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Midnight Creep

It’s rare for me to request that famous people shut their goddamn mouths. I do not understand the logic of people who refuse to entertain someone’s thoughts simply because they are well known. Laura Ingraham, late of sieg-heiling to Donald Trump at the RNC convention, wrote a whole book about the Jews liberals in Hollywood and how much she resents them sticking their hooked noses into politics because they’re so popular.

I guess the theory is that they skew the national conversation due to their star power. That may be true in a way, but I fail to see how this is a bad thing. If I had any measure of fame and I could do good by using my station and spare time to promote a cause I care about, you can bet that I would do it.

Her argument is shit-after all, Laura Ingraham is a popular radio host and author. She’s on TV too. Does that mean she now must shut up because she’s not ordinary? Of course not-at least not until the revolution and the reeducation camps. Point is, it doesn’t matter what you do. If you’re lucky enough to have a job that literally hands you a microphone, you take it and do something substantial with it.

Really, all Ingraham was bitching about is the arts in general because typically conservatives are some of the most artless fucks ever conceived. They have no imagination by default, and that is why they can only see the way things are or the way they have been as opposed to the way they could be. Celebrities create for a living, and that is why they lean naturally towards progressivism. Journalists are also largely liberal, being curious storytellers. The creative professions point the way to a better future, an end to things like hunger, injustice, war and all the other things left over from our cruel simian past that we would do well to get control of or there won’t be a planet left to dominate. Either that or they’re just ginning up some fun for us, and that is fine too.

It pains me to have to say that Jesse Hughes needs to shut the fuck up.

Stat.

For those of you who know some Jesse Hughes music, you are indeed saddened to find that he is a supersized asshole. Either that or he’s got mental problems, and I’ll address that.

This is Jesse at the height of his powers:

The record that came off of was one of the best fucking rock and roll discs to come out of the aughts. It was sexy, slinky, simple, perverse and it didn’t take itself seriously for one minute. The drummer is of some renown (and an asshole in his own right), but it’s Hughes’ delivery and stripped down playing that makes the Eagles Of Death Metal sound not like Queens Of The Stone Age. It was a debut I could and still can listen to all the way through, and that’s saying a lot given how hard it seems to be to make a long player that people want to keep playing.

Most of you should remember the massacre at the Bataclan theatre in 2015. A wave of violence swept across Paris, and while The Eagles were playing a gunmen sprayed fire and grenades upon the crowd, slaughtering almost 90 people including the Eagles’ merch manager. The band got separated during the attack but everyone was safe.

If I were Jesse Hughes or anyone in that theater, I would have developed post-traumatic shock disorder afterwards. And that is probably exactly what happened, with some caveats. In an interview Hughes admitted that he was haunted, but then went on a tirade about gun control in France, familiar refrains for gun lovers but perhaps coming from a place of deep personal grief and pain:

“Did your French gun control stop a single f–king person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer ‘yes’, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.”

“I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night, guns made them equal. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe until nobody has guns everybody has to have them. Because I don’t ever want to see anything like this ever happen again and I want everyone to have the best chance to live and I saw people die that maybe could have lived.”

OK, I get it. But we all know that anytime guns are introduced into a situation, the potential for an accidental death increases. If we applied Hughes’ solution to the Bataclan attack, many more would have died in the chaos. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that some people were struck by “good guy” fire that night in a room thick with noncombatants. Furthermore, for as long as I can remember (and I was a pre-9/11 teen), most entertainment venues want you to be weapon-free because for one thing, alcohol and weapons mix poorly-and lastly, no one would know how to sort the good guys from the bad in the heat of the moment and so basically Jesse Hughes is an idiot for thinking it’s a swell idea for everyone to start packing at a crowded show.

But perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt, because he went through a harrowing experience and things said while still in shock are usually not coming from a good place.

However, there’s only so much I can give in the way of forbearance when he attacks children three years later for being angry too (in addition to being stricken with sadness) about their friends being gunned down at school because any lunatic in America can get an assault rifle in under a half-hour. The children of Parkland literally went through the same thing that Hughes did and instead of playing a benefit he shat on them and their dead friends on Instagram:

“Hughes’s verified account posted a cartoon equating gun control to cutting off one’s dick to prevent rape, paired with a caption slamming Parkland students as “pathetic,” “disgusting vile abusers of the dead” who took “multiple days off of school playing hooky at the expense of 16 of your classmates blood.”

Hughes posted a doctored photo of protest leader Emma González tearing apart a copy of the Constitution and called her, among other things, “the awful face of treason” and a “survivor of nothing.”

Wow. Think about that. A survivor of nothing? From Hughes? At this point I just gotta cut him loose, because now he’s just being a typical fucking stupid conservative dick. There is no daylight whatsoever between Gonzales’ experience and Hughes’, but one would think that Hughes was the child and Gonzalez the adult if you didn’t know who they were. Yesterday, Hughes scrubbed his social media, hopefully embarrassed and chastened but it’s more likely he’s worried about ticket and record sales.

It’s a fucking shame, because I liked his music even though I doubt he’ll never do anything like Peace Love Death Metal again. I’m done with him and his jerk bandmate, who represent the dregs of this paranoid, angry, nasty social experiment called the U.S.A. I’ll leave you with a couple of old eyeroll-worthy quotes from The Eagles’ principal members:

In a 2007 interview, bandmate Josh Homme stated “Jesse Hughes and I have a theory; we’re socially liberal but government conservative guys”. Hughes has also said “I wanted to be a Republican politician, for God sakes. I’m a conservative, dude.”

