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Westing

Cornel West is a brilliant thinker. He is a man of and for the people. I’m in agreement with just about everything he stands for.

So why am I about to tell one of our most erudite scholars on the American…nay, human condition to shut the fuck up?

People who think for a living are idealists, by and large. And in a vacuum, all of their ideas are practical and their aims acheiveable. When overlaid upon objective reality, ideas often break down and become unworkable, and sometimes they even become the enemy of the original idea.

A new born Bolshevik Russia comes to mind. Marx would have been horrified by the way his communism was twisted as Lenin eventually killed his way to absolute power. And we all know that his successor was even worse. Marx’s proletarians would have rejected the brutality of the Communist Party. They would have known what it was like to be brutalized and would not wish that on any man even if he were from the most odious heights of the bourgeoisie. Any good Marxist rejects crude violence upon men to achieve Marxist aims. Because when you look into the abyss, it looks into you. You become what you despise-the oppressor. Marx wanted violence against the idea of classes and other social divisions, not people per se. Of course, sometimes when you get hit, you should hit back. Some would say that capitalism has thrown plenty of punches due to its inherent exploitative nature and therefore there is nothing wrong with a little “revolutionary terror” in return. But we must first and most importantly unite as the laboring class before we even decide upon the means of destroying capitalism, which I consider to be modern feudalism. And if the ruling class will not bend, we will break them-but I don’t necessarily think that requires cruelty and base evil to be in service to us. Much as I despise a petty tyrant like Donald Trump, I would much rather exile him before I put his head on a pike. I’ll pick up a gun again when one is aimed at me, and not a minute before. Of course, as a white lower-middle class male American, I’m not subjected to force on a regular basis so I will not speak for those who already need the gun.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with anarchic communism. I’m a bit of a statist and prefer creeping democratic socialism, myself. Anarchy could be just as inefficient as capitalism. But these are minor intellectual quibbles, debates which I am willing to have. I’m just saying that we are given a situation, and we must see it for what it is and prescribe remedies for improving it short of tearing it all down, thus ruining the good that was already there. Revolutions of all kinds have betrayed their intrinsic ideals all across the globe.

Bernie Sanders and his followers are also a first-class example of how a good movement turned everything into shit. He, perhaps inadvertently, helped the Democratic Party turn on itself. He caused open warfare between his idealists and Clinton’s pragmatists. And without even being a member of the party, he opened the door to the latest iteration of Clinton character assassination. That may not be his fault either. He was respectful and did not go into the mud during the race, except maybe for that time when he implied she wasn’t qualified to be President because of her putative ties to the business community. But his supporters had an appetite for destruction and wanted the whole system to go down. Lefties threw away votes on the Green Party in protest of the two choices (whose differences could not have been starker) that were viable. Those who did not know their right from their left chose Gary Johnson, whose claim to popularity hinged largely on the fact that he was out about smoking weed.

Oh, the system is going down. You who either did nothing or worked to fight Hillary Clinton will get your wish. I can only hope you are one of the people that Trump hurts with his bumptious policies and then perhaps you will learn something. But you probably won’t, since you are invariably white and young. Your privilege will protect you by and large from the Trump administration’s worst killer instincts. You are almost as much of a Me Generation as the boomers.

Fuck you.

But anyway, Bernie poisoned the minds of a new generation of activist voters who wanted a “revolution”. Many said if Bernie doesn’t get the nod, then neither does Clinton. We have a zero-sum electoral system. That pretty much means a vote for anyone but Clinton was a vote for Trump. And some Bernie supporters were good with that. They hoped that once elected, Trump would mess up things up so badly that people will be dying for a game-changing choice like democratic socialism.

Not even Bernie Sanders believed this. When he lost, he told you to vote Clinton in the general because the alternative was bedlam. But you even stopped hearing him, and chose to play with your boogers instead.

It is and was a calculation based on a fantasy. Oh, Trump will mess up badly. But his voters don’t know that because anything that criticizes Duh Fuhrer is fake news. We still have to get out and vote as one movement. Peeling back the layers of corruption may take a long time, because Republicans are either complicit in it or don’t want to ruin the brand by having people find out that the party helped a Russian stooge come to power.

