Wednesday, November 20, 2019

THE POLITICAL PERIPHERY AND THE CRIMINAL GOP


There's a whole lot of craziness going down in the USA these days, so much so that it's getting harder and harder to figure out where regular old partisan hackery/mendacity ends, and where truly bugfuck shit-flinging insanity begins.

For example, take Trump's Attorney General William Barr. Ostensibly the People's Prosecutor, Barr's reputation among a certain class of ahistorical, mainstream media "moderate" at the time of his choosing was that of a staid, boring, old school Republican who had performed adequately in the same position for President Poppy Bush, thus making him a "reassuringly middle-of-the-road choice" for the post by Trump.

Barr's current tenure at the head of the DOJ has done much to correct this disastrously erroneous assessment of him as both a professional, and as a man.

Beginning with the high likelihood that he personally hobbled the FBI investigation into a series of sexual assault accusations made against then Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh (and his role in the official period of gloating that followed Kavanaugh being elevated to that lifelong position), followed by his criminal sabotage of the Mueller Report roll-out (not to mention his suspected behind-the-scenes tampering with same), and now, with recent revelations about his round-the-world goose chase in search of proof for the most ass-backwards bogus fascist conspiracy theory in the history of fascist conspiracy theories*, any illusion about Barr's competence or moderation have been well and duly shattered for all time. There's no coming back from a year like the one he's just had.

In fact, the above would be true even if he hadn't cemented his fate with a pair of almost unbelievably regressive, inflammatory, paranoid and partisan speeches, first to the University of Notre Dame law school, and then to the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. Here's what Esquire's essential Charles Pierce had to say about these two "loony" speeches (and I do urge you to read his entire piece):
If this really is Attorney General William Barr’s final go-round as a servant to radical conservative power, and we can only pray to god that it is, he’s certainly going out with a bang. In the past two weeks, he’s given two speeches that are so stunningly detached from political reality, and so basically and fundamentally un-American, that they were probably best given from atop a milk crate in Washington Square, and not from respectable rostrums provided by powerful and influential institutions. In short, Barr has become something of a raving maniac.

I also strongly urge you to read the Salon piece and the Guardian article. Both are great at explaining exactly how disturbingly batshit both of Barr's incendiary and profoundly un-American speeches were, complete with copious quotes and cogent analysis. In terms of individuals who need to be removed from anywhere near the levers of power, Barr is perhaps second only to Donald Trump, himself, and I'm sure a case could be made that he's even worse.
*"It wasn't Russia, but UKRAINE who meddled in the 2016 presidential elections! And it wasn't on behalf of Trump, but HILLARY!"
***

And you thought the Ukraine scandal was bad! Have you heard the latest about how Trump's former National Security Adviser John Bolton told attendees at a super-secret meeting of Moran Stanley's largest hedge fund clients that Preznit Trump had already made foreign policy decisions in Turkey based exclusively on how those decisions would affect his financial bottom line? Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but considering some of the recent goings-on in that part of the world, not completely out of the realm of possibility. In fact, it's entirely in keep with the Trump brand of politics. From PoliticusUSA.com, linked above:
Bolton was suggesting that Trump is making foreign policy decisions based on what will make him money. Trump’s refusal to separate himself from his business has left him compromised and mired in conflicts of interest. Trump is getting people killed in Northern Syria because he wants to keep making money in Turkey. Trump isn’t just making money off of the presidency. He is jeopardizing US national security and making the country less safe so that he can make more money overseas.
 Time to add another line item to the ever-growing list of causes for Trump's impeachment and removal from office? I certainly think so, considering it seems to me like we could all do with a bit of reminding about the devastating repercussions that Trump's hasty retreat from the Kurdish territories has had on our historic allies in the region.

***


This Vox feature by Sean Illing, entitled The Post-Truth Prophets, takes aim at the super-contentious topic of postmodernism, particularly about how it's been pretty much correct in its predictions about pretty much everything, and yet it's still reviled by many; mostly by people who don't understand it.

And why is that? Mostly, it's because they're mistaking its predictions for prescriptions, spawning the supreme irony of postmodernism's most insistent and committed critics being, themselves, nigh unto perfect illustrative examples of the fatal flaws locked inside the rapidly proliferating and metastasizing, mutually incompatible gaggle of steady-state Big Narratives all competing to be the first to have their Apocalyptic historical teleological endgame scenarios proven Most Correct. The ubiquitous Jordan Peterson being perhaps the most popular, and egregious, case in point.