And I say to you both:

washing-hands.jpg.size-custom-crop.1086x0

Not another dime, fuckheads.

 

The Song Is (Almost) Over

I’m probably going to get this one wrong, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that it’s almost time to write the coda to the Trump fiasco.

Of course, Maggie Haberman, Trump’s bete noire at The Gray Lady is placing the notes, measure by measure.

She’s a proponent of the notion that Trump is applying chaos principles he used in business to the governance of the nation. All of you no-neck dumbfucks out there who thought it’d be a great idea if a businessman took over the operation should be forced to wear sandwich boards saying “HELP, I NEED CIVICS LESSONS”. But anyway, I demur from Haberman’s thesis. If you ask me, it’s more like this:

It’s going to take a lot for me to admit that our clown prince has any methods or any theories at all-not even chaos. For me, you can boil everything he does down to one thing, which is, will I be liked for what I am dong? All decisions stem from this peculiar, immediate, pathological need. So it looks a lot like a chaos strategy because none of it makes any sense if you aren’t thinking about Trump’s deep seated developmental disorder.

In any case, Maggie’s compiled a nice list of Jenga pieces that have been pulled. There’s been a LOT this week. Trump’s imposing tariffs on imported metals. It seems that one of Donald’s endgames is to build more than one wall. Whether we realize it or not we are going to spiral into a sort of soft fascism by believing that we can sustain our way of living without any outside help. Sound familiar? Yep. North Korea. Their existence is totally predicated upon a similar stubborn self reliance, and it’s plainly obvious how Orange Caligula’s ideas are analogous. America First. Make America Great. Combine this hypernationalism with the cult of personality that 35% of the country believes in, you have a recipe for a country on permanent alert and lockdown, full of people who are armed, fearful and angry. We’ve been working at this since 2001 but now the process is speeding like a bullet train. But anyway, prices are going to go up as a result of punitive tariffs, and the stock market is going to get the jitters too-especially if the Fed raises rates.

Then there’s the disappearing of Hope Hicks, Trump’s whisperer. Hicks allegedly told a few “white lies” to investigators and might have put herself in legal jeopardy. Without Hicks, Trump is reduced to watching “Fox And Friends” to get the positive feedback he desperately needs. And John Kelly is wringing out the nepotism, patronage, and corruption in the White House by pulling all the ridiculous interim security clearances that Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and many of the staffers have enjoyed in order to view sensitive information. Kelly may be a tool, but he’s a professional tool. And the misadministration seems allergic to professionalism, perhaps because Trump needs to feel like he’s the smartest man in the room. But it’s going to be awfully quiet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because his national security advisor is also jumping ship.

Because Trump cannot be ever said to be firmly “on the reservation”, it’s not news that he isn’t. He’s got the ammosexuals in straitjacket fits by seeming to want to take people’s guns without due process, and for once, correctly calling out the cowardice of legislators when it comes to bucking the NRA. But, as my perspicacious friend always says, he’s all hat and no cattle. Haberman notes this typical backtracking. For all his talk, Trump’s kind of a little bitch when it comes to an actual fight. He steadfastly refuses to plant a flag anywhere, because that might require commitment and sustained attention, two things which he is short on.

Every day is another bombshell, and the salvos are starting to hit behind the lines.

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

 

 

Noblesse Effete

I think one of the worst things about the Trump misadministration is that it’s pursuing policies that serve to elevate the richest among us, and blaming the poor and unfortunate for America’s ills. The worst part is that the middle that World War II created is rotten and decaying, so there’s an untouchable money clan and an increasingly desperate hoi polloi left. And the rich are acting so put upon by having to take care of its labor and consumer force. This has been an intractable problem since the inception of the republic, and none of us can afford to take off work these days to demand that they elevate us a little for all the mind numbing, back-busting work we do for them. It’s easy to ignore us, for they feel that things like high-speed internet are luxuries we can afford and therefore the working poor experience is not so poor after all. Never mind that we are all one catastrophe, even one car repair from maxing out our credit cards that charge 25% interest. A rising tide can indeed lift all boats, but that’s not how the rich play it. The dividends belong to them.

Nobody in recent memory has exemplified this devil-may-care attitude towards the working class like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his gold-digging trophy wife, Louise Linton. I am sure you have seen this, but here’s a really gauche example of how out of touch with 95% of the country he really is:

mnuchin-linton.jpeg

That was a big moment for them, letting everyone know the heights they have been to. They literally have the money supply in their hands.

Now, this photo did not sit well with a lot of people, nor did they appreciate her bragging about the expensive things she was wearing at a political stop with the hubs. And like the spoiled little bitch she is, she reminded us how much they give to the country’s welfare, comparing it to how little we as individual workers do and how much they sacrifice-a spiteful, ill-mannered, highfalutin display of how not to do noblesse oblige. The Trump misadministration encourages people like the Mnuchins, and in fact is larding the government with swamp monsters like them. If you look at “President” Trump’s absurd budget, you will perceive that the rabble are on notice.

These rich motherfuckers haven’t the faintest clue how the rest of us live. To hear them tell it, we are living high on the hog in this country. And we have the nerve to be mad about it, to demand that our government be more responsive to our needs. Why, they’ve already paid your Costco membership, what are you bitching about now, greedy peasant?

Not being well off, or even simply working for a living has its share of anguish, but we little people band together-it’s the only thing we can do-and try to make this mortal coil a bit more bearable. It’s how democracy gets done. It’s how love is exchanged and created.

