Monday, June 11, 2018

Just Us League

Short fiction piece, very rough, but I wanted to punch it out before the stupid theatre summit, the Bungle in the Jungle. There will probably be revisions over the next week or so.

The emperor boarded his plane with a scowl, in a fugue of anger and confusion. The convention with the other national leaders had not gone quite to plan. To the extent that there was a plan at all, it mainly consisted of variations on the classic theme of I talk, you listen and do what I say.

Usually the Euros and the Canadians just complied and went along, if for no other reason than force of habit. But somehow this time was different.

The Canuck was usually a polite little pussy. He even had a pussy name -- Justin. Justin. The emperor rolled it around in his brain for a bit, chewing on its sibilance and fricative, trying to think of something nasty that rhymed with it. That little prick.

The emperor sat in his plush seat on the jet, nodded to the servant to bring him his customary second lunch, and pulled out his phone to check the Twitter feeds. That gutless faggot Flake was at it again, talking big about the wrongness of it all. Whatever. Empty words. He'll get in line with McCain and Collins and the rest of those chumps. When push came to shove, all they ever did was talk.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Hearts Unknown

Just wanted to jump in from the (very brief so far) self-imposed hiatus to chime in a bit on today's sad news about Anthony Bourdain. I've mentioned before that I greatly enjoy Bourdain's writing and shows, and that has mostly to do with the humor and humanity that infused everything he did.

You could look at the career Bourdain had carved out for himself post-Kitchen Confidential, and rightly point out that he had been given the rare opportunity to literally design his dream job and live it, and be well-paid and highly-regarded for it. To travel anywhere he wanted and function essentially as a goodwill ambassador, and show the commonalities of people rather then the differences.

Everyone has to eat, and so it seems natural to bring people together over food -- and not high-dollar Michelin haute cuisine nonsense, but street food:  fast, greasy, tasty, the food that regular people with a modest amount of money in their pockets would eat. Sometimes Bourdain would add in rock bands that he enjoyed -- Queens of the Stone Age; The Sword -- and have lunch with them. The episode with Obama in Hanoi was especially poignant, and a wonderful moment for both men. Try to imagine the current....thing in the White House doing something like this. It's unthinkable.

Clearly Bourdain was a man of passions -- food, drink, music, politics. Certainly many of us can relate to such passions, and so can appreciate someone who (again) literally got to create his dream job around the things he was most passionate about. But there's always a price paid that no one else knows about.

None of us can know what's in someone else's head, obviously. I know that there have been times in my life when my passions could inflame, get maybe a bit past my control, to a point where you might be so passionate about something that you don't know what to do with it or how. You feel like your heart might just burst with all the energy and desire built up within.

Passion isn't always a voluptuous woman waiting for you; sometimes it's a tiger you figured out how to ride, but that you suddenly can't just dismount. Sometimes the world, in all its beauty and pain existing side by side, is too much, and all it takes is a moment to look into the abyss, and not look away in time. Take a moment to think about the people in your life, and reach out to them if they might be on the brink. If it's you that's on the brink, call someone, anyone. There is help, and it does get better. But you have to make that leap.

As disheartening and tragic as this morning's news is, there is a very small bit of comfort in seeing that, in the midst of the daily ugliness we all exist in these days, there was a large and genuine outpouring of grief for the loss of a good person, someone who was generous with his time and talent and position in life, even if he clearly wasn't entirely comfortable with those things. Rest in peace, Tony.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab

Feeling like I need a political detox, and I feel like I say that periodically without following through sufficiently. A good night's sleep and we're back on that horse again, tilting at the same old tottering windmills.

The entire country has been doing this to some extent, of course, whether they are amateur scriveners like yours truly, or just bewildered passersby who don't record every stray observation in a futile attempt at catharsis. Poison has collected in our collective veins, and when we have no way of expelling it other than sputtering impotent virtual rage, it builds up in our systems. We build up a tolerance to it, even as it continues to infiltrate and destroy the organs.

So this time I'm not promising a hiatus. It might be forty-eight hours or a month. There are, as always, a few creative projects still loitering in the back of what's left of my mind. I've been reading (mostly non-political) books at a torrid pace, something like thirty since the beginning of the year, fiction and non-fiction. There are some short fiction ideas I may tease out in here, there are some music ideas I might go work on, the local school district is offering free Pro Tools engineering classes for the summer, which might be a fun diversion.

There are a couple of other creative and commercial projects in the hopper, some of which may be shared here. There will be some visual updates to this site, maybe more of a link overhaul as well. And there's always more physical exercise to be had, especially in response to a chronically bad back, which only gets worse with age, I can assure you.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Everybody Complains About the Weather, But Nobody Does Anything About It

Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog has a nice rundown of the antics of one David Bossie, a lifelong conservatard ball-gargler whose current preoccupation is sucking on the preznitential cheeto, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Now, a reasonable person might look at Steve's meticulously itemized list of Bossie's nefarious, ugly antics in the service of pure evil and say, This asshole's been doing what he does for twenty-five years now. That's terrible.

Not being a reasonable person, I look at that list and think, Why has that motherless fuck been allowed to get away with this bullshit for twenty-five fucking years? Is there no one in the Democratic Party that has the guts to cut this asshole's Achilles tendon, politically speaking?

Seriously. It just reminds me of all the stupid lurid "Klintoon Body Count" lists that circulated among the then-nascent freeper conspiratard crowd. You had to wonder, If the Clintons are such Mafia-style badass killers, why haven't they at least professionally ruined certifiable morons like Newt Gingrich or Ken Starr, or the rest of them? They don't seem very badass to me.

And it's the same with David Bossie or Dinesh D'Souza or any number of these dipshit rabble-rousers who, however intellectually inept and bankrupt they are as human beings, still serve as ideological rallying points and rainmakers for the Koch and Mercer types who really own this country. Why isn't there a party mechanism to go after these guys, so that every time they come out of the woodwork, there's someone right behind them to remind everyone that they're intellectual goat-fuckers?

These animals have done incalculable damage to the fabric of this nation over the last quarter-century, at the very least by giving voice to the choir of wingnut-welfare insanity that bought out the working rubes for a few shekels, and sold them down the river on a raft of cheap "culture warrior" bullshit and "fambly valyews" claptrap.

Maybe if the Tom Steyer types, who think their bien pensant drives to impeach the emperor have value, instead put some of their pelf into supporting some countervailing "think tanks" and other such generators of ideological propaganda, we might not find ourselves here wondering why card-carrying mouth-breathers like Bossie and D'Souza are still in business after all these years.

Friday, June 01, 2018

At the Movies: Worthless Asshole Edition

In case you were wondering:  the only way I'll ever watch a Dinesh D'Souza movie is if it involves him putting a Mossberg in his diseased piehole and splattering his brain-pan across the nearest wall. In a world of useless, vile cocksuckers, D'Souza stands out -- or slouches out, anyway. Not only is he the true essence of scum, in the usual moral and conventional sense, but he's completely useless as a human being.

Even Roger Stone has held a job at some point, and had to add value to whatever sleazy concern he grifted from at the moment. But D'Souza is one of those true dirtbags who moralizes and preens to no end, while he cheats on his wife and fucks married women, outs gay college students, compares liberals to nazis, participates in election fraud, but never actually does anything useful.

This is another thing that has always annoyed me about Barack Obama:  the man was simply incapable of hating effectively, in the true strategic sense. Forget the paranoia about Nixon's "enemies list" or what-have-you -- if Obama had really made a point of dropping the fucking hammer on people who were asking for it (Joe Lieberman; Addison Graves "Joe" Wilson; D'Souza) he might have engendered some real fear and respect from Mitch the Bitch and his gang of traitors, and gotten more accomplished, instead of having his name and legacy erased in a year by a jism-crusted baboon smearing shit on the walls.

By letting those losers off the hook rather than making well-deserved examples of them, Obama showed himself as a light touch. And that's how you end up with an industry-written health-care reform bill that's mostly a legislative zombie these days, a stolen SCOTUS seat, and on and on. D'Souza should have had to push ass out of some New England hellhole like Walpole, where he would have been traded weekly around the cell block for commissary items. I'm not kidding or exaggerating at all, D'Souza's track record is something that any decent person would be deeply ashamed of. He's a fucking piece of shit.

Instead, he gets a high-profile pardon from Preznit Tide Pod Challenge, which has the triple effect of making a political point to the scum getting ready to roll on Orange Julius, trolling the libtards, and ushering the gutter worm back onto the conservatard radar, where he can once again collect wingnut welfare checks for his hacky little snuff films. I do hope Obama is enjoying his paragliding weekends with Richard Branson. When we needed someone to really fight, and drop ankle-biting turds like D'Isgrace D'Souza down a fucking hole once and for all, we got a patient, calm explanation in cool, professorial tones about why the fight was just and worthwhile.

