I’ve been watching the stock market jump generally jump up, up, up and up nearly daily since it began its latest meteoric rise in oh, about 2015. Yesterday and today ended that trend. That makes me a bit uneasy, because I have a few accounts that are completely invested in the markets, which are designed to weather short term downturn with the confidence that they will rebound and increase like they always do. We haven’t had a severe slide in about ten years, but I’d say the imaginary trend line favors increased value. Observe a 100 year curve:
So the conventional wisdom suggests that growth is here to stay over the long haul, and if there are some bumps along the way it’s cool because stocks always come back from a selloff. And that’s typically correct.
You have heard Trump call this his economy. We know it’s not, but that’s what he tells his trucker hat wearing mouthbreathing voters who aren’t sharing a dime of this prosperity. The country has been in recovery since the Obama administration. Now Trump and his party did slash taxes on the Richiest of the Richies, and that apparently has led boards of directors everywhere to start Hoovering up their own stocks, which as I understand it causes an elevation in the trading value of said stocks. In my head, it’s like a big pyramid scheme or a you buy my shit, I’ll buy yours situation. I know I am oversimplifying this because I’m a simple man when it comes to economics and money in general. But the big secret that the GOP kept from everyone is that they were going to do that. Some of that money may have gone to expansion and hiring, but not in the quantities they said it would. Like usual, we were told it’d be rocket fuel for good job creation (ignoring the fact that runaway growth is actually dangerous and short-sighted because it presumes a high degree of sustainability and when you take a resource you are hastening its depletion), and that hasn’t really been the case. True, indicators are still saying that we’re at full employment (even though most people have two of those jobs to make rent) and that wages are inching up, but that’s probably in spite of the tax cut. It certainly hasn’t done the working class much good and that’s who was sold this economic voodoo. Factories and business are shuttering all over the place, in direct contradiction to what Donald Trump says.
We cannot make the mistake that rising tides lift all boats. Some of those tides are being held behind gilded locks and dams.
Anyway, since the economy didn’t expand anywhere near the amount that they predicted (an absurd 4% or more if I remember right), the higher tax revenue failed to materialize. By now, we should be laughing in the face of anyone who brandishes a Laffer Curve in defense of tax cuts. But some fall for it, because it’s logical in its own way. So anyway, what does that mean? That means Uncle Sam needs a credit limit increase.
Yup. Deficit spending.
If you are a Republican, the solution is to curtail services to the public. They never admit that their dumb tax cuts didn’t do shit except make rich people richer. How they sell making the poor poorer to the poor is indeed quite a feat, accomplished by bullshitting poor people into thinking that someone else but surely not them are the poor sucking up services and “entitlements”. This gambit tends to take a racist tinge because stratification sees color and Republicans are good with that generally, as long as they keep the blame off them and the corporations who paid for their seats in government. The idea that Republicans are the party of fiscal discipline is the biggest crock of shit going. They cause a problem, and then scapegoat “big government” and want to cut everything you need to get by.
But if you can’t cut because people are about to tell your party to go fuck itself at the polls, you will be borrowing.
Enter the Fed. The Fed sets the prime interest rates for borrowing. When we borrow, we have to try and make it an attractive investment to a creditor. The more loaded we are with debt, the less interest there will be in holding that debt because it’s assumed that we are overleveraged (we are). However, much like the stock market going up in perpetuity, the general consensus is The United States will be around to pay its bills no matter how much we rack up. Given that we are perpetually hostile and armed with thousands of nuclear weapons, the world assumes we aren’t going to be destroyed without taking everyone with us. Yet the game must be played properly until we lash out in a fit of capitalistic aggression; we need to increase the interest to maintain the interest, so to speak. So the Fed increases rates, and consequently the interest rates on our debt begin to climb to make the return look good to China, Japan, the Saudis, or anyone else that wants to pick up our tab since we screwed up and cut taxes.
The Fed has raised rates rather significantly this year, three big jumps from March to October in order to make ends meet. Jittery investors begin moving money to the higher interest bonds instead of volatile stocks.
Bust. Bye, 1300 points in 48 hours.
Enter the master chiseler, Donald Trump. As regular readers know, I think Trump is a total dumbshit. One thing he is good at though, is being a crook and not paying people what they are owed. As we all know, he has declared bankruptcy multiple times and is being sued by like 800 people demanding money for services rendered. So his first instinct is to try to do a screw job on our creditors and not pay the bills at the terms agreed to. He has done this obliquely by attacking The Fed, who is trying to manage our money crisis the only way it knows how. In unprecedented irony, he says that “The Fed has gone crazy“, and demands that rates slow down so we can pay less on all of our debts.
If you wanna talk crazy, Donald, let’s talk about the trade wars you started that have crippled several sectors of the economy, or the farmers nearly going out of business because we keep tossing ag workers out of the country. And you have the nerve to tell others their actions are crazy? Give me a fucking break, chump.
There are many other factors making possible this pickle we find ourselves in that I will never be able to fully understand, listed at the link in case anyone wants to break it down for themselves. Lord knows people have been writing about perfect economic storms for as long as I have been aware of economics and they never materialize, except when they do (looking at you, W). I’m hoping we aren’t heading for a more massive slide right now and all these worried words are pointless-but the truth is the whole world is smarting, and that means big trouble for those of us who are trying to save a pittance now (and I/we play no small role in this downturn indirectly, if you can fathom that) in order to take the place of our dwindling Social Security and healthcare benefits that have been bloodlessly slashed by politicians who simply don’t work for us anymore.
Please, if I am misgiven about causes and effects, do not hesitate to tell me. I’m learning as fast as I can.
I’m probably going to get this one wrong, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that it’s almost time to write the coda to the Trump fiasco.
She’s a proponent of the notion that Trump is applying chaos principles he used in business to the governance of the nation. All of you no-neck dumbfucks out there who thought it’d be a great idea if a businessman took over the operation should be forced to wear sandwich boards saying “HELP, I NEED CIVICS LESSONS”. But anyway, I demur from Haberman’s thesis. If you ask me, it’s more like this:
It’s going to take a lot for me to admit that our clown prince has any methods or any theories at all-not even chaos. For me, you can boil everything he does down to one thing, which is, will I be liked for what I am dong? All decisions stem from this peculiar, immediate, pathological need. So it looks a lot like a chaos strategy because none of it makes any sense if you aren’t thinking about Trump’s deep seated developmental disorder.