But today, Fuckface Jr. went to India and marveled at the destitute:

“You go through a town…. you can see the poorest of the poor and there’s still a smile on their face. It’s a different spirit that you don’t see in other parts of the world, where people walk around so solemn,” said Trump Jr.

He claimed the “spirit” of India’s poor “really shines through” and speaks “to the future potential of what this country can do.

He’s obliquely talking about our poor, of course.

See, Don’s a New York City jive turkey. Generally, New Yorkers, at least the Manhattanites I remember, didn’t have much time for pleasantry or a pointless smile. They were going from point A to Point B and you are in their way. And there are people in rags everywhere, competing for dwindling change. It’s hotter than Hades in the summer and freezing like a polar bear’s balls in the winter. Ain’t hardly a thing to smile about sometimes.

Then there’s the bums. Of course, not every bum was, um, solemn. In fact, some of them were quite lively-as a juvenile delinquent who made Manhattan his playground during the Koch/Dinkins years (read:before Guiliani ruined the place), we were often accosted by people willing to do goofy shit for a buck. One dude played television theme shows on a comb. Another one was a superhero. Buskers did what they loved. But for every one of those there were ten for which the streets of NYC were their open air asylum. I had a good time there in spite of this unfortunate tableau. But I had pocket money and a suburban New Jersey home to return to.

In a word, I was as clueless as Donald Trump Jr. about the nature of things around me. That’s what privilege will do to you. I was, to some degree, oblivious to other people’s pain.

And those are the eyes that Don Jr. sees through. Small wonder that he goes to the other side of the globe taken aback when he sees the impoverished smiling somewhere. Chances are they are grinning at him because he looks like he might give them money anyway. But people who suffer greatly often grin and bear it. It’s not peculiar to India, that I can tell you. Fifteen years ago, we broke Iraq. And I too was amazed at the ebullience of the people who were living amongst the wreckage that used to be their neighborhood.  Of course, there were also massive demonstrations full of angry people who lost their way of living because of the invasion, so a few people smiling doesn’t tell the whole tale.

In the end, it’s simply obnoxious to suggest that the lowest classes in America should smile as they wake up another day on a heating vent living on cigarettes and papaya dogs, or be spiritual about their hardships as their corrupt leaders let tax money flow upwards to people like Fuckface Jr. That’s not going to happen. Go back to India, declare yourself a raja and don’t return.

 

Just A Little Prick

There’s a meme out there somewhere that says that having (some number, sorry) illegal aliens in the country is better than one (Trump supporter, Republican…again, sorry).

No one has given me more reason to spottily remember it than good ol’ Todd Starnes. He’s one of those conservatives that derive their adult strength from Jesus and belittling unfortunate people after a school career likely marked by swirlies and getting shoved in lockers. Todd is a mealymouthed little twink with nothing to offer to a civil debate.

Before I begin shredding Todd, I had something of an epiphany about the immigration debate whilst trolling my brother’s Facebook page a few days ago, watching so-called Christians get all huffy about immigrants. I developed an axiom: if you have a lot to say against “illegals”, you’re a racist. Don’t give me that crap about breaking “laws”. That’s your cover story. You have issues with people whose skin color is not like yours and who don’t speak like you. You have probably never been hurt by an illegal (or been exposed to risk from them to a greater degree than you are vulnerable to homemade criminals), none of them have taken your job (in point of fact, they are doing the jobs you won’t do), and they do pay taxes without receiving benefits.

You are hung up because you are a prejudiced asshole. End of discussion. There’s a hundred things to bitch about regarding American life but choosing to plant your flag in this discussion above so many other deserving problems says something about you.

As it happens, being cruel to immigrants is as old as the country itself. For all of our talk about being a melting pot, we have always demeaned the latest wave of immigrants once we have become “Americanized”.

What’s in the name “Starnes”, I wonder? Most Starnes’ are from England, and the name’s root means “stern, uncompromising, austere”. I guess that fits him quite well, if only he didn’t look like look like a rodent who is packing his cheeks for winter:

todd-starnesnra

Anyway, Todd’s as white as can be, hailing from the mother country. If there was an immigrant wave, you can bet a Starnes looked down on it.

Here’s the inconvenient truth on immigration. The problem is intractable and the current boob-in-chief, try as he might, will not fix it. Illegal immigration is a linchpin of daily American life. I wouldn’t be able to afford a chicken breast or enjoy a bunch of grapes if mega-food corporations used labor that they would pay in wampum if they could get away with it. This is the ugly reality sitting just below the surface of our American happy-go-lucky lives; that our polite survival is based, yet again, on slave labor. We don’t get paid enough in this country to make rent, how are we going to deal when a pack of chicken breasts costs eighteen dollars? Am I an amnesty supporter? Yes, of course I am. But a whole range of labor reforms would have to be tackled before we handle how to pay immigrants for the suckiest work that’s ever sucked. If indeed the aim of our corporate masters is to find that sweet spot for all of us between penury and subsistence, then the illegal immigrant issue will not get “fixed”.  It’s going to stay the way they like it, and all of you stupid fucks like Todd Starnes will go on believing your bought off politicians when they say they’re going to scratch your racist itch.

Then there’s DACA. Children of undocumented immigrants born here face a possibility of being sent to a country they don’t know and didn’t come from. That is truly frightening shit and should NEVER happen here. Some of these kids are pursuing academics and serving in the armed forces. Donald Trump could have left DACA as it was, but he purposely kicked the legs out from under it, claiming it was not legal and punting the issue to Congress, where it was guaranteed to languish until it could be used as a bargaining chip in the scorched-earth politics Mitch McConnell trafficks in. Not feeling for these kids who were born of undocumented parents makes you a true scumbag.