Never again am I falling for this shit; I want a goddamned eye-gouging street fighter, someone who head-butts the opponent right in the nose, then leans in and goes Mike Tyson on the motherfucker's ear. All you Marquess of Queensberry fools lamenting the absence of decorum can sit right the fuck down, and go back to your accounting jobs or whatever.

Decorum is dead, they wheedled it into their windowless ice cream truck and raped and killed it, and we're not interested in resurrecting it until all the Pogo the Clown types on the other side have been dealt with appropriately and with real finality. I'm dead serious; I want their kids and grandkids to be completely unemployable.

Regardless of whether Fuckface Von Clownstick is impeached or resigns or gets another term, I have zero interest in returning to the gutless incrementalism and performative normalcy of the ambitiously cowed technocrats. The contradictions have been well and truly heightened, ferchrissake. The warning should be sent out to Democrats as well as Republicans -- fight or fuck off. Start bringing a gun to the gunfight for once in your worthless lives, because the other guys certainly are, every time.

To reiterate:  fuck that asshole. Like the rest of them, D'Souza needs to be crushed, made broke and powerless and away from any platform of influence. I hope we have a new generation of Democratic politicians coming in who quit persisting in delusions about "collegiality" with these traitors and thieves, and simply set about to the hard but rewarding work of ending them, of burning their careers and livelihoods to the ground and poisoning the earth beneath.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Failed State

In the seventy-two hours since 'murka sorta learned a bit about what a mentally-ill conspiracy troll Roseanne Barr really is (and her "Planet of the Apes" nonsense isn't even the third-worst thing she's said on her Twitter feed this week), several other things happened, all of them infinitely more important. I swear, it's true!

  • A Harvard study conservatively estimates that the death toll from Hurricane Maria is more than fifty percent higher than that of 9/11. In response, the failing New York Times put that story on page A13, so as not to distract from the Roseanne hoof-clomping on the front page.
  • A journalist critical of the emperor's daddy found himself in Putin's crosshairs. So the Ukrainian police, having gotten a heads-up on the assassination plot, helped him fake his death, and then helped him show up at a press conference the next day. Take a second and think about how amazing that is, as well as the obvious implications.
  • Interpol, which is currently headed by a Russian internal-security specialist, attempted to arrest Bill Browder in Spain, for extradition to Russia, where he would certainly die. Fortunately, after bringing him in, the Spanish police released him. But shit is getting serious and weird on that whole story, as Browder is of course the Rosetta Stone to the whole Russia collusion narrative, if you dig back far enough.
  • Princess Snowflake got thirteen trademarks awarded to her by the Chinese government, who just happen to have sunk half a billion dollars into Daddy's next building in Indonesia, and for whose security-violating tech company ZTE is going the extra mile to help. It's simply an amazing series of coincidences!
  • The emperor has decided to start some weird trade war, with pretty much all of our allies, starting with steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico and China, to proposing a ban on German luxury cars -- many of which, of course, are actually made in 'murka. It's as if he doesn't realize that Mercedes-Benz is the sponsor for the brand-new Atlanta Falcons football stadium.

And yet, chances are that you've seen at least ten or twenty times as many mentions to the other thing, either to the cultists' reaction to their slob goddess getting pushed off because her toxicity finally got bad for business, or to their renewed passion for librul scalps.

I like Sam Bee, but she obviously could not have picked a worse time to call Princess Snowflake the dreaded c-word. (A better c-word for Princess would have been "criminal". Just like dear ol' dud.) She only compounded the problem by apologizing. If there's one thing libruls should have learned from these toxic motherfuckers by now, it's never apologize. Double down, tell them to go fuck themselves, or just ignore them, but never ever apologize to them for anything. It's an admission of weakness, and they don't deserve the consideration in the first place. It's not as if such a thing would ever be reciprocated.

To put this as crudely as possible, Bee is going to get fired anyway, but now she first got on her knees for them, and let them blow a porn-size load in her face and hair. (I may be understating the case a bit.) Assuming TBS lets her have at least an episode or two before they pull the trigger on her (perhaps making it look like summer started, and they just opted not to renew), she should just do an entire episode on Princess' grifting, and her entire scumbag family using the office and residence of the chief executive as profit centers.

In the waning months of the Fredo Arbusto reign of error, this country had been taking on the classic signs and symptoms of a failing state. As the Dow plummeted and the banks went under, financial metrics (particularly debt-to-GDP ratio and insane financial leverage ratios) kept pointing toward doom. Obama tried his best to alleviate the situation, and was successful in some regard, but it would have taken at least a decade even with a cooperative congress. But things were at least sputtering in a generally forward direction.

Obviously, even that bit of incremental progress has been halted and reversed, and it's going to particularly affect all those rube farmers that voted for him because they wouldn't know a competent, honest bidnessman if they saw one. And it's going to be worse this time around, because in response to Preznit Chocolate Thunder, an entire industry of cultural grievance-stoking started and thrived and evolved, compounding the coming economic fuckery with a plurality of the public addled by fake news and ritualized performative outrage. That is a potent combination that will make even returning to the halcyon days of 2015 nearly impossible for the foreseeable future. And you know that the next iteration of these animals will be smoother, slicker, less obnoxious and boorish, but more adept with the dog-whistles and code words.

These people have weaponized the cultural grievance, put it into practice at the executive level. Picture any drunk at any barstool at any dive bar across the country, the dumber and drunker and dive-ier the better. How does such a person in such a place typically sound? At best, they're always right about everything, even though they're spouting nonsense, and they cannot be reasoned with. The bartender is just praying that the asshole will pass out or leave before he starts a fight or spills a full tumbler of well whiskey.

That's not only who we have in the White House, that's his staff, his supporters, his rabid retard fan-base that chants his empty slogans back to him, like the semi-trained pinnipeds they are. The sheer ugliness these mutants communicate with is bad enough, but the willful stupidity is what cinches it. They would have to work at getting up to a "deplorable" ranking; the vast majority are simply irredeemable.

And I hate to say it, and I am counting on the midterms to at least begin to pull us back from the brink, but these incomprehensibly stupid, worthless "cultural" arguments convince me more and more that the damage is done and the race is run. It doesn't matter if they die off, enough of them have adult children who have been raised and steeped in the nonsense, and are just as aggressively stupid as their parents. Eventually Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers will die, and not a moment too soon, but they all have adult kids who have been groomed to take over and keep the propaganda pumping.

It's turned a lot of people, who might otherwise be at least somewhat idealistic in nature, into nihilists. Part of me wants to watch those farmers lose their family farms when China breaks off a retaliatory tariff in their fat asses. Part of me wants to watch us stumble into another disastrous Middle East war, so gasoline goes to seven bucks a gallon. Part of me wants to watch Clownstick and his scum family continue to grift right out in the open, defying someone, anyone to do anything about it, just to expose the craven, gutless observers for what they are. Part of me wants to watch the bastards win again, overwhelmingly, so there's no mistaking where this country is at.

Again, did the election change this country into something vile and ugly, or was it there all along, just waiting to be unleashed? I think we're in the long, torturous process of finding that out right now.

Eventually these nihilism fugues run their course, and the numbers and logic kick back in, and the cycle renews. Most of it is because all the action is on one side of the table -- shit-for-brains struts and preens and rubs his insult-comic bullshit in everyone's faces, and his dipshit cultists repeat it verbatim, and the propaganda machine rolls on. And I want them to lose, badly, and to know that they caused their own misfortune. To know why they failed is vital to them ever having any hope of getting their heads out of their asses at any point.

Being a toxic, spiteful asshole should come with a karmic penalty sufficient to deter future such behavior. Unfortunately, life and the universe have never worked that way. Each of us, singly and collectively, has to decide if it's all worth it, if we even want "it" back, if Lady Liberty just turns out to be a rabid internet conspiracy troll with a dumb show that never should have been rebooted in the first place.

We are getting closer to finding out. Every election is billed as The Most Important Evar, but it's tough to deny that this time, it really might be that crucial. Not just because of the political aspects, but if we've decided to let the Bachelorette-huffing culture morons

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Race to the Bottom

Looks like Roseanne finally stepped in it good and hard, or maybe ABC and Disney finally decided they'd had enough of her toxic schtick. She's been doing this sort of thing for some time, you know, skirting the edge of acceptability, as it were.

I gave up on the rebooted show after the doubleheader premiere, and have not bothered following it since then, but I do occasionally check out her Twitter feed. While her (obviously since erased) swipe at Valerie Jarrett was over the line, Roseanne has not been shy about approaching said line with more conspiracy-oriented stuff (which, of course is what the "Muslim Brotherhood" part of the Jarrett tweet was about, because Jarrett was born in Iran, you see).

