip of generational dilapidation, punctuated by the occasional limp parade through town on the veterans' holidays, to remind of lost greatness and vigor. They've put up with this shit for some years, and are now watching those people riot, disrespect cops, and such like.

Now throw on immigrants collecting social services and squeezing out anchor babies, campus smart-asses jabbering about intersectional micro-grievances, and transvestites demanding restroom privileges, and Democratic politicians paying far more attention to such things than even mentioning (much less actually visiting and witnessing firsthand) the decaying Mayberries across the country. You can see where those folks might conclude that Something Had To Be Done, even if you completely disagree (as you should) that their chosen electoral action had any basis in operational reality.

In other words, people across the political spectrum can and should be able to see where people in many areas in the US might feel like their lives and communities are well and truly fucked, and their fat-cat pols are non-responsive. And yet they still should be able to see that electing a fake billionaire who apparently got a heart transplant from George Wallace might not be the solution to that set of problems.

It is perhaps the mark of a society that is collectively doing better than it thinks it is, when a sufficient number of people have the luxury to complain about micro-aggressions and triggering and the other inane jargon terms of the intersectional grievance claque. However, the corollary to that might be that you could say the same thing about a society that has the luxury of complaining about those complainers, especially when there are far worse challenges staring us all in the face.

There are the obvious big-picture transgressions:
  • the piss-colored rosacea golem squatting in the people's house, profiteering illegally with impunity, sending his dipshit progeny to conduct sensitive high-level negotiations that hold countless lives in the balance;
  • the steadily mounting evidence that a hostile foreign nation affected a US presidential election with the complicity of the victor and his campaign staff;
  • a stolen SCOTUS seat;
  • the Republican Party's rapid devolution into a proto-fascist enabling regime;
  • the Democratic Party's typically dickless response -- these fuckers stole a Supreme Court seat and the election, and the only thing you assholes grandstand about is the so-called Dreamers?;
  • the various cabinet ministers whose respective missions amount to killing off the agencies they have been appointed to oversee;
  • the sizable minority that still supports such nonsense, directly counter to their own rational self-interest and that of the country they self-righteously claim to revere.
It is no exaggeration to say that it may take another full generation to come back from these things. Any and all of them are so much worse than whatever esoteric jabber some humanities major is concocting in their Wednesday empowerment group.

I've been rereading some of what I wrote in the immediate aftermath of the election, and one thing from then that certainly holds up is that the defiling of the Oval Office with the likes of Fuckface Von Clownstick really is the political equivalent of 9/11, in that it has literally changed how everyone, regardless of political persuasion, thinks and perceives pretty much everything in that arena.

The mainstream media have mostly relegated themselves to covering the daily follies and outrages, sputtering in impotent perplexity that he keeps getting away with it. But they still show up dutifully to be lied to by Baghdad Barb, who makes no effort to conceal her contempt for them. And rightly so -- they have forgotten what their real mission is, and so the majority show up like pathetic dogs, waiting to get their heads kicked in by their abusive owner. It's painful to watch. Everything changed, but they have not.

What does all this have to do with the SJW types? Not much, really, except to point out that most reasonable people can agree that the bumptious PC nonsense spewing forth from the campus crusaders is frustrating at best, but mostly eye-rolling and obnoxious. The paucity of critical thinking, the herd mentality of political correctness, the reflexive squelching of opposing views, all contribute to a stifled orthodoxy that, as most people outside academia can tell you, will be beaten out of them by the real world almost the instant they hit the street. Anybody working an honest job does not have time to parse the nuances of intersectionality.

No, the real world has much worse issues, many of which have been thrown in sharp relief by recent events. The Parkland school shooting in Florida is a prime example. It is a mundane, now routine observation that the US is the only nation on the planet where this sort of thing happens, much less happens on a frequent basis that we have all become accustomed to.

What compounds this gruesome calculus is that we are now also the only nation where the survivors of such events are routinely attacked, mocked, lied about, threatened. It was awful enough when that fat fuck Alex Jones disseminated the idea that the parents of the second-graders murdered in their classroom at Sandy Hook were "crisis actors," people brought forth to perpetuate a tragedy that never happened, in order to engage in the fruitless, endless quest for even modest gun control.

Now we are picking on teenagers who have had the temerity to stand up for themselves and speak their minds. About the mildest reproach I have seen toward these kids is the notion that since a handful of kids roughly the same age have gained some YouTube notoriety doing the "Tide Pod Challenge," that entire generation is therefore disqualified from even opining on the complexities of law-abidin' gun fetishists.

I would suggest that for the past several years, this whole goddamned nation has been participating in an ongoing Tide Pod Challenge, ever since the day that ridiculous asshole came down the escalator and tossed his piss-colored wig into the ring.

The Parkland survivors, most of them still (barely) too young to vote (but you can be assured that they will), provide some measure of hope beyond the gun control debate itself. They are proving first and foremost that we don't have to take shit from the right-wing nutjobs and their hired scum. They are demonstrating the hypocrisy of the bloodthirsty NRA and its shills, especially the loathsome Dana Loesch.

The NRA does not represent gun owners, it represents gun manufacturers, and Dana Loesch is a paid spokes-tool. This is something I have pointed out in one-on-one conversations with my gun-owning NRA friends -- they think they are customers, but they are the product. The NRA is basically a gigantic mailing list, a market for the NRA's true customers -- that is, the manufacturers -- since most guns are now purchased by people who already own guns. This is a very powerful statistic that underpins the entire problem, despite all the distracting rhetoric about "culture" and whatnot.

It should not be a terrible thing for a group of crime victims -- kids who watched their friends and classmates and teachers get murdered by a psychotic ex-classmate with an AR-15 -- to collectively observe that it should be at least somewhat challenging for such a person to have access to a military-grade weapon. In a country where schools are notoriously underfunded and teachers underpaid, it is retarded to insist that the best solution is to invest money into turning schools into fortified citadels, and teachers into trained killers.

But most of all, the hypocrisy of paid assholes such as Loesch excoriating victims as somehow insincere or financially goaded into the stance they've taken, well, that should be completely unacceptable. But in three short years, this orange animal and his dirtbag failsons and the paid cockroaches who enable and support him, they have turned this country on its collective head, practically eliminated our ability to process disgust and outrage at things that used to require very little time to arrive at that destination.

When and if the US climbs out of the abyss we have collectively thrust ourselves into, there will be a great many things that will need to be repaired. Almost certainly, the first thing that will need to be done is to formulate a highly specific set of protocols prohibiting the chief executive, and their family and staff, from personally enriching themselves through their elected office. A blind trust will be truly blind, not a wink and a nod to the aforementioned failsons minding daddy's grift machine while he pretends to be in charge. You can't just send your knockoff-handbag-peddling daughter to a geopolitical flashpoint to conduct highly sensitive strategic negotiations regarding a country with which we are still technically at war, because you're too fucking lazy to appoint a proper ambassador to the region.

But more intangibly, and hence more difficult to reclaim, will be our capacity for cynicism, and the ability to translate that into action. The sheer mendacity of every one of these fucking people is exhausting. This is beyond mere policy disagreements -- they are vile humans, every last one of them, and they have taken up actively against the interest of their own country. They are nothing short of traitors, and one hopes futilely that some sort of justice will eventually find some or most of them.