So anyway, let’s go look at what the terminally punchable Starnes has to say today:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a number of other Democrats plan to fill the House gallery with illegal aliens when President Trump delivers his first State of the Union address on Tuesday.

ABC News reports at least 24 House Democrats plan to bring illegals — the so-called “Dreamers” — to watch the Tuesday night speech from the House gallery. 

Whoa! Stop right there, Todd. As I explained above, there is a yuge difference between an “illegal” and a “dreamer”. “Dreamers” have until at least mid-March (and possibly beyond pending a court order to block the end of protections) before they can be targeted for removal. They are not illegal yet, you dumbshit.

The illegal aliens will be sitting in seats that in previous years were meant for brave military heroes, law-abiding taxpayers and America’s best and brightest.

Again, see above on the issue of taxes. Furthermore, there’s almost a thousand “dreamers” serving honorably in the military, which is way more than you can say for chickenhawks like Todd Starnes and Donald Trump for that matter.

Best and brightest? Check out these bad-ass dreamers.

The sad truth is that Democrats would rather align themselves with foreign invaders who violated our national sovereignty, thumbed their nose at the rule of law, and pillaged and plundered taxpayer-funded resources.

Foreign “invaders”? Really with that hyperbole, Todd? You sound like a frightened little Pomeranian who snarls and snaps at anything unfamiliar that gets close to it. Buck up. You are a Starnes, damn it.

In response, President Trump should fill the remainder of the House gallery with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Imagine the message he could send to the world if he directed ICE agents to arrest every illegal alien in the House chamber – live on national television.

Aside from this being one of the most demented un-American fantasies I have seen in a while, once again, you stupid fuck-these people are legal.

There’s really not much point in more blow-by-blow here, because he gets basic facts wrong repeatedly. The whole piece is predicated on bullshit. But I hope I have made clear here that immigrants have so much to offer this country, way more than angry, hyperventilating white dorks who write a Fox opinion column whose only purpose is to spread misunderstanding and fear do.

 

 

 

 

China China China

I think I have figured out why Donald Trump used to talk so much about China during his campaign. There may have been more to it than just a harsh xenophobic dog whistle. He may have just been doling out the red meat for the rallies a la Mexico and the wall they aren’t paying for. But in reality, the Trump administration’s policy on China is…well…complex.

You would get the idea that China is a nemesis that stands against all we stand for if you listen to Trump on a superficial level. But that’s not the crux of the biscuit.

Here’s the secret: Trump thinks China is awesome.

Fact is, China is a competitor and Trump’s always up for a contest. It’s not insignificant that one of the big things he wanted America to do is “win” again. And winning for Trump is measured in dollars. He laments that our economic growth rate is anemic (it’s fine). He thinks our growth should be double what it is right now. Trump is jealous as shit towards countries who are metastasizing like that. China is what Trump thinks of when he thinks about growth and success, because it may be the only country on a map which Trump recognizes that has absurd growth rates. They’re actually slowing down now to a much less frenetic pace, but China nearly had to have another revolution to force those high numbers.

They became rapacious. They were going to produce until it hurt.

There was no price too high that they would pay to industrialize. They built an infrastructure of heavily polluting coal plants and factories across China. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people died every year working in horrid conditions for a pittance. The air became unbreathable in places and the workers couldn’t afford anything that they produced for the rest of the world. This is how you get 7%-10% growth-you work your citizens to death(not unlike slaves), pay them nothing, sell the fruits of the labor for next to nothing and  destroy the environment. And if you complain, you are arrested. There is no such thing as a free press-it’s all state media propaganda and the internet is heavily censored.

But today, China is learning to live with 6.9% growth. They have found that runaway growth is utterly unsustainable. Its technocrats are now more concerned with quality of life issues and they’ve gone looking to solar, wind and nuclear to reduce pollution levels. They have cool technology that scrubs air like a tree would. They’re coming out of the other side of their brutal experiment in growth, and getting ready to participate in the world market without things like currency manipulation, dumping, and old-fashioned protectionism. It still sounds like a shitty, unfun place to live, but they are progressing to the degree that they can.

So that’s what we know about China.

Wait for it.

I’m gonna make the jump and suggest that Donald Trump would love to turn us into China if he could.

He’s certainly contemptuous towards a free press. His views on so-called libel are dangerous. He could knock the legs out from under fledgling news gatherers by making court impossible to afford (Melania liked to break the will of tiny internet publications by threatening court over whether or not she was a ho). Ironically, Trump himself is an inveterate liar, making up all kinds of crazy stories ranging from the size of his inauguration crowd to claiming that millions of illegals voted in the 2016 election, which he won and still won’t let you forget a year later. Trump cannot really stop the media from reporting on him because of the Constitution-but he has learned to de-legitimize some of it and do an end run around it by using social media to calumniate against whoever opposes him or reports about him negatively. This snow job works on enough folks for it to pose a serious problem.

He wants to put the American environment to the torch. He’s willfully ignorant about global warming. He wants to hollow out the EPA, purging it of experts and making sure no one can discuss climate change within the agency.  He’s extricating the United States from global pacts to reduce emissions. He wants us to go back to the dirtiest sources of energy possible (believing that there’s something called “clean” coal that comes out of the ground as such), drill offshore from sea to shining sea and give companies license to barf their toxins into our land, water and air by rolling back protections. All in the name of growth and business.

