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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

Schmuckenfreude

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.