If you think you know enough about postmodernism to shit on it in public, like to your friends and such, or if you harbor a sneaking suspicion that there might just be something worthwhile to be found therein (in spite of, or perhaps because of, all the negative things you've heard about it), then give Illing's article a read. It's a more than decent jumping off point for learning about the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly, of postmodernist philosophy. Enjoy!


Did you hear the latest from the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch project about how Preznit Trump's main speechwriter, closest adviser, and chief engineer of Operation Baby Cages Stephen Miller has had his Affinity for White Nationalism Revealed in Leaked Emails? I know, I know... this is about as surprising as when Rosie O'Donnell came out of the closet. But still, despite the fact that it isn't much of a shock, it really should be, if you think about it. Especially when you examine the particulars up close. Part one of Hatewatch's exhaustive report begins:
In the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch. 
The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said is causing “intense trauma” in children.
In this, the first of what will be a series about those emails, Hatewatch exposes the racist source material that has influenced Miller’s visions of policy. That source material, as laid out in his emails to Breitbart, includes white nationalist websites, a “white genocide”-themed novel in which Indian men rape white women, xenophobic conspiracy theories and eugenics-era immigration laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in “Mein Kampf.”
Hatewatch reviewed more than 900 previously private emails Miller sent to Breitbart editors from March 4, 2015, to June 27, 2016. Miller does not converse along a wide range of topics in the emails. His focus is strikingly narrow – more than 80 percent of the emails Hatewatch reviewed relate to or appear on threads relating to the subjects of race or immigration. Hatewatch made multiple attempts to reach the White House for a comment from Miller about the content of his emails but did not receive any reply.
Miller’s perspective on race and immigration across the emails is repetitious. When discussing crime, which he does scores of times, Miller focuses on offenses committed by nonwhites. On immigration, he touches solely on the perspective of severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration to the United States. Hatewatch was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born.
Miller has gained a reputation for attempting to keep his communications secret: The Washington Post reported in August that Miller “rarely puts anything in writing, eschewing email in favor of phone calls.” The Daily Beast noted in July that Miller has recently “cut off regular contact with most of his allies” outside the Trump administration to limit leaks.
Miller used his government email address as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions in the emails Hatewatch reviewed. He sent the majority of the emails Hatewatch examined before he joined Trump’s campaign in January 2016 and while he was still working for Sessions. Miller also used a personal Hotmail.com address in the emails and did so both before and after he started working for Trump. Hatewatch confirmed the authenticity of Miller’s Hotmail.com address through an email sent from his government address in which he lists it as his future point of contact:
“I am excited to announce that I am beginning a new job as Senior Policy Advisor to presidential candidate Donald J. Trump,” Miller wrote from his government email on Jan. 26, 2016, to an undisclosed group of recipients. “Should you need to reach me, my personal email address is [redacted].”
Katie McHugh, who was an editor for Breitbart from April 2014 to June 2017, leaked the emails to Hatewatch in June to review, analyze and disseminate to the public. McHugh was 23 when she started at Breitbart and also became active in the anti-immigrant movement, frequently rubbing shoulders with white nationalists. McHugh was fired from Breitbart in 2017 after posting anti-Muslim tweets. She has since renounced the far right.
McHugh told Hatewatch that Breitbart editors introduced her to Miller in 2015 with an understanding he would influence the direction of her reporting. For that reason, and because Miller would have regarded her as a fellow traveler of the anti-immigrant movement, McHugh sometimes starts conversations with Miller in the emails, seeking his opinion on news stories. Other times, Miller directly suggests story ideas to McHugh, or tells her how to shape Breitbart’s coverage. Periodically, Miller asks McHugh if he can speak to her by phone, taking conversations offline.
“What Stephen Miller sent to me in those emails has become policy at the Trump administration,” McHugh told Hatewatch.
 Yes, I realize that's a very long excerpt, but it's a very long article, so I feel justified. The article goes on to present a ton of disturbing and undeniably factual information that every American should be familiar with at some point, because Stephen Miller, not unlike William Barr and Trump, himself, is a dangerous criminal whose actions have led directly to untold human suffering and numerous deaths of children, and he belongs in the Big House, NOT the White House.