The Chinese are famous for being xenophobes. Trump may not be able to spell it, but that is what he is as well. His 2016 campaign was based in no small part upon getting peoples’ Irish up about immigrants and furriners in general. And that wall…amazing, great, beautiful, the best…

Finally, China has a history of currency manipulation. They don’t do it anymore, but in the past, they have allowed the value of the yuan to sink so that Chinese goods cost less in the rest of the world. Steve Mnuchin is totally down with keeping the value of a dollar weak, which may be good for our trade deficit but deleterious in other ways. We are also now dabbling in protectionist tariffs. These economic sleights don’t go unnoticed by the rest of the world, who will begin protecting their markets against our monkey business. And like I mentioned above, we won’t be able to afford Made In The USA because of poor worker protections and wage stagnation. It’s all very strange, because Republican orthodoxy states that markets should be free and now we are closing ourselves off with these aggressive moves, and ducking out of trade pacts. Oh, well. We’ve always been a country whose shadow motto is “do as I say, not as I do”.

Trump and his swamp monsters want to reduce Americans to a populace of serfs. After all, capitalism is just a mutated form of feudalism. It’s servitude with your choice of masters that feels like the exercise of free will. Our lives revolve around the caprice of the corporations and the financiers. However, I think the lords of the feudal past actually gave a shit about their subjects in a way that that Pfizer, Dupont, Cargill, the Kochs and the Mercers do not.

 

 

 

Dusk At Racist Castle

There are some who insist that last night’s election is only about Roy Moore’s nasty sexual proclivities and that what Alabamians did last night was merely what was right.

Oh, that’s part of it. But there’s more to consider.

As with the Virginia and New Jersey sweeps last month, the election was also a referendum on The Trump Effect. The Trump Effect states that wherever Donald Trump goes, he wins. Sane Americans have had a soul-wrenching 13 months and we are shocked but excited when Trump is the albatross he ought to be. After all, he did support Luther Strange too. I think, albeit guardedly that his mojo is nothing but dumb fucking luck. The mojo is becoming a curse. We will learn more about what the Effect’s effect really is soon enough.

Remember, remember, the 6th of November.

It also repudiated neolithic conservatism. Roy Moore is everything that’s wrong with the South and wingnuts in general-a gun toting, bible thumping white racist yahoo who is so fucking conservative he took a horse to the polls in an age where cars are starting to drive themselves. The Lord abandoned a relic like Roy, as did we-a move that would get Him in my good graces if I became silly and believed in Him.

We also showed that we can win at the polls. Despite numerous attempts to keep people from voting, enough voters showed up to do their duty. Last night, we put everyone on notice that if you suck, you will be removed no matter what kind of bullshit you try to pull. Everyone involved in tearing this country apart under the aegis of Donald Trump is officially reachable by ballot.

I cried last night for Alabama. The good people there have hope instead of the obsidian-colored gloom that coats daily living in America since November of 2016. And we all share in that hope, because Mitch McConnell’s usual job of ratfucking the country just got exponentially more difficult. If the tax bill mess is not done in by the usual GOP defectors, it’s possible that Mitch may be able to get a vote to the floor before Jones is seated between December 26 and January 3. But shenanigans after that will require more discipline and…gasp…compromise. Running the country by reconciliation and lockouts is not a winning strategy, to the degree that it ever was.

Lost in all of the layers of peculiarities of the Alabama senate race is the ineluctable fact that Democrats did this. Oh, a couple thousand smart dumb asses showed up to write someone in as a protest, but not enough to throw the election to Moore. We now know that we can win without the perennially unsatisfied who do not seem to grasp the glacial nature of our politics. It is a slow walk to progress, not a sprint. We get there by doing the work instead of bitching. I barely know Doug Jones, but I know he’s not a a gun toting, bible thumping white racist yahoo and that will do for a start.

Perhaps he will throw his lot in with folks like Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp in checking what they would call the excesses of their party. So be it. I am hoping that Jones will play ball instead, because the sky is the limit for a southern Democrat.

Yes, that is what I am implying. We’ve had two southern Democrats lead the party in my lifetime. I think there certainly are others already elected who deserve to spear the brass ring before a freshman (women in particular), but I’ll leave the strategery to Perez and Ellison. Last night showed that the pair is engaged and ready to beat the fucking tar out of anyone shameless enough to ally themselves with President Crazytweet.

I expect fear and trembling from The Hill to the White House. It will be disguised by false confidence but we know that they all hear a tick-tick-tick now that will haunt them, portending a fiery event that will eventually consume the Trumpists and the Lafferites and the conspiracy theorists and the dynamic scorers and the warmongers and the Freedom Caucus and the theocrats and the plutocrats and all the other god-damned kakistocrats I might have left out on the right that are trying to hollow out our government so it doesn’t work for us anymore.

UPDATE: For those of you playing the home game, I should point out that it was black Democrats that really carried the day, particularly black women. This is what the exit polls looked like (HT Meg The Perky Intern):

black

 

Knockdown In Round Two

Yesterday, it seemed like the end for the struggle to preserve benefits, protections and entitlements for millions of people across the country was imminent. The GOP looked unified enough to pull it off and take it all, desperate for some sort of victory no matter how Pyrrhic it would be once regular people felt the bite. They were ready to commit massive legislative arson just so they could please their wealthy donors in this cussed Citizens United era.

There was a snag last night when deficit hawks had reservations, but we’re all still on the hook at the moment. We might be losing the light yet.