In the meantime, maybe we focus on that which is in front of us and actually threatens us all. Again, the campus crybabies will find out soon enough just how little use the real world has for their grievances of privilege. There are too many academic types on the opposing ideological side who have a vested interest in stoking those differences, otherwise they'd have nothing to write about, and then might be forced to ply an honest trade.

But we have kids dying, adults bullying the survivors, a claque of scummy oligarchs undermining the fundaments of the republic, and media monkeys who can't find their own assholes in a dark room with both hands an a flashlight. It is now more important than ever for us all to keep our eyes on the ball.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Year Zero

"If everyone always knows what they're doing and acts in a perfectly rational way, how did most of world history happen?" -- M.R. Carey, The Boy on the Bridge, p. 108

So at the one-year mark since the investiture of one F. Von Clownstick, perhaps a brief recap is in order.

Foreign Policy
  • Cozied up to nearly every scumbag butcher this misbegotten planet has to offer.
  • The main tyrants Clownstick hasn't snuggled with -- Kim Jong Un and the Iranian mullahs -- he seems to be trying to start wars with.
  • Alienated most of our Western European allies, both with his obnoxious buffoonery and trying to shake them down for NATO dues, as if they were delinquent Maga Lardo members. This deficit of friends should quickly be filled by the nascent fascist regimes taking hold in Poland, Hungary, et al. They love him -- birds of a feather and all.
  • Endless squawking about "fixing" NAFTA, without proposing any actual ideas, nor the realization that Canada and Mexico are two of our biggest trading partners, and are pursuing greener pastures in the broader world that Mister Man wisely decided to flip off.

The most dangerous feature of the current foreign policy as it stands is that it shows no capacity for even medium-range thinking, much less long-range. There is no ten or twenty years down the road for these people, no realization that this is going to be an Asian century, that the center of power is in the long process of shifting, and that their bumptious nonsense is accelerating that process. So much winning, so much maga.

Domestic Policy
Hell, do we really even need to bother enumerating the list? It all boils down to two major tactics:
  • Appoint Cabinet secretaries who are expressly there to dismantle and/or monetize the department they've been put in charge of. Betsy DeVos is there to turn the entire education system into a profit center, while killing the teachers' union once and for all. Ryan Zinke is there to ensure that the extraction industry can work their magic in every nation park, from sea to oil-slicked sea. Ben Carson is there to pretend that no one gave him a hand when he was being brought up in public housing.
  • Telling those people to go fuck themselves.
And remember, none of this would have been possible without the media and their fucking Cletus safaris, their need for clickbait and their slavish insistence on both-siding every goddamned thing, even when there really isn't another side. Bokay? Jeffrey Dahmer did not have a "side," at least not one that deserved to be aired as a mere "opinions differ" comparison.

The Russian word "grozny" has been famously mistranslated in referring to that country's most notorious historical tyrant. The word does not mean "terrible" in the sense of wreaking terror and violence; it is closer to "awesome" in the sense of inspiring awe (rather than greatness).

In that spirit, I have to say that this administration has really impressed me so far. For more than thirty years, Fuckface Von Clownstick was synonymous with "failed blowhard" in my mind, a ridiculous person saying ridiculous things, and our ridiculous mediots always there to give him a platform to spout his nonsense. But he truly is dumber than I had thought, even more of an asshole than I had supposed. And that's impressive, because again, I had felt that way about this clown for decades, well before he cast his piss-colored cotton candy weave into the political arena.

And it's impressive to see someone so willing to "lead" by appealing solely to his ~30% cult of personality (or lack of personality). If you thought Dick Cheney was a supreme asshole for his practice of taking a microscopic victory and assuming a 100% mandate, you can rightly chastise yourself for having a failure of imagination.

It can always get worse; all it takes is someone completely unencumbered by anything resembling a moral compass, and an entire political party to enable him, because they know they can control him. After all, they both have the same central teleological faith that the best thing is to make other people pay for your high-on-the-hog lifestyle, all while lecturing the peons about personal responsibility.

I never saw his stupid show, so all I knew about it was the stupid catch-phrase, which of course made it incredibly ironic that there were sentient beings out there who figured that their best chance for more and better jobs was a fake tycoon who never paid his bills, and was most famous for firing people. A sucker born every minute? Please. There are hundreds of suckers born every minute, and they all happily vote against their own interest every goddamned time.

But let's talk about that a bit, the fact that the major economic indicators are "good" in the usual, conventional assessment right now. The Dow is over 26,000 and unemployment is hovering at about 4.1%. GDP was just over 3% for Q2 and Q3 adjustments.

Obviously, for one, these are lagging indicators, especially GDP and unemployment. The Dow, however, is a poor rule of thumb to use for assessing or forecasting economic stability or future health. In fact, not only does the Dow reading not benefit the majority of people who have no stocks, but its volatility as of late is beginning to smell a lot like the Bitcoin bubble. It is entirely due to the billionaire class licking its collective chops at the prospect of massive tax cuts, which of course everyone else will pay for in a myriad of ways.

The Republican Party is the party of the "bust out" economic policy, the party of racking up debt and breaking programs, so that they can then claim that the programs are broken and defund them accordingly. Sell off the parts and pocket the proceeds. That's what made hectomillionaires out of animals like Clownstick and Willard "Mitt" Romney.

There is a shutdown because Mitch McConnell and John Kelly want a shutdown. Schumer was actually ready to compromise with the orange turd, even giving him money for that fucking wall that Mexico was supposedly going to pay for (and that, of course, we don't need in the first place). But the Republitard "leadership," sensing that the brewing "blue tsunami" might actually be real, understand that their best gambit to mitigate that damage is to try to fool enough people into thinking that a shutdown is due solely to Dummycrat intransigence.

Think about that for a second:  the Republicans want the shutdown. Clownstick just wants to "make a deal," and by now it should be apparent to even the die-hards that he makes deals like old people (such as himself) fuck. This doddering old fool couldn't sell one-cent water to people dying of thirst.

Perhaps the most impressive part of this clusterfuck of an administration so far is how well it's revealed people and institutions and things for what they really are. Now, it's easy to pick on the Cletus class and their economic anxieties, but the fact is that there are economic issues that they are and should be concerned with. Sure, there's an unmistakable vein of racism and sexism baked into their bullshit, but still they, like their idol Clownstick, are simply symptoms not the disease.

The disease is chronic and increasing wealth and income disparity, worldwide and here in the good ol' USA. One percent of the people in this country own forty percent of the assets. Eight individuals, six of them American, own as much as half of the entire human race. The six Walton heirs, all whom merely married or were born into their great luck, and did not lift a finger to build their own wealth, are worth $160 billion as of last count, and that will of course go up with the tax cuts.

Six people, one hundred and sixty billion dollars. None of them worked for a dime of it. Tell me more about this meritocracy of personal responsibility. Tell me what Barack Obama did to alleviate it, what Hillary Clinton would have done to help. The bottom 90% of the population carry 73% of the debt. Remember, no matter who you are, no matter what you do for a living, and no matter how you incurred your debt, your debt is always by definition someone else's equity. This is the key element to the whole problem.

The surest way to reduce this criminal disparity is to institute some sort of debt jubilee. People who are not stuck paying usury for their whole existence on this planet have more money to -- get this -- put into the actual economy, as opposed to the shadow economy of shylocks and paper collectors who produce nothing but desperation and compound debt.