***
MINUTIA & INCONSEQUENTIA

  • Well would you look at that! Hillary Clinton has once again been cleared after YET ANOTHER investigation into her emails, this time by Trump’s own State Department! It's enough to make one wonder whether they maybe only let her slide because of recent revelations about the Trump family's own myriad failures to follow protocols when it comes to the proper use, storage, and disposal of communication devices... especially when you're discussing the criminal extortion of an entire nation in order to receive a) bogus, foundationless "investigations" of your top rival in upcoming elections, and b) potential backing for for the most ass-backwards bogus fascist conspiracy theory in the history of fascist conspiracy theories?
  • Have we, as a people, already moved beyond Trump's recent disastrous unilateral, overnight withdrawal from Syria, followed by Turkey's aggressive advantage-taking of the situation? All of which led to one of the most shocking developments in America's recent foreign policy history: the abject humiliation of an emergency blue ribbon task force made up of Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, and a number of others, all furiously knocking on a door that wouldn't open for them in Ankara as the Turks refused to meet with the highest level envoys ever sent by USA? Historically unprecedented. Already left behind in the swirling mists of the 24 hour news cycle.
  • Congratulations to (Dr.jur.) George Mentz, JD, MBA, CWM ®, Counselor of Law, Licensed Attorney – USA – Academy GAFM ® (and, yes, this is how George prefers to refer to himself, complete with all those acronyms and circled "R" symbols) upon his ascendancy to the Commission on Presidential Scholars! What is this Commission, you ask? Well, it's "a group of eminent private citizens appointed by the President to select and honor the Presidential Scholars. Commissioners are selected from across the country, representing the fields of education, medicine, law, social services, business, and other professions. The Commissioners make the final selection of the 161 Presidential Scholars. The Scholars demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts, career and technical education and an outstanding commitment to public service." And what did George do to get on this commission? Turns out he runs a diploma mill, wrote a lot of nice things about Trump on the wingnut website Newsmax.com, and has authored a number of books about the Illuminati! All the best people! 

***

THE BEST DESCRIPTION OF TRUMP EVER WRITTEN?


Someone on Quora recently asked "Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?" Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote a response that pretty much lays it all out in starkly accurate terms. I reprint it here for posterity's sake, because finding it on Quora isn't exactly easy:
A few things spring to mind. 
Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. 
For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. 
So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump's limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief. 
Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever. 
I don't say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman. 
But with Trump, it's a fact. He doesn't even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty. 
Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers. 
And scarily, he doesn't just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness. 
There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It's all surface. 
Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront. 
Well, we don't. We see it as having no inner world, no soul. 
And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist. 
Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. 
He's not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat. 
He's more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege. 
And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.
That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead. 
There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down. 
So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy' is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
• Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
• You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.
This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss. 
After all, it's impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum. 
God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid. 
He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart. 
In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump. 
And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish: 
'My God... what... have... I... created? 
If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

THREE EXAMPLES OF SERIOUS TRUMP CORRUPTION IN KAZAKHSTAN ALONE

Incredible work on this beat by the incomparable Rachel Maddow, as usual. You're going to want to stick with it until the very end, because the climax features a real ironic corker of a journalistic flourish that you're just gonna love.


PS - I know this story is from January 2018, but a lot of the (blistering, absolutely damning) information contained within it was new to me, and it's just so well presented (Maddow's occasionally irritating voice notwithstanding), that I just had to share it with y'all.

Monday, November 4, 2019

THE TRUE PSYCHOPATHY OF THE FASCIST BRAIN ON FULL DISPLAY

It's a short enough video so make sure you watch (and, more importantly, listen) until the very end. The sound of this "media friendly" white supremacist baring his true soul, while hardly surprising, is nevertheless illuminating.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

AN INKTOBER OFFERING FOR Y'ALL!

Yes, I know that the tradition for "Inktober" is that you're supposed to create one drawing per day for the entire month... but who's got the time anymore?! Particularly with the world being in the state that it's in. Attention is forever drawn elsewhere, and it seems as though time just gets away from you. I haven't even really had a chance to catch up on my reading (be it literature, non-fiction, or even comic books), or even my movie watching (I've had Midsomar cued up and ready to go for two weeks now). 

