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Make-Believe

Donald Trump is going to die by his own hand. I think we’ve known this for a while.

Word is out that the Tomahawk strikes didn’t damage the runways of Al-Shayrat. Planes are still leaving from the base.

It’s turning out to be a rather expensive shot across the bow rather than a show of force.

But you wouldn’t know that by listening to President Numbnuts. He is satisfied with what was accomplished. A president wears many hats, and Trump has a construction helmet, complete with reflective vest, work boots and a spade in his collection. Check it-he’s an expert at public works:

“The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!”

When did you find that out- the last time you bombed a runway?

Donald, let me stop you at the word “reason”. I’ve been watching you for a bit now, and reasons and explanations are not your strong suit. I am no public works expert either, nor am I versed well in the destructive capabilities of our armaments. But I am pretty sure a thousand pound warhead makes a crater somewhat bigger than the ones you and I occasionally run over when we drive. Furthermore, a jet takes off at a rather high speed and I’m guessing that “filling and topping” is not something that can be done quickly or haphazardly. If I remember right, it took a few months, and a lot of concentrated resources and people to fix Baghdad International after we strafed it in 2003.

To wit: Tomahawks don’t make potholes. And a plane is not a car. Trump seems to think that a few shovelfuls of hot gravel is all it takes. Perhaps he has seen a hole in a road being repaired in Manhattan getting “filled and topped” from his limousine and drew an analogy. Adorable.

The Near-President needs to shut the fuck up. Desperate to spin the narrative of this story, he’s made a jackass out of himself yet again by injecting his moronic Twitter commentary into a very serious situation.

Surprise!

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Putting The “Con” In Conway

I thought Kellyanne Conway was going to need close 24-hour supervision after the presidential campaign, especially if the Trumpers lost the election. Oh sure, you have your Scottie Nell Hugheses, your Sean Spicers, but no one did more heavy lifting to dissemble, lie and distort the things that Donald Trump said than Kellyanne Conway. Her hair and living-dead countenance was all one needed to see that she was the hardest working flack in America.

Her stalwart performance has been rewarded, as she is now joining Trump’s inner circle. But she’s still out there taking damage for her chickenshit boss who tweets instead of talking because the press will eat his lunch in a conference.

We’re about to revisit for the umpteenth million time the day that Donald Trump made fun of  journalist Serge Kovaleski’s arthrogryposis because he called bullshit on Donald Trump’s claims that Muslims were dancing on their rooftops when the Towers got hit. Meryl Streep, after accepting a Golden Globe yesterday, lit into Trump, highlighting this slug-low attack. Trump of course, hid behind his Twitter and called Streep overrated(the projection level here staggers the mind), etc.- and denied, as he has done in the past, that he was making fun of the reporter’s impediments.

Here’s Serge Kovaleski:

serge

 

Here’s Donald Trump talking about Serge Kovaleski:

 

Let’s stop the video and show a side by side:

serge2

Now, people are out there helping Donald deny that he is a piece of rancid garbage, by showing cuts of Trump making fun of non-disabled people in a similar manner. It’s not quite the same, but you can go look for yourself. It seems clear to me that in the case of Kovaleski he was imitating him physically and using speech affectations of the disabled as well, or more specifically whatever Trump thinks mentally challenged people sound like. He is, after all, twelve years old.

But anyway, Trump must have sent Kellyanne to do damage control on the air:

CNN “New Day” host Chris Cuomo called out Trump for mocking a disabled New York Times reporter during a 2015 rally. But Conway insisted that’s not what he was doing.

“That is not what he did and he has said that 1,000 times,” she said Monday morning. “Why can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”

Cuomo shot back, “He can say it a million times but look at the video… he’s making a disgusting gesture on video.”

Had Barack Obama, in some alternate universe, done this to someone he would have said he was sorry about the gestures if it looked for a second like that’s what he was doing. But Trump doesn’t do apology. Instead, we get this from Conway:

“Why is everything taken at face value?” she asked. “You can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on this and he’s telling you what was in his heart, you always want to go with what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.”

I really don’t know what to do with this. Maybe repeating the part that hurts will help.

 you always want to go with what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart

Pure. Fucking. Desperation. She has no recourse to “Well, Clinton did this” and now she’s reached the end of her rope trying to explain away her employer’s incurable foot in mouth disease. She wants us to not listen to what Donald Trump says anymore, because it means nothing-nothing compared to the man’s hidden speech… that speaks of nothing but love and poetry and compassion. The real Donald Trump, not @realdonaldtrump.

She overheated like a dry car radiator and I’m surprised the interviewer didn’t chuckle.