In any case, Maggie’s compiled a nice list of Jenga pieces that have been pulled. There’s been a LOT this week. Trump’s imposing tariffs on imported metals. It seems that one of Donald’s endgames is to build more than one wall. Whether we realize it or not we are going to spiral into a sort of soft fascism by believing that we can sustain our way of living without any outside help. Sound familiar? Yep. North Korea. Their existence is totally predicated upon a similar stubborn self reliance, and it’s plainly obvious how Orange Caligula’s ideas are analogous. America First. Make America Great. Combine this hypernationalism with the cult of personality that 35% of the country believes in, you have a recipe for a country on permanent alert and lockdown, full of people who are armed, fearful and angry. We’ve been working at this since 2001 but now the process is speeding like a bullet train. But anyway, prices are going to go up as a result of punitive tariffs, and the stock market is going to get the jitters too-especially if the Fed raises rates.
Then there’s the disappearing of Hope Hicks, Trump’s whisperer. Hicks allegedly told a few “white lies” to investigators and might have put herself in legal jeopardy. Without Hicks, Trump is reduced to watching “Fox And Friends” to get the positive feedback he desperately needs. And John Kelly is wringing out the nepotism, patronage, and corruption in the White House by pulling all the ridiculous interim security clearances that Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and many of the staffers have enjoyed in order to view sensitive information. Kelly may be a tool, but he’s a professional tool. And the misadministration seems allergic to professionalism, perhaps because Trump needs to feel like he’s the smartest man in the room. But it’s going to be awfully quiet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because his national security advisor is also jumping ship.
Because Trump cannot be ever said to be firmly “on the reservation”, it’s not news that he isn’t. He’s got the ammosexuals in straitjacket fits by seeming to want to take people’s guns without due process, and for once, correctly calling out the cowardice of legislators when it comes to bucking the NRA. But, as my perspicacious friend always says, he’s all hat and no cattle. Haberman notes this typical backtracking. For all his talk, Trump’s kind of a little bitch when it comes to an actual fight. He steadfastly refuses to plant a flag anywhere, because that might require commitment and sustained attention, two things which he is short on.
A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.
“God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”-Galatians 6:7
Sometimes the Bible is capable of poetry. I mean, on balance it’s kind of a dry read, but there’s a reason so many people keep reading it for reasons other than scaring themselves straight. Much like its cousin, The Koran (and I imagine other books that spawned major religious movements), you can flip it open anywhere and eventually hit on something righteous and obliquely applicable to whatever shit you might be going through. It seems like magic, even though it’s as random as anything in this minutely probable universe.
I’d like to take a peek at the lesser religion called party politics. It runs a close second to actual religion in its power. Amongst the small-minded it’s as impolite to talk politics as it is to discuss religion because of how fucking personal it is.
It’s arguable that you can put politics of any stripe on a strict left-right continuum, because of chowderheads like “libertarians” who are crude individualists (an utter absurdity in any advanced society) who dip from anarcho-capitalist standoffish I-got-mine-so fuck-you politics but also don’t-mind-the-gays-as-long-as they-don’t-try-to-fuck-me. It’s the height of straight male white privilege to call yourself a libertarian because all the doors are open, and you can burn a bridge or ten without incurring much harm. It firmly belongs in the right wing box along with other forms of fundamentalism that seek to stratify and disunite.
Let’s just make it simple and say that there’s a straight line from left to right, and we can overlay the two American parties that really matter upon it without much seepage. I don’t think I need to really explain that. Obviously, if you are a left-leaner, you are highly likely to vote Democratic, and if you cop to being a right-winger you will press the button for Republicans.
We dislike each other with purple passion. They Are Always Wrong And We Are Always Right. One of us is un-American, and who you ask determines who that is.
So we come now to the topic of self-deception. How is it that we so often find no fault in our respective religions? Is there a limit to how many dissonant facts can be swatted away without reconsidering that one’s position is shaky?
I don’t know about you other lefties, but I’ll let you know when Democrats are fucking up. However, I’m willing to allow a degree of transgression in order to do two things: protect that which I have that is good and protect me from the other side who wants to take it.
It’s not an ideal situation, but nothing ever is, no matter how hard you try in this life. Some of you lefties need to fucking figure that out, and soon.
So I have to assume that the same survival instinct is present in Republican voters, and let’s face it, they know how to stick together way better than lefties do. They have their own conception of what is good (God, guns, money, suspicion of difference) and they are supra-forgiving of the occasional shortfalls of Republican leaders.
But no one left or right can really fully explain President Donald Trump. Or can they?
I remember when we on the left side declared George W. Bush “Worst President Ever”. As we know now, we realize how tiny our imaginations were back then.
I must pause for a second to say that Bush was a terrifyingly bad president, and we would do well to remember that things were really fucking bad under him. Donald Trump is bad for different reasons, and also represents the potential to be way worse, especially since his presidency is but an infant.
Trump’s win is the triumph of many “anti”s. Anti-intelligence. Anti-facts. Anti-immigrant. Anti-woman. Anti-environmental conservation. Anti-any religion besides Christianity. Anti-gay. Anti-any race except white. Anti-empathy. Anti-poor. Anti-free and independent press. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
He’s the last gasp of the people who have been running this crazy country from jump. All of the majorities, all the former majorities have their hopes and dreams pinned on a narcissistic crooked stupid heedless belligerent deranged loudmouth billionaire boor who is pretty much using all their shitty feelings towards others to increase his own power. Hate is the fuel which propels the Trump choo-choo, and it seems that the Republican Party doesn’t mind because it has been slyly trafficking in this kind of nasty resentment for a while now.
It remains to be seen just how oblivious the party and its supporters are to Trump’s potentially fatal faults, faults which could slime the whole machine. But we got a taste yesterday after James Comey said under oath that Trump is a goddamn liar, and possibly a lawbreaking one at that. Turns out the Republican frog is not aware that the heat got turned up in the pot yesterday. As with everything…um, questionable this guy has done in the past year, there seems to be a collective ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. After the hearings, no less than the Speaker Of The House, Paul Ryan said:
“The president is new at this, he is new to government, and so he probably wasn’t steeped in the long running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses. He is just new to this.”
