Monthly Archives: December 2016
Every now and then I get frequent hits on old postings. Let me rank 2016’s most popular posts.
April 2016: Coming in a distant third is a piece on police brutality.
March 2016: A story about Nancy Reagan’s oral talents came in second.
And then, with absolutely no explanation, with more hits than second and third place put together…
May 2015: I relate that Tucker Carlson is an asshole.
Tucker continues to this very day to bring hits to my little site. I am aware that I am the third return for “tucker carlson is an asshole” on Google. Now granted, Tucker’s riding high as ever, with a hotshit website, a fellowship at Cato, and a new job at Fox. But I didn’t know that so many folks are searching for insults toward the man because of it.
What’s the deal, gang?
Well, I guess since Tucker is such a draw, I must write about him again. I’m sure he’s out there, being an asshole about something, somewhere. Let me take a look.
First hit: Tucker Carlson’s war on elitism. Let’s talk about that. I sure want to hear what a man who wore a fucking bowtie for half his professional career has to say about the snobbish.
Right now, we have a majority of the voting population who hates “elitism”. As usual, conservatives are remarkably challenged about what an “elite” is. Actual elites are making up 90% of the Trump cabinet, and the man himself is one as well. All he did was say enough Everyman dumb shit, repeated a bunch of Big Lies, and the rubes wanted more. See, “elitist” has become a epithetic substitution for “knowledgeable”. If you speak over the level of a fourth grader and critically think out of the box at all, you must be living in an ivory tower(whatever the fuck that means). So basically, what we are staring in the face come ’17 is an all-out war on academia and the press. The conservative rabble wants Newspeak, not facts. I have gotten into the muck more than I care to admit by arguing with them, and it’s getting to the point where I don’t understand what they are saying anymore because they use all this weird quasi-jargon they’ve picked up by “non-elitist” media. The advent of talk radio conglomerates gave us Rush Limbaugh, who made a living attacking institutions (calling public schools “scruels”…man, I love conservative humor, don’t you?) and people by turning words like “liberal” and “feminist” into insults. I mean, I could go back to Bircherism to find the roots of conservative Newspeak-others may be able to go farther back than that, like Chip Berlet. But this trash is now accessible to anyone who can push a button. The thing is, bullshit gubbermint conspiracies like “socialism” and “multiculturalism” are much easier to believe in than actual political science or persuasive journalism that is trying to warn them that Republicans are gunning for poor peoples’ food and medicine, or that hate crimes are on the rise or that Trump is militarizing his foreign policy outreach or that cutting taxes is ruining Kansas and your state might be next and I could go on and on. Thinking, it turns out, is hard. Something has gone seriously wrong where we stop believing our educated resources for facts. In their place is Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
So anyway, can Tucker Carlson say something intelligent about the elite and elitism?
Carlson, a conservative journalist who most recently founded The Daily Caller, a right-leaning online publication, holds ardent views about small government, excessive regulation, and a multitude of other issues typically shared among Republicans.
But the issue he perhaps is most passionate about these days cuts across party lines: He describes it as a distaste for elitism, particularly among political journalists who reside in the Acela corridor.
“What bothers me is the lack of self-awareness. I don’t know if I have ever met a group less self-aware than political reporters,” Carlson told Business Insider in a recent interview. “They honestly don’t believe that there are legitimate alternative views of anything. And like most small-minded and dumb people they are very, very quick to dismiss anything they don’t understand as crazy.”
Hm. Tucker Carlson is a political reporter and runs a site full of them. Must be non-self aware, I guess. IOKIYAR. He is basically signing on to the Trump credo that there aren’t any facts anymore. Truths are relative. While this may philosophically be a tenable position, it’s a scary way to play politics. There are facts and things we can know for certain, and they are not challengeable by “alternative views”. They are, to be blunt, wrong. A great example of this recently was the Weather Channel having to correct Breitbart for misrepresenting and misunderstanding the fundamentals of climate change. The “legitimate alternative view” was that the planet is cooling. It turns out that Breitbart didn’t know what the fuck it was talking about. And that is the fundamental characteristic of these views-they’re ill-informed. And they’re all over the place, thanks to people like Carlson who quixotically try to bring the “elite” down.
Small minded and dumb, eh, Tucker?
Pro-ject-ion. I’m all for keeping an open mind, but I’m not listening to bullshit.
What other non self-aware stuff is he saying in yonder story about elites?
Following Trump’s unforeseen election victory, the journalism community went into self-evaluation mode, hoping to understand how it had failed to see a Trump win on the horizon.