There's always a good, principled debate to be had on the perennial subject of how far is too far, but the problem is that one side typically argues from the most intellectually dishonest standpoint imaginable. The conservative approach to pop culture or even the basic rules of comedy or music seem to revolve around the classic why can they call each other that and we can't call them that? sort of plaintive nonsense.

The idea that they are now held accountable for using that word in a public forum rankles them. They feel that they are entitled to dare the effete, officious gatekeepers of permitted public discourse, and when they are inevitably rebuffed, they'll waddle back under their rocks, asses on fire, squawking some rehearsed boilerplate about Harvey Weinstein.

But let's play devil's advocate for a moment. The Simpsons, for example, has made a cornerstone comedic staple of lampooning racial stereotypes, not just Apu but the Italian pizza guy and the pugilistic leprechaun and others. But those comedic tropes have always come buttressed with context and subtext, a sense of taking the piss out of those stereotypes in the end. Apu and Luigi interact perhaps as hyphenated Americans, but Americans who are trying to assimilate nonetheless.

But the Jarrett tweet cannot be contextualized or subtextualized. The "Planet of the Apes" crack is obvious as it is, so there's no need to parse that one. That's not a "taking the piss" reference. Making a joke, say, about Jarrett talking loudly in a movie theater, telling the character in the movie to get out the house!, that's something where black people might see that and take it as a harmless joke. But "monkey" jokes are as off-limits as the n-word itself, and someone who claims to have been a professional comedy person for decades shouldn't need to be told that.

It's the "Muslim Brotherhood" part that's more interesting. It encourages one to recall that that was in fact a rumor about Jarrett while she worked in the White House, and that it was part of a much larger and stupider conspiracy, one that Roseanne's own oompa-loompa hero began his storied political career with. Funny how this bullshit keeps coming up, and when they're called on it, they try to say that they're joking, or that they shouldn't be taken literally or seriously, or whatever Humpty Dumpty couch-fort bullshit they lamely try to hide behind.

This is not about free speech, not at all. This is about the world of commerce, and how employees interact within that realm. This is about a multi-national conglomerate with tentacles in everything, and that boycotting Disney would be almost too easy, especially when their brand new Star Wars movie already under-performed in its opening box office. It's also about taking a look at the things that these people say and do, and trying to imagine for a second what it must take to get your mind to work like that routinely.

Seriously. Few people even know who Valerie Jarrett is. But this is an important insight into how the minds of these people work -- Roseanne decided that this was something worth making a not-even-borderline crack about. And when you're done imagining the mindset of the person who operates that way, now imagine the mindset of the person who reads that and says to themselves, Now that's funny!. Their insatiable need to dehumanize their political opponents literally has no limit; even after they're gone from the political arena they are considered fair game for what are at best bizarre taunts.

So now Roseanne will become another self-styled First Amendment martyr, sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, to which reasonable people will respond, Tell it to Colin Kaepernick. Don't be at all surprised if Fox picks up the show to put it behind Crybaby Tim Allen's Last Man Standing. And of course Emperor (Putting the Me in Memorial Day) Snowflake will bring it up tonight in his totally legal and appropriate campaign rally. But in the end, it really is just a goddamned teevee show, and a mediocre one at that.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Schrödinger's Lies

Another reminder that too many of the bigger names of the mainstream media are completely terrible at their jobs. They do not, in fact, seem to know what their job actually is. Something about afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, one might suppose. That value seems to have become an afterthought, long forgotten in the mists of time.

To careerist hacks like Maga Haberman and Chris Cillizza, it is not at all important whether the emperor lies out of intent, or if he's simply too stupid to be lying. They would rather be seen pretending to try to parse that distinction, than to actually confront these people on their mendacity. Haberman wants to write her book and preserve her access. Cillizza is riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels. That's all this is really about, and they are perfectly content to continue in their assigned roles as enablers to fascism, so long as the checks don't bounce.

Does intent have to be conclusively proven before the word "lie" can be used? This seems to be the defense our intrepid mediots are leaning on. By such a standard, it would be almost impossible to use that particular word to call things for what they clearly are.

Let's flesh out that definition a bit -- when someone (anyone, not just Emperor Snowflake) is so routinely ignorant and indifferent to caring whether what they say is factual or not, that is still a lie. The more power and money and responsibility that person has the more important it is to report it as such. Otherwise -- get this -- the person has no incentive to stop lying.

He's been playing this game with the professional journos for four decades, and they still refuse to learn. Boycott the Times and CNN already. Fuck these people.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Dear Jong

That letter is a disgrace. It's crawling. It sweats. -- Twitter Richard Nixon

Per usual, Twitter Nixon is absolutely correct. I've never seen anything so ineptly written being used as an official communique between national leaders, not in my lifetime, and I suspect perhaps not in the history of this dying, lumbering brontosaur of a nation.

If we accept the tenet that writing, at its essence, is the act of organizing one's thoughts, then the letter is the antithesis of that principle -- sloppy, jumbled, cluttered, gormless. The best student at the best schools, right? He should demand a refund from Wharton, either that or Wharton should insist that he never utter their name again.

At its core, the letter is a cluster of teen emoting, alternately butt-hurt and still hopeful that the object of affection will still talk to him when they get back to school after the holiday weekend. Again, it is extraordinarily difficult to believe that this thing was used in an official capacity, even more difficult to believe that they willingly publicized it. You'd think there would be at least one person in that accursed place that would have the common sense to bury it under a rock, or throw it in an outhouse.

One positive thing you can say is that it will serve as a fine example in some future International Relations seminar, of what not to do in an official diplomatic communication, and why the tedious form of boilerplate and jargon is used. If you really break down the language used, he veers pretty quickly from "we" to "I" in creating a heavily personalized point of view.

That's important, and that's part of the function of the official tedious boilerplate -- to depersonalize things, to more easily address more abstract, neutral concepts such as strategy, and common goals. The idea is to talk about the common interests of the two nations, not the personal beef between Little Rocket Man and Captain Bronzer. He finally gets closer to that goal toward the end, but even then clutters it up further with that call me, maybe stuff.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Some light reading:

Rebecca Solnit, The Coup Has Already Happened

Associated Press, The Princes, the President, and the Fortune Seekers

Daniel Larison, [Clownstick] Doesn't Have North Korea 'Cornered'

I suspect that most of us non-cultists veer between good days and bad days, or perhaps between bad days and worse ones. For the most part, I manage to persist in two assumptions that keep the balance mostly on the positive side:
  1. That the inept crime syndicate currently running ruining this country are a special combination of arrogant and stupid. They are too arrogant to realize how stupid they really are, and they are too stupid to realize how their arrogance will undo them. This mitigates a lot of the damage they could be doing if they were even marginally competent.
  2. That Mueller knows far more actionable information than we do, and is building his case with care and prudence, in order to keep it unassailable when the time comes.
It doesn't take much scrutiny to render these assertions as teleological more than anything; I am counting on these things to be essentially true, more than actually knowing or being able to prove them. They are at best semi-educated guesses, gleaned from years now of spelunking in the self-reinforcing mines of endless data, most of it contextualized as best as possible.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Market Inequalities

Two lengthy pieces in the NY Times have gotten a great deal of (deserved) scrutiny lately. One is the "Intellectual Dark Web" piece by Bari Weiss, the other is Nellie Bowles' profile of Jordan Peterson (and yes, Peterson is also part of the Weiss article).

I recommend reading these pieces consecutively, one right after the other, as a way of limning the broader cultural landscape before us right now, and how the tectonic plates beneath are shifting, more rapidly than the ability of most to keep balance. This is also true, of course, of the plates supporting the political landscape, and obviously there is a ton of overlap here that all of us are just beginning to get a real sense of.

One weakness of Weiss' piece is that her group is a "group" only as characterized by the squelching of free speech that they all apparently feel. (And yet they are covered extensively by the nation's longstanding newspaper of record, and here we are, out the wilderness of the blogosphere. To be fair, Weiss does acknowledge the ideological disparity among the individuals within the profiled group.)

They may commiserate over the shared terror of being disinvited to a university speaking gig, but other than that, I don't really see much similarity between most of the subjects. They are mostly theorizing on different ideas, and meet primarily at the point where they feel entitled to spread potentially noxious ideas without any sort of challenge.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

This Land Is Your Land

Is there really anything to say about school shootings anymore? Since everyone on both sides understands full well that nothing at all will ever be done about any of it, the whole thing has turned into a sad, repetitive kabuki.