Debt relief, even partial relief, for the peons would do untold good for hundreds of millions of people, without severely impacting the folks who already have more money than they could spend in a dozen lifetimes. It wouldn't even require higher taxes; you could even peg it to yet another tax cut if need be.

But they don't want that. All the distractions -- the bullying of immigrants, the constant shameless lying, the dopey nicknames, the paid-off porn stars, the countless boorish idiocies of these people and their figurehead -- they are merely there to distract from what this really is:  the endgame of a thirty-year war the top .01% have been waging on the rest of us. They won, by the way; anyone who hasn't figured that out yet is never going to. They own the means of disseminating information -- and more importantly, disinformation. They saw those rural suckers coming up the dirt road.

So yeah, the Cletuses suck balls, no doubt about it. And their propensity to be gulled into cutting their own throats over and over again is instrumental in the one-percenters' continued dominance. That's not politics, that's math -- the fortunate few cannot keep winning without the assistance of the proles and their imaginary grievances.

But these motherfuckers are the real problem, these pampered cyborgs with their bleach and botox and collagen and real fur. Anyone who would pay a hundred grand or two hundred grand a year to hang out at a tacky golf club with other tacky swells clearly did not work hard enough for that money, or they'd have more fucking respect for it.

I don't know what the fuck those assholes are smiling at; those are the faces of people who are condemned to accumulate and never be satisfied. They may have had all the fat sucked out of their asses and spare tires and put into their lips and cheeks, but their souls are morbidly obese. They already have more than enough for themselves, for their kids and grandkids, but their life's pursuit is more, more, more. And it comes out of everyone else's hides.

The saddest, sickest part about it is the rubes who, when they finally come to realize that they elected Charlie Sheen, minus the drugs, talent, and intelligence, they'll vote for him again, simply because he hates the same people they do. They'll go to their graves -- that much sooner thanks to their electoral choices -- not getting it, not even wanting it.

Friday, January 19, 2018

NFL Conference Championship Predictions

2-2 last week again. Count on 50% accuracy (at best) this time around as well; the fun is in guessing which half. Both games are on Sunday 1/21, times PST. [Note:  In the original post on Friday, I called the AFC game for the Fackin' Patsies, but after thinking about it for a day, decided the Jagwires could take this, and changed the pick on Saturday (1/20), well before game time.]

AFC Championship Game -- 12:15 PM
Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6) at New England Patriots (14-3)(-7.5):  Once again, I'll always root for whoever's going up against Belichick's Death Star, and not just because Belichick and Kraft are friends with Fuckface Von Clownstick (though that certainly doesn't help). But in this case, the Jaguars are one of those teams I tend to root for when the Raiders are sucking wind. So I'd definitely like to see the Jags pull this one off and make it to their first Super Bowl, and based on their performance last week in Pittsburgh (as opposed to their performance the weekend before at home against the Bills), they might have a decent shot.

The two keys to the Jaguars' success have been their outstanding pass defense (2nd in points and yards allowed), and QB Blake Bortles' improved efficiency under new OC Nathaniel Hackett. While his stats are not earth-shattering by any means (3,687 passing yards, 21 TD, 13 INT), his completion percentage (60.2) and interception percentage (2.5) are career bests. (Bortles will also be a free agent after this season, which means he's playing for a $100M contract, whether it's in Jacksonville or somewhere else. Expect a bidding war with Miami, Arizona, and the LA Chargers if Philip Rivers retires.) Rookie RB Leonard Fournette is already the best runner the team has had since Fred Taylor or Maurice Jones-Drew, putting up 1,040 rushing yards and 9 rushing TDs in 13 games in the regular season, and tacking on another 109 yards and 3 TDs against a top-10 Steelers defense in the divisional playoff round.

Despite what for the Patsies would be considered something of a subpar season (two of their three regular-season losses were at home; four of their wins were by less than a touchdown), the fact is that the team does nothing but execute, and generally without a surplus of star players. Brady completed two-thirds of his pass attempts and had a 4:1 TD:INT ratio, using Gronk and a rotation of select castoffs. Free-agent speedster Brandin Cooks is the only real deep threat for Brady to work with. And yet, in their last three games (against the Bills, Jets, and last week's divisional win over the Titans), they've outscored their opponents by a total of 98-36.

As much as I like to hate on the Patsies, the fact is that they get it done with strategy and execution. And this might be where, believe it or not, Jacksonville can get the upper hand. Turns out that not only is Jacksonville (+10) ahead of New England (+6) in the all-important turnover ratio stat, but even the actual takeaway-giveaway numbers (33-23 Jags; 18-12 Pats) indicate how much more opportunistic the Jaguars' defense has been. It's also a function of how much the Patsies have settled in as a time-of-possession team later in the season.

So that's all there is to it for the Jacksonville Jaguars to get to the Super Bowl:  create turnovers, don't make offensive mistakes, and grind the clock. These are all things they've actually been pretty good at this season. They have one of the best pairs of cornerbacks in the league with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. It actually isn't too difficult to envision a scenario where the Jaguars get ahead early like they did in Pittsburgh, and hold out just enough in the end to eke out a shootout win. The reality of it is more likely to be the Patsies being just one step ahead the whole game and heading to their umpteenth Super Bowl. I'm only half-kidding when I say they have the luck of the devil, and the refs on their side.

But the hell with it -- let's take the underdog.

Final Score:  Jaguars 41, Patsies 38.

NFC Championship Game -- 3:45 PM
Minnesota Vikings (14-3)(-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (14-3):  I'm not going to claim to be a full-on NFL historian, nor would I even know how to go about searching for such a statistic, but this has to be the only or one of the very few times in playoff history where teams that were seeded 1-2 face off in the conference finals with backup quarterbacks starting for both teams. Both QBs (Case Keenum for the Vikings; Nick Foles for the Eagles) have been respectable, helped greatly by strong defenses and solid running games.

The Vikings head into Philly after a highlight-reel finish against the Saints, with New Orleans leading 24-23 and Keenum hitting WR Stefon Diggs on a desperation 4th-and-5 lob with :09 remaining, just hoping to get within field goal range, but Diggs hauling it in for a touchdown to end the game. However, it never should have gotten that close in the first place, with Minnesota running up a 17-0 halftime lead, and the Vikings' offense collapsing in the second half. One of the Saints' comeback TDs was thanks to a wildly errant throw from Keenum from his own red zone, a slow rainbow falling straight into the arms of Saints DB Marcus Williams. (Then again, it was Williams who missed an opportunity to tackle Diggs on the final play and secure the win.)

While Foles is a decent backup, the fact is that the Eagles have been struggling on offense the last few games. Put it this way:  in Week 16, while they were still trying to finalize their playoff seeding and secure home-filed advantage, Philly did everything they could to give the game to the hapless Raiders, who were simply too incompetent to take it. The Eagles' final regular-season game was a 6-0 laugher loss against the Cowboys, who also had nothing to play for. Even last week's 15-10 win over Atlanta had as much to do with the Falcons' shortcomings as the Eagles' strengths.

This will probably be a low-to-mid-scoring affair, and it wouldn't be surprising to see something along the lines of 7-3 at halftime, with maybe some late scores. But the Vikings are just better enough to where they should be playing in their first Super Bowl in forty years, and become the first team to play in the big game in their home stadium.

Final Score:  Vikings 20, Eagles 9.