This is rich coming from a party that couldn’t shut up about the inexperience of the black guy who just vacated. One of two things is happening here: Paul Ryan knows the average Republican is as dumb as a car fender and is aware of his voters’ high pain tolerance. Equally likely is that Paul Ryan is also as dumb as a car fender and doesn’t realize how much trouble the party might be in.
Trump voters are equally deluded/conned. Here’s some highlights from a focus group:
“(Tuckman) had nine Trump supporters watch the morning hearings with him at Rick’s Tavern and Grill and then return to answer questions about the former FBI Director’s testimony.
“First thing i want to ask you, it is a crime when you testify before Congress to lie, it is perjury and you can to prison for it,” Tuckman began. “Raise your hand if you believe James Comey lied. Four of you believe he lied.”
Then Tuckman inquired about the focus group participants’ view of Donald Trump.
Comey “says that Donald Trump quote told lies plain and simple,” Tuckman followed up. “Raise your hand if you believe that Donald Trump lied at all about the situation. None of you believe it.”
The CNN journalist was baffled by results and followed up with direct questions of the voters.
“Well, first of all, things can be distorted and appear like lies, and I think maybe the media might have be distorted some things and now we’re not getting both sides,” one of the Trump supporters rationalized.
“Let me ask you, a show of hands, how many of you feel better about Donald Trump, your president, after this hearing?”
All hands went up.”
And they said Ronald Reagan was the Teflon president.
As I said, it is clear for certain is that they don’t know how heavy an albatross Donald Trump truly is around their necks (although there are interesting signs of fear amongst the brethren here and there). He is still A Republican (corollary: Not A Democrat). They really think they can ride this snake to the lake and get away with all of their irresponsible legislative priorities before anyone sane can do anything about it. Somehow or other, when the Trumpian singularity finally becomes unstable and blows the fuck up all over them it will be someone else’s fault. No one on the right wing will get any smarter about being a Republican because of the criminality of its leaders. It survived Nixon and Bush, Hoover, and Harding.
You can’t kill party politics. It just comes back in a different guise, but at base it’s the same pernicious American way of self-deception and there seems to be no bottom to it. Most, if not all of us are chained to these organizations no matter how naked the lunch is. Some seem to think otherwise, but that shit is for dreamers. In the near future, we good lefties have to do what we can to change from the insides of our beast, but let’s not demand a shaman. We have to play the party game too if we are to survive as a bloc. Otherwise, we can increase the chances of another unabashed monstrosity on the other side-even though Donald Trump by any honest measure is on track to be the stuff of legends, legends that no one will believe unless they had been witness.
It’s an interesting time to be a comedian. Donald Trump’s daily utterances and actions are just sitting there, waiting for someone clever to pick them up and run with them.
If you ask the more successful ones, you will find that they consider themselves very serious people with a job to do. They may not be journalists or historians, but they believe they are on the front line of the culture wars. They have Something To Say.
Push the envelope. Say out loud what people are only thinking. Step over the line and cause a reaction. Ridicule authority. That’s what the good ones are privileged to do.
It’s a tough call when you have to produce an opinion on whether a comedian has gone too far. Are they protected wildlife, no matter what they say?
There’s an artistry to a good jab that makes people think. And the size of the pass we give to a comedian is roughly proportional to how good the jokes are.
Yesterday, Bill Maher, a white man who is a comedian, dropped the N-bomb on TV. It’s going to be a pain in the balls to keep this clip up, but here goes:
Now, in fairness, I may need to watch this whole interview for better context, but it wasn’t really funny-a big leap for a bad joke. I’m about 99% sure that it’s just not OK to use the damn word if you are white, and this wasn’t part of the 1% of the time when it might be OK. That’s just the way it is, and most white jokers can do without this word in their set.
Chances are Bill Maher’s career will survive a bad racist joke. He’s far too important to cut loose, if you ask me. I’m of two minds on Bill, as most of us are. Bill Maher’s show, Real Time, is an amazing environment for no-holds-barred political discussion that is not easy to come by. Some of the shows are truly electrifying. As for my love for Bill Maher himself? I don’t have much. In places, he’s the worst part of the show. I have to sit through 5 minutes of predictable stand up, he’ll stop a great debate to do unfunny bits with lame props, and then we have to endure “New Rules”. On the other hand, he finishes typically with a very good common sense rant. He’s also shown himself to be a good discussion moderator with a low tolerance for bullshit, and he has his facts right in front of him in case anyone tries to make things up in an argument. He’s an out atheist too, and that’s another reason I still think we need him.
It should go without saying that it’s not for me to pardon Bill Maher for using the word. I’ll be interested to see how black comedians respond.
But I don’t really want to tarry on Bill Maher too long. What I really want to know is what the hell is wrong with Kathy Griffin.
She’s come seriously undone, and it’s embarrassing for all of us Trump haters.
As I said, I haven’t found Kathy Griffin funny for decades now, and there certainly wasn’t anything funny about her photo shoot, even though she did it as a comedian and sure, I’ll be charitable, as an artist. But I supported her right to go there anyway. Presidents are not sacred cows, and that goes tenfold for a petit tyrant like Trump. That’s not how it works here, or anyplace else that respects free expression.
What I don’t really understand is how Kathy didn’t see the reaction coming. I think it’s safe to assume that she’s a liberal, just like you and me. We have studied the antics of the right wing and know that they’re a violent bunch, obsessed with guns and convinced they are God’s wrath on this earth. So you know going in when you’re about to take a hard shot at their president, they’re likely to threaten you with harm. Why wasn’t she ready? She reacted to the ugliness like a puppy who got hit on the nose for shitting on the carpet. It was an ignominious retreat. And it was totally unnecessary.
So she’s sorry. Very sorry.
Now she’s a victim of Donald Trump, who is trying to ruin her life. “He broke me,” said Kathy several times. She has a lawyer friend now, and she sounds recalcitrant instead of penitent. Which is where she should have been in the first place. But it’s a weird sort of fire that’s in her belly right now that I’m not sure I can follow.