Gun-control advocates will cite the usual litany of statistics and call for more background checks and mental health screenings, all well and good but completely useless in preventing a sick kid from taking daddy's legally-obtained gun. You want to make a dent in this thing, start figuring out a way to require liability insurance on firearms. We all have to have insurance to drive our automobiles (the other quintessentially 'murkin item, in that we are conditioned for life to self-actualize through our driving choices).

So it doesn't seem too onerous to propose that, say, if your son is caught outside the fucking White House with a bunch of weapons that are confiscated and handed back to you -- with an admonition not to give them back to your mentally-ill son -- and you give the weapons back to your son anyway, and he shoots up a Waffle House, well, not only are you a flaming dipshit, but you deserve to spend the rest of your miserable life making restitution to the families of those your son slaughtered. Any decent society would shun such an individual. He is morally responsible for the deaths of those people, even if, through some shameful quirks of the gun laws of his state, he isn't legally responsible.

I promise you, if we hold people financially responsible for the damage caused by their weapons, they'll be a lot more goddamned careful about locking them up and lending them out. But no one seems to be talking about that, not at the level you hear the other stuff anyway.

The gun-humpers, of course, are infinitely worse. Christ, are these people fucking tedious. You know what they're going to say before they say it. It's now just a perverse wager, the over-under on how many hours will elapse before:
  • Someone will accuse the survivors of being "crisis actors" paid by George Soros, who apparently writes checks to strangers like most people draw breath.
  • Someone will attempt to draw a tenuous political motivation (within minutes of the shooter being identified, someone literally started a Facebook page in his name, complete with photo-shopped pics of him wearing a Hillary cap and Antifa gear.
  • Someone will show up at the school where kids were just murdered, the bodies not even cold yet, armed and stupid and ready to scribble some incoherent manifesto.
That last person is especially execrable, a piece of fucking shit. I am not exaggerating when I say that I hope he goes home, thinks about his choices and actions, maybe has one last cheeseburger and jerks a final wad into his favorite gym sock, and takes his sidearm and parks one in the bag of fevered worms that passes for his brain. Fuck that guy right in the medulla oblongata. He's a goddamned waste of oxygen, and there are already plenty of those in this world.

We've got some real decisions to make here, folks. Either you're tired of this shit, tired enough to vote for any sort of change at all to this country's bizarre mania for guns, or you're not. We can talk about NRA money or Koch money or whatever money goes to which candidate, but either people are sentient enough to pay attention and not be bought off by some stupid political ads, or they aren't.

And if they aren't aware enough to watch the ads and still understand what their rational self-interest really is, then we're done anyway. The body just hasn't fallen to the ground yet.

Royal Flush

I guess 'murkins need some sort of break from the constant barrage of shit that Captian Combover launches our way on an hourly basis, but e-fucking-nough of the wedding coverage already. I honestly have no idea why anyone would "care" about this, beyond the usual basic well-wishing you might have for any couple tying the proverbial knot.

Near as I can tell, there are only three (3) interesting things about this event:
  1. They do seem to be nice enough people, and Harry has actually served two combat tours in Afghanistan, at his own insistence. Compare and contrast with the current scum in charge of this country, and keep this fact in mind at all times -- no Clownstick has ever served in the US military at any time. At all. Don't hold your breath, because despite their fecundity, the Clownsticks believe "public service" basically equates to hustling charities and selling distressed timeshares to morons.
  2. This wedding is as much a political event as it is some fairytale romance bullshit that its target audience of gay men and day-drinking housewives think it is. The proof of that is in how Harry was forced to disinvite his good friend Barack Obama (you may have heard of him), because the British Foreign Office is concerned about upsetting the rather delicate relations between the US and UK right now.

    I have news for you limeys -- your meaningless acquiescence will not curry you any favor, for Emperor Snowflake is a capricious, volatile creature, who forgets favors instantly and remembers slights forever. Sometimes kissing ass just gets you a face-fart. Smell the love!
  3. The BBC is trolling the emperor. That made it all worthwhile.
Good luck to the kids. Back to your regularly scheduled programming on 'murka Teevee, where health care is dead, ammunition is live, wealth is only for the already wealthy, and soma is for everyone else.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Your Bullshit Game Is Rigged

If you read just one moronic Twitter thread today that, despite (or perhaps because of) its trenchant idiocy and utter uselessness, illustrates how lopsided are the stupid little e-parlor games we play with one another these days, make it this Twitter thread. I swear to Christ, I wish that thread had a neck, so I could snap it like it was a chicken. I despise these people and their loaded dice.

I almost wish I still had the patience for "fisking" or "FJM-ing" or whatever you want to call it, because out of a thread of twenty-six tweets, at least a dozen or so richly deserve to be picked apart by starving vultures on a desert highway. But it's easier and more to the point to simply point out that the reason the whole thing is a steaming heap of bullshit is that it's built on false premises, premises that always and ever only apply to one side in this eternal, infernal, completely pointless "debate" that is never really a debate.

Because, you see, a debate is where the interlocutors agree to discuss things using the same ground rules, the same tone, level of intellectual honesty, etc. This endless, fruitless internet squabble has no such constraints. In this game, "conservatives" (who are really reactionaries, and there is a difference) float lies and smarm and support their cult totem doing exactly the same on a daily basis. There are some actual liberals and centrists who respond appropriately, debunking the lies over and over again, and taking no shit from these moral cretins.

But then you have Vichy moderates and putative liberals like the one in the Twitter thread where the basic premise is completely dishonest, starting with the second tweet in the thread, weird tone and all:
Um, so, regular people from the middle of the country are probably right when they pick any political figure and call them a terrible person. Any of them. Either party. Strategic elites violate good person norms.
Um, so, it's not exactly a revolutionary thought to point out that just like behind every great fortune there's a great crime, there's probably some degrees of oleaginous compromise, backstabbing, and lying behind most successful political careers.

But it's fucking stupid to imply that "they" are all equally terrible. Some of them really are terrible, you know. Tennessee congressturd Scott DesJarlais identifies as a pro-lifer and cynically uses the misguided sentiments of that voting bloc, even though as a doctor he fucked and impregnated his own patients, and coerced one of them -- as well as his own wife -- into getting abortions.

More to the point, Fuckface Von Clownstick, hero-god to the angry, ignored workin' man who's durned tahrd of people thinkin' he's a sucker, has a well-documented track record reaching back nearly fifty years of consistently abhorrent behavior. He's a thief, a liar, a cheat, a con artist, a bigot, aggressively ignorant, has lied on average nearly ten times per day since he's been in office, has characterized the (for now) free press and his political opponents as enemies of the state. He's an unrepentant demagogue who has literally stuck up for murderous nazis. Part of his business model consists of ripping off contractors, deliberately underpaying them, knowing that they can't afford to challenge him in court.

So yeah, tell me again how the real 'murkins, in their holy wisdom, insist that they all suck, so their default option of "whatever pisses faggot libruls off" is some noble choice that the majority of Americans are somehow obliged to talk them out of. Fuck that shit. I don't want to convince them or talk them out of anything. They can have him, and everything he's going to do to them. Good and hard.

Because, you see, we've all been through this bullshit spin cycle before. Salt-o'-the-earth real 'murkins throw off the yoke of their elitist oppressors by voting for -- well, an elitist, sure, but one who's a complete asshole, like Clownstick, just like they voted for Fredo Arbusto in the previous decade. Arbusto was a rich guy from an elitist political dynasty, but he said "nucular" like they all do.

Then when the elitist fake-prole funnels all the cash to his elitist buddies and lawn-darts the economy, and starts a couple of wars we can't get out of, the yokels push in a Dummycrat to fix all the fuck-ups, at which point the combination of Fox News and acetone fumes kick in, and they decide once more that they need someone who doesn't "condescend" to them. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I mean, if only someone could come along and bottle this innate wisdom, they'd make a killing. 'Scuse me, killin'. [spits giant brown glob into plastic cup, tongues wad of gnaw in cheek] Nothing more tiresome than the most gullible suckers on the planet insisting over and over again that their idiotic decisions are somehow worthy of respect. Maybe get your facts straight, and read a fucking book once in a while, and people might respect you more.

Much of the thread consists of McConnaughy talking about her father, who had no college degree, worked hard and made his way up the ladder anyway, and then unfortunately lost his job, and couldn't get back on the horse because of his age and lack of college. It's a common story in this nation, sad but true.

The American myth is that hard work will result in success. That is mostly ass-backward -- unless you're fortunate enough to inherit wealth or get some lucky break along the way, any success you have will only come from hard work. But that is a much different thing; there are millions of people who work very hard all their lives, just to eke their way through life. Keep that in mind at all times, but especially when some snake-oil peddler comes along with the latest iteration of the prosperity gospel.