The Democratic Party is the only party with the means and the ideas needed to unfuck the country. They are already in the system resisting Donald Trump and his threats to tear the country apart. If you all get your head out of your asses, we can take this Congress back, or at least make the margins by which Republicans control the House slimmer, slim enough to make Paul Ryan and the Freedom Caucus a little nervous. Democrats evolve. Republicans stay the same. That’s why one is called conservative and the other progressive (or liberal if you must quibble).

So you’ll excuse me if I tell you to fuck yourself if you think that starting a new left-wing party is going to work. We already cleaved the left during the 2016 primary and it is in no small part because of Bernie Sanders and his devotees. Now you want to split the left even further?

That’s called A Great Way To Re-Elect Donald Trump.

Give me a fucking break, Cornel.

Like, I totally understand where he’s coming from. But he’s tall on sociology and short on political science. Furthermore, he makes assertions without explaining them. What to do with this?

As the first 100 days of the plutocratic and militaristic Trump administration draw to a close, one truth has been crystal clear: the Democratic party lacks the vision, discipline and leadership to guide progressives in these turbulent times.

And he just leaves that there. No exhaustive list or list of any kind cataloguing Democratic failure. To me, Democrats have been rather busy doing what they can as the minority party. There is literally only so much they can do. They do not chair a single committee in Congress. They can’t. The ranking member does not have the authority to override chairpersons, but they’ve been raising as much Cain as they can. Adam Schiff comes to mind, as does Elijah Cummings. Were it not for those gentlemen, Devin Nunes and Jason Chaffetz would have had a much easier time playing stupid about Trump and Russia. Kirsten Gillibrand is consistently resisting. Jeff Merkeley held a talking filibuster of Neil Gorsuch, and the party almost unanimously stood together to deny Republicans a supermajority on his nomination, forcing Mitch McConnell to change Senate rules to complete his betrayal of the process of advice and consent. Chuck Schumer called Trump’s bluff of threatening Obamacare dollars if they did not help fund his stupid and increasingly pointless border wall.

A goddamned Muslim is the vice chair of the national committee.

Those are just a few things off the top of my head that have made me proud to be a Democrat. Yet West sees it differently, writing things like

The time has come to bid farewell to a moribund party that lacks imagination, courage and gusto. …

Cornel, I’m sorry you don’t see fireworks every time the Democrats act. Sometimes this politics shit is boring as all get out. But the Democrats have not shown any interest in abetting Trumpward Babyhands at all, far from it-they seem to be in active resistance from where I’m sitting. Surely something short of burn motherfucker burn will do the trick.

In the not so recent past, the party has failed. There’s no denying that. Bill Clinton’s presidency was something of a failure in terms of what should be expected of a true party of the people. If you really want to be a stickler, Barack Obama’s drone warfare and his allowance of the the health insurance scam to continue to survive could be construed as negatives. I won’t argue too much if you put these in the L column. But, much as it bothers me to admit, Donald Trump has galvanized the party. It’s already the party we want it to be if we would just tell them how we feel, the way so many of us have told Republicans lately- and they don’t listen.

So let’s put a cork in this kind of talk:

The corporate wing has made it clear that the populist wing has little power or place in its future. The discipline of the party is strong on self-preservation and weak on embracing new voices. And party leaders too often revel in self-righteousness and self-pity rather than self-criticism and self-enhancement.

That all sounds good if I was in a rap battle, not in a fight for the soul of my country. Besides, it just isn’t true. The “corporate” wing is not mutually excluded from the “populist” wing anyway. David Lowery of the fantastic band Camper Van Beethoven said it quite well in a song from their 2014 album “Berkeley To Bakersfield”: It’s not that we don’t like the rich, it’s simply that we think this kind is boring. It is not a crime to be rich. It’s the way you do it that makes you shitty. Then this:

And if a class-conscious multi-racial party attuned to anti-sexist, anti-homophobic and anti-militaristic issues and grounded in ecological commitments can reconfigure our citizenship, maybe our decaying democracy has a chance.