“If you don’t stand up, you get run over,” Griffin said. “What’s happening to me has never happened in this great country. A sitting president of the U.S. … is personally trying to ruin my life forever.”
That first sentence is quite true. But history is probably littered with examples of “powers that be” attempting to ruin people’s lives. Dick Cheney tried to jeopardize Valerie Plame’s life because her husband called bullshit on the Iraq/uranium connection that he and his flunkies had worked so hard to lie about to start their horrible little war. Richard Nixon’s goons were looking for evidence that Daniel Ellsberg was mentally ill to discredit what would become the Pentagon Papers. So give that shit a rest, Kathy. It’s the kind of histrionics I expect from Donald Trump, who thinks that no politician has ever been treated as badly as he has.
Bloom said the comedian was contacted by the U.S. Secret Service and said she has retained a criminal lawyer.
OK. Not surprising, really. This might actually be unnerving, but again, I’m not sure why Griffin wasn’t prepared.
“As a result of the first family bullying her, she has been vilified, getting death threats, fired from multiple jobs and had multiple events canceled,” Bloom said.
Donald Trump does not need to tsk-tsk Kathy Griffin in public for the death threats to fly. Even if he said nothing, every right wing bigmouth with a TV show, blog or radio station would still have gone up her ass and sent their flying monkey audience after her.
And she got fired from her goofy gig for New Years. Duh. All of these things could have been telegraphed.
Griffin and Bloom believe the comedian has received harsher backlash because she is female.
Hmmm, it’s certainly possible, but this would not have been well-received no matter who did it. I think there’s a lot of doughy keyboard kommandos that got off on debasing a woman out there, but if a guy did this the opprobrium would still be there.
It just seems like she was not ready to take her “art” to the next level at all. I did read somewhere that she said that she and the photographer gave the shoot five minutes of thought. That sure seems clear.
I really should give her breathing room, because it was a powerful statement of defiance against a dangerous head of state, a statement that if made in some corners of the world would get her boiled or stoned. I just wish she hadn’t shrunk away, and I wish she didn’t have to compose herself in public or cry victim.
“I’m going to make fun of him more now,” she said.
Good, Kathy. Hit ’em hard, hon. Please don’t be afraid anymore, your country needs the laughs and the jabs. Parlay this thing you did into something great.
(Began May 31, 2017)
Hello, occasional visitor.
It has been some time between sessions at the seminary. And I really can’t tell you why. I have no excuses. I began a whirlwind autobiography on how I became a filthy libtard and have not returned to it; and Tucker Carlson has pretty much been pinning the asshole meter at Fox.
Perhaps it’s like this. Lately, every damn day is nothing but a harrowing procession of stories about Donald Trump’s reign of error. It’s like a blitzkrieg of shit news. Just this morning, Trump is purported to be ready to withdraw from an environmental agreement that the entire world signed up for except for Nicaragua and Syria. By the time the day is over, there will be three or four more bombshells about the bankruptcy and fecklessness of this administration. It could be another story about yet another campaign promise which the president has done a 180 on. Or one on how he’s draining the swamp in reverse, 1984 style. Another on how he’s becoming like a talentless Brian Wilson at his worst. Maybe, at the end of a day full of missteps and miscues, there will be a tweet at 11:59 that suggest the president is eating Lunesta by the scoopful.
And then there’s Russia, where every day we find a new connection to Trump and his cabal. How anyone wants to slog through that is beyond me. That’s for real journalists, not me. Bless those people.
What I am trying to say, before I get to saying what I want to say, is that it’s all become rather exhausting. I must be fatigued. It is far easier to share new fresh hell on Facebook with a click than it is to expound on what’s coming down the shit chute at any given hour.
I am slowly coming around to the idea that what is happening is that it’s just another day in America, and that Donald Trump has become, oddly enough…normal.
Is he fucking up the country?
Is it a day that ends in Y?
But I’ve got to try to deal with it better and not get swamped. I seem to have clammed up a bit because of Trump fatigue. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me here. Nor is it the second.
Then there are others who simply lash out, and that’s not exactly where I want to be either. Oh, there are times when I am a bit more demonstrative against the forces that teach us to resent each other, cause suffering, and spread hate, ignorance and misunderstanding. For example, I live in Georgia. We have a bluegrass festival every year. I don’t love the genre, but the musicianship is fairly amazing. I used to really dig the Dead and now I know where their roots are. These bluegrass folk clearly love to play their instruments. One dude last year plugged in a mandolin and I swear that his solo was goddamn heavy metal. This year, The Avett Brothers came and they did “Black Hole Sun” in memoriam of a rocker. Anyway, so I’m in a red state in a deep red county, about to go party with a few thousand pale-faced country music lovers, and this is what I chose to wear:
As should be well known by now, poor white people, especially in states like Georgia, believe they’re going to be rich someday if only their taxes were lowered so they wouldn’t have to feed the grubby ni**ers and illegals. They consistently vote for the rich people most likely to do them economic harm. Makes no sense. So I got accosted by more than one jackhole who wanted to argue with me about my shirt. We were all drunk so at one point my wife had to rescue me from trying to converse with the lizard people.
Permit me the clumsy segue. Let’s talk about if it’s “OK to punch the Nazi“. More specifically, we need to talk about whether or not it’s OK for the left to get into violence.
I need to admit it: I enjoyed watching professional racist Richard Spencer get walloped in the head by a counterprotester. Oh, come on, you thought it was great too.
It was kind of a watershed moment for today’s American left, where anarchy (or what we are now calling “antifa”) was introduced to a mainstream liberalism for whom nonviolence has been a key tenet for almost 40 years. Most of us are more the disciples of Martin Luther King Jr. than we are the Weather Underground. We march and we ridicule instead of break windows and burn effigies.
It feels good, good to know we are together now to resist. It also may be working on some fronts. I think mobilization has really blunted any Republican taste for much of the awful legislation people like Trump and Paul Ryan want to pass. In many corners, we are winning because we stand side by side. Organization is very important to left causes, because we have to work against a heavily propagandized right wing citizenry who has the entire AM dial, a cable “news” network and a well-developed internet presence bellowing disinformation and nastiness to it all day and night. I lament that we needed Donald Trump to really wake us up, but for better or worse, here we are.
