Saturday, October 31, 2020

Game Plan

People look to me and say, "Is the end near? Is this the final day? What's the future of mankind?"
How would I know? I got left behind.
Everyone goes through changes, looking to find the truth.
Don't look to me for answers. Don't ask me -- I don't know. -- Ozzy Osbourne, I Don't Know

As we start to wind down this wondrous Year Of Winning, waiting with bated breath to see if the national fever has a temporary break, it's a good time for all of us to take stock in what is, rather than what should be, and what we want for ourselves and our loved ones in the months and years to come, regardless of next week's (next month's perhaps) outcome.

Start with what you know, what you can control. We can't control -- or even affect -- the ongoing dumbassification of America, as Chuck D memorably put it long ago. All we control is what we do. Do we still support a shitty corporate media, while complaining about it? Then we're each doing our small part to perpetuate the problem, right?

Look, I enjoy the writing of Paul Krugman and Jamelle Bouie and such like, and they've done some remarkable in-depth pieces lately. But if my New York Times subscription dollar also goes for the upkeep and maintenance of useless hacks like Maggie Haberman and Elaina Plott, and hopeless, sloppy thinkers such as MoDo and Bobo and Bretbug, then it might be time to spend my news dollar more wisely. You'd be surprised what conclusions the Punch Sulzbergers of the world will reach when the invisible hand of the free market gets jammed up their asses for a surprise exam.

And if they reach the wrong conclusions and keep the hacks and cut the good ones loose, then you drew the right conclusion about the Times in the first place. The good ones will find a way, just as they did when Deadspin got ripped apart, root and branch, and David Roth and Drew Magary and the rest of them went and founded Defector. Now that, I can tell you first-hand, is money well spent.

I mean, you saw the Plott thing, right? The usual hackjob Cletus safari, this time about white college-educated Trump voters in Georgia. Turns out one of these plain folks on the street was the president of a Young Republicans chapter (cell, pod, whatever -- the guy's in his fuckin' 30s, which tells you he's really there to wow some coed chooch with how he rolls with Dear Leader's inner circle or some shit), and another was a paid Republicon consultant.

The 'splainin' and backpedaling was as hilarious as you might assume, but here's the thing --  this is something that a professional journamalist would have been fired for in the past, and the Times has done this shit multiple times before on previous Cletus safaris. They frequently talk with county GOP chairs in Indiana and Kansas without identifying them as such. These articles aren't just tedious and unseemly, the lack of sourcing on them frequently puts them in the "journalistic malpractice" category.

I should be clearer -- what Plott did was not any sort of error or mistake or oversight, though it's being retroactively characterized that way. She wrote for the Atlantic before going to the Times. She knows what she's doing, and if she doesn't then maybe she needs a couple years stringing for some podunk rag so she figures out one of the cardinal tenets of decent journalism. This should be unacceptable, yet it has become routine. Plott is a self-professed Ann Coulter fan-girl. She knows exactly what she did, and why she did it.

But the fix is in, and it's mostly because these trust-fund babies need their fucking horse-race, the hell with the consequences for actual human beings.

Broadly speaking, there are four possible outcomes for next week:

  1. Trump wins, GOP retains Senate. Game over. Either get your papers in order and start looking abroad, or learn to deal with the reality of it. The people who have been warning of "creeping authoritarianism" are, it will turn out, underselling it by a country mile. It will be Trump Unchained; it will spell the end of what's left of this rotted, doddering empire. A.R. Moxon has a fantastic thread enumerating the likely results. For the rest of my lifetime and probably yours, it will be a continued decline in every aspect -- economic, cultural, diplomatic, and more.
  2. Biden wins, GOP retains Senate. The slide into collapse will be slower, but no less sure. The remaining Goopers may half-heartedly pretend to reject Spray-Tan Satan and all his nefarious works, but only a complete moron could fail to see that Trump has been the culmination of the party, that everything that has taken place has not been in spite of him, but because he and they are perfectly aligned. They'll do everything they can to hamstring Biden and grease the skids for Josh Hawley, who is slightly more intelligent than Trump, but whose religious fanaticism is much more sincere.
  3. Trump wins, Dems flip Senate. This scenario is highly unlikely, but then look what we thought was impossible just four years ago. This would actually be better than the second outcome, as a Democratic Senate could effectively tie Trump's tiny, tiny hands in many areas. Whether they actually would, though, is as always a matter of fanciful speculation. Most of these assholes couldn't find their balls in a dark room with both hands and a flashlight. But the possibility would at least be there.
  4. Biden wins, Dems flip Senate. Obviously the best possible outcome, and one with a pretty fair chance of actually occurring. Since we've just come to passively accept that Trump will cheat or steal a close election, this scenario has to be assumed to be at least something of a blowout -- roughly a 2:1 EC spread, and probably about a 53-47 D-R spread (including Sanders and King on the D side). This gives the Dems a clear mandate to start unfucking everything Trump and his scumbag administration has done. Again, whether they will actually take yes for an answer and act quickly and decisively is another story. It's not an exaggeration to say that the next couple decades (at the very least) in this country will be directly determined by the choices they make in this scenario.

For what it's worth, despite my usual cranky pessimism, I am still cautiously optimistic that the last outcome will be the one that happens. Seventy million people have already voted, obviously an unprecedented number. We've all seen the videos of lines in state after state -- not just in corrupt shitholes like Georgia and Texas, but even in "safe" states like New York. This nation's voting system, state by state, is a fucking disgrace and an embarrassment, criminally so, and it should be one of the top three priorities for a Biden administration to address.

But it's probably safe to assume that most people do not wait for hours in line to vote for the politicians who made them wait for hours in line to vote. You know?

(California, I am pleased to report, seems to have a voting system that actually functions pretty well. I voted three weeks ago, and have already checked and verified that my vote was received and tallied. As I always point out, one in eight Americans live here, so as much as outliers like to complain -- and like any other state, California certainly has its problems -- this is something that is working at a very large scale. Maybe it's not the smartest idea in the world to have essentially fifty different voting systems. Maybe it's time to standardize as much of this as possible, and not leave substantial swaths of the country at the mercy of backdoored Serbian software with no paper trails.)

Prison for praise is not worth thinking
Sin is still in and our ballots are shrinking
So unleash the dogs - the only solution
Forgive and forget, fuck no
I'm talking about a revolution -- Corrosion of Conformity, Vote With a Bullet

Enough people seem to be ready to change the channel on this reality shitshow, and that's at least something. But we all have to do this with the realization that, even in a 538-0 EC massacre, an 80-20 popular vote split, even if that were to occur, the work still needs to be done, and it's just beginning.

And I wouldn't discount the very real probability -- fairly low but not insubstantial -- that the Supreme Court will steal it for him, right out in the open. Brett "Rapebro McGambledrunk" Kavanaugh's specious, nakedly partisan ruling essentially boils down to states can count ballots as long as they're Republicon ballots, and again, they're not even trying to hide this. Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Barrett (Ofjesse) all cut their teeth helping Fredo Arbusto steal the 2000 election from one Albert Arnold Gore, Junior.

(Knowing what you now know, you think maybe Gore should have carried his home state, or picked a decent running mate, or maybe fought harder for Florida? It really isn't 100% Thanksralph's fault here, not by a long shot. There's a lot of blame to go around.)

Political common taters across the spectrum are fond of pointing the finger at this or that party or elected representative as some sort of strategic or logistical fulcrum by which legislative impunity or perfidy gets leveraged. But every elected representative, no matter how great or awful, is an accurate reflection of the people who voted for them -- and of the people who couldn't be bothered to show up to vote against them.

