Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Artist Karen Fiorito's protest billboard, currently on view in Phoenix, AZ

It was with an increasingly familiar mix of great sadness and disappointment last week that I learned the once great journalist Robert Parry, whose work uncovering the interlocking scandals at the festering heart of the Reagan/Bush administrations was vital to my own political awakening, appears to have devolved into an equivocating "reflex lefty" in his dotage, to the point where he's even counting the Russian smear of Chrystia Freeland as some kind of neocon belt-notch, for fuck's sake.

I'm loathe to go over that idiotic brou-haha again, but suffice it to say that Freeland's granddad "really" being a Ukrainian Nazi sympathizer during World War II has less than nothing to do with whether or not dredging up 70 year old newspaper editorials to sully Freeland's reputation can rightly be classified as "Russion disinfo"... which, in my opinion, it certainly can be.

And "New Cold War"? Or, even worse, "New McCarthyism"?! Can there be a lazier, more groundless, less helpful analogy to describe the increasingly bipartisan concern over the twisted complex of connections tying a ridiculously unreasonable number of Trump administration figures to Putin's "Great White Gangster" regime in Russia?

Parry's recent writing is so dumbed down, so void of worthwhile insight, so hell bent on connecting dots that aren't there--yet blind to the countless dots waiting impatiently to be connected--it made me wonder whether he's always been this shitty, and his October Surprise and Iran/Contra stories relied on the work of unnamed others. To be honest, I don't even care enough to expend the effort it would take to find out. All things considered, that's a time-wasting luxury at this point.

Which leaves us with a disturbing question: As more and more once-reliable relayers of facts, arbiters of truth, and analysts of context fall prey to the ravages of age, complacency, and the contempt bred by familiarity--or are compromised by waning health and fiscal/social instability--how do we acknowledge the sad and sometimes dangerous decline, while still recognizing and honoring the work these people did when they were at the top of their game?

In this case, after having read a number of his more recent editorials, I feel as though all I can do is toss Parry onto the alt.left heap alongside Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges, the editorial staff of Jacobin magazine, and be done with him. Because essentially, anybody still insisting "there's no THERE there" about the Trump/Russia connection is full of shit, full stop. The evidence is overwhelming that the Trump organization AND his administration both have tons of shady dealings with Putin/Russia (the two being interchangeable at this point) and Russian organized crime/oligarchs
(the two being interchangeable at this point).

And NO, I don't say this to "deflect attention from Hillary's shortcomings as a candidate", or out of some suicidal urge to "spark a thermonuclear conflagration", or whatever other idiotic bullshit Susan Sarandon and her fellow travelling purity leftists are spewing of late. I couldn't give less of a fuck about Hillary Clinton at this point. The alt.lefties are the ONLY people bringing up Hillary anymore, and only as part of their lazy, idiot opinioneering.

Speaking of thermonuclear conflagrations, relating to the oft-repeated alt.left notion that the Democrats are "playing a dangerous game" by saying Trump is in Putin's pocket, because such taunting could provoke Trump into taking an aggressive military posture against Russia to prove otherwise, with potentially devastating results... it neglects to take one simple fact into account.  Those who actually know what's going on say that Trump is in Putin's pocket NOT because they want him to take an aggressive posture against Russia, but precisely because they know with 100% certainty that TRUMP CANNOT AND WILL NOT take an aggressive posture against Russia!

This cowardly, sub-moronic whining about how "Putin gonna kill us ALL if we DARE say mean things about him!" is really, REALLY getting on my fucking nerves. "WAAAH! It's a New Cold War! I wet my pants! WAAAH!!!" Fucking tell it to the Ukrainians.

Oh, wait... I forgot! That telegenic young fellow on RT said that "tools of American Empire" ousted Putin's good buddy, the not-at-all-Trump-like and not at all Trump-connected "innocent victim" President Victor Yanukovych in Ukraine by weaponizing that nation's bad, not good Nationalists! And those guys are racist don'tcha know! Unlike Russia, and Putin, who, after all, is, like, you know... a "Great Leader" and stuff. I learned all this on RT between repeating segments pushing Syria and Russia's horrifically successful black propaganda campaign against Syria's White Helmets, so you know it's gotta be true.

Okay, alright... maybe it's not quite that bad. But it's still pretty bad, as this positively hysterical Chris Hedges article will attest.

