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Reverse Reverse Discrimination

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.

The Trump administration is here to fix this interminable, institutionalized discrimination against us.

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?

 

 

Too Extreme For Alabama

There is such a thing.

In the age of Trump, sometimes it feels like everything is hopelessly fucked and there is no way to change it. Right-wing radicals are trying to lay waste to everything good.

But we’re also dropping a lot of albatrosses lately.

Bill O’ Reilly finally got too expensive for Fox. Alex Jones’ lawyer outed him as an actor. Jason Chaffetz couldn’t stand the heat in the kitchen. Those are big right-wing fish that just got netted; a propagandist, a conspiracy theorist, and a gatekeeper.

After months of smoke, we’ve found the traces of a conflagration. It’s only a matter of time before Trump and his minions get caught with empty cans of gasoline and matches.

But I bring good news from my neighbor in the Deep South.

Historically, Alabama has been a terrible place. It’s nicknamed the “Heart Of Dixie”, which translated from the Southern tongue means “Home To A Lot Of Racists”. I have been to Alabama once. It is as hot as the planet Mercury in the summertime, and I would rather be dropped there than visit Alabama again because Mercury doesn’t have mosquitoes.

George Corley Wallace Jr. was the face of Alabama and segregation in the sixties. Morris Jackson “Mo” Brooks Jr. is a representative from Alabama. Mo’s worried that there’s a war on white people. Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III also hails from there. Jeff is our attorney general, and is currently not sure that Hawaii is a state.

But I have good news. Another big fish from Alabammy has been speared.

We got Judge Roy Moore. After a long suspension, he’s been kicked off the fucking bench for good. Happy day!

For those of you who don’t follow these things like I do because you enjoy your sanity, Roy is best known for being an insufferable Christian bigot who could not get the concept of separation of church and state through his thick skull, nor could he comprehend the hierarchical structure of the United States court system as laid down by the Constitution.

Good news is often hard to find here at the seminary, because we are in a world of shit where the president seeks the counsel of Kid Rock. But if Alabama can work up the will to rid itself of unethical fleabag judges, there’s hope for all fifty.

 

Neil, You’re Missing Something

Far be it from me to delve into the technicalities of a particular piece of jurisprudence.

But as a lay person, I feel I can demur against the judicial reasoning that one part of the first amendment runs roughshod over another.

Antonin Scalia Neil Gorsuch seems to believe that the free exercise clause is of far more import than the establishment clause.

It should be common knowledge by now that the impetus behind the establishment clause was that the State stayed out of the religion business, favoring and endorsing none. Fifteen years after the constitution was authored, President Thomas Jefferson made it clear to the Danbury Baptists that while he respected religious liberty, no special consideration was to be granted to a particular faith as far as the United States government was concerned. That brief 1802 missive heralded the idea of church and state separation. And for the most part, the secularization of our government has prevailed, notwithstanding things like the changes to the pledge of allegiance, annoying non-inclusive invocations before legislative sessions and the god bullshit on our money because of our allergies to any form of economic distribution besides capitalism.

Well, the SCOTUS is about to make a turn for the worse, with Neil Gorsuch leading the way. A case is currently being debated that could expand the definition of “religious liberty” in the law’s eyes . It may now mean that government funding for religious institutions is acceptable because the first amendment guarantees free exercise of religion. Therefore, the withholding of government funds (tax revenue that the church does not contribute to, mind you) because of adherence to the concept of refusal to establish amounts to discrimination against them. The plaintiffs further cite the fourteenth amendment, which as you all know mandates equal treatment under the law. If a public school wants to improve one of their playgrounds with government grant money, they reason, then it’s only fair that a religious institution should be able to have access to those funds as well.

This is very tricky legal jiu-jitsu, blowing off the establishment clause entirely to  accommodate believers. It pits the constitution against itself. If this decision slides rightward, you’re going to start paying for improvements to churches.

It starts with something innocuous like surfacing playgrounds. God only knows how far this can go, because the ineluctable tendency in Christian circles is to push, push and push the envelope.

Thinning The Absurd

 

Regular lurkers here know that I came out against calling things “fake news”.

Oh, it’s not that it doesn’t exist. Our president is a regular consumer and producer of it.