This is the foundational problem with democracy, it turns out -- in a nation teeming with Idiocracy rejects, the fact of the matter is that no matter how smart or engaged you might be, the system is always at the mercy of the dumbest, most inconsiderate dipshit in the class.

Just like real life -- the last time you drove somewhere, it wasn't the 95% of drivers who watched where they were going and paid attention who you noticed, it was that asshole that merged right on your front bumper and hit the brakes. It's that jerkoff that takes two or three parking spots because he's just that fuckin' special. It's the tool in Costco that leaves their flat-cart across the middle of the aisle while they waddle away for "just a second" to find that five-gallon bucket of mayonnaise.

So it is with the process of collectively determining who might be the best-suited to manage the nation's well-being, to maintain its increasingly tenuous standing in an interdependent world that has already begun shifting its focus to the burgeoning Indian Ocean nations. It's the "undecided" voters, these fickle doofuses trudging along in "swing" states, who can't muster much in the way of empirical facts, but do understand all too well the disproportionate power they wield just because they live in Ohio or Florida.

(I don't know if we'll ever be rid of the damned Electoral College, but it would be the biggest favor we ever did ourselves, regardless of political affiliation. The look on my few remaining Republicon friends' faces when I remind them that, since they're in California, their votes don't really count, is priceless.

But the fact of the matter is, the only people who still support keeping the EC are the same people who support all the various, nefarious forms of voter suppression across the country. It all boils down to the same thing:  they're afraid of a fair fight. That's all there is to any of this. The fact of the matter is that there are some people who believe that rather than one citizen equals one vote, that one dollar or one acre equals a vote. Wonder who they keep getting that notion from.)

From time to time throughout this wondrous year, I have mentioned that I will be shutting down the blog at the end of the year. This was a decision I had made in the Before Times, before the #TrumpPlague took over everyone's lives, whether or not it actually infected them. I would modify that ever so slightly and say that there is a slim chance -- like five to ten percent -- that in the instance of Outcome #4 listed above (Biden wins; Dems flip Senate) I might instead take a brief hiatus and then return in some limited format, a couple posts a month or something.

For a while I thought about starting a Substack and at least collecting beer money for my cranky perambulations, but the fact is that it's increasingly difficult to keep writing about the same things over and over again. Turns out the daily spew from a hideous rage-goblin gets old after a while. And win or lose, the fucker ain't going away until the bitter end.

Trump has indeed sucked most of the oxygen out of the room and made it all about him, as he does, but there's more to it than that. Frankly, it's beyond demoralizing to be reminded on a daily basis that at somewhere between a third and half of your fellow citizens are fine with all this winning, that they want more of it, now. It's almost as demoralizing to consider that the putative opposition party has to be cajoled and wheedled into doing the bare minimum -- and frequently not even that -- to protect basic constitutional norms, to at least try to uphold the remaining integrity of the document they swore to protect and defend.

Even in the best case scenario, the winning party will have to be reminded constantly that there is no "returning" to a pre-Trump "normal," that those days are gone for good, and they can't get there from here. And while I get that all of us have been exhausted by this ridiculous toddler and his scummy family and henchmen, I frankly don't trust anyone beyond the usual "political junkie" (a pejorative I've always despised, connoting as it does an unreasonable fixation on, you know, what the people who make decisions that affect everyone's lives are doing and saying) class to remain engaged.

This thing will not work -- will grind to a fucking halt, I promise you -- if enough people are not willing to stick with it, to show up and vote every time, to make sure they're registered, to pay attention to who's doing what. As long as we have a critical mass of people who can only (maybe) be motivated by well-meaning pods of strangers, canvassing neighborhoods like Jehovah's Witness to plead with their fellow citizens to do their bare basic minimum civic duty, we're going to keep coming back to this.

Except the next Trump won't be a slobby, ludicrous buffoon. We all know that, but it's as if we're all waiting for someone else to do something about it. And it's true that as individuals, we have been rendered powerless in most respects.

But one thing you do have control over is the realization that the American political media -- with a few notable exceptions, but by and large -- is nothing more than a giant PR machine for the psychotic billionaires who really run this joint. Frank Zappa once said that "politics is the entertainment arm of industry," and boy was he ever right about that. There is not a lot of daylight between the coverage of most of those shows, and that of the Kardashians.

(Again, you can only generalize so far, but it tells you a lot about a certain number and type of person that anyone at all is still paying attention to those useless dunces. They can't just go rent their fucking island for their birthday and leave the rest of us alone, they have to rub everyone's nose in it. For the love of all that is profane and unholy, change the goddamned channel on these people, none of whom have ever done a single thing to merit the slightest bit of attention.)

So boycott the political media, boycott their sponsors, tell them what you're doing and why. If enough people do that, they will have to listen. CNN would be a great place to start -- CEO Jeff Zucker is one of the two people most responsible for Trump (Mark Burnett being the other so, uh, you might want to boycott The Voice while you're at it). The current dingbat posing as press suckaterry for this human centipede of an administration got her start as the token yammering conservatard on their stupid panel shows.

I think most normal people would prefer to just cast their vote and then get back to their lives. That is not feasible for at least the next few election cycles, if ever. Unless you stock the entire Democratic party with AOC clones, people who are passionate and smart and actually give a shit, and who you don't have to watch 24-7, this is how it is for now. We will have to keep Biden and Harris to their word; we will have to make our senators step up their game and get shit done, to put country not only party, but over whatever remnants of "collegiality" they want to cling to.

There are no good Republicons. They must be crushed. That's all there is to it.

The choice here is flawed but obvious -- fascism or not-fascism. White supremacy and theocratic authoritarianism with a corporate veneer, or not. I can give you a dozen things that annoy me about Joe Biden, but as P.J. O'Rourke memorably said about Hillary Clinton, Biden is "wrong within normal parameters."

If there's a more perfect metaphor for everything Trump has done in his life -- not just as chief executive, but all along -- it was last night. He held another super-spreader rally in Omaha -- where exactly one electoral vote is at stake -- and thousands of attendees, many of them elderly and enfeebled, were stranded for hours in the 31-degree night. At least seven of these idiot codgers were taken to the hospital for hypothermia.

To which I say, Good. Serves them right. I wish them all the very worst things in life, for however much remains for them. If they still want to vote for the geezer freezer after that, they deserve every single bit of the predictable consequences.

It's important to see things and people as they really are, and to act accordingly. Not react -- you don't need to run out and tell all your relatives and co-workers to go fuck themselves. That accomplishes nothing. It means to understand them, perhaps better than they are willing to consider the situation and understand themselves on honest terms, and take it from there. Maybe they can be reasoned with, maybe not. If not, just walk away, don't engage. Not worth your time to try to reason with people who have chosen to live in their own reality.

And in that instance, it's also an important fact to keep in mind -- Trump is an authoritarian fascist in nature and character, and will always behave as such. He cannot do otherwise. His party has chosen to ride along as far as the road takes them. The people who show up to the rallies have chosen the same path. They are all complicit in what has happened, and what is yet to happen. This is important to keep in mind.

Consider the following sketch:  two young men, Jeff and Larry, pull up to a convenience store. Jeff is driving, Larry is going to enter the store and rob it.

EXT. SHOT -- STORE PARKING LOT:  Car pulls abruptly into parking space near entrance. LARRY hops out and heads through the door.

INT. -- CONVENIENCE STORE:  LARRY looks around the store, sees no other customers, approaches counter and pulls a gun on CLERK.

LARRY:  Give me everything in the register and the safe.

CLERK [opening register]:  I can't open the safe.

