In light of this, it seemed appropriate to post this for the weekend:
(Warning: NSFW language)
Previous post was super stale and filled with troll stink. Carry on.
If not, it’s a good time to start doing so because here comes your 2-minute Townhall:
Shorter Kurt Schlichter, “Obama Is Too Incompetent To Pull Off A Coup”
Would it be irresponsible to speculate about Obama staging a coup to stay in the White House? It would be irresponsible not to.
Shorter Victor Davis Hanson, “The Dream Of Muslim Outreach Has Become A Nightmare”
It doesn’t matter what the problem is, indiscriminately bombing Muslim countries is always the solution.
Shorter Larry Elder, “Hillary Lies, Cops Die”
According to economist John Lott, just the right number of blacks are being killed by police.
Shorter Jackie Gingrich Cushman, “America’s Potential”
We should select our presidents based on what the candidate’s children think of their parent.
Shorter Veronique de Rugy, “Stop Bleeding Red Ink, Make America Sustainable Again”
Good news everyone, I’m the columnist picked this week to pretend that Republicans care about the deficit!
Shorter David Legates, “Science or Advocacy?”
Science says that many things affect our climate, which means that there’s no need to worry about the impact of human activity.
Shorter Michelle Malkin, “Who Gets Absolute Moral Authority?”
Maureen Dowd wrote some stupid shit in 2005.
Shorter Jonah Goldberg: “GOP Convention Has Become a Stomach-Churning Affair”
Everything was so much better before we had phones and cars.
We don’t know, although it is easy to speculate, why those cops were shot in Dallas. One thing is sure though, the NRA is not going to come out in support of what looks exactly like what happens when citizens “fight tyranny” with firearms. Dead people. Dead cops, dead soldiers, dead officials, dead citizens, dead people. Blood in the streets and each one, something precious and unique that can never be made whole again. So we could listen to what the NRA has to say on the shooting or…
Or, better yet, let’s not. Let’s not listen to the assholes who can’t bother to print one word in defense of Philandro Castile or Alton Sterling for carrying a handgun in an open carry state, or while in possession of a CCW permit. Because if the NRA can’t say something in defense of two men shot down, without warning and with no provocation, for the exercise of the rights that the NRA has sworn to defend at all times, and under all circumstances, maybe even they think there are some sensible limits on carrying weapons. Granted, it sure appears that those limits are “when the citizen is black”. But now we have evidence that they are willing, and even eager to compromise their principles under some circumstances. And what do those assholes who were at the Bundy Ranch or the Maheuer wildlife refuge have to say? Because let’s face it, living in fear of getting fucking shot in the goddamn face every time they interact with the police sounds a shitload more like oppression than “having to pay far below market rate grazing fees and respect the local wildlife”. I’m not trying to excuse the brutal murder of police in Dallas. I’m not trying to minimize the fear and sadness and shock the Dallas police and people of Dallas must be feeling in the wake of these horrific murders. Clearly they were targeted specifically because of their job. But what I’m sure we won’t see is pictures of these dead officers mugging with guns and doing their level best to look menacing. We won’t hear about any trouble they or their families have had with drug addiction, or domestic violence or any other kind of crime. And we shouldn’t, because none of those are capital crimes, they haven’t been convicted or sentenced to death. Even under Texas’ cruel mockery of a justice system, that takes some time, paperwork, a courtroom and all the other trappings of legality. And I’m sure that we will see more legislative action in the wake of this, than we have for the last hundred people shot in mass shootings, or the last thousand people shot by cops. And if it gets some better gun laws in place, I won’t even argue. But what we will probably see is more “police officer’s bill of rights” like was recently passed in Louisiana, that effectively makes resisting arrest a hate crime, which we can describe as “shit that won’t help and probably makes things worse”.