So do we need to go further? Do we need to be disruptive in other ways that aren’t as comfortable? Is it time to move, time to get down? Time to
Because the hate is gettin’ fairly fuckin’ thick out there. You have to be blind to miss it, and still so many are. It took Donald Trump’s win to really galvanize the right wing as well, you see…hence this “alt-right” which is the id that the right wing superego could no longer contain. They’ve always talked here and there about a civil war between conservatives and liberals for as long as I can remember, which is one reason the guns keep flying from the shelves. And I hope the day does not come when Portland happens weekly because the wheels will really start to come off and sides will get chosen. I may not be here for it, but the kids most definitely will if we don’t find common ground and understanding. That may not be in the offing…I’m not terribly sanguine about the future. We may have broken the country for good this time. Time is the only thing that will tell us.
In the meantime, we good liberals are getting a bit froggier than usual. Stephen Colbert, erstwhile mild-mannered nighttime talk show host, has opined that Vladimir Putin’s dick should go into Donald Trump’s mouth when he’s not using it. Conservatives, who ordinarily have disdain for the politically correct and the easily offended, bitched and whined without irony that he had gone too far, and to Colbert’s credit, he didn’t back down. What Stephen realizes is that you can’t win with these ‘tards. They’ll get on you no matter what you do. What you believe as a liberal is enough to enrage them daily, they don’t need a harsh, pointed joke at their movement’s leader to begin their calumny.
So give ’em a kick in the family values. It’ll feel good and it’s fun to watch them holler. It’s not like they’re going to slow down on their offensive behavior, why should we hold our tongues for the sake of having manners? Manners are only of use when the receiver appreciates them.
I’ve been at this here and there all day today. I’m going to break here for some covfefe. Pleasant dreams.
(June 1, 2017)
Now. On to headier stuff.
Most of us past the age of thirty have a passing familiarity with comedienne Kathy Griffin. Most of us past the age of forty actually remember when she was funny. To her credit, she has survived through force of will in various iterations of a career. She did the sitcom thing, she hit the faghag circuit for a good bit, had a reality show, and every 365 days she earns a little making inappropriate sexual advances towards a gay man on TV for about two hours before an inane occurrence celebrated by drunk, maudlin sots wearing stupid number-shaped glasses otherwise known as the end of the calendar year.
Well, if we didn’t know it before, we definitely found out Tuesday that Kathy has an internet presence as well.
She’s probably as famous now as she has ever been. I saved a copy of one of the stills from a hard-to-forget photo shoot she did because I had a feeling it wouldn’t be around much longer. It has been mostly scrubbed from the polite part of the internet if Google searches are any indication. Only right wing ragefest websites like Breitbart are still hosting these pictures so they can make hypergeneralizations about the violence inherent in the left wing movement, once again without a trace of irony or self-awareness. I’m gonna post the picture, not because I want to put Donald’s battered head on a pike, or eat him (I like a little marbling, but not too much). I much prefer an option like exile a la Napoleon when the Terror comes to beheading a la King Louis XVI. But I think it does a disservice to Kathy to wipe away her statement, which she, unlike Colbert, would now desperately like to have disappear for feelings that are understandable, but unnecessary. For a shining moment, she summed up how done she was with this cheap ill-tempered loathsome criminal pretending to be a leader, protected by the glorious First Amendment. And she shared the fuck out of it.
And you righties thought you had the monopoly on political incorrectness. You’re a bunch of bitches compared to Griffin. Move over.
So the discussion still needs to be had: is it OK to get violent and still be a good lefty?
I’m going to answer in the affirmative after careful consideration of several dynamics. See, one of the reasons I think Griffin’s stunt fucked so many people up because it was visual.
And it was red and it was bloody.
It simply could not be ignored.
People have visceral reactions to visuals of this sort. Christ, remember when the Beatles wound some chop meat around themselves for an album cover?
That cover lasted about as long as Kathy Griffin’s stunt. People just couldn’t hack it, if you’ll pardon my accidental pun.
So there’s an “in your face and fuck you” compositional quality about it that causes it to dwarf some of the awful, inartful things people would do to Barack Obama’s effigies in absolute terms of violence.
Visuals, especially well done ones, are potent. They’re the first thing that comes to mind if you ask someone what art is.
Let’s use another medium for contrast. I have been a consumer of music for many moons now. And not even bands like The Crucifucks or MDC or Suicidal Tendencies, who all spoke of corporal violence against authority figures at a time when Kathy Griffin was still doing open mike night, move my needle as being necessarily shocking:
Do you see what I’m getting at? There’s a level of immediacy in visuals that leaves some other art in the dust. That’s not to say that the hardcore punks were tame in any way, they were breaking down barriers with sound that attacked you, much like the colors and imagery in the Griffin photo shoot. But singing “I wanna kill the president, chop off his head” is not the same as photographing yourself as someone who did the deed.
I’m ranking the senses, not ranking the expressions-I will always cherish “Our Will Be Done” and share it with other high-minded patrons of art and rebellion before I ever pull out Kathy’s photo.
Again, consider another medium. Are there sufficient words to describe the passion of Christ? Maybe. But Mel Gibson’s three hour torturefest sure upped the ante. I still refuse to watch that because I don’t get off that way. And I’m an atheist who couldn’t care less about Jesus and his pain (mainly because he and his dad are the stuff of old fairy tales).
Moving along, we could drill down on the fact that Griffin debased the image of a powerful white man. That upsets other male American whites, which is interesting because they haven’t been traditional victims of violence since never. Conservatives love this guy Trump not so much for what he does, but what he represents. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to take you back in time to his first political stints as a racist birther and bring you to today. If you don’t know by now that Donald Trump is a racist and a sexist, you can go jump in a lake. But what I am saying is Donald is the face of white male resentment-again, if you are not aware of this phenomenon, just go someplace else already, the rest of us have lapped you.
Kathy sure knows it, and she got sick of it and reacted. She went mano a mano, or cabeza a cabeza with the violence. In conservative land, it’s OK for Ted Nugent to say he wants to stick a gun in Hillary Clinton’s mouth or call the first black president a mongrel, but oh no, this cunt faglover can’t say anything about our bold, unapologetic president.