[Update 2/4/18 12:30 PM PST:  I'm less annoyed about going 0-2 on the conference championship games, than at the prospect of yet another Patsies Super Bowl. But again, as much as I like to hate on Hoodie and Tommy, the fact is they strategize and execute better than other teams. The Jaguars had it in the bag, and let it slip away. It's as if the Patsies haven't done that shit a million times before. All you have to do is watch the film and plan accordingly. That's all they do.

Anyway, Philly's defense turns out to be pretty damned good, but they are impacted by injuries at this point, so Nick Foles will have to step up the offense. If Chris Long can get in there and harass Brady enough, the Iggles  have a fighting chance, but as recent history shows, even when you have a boot on their neck, the Patsies (with a little help from the refs) have a knack for coming back. Rooting for Philly, but realistically it's probably another notch in the belt for Fuckface Von Clownstick's favorite team.

Final Score:  Patsies 27, Eagles 24.]

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Show Business

"Pastor" Mark Burns is a thief, a liar, a sellout, a snake-oil spiritualist. So why have him on your "news" program for anything in the first place, except to stoke some bullshit political kayfabe? You don't need a genius or a psychic to know that, since it takes a liar to defend a liar, that whoever they get on to "defend" Clownstick's "side" in any given issue is going to -- wait for it -- LIE.

So what (and I'm asking this rhetorically of the journo class) is the point of it? Why have Mark Burns or Kellyanne Conway or any of those idiots on for anything in the first place? Seriously, why bother? Most of the viewers of these shows know what such people will say before they even say it. Obviously, it's all just an exercise for the "interviewer" to indulge in some variation of choreographed sanctimony. It would have been marginally more entertaining if Reid had smacked Burns in the back of his fool head with a folding chair.

This "shithole" thing in particular is dumb and uninteresting anyway, precisely because these mediots refuse to focus on the one part about it that is interesting:  it is clear by his words and phrasing that Emperor Snowflake literally has no idea why people emigrate to other countries. None. Which is especially strange since his own mother was an immigrant. It is a function of his fundamental personality flaw -- he cannot conceive of a human being who is not driven by the twin demons of endless accumulation and self-aggrandizement. To him, those traits are the very point of existence, the essence of life. How could anyone not want to be a well-known grifter who uses other people's money to prop up an illusion of genuine wealth?

The mediots have spent countless collective hours and column inches constructing elaborate arguments detailing the emperor's ongoing cognitive decline, as tracked by his increasing bouts of naughty words and intemperate behavior. And it's partly true -- he does appear to be in the process of (to be polite about it) a severe attenuation of mental acuity.

But the pieces were in place long ago. He was an idiot and a bigot to begin with. He has never not been an emotional retard, devoid of basic human empathy. He does not care about anyone but himself, and will say anything to get what he wants. He sees and processes and responds to every issue through that lens.

It is a pathology, and for three decades now, every media outlet from Oprah to Howard Stern has given this dipshit windbag a soapbox to bloviate from. And now that he's bamboozled the rubes into putting him in charge, the same (or same type of) mediots get his surrogates on their interchangeable shows to spin their wheels and shuck the same jive.

The one thing Joy Reid, Mark Burns, and Fuckface Von Clownstick all have in common is that they each have a vested interest in keeping the "conversation" about Clownstick going ad infinitum. And for all that, they never seem to get around to what's been staring everyone in the face the entire time -- senile or not, he was a corroded soul to begin with, long before he entered the political arena.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Emergency Preparedness

I guess we should all just consider ourselves lucky that Fatboy was playing golf (surprise, I know) when the false alarm was sounded, otherwise we might have had thermonuclear war declared via Twitter tantrum. Really builds confidence in the system.

NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

2-2 last week, the Titans' upset of the Chefs being a nice surprise. As always, wager responsibly.

Saturday 1/13 1:40 PM Atlanta Falcons (11-6) (-2.5) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-3):  This should be a good game between two pretty evenly matched teams. Both the Falcons and the Eagles feature solid, well-balanced offenses paired with aggressive, stingy defenses (both defenses finished top-10 in most major defensive categories). Though the Eagles were a better team with Carson Wentz starting at QB, Nick Foles is a solid veteran, and probably the best backup in the league. After watching them travel cross-country to dismantle the Rams' number-one offense, though, Atlanta seems to have momentum. Unless it's a full-on blizzard, I'd take the Falcons and the points.

Final Score:  Falcons 27, Eagles 17.

5:15 PM Tennessee Titans (10-7) at New England Patriots (13-3) (-13.5):  Second only to watching Emperor Snowflake get frog-marched out of the White House to spend twenty more years in Leavenworth before dying poor, broke, and alone, nothing would give me more pleasure than to watch Little Tommy Tuck Rule and his Facking Patsies get their shit pushed in by any other team, every goddamned time. Unfortunately, they have the luck of the devil and the refs in their pocket. The Titans do have excellent offensive and defensive lines, and they did just knock out the Chefs in Peckerhead Arrowhead Stadium, but unless they can pressure Tuck Rule enough to make some mistakes early on, and then hold on for the inevitable fourth-quarter comeback, it's probably going to be ugly.

Final Score:  Patsies 34, Titans 20.

Sunday 1/14 10:00 AM Jacksonville Jaguars (11-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) (-7):  I don't hate the Steelers quite as much as the Patsies, but this is another one where I have a clear favorite. But given their lackluster performance last week at home against the hapless Bills, the Jaguars probably don't have much of a prayer in Pittsburgh, although the Steelers turned the ball over five times in a 30-9 loss in Pittsburgh on October 8th. All-world WR Antonio Brown is recuperating from a partially torn calf muscle and an illness, so if Jacksonville is going to have any chance in this, it's going to be with their top-rated pass defense shutting Brown and the other Steelers receivers down.

Final Score:  Steelers 31, Jaguars 13.

1:40 PM New Orleans Saints (12-5) at Minnesota Vikings (13-3) (-5):  The Vikings have done more with less than any team in the NFL this year, and it has paid off well for them. After season-ending injuries to top RB pick Dalvin Cook, and QBs Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater, journeyman QB Case Keenum stepped into the proverbial "game manager" role and led Minnesota to a 13-3 record. Keenum's 3,547 passing yards and 22-7 TD-INT ratio are career highs for him, but the Vikes' real strength is their defense, which was #1 in the league for points allowed (15.8 ppg). The Saints are much improved from last year, especially on defense, and rookie back Alvin Kamara is an exciting, dynamic player who should win Offensive Rookie of the Year. These teams met in Week 1 in Minnesota, and the Vikings won 29-19. The outcome this time will probably be much the same, though the Saints might beat the spread.

Final Score:  Vikings 24, Saints 20.

Hole Hearted

It would be somewhat hypocritical for yours truly to get too bent about the emperor referring to certain countries as shitholes. I've certainly pulled no punches about such an assessment, and have in fact used that word to refer to third world countries, or violent Islamic despotisms where basic human rights are scoffed at. That's not an evaluation of the individuals living in those countries, nor their suitability to emigrate to these here Yew-nighted States, merely an impolite observation of the condition of the government, the society, the economy, the levels of basic services, etc.

So yes, Haiti is a shithole, as is North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, and the Congo, and on and on. So are many parts of the US:  the opioid belt; large chunks of the NASCAR states; the swaths of washed-up towns festering out in the hinterland with delusions of revanchism and the lost glory of Granpappy's hallowed widget-stamping job that went to Malaysia during the Reagan years.