I can relate to the anecdote about McConnaughy's dad, because it mirrors much of my own experience. I worked blue-collar jobs, landed with a small business that I helped build, worked for ten years in every department, starting in production and shipping, and working my way into the office, where I handled sales and customer accounts, A/P and A/R, payroll, and more, for a worldwide customer base. It was common for me to call a customer in Denmark or Norway first thing in the morning, and end my day with a call to one of the Australian shops we dealt with.

This company made a high-end aftermarket product for motorcycles, mostly Harleys and custom bikes. The pieces were made of sand-cast or billet aluminum, and were polished or powder-coated black. I started off in the metal-polishing room, spending hours a day leaning five-pound blocks of aluminum into a wheel spinning several thousand rpm, powered by a 15hp motor. I eventually compressed my L3 and L5 discs. I used to be about an inch taller than I am now, so I can literally say that I busted my ass at this job.

As I say, I worked my way up the ladder, eventually running the office, but after a severe sales slump in 2004, we were all laid off. Ten years of my life, down the drain. Took me nine months to find another job, worked my way up for a few years there, and then the so-called Great Recession hit, and I was out on my ass again.

So at age forty, laid off twice in four years, I decided I wasn't going to take that shit anymore, and I earned my bachelor's and master's degrees while working a full-time job. I don't want to hear this self-serving sob-story bullshit about how the big bad world fucked the workin' man over so bad, his only choice was to become the proverbial chicken who cain't be talked outta votin' fer Colonel Sanders. I went through it too, and I never once considered that maybe the best way to handle that adversity was to vote for a cheap con man, someone who's never worked an honest day or made an honest dollar, putting on some kind of act.

This is the thing I detest the most about the stereotypical white working class voter:  their entire argument is predicated on the notion that undeserving parasites are leeching off the gubmint. But every goddamned one of them has something going on too. They're either living on disability or welfare, or their kids are. Someone in their family is hooked on scrip drugs, or weed, or meth. They have a daughter or niece who has several kids by several different men, none of whom pay for the fucking kids. They're hypocrites, I fucking promise you. Not every single one of them, but more than you'd think. They talk a good game about personal responsibility, but more often than not, talk is all it is.

But the rubes and their real 'murkin delusions are not the problem here. The problem is putatively moderate or liberal people like Corrine McConnaughy, who slap together these ridiculous paeans to the usual list of grievances that get vomited up whenever some dipshit journo ventures out of the city, and transcribed without question or even skepticism.

These things cannot be repeated enough:
  • When a Democrat president is elected, no conservative journalist goes out to talk to the people that voted for them, to take back some pointers for their audience. That will never happen. Obama was elected in a true landslide in 2008, with a congressional supermajority. Within six weeks of his inauguration, McConnell gave his guys their marching orders, Fox had their talking points, and all you saw was cosplay dipshits in the park yammering about getting the gubmint outta they Mediscare. There is no conservative counterpart at all to this routine liberal self-flagellation.
  • More votes were cast in 2016 for Hillary Clinton. Period. So every one of these stupid pieces is literally telling the majority why they must listen to the minority. Not only is this dumb and illogical, it is completely undemocratic. Were it not for ridonkulous gerrymandering, the Republicans would have no chance at all in the House of Representatives; they routinely lose the aggregate vote by more than a million votes every electoral cycle.
  • Here is Obama's job approval rating throughout both terms. There are instances where his rating dipped below 40%, but they were few and far between. Most of the time his rating stayed between 45-55%. By way of contrast, Fuckface Von Clownstick's rating has rarely cracked 40%, mostly just in the past few weeks, with relatively fewer fuck-ups and a tough-guy pose to rogue states like North Korea and Iraq. But most Americans do not like this asshole, and this has been very consistent, yet journos keep talking to the minority cult who want to spend the rest of their lives sucking his tiny cheeto, and they're abetted by "explainer" types like the Twitter threader, who plaintively insist that (again) the majority, who generally use empirical facts and reasoning, must reach out and convince the angry minority, who typically use emotion and conjecture and whatever half-recalled bullshit they overheard from Jeanine Pirro or Sean Hannity.
  • It's never the other way around, even when Democrats win. I'll bet you money that even if there is a true blue tsunami in the midterms, and these assholes get blown out of the water, there will still be these stupid pieces about how "we" have to reach out to "them" for some sort of middle ground. And I'll say the same thing when that happens: Nope. Never. I tried the reaching-out thing last time, all I got was nonsense about ISIS bringing Ebola across the border and Jade Helm rounding up gun owners in the FEMA camps underneath the Walmart stores, and on and on. I'm tired of trying to reason with people who communicate with sandwich boards on an urban sidewalk. I'm tired of listening to assholes yammer about the completely imaginary war on Christmas, and then using that as a rationale to vote for and support the most toxic, destructive political figure this nation has seen in decades. I have nothing more to say to them. I simply want to end their ability to perpetuate their destructive nonsense.

I have said this before, but it cannot be repeated enough, and it is the truest thing you will read all week: if Hillary Clinton had won, you would have seen the exact same pieces written by the exact same idiots, talking to the exact same cranky, incoherent Clownstick voters. You think the Post would have gone to Park Slope and had a few Clinton voters elucidate their decision-making process? No fuckin' way. They would skedaddled straight out to Jerkwater, Arkansas and filled vast virtual column-inches with the addled, pustulent jabber of these meatbags, with nary a challenge to their ignorance and outright lies.

These are the same people who were utterly convinced that Obama was a sekrit Moooslim born in Kenya, and that his wife used to be a man. They snickered and traded emails with photoshopped gorilla photos of both Obamas. Now I have to explain myself to these dipshits? Fuck you.

To add the final insult to injury, the Twitter thread ends thusly:
I think this is the hardest part of the Trump story—what’s so differently bad about him? Tell me in 2 sentences I can take home with me.
Seriously. Because heaven forfend anyone be asked to pay attention to anything for more than three seconds. I mean, there's probably a Bachelorette spinoff airing somewheres, right? Who has time to read, or explain thoroughly? Give me a bumper sticker, these are bumper sticker people!

For fuck's sake, even if it were somehow possible to compress one man's lifetime saga of greed, corruption, misogyny, racism, incompetence, and generally being a complete fucking asshole, even if you could squeeze all that into two sentences, they won't listen. They don't care.

The guy tweeted yesterday promising to help out a Chinese tech company that is under sanction for national security violations involving Iran and North Korea, because his next project in Indonesia is getting a $500M loan from the Chinese government. You know what these idiots' response would be? Lock her up! Lock her up!

Why would anyone waste time trying to craft a logical, intellectually honest argument for people who have no use for such things? It's a cult. Okay? It's a fucking cult. The sooner these enablers realize this, the better off we'll all be.

In less than a year and a half, this administration has easily been the most corrupt in my lifetime, just based on what we know so far. He and his minions almost certainly sold the electoral process out to the Russians. He is openly profiteering from the office -- he sells fucking coffee mugs with the presidential seal on them, which is illegal. Nobody cares, and nobody does or says anything about it, and it doesn't even make the news, because nothing matters anymore, and that is in large part because everyone knows that these fools will accept anything and everything from their cult leader, even things they would never accept from any other politician. How the hell is anyone supposed to reason with such a mindset, seriously?

These real 'murkins would have shit bricks if Obama had done anything remotely like that. Clownstick has done any number of things that, if Obama or Clinton had done them, would have incited calls for drawing and quartering. He has done any number of things that would have gotten you fired from Target or Starbucks. He has no business being anywhere near the levers of real power, and it takes concerted effort, and no small amount of pure spite, to not admit that.

This is all common knowledge, even among his supporters, and it is objectively far worse than any of the myriad other "terrible" people who infest the world of politics. They don't care, and anyone pulling this "tell me what I should tell them" bullshit oughta be ashamed of themselves, because they're either hopelessly cynical or willfully stupid.

These things are important, because if we are to have any hope of hanging on to ourselves, we must still be able to remind ourselves and each other that none of this is normal, that all of it used to be completely unacceptable. If we can't even do that anymore, if we must continuously and repeatedly genuflect and grovel to people who really want nothing more than the obsequious gestures, pretend that their lies are valid arguments, then there's no point to any of this. It means that the United States, as we knew it, is dead, and it just hasn't sunk in yet.

But just for the sake of playing along, here's two sentences to take home with you, Ms. McConnaughy: I'm not going to waste anyone's time trying to convince them. They can choke on it.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Job Qualification, Slight Return: These People Are Fucking Scum

"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life." -- Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Let's touch back on a couple things from the comment about John McCain the other day in an internal White House meeting by a deputy staffer named Kelly Sadler. The putatively librul corporate media has its talking points lined up uniformly, that the capital of this withering husk of a nation has its collective self in a "roil" over Sadler's comment, and that the White House and its soulless spokesbeast, Baghdad Barb, refuse to apologize or even discipline Sadler, much less fire her worthless Moonie Times ass.