If you didn’t get a degree in sociology, that there above probably won’t make a whole lot of sense to you. Then again, I could be selling you short. Let’s take that piece by piece. I will concede to Cornel a point that sticks in my craw too: we fucking suck at class consciousness. That’s because we as Americans all think we are in the middle class. Every politician left and right always goes on and and on about the middle class. No one seems to give a rat’s patoot about the working class because we consistently improperly identify ourselves class-wise regardless of our income. Being poor in a capitalist society is the ultimate sin, and we have internalized this prejudice well. It’s still our own damn fault when we wind up in dire straits and that’s unfair to so many people who have found themselves in places that lack hope. So yes, we don’t talk enough about this struggle. Even Bernie Sanders failed to do so.

But Cornel seems to have a blind spot when he talks about the need for a party that understands multi-racialism and anti-sexism. Does he not know who was just president? Who the Democratic nominee was? Yeah, I get that it doesn’t mean that racism and sexism is over. But I’m trying to say that Democrats are moving in the right direction.

And it was our Democratic president who did this after the Supreme Court said love is love:

rainbow-white-house-full-169

Obama did the best that could have been expected of him so far as the “militaristic” jab goes. It’s a militarized world. We are in a crazy competition for finite resources and that is the reason why we protect some really awful regimes from Saudi Arabia to Israel. We did our level best to make Iraq Iraq’s problem, even though as someone who went there to ostensibly liberate it I feel we still owe them for shredding and putting giant holes in what they still had. We have a very adventurous Russia back on the Risk board. This is no time to be a shrinking violet or to sickeningly veer into paranoid nationalism a la Trump. I would not characterize myself as an imperialist, but perhaps I am too conceited to admit otherwise. All I can say is without us running the show in large part, without us playing the great game, it all goes to shit in insane ways that make even less sense than today’s current chaos. There has got to be a way to ratchet down tension. There’s a magic word called diplomacy, and I think we really gave it a go during Obama. The Iran agreement will be talked about in the history books, provided retards like Tom Cotton of Arabia don’t get to willy-nilly tear shit up.

And I think he did right by ratifying Paris. I ain’t good on the specifics, but it looks like we were ready to stop committing quick suicide by poisoning the planet with the way we keep carrying on.

We can do better on all of this. And I think we will. I think it’s what we all want.

All of this is a long fucking way of saying that the wheel has been invented. I am not even a fraction of the thinker that Cornel West is, but I threw a few more words at my polemic in favor of the Democratic party than he did against it. That’s not to say that word count determines what is good and what isn’t…far from it. But I expect more from him as an intellectual. I expect more than something as facile as throw the baby out with the bathwater. And I certainly expect that he knows better than to continue the Republican darkness by rending the fragile left/center solidarity that the Democratic party works its ass off to cultivate.

Cornel West would have you believe we have learned nothing from the election of a fucking nincompoop malcontent who might be stupid enough to blow up the world if it plays well in the press.

Sorry, but I ain’t buying it. This was not an easy post to write because I would much rather use the invective I have to fight the wrong-wing. But we need to tighten our shit up and realize we already have the vehicle, and we just need to learn how to steer it to get the best mileage we fucking can out of it.

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.

Maybe You Didn’t Hear Me The First Time

That’s understandable.

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.

We hope.

Kids These Days

It has come to my attention that people’s ability to take responsibility for their actions in politics has been diminished a smidge.

Please take note that I did not lose my temper or curse. However, my capacity for civility here is low on the subject I’m about to discuss. What else is new?

I want you to think back to when you were a kid. There were certain things you were told never to do by your parents. What did your immature brain think about those things? It thought, “I should do them.” The severity with which you were told not to equalled your interest in doing the bad thing. So you played with fire, crossed the train tracks, smoked, drank, did drugs, dated someone out of your age group, you did whatever it was that angered your parents the most.

Kids are little assholes.

But it’s not their fault. As I said, an immature brain makes these simple calculations without regard to actual risk.

What I worry about is political immaturity, which is utterly unacceptable as naked fascism is creeping across the landscape.

Some people are proud fascists. They love the power they have been given to be bigoted and destructive. They cheer for war. They need iron fisted-leadership like they need a heartbeat. They wield their flag, their money and their god over everyone. They are, to borrow a phrase from a petty tyrant from another era, “useful idiots”.