It is not necessarily a value judgment of the inhabitants, nor an assertion of moral superiority over them. Unlike the emperor, I don't hate the humans, I feel bad for their situation (except when they bring it on themselves). It is simply a blanket observation of an area that is arguably not only much worse off than other areas, but substantially worse off than it should be, if said area had its collective shit together. It is also a correlative observation that many or most of such areas have the common thread of overpopulation compounding the overall poverty rate. In other words, they could simply cut their birth rate in half and improve their lot within a generation, doing absolutely nothing else to move in the right direction.

Americans of white European heritage take things for granted (duh). They tend to forget that the countries their own ancestors left were not good places to be -- they were shitholes as well. That's why they left, y'know? Scotland was not a paradise when the emperor's mommy got out of there a hundred years ago. Many parts of Germany were ravaged by famine and wars of national confederation around the time the emperor's paternal grandfather left. The Pilgrims didn't come here because they were doing well back in England. I know my ancestors left Ireland and Wales and Poland because they needed to get the hell out of those places at the time. There are books about this sort of stuff. This is not rocket science.

So while the squirrel mediots fixate on the "vulgarity" of the word, they seem to be ignoring the much more important issue, the proverbial elephant in the room -- the man seems literally to not understand why people emigrate, why they would leave their homes, families, communities, the only places they've ever known in their harsh lives, to come to a country where they don't know anyone, don't understand the language. It doesn't even occur to him, the concept that someone from a poor, violent country would be more likely to want to leave home than someone from a prosperous, stable country.

People take those risks because the opportunities are worth it to them, because all they have is hope that things can get better. People who were doctors and lawyers in their homelands come here to drive taxis and taco trucks and run convenience stores, because they think of the USA as a place where someone can work hard and get ahead. Life is a series of offsets and tradeoffs, unless you're a spoiled dipshit who has always gotten everything you want.

Seriously. What kind of a moron does not get the basic concept that Norwegians no longer move to America because the average Norwegian has a better quality of life than the average American? Well, it turns out it's the kind of moron that's been given the keys to the country, and has chosen to drive it to the nearest cliff, gas pedal stomped to the floor. It's the kind of moron that talks derisively of other nations as shitholes, while doing his level best to turn this country into a shithole as well.

I felt that tonight's Netflix premiere of David Letterman's new interview show would be a nice break from the daily nonsense, as the featured guest of course was PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA (PBUH). I miss both Letterman and Obama tremendously, all the more so for the current collective maelstrom we find ourselves in, and it was rewarding to see these two chat in an intimate setting, their mutual affection obvious to all.

It was somewhat disappointing but not at all surprising that Obama and Letterman studiously avoided any direct mentions of the emperor or his abortion of an administration. The interview was punctuated with a couple of segments of Letterman walking the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis, and much discussion of the importance of the civil rights movement to Obama's development as a person and a politician.

It turned out to be better for not mentioning that bastard and his works, because what you focused on with Obama and Letterman is how both men function as normal human beings who speak with enormous affection for their families and children, who go out into the world and experience it, who actually do things for other humans without expecting money and adulation in return. Both men are funny and sharp and kind and self-deprecating. This accumulated steadily into a wondrous contrast with what we've been immersed in, a claque of scummy cultists utterly obsessed with lying and cruelty and greed.

By the end, my wife was in tears, just thinking about what we've lost in the longest year of most of our lives, and what more will come before we pull out of it (if we ever really do). This toxic man and his toxic cult followers have poisoned the water table of our collective consciousness, and we're all waiting on Robert Mueller because no one else has the stones or ability to do or say anything meaningful about it. And the longer we all wait, the more of an effect the fumes have on all of our brains.

Perhaps most potently and subtly, the Obama interview was a reminder of a time, in the dim and distant past, when the President of the United States did not act like a jabbering drunk on a fucking barstool every goddamned day of the week.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Age Against the Machine

In which a senile, doddering fucktard decides to impress his role model. Arpaio would probably fellate Von Clownstick in the White House Rose Garden in front of a full network camera crew, without even being asked. This ancient shitbird (eighty-six this June, y'all!) is powered by spite and corruption. Maybe he was just waiting for Foster Brooks to get pushed out at Breitshart.

Arpaio will get humiliated, or Arizona gets exposed as the Alabammy of the Southwest. Either way, 'murka wins!

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Government We Deserve

Because this is the country that made useless doorstops like the Kardashian sisters wealthy and famous, it is a virtual certainty that there's somebody out there -- hell, probably several million somebodies -- taking the idea of an Oprah Winfrey political candidacy seriously. It makes sense that the media dogs would chase their tails on this for a couple days, because as always, they have airspace to fill.

But the idea that a significant number of people would take such a thing seriously, or welcome it, is nothing more not less than a sign that those folks have given up -- on what a sane idea of a political system is and should encompass, on whether managing the world's largest economy and most powerful military force is a serious undertaking. Then again, letting Fuckface Von Clownstick run, much less win, is surely a sign of those things, but encouraging a billowy dilettante is just doubling down on all that.

That's not to say I wouldn't vote for her, if that was the choice. I would go out in my back field and dig up a river rock, and vote for that rock before I'd vote for Clownstick for any office. He'd fuck up dog-catcher. That should be abundantly clear by now.

I suppose there are many fine things about Oprah -- from all indications, she is generous and kind, and no doubt her charitable contributions and foundations hold up much better than Clownstick's little tax-evasion scams that barely make the effort of concealing their self-dealing and money-grubbing. And she is truly self-made. I find her incessant branding overweening and annoying, but there's no doubt that she came from poverty and bootstrapped herself into a position of real wealth and power, something Clownstick can claim but no one will ever believe (like every other claim he makes).

But Oprah is also responsible for inflicting on us Doctors Phil, Oz, and Jenny McCarthy. Someone who falls for this level of ongoing quackery has some issues. However, unlike Clownstick, she (and most normal human beings) at least understands what she is good at and not good at, and can delegate and let other people manage and have input over that latter category.

She's not going to run anyway, so no one out there should get too worried or get their hopes up too much. It's not going to happen. What almost certainly will happen is that Oprah will have a role in publicly vetting whatever roster of candidates eventually comes out of the Democrats' little shop of errors, and will pick on to put some money behind. Unlike these dopey vanity projects like Tom Steyer is running, Oprah understands that the money is better spent on candidates than petitions.

So if Kirsten Gillibrand is smart (and she is), she's already reaching out behind the scenes to Oprah, and getting on that train. Because the one thing Oprah has more of than money is cultural influence, one that transcends to some extent the weird class-race divide that's been stoked the last few years.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

News Cycle Filler

Flipping through the wasteland for something to watch on a Sunday morning before the football starts, I did catch a split-second of dead-eyed homunculus Stephen "Stop calling me Maurice!" Miller on CNN, and jumped away as fast as the remote would allow. The mistake Jake Tapper made was having Miller on in the first place, because creating base-stoking fodder was not just an opportunistic tactic for Miller, it was the whole reason for him to go on CNN in the first place.

I like Tapper, and he seems to be genuinely trying to do a good job and be an effective journamalist, but like all of them, he's operating in a hole. The endless, insatiable need to create and churn content 24-7-365 puts newsrooms in the position of being content providers, rather than reporters. From the perspective of Tapper and CNN, the best possible outcome of having a toad like Miller come on to lie and propagandize is to elicit an inappropriate response of some sort. It's not like Miller is going to say, Oh yeah, Michael Wolff was right on the money -- everyone in the White House is enabling a fucking retard!