So, I’m not in favor of killing cops. I’m not in favor of cops killing people. I’d have to say that I’m categorically against murder in general. I’d even say that I’m against the widespread availability of purpose built murder weapons. Like guns, but also, gas chambers guillotines, iron maidens and electric chairs if anyone was thinking of carrying those for “self protection” too. I’m against laws that turn trespassers (or people playing loud music, or people walking at night carrying skittles) into fair game for target practice. I’m against the idea that killing people does anything more than multiply our already multitudinous problems. I’m sure ten minutes work could turn up examples of the usual assholes having terrible opinions, but I don’t have it in me. I’m going to try and not talk news or politics with my family this weekend, while I search for a storage unit to put my stuff while I move out, I’m going to go to a concert with some friends, I’m going to play with my niece and nephews, and I’m going to drink some beer. These are activities I would recommend to anyone except the moving all my stuff into storage part… unless you want to move my stuff into storage, and if so, don’t let me stop you, I just got done moving into this apartment last week and it was a pain in the ass then. I guess I’m going to try and enjoy life a little because if nothing else, the ongoing murder-palooza in this country reminds me that life is short, and as depressing as my situation is, I haven’t been shot in the face. And that’s what optimism looks like for me today. Have a great weekend, try not to get shot, try not to shoot anyone.
In the least surprising development in politics since Bush the younger proved to be as incompetent a president as he proved to be at everything else, Hillary Clinton was not indicted. Which doesn’t mean she is innocent, or as pure as the driven snow. As some ardent Hillary haters never tire of mentioning, she is corrupt. But what she isn’t is uniquely corrupt. She is as corrupt as she has to be to gain power. She isn’t wrong that in order to effect change or to prevent unwanted change, one first needs the power to choose. To gain that power in the US today, it is required to spend billions of dollars running for the office of president. The people who give those billions want something in return for their investment. So Hillary, just like every other successful politician in the US today, must solicit money from the people who own it, who have gotten rich on exploiting the laws, and economy as it exists right now, and who may be unconvinced by the necessity and or desirability of change. So, there are strings attached to the money she needs. There are donors to placate, in order to keep the money stream coming.
This isn’t a pragmatic defense of Hillary, it’s more an indictment of our current electoral system. So what do we do about an electoral system that is actively hostile to progressive change? Two answers that I have heard frustrated people put forth are a new constitutional convention, or revolution. I don’t like either of those options. A new constitutional convention would be a product of the same political process that so warps our current system into alignment with the interests of Wall Street, and a revolution has the obvious drawbacks of being murderous, impractical, and unlikely to provide change in the right direction. I’m not saying anti Hillary people are wrong to try and oppose Hillary, but to oppose Hillary without trying to change the system that produces politicians like her is pointless, since any other politician will be nearly as compromised. Just look at Bernie’s weak ass position on gun control, he refuses to take a strong stand in favor of new regulations or better enforcement because so many of his donors are against that. All of our candidates are going to have their faults, their blind spots, their flaws. Any candidate the Democrats nominate will be investigated for malfeasance by a partisan witch hunt. Any Democrat nominated will have nationally syndicated pundits calling for their investigation, indictment and prosecution. This is why I don’t take the accusations of her enemies seriously. They’d be doing the same thing to the second coming of Jesus when he asked them how much they’ve done for the poor lately. So, to reiterate, Hillary Clinton is a compromised politician who owes favors to interests hostile to the progressive agenda. And Donald fucking Trump is a short fingered vulgarian who actively courts racist votes and whose entire strategy, when it isn’t stream of consciousness shit-flinging seems to come from “Fascism for the Lazy faux-billionaire”.
So, I’m going to vote for Hillary and then I’m going to
try and make sure she doesn’t please her more regressive donors any more than she has to drink heavily and hope she doesn’t recklessly bomb foreign people all the goddamn time. And if Trump wins I’ll be drinking heavily too. And I’m getting a divorce, so really whatever happens in politics, I will be drinking heavily.