They're never going to apologize nor fire Sadler because from their point of view, no wrong was done; in fact, as far as they're concerned, this was another "mission accomplished" moment.

You see, as McCain is going about getting his mortal ducks in a row right now, preparing to meet his maker and so on, he has made a few public comments that have annoyed the emperor. And so Sadler's comment was almost certainly leaked in order to tell McCain to (quite literally) fuck off and die. There should be no confusion about this.

The time to be angered about this sort of vile nonsense was three years ago, when then-candidate Fuckface Von Clownstick disparaged McCain's service in an even more stark, ugly fashion. Nothing was done about it then, and nothing will be done about it now. This latest iteration is simply a reminder that by definition, in order to carry water for a vile scumbag, you yourself need to be of like mind.

I'm quite sure that there are many individuals in this coat-hanger abortion of an administration who lie to themselves routinely and insist that they are there to work for the country, to protect "our" interests. This is a common trait among traitors -- they frequently believe quite sincerely that they have compromised their (it turns out) non-existent principles for a greater good.

To cite just a couple of salient examples, I'm sure that John Kelly and his fuck-buddy Kirstjen Nielsen, who are no fans of the emperor but do seem to have some sincere (if wrong-headed) convictions on the subject of immigration, probably tell themselves that very thing or some variation. Then they head to Kelly's office, where he bends her over the desk and plows that ass, then flips her over and puts her ankles on his shoulders, all while singing the Marine Corps anthem. From the halls of Montezooo-ooh-ma, to the fat cock in my paaaaants!

Ahem. Where were we? Oh yeah, starting up a rumor. I'm sure other people have noticed it as well, but I'd bet good money that John Kelly is banging Kirstjen Nielsen, maybe at work, maybe at some off-campus fuck-pad. But they're fuckin', you can count on it. I don't care, I just think it's funny.

Anyway. In all this performative drama, it should be noted that McCain himself plays no small part. Don't get me wrong -- I agree with McCain on very little, and it's even arguable that his notorious flyboy antics got him shot down in the first place. But the bottom line is that he spent 5½ years in a dungeon, a place that most of us wouldn't last a week, and more to the point, he was in there about five years longer than he had to be, because he had a sense of honor that is utterly alien to dung beetles like Fuckface Von Clownstick or Kelly Sadler and the rest of those animals, or the endless human centipede that comprises Fixed Noise and their dipshit audience. A decent person would know immediately that that level of sacrifice can never be disparaged or criticized. Yet here we are.

And yet, for all of his burbling rambunctions against the predation of the incompetent crime family that is skull-fucking the executive branch of the American gubmint, McCain has literally a unique opportunity to finally abandon the hacky "maverick" posture that's sustained him all these years, and say at long last what he really thinks. Not through his surrogates, not through his equally tiresome hack daughter, and not through the sotto voce virtue signaling of disinviting Shit-for-Brains to his funeral.

Not to mention that despite what he says, McCain votes the party line, no matter how much in conflict with his exalted principles, roughly 90% of the time. This includes the current nest of vipers. Then there's that little matter of McCain being in great part directly responsible for the current ground-level location of the proverbial bar, thanks to him single-handedly launching the infotainment career of a certain moron from Alaska. Without the Quitta from Wasilla, you don't have a built-in base ready to suckle at the spray-tanned teat of the current slab of rancid ham.

There's not much more time to tell the truth, Senator, but there is still some time to do so, bluntly and in plain English:  In barely more than a year, this administration has already distinguished itself as the most corrupt, incompetent, vile gang of fools this nation has ever been burdened with. They are only going to get worse, because "worse" is their true nature. It's all they know. Their capacity for inhumanity and cruelty is matched only by their blatant greed and stupidity. They are fucking us up for the next generation. It will take decades, if ever, for us to undo the damage. This is not about me and my terminal condition, it is about this country and what our expectations are, and if we can still move forward together, or if we need to contend with a political cargo cult that refuses to listen to reason, and exults in public demonstrations of lies and cruelty and hostility. I'll be gone soon, but I hope you all take to heart that it's time to fuck or walk, to decide that these people and these things are unacceptable, and to act accordingly.

It's time to forget about the bullshit of "decorum" and of being a lifetime company man. The two things John McCain should do to put a respectable cap on a life (if not a political career) lived honorably are to renounce the Republican Party and to call out the emperor and his minions for what they truly are.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Job Qualification

Not sure why people are up in arms over this rotten cunt; after all, it's no worse than what her boss said a few years ago, and never even considered apologizing for. It's who he is and who they are, chickenhawks using military personnel as cynical props, and the suckers buy it every fucking time.

Question for the class:  is there anything that would turn the cultists against their wampeter, anything at all? I really don't think there is. Any of them could say and do pretty much anything, up to and including shooting a wounded veteran in Times Square, and the morlocks would rush to trot out their usual talking points.

They don't care about anything but grifting and wrecking what's left of this country. To their credit, they don't try to hide it. The sooner the Democrats and the putatively librul media realize that and start behaving accordingly, the sooner we have an outside chance of climbing out of this pit, away from these fucking scummy people.

Triumph of the Swill

So there's another rally tonight, in another ungrateful shithole that should have been allowed to slide under, for all the good it did. And of course the goobers are doing their moron calisthenics in preparation for the wampeter, bleating Lock durrr up! in unison. They don't know why, not that they need a reason. As the poet said, you really can't fix stupid.

In the case of these jokers, you can't even buy 'em off with a low unemployment rate and improved economic prospects. And photos (in the CNN link) of these bozos don't help, can't convince any honest observer of anything other than the same weird, mean, ineffably dumb vibe they've given off for a good three years now, loud 'n' proud. They seem to function on the notion that "elites" despise them, look down on them, think they're better 'n' them, whatever the usual list of bullshit grievance is that powers these dupes.

It may or may not trouble them to come to the realization that no one fucking cares about them and their bullshit. It's not that I dismiss them and don't care about them because I hate them or think I'm better than them (although I definitely do find them utterly contemptible). I dismiss them and don't care about them simply because I realize that there's nothing anyone can say to them about anything, to break them from their cult daze.

That's really all this is, as we all now realize. It's a just a cult, like the $cientologists or the Hare Krishnas or the Bokononists or the Kiss Army from the 1970s. The screaming teenage girls from the Beatles era; the pulsing, murderous Hindu and Muslim mobs during the Indian Partition. There's a continuum to the mentalities of mobs and cults, from happy and celebratory to vicious and brutal. Even on the "happy" end of that spectrum, there is always an undercurrent, the potential for violence. Large groups of people have a knack for skewing to a mean of incoherence, and that's where the magic happens.

As always, though, despite the breathless coverage, the corporate media once again fail to convey the absolute simplest of all data points -- how many people actually attended this thing? You might have to contact the local fire marshal there to really be sure, but know this:  the (ahem) NorthSide Middle School Gymnasium, where these suckers waited in line for their glance at the spray-tanned golem, has a capacity of 7,373. Maybe it was filled, maybe it wasn't; maybe there were more suckers waiting like inert objects out in the parking lot, maybe not. We'll probably not be apprised of those things, since (again) the corporate media are largely inept at their chosen vocation.

Just keep that in mind when these dipshit conventions come up, that the venues are smaller than they're made to appear, that there are fewer of these retards than they think there are (though still too many), that the media are too lazy to provide this simple but valuable data point.

And while they might be basking in the greatness of bringing North Korea to the negotiating table and abrogating the JCPOA, we'll see how they like those rising gas prices this summer, how much that extra twenty bucks in their paycheck covers all that.

He's making Putin money, and he's definitely helping alter the East Asian power structure by slowly, steadily removing us from that picture, much to China's elation. And it's turning out that (surprise!) Michael Cohen was running a pay-to-play shop, that half the Cabinet are crooks, and the other half are dipshits (and there's certainly some overlap, such as Ben Carson).

But Real America wants to lock her up, for something or other. Trial and execution now, charges later, one supposes. Whatever it takes to fill the void of their wasted existences. Everyone of the clowns shown in the CNN photos is someone that most of us would avoid, not because they're criminals, but because they're losers.

Take a look at the fool holding the sign in the above photo. Does that strike as someone that's had any successes in their life? Is that an act -- scribbling out a sloppy sign with a half-assed slogan, dressing like a slob and spending all afternoon standing in line in the hopes of watching a tent revival with a bunch of recycled applause lines -- that is done by someone who isn't a complete fucking failure?

Mostly we're just tired of watching and hearing about these idiots and their worthless grievances. But everyone who's tired of this shit, and these shitheads, needs to show up and vote this year and from now on, no ballot or battle too small.