One of the immediate conclusions was that reporters had become too encapsulated in some sort of bubble. They had failed to detect, and thus understand, the sentiment of Americans residing in the heartland.
That was a conclusion with which Carlson wholeheartedly agreed.
Referencing a widely circulated quote from conservative Wisconsin-based talk-radio host Charlie Sykes, in which he suggested conservative voters were stuck in a bubble and only accepting news from right-wing sources, Carlson said the same was true of the mainstream media.
“It’s the mirror image of the world I live in,” Carlson said. “In Washington, no one believes anything unless it comes from The New Yorker, New York Times editorial page, or The Washington Post. There’s not just one bubble.”
Tucker Fucking Carlson lives in a two million dollar DC home. What world does he live in? Bueller?
At least Tucker can admit he’s in a bubble…almost. But watch carefully what Carlson is up to. He’s slandering Northeastern liberalism and the educated folk who come from there. It’s the permanently blue-voting land of ultimate urbanity-young, crowded, relatively wealthy, politically active, and schooled well enough to have a sense of social responsibility to the least of them. He’s from fucking San Francisco, so he knows those are his people across the way. But for whatever reason, Tucker probably prefers the opinions of some cow humpers in North Dakota or West Virginia instead because I figure he’s in love with the Lockean idea that workers of the land create something special and very important to Carlson and conservatives in general-property, and to a larger degree, he’s also heavily invested in the idolization of work. So he’s also fond of the opinions of people whom industry has left behind in the Midwest, I guess. Those (white) people are easy to rile up and you don’t have to look far for scapegoats. But it’s not that Carlson loves labor-he loves the authenticity, in my opinion. It helps him deal with the fact that he’s good for nothing. He’s a goddamn Episcopalian, which makes him about as necessary as an atheist in the Baptist land, but that’s another one of Carson’s adopted milieus. He romanticizes the heartland in some bizarre mechanism of self-loathing. At bottom, it’s likely a cynical calculation has also been made. Conservative media has been a cottage industry for well-nigh on two decades now, and the Daily Caller, like all right-wing projects, has a built-in, heavily propagandized and guaranteed readership/viewership.
Carlson is naive at best, and dangerous at worst to single out certain news outlets that cover Washington-two of those are papers of record, and for all their faults, are still doing the heavy lifting in journalism while the rest of us copy it. I suspect Tucker doesn’t get the cartoons in the New Yorker, so he threw them in there as well. But what I want to make clear is that he’s doing exactly what Trump and the rest of the conservative information outlets are doing-trying very hard to make people resistant to factual news. They’ve made a cuss word, a smear out of the term “mainstream”. More code and dog-whistling. If your average brainwashed Republican rube sees or hears that, they know instinctively that it is false information and can be tuned out.
This is all coming from a rather longish profile of Carlson. And my response is getting long. I may have to put this in installments, because it’s rather distracting at this point. Can I stay interested in him long enough to finish this screed? Can you?
I could have been homeschooled, if it were legal in my childhood. My mother was very protective of me and if I didn’t feel comfortable with the public schooling I got, she made a stink until I was exempt from the curriculum. And so it was that I missed 6th grade sex education, and got out of reading “Rabbit, Run” in 9th. My little fragile eggshell mind couldn’t deal with the topic of sex and sensuality. I was afraid of it, and my mother allowed me to fear it, because her Christianity taught that it was fornication outside of marriage. When I became born again myself, I felt that too. And even when I left the church and faith behind, the problems I had with sex and the sex act remained.
I didn’t fuck my first girlfriend at all and we went out for 3 years.
I’m still having sexual issues today.
There may be no continuum that links these happenings. Yet, I feel that I was grossly unprepared to be a sexual being and do attribute some of my problems today with the ones I had.
Alright. That’s enough of the personal. I’m going to talk a little about the twin phenomena of homeschooling and Christianity.
Teaching is a tough job. That’s why it should be done by teachers. But zealous Christian parents are afraid that their children will learn about sex and evolution. So they are somehow allowed to teach at home without biology and other sciences being properly presented. Add copious doses of biblical teaching, and voila, you have an uncurious, neurotic youngster who’s ill-prepared to meet the world as it really exists. And I guess that is the point, since for Christians there is much concern about “the world” and how full of evil and temptation it is.
I’m sorry, but I don’t think you should be teaching if you refer to the Bible as the authority on everything. You are going to fuck your kid up and make them believe stupid things instead of know smart things, smart things that public schools could have introduced them to.