LARRY [takes register cash, clearly dismayed at the measly amount]:  This all you got?

CLERK [bemused]:  No one pays with cash anymore. You know what year it is, right?

LARRY [glares, pissed]:  Smart-ass motherfucker! [shoots CLERK twice, heads out door and back to car]

JEFF:  You have a gun? That wasn't part of the plan.

LARRY:  What'd you think I was gonna rob him with, a spoon? Get the fuck out of here!

Now, at that point, Jeff has a choice to make. He can get out and run, and when the authorities eventually catch up to him he can hopefully convince them that he really didn't know Larry had a gun, or that he would shoot the clerk. Or he can put the car into gear and start driving away, which would immediately make him an accomplice, just as surely as if he'd killed that clerk himself. As far as the law is concerned, Jeff is a mur-diddly-urderer, pure and simple.

So it is with anyone still willing to support Trump, and especially the people attending the rallies, paid or not. There's still time to get out and run, but they choose not to. This is entirely of their own volition, and pretending that some Russian micro-targeted ad campaign bamboozled them somehow is just about the dumbest thing to believe in. They know what they're doing, what they're supporting, and why they're there. He's spreading hate, lies, fear, violence, and disease, and they want all of that, as if it's the purest heroin, injected straight into the collapsed veins of their arms. They can't get enough of it. If someone created Trump suppositories, these rubes would kill each other with their bare hands just for the right to stick one up their gaping assholes.

[Note to self:  Possible marketing idea -- Trump suppositories. Soaked in oxy or fentanyl maybe? Cheap vodka? Red white and blue, or would color really matter once they've been used? The whole family, or just the big guy?]

How many times can you hear it? It goes on all day long.
Everyone knows everything, and no one's ever wrong -- until later.... -- Rush, Show Don't Tell

It's important to see them for who they are, and to act accordingly -- not to confront them directly, since we've already established that as a complete waste of time, but to find ways to counteract them, to offset the things they do and say.

But there's a difference between paying sufficient attention and showing up as needed, and immersing ourselves in the arcane strategies of the weasel-faced consultants who appear like young Jimmy the Greek types, to offer their pigskin prognostications. Those people are only talking to each other, and to potential clients. They are not talking to you. Ignore them.

I made a decision to see this through partly out of some perverse sense of "duty," to make it to the end of this dismal movie, to watch how the fifty-car pile-up turns out, etc. That is definitely a huge factor in this. I've watched every scene of this stinker so far, I might as well see the end.

But there's also the realization that there really is no end, not a clean, defined one anyway. Either Trump wins and we're done, as far as an America that suits the majority of its inhabitants, or the Democrats win and we get to watch their feckless dithering for a couple years. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The only end that really matters is how each of us can begin turning away from this ongoing wreck, this sham of a government, and get back to fulfilling what used to be important to us individually. Surely we must be motivated by something more than tuning in for this week's scaremongering. I think a lot of us have lost some of that along the way. There are times when I think I have lost that, and other times when I look back and find a random past post to review and think, okay, that was pretty damned good. I caught something there.

There will be a few posts to wrap up the end of the election cycle, the year, etc. Stay tuned, stay frosty. Keep your fingers crossed for the big day. I'm always glad to be wrong about this sort of thing -- maybe it'll all work out. See you next Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Rush to Judgment

Not going to waste much time or effort on this, because he really isn't worth it, but it is a fine larf to see some of the usual dopes entreating us to "be best" or whatever, with Rush Limbaugh's supposedly terminal diagnosis. (I thought he was stage four -- which, in my understanding, generally means "there's nothing more we can do" -- back at the beginning of the year.)

I could say something shitty, like hoping that every breath he continues to draw is more agonizing than the previous one, something like that. But the fact is that you have to care about something or someone in order to hate it (them) sufficiently. And I just don't care, at all.

I assume that most people, once they hit a certain age, begin having those little existential conversations with themselves. What kind of mark will I make? How will people remember me? What part of me will live on, and for how long?

Obviously, for 99.9999% of us (not an empirically proven number), the answers are, in order:  Little to none; fondly (at best) for a while, then less and less; very little, and not for very long. Even for people with large families and/or large groups of friends, they all move on at some point.

Limbaugh has made hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several decades by poisoning the well of what passes for American political discourse. People reflexively point to him calling then thirteen-year-old Chelsea Clinton "the White House dog" early in his career, but the fact is that that's one of his more harmless bits.

He's always been a cheerful prevaricator, a passer of rumors and innuendo, the orchestrator of an endless campaign of calumny and fear. Basically his show and his schtick have been an ongoing false-flag operation, distracting his rube audience with fake misdeeds from the Democratic villains of his passion play, while his Republicon saints robbed the country blind and stupid.

Here's what he had to say about Ruth Bader Ginsburg a couple years ago -- or has he memorably dubs her, Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg. [Ed:  Hi-yooooo!] You can see where Genius Q. Dealmaker swiped his splendiferous gift for nicknamification. Truly, this is inspired stuff. And he couldn't even wait for the body to get cold before he was clamoring for a (fascist) replacement to be installed in the seat.

It goes without saying that the people who will have anything positive to say about Limbaugh are the same sort of arm-dragging troglodytes who will miss Trump when that final Double Whopper finally takes him to hell. Limbaugh's impact is arguably larger than Trump's, and in fact, it's clear that the life's work of the former was to set the stage for the latter, to keep people dumb and angry and eager for the next day's outrage pill, like the Skinner-box rodents they really are.

Like I say, I don't really give two shits whether Limbaugh keels over tomorrow or ten years from now, because his legacy and operational principles will be the same either way:

  1. The herrenvolk are entitled to their own set of rules and customs, which (as Frank Wilhoit so memorably put it) protect but don't bind them, while simultaneously binding but not protecting everyone else.
  2. Hate and bullshit are easier to digest -- and more profitable! -- if you stuff those turds into a handful of cheesy "jokes" and nicknames, all of which are meant to be taken with utmost seriousness, while also being used as a shield to deflect the opposition's "humorless" rebuttals.
  3. The bigger the lie, the more they believe it.

The one thing I actually do hope for Limbaugh is that, in his quiet, more reflective moments, when the microphone and lights are off, when he sits in his vast, empty mansion with his cat and his current wife, that he really thinks to himself about whether the life he chose to lead was the life he had dreamed of when he was younger, and if not, what might have gone differently.

The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, and it sure doesn't hurt for everyone to take note that Limbaugh got a much fairer shake out of life than most decent people, and that whether we're "good" or "bad", we all end up the same.

So you might as well do something you can actually talk about in polite company, something that you don't have to be ashamed of. Carrying water for monstrous billionaires pays well, but the fact of the matter is that after a few weeks of grief kayfabe, they'll shove Charlie Kirk or some equally useless sack of shit in the chair to carry the water and poison the well, and Limbaugh will be completely forgotten within five or ten years, except for those who spit when they say his name, like Father Coughlin or Lord Haw Haw. Some legacy.

The main thing for liberals and Democrats is not to let themselves be gulled into this "let's be nice" high-road sucker's game. You have no obligation to forgive your abusers or their enablers, nor to mourn their demises. The fact is that they seek this absolution only as a way of minimizing the abuse and its effects. They don't actually care if you "forgive" them or are "civil" to them; it's just a cynical ploy to keep you on your back foot, to remind you that they will never give you the courtesies they demand from you at every turn.

Keep that in mind in the weeks and months (and even years) to come, because the bigger the landslide, the more you're gonna hear this "reconciliation" bullshit, this Rodney King can't-we-all-just-get-along rhetoric, as a hasty attempt to cover their real-world efforts to undermine the Democrats -- and more importantly, democracy itself.