Thankfully, however, I recently decided that I needed to get my drawing chops back, in order to get ready to work on some new personal projects. So I took a crack at drawing the leader of Cult 45, the man some call Preznit Trump! 

Here's how it turned out...


So that's how my first effort turned out, using nothing but a blue ball-point pen and drawing freehand, without a guide image of any kind. The results were okay. I felt a little rusty, and it shows, but I was sufficiently encouraged to give it a second go, this time basing it on one of my most hated photographs of the crusty orange slug-man, creating a light pencil guide image first, and then drawing over it with three different sizes of technical pens. Then I imported it into Photoshop and did a tiny bit of enhancement using the Oil Paint overlay style to smooth it all out. 

Here's how THAT one turned out...
Not bad, eh? Gotta admit, I'm actually VERY pleased with how this one came out! So pleased am I, in fact, that I believe I will continue to practice drawing (particularly my problem areas, like backgrounds, architecture, vehicles, weapons) from hereon out, hopefully until I get good enough to finally tackle some illustrated stories I've been wanting to tell over the years!

Who knows? Maybe I'll even start doing commission art for money! Got a fetish you'd like to see visualized? Let me know and maybe we can work out a deal! Y'all know the email address.

WHO'S WHO IN TRUMP'S LATEST SNAFU


Friday, October 18, 2019

SUGGESTED READINGS AND VIEWINGS ~ FRIDAY, OCT 18


The above comic, which presents the "arguments" of Alex Jones' fascism-adjacent sub-moronic lackey PeeJay Watson pretty much verbatim, is by Matt Bors. He's pretty great. Check out more of his work at his website.

***

I COULDN'T HELP BUT NOTICE...

It's odd, isn't it?

Lie on a document to get your kid into a better school in a neighboring district, and you might end up getting arrested and cooling your heels in the hoosegow... especially if you're Black

Spend megabucks in an effort to bend the rules, or sweeten your spawn's CV in an attempt to score them a coveted spot at an Ivy League university, and you, too, might go to jail. Even if you're a celebrity!

But if you create a fraudulent "university" that bilks thousands of people out of millions of dollars in exchange for a big hairy box of Sweet Fuck All, except for the opportunity to be upsold even more worthless "programs" based not on their value, but on how much money you have in your bank accounts, or can get via various forms of credit... and you can become President of the United States of America. 

That's how sick, twisted, and generally fucked up things are these days. And it's got nothing at all to do with gay folks, or atheists, or the lack of guns in schools, or whatever stupid fucking bullshit it is that right-wingers believe might help to make things better.

Oh, hey, to all my Canadian friends and family... this Monday, you better get out and VOTE! And you better vote for the Liberal Party if you know what's good for ya! 

Heheh... I kid, I kid. But seriously... vote Liberal. Because independent auditors have proven that, when it comes to keeping election promises, Trudeau's record is actually pretty goddamn good.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

R.I.P. JOE WILSON (1950~2019)


Joe Wilson has passed away of multiple organ failure. He was 69 years old.

For those who don't remember, Joe was one of the good guys during the dark days of the Bush administration, and he and his family suffered greatly for it. I won't go into details here, because there's a lot to go over, and the link provided below does an admirable job of covering it all.

However, I will say that Joe's work formed a substantial part of the background to my own attempts to untangle the realpolitik of the day, for a substantial daily readership (at its peak, numbering in the hundreds of thousands), back when I was E.I.C. of the fondly remembered and now all-but-wiped-from-the-pages-of-history Daily Dirt newsletter, circa 1999-2006.  And my work was the better for it.

If you don't remember Joe, please read this obituary. At the very least, it will remind you that there are good guys in every milieu, though sometimes very well hidden, and that therein sometimes lies our only hope.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

MORE DISGUSTING REPUBLICAN SEX CRIMINALS


One of the most cognitively dissonant elements of American politics today involves the widespread conservative belief—propped up by sophisticated New Fascist International(e) psyops-disguised-as-conspiracy-theories such as PizzaGate and Q-anon—that the Democratic Party is brimming with Satanic covens of child-molesting, baby-eating witches and warlocks. Gullible members of Cult 45 drive themselves into frenzied, frothing apoplexy over the countless victims of these (non-existent) atrocities, while a significant plurality of this same demographic simultaneously declare that actual victims of real-life massacres either don’t exist, or else they’re “crisis actors” taking part in “false flag” events, made up to make gun nuts and the Far Right look bad.