There is some truth to the meme of "gotcha" journalism; clearly many of them who give air time to lying shitheads like Miller, or sit there in the "briefing" room to be hectored and lied to by Baghdad Barb, are trying to capture some incendiary quote or statement that they can then point to and say See? See?!

Does it really need to be pointed out that that sort of thing has no effect any more? There's been something like that every fucking day for the past couple years, and it hasn't brought these people down. Our last best hope (and it seems to be a valid one) is that Mueller has all these bastards by the short hairs.

But considering where we're at, it's just as possible that Mueller does have a ton of key evidence and indictments, and it still might not make a difference. These people have no trouble telling two-thirds of the nation to go fuck themselves, and they'll do whatever it takes to suppress the vote.

Frankly, considering CNN honcho Jeff Zucker is the dipshit who gave Fuckface Von Clownstick a public platform for his fake-tycoon bubble in the first place (when Zucker ran NBC), they're lucky we all haven't boycotted them already. Voting is still necessary, but the fact is that your most potent power is in your wallet, because all any of these people really care about is money.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

The Old Man and the C-Word

The hilarity (and the end of this shitshow) is just beginning, and Michael Wolff's book, while not exactly breaking any new ground, may prove to be a cultural catalyst nonetheless. Yes, it preaches to the expected choir; no, the base-tards aren't going to read it or have a change of heart.

But as ludicrous as it may seem, there are some people out there who just couldn't stand Hillary Clinton and tuned out the obvious problems with Clownstick just enough to hold their noses. Those folks will either come back across to atone for their idiocy, or just sit it out in shame.

And the Gooper congress-critters circling the wagons should know that it will all be for naught, that they will not be remembered well. Bob Corker and Miz Lindsey and the rest of the gang might end up with a few extra ducats in their pockets, but it will be blood money, and they and we know it.

The story of how Wolff got his scoops is as hilarious as it is frightening to contemplate the sheer ineptitude that enabled it. Basically Wolff had a press pass and just hung around, sat in on conversations and meetings, talked to people, because the White House staff is so inept and disorganized that they figured that if the boss hadn't explicitly said no to Wolff, he must have said yes. For all those folks who told themselves well, he'll run it like a business, this is the exact textbook example we responded with:  yes, he'll run it like one of his businesses, pick any number of failed ones.

The idea that a journo could glean all of these caustic comments and assessments of the occupant of the Oval Office from his own staff is the real story of all this. One name you haven't heard from in recent weeks is John Kelly, whose supposed rigor and discipline were presumed to tame the rabid hyena Kelly had been designated to oversee.

How's that going for you, General Kelly? How do you sell out the well-being of the country you supposedly love and revere, for the poop-tweet amusement of a senile, doddering huckster who is declining by the day at this point? Clownstick has always been this way, and surrounds himself with like-minded scumbags. So I get how he functions, or how spokes-weasels like Baghdad Barb get by. Criminals and grifters make a sick sort of sense.

But John Kelly was supposed to be above that -- competent, honest, disciplined. Turns out he's none of those things. He's as bad as the rest of them, just more conspicuous by his absence, as apparently Kelly was one of the few in the house to not blab freely in front of a fucking reporter.

This is the sort of thing that will dovetail nicely with Mueller's pending indictments, and what is sure to be a knuckle-fuck State of the Union speech in a couple of weeks. Getcha popcorn, the fun is just starting.

Friday, January 05, 2018

NFL Wild Card Predictions

It's been a strange year for pro football, in some part due to Clownigula stoking his freak-show base. More than that, though, there are elements in the game itself, as well as its participants, that are starting to accumulate on the consciences of fans:  the violence and criminality of some of the star players; the CTE and other physical tolls taken on the players; the season-ending injuries to new stars such as DeShaun Watson and Carson Wentz; the crummy ref calls that always seem to favor the Patsies; the idiotic cracking down on touchdown celebrations; and yes, the stupid polarization of the fans over an issue that affects no one.

And the fucking commercials -- Jesus Hamster Christ, you can only watch so many goddamned insurance and fast food and truck commercials in a fucking lifetime, crammed ass-over-teakettle into a three-hour window, over and over and over again till you're ready to eat a Desert Eagle. It's just not worth it anymore, to an increasing degree.

Some of it is just market saturation and corporate overkill, but in general, the league and the sport itself seem to be on the cusp of a long decline. Will Leitch covered a lot of this in a terrific article around Thanksgiving, but the broad stroke is that we're watching young men damage themselves irreparably, and whether enough fans feel guilty enough about that to watch less or not at all, the bottom line is that far fewer kids are playing youth football already. Wait and see how that dilutes the overall talent level by the time they're of age to play pro sports, if they haven't turned it into flag football before then.

All that said, this past week has had some potentially interesting and cool news for the NFL. The Patsies might lose Belichick to the Giants over the Jimmy Garoppolo trade. Jon Gruden is finally coming back to the Raiders for a 10-year/$100M contract, and maybe a piece of the team. I genuinely look forward to the Patsies being terrible and the Raiders finally winning a Super Bowl. But I also realize that there won't be many more seasons where football will still be fun to watch. The returns seem to be diminishing at a faster rate.

But for the time being, the pigskin prognostications are still fun to do, so let's kick off the next few weekends of random guesses (all times PST):

(10/6) (1:30 PM) Tennessee at Kansas City (-8.5):  Neither of these teams will go very far in the playoffs, so it's hard to invest too much time in stat-mining. The basic premise is that the Chefs are tough at home and DeMarco Murray is injured. Both QBs have been playing reasonably well this season, nothing special, and Kansas City's secondary is banged up, so Marcus Mariota should be able to pile up some passing yards. The Titans should beat the spread, but that's about it.

Final Score:  Chiefs 27, Titans 21.

(5:15 PM) Atlanta at Los Angeles Rams (-6):  The return of football to LA strikes me as a positive, for some reason. Sure, the Rams' and Chargers' owners are bastards, but they're all bastards. It's in the league charter as a condition of membership. Maybe the only owner who's not a total shit is Oakland's Mark Davis, who dresses like an eight-year-old and is moving the team to Vegas.

At any rate, the Rams have experienced a nice turnaround this year, and are fun to watch. Jared Goff appears comfortable with the offense now, and Todd Gurley racked up 2,093 total yards from scrimmage and 19 TDs, so it's understandable that Rams fans are having visions of Marshall Faulk. The drastic improvement in Goff and Gurley can at least in part be attributed to the free-agency signing of left tackle Andrew Whitworth, a Pro Bowl mauler from the Bengals whose absence was certainly noticed in Cincinnati.

After blowing a 28-3 lead in the second half of the Super Bowl, the Falcons shook off the hangover and managed to finish 10-6, which was still only good enough for third in the punishing NFC South division. QB Matt Ryan is having a bit of an off year (for him), but is still one of the top passers in the league, and the running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are solid if unspectacular, combining for 2,109 total yards and 16 TDs. It's not going to be enough to get past the Rams' pounding defense.

Final Score:  Rams 37, Falcons 24.