So we come full circle to the $64,000 question-is it OK to punch the Nazi? Is left wing violence the same or worse than right wing violence?
Frankly, I don’t think it should be expected of the left to always respond to right wing nastiness with a turn of the cheek. They use our core values of tolerance and respect for all against us. They call us hypocrites if we dare step out of the pigeonhole they have put us in and get intolerant of their intolerance. And that shit cannot stand. I’m not going to be policed by bigots or told by them I am offensive. I will not be disarmed by ironic charges of saying one thing and doing another. I’m all for peace and love but I know how to use an M-16 if it comes down to revolution or civil war.
The fact is that the just gods are rooting for the left side. We are the heirs of American democracy, which was begat by white aristocrats but belongs to everyone. Yet still the work continues to fight for equality even after all of our victories along the way. Because occasionally, we Americans take a step backward and elect a George Bush or a Donald Trump, and it can be hard to simmer quietly while they shit the country up.
Ultimately, Kathy Griffin could not stand the heat in the kitchen. But I don’t blame her for backing down at all. It is, after all, goddamn hot and getting hotter. Has she coarsened the political conversation? Hardly. By any objective measure, the time for comity was long past before her photo shoot. Civility is not always an option when you’ve got white nationalists and Nazi sympathizers in the Oval Office whispering to a mercurial and unsophisticated president who got into office because he peddled low-com-denom demagoguery to other unsophisticated people.
Remember: they demand of you a level of decorum that they do not demand of themselves. With that in mind, the occasional head punch and other assorted “violent” reactions are perfectly rational tools of resistance.
UPDATE 1 Jun 2017: Big sister Alex K. hits the Facebook scene on this story 10 minutes before me. She offers more content and clarity about the shoot than I could muster.
Nothing is stupider or more pathetic than white males bitching about unfairness in America. We’ve been giving ourselves special treatment since we hit that rock.
But thanks to America’s steady decline as a place of limitless opportunity, there’s a whole lot of us incensed that minorities and women are helped by programs that promote parity with the people who have traditionally enjoyed the rewards of this soon to be not-so-fecund land now that there’s increasingly less to go around.
Some of the more troglodytic among our kind called it “reverse discrimination” or “reverse racism” whenever a traditionally oppressed minority was given “special” privileges, like being given a protected spot at a prestigious college or enjoying first serve on a government contract as a minority owned business.
Worry no more, my white male compadres.
Always implicit in the “take our country back” rhetoric was that we were clawing it from the uppity females and minorities who had taken our places in line as the real backbone of this country. Those are our shitty jobs with vanishing pensions, damn it. Those are our graduate degrees that aren’t good for much any more.
If PoliticusUSA’s angle on Donald Trump’s signing statement astride the stopgap budget is correct, the special treatment gravy train is over.
I know what you’re thinking. Donald Trump cannot spell the word “tap” on his phone, much less craft a response full of legalese to a budget that he neither read nor had a hand in writing. I’m as incredulous as you are. In toto, if you read the whole nauseating thing, it is the equivalent of I’m The President And nyah nyah nyah. Its thrust is nothing new; it’s just another hopscotch square towards the unitary executive gaining primacy over anything or anyone that seeks to limit its power. Elbridge Gerry called it: we are becoming a monarchy, with a corrupt aristocrat wearing the funny hat, or in Donald Trump’s case, the scotch-taped power tie.
But anyway, included is a sop to bitchy, insecure, aggrieved white males who don’t want to share their station with anyone. In it, somehow, the intent of the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendment has been turned against itself. For example, used to be a time when the Fourteenth tried to help the enslaved and marginalized become equal. Now we all know that the promise of the Fourteenth took almost a century to realize itself in jurisprudence with Brown. And even that was like a trip to the dentist for regional white men. But anyway, it had legal dynamite in it whose explosion is still being heard today, and thankfully so 99.9999% of the time. It ended with the clause “equal protection of the laws” and no one was to be denied.
But now white men are apparently on unequal footing with groups like women, blacks, and Indians:
“My Administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender (e.g., Division B, under the heading “Minority Business Development”; Division C, sections 8016, 8021, 8038, and 8042; Division H, under the headings “Departmental Management Salaries and Expenses,” “School Improvement Programs,” and “Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program Account”; Division K, under the heading “Native American Housing Block Grants”; and Division K, section 213) in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.”
Taken at face value, in Trump’s America the long march to a balance of opportunity has become lopsided again, and this time around white males are the ones that need protection from the oppressive minorities.
Further through the looking glass we go.
Over, under, sideways down.
When will it end?
When will it end?
Donald Trump is going to die by his own hand. I think we’ve known this for a while.
Word is out that the Tomahawk strikes didn’t damage the runways of Al-Shayrat. Planes are still leaving from the base.
It’s turning out to be a rather expensive shot across the bow rather than a show of force.
But you wouldn’t know that by listening to President Numbnuts. He is satisfied with what was accomplished. A president wears many hats, and Trump has a construction helmet, complete with reflective vest, work boots and a spade in his collection. Check it-he’s an expert at public works:
“The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!”
When did you find that out- the last time you bombed a runway?
Donald, let me stop you at the word “reason”. I’ve been watching you for a bit now, and reasons and explanations are not your strong suit. I am no public works expert either, nor am I versed well in the destructive capabilities of our armaments. But I am pretty sure a thousand pound warhead makes a crater somewhat bigger than the ones you and I occasionally run over when we drive. Furthermore, a jet takes off at a rather high speed and I’m guessing that “filling and topping” is not something that can be done quickly or haphazardly. If I remember right, it took a few months, and a lot of concentrated resources and people to fix Baghdad International after we strafed it in 2003.
To wit: Tomahawks don’t make potholes. And a plane is not a car. Trump seems to think that a few shovelfuls of hot gravel is all it takes. Perhaps he has seen a hole in a road being repaired in Manhattan getting “filled and topped” from his limousine and drew an analogy. Adorable.
The Near-President needs to shut the fuck up. Desperate to spin the narrative of this story, he’s made a jackass out of himself yet again by injecting his moronic Twitter commentary into a very serious situation.
I worry that the left (which I am a card-carrying member of) is overplaying its hand with respect to Donald Trump.