When you actually dig into the reality behind the rhetoric, however, it starts to seem as though Republicans and other right-wingers aren’t just spreading these vicious, ludicrous lies to eke out a few more victories at the ballot box thanks to low information voters susceptible to the effects of fascist propaganda and Fake News*. Instead, it seems far more likely that they’re engaging in pre-emptive strikes designed to get ahead of the fact that, in truth, it’s actually Republicans who are—by a huge margin, and proven by a truly grotesque collection of undeniable empirical evidence—the party of perverts, sickos, pedophiles and penis crime.

We’re not talking amateurs and pikers here, either. The list of Republican Sex Monsters is as vast as it is terrifying, containing literally hundreds of judges, commissioners, councilmen, party activists, state reps, members of Congress, and even a few Senators, Secretary-level Executive Branch members, and a President or two, all engaging in the worst sorts of transgressions, in the process victimizing a small city’s worth of women, teens, pre-teens, and sometimes even (dear Christ almighty) infants and toddlers. The list even includes such Evil All-Stars as Ted Bundy, the BTK Killer, Lawrence E. King (who organized boysex parties at the White House in the 1980s!), and Philip Giordano—the Mayor of yours truly's hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut—who is currently serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for repeatedly raping two sisters, aged 8 and 10.

Believe it or not, folks, that’s just scratching the surface. The above-linked list hasn’t been updated in far too long. In fact, this week alone, we’ve got two new entries to add to this disgusting parade of perverts.


First up, say hello to Pennsylvania state Senator (and chair of the state government committee) Michael Folmer! Mike was forced to hand in his letter of resignation on Wednesday, after police had conducted an investigation and decided to charge Mike with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography, and criminal use of a communication facility, all thanks to a tip from a concerned citizen who grew suspicious of some of Mike's more disturbing content on Tumblr.


Next up we've got Steve Pankey, who ran as a Trumpnik Republican in Idaho’s 2018 gubernatorial primary! Seems Steve has recently been declared a “person of interest” in the 1984 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews in Greeley, Colorado! Stevie claims that he only wants the truth to come out, and that he’s offered to take a polygraph, gave Greeley police his DNA, and is cooperating fully with authorities… but those authorities say different. They claim he’s been avoiding them at every turn, and that they haven’t even got around to asking for his DNA yet. Here's some more information on this bizarre, twisted case.

Meanwhile, it’s been 35 years, and poor Jonelle’s remains have yet to be located. Might I humbly suggest that, if there were any swamps around where Jonelle first went missing, they take a clue from Pankey’s own campaign posters?
*I mean REAL Fake News, and NOT the conservative movement’s bullshit re-branding of that term to mean any journalistic coverage of which they don’t fully approve.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

BRETT KAVANAUGH, EXPOSED (EVEN MORE)


With all the high crimes and misdemeanors, fiscal improprieties, sex (and sexual assault) scandals, fraudulent business endeavors, the never-ending torrent of lies, the criminal conspiracies both foreign and domestic, and the excursions into ever more radical iterations of fascist rhetoric and legislation that have taken place under Preznit Trump, probably the event that has most disgusted and disturbed me over the past two-plus years was the way in which Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was handled. This is an opinion I share with Esquire's mandatory political columnist, Charles Pierce.

The degree of vicious, enraged, privileged entitlement with which Kavanaugh and his Trumpnik backers bluffed and bullied past even the barest minimum of oversight, despite his obviously being a deeply damaged and dangerous psychopath—not to mention a wholly bought-and-paid-for agent of the New Fascist International(e), guaranteed to do their bidding regardless of what judicial norms they demand he destroy, or the awful precedents they demand he help set—felt like a historically important moment, wherein the Bad Guys decided to go all in and let their emotions guide their every action, no matter how brazen, bizarre, thuggish or creepy it caused them to come across.


The biggest tell was most definitely their faces, which were frequently twisted into masks of pure, unadulterated hatred, born of the deepest, most seething contempt imaginable... Contempt for Kavanaugh’s accusers, but perhaps more importantly, contempt also for the long-established processes meant to deal with such issues, and keep unqualified, compromised lunatics like Kavanaugh (and Trump!) as far away from the levers of power as humanly possible.