Never forget what the true endgame is here -- making sure only the right people get to have a say in how their world runs. Limbaugh was an important voice in distilling that toxic brew down to a level where the average Keystone Light swiller could latch on to some talking points, and never have to worry about whether they were accurate in the least.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Deep Thought #3

Imagine being such a waste of oxygen, such a completely desiccated soul, that your idea of an insult is to compare someone with Fred Rogers.

Had enough winning yet, America? Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Are you tired of people like Mercy Schlapp, a concert porta-john of a human whose husband is even worse, being given a platform, a presence, money, power? Are you tired of every day starting with waking up wondering what these fucking scabs have done today?

Do your duty, folks -- flush twice.

Deep Thought #2

I'd be happy to #BoycottNBC, but aside from Sunday night football, I never watch it. I couldn't name three shows on that network if you put a gun to my head.

That said, I mean, come on. Just what do you think is going to happen when this demented, drug-addled, still-contagious dotard is wheeled out to try his schtick on a crowd that is not comprised of his usual gaggle of booger-eating shitheads? The odds of this convincing a single person to vote for him, who wasn't already balls-deep in the cult, is about the same as the odds he'll read Infinite Jest over the holidays.

Deep Thought #1

 Maggie Haberman is a paid Trump campaign operative. Prove me wrong.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Street Voices

As penance for their miserable collective performance over, oh, let's say this past decade just to be charitable about it, for every one of these tiresome missives, there needs to be at least a dozen from people who weren't careless.

Let me play devil's advocate for a second:  look, I get it. Even people who haven't come within a hundred miles or a dozen degrees of separation from a single COVID case have still lost a year off their lives, with no real end in sight. They're tired of being cooped up. You cannot live your entire life as a bubble person, or move around in a hamster ball. You are at greater mortal risk every time you get in your automobile. These are facts.

But. The layers of bougie self-regard in this article are head-shakingly perfect. Gay and conservative and lives in Texas. So let's break that down to its chief political components:  he has a nice comfortable suburban lifestyle, so in a state that is always one hurricane season away from needing a quarter-trillion in emergency funds, in a state that has an atrocious rate of murders of trans people, in a state where slobby, neckbearded goons routinely strap on automatic weapons and drive their coal-rollers to the local Starbucks or Wal-Mart just to show everyone who's boss, this asshole almost certainly voted for a second term for Ted Cruz, and will probably do the same for fellow Trump-cuck John Cornyn. Because they assure him a lower tax bill. Everyone wants good roads and schools and services, but strangely no one wants to pay for them.

Do we have that about right? I will bet you gin-yoo-wine boner-fied folding 'murkin currency that we're in the ballpark with this one. There is no other reason for a gay man to be "conservative" in a place famous for kicking the shit out of people like him, not to mention the fact that there are no more true conservatives as such, just supernumeraries in a reactionary cult.

We'll never know, because this guy never quite indicates that he's learned his lesson from all this, from watching his beloved father-in-law (who was younger than me, for chrissake) die from the #TrumpPlague, to nearly dying from it himself. He just gives us a rather gnomic, pensive closer: 

There’s no relief. This virus, I can’t escape it. It’s torn up our family. It’s all over my Facebook. It’s the election. It’s Trump. It’s what I keep thinking about. How many people would have gotten sick if I’d never hosted that weekend? One? Maybe two? The grief comes in waves, but that guilt just sits.

Is he responsible for his FIL's untimely death? I wouldn't say so, but I get why he feels guilty about it all the same. The question becomes, what do you intend to do to make up for whatever it is you feel guilty about? How do you intend to move forward from this year of personal tragedies? It is not accidental that I use the word intend; to absolve our consciences and expiate our sins, real or imagined, requires us to think and act with real intent.

It would be nice if you could separate the medical dimensions of the pandemic from the political dimensions. It would also be fantastic if a duffel bag packed with unmarked benjamins was delivered to my front porch by a nekkid Scarlett Johansson. Tomorrow morning would be perfect; I usually wake up and start getting ready for work at about 6:15 a.m.

So I don't know what is meant by the wishy-washy phrasing of It’s the election. It’s Trump. I suppose it shows at least an implicit realization of how Trump's sociopathic indifference contributed heavily to the rapid, dangerous spread of this virus that killed someone he cared for deeply. But it does not convey a seriousness of purpose, an understanding that all the politicians who run the state he lives in bear responsibility for this as well.

There has been an immense amount of suffering and loss this year, for people of all ages, races, economic groups, geographic regions, all walks of life. The pain has been spread far and wide, but definitely not equally. Some have had to bear unthinkable losses, while some (like me) have had minor inconveniences at worst. It's not fair.

But it is connected in some instances to how seriously each of us chooses to take the situation, and how our choices inform our intent to move forward and on with our lives, as this plague hopefully fades away.

Now, what if it doesn't fade away? What if it lingers into next spring, and then next summer mutates (it is a virus, after all) into COVID-21? What do you think your elected representatives at the federal, state, and local levels should do to prepare for such and instance, and react in the event it occurs? Do you want more of the same? How's this magickal year been going for you so far?

Only Tony Green can answer those questions for himself. But it's those answers that determine whether he's actually learned anything from all this, and whether he intends to move beyond his own personal guilt and grief.

In the meantime, hey, dear media, what if you actually published something from someone who paid attention, wore the masks, did the distancing, didn't get weird or emotional or flip out over basic acts of common courtesy, just did their part to pull their weight and not spread the fucking plague. I wonder what that might be like, to give just a small token affirmation to the millions of people out there who have been doing all those things, instead of making fools out of themselves at Trader Joe's.

Part of the reason we have all become convinced that everyone else is some toxic combination of idiot and asshole is because that's all that's modeled for us by our insect corporate overlords. It's always the wizened, bigoted shithead in the haunted Pennsyltucky Stuckey's that gets the coverage, never the church deacon who quietly runs the food bank for the town and hustles shekels from the local car dealers to try to advance his part of Christ's mission, just an inch or two at a time.

To listen to the American corporate media for any length of time is to slowly condition oneself to think that man-bites-dog stories are routine and average and normal. They have become accustomed to the notion that all over this vast nation of ours, right now people are biting dogs by the score. There is no proper sense of perspective or proportion.

When the majority of the voices amplified consistently are the voices of shitheads and scumbags, it's not unreasonable to start assuming that we're outnumbered by shitheads and scumbags. Who knows? Maybe we are. We're about to find out, one way or the other, but the fact is that either result is going to require action with intent. But I think it's safe to say that the picture they've been painting is not very accurate. Their overweening obsession with clickbait and access and selling boner pills and cheeseburgers has clouded their judgment and compromised their stated professional mission.

Turns out the news actually is fake, to some extent, though in neither the scope, scale, nor direction that Dear Leader supposes, in his endless parade of self-loathing and eternal butt-hurt. But it's up to us to let them know we've had enough.

If you think it sucks that the Vichy Times continues to employ a "journalist" who is such a shamelessly lazy hack that she literally amplified a Wile E. Coyote-grade "scandal" from Rudy Ghouliani's scotch-soaked brain, before checking a single detail to find out that it was complete bullshit, then stop giving them your money. Encourage them to fire her worthless ass. Honestly, when was the last time -- or any time -- that Maga Haberman told you anything you wanted to know or didn't already know? When was the last time she didn't use her access to function as a propaganda vessel for these monsters?