But he and others have used a bit of rhetorical jiu-jitsu and now “fake news” is news you don’t want to hear or simply do not believe- even if it is true. It’s become one of Twitler’s favorite smears against news organizations who are up his ass. So I’ve decided I’m not going to play this game of what’s “fake” and what’s not and just discontinue use of the phrase anymore.

Now, I also said I wasn’t going to take a swing at a specific left-leaning news site because I am ideologically aligned with them, but I’m about to renege on that. I said that because I think some of the emerging farm team writers generate good content. The best political bloggers of the golden age of the ‘sphere got paying gigs long ago, leaving the medium dormant. Only pikers like me use personal desktop publishing to talk politics anymore. In its place today, we are seeing this second generation of political journalism that is being made possible by social media. These new farm team sites can pop up and piggyback upon each other and proliferate news and opinion on Facebook, where there are opportunities to grab the grail of websites-the click. Money and notoriety can follow.

This has caused, to put it lightly, problems.

When a click is all you are looking for, it’s very tempting to sensationalize your headline in order to get the most eyeballs. People are hungry for breaking news and exclusivity, and if there isn’t any of that around, some sites will simply create it. This is not “fake news” per se. It is merely misleading flotsam. And I think it’s just as pernicious as making things up out of whole cloth.

You’re blacking the eye of left-wing journalism, nay, journalism in general when you write a screaming headline that has the slimmest tangential relationship to the article you are writing.

I had to unfollow, unlike and de-link one of these sites today. Here’s the tease that caught my eye, from yesterday:

All 8 Supreme Court Justices Come Out Against Trump’s SCOTUS Pick

SAY WHAT?

Oboy, the Court is appalled by the machinations of Mitch McConnell to get Neil Gorsuch on the bench at any cost and they are speaking out! Yay!

*click*

What’s this? The fucking source material is THREE WEEKS OLD! It’s nothing but a retelling of the fucking story of the Court unanimously overruling an opinion written by Gorsuch. I fucking know about that! Fuck! Fuck this fucking site!

Can you relate?

You’re lying if you say you can’t. We have all been taken in by a site that preys on our emotions, imaginations and desires to desperately see something be true. The only truth is they got your click- and these manipulative motherscratchers didn’t worry about how they did it.

So, I have a job to do today. I’ve got to have a reckoning here and on Facebook and separate out the hyped-up chaff that is doing no one any good. As I said, there are some that do decent second tier work, but some are profiting off credulity in an irresponsible, unethical manner. We are living in an age when the outrageous is a possibility, and it’s getting harder to tell truth and nonsense apart because they look the same. So check and re-check before you give these fly-by-night operations more ad revenue.

 

 

Here The Fuck We Go Again

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.

Twitler Gets Something Right

So when last we talked, I was relaying to you how gobsmacked I was and continue to be that we have elected ( I know we really didn’t, relax) the most terminally vain uncurious mercurial impish hyperprivileged puckerfaced whitebread tiny dicked fascistic jingo know nothing illiterate conspiracy loving con artist fraud huckster crybaby prick pervert whackadoodle media slut bunco dealer we could find.

Somebody clearly did not place limits on their child. Frederick Christ, I’m looking at you in hell, sir.

Everyone except Donald Trump seems to know that the wheels are coming off his bus. That’s not necessarily true, I guess, seeing as how the percentage of the popular vote Donald got roughly equals the percentage of approval he enjoys, or does not enjoy since he thinks that all numbers pertaining to him are fake, unless of course we’re talking about numbers that he pretends are his even though he’d been in office for a week when the tabulations were made. But I hear he is on a constant diet of Fox News, who is happy to massage Trump’s ego by showing tight camera shots of massive”pro-Trump” events while suggesting that protests against Trump are by violent anarchists and professional agitators paid to attend.

I have seen the comparisons of Trump to Hitler. And I guess I understand that. I’m reading “It Can’t Happen Here” at bedtime and Donald Trump is Buzz Windrip without the folksy charm, starring Steve Bannon as Lee Sarason and Mike Flynn as Dewey Haik-and the Republicans are more properly named as the “Corpos”. It’s troublesome that comparisons to these real and fictional fascists are to people whose rise to infamy presage horrible wars. Trump can start a shooting war whenever he chooses as long as he lets Congress know why he’s doing it in 48 hours. He’s used belligerent language toward China and Iran, most notably, and his favored dog whisperer thinks that a Sino-US war is inevitable.