Moving right along, let’s talk about math. Math is critical to understanding how the universe works. I am very bad at math, and so I am limited in my understanding of the damn thing. There seems to be a sort of precision to the way things are ordered. Superclusters of galaxies are distributed evenly throughout the universe. Nothing travels faster than light, which always travels at the same speed. General relativity explains the relation of gravity, mass and energy. Why, if you look at the world around you, some things are arranged by a recurring fractal pattern.
Small wonder that St. Paul thought everything was arranged perfectly, and proved to him the existence of a being, a designer who made that perfection for us. But that vision breaks down even at observable levels-climate is changing because the earth is getting hotter, storms are more destructive than ever.Volcanoes and earthquakes and floods and droughts and wars kill millions. In the theoretical world, our math is beginning to hit barriers as physicists try to grapple with quantum mechanics and strange unseen matter that has to be there because the numbers say so. Nothing is chock full of something. It’s all up in the air-it is a bewildering time to be a scientist, and yet so exciting too. But the bottom line is, the more we know, the less we understand and that is the current cycle of science. That’s a feature, not a bug.
But if you want to be an ignoramus, just claim that Jesus created math. That is not only an affront to history, it’s based on the mistaken idea that it is perfect as only a creator could be. So anyway, this dildock who homeschools is postulating exactly that. He spins a parable:
Good morning class! It’s time for us to study mathematics.” The second-grade students all open their textbooks and pick up their pencils. “Let’s review first. Who can answer this question? What is 2 + 4?”
Seven-year-old Johnny raises his hand and offers an answer. “Six?”
“Very good, Johnny!” responds his government school teacher. “That’s correct.”
Fully expecting to go on to the next question, the teacher looks back at her teacher’s manual. Her thoughts are interrupted by a raised hand out of the corner of her eye. It is Johnny. He is such a precocious and inquisitive young man.
But his question catches her off guard.
“Why what, Johnny?”
“Why does 2+4 = 6? Does it always equal six?”
“Of course it does, Johnny. Why do you ask?”
“Well, can it ever be something different? Like, seven on Monday, and eleven on Christmas, and thirty-nine on my birthday?”
“No, of course not.”
At this point, the teacher, who was not homeschooled, would have chosen something countable in the room, and proceeded to put 4 in one pile and 2 in another. She could then combine the piles and count the total. Unless Johnny wants to argue the identity of numbers themselves, he would have shut the fuck up. But that’s not the way our homeschooler looked at this supposedly intractable problem of how to explain to Johnny how math works. He thinks the teacher is in a real bind:
With this question, the teacher has just found herself in a tight spot. Like it or not, she is facing a question that, by state law, she is not permitted to answer honestly. She quickly thinks through her list of options.
Finally, she decides to answer according to the metanarrative (the big overstory) of the government school system. What most teachers spread out over 10,800 hours of K–12 instruction, she decides to truncate into one short soliloquy.
Then he has this theoretical teacher recite the “government(???)” history of the universe to get Johnny to understand. And it’s all for no reason at all, the teacher says. Sorry, Johnny. It’s all accidental.
This is considered a sad way to go through life by Christians. They’re always existentially worried that their lives have no meaning and so they’ve invented a benevolent creator who loves them and their ultimate goal is to love him back. I’m not going to bore you with why that is pathetic and wrongheaded, because fellow atheists already know.
But anyway, our homeschooler pivots away from the why of math. He wants to know the who:
If you were to ask a teacher who is committed to the official narrative of government education, “Who is the author of mathematics?”, they would respond that it was evolution, or time plus matter plus chance.
Um, no, I don’t think they would say that at all. They would point you in the direction of the ancient Egyptians and Pythagoras, or tell you to Wikipedia it like I did and fuck off. Christians think they know the nonbeliever(or the government educated) mind so well. But they’re only projecting their anxieties on you. They need people to feel as bad as they do about things, otherwise the purposeless life they thought they escaped creeps back in again.
But anyway, 2+4=6 because….
Jesus is the Author of Math
And the evidence for this? Scripture!
[He] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15–17)
That’s all. That mystical gobbledygook is all he needs for proof. QED. No need for pesky science because this holy book has it covered. The miniscule scraps of some letters to a church from a bedazzled monk are far more reliable than anything man has ever postulated. Fuck me running. Who’s crazier, the guy who discovered virtual particles or this homsechool Jesus freak who thinks the government is trying to indoctrinate your kids into…learning? To be honest, it’s getting harder to tell but just because it’s a wiggly world, it doesn’t mean I’m going to lose my mind over it.
I need music. Here.
Cronyism–noun, derogatory:the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.
Kakistocracy-Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.