There’s no hope for this person. Too far gone to fix. We liberals pledge eternal vigilance against them. But they have made a resolute, mature decision, however warped and disturbed it may be.

As a political movement, we on the left scrimmage against the fascists for the attentions of weirdos called “moderates” and “undecideds”. Some of us stop in this neutral area for a while. The fucking presidential election is decided by these blinkered souls in most cases. But the middle road is one to perdition. If you don’t know your right from your left by say, 30, you aren’t paying attention. Heck, I’ll even spot you a few extra years. If you still think “both sides have valid points”, you’ve got soup for brains. You need a little more perspective.

But there’s this new type of immature voter who is popping up with more frequency. It’s the kind who have been “driven” by others to make bad voting decisions. In other words, other people, not issues or policy, caused them to cast their lot the way they did.

This is a twat’s way out of screwing up. “I voted for X because a supporter of Y was mean“, is a common variant of immature voting. Someone made you feel bad because you were naive and so you’re just gonna do the opposite of what makes sense to show them who’s the boss of you.

This is partially due to the Internet, where you can be very nasty to whomever you like, or don’t like, without facing any consequences.

I will never forget the 2016 Democratic primary because of these butthurt people. Because Hillary people were such “assholes” to Bernie people, a not-insignificant chunk of them refused to vote in the general election after Sanders was defeated.

To make a long story short, we were being assholes because we were trying to tell you something and you had a listening problem. You didn’t seem to get that politics is not an all or nothing business. You wanted everything, and you got nothing. Enough of you sat out to make a difference, or instead stupidly voted for boutique candidates like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, and those margins by which Trump won in swing states reflect your recalcitrance. You cut your nose off to spite your face, heedless of the fact that it was going to hurt real people if we did not present a united front to the Republicans.

You fucked up and now all of us are in the suck. You all got real silent with that “Clinton is the same as Trump” shit now that you’ve treated us to an actual loss of democracy under Twitler.

I can’t goddamned find it, but I read somewheres that there were grown adults who voted for Trump because they were unnerved by liberals who were “hostile”, or some such shit.

We are hostile about a few things. That is correct. We are hostile towards hate, bigotry, homophobia, sexism, racism, and fascism to rattle off a few of our nemeses off the top of my head. Some things are non-fucking negotiable. “Oh, you’re so intolerant, you don’t believe in free speech.” you say. Si, senor. I shall repeat myself, as I have in the past: we don’t tolerate intolerance. It’s a bedrock rule of being a good fucking liberal, hell, of being a good person. If I happen to get a little cross because you get prickly about the concept of Black Lives Matter, I’m not sorry. You’re clearly not thinking the issue through and have bought into right-wing bullshit somewhere along the line and neither my fellow travelers nor I have the patience to offer you a speed degree that includes a well-rounded liberal arts core. If you think your religion gives you carte blanche to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, then do not expect us to be nice when you share or legislate your beliefs.

An instructive example of how not to “speak freely” would be the one of Milo Yiannopoulos, late of Breitbart, who tried his damndest to recast the idea of free speech as a conservative issue by using his speech to be as offensive as he could possibly be to as many groups of people as he could think of at his college lectures. He then accused “the left” of stifling free speech when students freaked out about his presence on their campuses.

Violent speech can cause a violent reaction, friends. Once again, I must repeat myself and remind people that you aren’t protected from the reactions that your speech generates. That’s not part of the deal. If you get punched in the head like Richard Spencer, it’s your bad. Say whatever you want…but be prepared for pushback. If you are a racist prick to the point of pure unadulterated stupidity like that Georgia couple, prepare for very bad things to happen because you don’t understand the limits and consequences of “speech”.

I know what you’re all working up to anyway. You will not be allowed to say ni**er and duck behind the Constitution. It’s just not going to happen for you, conservatives. If you have to ask why, you’re gonna have a bad time. Catch up. Listen instead of speaking so damn much.

Anyway, I think I have made my point without bringing up the article that made me want to reiterate these simple truths about free speech. Europe is having its own problems with the resurgence of right-wing politics too. And like us, they have immature voters.