I still think Donald Trump is more like Howard Hughes than Adolf Hitler. Guy’s fucking crazy, putting up gilded fucking drapes in the Oval Office and will probably screw himself out of this job by pissing off everybody in government, even his own Congress who can’t wait to get hold of his signature so they can destroy said government like they always say they will.

But I really can’t wait until Trump’s dealings with the Russians are exposed. I think that’s the most interesting thing that we need to see. Donald Trump has lied about his relationship with Putin, even going so far to pretend that he had never met the guy before the election amidst charges that the Russian government was responsible for the DNC hacks. He’s on record for complimenting the autocratic thug repeatedly.

If there’s one thing we know Donald Trump likes, it’s money. And I believe that Vladimir Putin, fellow oligarch, is making plans with him to divvy up the globe to enrich each other. During the Obama administration, we had lots of trouble with an adventurous Putin in Ukraine and Syria. He was an adversary, trying to break free from the cage NATO put around him. The Cold War never ended, really-Russia imploded in the 1990s and reemerged as an aggressive world power to be reckoned with under Putin. Like most “communist” nations, they reshaped themselves as capitalist dictatorships, using the State to enrich business interests and their whores in the government.

If that sounds familiar, it should, and it should bother you. But we can discuss that at length some other time. Maybe after I feel like digging up more examples showing what an asshole Tucker Carlson is. Don’t hold your breath, I am easily distracted.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Trump did an interview in his safe space with Bill O’Reilly. And if you think Don The Con has been um…unstable up to here, you missed this:

“President Donald Trump appeared to equate US actions with the authoritarian regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview released Saturday, saying, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”
Trump made the remark during an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, saying he respected his Russian counterpart.
“But he’s a killer,” O’Reilly said to Trump.
“There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” Trump replied.”

Now I’m not sure if Donald Trump knew what he was saying-he may have just sputtered that in a hasty defense because he got pushed in a corner. It caused a lot of people-like old military hand Barry McCaffrey-to perk up and lose their cool:

JACKSON: MSNBC military analyst and retired four-star general Barry Mccaffrey, who is joining us here. General Mccaffrey, thank you for being here. President Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin is really backing the headlines in a big 
way. You heard what he said about Putin and Bill O’Reilly’s comments that Putin is a killer. How concerned are you about not just what the president is saying but the relationship that the U.S. Is going to have with Russia, where that’s going to go from here? 

MCCAFFREY: Hallie, I’m actually incredulous that the president would make a statement like that. One could argue that’s the most anti-american statement ever made by the president of the United States, to confuse American values with Putin, who is running a criminal oligarchy, who kills people abroad and at home, who imprisons journalists and takes away business property, who shares it with his former K.G.B. Agents, who invades and seizes crimea in eastern Ukraine, this is an astonishing state of affairs. It’s hard to know what to think about it.

It’s halfway to crazy to be dismissive of the danger Vladimir Putin represents, and shrug about how his regime takes care of its dissidents. Trump says…so what? We are killers too.

I expect this kind of thing to come out of Ajamu Baraka’s mouth. I don’t expect it from a Republican. Was it candor? I didn’t really think that Donald Trump was capable of critical thought. Maybe he did read the briefings, and his loose lips opened under fire.

 

Whatever the case may be, Trump dropped a truth bomb.

We are not innocent-not even our best and brightest are beyond reproach. We have laid waste all across the globe as a nation since our inception and we have not let up since. In my war of conquest (and don’t let anyone tell you it wasn’t one), it is estimated that we killed almost 200,000 civilians and incinerated entire towns that were unfortunate enough to harbor our enemies. God only knows how many we maimed. You can feel free to hit the history books anytime you like and string together our atrocities, or let someone like Noam Chomsky contextualize and enumerate them. Hell, read Howard Zinn to find out how we spread destruction and death and penury and torture in our own country.