Go ahead... read it. Am I off my rocker, or is that the insane ramblings of someone who desperately longs to see his worst suspicions about the so-called "Deep State" confirmed, as some twisted sort of vindication or validation of everything he's come to believe about the world? For fuck's sake, Chris Hedges is not a stupid man. If anything, he's probably TOO intelligent... as in, too intelligent for his own good. It's a situation yer old pal Jerky is all too familiar with, what with me being like a GENIUS and all...

I mean, forgive me for making assumptions. It's not like I've undertaken an exhaustive institutional ethnography or anything... but I suspect that America's intel situation is somewhat more sophisticated and nuanced than the alt.left's weather-worn formulation: "NSA, CIA, USA... BAD!

And now I've gone and made myself sick. I realize this edition didn't make much sense. Consider it a tone poem of sorts, a howl of frustration at the crap I see more and more of my friends and peers falling prey to with every passing day.

Anyway... enjoy the rest of the Dirt. I gotta go try to rub one out, just to prove that I still can.

  • Oh, Hey! You know how Trump has repeatedly promised to produce a totally disgusting, nakedly fascistic weekly digest on all the crimes committed by immigrants to the United States of America? The first edition just hit the rhetorical shelves. Hooray for the Homeland.
  • Speaking of Fascist Fuckwits and Far Right stooges, did y’all know that Brexit Bro Nigel Farrage held a meeting with WikiLeaker Julian Assange at his hidey-hole in the Ecuadoran embassy last week? Quite an interesting circle little Julian runs with, ain't it? Trump, Farrage, Le Pen, Greenwald... and maybe Snowden? And then maybe Putin? Any dots to be connected there, do you think?
  • Did you hear about Trump appointing a "massage therapist" from New Hampshire with to be the director of the Office of Technology Transitions at the Energy Department... and then having to fire him NOT because he was totally unqualified, but because his (ahem) "caustic" social media comments came to light? 

1. In this Smithsonian.com article, Megan Gambino delves into "data journalist" Ben Blatt's by-the-numbers look at literary classics. He's allegedly found some striking patterns, and believes that statistics will one day reveal the secrets of what makes great writing. Personally I think he's going down a dangerous road that will eventually lead to... you know (gestures upwards with eyebrow to robot writing a book, above). In any case, the article begins:
In most college-level literature courses, you find students dissecting small portions of literary classics: Shakespeare’s soliloquies, Joyce’s stream of consciousness and Hemingway’s staccato sentences. No doubt, there is so much that can be learned about a writer, his or her craft and a story’s meaning by this type of close reading.

But Ben Blatt makes a strong argument for another approach. By focusing on certain sentences and paragraphs, he posits in his new book, Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve, readers are neglecting all of the other words, which, in an average-length novel amount to tens of thousands of data points.

The journalist and statistician created a database of the text from a smattering of 20th century classics and bestsellers to quantitatively answer a number of questions of interest. His analysis revealed some quirky patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed:

By the numbers, the best opening sentences to novels do tend to be short. Prolific author James Patterson averages 160 clich├ęs per 100,000 words (that’s 115 more than the revered Jane Austen), and Vladimir Nabokov used the word mauve 44 times more often than the average writer in the past two centuries.

Smithsonian.com talked with Blatt about his method, some of his key findings and why big data is important to the study of literature.
Read the interview at Smithsonian.com. It's actually pretty cool, regardless of yer old pal Jerky's long-time robophobic tendencies.

2. You say you've been thinking about reading more webcomics, but you don't know where to start? Well, why not let this list of the Best Webcomics of 2015 serve as your starting point? I realize it's a bit out of date at this point, and personally I only care for about a third of the strips listed... but 2 years isn't that long ago, and 1 out of 3 ain't bad when it comes to webcomics! So until yer old pal Jerky completes his own list of recommended webcomics, this one is going to have to do. Besides, any list of webcomics that recommends Perry Bible Fellowship is tops in my book!

3. Our old pal Kieth Olbermann again, by way of Gilda Radner, helping to underline how and why, when it comes to "Russia! Russia! Russia!", there actually is a "there" there.


You’ve gotta be real careful around here. You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes. This is like ‘30s Germany. I don’t know what happened.

- when asked about attending Trump's inauguration by Jimmy Kimmel, Tim Allen compares people questioning his political judgment to being railroaded into concentration camps, then subjected to the most meticulous and technocratically rigorous attempted genocide of the Modern era. So, yea, it's pretty obvious he really doesn't know what happened.


This shit is getting re-donk-ulous.

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