I came across the brain droppings of a chowderheaded sophomore philosophy major in the UK’s lesser paper of record, the Telegraph. In his little column, he tries to make the case (like Milo Y. did) that the left no longer is the wing of tolerance and free speech enthusiasts and young people are becoming more receptive to conservatism because of it. He cites some figures from a British (and seriously left-wing) study about censorship that would lead one to believe that it is legion on British campuses. Though I can’t say this for sure, I get the impression that the UK has something resembling zero tolerance towards hate speech on campuses and probably other milieu as well. Europe has learned its lesson about proliferating hate. We on this side of the pond are still trying to mainstream it, and this is borne out by the fact that we gleefully elected a mean spirited, petty tyrant who keeps a grizzled white supremacist for a pet instead of the traditional dog or cat. We’re going backward in America, and fast.

But these new, unfinished minds like Charlie’s may reopen the doors to good old fashioned right wing hate in places like Britain because he’s been told he does not have to be provided a public forum to spew garbage and that makes us lefties bad. He again goes to the left wing well to argue for the right to be politically incorrect (read:be an asshole) by quoting American icon Mario Savio, a leader of the campus free speech movement in the 60s.

The fundamental mistake Charlie is making is that there is some sort of equivalency between the the left’s fight to speak and the right’s desire for the same. That is because he doesn’t really understand conservatism yet. Those regents that didn’t want activism on campuses in the 60s?

Yeah. Conservatives.

Conservatives are authoritarians. Feudalists. Fascists. Nazis. The tillers of the soil in which extreme religion grows. Dictators. Reconstituted racists. The elite who are sucking the public dry. They despise diversity and mutual aid. They want a world where it’s every man for himself-and while you compete against your neighbor for less and less, they run away with the loot.

They’re not your friends in freedom, Charlie. You may perceive that because of the pushback against their speech, but you are misunderstanding who they really are. And as soon as you find out who they really are and start speaking out about them, you will find yourself shut down once again. It’s a trap, buddy. Don’t get me wrong-lots of left wing experiments have resulted in a clampdown of basic rights-but that is the point where they ceased to be left wing.

Don’t go to the dark side for one issue, young friend. Try to think of conservatives as the Baby-Eaters. Perhaps you have been told by “the left” that you can’t say certain things because they hurt people and incite violence. Maybe that doesn’t sound fair and equitable to you.

But the Baby-Eaters will let you say them. So now you think to yourself: “The Baby-Eaters are really the group that values freedom.”

But they eat babies, Charlie.

They still eat the babies, man.

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.

 

 

 

Shut Up And Eat

I find Anthony Bourdain to be an interesting entertainer. I don’t watch anything he does, but from what little I have seen he seems like an affable, witty, and occasionally irascible gourmand. My wife thinks he’s brilliant. I got her one of his cookbooks for Christmas, the one with Ralph Steadman art in it. We had his sausage heros last night with toasted bread, caramelized onion and green pepper.

Thanks, Mr. Bourdain. That was really good.

Mr. Bourdain, by dint of his successful TV endeavors involving food and travel, has emerged as a social critic as well. He has already vowed to boycott restaurants that Donald Trump owns or ones whose owners and chefs have supported the great orange one. Awesome. We should all do our part in shaming this incoming administration and not enabling it to do what it wants to do.

But Anthony can go fuck himself.

Anthony, as it turns out, is also calling out The Left.

Goaded by the assholes at the glibertarian Reason magazine, he offered these thoughts on his comrades:

Bisley: What concerns you about Trump?

Bourdain: What I am not concerned about with Trump? Wherever one lives in the world right now I wouldn’t feel too comfortable about the rise of authoritarianism. I think it’s a global trend, and one that should be of concern to everyone.

Right there with you, Anthony. Until:

Bisley: You’re a liberal. What should liberals be critiquing their own side for?

Bourdain: There’s just so much. I hate the term political correctness, the way in which speech that is found to be unpleasant or offensive is often banned from universities. Which is exactly where speech that is potentially hurtful and offensive should be heard.