I’m sorry to say-perhaps not sorry, perhaps a bit relieved in a way, that Trump got something objectively correct. But it won’t change my general opinion that he is still an insane clown. It won’t wake anyone up that needs waking. It won’t make me take to the streets and break some car windows of my own. I’m a coward (so far) when it comes to certain forms of direct action. The worst thing that will happen is that people get inured to the idea that we can tolerate and horse trade with someone who acts like Vladimir Putin does when it comes to attaining his objectives. Then again, we don’t pay much mind to the criminal regimes around the world that we support already because it’s in our “strategic interests”(read: whatever perpetuates our super-hegemony). There are already people on the right wing who think that cracking skulls and maybe even some killing right here in America are spiffy ways to manage dissent. So we would do well to be extra wary of Donald Trump and the people he runs with. He may know just enough to be dangerous, as they say. The seeds of tyranny, well sown in our history, are beginning to germinate, and the world could be in grave danger with the two most powerful oligarchs in the world getting ready to carve it up for themselves and their business associates if we let them.

 

 

 

 

Ghosts

Alright, you guys.

Enough already.

It is time to stop assuming that the Trump administration is acting surreptitiously. It is also time to stop saying that proclamation X is just a diversion from action Y.

They’re not that clever, folks.

Day after day, hour after hour I read articles saying that that they’ve got Trump sussed; that he is a master at distraction and we should stop watching what he says and instead watch what he does, or some variation of this.

As if we cannot do both. As if both are mutually exclusive.

Donald Trump’s presidency is a national embarrassment and an outrage against good governance. But that doesn’t mean we can’t stay on his ass as concerned citizens by pointing at his speech and his gestures.

Mostly, his speech tells us he is an illiterate and a pretender to power.

His actions say that he is in thrall to opinion polls of his presumed electorate.

He is the pathetic narcissist that everyone thinks he is.

Oh, sure, it’s fair to say that Donald is probably not acting alone. Like Karl Rove before him, it is very likely that Steve Bannon is animating policy. Both men get what they need from each other-Bannon gets to shape the right wing in his image by destroying it, and Donald Trump gets someone who might actually know how to pull the levers of power that his tiny fingers and mind cannot grasp.

We are seeing the unitary executive theory on steroids in the age of Trump. It has been a long time coming. This presidency is going to test the limits of what is and what is not executive prerogative, and those limits will be set by the courts. This is troubling because Trump has a SCOTUS appointment in his pocket, so injunctions against his orders may not survive appeal. Then again, the conservative wing of the court may be as hostile to Trump doctrine as the vanguards of the Republican establishment are.

It all sounds quite daunting. It is, in actuality. But my point is the Trump administration isn’t fooling anybody. There’s no legerdemain happening here. What you see is what there is.

I have seen too many amateur sleuths trying and failing to ferret out the true aims of this administration. To me, it seems rather obvious. We have a full-retard for a President and he’s willing to sell us out to stroke his own ego, and by extension make himself a few shillings in the process. Enough thinkpieces, enough accusing Trump of pointing furiously at a unicorn. We are perfectly capable of understanding and combating Twitler, and by my lights, we’re going to the mat with him without pause.

UPDATE: Five Thirty Eight comes to my emotional rescue and reminds us that what Trump is doing is totally above board.

 

 

 

 

The New Pollution

I haven’t posted since the inauguration. I am trying to keep my cool, but it’s getting harder every day. My wife has a conniption at least once a day over something he’s signed or something he’s decreed, and I’m still in “wait and see” mode. She doesn’t understand why I’m not more upset or distressed about the new shit coming from the White House.

I’m probably having the wrong reaction. I didn’t panic on election night, until 2:30AM when the blue wall in the north fell and Pennsylvania went to Trump. She knew something was wrong when Virginia was too close to call-a race which stayed that way for about four hours.

So I have decided that I may be suffering a crisis in my ability to judge. Trump’s victory has broken me, in a way; I still can’t believe it happened. He was even less qualified to lead than Ben Carson, and those of you who have been with me a minute surely understand how unqualified I thought Donald Trump was when I say that. It never occurred to me that the old bozo fraud would somehow distinguish himself as a leader. He never did, and still has not and never will, to be truthful-but Republicans will buy anything, especially when Donald became the physical manifestation of the id of every racist, sexist, homophobic flag worshipping pasty-white Christian dominionist shitheel across this once great land. We were truly at our worst when we brought this monstrosity to power. Oh sure, Donald’s hate and imbecilic patriotic posturing did not win him the election. The October Surprise Of October Surprises from the FBI, the drip-drip-drip of Julian Assange’s Russian-backed email leaks, and a new generation already weary of half-measure Democratic party policy even though it was their first election certainly did much to ensure that a soup and sandwich combo from Panera might be President rather than the hopelessly compromised Hillary Clinton.