For instance, my gorge still rises at the sight of pretend-tough-guy Lindsay Graham, purple-faced and shrieking his outrage, spitting incoherent venom at any camera or microphone pointed in his general direction. That was instructive, as was the cavalcade of twisted, bizarre expressions forever waxing and waning across Kavanaugh’s crimson countenance, the sheer effort he put into holding himself back from leaping across the table and throttling his interrogators (especially the women) causing him to look for all the world like a man desperately trying not to transform into a werewolf.

And now, this week, just under a year after his shameful confirmation… we're learning even more about the black-out drunken alcoholic, misogynistic frat-boy super-jock “penis prank” and perjury enthusiast with a PTSD wife, quiet, flinchy kids and a bunch of bad credit card debts most likely paid off by Far Right elements around the same time he was nominated by Trump to a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land… and it’s looking like—SURPRISE!!!—there actually was a bunch of corroborating evidence and contemporary witnesses to all the “nasty things” multiple women were accusing him of. And the FBI “investigation” that cleared him? It never fucking happened.

And so, only one question remains, as far as I’m concerned: America… what are y’all gonna do about this shit?

Saturday, September 14, 2019

GIULIANI COMMEMORATES 9/11 WITH FASCIST VIDEO TWEET

Here's the gang at the Majority Report discussing Mayor Rudy's decision to memorialize the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, by tweeting out one of the most disgusting, next-level totalitarian, masturbatory Right Wing fantasy propaganda porn video that I've ever seen. 


It's almost as if the hateful idiocy of the anti-liberal, anti-progressive, anti-First Amendment propaganda being produced by the New Fascist International(e) is growing more hateful, more bloodthirsty, more downright dangerous with every passing day. I think this one is even worse than that crazy NRA ad that arguably kicked off this whole trend. Remember that one?

No?

Let me refresh your memories:


Actually, now that I've re-watched the NRA vid, I'm not so sure if the vid tweeted out by Giuliani--which is literally a commercial for right-wing casual men's ware--is quite as bad.

So, what do you think? Does Giuliani's "Kill a Hippie for 9/11" pluck the crown off Dana's pretty, pointy head? Or does her murder-happy, absolutely bonkers NRA commercial still reign supreme when it comes to the Far Right mediasphere's boundary-bursting and envelope-pushing media?

YOU be the judge! YOU decide! And while you're doing so, please feel free to nominate any other Krazy Konservative Kommercials you might come across, either down in the comments section, or emailed to me directly! Cheers!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

SUGGESTED READINGS


In late June, TIME Magazine published a very succinct and useful report by distinguished legal scholars Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance, outlining Eleven Mueller Report Myths that Won't Go Away. I present for you here, first, their brief introduction, followed by the first-listed myth, and the authors' explanation as to why, exactly, it's so bogus:
When we joined other legal experts earlier this month to testify before the House Judiciary Committee regarding lessons from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, it became apparent from the questioning that a number of misconceptions continue to exist regarding Mueller’s findings. The narrative was shaped by Attorney General William Barr, who issued his description of Mueller’s conclusions three weeks before the public saw the full 448-page report. In a letter to Barr, Mueller complained that Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature and substance” of his team’s work and conclusions, and created “public confusion.” Here is our effort to dispel some of those myths.
Myth: Mueller found “no collusion.”
Response: Mueller spent almost 200 pages describing “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign.” He found that “a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.” He also found that “a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations” against the Clinton campaign and then released stolen documents.
While Mueller was unable to establish a conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians involved in this activity, he made it clear that “[a] statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.” In fact, Mueller also wrote that the “investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” 
To find conspiracy, a prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of the crime: an agreement between at least two people, to commit a criminal offense and an overt act in furtherance of that agreement. One of the underlying criminal offenses that Mueller reviewed for conspiracy was campaign-finance violations. Mueller found that Trump campaign members Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met with Russian nationals in Trump Tower in New York June 2016 for the purpose of receiving disparaging information about Clinton as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” according to an email message arranging the meeting. This meeting did not amount to a criminal offense, in part, because Mueller was unable to establish “willfulness,” that is, that the participants knew that their conduct was illegal.
Mueller was also unable to conclude that the information was a “thing of value” that exceeded $25,000, the requirement for campaign finance to be a felony, as opposed to a civil violation of law. But the fact that the conduct did not technically amount to conspiracy does not mean that it was acceptable. Trump campaign members welcomed foreign influence into our election and then compromised themselves with the Russian government by covering it up. 
Mueller found other contacts with Russia, such as the sharing of polling data about Midwestern states where Trump later won upset victories, conversations with the Russian ambassador to influence Russia’s response to sanctions imposed by the U.S. government in response to election interference, and communications with Wikileaks after it had received emails stolen by Russia. While none of these acts amounted to the crime of conspiracy, all could be described as “collusion.”
Pretty thorough, not to mention disturbing, stuff. There's also great, revealing material on the flawed logic behind all the various Trumpnik preemptive defense strategies, like the "double jeopardy" gambit, all the way down to the Nixonian "it's not illegal if the President does it" argument. Anyhoo, it's well worth reading. Of, if you're lazy, at LEAST watch this video about the same topic.