Kellyanne Conway, you are a twit and a liar and a shameless, witless shill and you are going to hell for trying to humanize this dickhead whose coattails you rode to what I hope for your sake is a fat payday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly, Blackburn, Fly

Marsha-Marsha-Marsha Blackburn, representative of Tennessee, is a favorite here at the seminary. We love and simultaneously revile her for being one of the stupidest fucking congresspeople in the capitol. She’s puzzled a number of talking heads with her slightly retarded homespun conservatism, and this week her victim was CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, who ought to know what Blackburn is all about from being a Fox fox back in the O.G. days of that channel. Since we are now living in the novel 1984, Blackburn thinks that getting rid of the extra House oversight Democrats put in place 7 years ago will…wait for it…eh, I’ll let Marsha take it away:

“Any time you can provide more accountability and more transparency to any process that is in place, then you’re going to take another step toward draining the swamp,” Blackburn said, echoing a campaign promise by Donald Trump. “I am all for draining the swamp. I think that anyone who knows me knows that I’ve spent much of my career on reducing the size, the scope and the cost of the federal government, and in its place putting transparency and accountability.”

Got that?

Less oversight=more accountability.

Don’t think about it too much. This is Marsha Blackburn we are talking about.

But it was poor Camerota who needed to soldier on, and parried with a good rejoinder:

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota said, if she’s worried about transparency, that Blackburn should understand why Democrats were concerned that the measure was passed without their input during a nighttime, closed-door meeting.

Blackburn didn’t blink:

“Most people would say 5 o’clock in the afternoon is not at night,” Blackburn said, shrugging. “We could discuss that. It does start getting dark outside.”

It’s after business hours, dipshit. But semantics is often all these morons are good for. So anyway, she finishes with her own awkward false equivalence, the standard go-to when Republicans are cornered:

Blackburn suggested congressional Democrats were hypocrites for holding a private strategy session with President Barack Obama.

“The Democrats have their meeting behind closed doors also, and on Wednesday, when the president comes to talk to them about how to fight against the repeal of Obamacare, they’re going to do that one behind closed doors,” Blackburn said, punctuating her attack with a wink.

What fucking adult WINKS in the middle of a serious conversation? Sarah Palin and Marsha Blackburn do, I guess. But that’s beside the point. A secret vote was held without Democrats about disbanding oversight mechanisms. That is not the same as discussing strategies to resist the destruction of Obamacare. Rules changes are fucking important-and shutting out the minority party from voting is real cloak and dagger bullshit.

Fortunately, they will not be getting away with it. Good old people power and a bizarre rebuke from The Don saved the day. My hope for this country’s future is stronger knowing that even House Republicans can feel shame.

Here’s a link to the clip, so you can watch Camerota’s pain trying to get a handle on a very slippery politician. I haven’t figured out how to embed Twitter video, sorry.

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?

Eye Of Newt

Yesterday, I talked a little bit about the possibility that Trump is purposefully distracting the media with outrageous tweets and playing up drama so he can assemble the Cabinet Of Darkest Evil and run away with the taxpayer’s money. I said I doubted he was that smart and I stick by that. For example, he’s hooked on Twitter like I’m hooked on Facebook. He’s locked in mortal combat with his detractors-even when they are 16 years old. He doesn’t like that he got caught with no evidence of the massive voter fraud that he alleged took place, so he asked people to prove that there wasn’t any.

Oh, brother. This is like people asking me to prove that God doesn’t exist after I ask for proof that he does. This is known in smart people circles as “trying to prove a negative”, which, as I understand it, is often not possible nor useful to a logical argument. I could make up just about anything, much like Mr. Trump-and demand proof that what I said is not true and you will not be able to do it if my claim is outrageous enough and beyond the realm of disprovability. Therefore: if you have no proof that God doesn’t exist, he must. It’s absurd on its face. If you have become an Internet ninja, you know that these logical fallacies are verboten, almost as bad as not knowing how to punctuate or use their/there/they’re correctly. Me, I’m still an apprentice ninja, because advanced formal logic involves word problems and math, neither of which I will ever be any good at. I can spot some of the easy ones, perhaps maybe someday I will be a better arguer.

Anyway, Newt Gingrich has come to his defense on Fox, and he is confident that Donald Trump is playing games with the media on purpose by pushing false or misleading information:

During an interview with Fox News, former House Speaker Gingrich said that Trump’s success on the show The Apprentice taught him how to play up the “tension” and “showmanship” surrounding his incoming presidency.

Gingrich explained that Trump diverts the media with “rabbits,” or unimportant stories to throw them off from pursuing real stories.