If you think it's bullshit that NBC "News" has decided to rush a me-too clown-hall event for Dear Leader, then you need to realize that they're doing this as a favor to Mark Burnett, who ran Trump's dipshit fake-tycoon show, and now has The Voice as one of his more lucrative properties. So? Boycott NBC, especially that show. Boycott anything with Burnett's name on it; all he does is reality garbage, so it shouldn't be too difficult to figure those out.

If we want to get rid of the bastards and monsters who are ruining everything, the first step is to stop giving them money. Otherwise, expect more of the same, since they literally have no disincentive to change anything.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Judging Amy

The religious fanaticism is only part of Judge Handmaid's problem. Her willingness to undo every meaningfully liberal piece of legislation in the past seventy years is just another part of the problem.

Don't get me wrong, these are both major problems. But as with Rapebro McGambledrunk, the worst problems are the ones that seem to get the least amount of attention. I mean, yes, Kavanaugh is a piece of shit blackout-drunk party-rapist, but instead of getting into the weeds on some unprovable he-said/she-said shit from thirty-odd years ago, maybe someone should have asked at his confirmation hearing who paid off his mortgage and his quarter-million-dollar credit-card debt. You know?

So it is with Judge Handmaid. Plenty of people have joked before about Trump trying to appoint "Judge" Jeanine Pirro to the Supreme Court, but Pirro actually spent more time as a judge than Amy Barrett. The judges on The People's Court all spent more time as judges.

Barrett is nothing more than a partisan hack who clerked for Combover Tony Scalia and became a law professor at Notre Dame, before Moscow Mitch handed her a seat on the Seventh Circuit as a full-throated fuck you to Barack Obama.

(Maybe it's just me, but if anyone treated me for a day the way McConnell treated Obama for the full eight years, I'd paint that motherfucker's office with Novichok and polonium. I have zero admiration for Obama's ability to silently eat shit from these mutants in perpetuity. To loosely paraphrase Stokely Carmichael, that high-road shit only works when your opponent has a conscience.)

The idea that she's "brilliant" or even significantly qualified has no clear evidentiary basis. I've seen judges on Law & Order with more purpose and gravitas. She and Kavanaugh are there for the same reason -- loyalty over ability. They are owned and operated by the scummy, secretive billionaires whose prime directive is paying half of the peons to murder the other half, while poisoning as much air and water as possible.

Our wondrous corporate media, content to fake their librul quals all the way to the bank, are obsessed with asking each other and opining on Biden's refusal to offer specifics on "court packing," which of course is what Moscow Mitch has been doing for a full decade now. After stonewalling Obama on judicial appointments for six years (again, thanks a fucking million, all you Democratic voters who couldn't bother your precious selves in the 2010 and 2014 midterms), since 2016 Mitch has turned the Senate into a rubber stamp for every Federalist Society squid imaginable -- the younger and dumber the better, so's they can infest the system for the next two generations.

So maybe some enterprising mediot might want to take it upon themselves to ask any Republicon senator about whether they'd pack the court more, should Trump get re-elected and they hold the Senate. Because I would bet you actual folding currency that they will.

Reversing "cultural" decisions like Roe and Griswold are just the start. Those things are just cover for their real agenda -- turning back employment rights, dismantling the EPA, bolstering the domestic white-power herrenvolk police state, and making sure that fewer and fewer people are able to vote in response to it all.

There appears to be reason for cautious optimism that Biden could win decisively, and the Democrats could pick up a solid majority in the Senate. It is absolutely imperative, not just for the good of the country, but for the continued viability of the Democratic Party, that if that does happen, they need to act swiftly and decisively, and not worry about what shitheads like Chuck Todd say about it, and to make sure that their treasonous "colleagues" across the aisle are given good reason to fear their own destruction. Any other outcome would be catastrophic.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Doctor My Eyes

Oh brother, here we go again:  boy is Doctor Fauci angry with Trump's disrespect and lying now. Ooh, you can just feel the palpating fury and seething resentment, can't you? Yeah, baby, he's had it. Don't make him take his glasses off.

Give me -- and I cannot emphasize this enough, as they say -- a fucking break. Any "doctor" who continues to ply their trade for these murderous scumbags has abdicated their oath, period, full stop. That is all there is to this anymore. They are flacks for a monster who fantasized about wearing a Superman tee-shirt on his way out of the hospital last week, for some pathetic publicity stunt.

(Frankly, I think it's a goddamned shame someone talked him out of it. This is the sort of high-fiber content his shitbag cult deserves to be thumped over the head with.)

You could have made some sort of argument -- one I would still have disagreed with, but one which at least had some amount of good-faith reasoning behind it -- up till about June or July that Fauci felt that his comparatively moderating presence had some sort of practical effect on at least keeping the spread and the count lower than they could be.

Two hundred and twenty thousand deaths and eight million cases into this, though, and three weeks from the election, this is no longer remotely true. Fauci is, as he has been the entire time, providing a thin veneer of "respectability" to the ongoing carnage. Frankly, he should be ashamed of himself at this point. I'm embarrassed for him. I do not find him a credible figure; the fact that he is permitted a bit of room to roam with public "disagreements" and averrals does not change the fact that he clearly knows what kind of animals he carries water for, and still chooses not to set down the buckets and walk away.

Fauci turns eighty this Christmas Eve, so this is not about maintaining his career opportunities, or even burnishing his legacy, since his complicity these past months have, if anything, undermined that legacy.

If Dr. Fauci is truly committed to conveying accurate scientific medical information to a country in crisis from a deadly pandemic, then doesn't it make more sense for him to walk away from his role as a government minion, and be completely unconstrained by destructive, poisonous political considerations? I don't know what the man's fucking problem is, and I give up asking.

You're not saving a bunch of lives in the next three weeks by letting a piece of shit like Donald Trump dump on you further. Do what you should have done three months ago, and join Biden's campaign, and hit the chat-show circuit with the truth. Get that monkey off your back once and for all, doc. The best legacy is doing the right thing when it matters most.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Season's Beatings (October Edition)

Lost in the narrowed bandwidth of the corporate "broadcasting" channels was the secretly recorded call between Melanoma Tramp and her former sidekick, Stephanie Something-Or-Other-Who-Fuckin'-Cares, in which Melanoma basically said "fuck Christmas." As we all know from Saint Bill O'Reilly of the Church of Loofah Harassment, there's a WAR ON CHRISTMAS, YOU GUYS, which makes the Baby Jesus cry tears of blood or something.

So one might think -- if one were, let's say, stupid enough to expect anything resembling intellectual consistency from the ghouls and rage-monkeys that still fester in that cult of disbelief -- that there might be some sort of outcry or resentment brewing among the Xmas war widows, who have indeed sacrificed more than anyone deployed in an actual war. I don't think anyone's holding their breath, right?

Here's what's annoying about that exchange, and Melanoma's bilious rant:  this fucking broad, who has never done a goddamned thing since arriving in this country but rent out her orifices, has the fuckin' balls to complain about having to put up Christmas decorations. Maybe if we all chipped in and left a C-note or two on the end table, so she feels duly compensated?

I mean, I couldn't possibly care less about White House Christmas decorations, and am repulsed by the Fixed Noise crowd's endless efforts to weaponize the whole thing. I despise all the pro forma bullshit that presidents and even congress members go through routinely, from pardoning turkeys to pledging allegiance to a flag that currently represents nothing but greed and stupidity and indifferent brutality. I actually agree with Melanoma's "fuck Christmas" rant, as far as that goes. But, uh, coming from someone who doesn't actually do anything, but wants all the perks and treats and privileges that come with it? Hey, fuck you, lady. Go back home to your NYC tower and fuck your boyfriend.