(10/7) (10:00 AM) Buffalo at Jacksonville (-8.5):  The resurgent Jaguars, like the Rams and Eagles in the NFC, are shaking up the usual collection of teams that make the postseason. For that matter, so are the Bills, a one-time perennial playoff team that is making the first postseason appearance in 17 years. But where the Bills essentially backed into their playoff spot, Jacksonville actually looks improved, with oft-maligned QB Blake Bortles connecting with his receivers much more consistently and seeming to find a rhythm.

The Jaguars beat up on Baltimore and Pittsburgh early in the season, but dropped their final two games against the 49ers and Titans, resting some of their starters for the playoffs. (The Rams did the same thing in their season finale against the Niners.) Sometimes that works well, but with young teams needing consistency and momentum, sometimes it throws them off. However, Jacksonville went 6-2 at home and has the league's best pass defense, while Buffalo has struggled all year offensively, so this should go the Jaguars' way.

Final Score:  Jaguars 31, Buffalo 13.

(1:40 PM) Carolina at New Orleans (-7):  Both of these teams finished atop the NFC South with 11-5 records, but since New Orleans won both regular-season matchups, they claim the division crown and hence home field advantage for this game. After starting the season with back-to-back losses against the Vikings and Patriots, the Saints rediscovered their offense and went on a tear. Rookie sensation Alvin Kamara forms a potent rushing tandem with Mark Ingram; each back accounted for over 1,500 total yards and a dozen touchdowns. QB Drew Brees was his usual efficient self, posting 4,334 passing yards, and a respectable 23-8 TD-INT ration.

The Panthers, for their part, have gotten it done with a less-powerful offense, with most of their victories being within a touchdown. Their performance last week in Atlanta, with a critical playoff seeding on the line, does not bode well for them -- QB Cam Newton was held to 180 passing yards and threw 3 interceptions in a 22-10 loss. As mentioned, the Saints already beat the Panthers twice, by a total of 31 points, and there's not really an indication that that's going to change.

Final Score:  Saints 31, Panthers 20.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


So we're all having some fun with the "revelations" (let's face it, no real surprises) from Michael Wolff's new book. And it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. This actually explains to some extent the rage-tweeting of the first couple days of the new year, despite spending ten days golfing at his seaside shithole. He's up to his fat, diapered ass in alligators, and he knows it, and they might frog-march his son and son-in-law in the bargain.

I sincerely hope that Von Clownstick has many years ahead of him, as the inexorable slide into dementia and clogged arteries accelerates, leaving him with nothing but his imagined memories of greatness, more or less oblivious to the sheer contempt of most of the planet, and the determined efforts of his litter of weasels to flense whatever bits of financial integrity his grift might actually possess.

Again, no surprises at all in the link, but what continues to be so striking about this and other exhaustive profiles is what a fucking crybaby he is and has always been. Seriously, just a whiny old man who does nothing at all but complain about everyone's refusal to grant him god status. He really is an emotionally (and intellectually, for that matter) retarded little cunt, spending his mornings rage-tweeting what he watched on Fox and Fiends, spending his evenings eating cheeseburgers in bed and endlessly raging on the phone to his "friends" about the unfairness of it all.

Imagine how insufferable he'd be if he'd ever had to earn an honest dollar in his life.

If there's one thing this nation should have learned in retrospect, it's that after the Civil War ended, the Union was far too kind and forgiving of the confederate states. The failure to go completely scorched-earth on those fuckers, and completely level everything they had into the ground, allowed their "lost cause" bullshit to fester and flourish, and here we are 150 years later, finally getting around to taking down some of the statues and monuments these knuckle-draggers erected to their traitor slaver forebears.

As brutal as the Allies' finishing blows on Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were, they were remarkably effective. We tore them a new one, picked them up, dusted them off, helped them rebuild while trying to vaccinate them from the nationalist diseases that had taken root, and it's only now, eighty years later, that there are nationalist rumblings in either nation.

All of which is to say that, as the emperor leans into his ongoing social-media decompensation and his legal troubles begin to mount, and the Republicans have some real career decisions to make in the coming weeks and months, it is important that the Democrats have their shit in order. They should size up their opponents and figure out who can be worked with, and who the hard-asses are who are going down with the leaky ship, and act accordingly

We can all look back at the campaign follies and the "hoocoodanode" stuff and still acknowledge that for some addled few, it is technically possible that someone could have voted for Clownstick genuinely thinking or hoping that some good might come of it. They would have to have been extremely selective about their news consumption, but let's say for the sake of argument that up to a certain point, it was technically possible.

That point has long passed. It is no longer possible to claim any sort of "good faith" or "she was awful too" excuse or argument. The facts and evidence are overwhelming, and all of it comes from things he and his henchmen have said or done. They've done this completely to themselves; the Democrats do get some measure of respect for being patient enough to just let a deeply stupid and arrogant opponent do what anyone with half a functioning brain could have seen coming years ago.

Seriously -- and I have said this before -- if you had asked me about Fuckface Von Clownstick ten or fifteen or twenty or thirty years ago, back when he was known by another name but was still the same dipshit blowhard, I would have said the same thing. My loathing for him comes honestly -- it has absolutely nothing to do with his political affiliation, or even him getting into politics at all. He has always been a deeply stupid, comically inept character, a third-rate bullshit artist that "real" 'murkins useta pride themselves on being able to spot a mile away.

But what's done is done, and they did it, their spite and ignorance allowed this to happen. This cannot be "reconciled" by anything from the Democrat or liberal side of the fence; there is nothing for those groups to atone for. There can only be a reckoning, in which the teabagger pols and their moron constituents either get honest with themselves and with us, and get with the program, or get the fuck off the playing field.

Scorched earth for Clownstick and his minions is the only way to get this right. Every member of his family and his entourage and his administration needs to be completely unemployable after this is all reckoned with. The family name needs to be synonymous with dog shit, and Bannon, the Huckabees, the Conways, the generals, and the rest of the gang need to be frozen out of decent society. Let them be reduced to stroking each other on some 3:00 AM ninth-circle Fixed Noise panel show, and supplementing their meager incomes by selling oranges at a Jersey Turnpike off-ramp. Let Kellyanne Conway and Baghdad Barb (aka Huckabee Junior) spend the rest of their lives awkwardly looking away from the reproachful gazes of their children, once they're of an age to appreciate and understand just what their mothers did in the service of a truly vile human being.

They are all culpable in whatever transpires going forward. They've earned life sentences of having to earn an honest living, and having to face a nation that will never forget or forgive what they've done.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Resolution / Le Déluge

When you take a moment to consider the mundane and rather arbitrary reasons we start the new calendar on January 1st, the idea of a "fresh start" to things seems more symbolic than anything. But we are conditioned to see it that way nonetheless, because more than anything, humans are good at adapting to circumstances, which means we search for and find ways to adjust and improve. The holiday break (assuming you get one) and the rolling over of the annual odometer present opportunities to make those adjustments with fresh resolve.

Whether you believe in them or not, whether you follow through with them or not, every resolution is intended to commit you to change, improve, overcome. I like the idea of making resolutions, though I rarely have the discipline to follow through completely with them.

Here is an idea for a new year resolution we should all be able to agree on -- yes, even your Clownstick-loving meathead uncle who ruined Thanksgiving with his latest drunken tirade:  Expect more -- from your political leaders, from your corporate insect overlords and the media appendages they operate, from the individuals who are content to sell you a shoddy product. In fact, expecting more is underselling the idea. Demand more and better; insist on more and better.