That is not me saying get off Donald Trump’s case. On the contrary-there’s an excellent chance that this past election was mangled and stolen by a shady cabal of GOP/Trump operatives in consort with Russia. I want to get to the bottom of it because it is unacceptable to mess with the integrity of our elections. If Donald Trump cheated, it needs to be known. If he is an illegitimate president, he needs to be shuffled out. Let the investigations go on and on until we get some answers.
I am not distracted one bit by what to me was Trump’s first real decision as the president. I’m talking about the hit on Syrian war assets.
But it sure seems like everyone else can’t stop talking about it. Those who claim that this is a distraction are very distracted by said distraction.
Everyone in my tribe is elbows and assholes working to scoff, minimize and rationalize the raid. Nobody seems to have the same angle-there’s no consensus as to what Trump accomplished and what he did not. Which means that we are guessing at best and making stuff up at worst. For example, liberals are making common cause with morons like Rand Paul, who said the attack was unconstitutional. Sigh. It wasn’t. Please refer to the War Powers Act and the AUMF.
Our response to the Syria attack is shattered like a pane of glass hit with a hammer. People I really respect are doing weird contortions to explain away what Trump did.
Sure, it does not compute that a potential Russian lapdog like Trump would go and piss in their cornflakes by attacking one of their allies. But to me, it’s a very Trumpian decision. He doesn’t understand politics. He doesn’t do details. And he’s not afraid to bite the hands that feed him. Consequences are damned. It’s the kind of shit that his voters got off on.
Donald “No Puppet Here” Trump very much wants you to know that no one is the boss of him. He’s still much like a child in that respect. I mean, fuck, he’s turned on Bannon, Tillerson and Priebus in the last week alone. But I will take what I can get from Twitler. If indeed he made Assad and the Russians angry, good. They’re never going to be our fucking friends, as I said in my last post. That’s not the world we live in. There are two shadows across the globe and ever it shall be because the alternative is oblivion. We are locked into this destiny and are doomed to fight by proxy. I know I sound like Max Boot but this is realpolitik we’re in, not hands across the globe.
It should go without saying that I still think Trump was/is the worst choice possible to do this job. He’s far too mercurial and belligerent and sniffs his own farts way too much. His amygdala seems to be overriding his cerebral cortex. But it’s very likely and probable that his decision on Syria was probably the same one that my preferred choice, Hillary Clinton, would have made. Actually, her response probably would have been even more trenchant. I watched those two debate three times and I know who has the bigger ballsack.
Alright. Having said all that, let’s please stop the “Wag The Dog” bullshit line of thinking, my liberal friends. Bill Clinton did not bomb Sudan to distract from the Lewinsky scandal. It was a sincere effort to destroy Al-Qaeda/Bin Laden assets. But the CIA, ever the colossal fuckups, gave Clinton bad intelligence. The Al-Shifa attack did not deter the impeachment at all, and neither should the Al-Shayrat bombing slow the pace of the Russia/Trump putsch inquiry. Once again, I repeat myself-things are a lot simpler than they seem. What you see is what you get from Trump-he’s a simpleton, not an evil genius.
Be done with this. Everything is not fucking sleight of hand and rope-a-dope, especially not with this group of screwups. The confusion we are experiencing is due to the fact that Donald Trump is a poor leader, and we’re trying to make sense out of what he does as if he were a smart person. Again, I repeat, that is giving the Near-President way too much credit.
“Wag The Dog” is a movie, developed from a book. I am not saying that a piece of art can have prophetic qualities, and we are indeed in an age where the absurd is possible. But we seem to be getting carried away by the emotions that Donald Trump stirs in us. He’s offensive in almost every way you can think of. I’m as nauseated as you are. I feel you and I understand you. But I must stick with my assertion that Duh Fuhrer is not much good at conniving. A cheap liar, maybe. No doubt about that. But he’s so fucking obvious to me.
There’s every chance I am dead wrong about #45. I could be naive as fuck about this guy. I’m reminded of that old saying that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t exist.
I have way more respect for the devil than I do this two-bit grifter, though. And I’m an atheist.
Ever have non-alcoholic beer? Near-beer?
The stuff is awful. An insult to the very concept of beer.
And yet there is a faint trace of the good stuff in it, but it won’t make you feel good in the long run.
When Donald J. Trump rocketed Syrian military targets yesterday, he became a Near- President to me.
It is the first thing he has done in his presidency that shows that he has any sort of leadership and decision making skills. I will readily admit that I was not ready for him to do the right thing after the Syrian chemical attacks. I expected him to dither and blither like he always does. But it looks like he actually willed something to happen that made sense. Up until yesterday, he’d fucked up everything he touched. All of his lofty campaign promises had either run aground or been abandoned. He had done little more than affix his signature to anything that rescinded a rule or regulation that Barack Obama had authored. The tweeting. The golfing. The ceaseless bragging. Ugh.
April 6, 2017 was Duh Fuhrer’s first actual day on the job.
And this liberal reluctantly approves.
Time will tell whether Trump’s initiative here is a flash in the pan. His instincts so far have been poor, so I don’t expect this to function as some sort of epiphany that says to him that he has a deadly serious job to do. He’s still a barely literate fucking moron, on the whole.
Still, I hope he has enough firing synapses to connect the dots between what he just did and his policy towards Syrian refugees. When he waxed misty about the beautiful children that were dying in a chemical hellstorm, I hope that he had a sleepless night pondering the fact that his xenophobic policies on Muslim refugees are the very thing that could have prevented some of those babies from dying. Trump’s foreign engagement here is at cross purposes with his domestic agenda. He has a real chance here to do good if he looks at the big picture. He has to risk his deplorable support to do that, so I’m not optimistic.
It’s also worth noting here that the rocket strike did one other thing that made sense; it put the Russians on notice. I believe that this is a binary geopolitical world and further posit that the Cold War never really ended. If the United States influence recedes somewhere, Russia advances. They’ve been going out of their way to protect and strengthen their asshole autocrat in Syria, searching for a foothold in a forbidding yet critical area of the world. Make no mistake, US foreign policy looks a lot like Russian policy. It may be a wholly American conceit of mine, but I believe we are slightly less awful than Russia on balance when it comes to being an imperial power.