This sense of entitlement these people just take as natural, it is not natural, I assure you. The average schmuck is generally grateful just for simple things like good health and stable employment in a job that doesn't make them die inside a little more each day. Most people would kill -- like literally push a button on a stranger -- to have the kind of money and power and privilege that some people take not only for granted, but as their due, as what is owed to them.

Nobody in the Trump family, least of all the current generation, has ever added any value to the world. They just take and consume and pit the peons against each other for their amusement. That's all any of them are capable of, renting weak, morally compromised people to push around. You wouldn't miss any of them if they were suddenly gone, or (better yet) had never been there in the first place.

You want an "alternative history" counterfactual? Imagine for a moment if you had never heard the name "Donald Trump." I don't mean that he didn't get into politics, or even that he didn't exist at all. He existed, but wasn't built up over decades by credulous media dupes. He was just a somewhat wealthy asshole who kept it to himself and stayed off everyone's radar, didn't have to hump the world's leg for decades on end in a futile attempt to recoup the love daddy never showed him. He wasn't given a teevee show for a decade where he pretended to be a big shot and fooled millions of other credulous dupes out there in Real 'murka that he wasn't really a morally depraved money launderer who wanted to bang his own daughter.

Just imagine such a thing for a moment. You feel calmer and more meditative, don't you?

These people are not just bad at politics, they're objectively horrible people, in every way conceivable. I can't even conjure up a proper image of the sort of drooling moron who seriously thinks that any of these scumbags gives half a shit about anyone who isn't themselves. They don't even like each other, they sure don't give a fuck about anyone else.

These idiot fans hang out with their ridiculous cult flags, out in front of a hospital that has a children's oncology ward, among other things, where very sick people are trying to convalesce, while these chimps make noise and bleat undying fealty to their god-emperor-doctor, Kim Don Un, hoping he might come out and wave to them in his limitless beneficence. These sad motherfuckers deserve every little thing life has in store for them.

Extra points for Stormy Daniels' response to Melanoma -- who did softcore shoots of her own, and supposedly some "escorting" as well before she latched onto her booger-daddy -- talking trash about Daniels' five minutes of fame with Mister Man. We can assume it looked more or less like a dick, only smaller.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Ain't That a Shame

As monstrous and awful as Exxon's corporate strategy is, it is also horrifically rational from their point of view, as long as people insist on consuming what they're selling, as much as possible. Next time you take a drive -- or even a walk around the block -- count the jacked-up king-cab gas-guzzlers you see, and multiply by a million, or maybe ten million. Maybe you drive one yourself.

How much meat do you eat, and how often, and where do you acquire it? How many kids do you have? Are they grown, and if so, what do they drive? Again, multiply all those factors by millions, just in the USA, and you can see Exxon's rationale.

Exxon is not the problem. They are giving a critical mass of people what they want. Sure, the entire American corporate media system is really just a giant PR machine calibrated to turn you into a mindless Homer Simpson consumer drone who self-actualizes through big trucks and bigger cheeseburgers. But each of us -- a cell lit of awareness! -- gets to decide whether we want to wallow in that or not.

Economists talk of  behavioral "incentives" and "disincentives" through taxing and regulating various externalities, and they're not wrong. But the truth is much simpler and darker than that. We want to believe that people are intrinsically "good" and rationally self-interested, but we know that the former is subjective and conditional at best, and the latter is only occasionally true. The most charitable way to phrase it might be to point out the obvious -- that your "good" and my "good" almost certainly do not align 100%, and in fact may not even intersect.

One always has to take pains to preface these sorts of blanket statements with the usual "not all" disclaimer, and of course this applies here as well. But clearly a critical mass of people would rather engage perpetually in a dance of debt with instant gratification and gluttonous consumerism, than take even an afternoon to consider their various choices and make even slight reductions.

I hold no brief for the likes of Exxon. I make no excuses for their sociopathic indifference to the planet they despoil, and the people who eke out a living on it. But like the shitty corporate both-sider media, like the shitty corporate-owned oligarchic governance paradigm, they have identified an active consumer market and cultivated it well. Enough people have made a decision to consume the product, and devil take the hindmost.

It doesn't matter if climate change is a hoax or not, if you can't get enough people to give a shit -- and I don't mean heading over to the be-in for an afternoon, but making modest but necessary changes to consumption patterns. They won't until the planet breaks a fat one off in their asses.

Rapacious resource extractors and plutocratic insurgents have been a problem since probably not long after our Mesopotamian forerunners stockpiled the first agricultural surplus. But that problem has always been contingent on lulling just enough of the peons into a permanent state of disequilibrium, of identifying that magic number of doofuses necessary to leverage, and exploiting that subset to the maximum. We are finding out in so many ways that a committed -- or even a collectively disinterested -- minority is more useful and malleable than a dispersed majority. Look around you, and understand that the US is currently in the part between the "before" and "after" photos of a collapse.

That's one thing they didn't bother to tell you when you were in school -- unless you manage to secure enough money and/or power to insulate yourself from the dumbest third of your average classroom, you will always be at their mercy, one way or another.

Old King Coal

It's good to see that at least some of the coal miners that Trump catered to bullshitted in 2016 are seeing the light. Better late than never. Welcome aboard the reality train.

What's important for them to understand is that coal employment has not declined because of inconvenient environmental regulations (as if the people who, you know, live in those areas should either go in pocket to move or wait to die young of cancer), it's because of rapidly dropping EROEI (energy returned on energy invested). Because "mining" is now more blowing tops of mountains and excavating the giant hole, rather than sending hundreds of doughty dwarves and their lanterns and pickaxes and lusty "Heigh-ho" shanties into narrow shafts [giggity]. It's simply not as labor-intensive as it was back in the day, even twenty or thirty years ago. It takes fewer work-hours to produce the same amount of coal. More than twice as many people work for Best Buy than in the entire coal industry.

Fracking and low oil prices took care of the rest of it. Natural gas and oil are simply cheaper per workforce unit to procure. As with most things, once you start looking closer at them, it's not politics, it's math.

That's why it's really important for these folks in Kentucky and West Virginia and Pennsylvania to really think clearly about whom Trump was actually talking to, when he was reaching out to the coal industry. He was not talking to the workers; he was talking to the owners, telling them he would stand aside while they busted their own industry out -- letting them pollute to their hearts' content, take profits, declare bankruptcy, and leave the workers jobless and empty-handed.

What a coincidence that West Virginia's governor, the Pynchonesquely-named Jim Justice, is a billionaire who's profited mightily from Dear Leader's gutted enviro policies, while simultaneously cashing in on "distress" loans that will never be paid back, and screwing over the workers all at the same time. Pretty neat trick. These companies literally ripped these workers off for thousands of dollars each at Christmastime. That's who we're talking about here, people for whom Monty Burns is a rather weak role model. That's who Trump was really talking to when he made his appeals to coal country.

There are always going to be a few who won't get the picture right up to the moment they get pink-slipped and hosed out of their severance pay. I don't what you can tell them or do for them; they have resolved to ignore common sense and a clear pattern of empirical data. They'll die younger than they should, in more pain than they should be, and angry at the climate change "hoax" that took their dream job away.

The path to the Green New Deal -- and to getting coal workers' support for it -- is this:  subsidize the fossil-fuel companies to switch over to manufacturing renewables -- solar panels, windmills and armatures, etc. It will not be easy and it will not be pretty -- oil companies in particular long ago got used to steamrolling their way through things by showering decision-makers with cash and/or women, and then laundering the profits.