Alright, you’re starting to lose me a bit. In America, political correctness is really nothing more than politeness. Everyone thinks it’s about “offensive” speech. It is, but there’s a distinction to be made between saying the word “fuck” and saying the word “ni**er” or “faggot”. If we’re saying that we support uncomfortable truth telling, then I’m good with that-unless you are trying to hurt someone because of who they are. So really, I’m not sure what Bourdain is getting at unless his head is full of straw and he’s just mouthing platitudes. To be fair, Bourdain is talking about saying fuck, I guess- as he goes on to defend comedians. But that’s not political correctness that comedians are pushing against. That’s more like attacking censorship. And I support that.

Here’s where Bourdain fucks up royally:

The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now.

The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left—just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition—this does not win hearts and minds.

Ever just get sick of liberals who somehow channel right wing stereotypes of themselves?

In fashion today is being a contrarian. This type of thinker sometimes imagines himself as elevated above partisan discourse because he can describe the warts upon his peers’ thinking just as well as his nemeses. Disagreeing with everyone, often for the sake of disagreeing, is the name of the game. People who have ego problems often exhibit this.

Herein lies danger, and Bourdain and many others do not see it.

No one will remember what you said about the other side. They will remember what you said about yours and throw it in your face at a later date. Everything the right wing thinks of liberals gets validated when we try to be “above the fray” or pretend to a false, guilt ridden self awareness.

That’s why Esquire repeated what you said just there and not much else, Anthony. The headline is that a liberal criticized liberals. I am 100% sure that the right wing media is sharing the fuck out of both articles, dumbass. Good job.

Let’s go back a bit, and remember that Bourdain has a beef with political correctness. What does one call this?

I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good.

Wow. In addition to being prima facie evidence of political correctness, I haven’t seen the “Hitler was nice to his dog” defense in years. I think because they filled your belly and showed you a little about their way of life you think that they’re just salt of the earth, simple folk.

But anyone who votes Republican or holds conservative values is an asshole underneath, a moron and a rube. If you are taken in by ANY of it-you’ve got problems. Those god-fearing Americans also don’t care for gay rights because of their beliefs. Those gun toters show up at mosques and voting precincts armed, and some are gearing up for a new civil war. They don’t like poor people even if they are poor. They want women to go to term with every blastocyst that resides in their body. And there is no way in hell, Anthony, that they are ever going to be swayed by today’s Democratic party, where the gays and the Mexicans and the blacks and the women and the food stamp recipients find shelter. Simple people are just that-simple. And that lack of complexity is what makes them dangerous to others not like them. If believing this makes me smug and self congratulatory, so be it. I call a spade a spade. The red states have many sins to atone for. They will never change. Trump represents hate-there’s no two ways about it and if you heard something you liked from him and pulled the lever for Republicans, you are a damn fool and a hater too. Kim Davis probably makes a great quiche but she is a horrible human being.

Now is not the time to level conservative judgements at the liberal movement. Actually, it’s never time for it.

Hillary Clinton did her damn best to promise everyone a better future and it did no good. It was not our fault we lost, nor was it Bill Maher’s fault, who apparently is what he thinks of when he thinks about the left. Lighten up, Anthony. He’s a comedian, and he can be unpleasant and offensive. I thought you were into that. Make up your mind.

So the rubes made you dinner, dude. That doesn’t mean you understand them. Sometimes your gut is wrong.

Capital Punishment

I didn’t get my degree in economics. Everything I know about the subject is like a fabric made of motley stitchings. I do what I can to know what I’m talking about. It’s complex. It involves math and countless variables. In America, we hate numbers like crushed tomatoes. There are people who pen hasty polemics that don’t show that the author understands the difference between the national debt and the deficit. And even when they do distinguish these large numbers, they don’t understand why we can sustain that debt and why it is important to global finance that it doesn’t get paid back too quickly, if it does so at all. It makes no sense on its face, but our debt makes the world hum-we are A Safe Bet. And we still finance at ass-kicking low rates.

Sustainable? I’m gonna pull a Donald Trump and say: look at the world. You see what’s going on. America is still great for the profit class-surprisingly stable- and that is a fucking ineluctable fact. Oh, sure, someday soon the house of cards we call capitalism will eventually collapse when labor can’t afford to buy its own products(we’re already halfway there) but for now, we are still an economic powerhouse that attracts investment. We will be part of tomorrow one way or another and the world knows it. And that truth transcends the numbers and the graphs. America has its thumb on the global economic scale, so worry not about the big scary zeroes, friends.