It’s an expression I didn’t hear until a few years ago. It’s an old southern slave-owners complaint. It refers to Benjamin Franklin Butler who, while he was addressing Congress, displayed the shirt of a so-called carpetbagger who had been whipped bloody by the Ku Klux Klan. Southerners across the country were outraged by his show of the methods of the KKK. Their attitude was mostly “We didn’t do it”, “Maybe we did do it but you’ll never prove it”, “he had it coming” and finally “what are you going to about it?” It’s a defense of brutality and a mockery of those caught unaware or unable to defend themselves from being whipped like a disobedient slave. It is in short, a very ugly turn of a phrase… that Rod Dreher chooses to evoke in his column in the New York Times. Waving the Rainbow Flag Does he even realize that his phrasing is repulsive to anyone who thinks racism is a blight on this country? (Spoiler: no) I suppose with Trump’s popularity surging on a platform of naked racism, it was only a matter of time before older and cruder defenses of racism were employed by people at the intersection of religious fundamentalism and reactionary politics. I mean, just look at the breathtaking dishonesty of this framing:
The Times took a similar line in its lead editorial today, smearing G.O.P. politicians opposed to various L.G.B.T. rights laws with the blood of the Orlando dead.
This escalates the culture war to an openly religious conflict, in the sense that neither side can back down without compromising what it holds sacred. And it turns L.G.B.T. advocates into heretic hunters who persecute thought criminals by demonizing dissent.
This isn’t “smearing G.O.P. politicians… with the blood of the Orlando dead” this is pointing out that the hateful anti-LGBTQ rhetoric regularly spoken, printed and disseminated from the religious right has deadly real-world consequences. This is not an attack on religion. This is an attack on bigots who wrap their bigotry in religion. The heretic hunters aren’t LGBTQ people and their allies, the heretic hunters are the same hateful opportunistic weirdos that see no problem exploiting the most hateful messages of any scripture they can find to get power by stepping over a mound of corpses. If Rod Dreher doesn’t like the way that looks, he should really stop looking in mirrors.
Oh, he spends a paragraph saying Christians have sometimes been cruel to gay people… in the past, like a long time ago, and despite the fact that gay people are “broken” they are created in the “image of God”. But he jumps right back into his retrograde theology and morality as if it were as if “the meaning of sex and marriage within the cosmic order” were spelled out in letters of fire a thousand feet tall on the side of Mount Everest instead of being arrived at through successive translations of ancient manuscripts allegedly dictated to mythological heroes whose existence can charitably be described as “unproven”.
and of course he defends his point of view with this twaddle:
But I strongly reject the oft-heard accusations from the Left that opposition to whatever identity-politics goal it pursues can only be based in hate. It’s a crude and illiberal attempt to suppress dissent.
So, just what are the reasons LGBTQ people shouldn’t be able to live free from the fear of being targeted for mass murder for their identity? Are they being targeted out of regret, or jealousy, or envy? Does it make their murder better if the motive wasn’t hate? Does the possibility that they were murdered from boredom or ennui or post-thanksgiving-turkey sleepiness make them any less dead? What motivation is behind Rod Dreher’s depraved indifference to the mass murder of dozens of LGBTQ people? What motivation other than hatred could one possibly have for denying LGBTQ people the chance to live their lives with dignity and respect and free from the fear of senseless murder? I know the answer, it’s ‘love’. It’s the particular sick kind of love that fundamentalists have for people who suffer. It’s the ‘love’ that says they won’t lift a finger to help because the poor and downtrodden are going to a reward in heaven. That doesn’t sound like love to me.
As Madonna once said, we are living in a material world, Rod. Spiritual explanations might make a Ghostbusters plot, but they cut no ice in a court of law or in a scientific laboratory. I cannot vouch for their presence in Rod’s daily life, he certainly acts like a god bothering and god-bothered scold. But he might want to bring a microphone to the next one of his little chats with god, and see if it picks up anything besides his half of the conversation.