But fuck all that. I know it’s important, but hang on.

Robert Mueller pulled another string.

He’s got Michael Flynn in his talons and he ain’t going to jail even a minute for one Donald J. Trump.

As they say in chess: Check.

And it looks like an ugly check, a nasty, sickening game-fucking fork that will cost King Dipshit his protective pieces, and when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before white chases him around the board where no space is safe.

I knew something was up yesterday. Trump is erratic at best on normal days, so it’s hard to read anything into his behavior. But he went berserk this week. It started with “honoring” Native American veterans in front of a portrait of the asshole who signed the Indian Removal Act, and like the 6 year old imp that he is, he proceeded to take a bizarre shot at Elizabeth Warren (as if to say “While I’m on the subject of Indians…“), a shot that no doubt confused the honorees and eventually pissed off much of the Native American community. He accused Joe Scarborough of murder, mused as to whether the pussy grabbing recording was real, told people in private that he still isn’t sure about Barack Obama’s birthplace, dribbled something about a fake news contest, dragged NFL players, CNN, The New York Times, I mean he whipped out all the greatest hits and made up some new ones. And then yesterday, he’s out there retweeting British anti-Islamic/white supremacist material, material that was without basis in reality. Now since Trump has been in office, he has NEVER taken responsibility or apologized for anything he has said or done and that did not change here. Sarah Sanders dutifully put on her ever increasing volume of warpaint (perhaps to unnerve the press corps) and basically said Trump is right, even when his proof is wrong. Oy vey.

All of it made my spidey senses tingle. I’ve never been fond of the notion that this twat of a president has any clue what he is doing. So many pixels have been wasted positing that Trump is a master of distraction. But the sum total of his miscues and outbursts this week suggested to me that his nerves were frayed about something. There may or may not be a little bird who has seen Mueller’s flop cards whispering in Humperdoo’s ear. This may be causing a bit of mania and rightfully, paranoia. Again, the things he does, says and types unintentionally muddies the water. Put simply, the dude is spazzing out. And the level of spaz might be a hint that trouble is coming…coming for him.

We may yet lose this country, what’s left of it for us normal folks anyway. But Justice, a severe and merciless bitch of a goddess, will not be denied her sacrifice. Maybe we will come out the other side of this caring more about each other after having been lied to and treated so badly by our putative leaders. My hopes are chastened, though. It only took five short years after Nixon left town in disgrace to bring us to Ronald Reagan’s senile reign of error.

We don’t learn from our mistakes here in America. We repeat them, with pride. But for now, let’s celebrate that our modern Caligula, this mad hatter of a misbegotten president is going down soon, hopefully taking his conspirators with him.

 

 

 

America Bleeds Blue

So, what, if anything, do last night’s election results mean?

It seems that the American people are out for incumbent heads once again. Non-presidential elections always seem to be bloodbaths for the majority party. And while I am glad the pendulum is swinging leftwards-politics being what it is here, nothing will get done that helps anyone because of the incredibly steep hill we as a Democratic Party must climb to triumph, and when we don’t make it to the summit, then the pendulum will swing right again (sorry about the mixed metaphors). If there’s anything you can count on in this world, it’s the shitty memory of the average US citizen. It doesn’t help that they are being lied to by half the radio dial, hundreds of crap dailies, and a major “news” channel either about what’s good for them. We’re a perpetually unsatisfied bunch, on the whole, and that is probably by design.

That’s my cynical take.  I could be wrong, last night’s blue wave might be a harbinger of things to come. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, because we’ve gotten to the summit  before(2008 until we lost Ted Kennedy and got Scott Brown). Really, the big important takeaway is that Donald Trump is really only good at one thing, and that’s alienating people. If there is any meaning at all to yesterday, it’s that Trump is not magic like he’d have you believe. In his mind and his stunted supporters’ minds, it was his charisma and vision that propelled him to victory in 2016. His statistically improbable win gave rise to a variant of The Trump Effect, which posited that his upset victory made him and Republican candidates who hewed to him invincible, all the way to 2020 when he would be elected again.

Now I was dead wrong about 2016. I fully expected an establishment election, with Bush losing to Clinton. But because of the weaknesses in the Republican field there was room in the national conversation for a blustering, self-promoting demagogue to turn the right wing in this country into a cult of personality seething with hatred and resentment towards its neighbors and anything else that wasn’t ‘Murican, which is to say white, male, straight and Christian. But I don’t think I’m going to be monumentally wrong again in that manner, and if I am, I should just turn in my pundit pin and go think in a dark room for a few months. Donald Trump is a fraud, a phony, a Pied Piper for idiots, and most of us have already figured that out. There will always be that perpetually blind 25% or so of people who really are Nazis, alt-righters, supremacists and racists, to whom Donald Trump seems like a godsend. But no one who wants to keep their job in Washington really wants to get any closer than arms length to Trump, and Republicans may forgo the huckleberry vote in a bid to hold the center, which is the sweet spot every perennially successful movement wants to be in.