That’s all a circuitous way of coming around to talking about the goddamn Epipen. Does its saga make any sense?  When a private company makes a vital product, can it be relied upon to provide it in a responsible fashion? This is a question we should be asking when a company like Mylan risks the health of thousands to make millions.

You’ve all seen the story, no need to recap. It’s pretty obvious by now that Mylan got caught being super greedy. Everyone in the upper echelons gets paid when they retag the price of the auto-injector, their flagship product since 2007. This last time around though, they took such a big bite that everyone noticed. Now the company is under political fire for their gouging.

I understand and accept that every company has to include in its price several things, including profit. And I understand grudgingly that this profit must increase. Such is the nature of a growth-oriented economy. But damn, when you’ve got a consumer base that isn’t going anywhere, that is to say, a group that can get sick and die without your shit, hold your horses before you rob them. Slowly, slowly screw them over so they don’t notice or don’t mind.

Mylan has a lot of chutzpah. Their product’s component parts are valued at approximately twenty dollars. The delivery system is not their own invention-that would be some guy at NASA. Now they are tweaking the design of the original auto-injector so they can patent it. They pulled off an incredible marketing coup by tying federal grants to placement of the pen at schools. The FDA has shielded them from competition, swatting down several possible rivals. All while enjoying  inversion. So they are having a GOOD run. All the planets are aligned for continuing good fortune for Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

By the bloodless rules of supply and demand, Mylan can do whatever it wants as long as the market can hack it. And they have. Which brings us back to the question-should lifesaving medicine be exposed to market forces? After all, in other areas of the economy there are metrics in place for when regulators must step in, when trusts need busting, and when prices need some controllin’. Know what I say? If drug companies cannot mind their manners in the free martketplace, then they get an offer they can’t refuse. Buy them out. Take a controlling interest in the company. Am I suggesting a little socialism? Sure. A little red-line of sorts. Wouldn’t be the first thing we planned out. Some parts of it are too important to be left to the caprice of shareholder desires. Besides, they get most of their R&D budget from the government to start with. It’s at least in bad taste to be screwing over the taxpayer if you are in pharmacueticals.

My pinko dream may never need to come. Public outcry may be enough to shame the companies and our politicians into acting. I guess that’s the reason for the sudden decision by Mylan to produce a generic for its own product. Which, to this untrained mind, makes no sense at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speak Easy

The Internet has a big jump on me, but I just thought I’d share my theory on why the entire Republican party is killing itself, just twisting and writhing in every direction to explain away Melania Trump’s remarkable ability to channel Michelle Obama word for word at the Cleveland convention last night.

It isn’t the fact that she, or whoever wrote the speech, stole. I just saw a couple of bits of Barack Obama channeling Deval Patrick when he was just a pup of a Democratic candidate for president. Lord knows every spin machine the Republican organization has running flashed BIDEN BIDEN BIDEN when they got the unfortunate news that they had a cribber on their side. We are not clean whatsoever, we liberals, from the stain of poor scholarship.

It’s really about Michelle Obama and what she stands for. Who she stands for.

Michelle Obama, you see, is a liberal. That is what is killing them-that a Democrat may have authored part of a Republican’s speech.

Icky! Gross.

For as long as I can remember, the Republican party, if they are anything at all, are the party of values. Family values. Patriotic values. Traditional breadbasket of America religious values. If they could apply for a patent on the definition, they would have. No one has a monopoly on the values racket quite the way the GOP does. Without the patina of moral superiority, the modern Republican party might not survive-because all you have left then is a bunch of poor suckers helping rich people help themselves to the public largesse in the hopes that they too will someday be wealthy. Capitalism alone won’t bring home the wins. Values, prudish self-righteous convictions are key.