But it can be done. These guys may not want to "learn to code," and frankly, even of they did and could, you wouldn't want all of them to do the same thing in the first place. But if you pitched it to them that they could be making the same amount of money working above ground, either in a manufacturing warehouse or outdoors installing, instead of breathing filth in a back-breaking hole and dying before the age of sixty, and leave a cleaner planet for their kids and grandkids, well, they just might listen to that.

The thing they really need to take seriously is that ultimately their "way of life" is not going to be around much longer, again for economic and productivity reasons much more than because of regulations. That's just a fact, and the sooner they start preparing themselves for that eventuality, the better off they'll be. And if not, the outcome will be the same regardless, just on a slightly different schedule.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

In the Tank

Just as a reminder that the "elite" corporate media is a major part of why we are all being forced to live in the worst timeline, here are two examples just from today:

  1. Meet the Press handed free campaign airtime to professional liar, deadbeat dad, and all-around turd Jason Miller. Imagine being so committed to your journamalistic integrity that you'll hand your show over to an unrepentant propagandist, without even a guest from the "opposition" party to give a pro forma rebuttal to the pro forma lies.
  2. NY Times "profile" of Biden's reluctance to disclose specific details on their health protocols. It took three people to slap this fucking garbage together. It's like it doesn't even occur to any of them that maybe there are legitimate security reasons why, in the current climate, campaigns wouldn't want to give up too many details about that sort of thing. If you don't think Trump's White House is full of people (such as Jason Miller) who would use that info for nefarious purposes, you really should start paying attention.

All of these fools should be made to find other work as quickly as possible. Perhaps licking every door handle and toilet seat in the White House until they catch the bug might be a good start for them.

Again, there is a small, deeply nihilistic part of me that almost hopes that these thugs retain power, bust to watch them force these useless hacks to really tow the authoritarian line, with a genuine threat of violence.

These people get paid an awful lot of money to commit grievous harm to the operational integrity of the country, in a time of severe crisis. The least we can do is bankrupt their companies and shun each and every individual involved. Fuck. These. People. Stop feeding them.

It Is What It Is; Or, Weekend At Donnie's

Since we love to live in nostalgia -- that is, the fond misrecollections of an exaggerated past -- this whole year has been a fine reminder of the protracted collapse of the Soviet Union during the 1980s. The heightened inequalities; the government-controlled (and -caused) shortages of PPE during a crisis; running out of toilet paper for weeks. Hell, try to find free weights or dumbbell plates for your home gym, seven months later. Mundane shit like that, things that never used to be an issue.

Oh yeah, and a quarter-million dead in less than a year; the tens of millions of jobs lost, many still not regained; the blatant lying and gaslighting from the government; the violent crackdowns in the streets; the looting of the national treasury by all the sycophants and hangers-on to the inner party elites.

And now, the uncertainty of Dear Leader's precious health, so reminiscent of the old days when American intel agents would micro-analyze appearances by Brezhnev or Andropov or Chernenko, how many days between public sightings, which individuals were accompanying them, their mood and coloration.

The Soviet leaders, it was commonly understood even by many 'murkin schoolchildren, were ancient, doddering alcoholics being propped up by a coterie of faithful lackeys, whose duties were not to Матушка Россия, but to whichever figurehead the military and the few people with real money and power chose to install for the time being.

Whatever the case, their true loyalties were clear -- not to the country or its people, but to its figurehead. And the disposition of that figurehead was always worse than portrayed to the willing dupes at Pravda or Izvestiya.

It's also a condition passed along from the old Союз Советских that whatever impotent opposition exists must always be kept in a permanent state of suspended veracity -- that is, for each instance or event presented to them, they are forced to go through the hapless ritual of trying to parse what is "true" and what is the game being played. Is this really a masterful jujitsu move, an eleventh-dimensional chess play designed to make the strongman appear invulnerable when he single-handedly defeats the implacable foe that has ravaged the countryside?

It's not the usual clichéd well, yes -- and no, so much as it is well, sort of -- and, seriously? I mean Jesus Christ, have you really observed how these clowns operate? Come on, they couldn't play regular chess if you made the pieces out of gold and diamonds. There is no subtlety, no strategy. There is only id and impulse and appetite.

You can be sure that if he is able to be made to seem more or less ambulatory by, say, October 13th, they will frame it as proof of the strongman's innate personal might, his good genes once again thwarting the pernicious, sneaky kung flu. But for now, one thing you can be dead certain about is that he has it, and the symptoms are probably bad enough to have them worried.

One subset of common taters and panel-show chat-monkeys that are welcome to fuck off all the way into the burning core of the sun, are the ones piously insisting that we must all set aside our grievances and wish him and his infected minions well. This captures my feelings about that adequately.

Let's gets something straight, and this is just in the past week -- it appears highly likely that the "ground zero" event for all these "leading" Republicons getting infected was their smarmy little end-zone dance last weekend for their fucking SCOTUS pick -- who herself reportedly had the bug "over the summer." But pretty much everyone who has come down with it all of a sudden was at that super-spreader event.

I've seen quite a few photos and videos from that event; some sites are going over it like the fuckin' Zapruder film. You know who I haven't seen in any of the photos or videos so far? Mitch McConnell. If he was there, he kept a low profile.

Regardless, I think you can count on it that Trump gave it to Hope Hicks, and not the other way around; that he almost certainly knew he had it before Tuesday night's debate debacle (for which Chris Christie reportedly coached Trump to be a blustery asshole in order to deliberately goad Biden into stuttering); that he definitely knew he had the bug by Wednesday when he went to Duluth, and Thursday when he held a fundraiser at his rat-infested club in New Jersey.

He knew, and he didn't give a shit. Now we're supposed to give a shit. Fuck -- and I cannot emphasize this nearly enough -- all the way off. Anyone badgering or lecturing you to be a good Christian and think of these animals as fellow human beings in need, they are cordially invited to take that proverbial bag of salted dicks, and shove them sideways into their sigmoid colons.

That's one shred of actual freedom you are still allowed to retain, това́рищ, that they haven't taken from you just yet -- the freedom to not pretend that your abusers are your fucking friends, or that you owe them any sort of grace or fealty.

Ask yourself how they would be acting, how he would be acting, if it had been Biden and Pelosi and Schumer and all them, who had tested positive. Try to conceive of the vile shit they would come up with in their gloating, and then realize that your worst assumptions are not even in the ballpark. These people are fucking scum, period. All of them.

They hate you -- I mean really, truly fucking hate you. They stole a year, probably two, from your lives. Your kids and grandkids will be paying for all the looting they've done just in the last six months, trillions of dollars spewed to the worst fucking people in the world, not to save shitty jobs but so millionaires could give each other fat bonuses and then lay off the peons.

And they lie about all of it to you every second of every day -- and then insist that you thank them for it? That you express sympathy for them when the natural consequences of their sociopathic indifference comes back to bite them?

Seems the best response to all these inner party shitheads coming down with the karmavirus is the same response they've given the entire country:  I really don't care, do you?

Thursday, October 01, 2020

October Surprise

Paul Campos at LGM has a post about the prospects of an actual slide into authoritarianism post-election, and despite my vacillations over the past few months, I actually tend to share that cautious optimism.

Part of that cautious optimism is more recent, though, and due directly as a result of Orange Foolius' catastrophic debate performance the other night. Obviously, as we found out the hard way in 2016, debate "wins" or "losses" don't matter all that much; it is universally agreed that HFC "won" all three of her debates with #Brokeahontas, and lotta good it did her, right?

But that was then, as they say, and this is now. The people who decided to "take a chance" or "vote for change" now know what that entails. He is no longer an unknown quantity. There is zero chance he will "learn" or "grow into" the rigors of the job. He's done everything he can to cater not just to his base, but to the basest elements of that base, the worst fucking people.