The soft-spoken corollary to the enlightened principle of self-governance is that under such a system, people collectively get the government they deserve. This is certainly true right now, and it will be true in November. And if the blue tsunami comes to be, no matter how overwhelming it is, it will not be enough. I don't want to make nice or reconcile with these chumps; I have nothing in common with them. If the Democrats win decisively enough, they need to immediately embark on undoing everything Emperor Snowflake took it upon himself to undo out of pure spite.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

What, and Give Up Show Business?

It has to be hard fucking work to be as obtuse as Chris Cillizza manages to be, day in and day out. At the very least, he deserves some grudging respect for a rather alarming track record of consistency.

I mean, get this -- Cillizza's premise here is that Baghdad Barb should quit, because her boss keeps sending her out to defend him with lies and half-truths and incomplete bits of disinformation. Apparently Cillizza thinks that this makes Baghdad Barb's boss a bad boss, and undermines poor Barb's ability to do her job. Sad!

Nowhere in this nonsense is the notion that maybe the same principle applies to Jim Acosta, to the other stenographers in the press room, to Cillizza himself. Acosta spends his time trying to bait Baghdad Barb into admitting that she's a flunky, a sap, a shill for a mendacious orange cocksucker in a hilarious combover. He knows she's never going to do that, and even if she did, who gives a shit? Nothing matters anymore. And yet, Jim Acosta presumably earns something resembling a respectable living faithfully executing this sham on a daily basis, just as Chris Cillizza gets his ducats wearily meta-commenting on the dismal proceedings.

At no point are useful facts or inculpatory evidence limned, just endless iterations of this shopworn above-the-fray schtick that informs no one and improves nothing. This is not news; this is filler. It is the pixelated equivalent of single-ply finger-blaster bumwipe, the kind you find in a portajohn.

Cillizza's plaintive querying as to why Baghdad Barb doesn't quit her job doesn't even top the low bar of "rhetorical." It's almost too sad to contemplate that he might actually be asking from a place of seriousness and sincerity, rather than the expected studied cynicism, but there ya go.

And there's an answer for such a question being asked sincerely:  Because she enjoys it. Because like her scumbag boss, she hates the gutless media monkeys, and she hates anyone who questions the emperor, and she loves rubbing their fucking noses in it. She gets moist, as close as she'll ever get to a true sexual frisson, when she vomits a clear and obvious lie into the faces in the crowd, and they sit and wallow in it, lamely trying to volley back with some limpdick question that she can snort and sneer at.

Everyone in the room knows it's all lies, and everyone knows there's not a goddamned thing anyone can or will do about any of it -- including refusing to continue this nonsense. That's power, knowing that she can rub their collective faces in the obvious lies, and they'll still be back the next day, waiting for the next shit sandwich. You wanna know why people despise the media, there's a huge reason.

Fuck you, Jim Acosta. Fuck you, April Ryan. Everything Baghdad Barb says at every one of these stupid, useless exercises in muscle and gall has that as a subtext. She could say to them, Have a great weekend!, and the subtext would still be, Sure hope you don't get plowed by a garbage truck, motherfuckers!

So I would pose Cillizza's question back to him, and to Jim Acosta, and April Ryan, and all the battered wives that keep showing up, day after day:  Is this what you went to j-school for, really? To dutifully appear like an ankle-biting mutt, and valiantly pretend that anyone cares that you know you're being lied to? If a job or career is supposed to have purpose and meaning, what kind of purpose and/or meaning do these exercises serve for you and your career aspirations? You think if you suck enough shit, you'll have a shot at the brass ring, the anchor chair, the panel slot, some fucking bullshit like that. Is that what you tell your kids when they ask what you do, is that what you tell your spouses when they give you that look?

Is that what you noble scriveners will tell yourselves in those quiet moments, when it's just you and a cold drink by the fireplace, no teevee white noise to drown out the contempt you feel for yourself, for what you thought you could and should have been, before you became just another showpiece for these evil fuckers? You ask why doesn't Sarah Sanders quit her job. Why don't you quit yours? Seriously. What purpose is served by these choreographed lies?

I'll tell ya some good journalists right now:  Natasha Bertrand. David Fahrenthold. Alexandra Petri's commentary has been scathing. Catherine Rampell has stepped up her game over the past year considerably. There are others, and what distinguishes them is that they're not squatting in a squalid pit with the Possum Queen, transcribing lies and bullshit, scribbling out remnants of their souls in pained missives that they all know are useless before they're even published. Nobody gives a fuck if Jim Acosta gently pushed back on Baghdad Barb that one time. She says, fuck you, that's why, and he meekly sits back down, and the world keeps on turning. Bokay?

Credibility? She's arguably the most powerful woman in the country right now. That doddering fucktard listens to her, confides in her, trusts her implicitly. Only a simp like Chris Cillizza would seriously think that Baghdad Barb gives a fuck about losing "credibility" in his eyes. She's got fifty million knuckle-dragging morons out there that hang on her every word -- and the more she sticks it to chumps like Jim Acosta, the more they love her.

Part of the kabuki is that these idiots periodically have to grumble about shoveling elephant shit, but let's not kid ourselves -- there's no place they'd rather be. And that's fine, if that's their [rolls eyes] minimum standard of competence. But they can at least spare us the endless posturing that they're somehow above the muck. They are the fucking muck, and the sad part is that they really don't have to be. It's their choice. Everyone in this administration is so vile and corrupt, there's bound to be stories under every rock you flip over. So why sit there and take it, when everyone knows it's bullshit?

It's their decision whether they'd rather die on their feet or live on their knees, but again, stop crying about the uncomfortable kneepads.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Access Washington

Just finished reading David Cay Johnston's The Making of [Fuckface Von Clownstick], and it's a very good (not great, but very good and quick) compilation of the countless small crimes of character His Orangeness rode into his current unearned position of power. As a career investigative reporter, Johnston for the most part wisely avoids editorializing and "analysis" and lets the ugly facts do all the talking.

There were a few specific items in the book I hadn't been aware of, but no real surprises. But there are three (actually more, but let's focus on three) major factors in Clownstick's rise to infamy that Johnston's book ably captures. Here they are in (imho) ascending order of importance:
  1. During the Atlantic City casino years, the level of corruption and incompetence in New Jersey's gaming regulation boards was nothing short of criminal. Clownstick should never have been let anywhere near a casino, much less allowed to own one. Every job and investor stake lost in his failures is on the head of every corrupt gaming regulator who chose to look the other way instead of doing their fucking job.
  2. In chapter after chapter, Johnston lists one failed scam after another, where Clownstick misrepresented himself and his family and his companies and his interests and stakes in any given project, from Chump "University" to Punta Bandera. In all of these, once the fish get wise and sue his ass, Clownstick ends up settling, contrary to his frequent boasts and LIES. And in all of these cases, the courts sealed the details of the settlements. Gee, it might have been nice for the public to know about these repeated incidents of fraud before the motherfucker ran for fucking political office.
  3. The media sucks. Let it be shouted from the rooftops till all our eardrums bleed:  OUR MEDIA FUCKING SUCKS. More than any other entity, more than the in-the-pocket Jersey gaming commissions or the institutionally impotent court system, feckless media careerism is what propelled Clownstick into his current seat. Since the early 1980s, he has lied, bullied, cajoled, stroked, and bamboozled them collectively into giving him a platform to spout his LIES and nonsense, and then left them to lamely scramble after him and maybe (usually not) try to clean up the mess, too little too late.
To cite just one string of examples, how many times during the 2016 campaign was that asshole allowed to phone in from his gold-plated shitter to the Sunday morning follies, on all the networks, one after the other? How the fuck do you interview a presidential candidate over the phone, again and again, especially one with such a tenuous relationship with empirical reality? Yet they let him get away with it, over and over.
At no point did any of them say, Fuck it. We're not interviewing him unless he shows up, and then we're hammering him on at least some of the lies. Nope, they just let him call in, say what he wanted to, half-heartedly challenge him on his more egregious lies, but at no point did they stand up to him, or god forbid just refuse to have him on because of the incessant lying.
Have I mentioned that that cocksucker does nothing but LIE, about every goddamned thing?

And if today's collective marathon of pearl-clutching in defense of Baghdad Barb doesn't make all this clear, I don't know what will. These people are fucking terrible at their jobs. Or maybe I've just been misinformed all these years as to what their jobs actually are. Maybe they're supposed to suck up to powerful people who despise them. That certainly would explain things much better.

Look, we all get the rapidly changing institutional factors impacting their long-standing revenue model. Even the phrase "twenty-four-hour news cycle" means something completely different than it did from, say 1983 to 2015. Seriously. It used to mean that the cable news channels had so much airtime to fill, practically anything became a news story, or more likely, real news stories got beaten into the ground with incessant coverage and overly obsessive detail.