Sycophant–noun: a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage.
Get used to seeing these words in the next few years. Well, I’ll be using them here a lot because they’re so pertinent to what will become the Trump administration.
With good reason, everybody is crapping their Pampers over Donald Trump’s nominations. He’s putting friends and donors in high places, and he’s even considering former rivals of his. Here’s a few examples. He’s nominated Betsy DeVos, a well known conservative billionaire donor and god-bothering public school hater, to head the Department Of Education. Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn was at Trump’s side as an advisor on foreign affairs during the campaign and now the paranoid, Islamophobic retread is being called up as his man on national security. Mitt Romney is groveling for a spot as Secretary of State. I’m sure you’ve all seen the picture of him and Trump at dinner, but it says so much I’ll put it up here:
If chosen, he will probably be the smartest and least reckless hire Trump will make, much as I dislike his rich privileged ass.
There’s another former rival who is being considered for HUD.
I can’t believe I have to talk about this guy again. He’s back.
Yes, we need to talk about Ben Carson, Dr. Smart Stupid.
As many of you may know, I haven’t been kind to Ben in the past, for a number of reasons. He’s made me sputter curse after curse after curse against him because he’s so fucking ignorant about everything except neurosurgery. He’s about as well informed as Donald Trump-he has no facts, just opinions and eyerolling bullshit to offer on any subject you like. Maybe that’s why they will get along.
So what does Gentle Ben know about housing? Only what he thinks he knows, as usual:
In the housing sphere, a recent study on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that black and Asian homeseekers are shown or told about 15 to 19 percent fewer homes than whites with similar credit qualifications and housing interests. During the subprime lending boom, African Americans with good credit scores were 3.5 times as likely as whites with good credit scores to receive higher-interest-rate loans, and Latinos were 3.1 times as likely to receive such loans. And the Federal Reserve found that in 2009, African Americans were twice as likely to be denied a loan, even controlling for income and other qualifying criteria.
Carson believes that, despite this continuing discrimination, the Fair Housing Act needs to be weaker. In his Washington Times op-ed, the former surgeon labeled disparate impact suits “mandated social-engineering schemes,” and dismissed them as part of a “history of failed socialist experiments in this country.” Carson also aligned himself with a dissenting opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, which would have eliminated such suits under the Fair Housing Act.
So successfully suing because you have been discriminated against due to your race is part of”mandated social engineering schemes” and the Fair Housing provisions are “failed socialist experiments”.
I know, folks. They need to invent their own dictionary since normal people don’t know what the fuck conservatives are often going on about. They have their own Wikipedia and Facebook(though that one may have failed). They talk in a code only they understand. Let me try to parse the argle-bargle.
Let’s look at the loaded scare words first- “mandated” and “schemes”. They evoke ideas of mandatory participation in a system that is trying (“scheming”) to fool you. They don’t really mean anything. As for social engineering-someone needs to get Ben a history book not from Texas and explain that his black ass wouldn’t be anywhere without mandated social engineering-one of those tools used for said engineering was the Thirteenth Amendment. It said no more owning people. Another was the Civil Rights Act. No more discrimination in businesses and much more. If those aren’t social engineering…what is? Social engineering helps promote equality-and I bet since Ben made his first million, he hasn’t given a fuck about that because money is the key to escaping the problems that social engineering was created to address. As always, the conservative mantra-“fuck you, I got mine.”
Then we have more scare words in “failed” and “experiments”. If conservatives say something is “failed” enough, people will believe it(see entire Trump campaign). And “experiments” are only done on rabbits and holocaust Jews, not ordinary upstanding citizens! And unfailingly, conservatives still do not know what “socialism” means. When and if it ever comes, Ben, you’ll know about it. Until the last capitalist deposits the last check in the Cayman Islands, we won’t have socialism. Admittedly, we employ some progressivity (or liberalism, whatever you prefer) that looks like socialism, but isn’t interested in upending the social order or changing the ownership of the means of production-it just tries to smooth out the bad outcomes for people who may be left behind. As I said, Ben Carson doesn’t have to worry about bad outcomes, since he’s in the big bucks club. He doesn’t want to pay it forward, he wants to hold every penny. His only bad outcomes are missing the tax loopholes his accountant finds.