That sweet spot is currently held by Democrats, if we can impose a little discipline on ourselves( looking at you, Donna Brazile, Bernie-hangers on, etc.). My best self is socialist, but I will wait patiently while we discover ways to make its principles palatable to a country obsessed with outmoded caricatures of “individuality”, which may have made for good novels while we were still stealing land expanding as a nation but is wholly incompatible with the modern interdependent society where we don’t have to leave our neediest behind, work our lives away and grossly enrich ourselves as others struggle simply because they weren’t born fortunate. Now, I’m white, male and straight, and taken care of by the Veteran’s Administration and so I realize that my ability to “wait” is privileged to the point of being odiously gauche. But there it is; calls for revolution will not sit well at the center. We must nudge and not shove. It’s either that or a second civil war, one that crushes all the oppressive forces of patriarchy and racism and sexism and superstition and lack of understanding. I mean, I know what side I’ll be on if it goes down, but do we have to get to that point before we tolerate each other? Who of us will be counted when we do? Most of us have work in the morning.

Let’s hope politics is the answer. Indeed, it may be our last.

 

Race To The Scoop

This country been on a steady diet of terrible news in the last year. It was like castor oil and thin gruel and we hated every miserable minute of it, like in most diets.

But yesterday, the sane wing of this country broke their fast and supped mightily and greedily.

It was Motherfucking Mueller Time.

The venerated counselor made his first moves as special counsel after a five-month investigation. Paul Manafort and an associate are facing life in prison, on charges stemming from false statements to conspiring to defraud the United States. A parallel and equally damaging (some would argue more damaging) story ran today that another Trump advisor, George Papadopolous had pled guilty to lying about trying to get at the “dirt” the Russians were offering on the DNC and Hillary Clinton. A separate and lesser known case is being assembled against him for having entirely too many vowels in his last name.

Truly delicious. But as people starved of hope for so long, we want Mueller to feed us yet more. We want a shock and awe campaign that will make dumb Donald’s head spin every damn day, revelations that he can’t possibly tweet his way out of.

We don’t know what cards Mueller has, and that’s sort of a good thing. I think letting the ramifications of these two cases sink in is sensible. There’s plenty of places for Mueller to go with Manafort and Papadop…whatever. Flipping Manafort is a strong possibility, because his life is effectively over if he is convicted unless Chump pardons him, which is probably a bad move that would indicate his own guilt while the investigations intensify. There’s really no good move here for President Fumblefingers-he’s acting like the proverbial frog in the simmering pot of water at the moment, tweeting denials and lies like usual and my hope is that things stay that way until he is cooked through.

So. Now that Black Monday is over, where do we go from here? It’s 7AM here in the East and Robert Mueller is still brushing his teeth, so anything could happen that negates what I’m about to proffer.

Yesterday afternoon, something interesting was noted by a McPaper reporter in the DC court docket. I tried like hell to reproduce this graphic by searching the court’s website but got nowhere so I couldn’t really tell you where this is from. His name was Steve Reilly, and he tweeted this image.

indict

Papadoodledoo was the case prior to the ones above. And I can confirm that 17-201 was Manafort. I got at least that far on the site. So this raises some questions as to the nature of the sealed indictments between Felix Pappalardi and Manafort’s. Are they more bullets in Mueller’s bandoleer?

Well, truthfully, we can only speculate for now. But that hasn’t stopped a couple of news outlets from letting it fly and claiming these mysterious “in between” cases are aimed at Trump.

I became aware of this graphic because a friend, who is smarter and more perspicacious than I am, posted that to Facebook.

No sources were given by the person who she got the graphic from. So I decided that it would be best if I did due diligence and seek out more information on these sealed indictments.

I googled.

I googled some more.

I continued to refresh my searches for hours after her post.

Nothing…until later in the evening. Boom. The Palmer Report and Patribotics were claiming that more indictments were forthcoming.

Now, this is not the first time these websites have been seen together in a search. In fact, it often looks like Louise and Bill are trying to outdo each other. If Palmer claims five, Louise claims infinity kazillion.

The two sites were alone in reporting more Trump indictments. No one in the above ground media wanted a bite, which is important because if you have proof of those indictments you don’t wait for another paper to scoop you. It’s also worth mentioning that McPaper, who Steve Reilly works for, did not publish a story based on the graphic.

So: either these two sites are dodgy as fuck, or they are somehow Chosen by a Deep Throat-type insider to get the news out.

A little history of Mensch and Palmer is in order.

Louise was a right-wing ex-MP before she became an internet sleuth. She moved to America with her husband, and began work in online journalism which was aimed at conservative women. She has always been something of a rogue wherever she goes, getting embroiled in controversy.

She hates Vladimir Putin. So much so that the subtitle of Patribotics is “Exposing Vladimir Putin’s War On America”. By extension, she hates Donald Trump for going balls deep on Vlad. So, even though she’s a conservative, she’s yet another strange bedfellow in the quest to remove Trump from office.

Can she be trusted, though?

A media bias website calls her work “questionable”. To wit:

A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news.

While Patribotics does produce factual content, they also promote numerous unproven conspiracies…Overall, this source does produce some quality investigative journalism, but there are also many unproven and un-sourced claims that render this blog questionable.

Oh, and she’s rather hostile when challenged.

I don’t know about you, but when my media isn’t consistent, it’s useless to me. I don’t have the time to separate fact from fiction just so I can get a jump on certain stories, because there is too much fiction out there to wade through as it is.