Because there’s lots of good Christian people, that don’t think the good news boils down to “purge the unrighteous”. I was raised Lutheran, and they at least had the good grace to be embarrassed about the part they played in the 30 Years War.
I would invite Rod, as diplomatically as I can, to look up the definition of “oppression”. Because “Not getting to make the lives of LGBTQ people as miserable as possible” isn’t it. Backing up the freedom of LGBTQ people to fully participate in society with the force of law isn’t oppression. Daily reminding Rod Dreher that he acts just like he’s so deep in the closet he’s finding Christmas presents, isn’t oppression. It may be mean but but he deserves that and worse for the fetid bilge he regularly spills into the national discourse. And that really is as diplomatically as I can put it.
So, as long as Rod is complaining about people “waving the bloody shirt” we can be secure in our knowledge that Rod is more comfortable defending the KKK or in this case the institutionalized oppression and murder of LGBTQ people, than he is for actually fighting oppression.
Rod Dreher, American Conservative (do I even need to edit this, it’s like wingnut perfection):
America at the Movies 2016
Ladies, gentlemen, non-binary individuals of all ages, I bring you truly chilling news. News that will shock you to the bone and send shivers down your spine in true unadulterated terror. News that will flay you alive and play merry hell with your insides. News that will open an eldritch portal to nightmare lands man was not meant to know. News that will obliterate all of human existence, plunging us into a perpetual hell from which we may never return. News that will undo everything that is and everything that was in pure nihilistic destruction and leave us all not even memories on a frictionless glass plane extending perpetually in all directions.
Trans people… trans people exist.
I know, I know, I share your outcries of dismay and consternation. How could a loving God allow such a demonic horror to blight our perfect world? How can we ever believe in joy and sunshine and non-gay rainbows when we now can no longer avoid the terrifying idea that people who do not identify as the sex they were assigned at birth freely walk the streets and may even poop in closed cubicles completely unmolested by Republican senators.
And you may be saying to yourself. Okay, but that’s contained, right? In godless heathen Europe lands and reality television and the blighted hellscape that is Target?
But, dear reader, I have bad news.
Read the rest of this entry »
Prince is dead, and Erik Prince is running around Europe and Africa, trying to earn whatever blood money he can. He even tried to make and sell his own ground attack plane from converted crop dusters. https://theintercept.com/2016/04/11/blackwater-founder-erik-prince-drive-to-build-private-air-force/ Complete, they would sell for 7 or 8 million. they would be capable of carrying IR pods for targeting artillery and air to ground missiles for close air support of ground forces. In short, he was trying to build a build an A-10 on the cheap for use in third world countries whose budgets can’t quite support purpose built ground attack aircraft. But at that price point, it’s only barely cheaper than the Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano which is a purpose built ground attack aircraft from Brazil, and that aircraft has been produced by the hundreds and is in use by dozens of countries including the US. The only people who should even consider buying the one of Erik Prince’s bootleg bombers are people to whom the international arms market is closed, i.e. mercenaries and terrorists.
In a more recent development, Erik Prince is now under investigation for money laundering. Prince in the Hot Seat hopefully those charges will be expanded to include his violations of arms control laws.
It’s not clear to me why a person who is still rich despite having had to sell off his stake in Blackwater (now Academi) in the wake of the scandal caused by its massacre of unarmed civilians in Iraq, keeps coming back to the idea of being some kind of mercenary warlord. Evidently, he hasn’t been burned enough, or there still exist people so dazzled by his line of patter and military record that they cannot see him for the modern day privateer that he is. Evidently in Erik Prince’s mind, Colonel Kurtz was the hero of Apocalypse Now.
Credit for image goes to Slovene band “Unicorns on Fire”. Thank you for being willing to depict trans people in their natural form despite their terrifying Space Gestapos!