So. Those are some good things that Donald Trump has done, if I may be so bold to assign agency to his actions. But he’s still got the attention span of a retarded flea. You can go all over the Internet to find out that he’s done a triple-lutz volte-face on Syria over the last few years, first bitching as a candidate and wag that Obama shouldn’t get involved in Syria, then bitching that the “red line” got crossed and Obama should have gotten involved in Syria (nevermind the fact that Obama got hamstrung by the Republican Congress when he went for approval). Now, as President, his weird Secretary of State that you can’t look at goes all April Glaspie by saying Syria is none of our business and then when Assad went berserk and used WMDs, Trump suddenly finds he has lines of his own that got crossed and now Tillerson wants to give Assad the heave-ho. I’m once again going to be charitable and say that Donald came to the idea to punish Assad within his circle, and the fact that Hillary Clinton called for military action hours before Trump acted had nothing to do with it.
I’m just glad he’s doing something vaguely constructive. I’m happy that he’s decided to bunk heads with Russia instead of abet it. However, it would be the height of insanity to go much further than punitive airstrikes in Syria. An invasion and subsequent occupation would likely be as bloody as Iraq Part 2 was, and the Russians would like nothing better than for us to stick our dicks in that pile of mashed potatoes. He can push a little further in a good way by setting up the no-fly zone (the one that Hillary Clinton called for as a nominee) to stymie the Russians even more. Somehow-and far better minds than mine need to work this out-we have got to accomplish the twin objectives of dislodging Bashar Assad and stopping ISIS from calling Syria home base for their terrible caliphate. It will be a task fraught with attrition, I fear.
And I don’t trust this Near-President to not shit this up for even a minute.
Very few people come to see me, unless Tucker Carlson is being an asshole. Which, I suppose suits me just fine. I often write because I have to. Most people who have written, paid or unpaid, know how this feels. Especially when you also have a mental disorder that won’t allow you to let go of something when it makes your brain cry.
Facebook has fucked my shit up, as far as the writing gig goes. I spend more posting articles and composing one-liners about things that get caught in the filter than doing any kind of “work” that I can be proud of the first 20 times I read it back to myself. My output during the campaigns of ’16 was much higher than it is now. Hell, I used to sound off three times a day.
Now, the work comes slower. I poke my head up maybe once every two weeks. It takes several days to finish a post. That’s probably OK-at least I know when I am hitting a wall instead of heedlessly blasting through it like in the good old days of steadily losing my mind. Ideas need to age sometimes before they are ready. But it’s not good for a blog to sit quiet for two weeks, either. Constant output is the linchpin of a successful blog. But I have to be honest and know that that’s not what this is. This is a vanity project, even as I attempt to snag a few more eyeballs by uploading to Facebook. It’s for me, ultimately.
Alright. Enough of that, let’s talk about what is pissing me the fuck off today.
It’s really past time that we stopped believing that Donald Trump is an intelligent creature. I tried to tell you this a month ago. But it is still very fashionable, and I assume profitable, to opine that Donald Trump knows what he is doing.
Last night, Rachel Maddow got hold of the first page of his 2005 tax returns.
For something that no one is interested in, it sure made everyone perk the fuck up. It upset the White House enough that when they were asked to verify, they tried to get in front of the story by scooping Maddow, claiming vehemently that what she had was illegally obtained and illegal to publish and that she was desperate for ratings.
These three things are not true. Typical Trump bluster, no facts and petty insults. That’s what Donald Trump does. He’s been doing it ever since he discovered Twitter.
Now, what we all saw was in itself, well…not much. I think we all expected Rachel to be shaking up a martini while chortling over a giant pile of paper that was going to finally bring this White House crashing back to earth. What we saw instead was the front and back of an 11 year old return, which as all you taxpayers know, does not say a whole lot. Concretely speaking, it said Donald Trump paid his taxes in 2005, at the appropriate rates dictated by the AMT law.
The media discussion spun in two general ways after the leak:
- Donald Trump leaked them himself. He did that in order to divert attention from Russia, the wiretap frenzy and the healthcare bill (the investigative journalist who was given the documents admitted that Trump could be the leaker).
- The fact that these documents are in the press’ hands suggests there’s more that can be leaked and that the existence of the leak asks more questions than it answers. It rekindles the debate about why, if these numbers are so innocuous, is Donald Trump so desperate for no one to see them?
It is for those of you who believe in #1 that I write today.
Shut the fuck up.
Just stop slurping all over Donald Trump’s balls giving him credit for being clever. It’s embarrassing.
Have any of you noticed how he governs? He’s a total screwup. Everything he authors or endorses turns to shit. His own advisors and appointees are wondering what his damage is. The only reason Donald Trump is overturning regulations is because the president who he will ultimately be compared to authored them.
Perhaps you should consider his online presence. Donald Trump doesn’t know how to goddamned spell and may only have about 75 words in his vocabulary, the lion’s share of which are inappropriate superlatives and the word “sad” (but he’s “got a good brain”).
If he keeps up at this rate of um, “winning”, he will be what he and other Republicans so badly wanted Barack Obama to be- a failure.
We are not dealing with “crazy like a fox”. We are talking about “dumb like a mailbox post”.
I think what has happened here is that Maddow’s reveal was so superficial (in scope and content), it sent people running for a narrative because we ate some empty TV calories. The AV Club is half-right-this leak would have looked better on the internet than on an hour long show. I can see how tempting it is to search for someone or some entity that manipulated the currently red-hot Maddow into purportedly showing what a good citizen Donald Trump was in 2005. But again, that tale is a poor substitute for what the tax return reveal could not tell. The return ultimately generates yet more questions and I get that we want some damn answers-but we are burning the messenger. It may sound counterintuitive right now, but Maddow has shown that Trump’s hand can be forced-and that he is still highly vulnerable and cannot possibly keep the secrets he is trying so desperately to keep.
Even if I am shown to be wrong-that indeed it was the fabled cunning of the wily trickster Trump once again making us look away from what his hands are really doing-then it will be full scale war between the press and Donald Trump. There’s already insurrection as it is- a cheap stunt like the one some in the media are positing that so blatantly tries to discredit one of their own will be looked at as an attack on all of them, because no organization whose job is to tell the truth is going to truck for long with anyone that sleazy.