Obviously this doesn't mean anything should be taken for granted, either -- just as he's never made a single honest dollar in his rotten excuse for a life, Trump has never been in a fair fight. The office he defiles daily also confers an array of powers he can deploy, and already he is trying every trick in the book, and some that aren't even in the library.

But the fact is that after months of trying to delegitimize the vote (unless he wins, of course), no one outside the cult is buying it -- in fact, no one outside the cult is buying anything he's selling at this point. People have had enough, they're exhausted, and it shows. They don't want another four years of this bullshit, accelerating into decline and incoherent fury.

And that's really what you saw in full bloom in that debate -- the heedless cruelty, the indifferent mendacity, the raging incompetence. It's been there the whole time, you know. I saw these things in him back in the 1980s, when I barely paid attention to the news. But I know a fucking asshole when I see and hear and smell one.

I honestly cannot believe anyone ever sat through five fucking minutes of his stupid show. There's a part of me -- the part that despises stupidity, that sincerely wishes for the worst things to happen to willfully dumb people -- that unfortunately believes that to some degree, this nation deserved Trump, if only to see that there is a difference, that these things do matter, and that you have to pay attention and stay engaged and take action once in a while.

I have for some months considered this election basically as a choice between Terminator 2 (where Schwarzenegger is the good Terminator) and Ike Turner. Trump goes off the rails, raging incoherently like the fundamentally abusive male that he really is at heart, saying, bitch, look what you made me do, while Biden looks out at a bemused, enervated citizenry and says, Come with me if you want to live.

That is what the choice really comes down to, and it's true all the way down-ticket. Either you support these monsters or you don't. It is that simple. Anything else is just empty, self-serving rationalization.

Two hundred thousand dead in six months is an atrocity, a grim milestone that speaks volumes about the players in question. In a nation of 330 million people, it is proportionally few, so the majority of 'murkins have had the luxury of not having had it personally affect them. I know of people second- and third-hand who have contracted the bug, maybe one person (who was nearly ninety years of age) who may have died from complications (details were not clear as they were relayed to me indirectly). I suspect many, many others are in a similar boat.

But everyone has been affected by this, regardless. At best, each and every one of us lost an entire year from our lives from this shit -- and it ain't over, not by a long shot. It is resurgent in many areas, it will gain more traction during flu season, and actual doctors are saying it could be another full year before they really have a handle on it.

So even a die-hard supporter of this raging clown has to acknowledge, if only to themselves, that their blind, stupid devotion has directly cost them a year and probably two of their actual, literal life. And it was completely preventable. All that was required was leaders who cared about their country. Instead we had a feckless dope and his scumbag enablers, people whose first and only thoughts were how to monetize the disaster.

That may not cost him the cultists -- if anything, they've shown conclusively that literally nothing will sway them, and they can go straight to hell with him -- but it doesn't gain him any converts. And the math says that the hardcore base simply isn't enough, even with the EC advantages in those states.

(I would also assume a fair-to-high probability that Brad Parscale's weekend meltdown is directly related to some serious criminality in Dear Leader's money-grab of a campaign, and that Parscale can easily be leveraged to flip on his bosses, who are already dumping him under the proverbial bus. The real question is how soon all that takes place. The guy is clearly unbalanced and stressed out. There's nothing stopping him from going straight to the media the second his 5150 hold is up.)

The other thing is that despite the constant dog-whistles and calls-to-arms for the various fascist gangs out there, there has been relatively little actual violence perpetrated by those elements, considering the scope and scale and sheer volume of the protests, and the ample opportunities for them to commit real mayhem, were they so inclined. The daily displays of vigilante theater have amounted to very little.

I don't think anyone would miss the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers if they disappeared tomorrow, but the fact is that nearly all of their activity has been the usual social-media woofing. It's disturbing that so many active LEO are affiliated with these creeps, but I bet most of them aren't willing to throw away their ability to get pensioned at forty-five or fifty years of age and start up their security consultancy or whatever. They cannot just show up and "poll watch" wherever they feel like, and the precincts that do let them get away with it are likely to be blood-red (politically, of course) anyway.

I mean, do they think we don't all notice that they never seem to show up in any, ah, black areas? You see any of these Meal Team Six boogalosers in fuckin' Compton or Milwaukee or Atlanta? There's a reason you don't, just as there's a reason that aside from a disaffected teenager who went looking for trouble in Kenosha and found it, there has been very little major violence.

Think about that for a second -- they've been encouraged for the past month from law enforcement and the highest levels of government, that there are no consequences for murdering "leftist" protesters in the middle of the street. We all assumed that they would take the wink-and-a-nod as official assent, or at least a promise to look the other way.

And yet they haven't done much of anything except get all their pieces of flair together in their gaping-asshole suburban-commando gas-guzzlers, yee-haw and stroke each other in the nearest Wal-Mart parking lot for an afternoon, and maybe cruise a few blocks in Portland with paintball guns and pepper spray. This is not to say that none of them will ever do anything, but the threat of actual, systematic political violence has not occurred, despite official approval.

(The BLM street martyrs seem to have gotten wiser about their good trouble as well. If you're not going to arm yourselves and come ready to scrap, then it's best practice to do your thing in daylight, and get home before dark. It should be clear by now that your sacrifice will change nothing, and there's nothing in this hollowed-out husk of a nation worth getting maimed or murdered for. Everyone knows Kyle Rittenhouse's name; very few people still recall the names of the people he killed and wounded.)

It may turn out to be wishful thinking, but if we get an actual landslide, the surprise might be that he and his shitbird minions will have to stand down and go away. I wouldn't be too surprised if there is at least one really ugly incident between now and, say, Thanksgiving. There's a decent chance that the mutants are keeping their powder dry for a close aftermath.

So it's up to all of us to show up and make that happen, to make the margins wide and clear enough so that the shenanigans can't work.

Truth In Advertising

I get the complaint, but honestly, I don't see the problem here:

The Agriculture Department last week began mandating that millions of boxes of surplus food for needy families include a letter from President Donald Trump claiming credit for the program.

Look, if these assholes want to remind people of why they're in such a fix that they have to go to the fuckin' food bank, I say let them dig that hole.

Hey folks, hope you enjoy the Trump Box of charity food you need because the Trump Plague killed your gig economy McJob! Don't worry, we'll send you another letter taking credit when we kill off what's left of your health care!

More seriously, yes, the preening arrogance of this fucktard and his soulless minions, entreating the peons to lavish their gratitude upon Dear Leader for his beneficence, is as off-putting as the endless stack of other things that are at least as insufferable and intellectually dishonest. After all, fellow taxpayers, you and I paid for the food in that goddamn box, not Brokeahontas there. Like everything else in his waste of a life, he lets other people pay the money and do the work, and then he steps in and slaps his name [spit] on it and takes all the credit.

Are you pissed? Good. Take that with you into the voting booth. Keep it and nurture it, wield it against every piece of shit that ever carried his water or served as a flack for him. Nurse it like a Serbian grudge, and never let it go. Value your hate and disgust, and use it to keep warm on the long, cold, dark nights to come. Trust me, they deserve so much worse.

You want to be rid of these motherless fucks, like really and forever? That's what it's gonna take, and then some. Sorry, but that's what it takes when too many of yer fella 'murkins got fat, lazy, stupid, and complacent.

The White House Dog

 I swear before everything unholy and profane that, as sure as I am sitting here, this ad was going to end with a long, lingering shot of Lindsey Graham.