Susan Wright, Blood Red State:
North Carolina Under Attack From the Left For Passage of House Bill 2
CONTENT WARNING: Transphobia… also sarcasm. Metric buttloads of sarcasm.
It’s been awhile since I’ve penned a post for this old site and it’s not only been because of the schedule demands of being a teacher, but also because of the cold march of time.
As bitter old white people complacent in their growing resistance to growing the fuck up are often fond of saying, becoming more conservative is simply a “natural” part of getting older. And now that I’ve gotten out of the echo-chamber SJW loony lefty pit for awhile, I’ve finally come to realize how true that statement is.
I mean, some people might instead note more and more the designed oppression and the reuse of ancient political appeals to fear as a call to political arms, but that’s for like… people who try and stuff and that sounds exhausting. Much better to avoid such old hyperbolic shorters as:
Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):
- Oh my fucking God, liberals, it’s like we can’t even ban some of you from taking a shit anymore without being labeled as “bigots” and “transphobes”. Intolerance, much?
But that’s the old me.
Read the rest of this entry »
I have collected two weeks worth of half-written blog posts as an exciting goulash of important issues worthy of further discussion, addressed in a half assed manner because
I can barely get my shit together I am experiencing technical difficulties. Someday I will look back on this portion of my life, laugh nervously and change the subject.
half written blog post number 1: links about the Bundys and the Malheur wildlife refuge occupation:
So this is a good essay and great reporting written by an author disposed to be sympathetic to the occupiers, but best of all written with both skepticism and a far more thorough understanding of western history, Mormon history and law than possessed by all of the occupiers put together. If you want an introduction to the context that was unreported by more mainstream outlets, and of which most of the actual occupiers were largely ignorant, you can find it here.
The American Lands Council leads the charge for the privatization of federal lands. High country news has written about them in these articles:
The hidden connections of the sagebrush insurgency
The surprising history of the Malheur wildlife refuge
A History of the Sagebrush Rebellion
A meditation on the assholes in our midst:
Over on Lawyers Guns and Money, there was a post on how the global temperature is 2 degrees C above average, and how that represents a huge climatic tipping point. Lawyers Guns and Money Since we have passed it, we get
all most of the sea level rise, ice cap melting major climate shift crap that climate scientists have been warning us about for decades. Which is a bummer. If human civilization is to survive in a recognizable form, we are going to have to start taking climate change seriously. But the most interesting thing about that thread, was not predictions of possible effects, viable alternative energy solutions, geoengineering or anything interesting or constructive. It was one commenter’s personal crusade against the consumption of meat. It was a crusade, in that he was mostly in it for religious reasons, he didn’t particularly care about making a case to the unconvinced, he was showing off for the true believers in the “confrontational vegan” choir loft. This character makes one or two good points in the most intentionally confrontational way and completely loses his shit when people disagree with his arguments. I mean, he’s not wrong, the way Americans eat meat really is a perfect storm of terrible policy, terrible conditions for livestock, terrible conditions for workers and terrible use of agricultural production capacity. If humans calmly stopped eating meat as of 11:00 we’d have a hard time realizing the so called advantages of meatless world for years. Meat packing workers would be out of their (admittedly exploitative) jobs, but they wouldn’t automatically get hired to work in an artichoke packing plant. rats and coyotes would gorge themselves on billions of livestock carcasses, we’d get to see up close and personal what a “plague of flies” really looks like. Some island communities would face immediate starvation due to the lack of food other than fish. Here in Wisconsin, the unhunted and newly unhuntable deer population would explode and it would be decades before the predator population could come anywhere near to controlling them. Until then, farmers would have to put up 10′ and 15′ fences to have any crops to harvest in the fall, and every vehicle bigger than a skateboard would need massive brush guards to protect against collision with deer, wild turkey, and any surviving feral livestock. But to be honest, that’s not the way a global embrace of the vegan lifestyle would work. It wouldn’t work that way because it won’t happen at freaking all. Look how hard it is to simply put an end to whaling. We can’t even get Iceland and Japan to stop killing creatures that are arguably sentient with human level intelligence for food. Simply asserting that the global meat industry is harmful, is brutal to workers and is an environmental disaster and accusing anyone who disagrees with those facts is a conservative, an animal torture enthusiast and a terrible human being isn’t a very convincing argument, unless the audience is already chock full of vegans.