And Hillary Clinton was a damn good candidate. Fuck each and every one of you who left her high and dry. I’m not interested in your reasons. You allowed this…this thing, whatever it turns out to be, into high office because you couldn’t have all the marbles, so you chose none. You folded your arms in front of your chest and decided to let it burn, in the hopes that if voters would see how bad it got under a Trump, they’d choose the left-wing savior they dreamt of next time around. Well, I have less faith in the American public than that. George W.Bush got two terms, and he racked up 60, 000 some-odd casualties in a war of attrition in the Middle East. So who the fuck knows what America’s mindset will be come 2018 and 2020, really. You breath-holding lefties don’t have a clue what comes next. And I’m one of you assholes too. You shit the bed and I know you won’t take responsibility for it, anymore than semi-sane Republicans will admit that they elected a fascist.

I had plans to write something else, but this must have had to come first. I’ll be around soon. Peace, kiddies.

 

 

 

OK, Let’s Stop Using This Phrase

“Fake news”.

Culture, you’ve lost your right to use these words together.

We used to call this stuff “misinformation”, “tabloid journalism”, “hoaxes”, or just “lies”. Then 2016 happened, and the old-time press started calling internet bullshit “fake news”.

They didn’t realize it, but they birthed a monster, one that attacked its parents.

Perhaps you all remember a guy named Karl Rove. He is best known for helping the  soon-to-be second biggest fucking idiot ever to claim the title President get elected, George W. Bush. One of his trade secrets was how to deflect charges of weakness in his candidate. In Rove’s political parlance, the dictum was:

“Accuse your opponent of what they are going to accuse you of.”

It’s a peculiar form of what psychologists have called projection. And it is hard to combat.

It wasn’t too long ago when the term “low-information voter” entered the lexicon, brought into use by liberals.

Rush Limbaugh, who is smarter than I give him credit for, understood the power of those words together and since conservatives usually don’t have anything original to add to a conversation, used the HELL out of it until you only heard it in right-wing circles to describe liberals.

That’s about where we are with the words “fake news”. Maybe it isn’t liberals’ fault that the concept boomeranged on them, but we started overusing it, often in internecine warfare between the newest wave of left-wing political bloggers who often employ sensationalism to steal clicks from what is now the internet establishment. I’m not gonna name names here, because I believe that calling out lefty blog sites, however misleading they are, is part of what allowed the concept of “fake news” to slip the leash and become a weapon for conservatives.

The situation right now? Well, you all know. The President-the-fuck-Elect thinks that the august and, to be sure, often fatally flawed CNN is “fake news”. Low poll numbers are now fake news.

Fake news is now defined as something you don’t want to hear about irrespective of its veracity.

Its misuse is spreading like typhoid. Bill Donohue, who is a truly repugnant religious fuckwad, wants to help spread this redefinition of “fake news”. A gay man was fired from teaching at a Catholic school because he posted about his marriage on Facebook. Nobody asked him, but Donohue, ever the moral scold, couldn’t help inserting himself into the issue. He refuses to admit that men can get married because…because…oh, screw it, I’ll let him tell you:

“I know that the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage,” says Billard, “but I don’t think my commitment to my husband [sic] has any bearing on my work in the classroom.” [Note: husbands are men and wives are women, so if Billard’s partner is his husband, that would make him his wife, and no one really believes that to be true. The Catholic League does not tolerate fake news.]

The phrase has been reduced to meaninglessness. And it’s only going to get worse-it will prove to be an impossible box to close now that the titular leader of the country thinks anything disagreeable written about him is fake. We’re going to lose this war, liberals, because they are better at projecting than we are. We need to be more careful in the future how we use shorthand like this. We need to deal in facts more than we need to glibly call out lies. There’s probably enough people listening to win the next election.

 

Tucker Carlson Is Still An Asshole

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?

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