But the meaning of the phrase has changed since He Who Shall Not Be Named threw his hairpiece into the ring. Now with things happening constantly, there's not enough time to keep up with a given story and cover it with due diligence.

Here's another example:  Sean Hannity, Fox's flagship common-tater, was outed less than two weeks ago as one of three clients of Michael "Smithers" Cohen, the obsequious bratva-linked Clownstick toady, who clearly wants to spend the rest of his life polishing his idol's little cheeto. Now, it's bad enough that Cohen isn't really even a lawyer, he's a "businessman" (big finger quotes there, folks) who happens to have a law degree. He's a wannabe Ray Donovan-type "fixer" who uses said law degree to help his main client take care of things, like paying off his inconvenient hoors.

Now, Hannity has been extremely vocal in his defense of Smithers Cohen and Fuckface Von Clownstick, never once disclosing that he, Hannity, was another client of Cohen. When it finally did come out -- thanks to actual investigative reporting by The Guardian, a British media outlet -- Hannity lamely averred that he was an opinion and entertainment guy, not a serious journalist. NBC fired Brian Williams for far less (although Williams is back in a late-might slot at MSNBC these days, but still), but Fox took it all in stride and said they were fine with Hannity's excuse. Within twenty-four hours of the disclosure, Hannity was joking about it on-air with Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson.

Since then -- again, bearing in mind that the initial revelation about Hannity was less than two weeks ago -- we have also found out that Hannity is a slumlord, using his ill-gotten pelf to buy up distressed properties with HUD-backed loans, and promptly jacking up the rent, because he's a fucking scumbag. Oh, and no one is surprised that Hannity has free-spending HUD director Ben Carson on with some regularity. It's all just a big coincidence. This sort of thing, this blatant collusion between a key anchorperson and the people he reports on and talks with, would have been unacceptable, even at Fox, just a few years ago.

Not to mention Clownstick's bizarre call-in rant to Fox & Fiends last Thursday, which now (please please) might be a monthly standing appointment. Fox is now officially a propaganda organ for these fuckers, and they aren't bothering to conceal it one bit.

Do gutless media twats like Chris Cillizza pontificate on those sorts of inconvenient truths? Why no, they prefer to grumble about the incivility of comedians calling out lazy media tools for their feckless, dickless careerism. Fucking lazy hypocrites, all of them. They are in the wrong line of work. They really are hurting America.

There are no consequences or accountability for bad behavior anymore. And that's what Johnston's book is really about, in the end -- this steaming orange turd is in charge because at every step of the way, when the courts, the media, the fucking gaming commissions had a chance to hold this fucking piece of shit accountable for the things he'd done, they pushed it off. They let it go; they let him go.

Fuckface Von Clownstick's entire existence -- indeed, his sole actual skill -- has been an extended exercise in getting other people to pay for his high-on-the-hog lifestyle. And he's been enabled the entire time by access journalism, from Page Six to the Today show, these careerist hacks who are more concerned with getting eyeballs and filling airtime than in calling an asshole what he is.

In a rational world, we'd drop him and his vile minions off on a remote island with all the Beltway hacks, let them deal with each other, and never hear from any of them again. They made him, they should be the ones to have to live with him.

The Integrity Pose

It's hard to decide whose Last Honest Man pose is more tiresome, James Comey or John Kasich. They're both fucking terrible, and only in comparison with a serious dirtbag like Brad Parscale does Kasich's mewling bullshit come out as even slightly less obnoxious.

Don't West Your Breath

There's something hilarious watching culture critics trying to get a handle on Kanye West's newfound bromance with the one and only Fuckface Von Clownstick. Because they are who they are and do what they do for a living, these critics contort themselves in order to frame a scenario in which a "genius" like West strategizes his public love for Archie Bunker in a Bozo the Clown wig.

It doesn't occur to these dumbasses that maybe West was never a genius in the first place, as we have amply chronicled here over the years. He's certainly a special combination of cynical marketing asshole and borderline retard, scamming his moron fans with $120 plain t-shirts and 52-page "books." It makes sense that he would align himself with a fellow money-grubbing dirtbag, gulling the rubes who are simply too dumb to know the difference between actual human intelligence and mere animal cunning.

More and more it seems that "critics" are merely hacks operating without any context -- historical, cultural, or even musical -- for bolstering their empty assertions. West is not a "genius" simply because he says he is, or because they say he is. If anything, it serves as a dead-certain indicator of sheer incompetence and total lack of critical thinking skills to bestow the g-word on a fucking clown with a bad rhyming dictionary and an AutoTune machine.

This is the natural consequence of everyone having access to the internet -- there's going to be a certain percentage of "writers" who are simply too stupid to know how stupid they and their insights really are. I keep seeing these digital scriveners jabber with all sincerity what a musical genius West is, without ever providing salient examples.

Surely there must be a snippet of remarkable lyrics or music to serve as demonstration of this supposed visionary greatness. You start to wonder after a while why we're just supposed to accept it as a given. And how does this nonsense end up in supposedly respectable publications such as the New Yorker?

The fact is that West and Clownstick were made for each other. They're two peas in a pod -- shallow, ignorant, narcissistic, obsessed with materialism and with their own delusions of greatness, stuck with trophy wives who are nearly as useless as they are, completely unable to see how mediocre they truly are.

The late great Sam Kinison once said in an interview about Whoopi Goldberg, "A nation decides not to hurt someone's feelings." That was unnecessarily mean on Kinison's part, as Whoopi Goldberg actually does have some talent and has said her share of sensible things over the years. But that nasty shot applies really well to Kanye West and his new orange butt-buddy.

The world would be a lot better off if we had never heard of either of these fucking buffoons. The best parts of both of them ran down the crack of their mothers' asses and ended up as stains on their respective mattresses. They can't fuck off soon enough.

Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury

Gee, you'd think that if they really wanted Mike Pence to feel safe at the convention of the gun manufacturers' lobby, they'd just post a bunch of armed schoolteachers. I hope the NRA fleeces these dipshits out of every loose dime they have.

Rogue States

After the seeming rapprochement between North and South Korea the other day, a few thoughts occurred, mostly in the realm of cautious optimism. I'd say LGM's Robert Farley pretty much captures my observations on what's happened so far, and what's likely to happen.

When Kim Jong Un says "denuclearization" and Mike Pompeo or Emperor Snowflake says the same word, there's a very good chance that two different meanings are being conveyed. It seems incredibly unlikely that Kim would surrender weapons that he and his father spent decades developing and building. At best he might agree to a cessation of testing and production, but in exchange for what? Farley is absolutely correct that on the off chance that NK completely disarms, with or without major concessions in return, Snowflake actually would deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

Bu Snowflake is who he is, and at heart he is a loudmouth, a fuckup, a loser who manages to escape accountability. He'll find a way to fuck this up, and it's because he thinks that the outcome of Korea will serve as a warning to the Iranian mullahs. It doesn't occur to him that maybe North Korea -- and South Korea, for that matter -- observe his bad-faith dealing with Iran, the constant overt attempts to derail and abrogate the JCPOA, and assume that we'll deal with them the same way.

Analysts continually try to assess Kim Jong Un and determine whether he's a "rational" or "irrational" actor. A truly rational actor would do exactly what Kim's been doing, and be sure to cover his ass going into this "summit" that's supposed to resolve things. Even before the current escalation in hostilities with NK, as much as it pains me to say, Kim seems to have been a rational actor for most or all of his time at the helm, certainly more so than Snowflake in his tenure so far.

Although NK is as much a cult as a country, the fact is that the Kim regime has to balance dynamic internal tensions as well as fend off potential attacks from the US, as well as the cynical game China and Japan and Russia (who have various practical historic and strategic reasons to want Korea to remain divided) are playing. His reaching out to his counterpart across the DMZ may actually have a small core of sincerity (Kim was educated in Switzerland, and is obviously much more westernized than his father), but the clear strategic goal for him right now is peeling South Korea away from our orbit, maybe driving a wedge with them on continuing sanctions.

The US' strategic goal with Iran seems to be whatever the Saudis and Israelis want. It's pretty clear that the Snowflake administration's short-term goal is to either provoke or contrive Iran into a war, further entrenching US troops in a region where they've been stuck for more than a quarter-century now, with no end in sight.

For someone who claimed to have wondrous prescience and profound insight into the folly of conflicts in that region -- without, of course, being able to articulate any of those observations even on a retroactive basis -- Snowflake sure seems eager to stoke that region's eternal grievances.

At least there's this -- once we've invaded Iran, there should be logistical continuity from Afghanistan to Syria, thus hopefully simplifying supply chains and movement of troops and materiel.