I am going to go ahead and admit that commenter is correct, the meat industry is horrible to livestock and workers and wastes capacity that could be used to feed actual human beings instead. And it would be more efficient to satisfy our needs for protein by using soy or insects like termites. But to the extent that we moderate or eliminate our consumption of meat and beef in particular, we can together take a big step in slowing down the coming shitstorm. And maybe meat is something you feel like you can’t live without. But if we sit down and make an inventory of things we can each personally change in our lives to slow down global warming, now might be a good time to start. For that matter now is a good time to start most any positive change.
But I notice that people tend to have the default assumptions and customs and appetites of the culture which produces them. Forward thinking people (or liberals or progressives) tend not to have “enlightened” opinions on more than a handful of their own cultures, customs, and attitudes. Thus we get Berniebros who are excited about income inequality but hostile on topics like Black Lives Matter, or the sexism of some of the civil rights protesters in the 1960s. Some paragon out of time might have the most enlightened progressive take on every single issue facing humanity, but that person would have a hell of a time communicating with the rest of us especially if they spent all their time criticizing their audience as opposed to those people that are entirely hostile to the progressive agenda. And we ourselves should occasionally take the time to consider the words of the occasional obnoxious confrontational troll who tells us we are doing it all wrong. Are they telling us something about ourselves? The one honest thing about a troll is that it doesn’t care about protecting the feelings of it’s victims. It’s hard and draining work to filter out nuggets of wisdom from attacks and abuse, so I don’t blame anyone one bit if they don’t think it’s worth the effort most of the time. But sometimes when I am bored or need a distraction it can be a source of insight to at least try to find valid criticisms in attacks from trolls.
Post 3: Trumps wall
I have to decided to collect and expand on some comments I made at LGM regarding Trump’s wall on this thread The hugest classiest wall ever.
I think that if Trump is elected, there will be a border wall. I also think that the project will collapse under the weight of being an idiotic idea designed by incompetents and constructed in an unsafe manner by corrupt and mobbed up contractors employing undocumented workers at rates below the minimum wage using substandard materials. The 100 or so miles of wall actually constructed will be an F-35 scale economic disaster, an inconvenient eyesore, a hazard to navigation, an attractive nuisance, and a monument to the stupidity of humankind.
As one commenter noted a straight up wall is a really expensive way to control a border when most of the border is uninhabited desert. A more economical idea would be a well monitored and patrolled exclusion zone a few miles wide where any unauthorized person could be detained. Controlling a border is a stupid way to fight illegal immigration because most illegal immigrants in the US do it by overstaying their visas.
So, Like every Trump project ever, the concept is flawed, not to say idiotic. The thought of building a titanic wall along the entire 2000 mile long US Mexico border when we have millions of miles of roads and bridges that could actually use some infrastructure spending is infuriating. The design of such a monstrosity will be undertaken by a firm with not even a memory of integrity, because those kind of firms wouldn’t want anything to do with a surefire disaster. So the the design will be undertaken by grifters who will pay the fewest number of discount bin civil engineers they can get away with, virtually guaranteeing that the design will be flawed from the outset.
It will be the hugest classiest border wall ever. Taking inspiration from such notable historical walls as The Berlin Wall, The Great Wall of China, The Maginot Line and Some Wall Designed by Liberace’s Decorator in a Particularly Late Baroque Mood and Built by Some Dude With No Artistic Talent But a Couple Megatons of Glitter, Gold Paint and Sequins to Use Up, the Trump wall will forever redefine corrupt, tasteless, incompetent, decadent, excess.