“[Trump] understands the value of tension. He understands the value of showmanship. And candidly, the news media is going to chase the rabbit. So it’s better off for him to give them a rabbit than for them to go find their own rabbit.”

I think from his perspective, that’s terrific. It gives everyone something to talk about.”

“He does not think of this as chaos. He thinks of this as creativity,” Gingrich added.

Try not to throw up or throw something after reading that.

Let me get this straight, Newt- what you are saying is: it’s OK for the president-elect to make up things, spread disinformation and dissemble…I mean, c’mon people, that’s just his style! It made great TV, so it’ll make a great presidency! What chaos?

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. From being the most dangerous Speaker of the House in modern history to flacking for the most mentally challenged man ever to assume the presidency.

Newt, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to provide a little more proof that Donald Trump’s behavior is “creative”. In a twist of logic, it would be easier to prove that he isn’t. Just roll the tapes.

Burning Questions

1984: Joey Johnson, a communist rabble rouser, went to Texas to protest Reagan administration policies at the Republican National Convention. He and his comrades trashed their protest route, spray painting and vandalizing businesses. One of them pulled an American flag from its pole along the way. At the Dallas city hall, Joey lit that flag on fire.

Common sense would suggest that everyone in the group should’ve been arrested for their various antics. But that’s not how things work in America. Only Joey Johnson was arrested-because of what he did to that flag. You see, Texas had a law about destroying “venerated” symbols and representations. He was convicted, and received fines and remanded to a year in prison.

Yes, back then you could get majorly busted because you disrespected a piece of cloth. Johnson and his lawyers appealed the conviction, and after upholding and turnover by lower courts, his case went to the Supreme Court. They ruled in Johnson’s favor, citing first amendment concerns regarding his right to free speech. Even Antonin Scalia, who was never much for extending rights that offended his sense of originalism, concurred that flag burning is symbolic speech.

1989: Congress passes a new version of a flag protection statute. This did not survive a Supreme Court challenge.

1995-2006: Every session of Congress tried to pass a flag desecration amendment. Failure. It would have been the most bizarre use of the Constitution since Prohibition, the only time it was used to limit freedom and action.

So it’s settled. Now, it has been pointed out to me that just because something is settled case law doesn’t mean that good jurisprudence has been applied. We can look at things like Dred Scott or Plessy and know this to be true. But it seems like there is no judicial or political will great enough to stop someone from burning the flag. Personally, I agree with the courts-it’s just a flag and if you are not proud of it, you don’t have to respect it. That is your right in what is ostensibly the freest country in the world. A lack of patriotism is not a crime. Now of course that offends certain sensibilities because the first thing some like to cite when getting enraged about disrespect for the flag is that so many soldiers died fighting under the colors for “freedom”. I’m a veteran who wore the flag on my shoulder and I think that argument is garbage-it should be fairly clear to anyone with an acquaintance with the nearly unbroken string of wars we have participated in that we are rarely, if ever in it for freedom’s sake. Start by asking the Indians and work your way up to Iraqis to find out how we do freedom. I asked the Iraqis. They were fucking pissed, because in removing Saddam Hussein, we scorched that country with ruthless destruction and the whole country fell apart as a result. You will remember that primary targets were infrastructure in our “shock and awe” campaign, and I still don’t think they can keep the lights on all day in Baghdad. We know well now what Iraq was really all about-selling off the country’s resources to the oil companies and enriching friends of Dick Cheney.

Anyway:

November 29, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump tweets that flag burners should lose their citizenship and go to jail.

What the everloving fuck? Where did that come from? Is this occurrence an impending epidemic that requires a statement from the guy’s who’s going to run the planet? Did someone torch a flag in public lately?  Trump must’ve seen this story on Fox. I mean, I know Trump’s a born again fascist and he’s really enamored of the colored cloth as you can see here:

Donald Trump

Yeah, I can’t believe he’s gonna be president either. I’m revulsed and shocked by this bizarre hypernationalistic display, not to mention how it showcases the president elect’s  mental juvenility by hugging a fucking inanimate object. And  the bitch of all this is that it’s not the flag he cares about, it’s why the students burned it-because of his win of the presidency. And like a whiny ass titty baby, his thin skin couldn’t take the affront.