Ben Carson hates his race, unless it helps him be a token in the Richie-Rich crowd. Yeah, I fucking said it. If you disagree, show me that he doesn’t. Because his comments about housing, which is a basic human right, don’t show it. He is out of touch as out of touch can be. He doesn’t seem to understand the real reasons why there aren’t more Ben Carsons or Barack Obamas, and doesn’t really care. As far as I know, he could care less what happens to blacks or anyone else who can’t cough up the dough for a roof over their head now that he’s respected in the white world. But if he does deign to speak to the disenfranchised and disadvantaged, I can hear him now, lecturing to them about bootstraps and library cards as they hold three jobs to sustain the mortgage that my white ass would get a discount on-if they get a mortgage at all.
I’ve seen a lot of thinkpieces about why the Democrats were defeated last month. Where did we go wrong? Did we make bad choices? Is there something structurally unsound in our outreach?
It is natural for us to reflect like this after being stunned. But we Democrats and good liberals are beating ourselves up unnecessarily. So badly, in fact that we are considering abandoning our core mission, which is to stand up for the mistreated and misunderstood elements of our society.
In other words, we did not lose by employing what is called “identity politics”. The phrase seems to have taken on a pejorative quality. We’re afraid to say it, lest the other side use it against us.
Fact: Hillary Clinton was more popular than Donald Trump.
Fact: The nature of the Electoral College screwed us.
Fact: Donald Trump tapped into white ressentiment. Bigly.
Everyone seems to be forgetting the real causes of why we could not win this past election. Instead, many of us seem ready to tear up our coalition and retool the Democratic message.
I don’t see how you can be liberal and not want to defend the voting rights of minorities. I don’t see how you can be liberal and not defend equal pay for equal work. I don’t see how you can be liberal and not want to defend the right to love who you want to love. I don’t see how you can be liberal and not want immigrants to live in fear.
These problems, whether we like it or not, are shackled to specific identities and we’re foolish to pretend otherwise.
The beginning of the liberal revolt against identity politics here in America can be traced back to what appears to be a misreading of some quotes in a speech by Bernie Sanders two weeks after the election. He allegedly said:
“Boston Magazine reported that an audience member told Sanders that she wanted to become the second Latina elected to the U.S. Senate and asked for his advice. Sanders responded by urging the crowd to move the Democratic Party away from what he called “identity politics.”
“It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ That is not good enough,” he said, according to WBUR. “What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”
Sanders’s big finish: “One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics.”
This caused an avalanche of editorializing about how we should stop focusing on things like race, sexual preference, sex, and culture. That’s how we lost the election, they say. This British fop exemplarizes just how far this thinking goes:
“In America, as in Europe, older, white men are the only group that liberals can abuse and exclude with impunity.
British liberals, of whatever party, have spent the past six months fleeing one trauma after another, hurling insults over their shoulders. But as John Stuart Mill said: “He who knows only his own side of a case, knows little of that.”
The apostles of identity liberalism have fallen into Mill’s trap. They see authoritarianism in others, but not in themselves. They see discrimination in others, but not their own.”
If those older white men are anti-democratic, then yes, they will be excluded and dismissed. If they are racists and homophobes, you bet we don’t need you in the tent. I don’t think that just because someone was brought up in a different “time”, he’s allowed to hold discriminatory values. There’s nothing authoritarian or discriminatory about it-I’m intolerant of intolerance and I think I can speak for most liberals when I say that.
I could dig up other examples of this backlash against identity politics, much of it penned by white males who identify as liberal. They believe that class structures need to be attacked instead. Well, I have news for them-being “working class” is an identity too. There’s really no escaping the understanding that groups have similar and often unique problems. Furthermore, there’s intersections aplenty with your class status and your “identity”.
What I’m going to say is important, at least to me: groups were not created by liberals. Groups were created when the first African American received the first lash on their back. Groups were created when men refused to allow women to vote or do what they feel is right with their body. Groups were created when the first National Guardsman fired on the first striking mine worker. Groups were created when gay people were murdered because of religious hatred. When we started treating people different because they were just that-different or lesser-that’s when we created identity politics. We’ve been divided because that is how we chose to be. And speaking directly to those myriad groups who have had negative experiences in a white/hetero/christian dominated society is no sin-it’s what makes us good. We hate the injustice. And we will beat injustice’s ass someday soon. It is our principal fight.
Fortunately, it is very likely Bernie Sanders was misunderstood . “Going beyond identity politics” means we can go deeper and still not abandon civil rights. Interweaving class struggle and identity politics is exactly where we need to go as strategies for winning. It’s unclear at this point how many poor white Christian males can be brought to our side, if of course that’s the quarry we are chasing. The propaganda has been laid on thick and they vote against their own interests time and time again, because the right wing plays a nasty version of identity politics themselves. In the meantime, let’s stop being ashamed of what it means to be a liberal.