Let’s begin to discuss Bill Palmer by talking about one of his writers, Claude Taylor. Claude, an old Clinton hand, has a Twitter feed called TrueFactsStated. He has a habit of tweeting outrageous unsourced bullshit that cynically uses peoples’ confirmation bias as bait to his feed. I got taken in by Claude a while back, posting on Facebook a tweet of his in August that said that high level Trump indictments were forthcoming soon (Louise Mensch, incidentally, also promulgated this story as well). My perspicacious friend waved me off of the story. In my defense, I gave people fair warning that it might not pan out to be truth. But anyway, Claude Taylor is dead to me. I don’t give a shit what he says even if it is right-he’s not to be trusted. We need to fight left-wing fake news just as hard as we fight right-wing fake news. In fact, we should fight lefty horseshit harder, because we need to be as correct as possible. It only takes one fuckup and the wingnuts will present it as evidence that the entire left movement is untrustworthy. They do it all the time inside their alternate media universe. We good liberals have to work harder because the opposition has traded truth for propaganda, and propaganda is much simpler than the facts and therefore easier to spread to the uncurious that need their news spoon-fed.

This is my way of saying that Bill Palmer has one strike on him for associating with a liar. Yet, my perspicacious friend loves the guy. I’m torn, because a) my friend is whip-smart, b) I have been burned by his staff and c) there’s enough skepticism of his work that suggests I probably ought to pass on his bombshells.

Not much is really known about Bill. He’s been behind the creation of several online publications, most notably the DailyNewsBin, an anti-Trump site which kind of morphed into Palmer Report. To me, he came out of nowhere. Snopes is a bit wary of Palmer, who notes that several blasts of his have no foundation in provable veracity (Palmer is derisive of the site’s usefulness).  And the same media bias/fact check website I used to observe Louise Mensch’s record finds Palmer’s record mixed and questionable as well. Palmer is embroiled in a fight with that site too, and has angrily lashed out at other critics much like Louise Mensch has. To me, this type of combativeness indicates an inability to let the facts speak for themselves, if indeed they are facts.

Anyway, Palmer published a story on the USA Today graphic. He’s hedging, as you can see by the title, filing the story in his “Opinion” section. It’s a fairly thin piece, with strange leaps of logic like “That doesn’t prove that the four cases are all Trump-Russia cases, but it means that they most likely are.”

Huh? How does that follow?

Am I too dense to understand that? That is entirely possible. Is the Palmer Report like a soap, where I need to have been with the story from the start to know what is going on?

After a bit of time had elapsed last night, someone/something recognizable went with the story.

Fucking Hot Air. Michelle Malkin’s old folk’s home for conservative bloggers. Many of you old bloggers will know some of the names. There’s Ed Morrissey, who ran the fever swamp “Captain’s Quarters”, and Jazz Shaw, who was honest enough back in the day so I was surprised he was consorting with a crazy bitch like Malkin. There’s also Allahpundit, who I never read but I know the name.

Allahpundit wrote up the piece on the potential Trump indictments. Much as it pains me to say this, it’s a good read, better than Palmer’s for sure-even with the conservative bias. He raises the point that sealed indictments are common and typical, and with a little math and a tip from a lawyer, finds that four sealed indictments over 22 days is in line with their frequency as a whole.

That’s the kind of skepticism I can use, especially when we are just guessing at the contents of those sealed indictments. I have enough trouble with my own confirmation bias as it is without somebody dangling a juicy “exclusive” scoop at me.

I need to go to a doctor’s appointment. It’s 10AM, and I will close this piece by doing one last google search for something that corroborates the speculation that there are sealed indictments related to Trump all ready to drop.

12:30PM

Nothing. Same returns as last night. So here is what I’m gonna do: I’m going to watch this story and only this story from Palmer as a test because I believe my friend would not steer me wrong. But if he can’t produce the goods, I wash my hands of him. If he is correct about the nature of the indictments, I’ll become a fan and issue a mea culpa here and say sorry to my perspicacious friend for doing a hit job on their favorite newsbreaker. I’m no stranger to being wrong, so do your own research about sources and come to your own, hopefully better conclusions.

 

 

 

Driven To Distraction

I’ve spent a good deal of time maintaining that the things that Donald Trump and Co. do on a daily basis are NOT the products of any particular rational, intellectual or logical machinations. It was fact to me that they simply didn’t know what the fuck they were doing because the president is a miserable, pathetic, deranged mental midget. People cried “distraction” from this or that ad infinitum. Like Martin Sheen said to Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now”, I didn’t see any method at all.

But around about Thursday, my spidey senses tingled as I watched Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy inexplicably open investigations into Hillary Clinton, on spurious charges that a Google search could have debunked. Duh Fuhrer eagerly seized on the news, making the outrageous claim that she was the target of the Russia investigation and that it was already “common knowledge” that he was innocent.

I said to myself, “Now THAT’S some damn distracting”.

Ham handed as it was like anything involving Trump, it all smacked of desperation that had a different vibe to it. There were so many people muddying the waters in the last few days to conceal headlines that put the lie to the new allegations against Clinton-like the one that found that a conservative newspaper asked for what became the Steele dossier. Fox News began a concerted misinformation campaign (even more hysterical and obsessive than the usual bullshit they peddle)to hastily report all the truffles that the Trump cabal dug up.

Something was up. All hands were on deck to try to get people to focus on hackneyed headlines about Hillary Clinton, hoping that enough people were blissfully unaware of the fact that she wasn’t the president.

Now we know what the sound and fury was all about.

Mark yesterday on your calendar so you can tell people where you were and what you were doing when the worst scandal in the history of this country broke wide open.

The next two days are going to be full of follies trying to pretend that some Trumpist is not  gonna be wearing cuffs soon. When the charges were publicized, Hannity barely blinked and asked when Hillary would be indicted. Ben Stein tried to downplay the scandal by downplaying Watergate. So pop your popcorn, because this weekend and beyond is gonna be hilarious if your gallows humor is still intact.

 

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