In the wake of the tweet, the media has gone in a few directions with interpreting it. One popular reaction is to stop paying attention to Trump’s online behavior because it is a red herring deployed to get us not thinking about what he’s really up to with his controversial staff and cabinet picks and his conflicts of interest that show that Trump is out for nothing but to enrich himself. I don’t think this theory holds much water-there is ample journalism available to watch Orange Caligula lose his head on social media and point out that his advisers are maniacs, lackeys, and deregulation freaks as well. Highlighting both paints a more complete picture of this fucking nutbar. Another strain of thought is that he is working on undermining the media by bypassing it, and this makes it very difficult for journalists to fight against that because you’ve got a self reinforcing rightwing news system(of which Fox is a large part of) that will report anything this idiot says. And when straight journalism tries to undo the lies and misinformation and just plain lunacy, he can say that the media is biased. Believing Trump’s tweets are a great way to have shit for brains and never have any real information, but some people, namely 1/2 the country like it. But the point is that it becomes harder for journalists to do the persuading that needs doing because Trump’s conditioning people to not listen. Ominous, eh? However, I don’t think Trump is smart enough to know that he’s declawing the press by lying and making up things that they will find false and therefore show their bias. He’s as much a victim of the phenomenon of instant communication as we all are, where any unexpurgated brain rot can be shared with hundreds of thousands of people.

As for me, I think it just makes him look like the ill-informed, oversensitive caveman he is and we should broadcast his dribblings far and wide in the hopes that the Electoral College will save us.

Hah! I’m kidding, the electors are morons appointed by the parties. Good fucking luck with that. Good fucking luck to us all, we’re gonna need it. I picked a terrible time to stop drinking.

burning-american-flag250.jpg

UPDATE: Mitch McConnell says that Donald Trump can eat his unwiped asshole if he tries to bring the flag burning issue before Congress. Mitch Fucking McConnell, who busied himself subverting the Constitution nearly all of this year by withholding advice and consent from President Obama on the Court vacancy, is on the correct side of this issue. And his disinterest in Donald Trump’s brain droppings remains even as he prepares to make McConnell’s wife part of the Cabinet. I look forward to these two weasels fighting each other in the future.

Right Wing Resume=Blank Sheet Of Paper

Still listening to the tube. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who spins bullshit faster than a cyclone is going on about how Donald Trump is the right man for the job because he’s the outsider candidate who has never been in politics. That totally brought me back to the time when he said it was best for him to not know too much about NATO. Then I look at my Facebook and see that Gary Johnson is saying that him not knowing anything about the wider world is a point of  strength for him.

One thing is screamingly obvious: there is a strong correlation between right wing politics and rank dilettantism. And I want to know why it’s a feature and not a bug. I am probably not eloquent enough to tell you. I can ask the question and lay out some of the evidence. I fear that the answer would take a book length discussion.

Populism is the belief in the power of regular people. It sounds real good, as long as you’ve never actually met any people.

Let’s put aside the fact that Gary Johnson and Donald Trump aren’t regular people. What I’m trying to figure out is why certain people are reticent to hire professionals for an indescribably complex job. As has been said in many places, politics must be the only service industry where you don’t want to hire someone who knows how to do the work.

I want a lawyer to be able to read a bill, for example. Little stuff like that.

But instead, we’re half as likely to let anyone run us in the name of God or Mammon as long as he has “our values”.

The word “demagogue” is old. They are everywhere, as always. Danger on the edge of town. The American people love a good demagogue and will listen to lies that confirm their narrow prejudices about their neighbor-be they next door or across a sea- whom they are frightened, spiteful, and wary of.

It goes like this, I guess: simpleton ‘personalities'(lacking a better word) ingratiate themselves to simpleton followers and that’s how you get dumbasses thinking they can run a government. A government, I might add, that the right wing hates. The function of a right wing politician is not to fix government, but eliminate it. So he/she doesn’t have to be any good at being in office, since he/she’s not going to do the job.

This distaste for government and a total dismissiveness of effective leadership is a funhouse distortion of the ideals of our revolution. Few seem to remember that our baby nation couldn’t keep its shit together for a decade after the last shot of the war. Brave and brilliant men were sent to Philadelphia in 1787 to do a better job in what? Governing.

These were men of letters. Men of reason. They listened to each other, argued passionately and did the best they could to craft a new government-surely an imperfect one-but one that the fledgling states could abide by.

It is wrong to hire idiots to uphold the binding document they produced. I don’t care how much he or she “thinks like you”, “stands for your values” or “tells it like it is”, you must insist on someone better than yourself to run a country, unless you got the time.

Donald Trump and Gary Johnson are idiots. Their ideas about politics, if you want to call them something, are terrible. And they come to you with a resume that doesn’t fit with the job they are interviewing for. And I want to know why you, the conservative employer, thinks “that’s the guy I want to leave a call back number for”.

They’re literally advertising how dumb they are.

Why is that OK with you?

 

 

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