If you own an iPhone and are looking forward to next costly iteration because you've been hopelessly branded, take a moment and tell the cult that you're not ponying up for any more of their bullshit until they stop hiding billions of profit dollars in Ireland. Why should you pay your fucking taxes, only so that the people who can afford it most pay the least, every goddamned year?

If you subscribe to the Post or the Times, take a second and let them know that you are done with their Cletus safaris, and that the next one will be the last straw for you -- you won't even give them the click for the article, just a click to unsubscribe from their endless bullshit.

And if you consider yourself a "liberal" or a "Democrat" or simply aligned against the swirling void currently taking the country toward a Thelma & Louise ending, you need to demand more from your own politicians, the people you plan on voting for later this year (and probably for the rest of your life) to have any hope of avoiding that T&L fate. Because while there are some notable exceptions, as a collective political entity, the Democratic Party has been surprisingly ineffective at conveying some sort of plausible alternative to Bone Spurs McHairpiece's Willy Wonka-esque scheme to skull-fuck every American with a net worth of less than $1M, while pretending to give them all ponies and sunshine.

This should not be that difficult; these assholes are nothing if not brazenly upfront about how stupid and arrogant they really are. It should be a simple matter to come up with a few handy loglines that convey a better, brighter message, and a few friendly, effective, new faces to repeat those loglines until it replaces the maga crap they've had barfed in their laps for two years.

The problem is that the Democratic Party -- again, as an organizational entity -- is deeply committed not only to upholding the status quo, but returning to it. They would like nothing better than to go back to the good old days of mid-2015, before the oompa-loompa descended down his ridiculous fool's-gold escalator and started ranting about Meskins.

And I'm sorry, friends 'n' neighbors, but there is no going back directly to that. Too much has transpired; too many "norms" and "rules" we all took for granted have been traduced, perhaps irretrievably. If the Democrats think they can field a status ante candidate who will bring a spork to the Clownstick tommy-gun fight and win, they are on some industrial-strength glue. If they think that winning back the fentanyl 'n' jebus addled Cletus vote is the path to a comeback, they are as stupid as their mortal enemies think they are.

I remember the day after the 2016 election, going into work, trying to focus on the business of the day -- which given the nature of what I do, has a certain degree of daily unpredictability baked into it. I recall the weird buzz in the air, a nervous energy. You might assume the cliché of social services workers, but you would be very wrong. There's a diverse cross-section of folks throughout -- liberal, moderate, deeply conservative. I couldn't tell you the precise ratio of each, but I would bet decent money that it is highly correlative to the general population, or maybe a touch more conservative, counterintuitively.

But I recall going into the office that morning, seeing the glum stare of one of my office mates -- pretty much identical to me demographically, middle-aged married white male with a college degree, and knowing that we were both (like many other people in the building) disconsolate about what seemed to be an incomprehensible result, a supposed slam-dunk that somehow bounced back out from the hoop without going through.

After some early-morning pre-caffeinated niceties, I basically riffed something that I think is at the core of that election, more so than most others at the national level:  either the country got turned into something that we no longer recognize, or it was like this all along, and we just didn't realize it.

This is still true, you know. All the same people are still out there, waiting for the next round. On either side, some will be spurred into action again, or for the first time, or demoralized into heading back for the couch. The good news is that it can cut the other way. The pendulum swings, always, inexorably. It seems to be swinging more and more quickly the last few cycles.

So we all have to decide what we want from these entities, and then demand it. One without the other is just a bunch of [mimes jerkoff motion]. I think there's a decent chance that Clownstick does not make it through his first term, or that he is at least supplanted by a Democratic challenger in 2020; however, either scenario will be for naught if the Democrats persist in going back to what was, instead of understanding what is.

A (reasonably) healthy body politic needs at least two functioning parties. Right now, we don't have even one. The Democrats try, god bless 'em, and poll after poll indicates that their central ideas are in sync with the sentiments of a clear majority of the populace. Yet they fail, again and again, in successfully conveying that alignment of ideas to the electorate. And instead of heading out and talking to the people who would vote for them about the things that would motivate them to vote, they shovel money to some Beltway hacks that run SWOT analyses for each other and never leave their offices to find out what actual people think.

The worst thing about that dynamic is that, every time the "strategy" fails, the Democrats invariably decide that it failed because they didn't execute it well enough. It never occurs to them that genuflecting to idiots who despise them and will never vote for them is a bad strategy to begin with. They could take the cash they're shoveling to rodents like Mark Penn and use it to get voters registered and motivated, and actually win. Imagine that.

No, seriously, you're going to have to imagine that for yourself, because the Democratic Party and its geriatric leaders and organizations are apparently incapable of imagining it for themselves. All you have to do is take a look at the recent special elections in Virginia and Alabama, and who turned out to push those elections to the Democrats, and then how Ralph Northam and Doug Jones are already soft-shoeing the idea that a change took place and is necessary. Way to dance with them that brung ya, guys.

Now, the Republican Party has lost its collective mind, and its strategy has been to motivate the most deeply stupid and insane contingents of the electorate. But hey, it works. Again, don't ever kid yourself about who's really out there in this country. Most people are more or less decent, but there's a broad spectrum of attitudes and actions in play there. And some people are just bastards at heart, period.

The solution is not to reach out to the bastards and make it palatable somehow to jump off their burning ship. Let them go under, or they'll learn to swim. You cannot simultaneously believe in the ineffable truth of evolution -- survival of the fittest and most adaptable -- and keep expending valuable effort in trying to prop up jabbering idiots and closet racists, people who would die off if nature were allowed to take its proper course.

Anyway, the real point (and I do have one) is that, if we take it as a given that the predicted "blue tsunami" comes through this year in the midterms, the Democratic Party needs to understand the urgent need to adapt as well.

Fuckface Von Clownstick may be the most transparent grifter in most of our lifetimes (though Don King, Pat Robertson, and Newt Gingrich certainly give him a waddle for someone else's money), but he was right about at least one thing -- the "economic recovery" from the worst recession in eighty years did not benefit most Americans, and things did indeed need to be shaken up (just not by a rabid chimp). At best, the recovery brought some people back up to where they were before the shit-storm hit and the bankers took what was theirs. But just as many never recovered at all. We can rightly sneer at the cheap mediot excuse of "economic anxiety," but death by despair is a real thing.

The fact of the matter is that we have a lot of elaborate mechanical systems of financialization whose sole function is to ensure that rich people get richer and everyone else stays right where they're at -- if they're lucky. Ideally, there would be a political party that worked directly against those nefarious efforts, and if my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle. The fact is that no such party will coalesce or act, unless there is a movement to compel such a set of actions.

That's where you and me and everyone else, and our resolution, come into play. This is not about you going to the gym a few days a week for the rest of January, then one or two days a week next month, and by the end of March you're merely intending to go. This is really about what the rest of our lives will be like, and what our kids' and grandkids' lives will be like, if we accept our collective lot to scramble for their fucking crumbs in perpetual indentured servitude, or if we decide to fight back, with our votes and our wallets.

Tumbrels and guillotines would be great, and I am all for that, but the fact is that change can occur without anyone getting physically harmed in the least. All that is needed is for everyone to pay attention, and to step up and act where they can and must. But to do that, there needs to be a sense of urgency (resolve) imparted to politicians and decision-makers that a new course of action is necessary, that a return to before and a sigh of relief won't cut it.