My point is that this scandal is sickening them because of the source of the plagiarized material. An abortion-eating Islamic devil worshipper like Michelle Obama can’t possibly have a thing to say when it comes to capital V values! That is where the true bitterness about this scandal really lies. Melania Trump, if you listen to her, is all air-just like her husband-but she made the mistake of being pumped up by the rousing speech of a dirty libtard school lunch policing ape socialist Muslim. All the horrible shit you want to think…that’s what is buoying the Republican response to Melania being caught mouthing Democratic words. They despise the story because of the origin of her speech. Had she been snagged lifting a Republican homily, I think the discourse would change a bit. It would be easier to blame the media. It would be easier to accept her plagiarism if it was coming from her side of the ledger. It would be far less embarrassing if she had lifted from David Duke or Lyndon LaRouche. She brought the stink of democracy with her. That is what they cannot abide.

I’d like to give an honorable mention to someone I have typed many nasty words about. His spin on this, however demented, is almost what you could call “nice”. I’m talking about Ben Carson. He hit me in the heart with this:

“Well, I think what we should be thinking about is if Melania’s speech is similar to Michelle Obama’s speech, that should make us all very happy because we should be saying, whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, we share the same values,” the retired neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate told reporters. “That’s what we should be talking about. Not trying to make it into a controversy.”

That’s about as genuine of an emotion that you will get coming from the hot mess that is all things Republican. Savor it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Inclusion

My kid’s baseball coach prays with the team after each practice and game. They all get in a huddle and hold hands while Mr.P intones the dumb kind of prayer that causes people to say “Yes, Lord” while he prays for the boys. My kid doesn’t even know to take his batting helmet off while they do their prayers. He just looks at me beyond the fence, and I know he feels ridiculous.

And, if I say something, he will be excluded. Because Mr.P isn’t going to stop his prayer-he’ll let my kid go home and every goddamned kid on that team now knows that Walter is different. I think it sucks and I barely know what to do. It’s county sanctioned ball, so I wonder if this is a freedom from religion case that I can pursue.

Well, that’s all depressing. I found some good news, that a New York planning board has cut the shit with saying the pledge of allegiance before it opens for business, and for all the right reasons:

The officials on the Planning Board in New Paltz, New York decided this week that they would no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings. It was a 4-3 vote to eliminate it.

This did not sit well with the god crowd:

We either have a country, or we don’t. It’s shocking that an elected official won’t take the 15 seconds required to put their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” [Andrew Heaney, a Republican candidate for New York’s 19th Congressional District] said.

Pray tell, how does not saying some bullshit equate to us “losing our country”?

Cooler heads prevailed:

“The reason I voted for us not to begin meetings with it is because a few members on the planning board felt strongly that they did not want to recite the pledge, and they didn’t want to be put in a position where they were sort of branded or singled out at every meeting,” said board member Michael Zierler.

If only my kid’s coach could see how freedom of conscience works.

Not To Nitpick, But…

I think Bernie Sanders is a mensch. But even the “left” wing in this country is sometimes, well, right-wing. It appears that Sanders is an isolationist and a protectionist:

As Sanders has climbed in the polls… the (more) pro-capitalist and nationalist content of his politics (have) become increasingly clear. An interview with Sanders released Tuesday by former Washington Post writer Ezra Klein for the Vox web site is particularly revealing in this regard.

About halfway through the interview, Klein asks Sanders about his attitude towards immigration. “You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view,” Klein says. “I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders.”

At this point, Sanders abruptly cuts off Klein, saying, “Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.” “Really?” Klein responds, apparently taken aback. “Of course,” Sanders replies. “That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States… It would make everybody in America poorer.”

Sanders continues: “You’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that… What right-wing people in this country would love is an open border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour. That would be great for them… You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those [American] kids?

Here’s a great takedown of this remarkably non-socialist stance here.

We already have a de facto open border-and millions of people come to work and stay here under the harshest conditions-yet it is better to be here and toil than go back to Mexico to ply their trades. The correct answer to this problem is if you have an open border, there must be new labor laws that forbid the exploitation system as it is now. The economy will absorb all this extra spending by those people, and expand the tax base. That’s not right-wing at all. Sanders seems to think that Americans will want to do these jobs-and he’s wrong. As I have said before, you won’t see people up and doing like Tom Joad trying to find their way by moving to where these jobs are stationed. Better to work at the local Pizza Hut making $9 an hour and live in your mom’s basement than make that trek.

The important point to be made here is that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. Open border does not equal the loss of American jobs, nor does it equal a poorer nation. We are much richer because of our immigrants. Always have been.

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