***

In a world where the President of the United States of America is capable of tweeting out the above "disinfographic" to his millions upon millions of Social Media followers, despite the information contained therein being totally false, created pretty much exclusively to get "white" people to fear and hate Black people even more than they've already been conditioned to over the last few hundred years, it's a damn good thing there exist organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (increasingly despised and lied about by the Far Right, the Alt-Right, and now, increasingly, "mainstream" conservatives) fighting the good fight and setting the record straight with contributions like their excellent report, entitled "The Biggest Lie in the White Supremacist Propaganda Playbook: Unravelling the Truth About Black on White Crime". The Executive Summary declares, in part:

The idea that black people are wantonly attacking white people in some sort of quiet race war is an untruthful and damaging narrative with a very long history in America. 
On a Wednesday night in June 2015, a 21-year-old white man walked into a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and gunned down nine black parishioners taking part in a weekly Bible study group. Dylann Storm Roof sat quietly with the group for about an hour before taking out his Glock pistol and firing 70 rounds, stopping five times to reload. Court testimony revealed that during the shooting Roof said, “Y’all are raping our white women. Y’all are taking over the world.” 
How this horrific violence came to take place traces back to a particularly destructive idea, one as old as the United States itself and rooted in the country’s white supremacy: that black men are a physical threat to white people. The narrative that black men are inherently violent and prone to rape white women, as Roof said during his rampage, has been prevalent for centuries. This idea has served as the primary justification for the need to oppress black people to protect the common — meaning white — good. 
Roof saw himself as a victim standing up for oppressed whites, not as an aggressor. He had a racist “awakening” spurred by online research he did about the 2012 murder of the black high-school student Trayvon Martin. As he wrote in his manifesto, the Martin killing “prompted me to type in the words ‘black on white crime’ into Google, and I have never been the same since that day.” 
Roof’s internet search quickly led him to the website of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, a group that claims to document an ignored war against whites being waged by violent black people. Google led Roof down a rabbit hole of hate, leaping from one hate site to the next, many filled with “evidence” that black people are pillaging, raping and murdering white people. 
 
“There were pages and pages of these brutal black on White murders,” Roof wrote in his manifesto. “I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored.” 
It’s not surprising that a fragile-minded young man who swallowed hate material whole came to see this so-called problem of black-on-white crime as something he had to personally confront. But the resonance of these ideas goes much deeper, infecting the thinking of many prominent people, including public policymakers to this day.
Take then-Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, who in November 2015 tweeted an image that originated from a neo-Nazi account that made exactly the same point as the hate sites Roof was reading. Filled with bogus crime statistics, the graphic Trump tweeted supposedly showed that black people are uniquely violent. The Washington Post found that the data in Trump’s tweet to be false.  
One of the most exaggerated statistics was about the number of white people killed by other white people. Trump’s tweet claimed the number was 16 percent, while the FBI’s data shows it is 82 percent. The tweet also asserted that 81 percent of whites are killed by black people; the FBI number is 15 percent. As the Post concluded, “Trump cast blacks as the primary killers of whites, but the exact opposite is true. By overwhelming percentages, whites tend to kill other whites. Similarly, blacks tend to kill other blacks. These trends have been observed for decades.” 
It’s not just Trump. The far-right ecosystem repeats versions of these ideas ad nauseum. Relying on “statistics” found in a white supremacist tract, the paleoconservative one-time presidential candidate Pat Buchanan wrote in 2007: “The real repository of racism in America — manifest in violent interracial assault, rape and murder — is to be found not in the white community, but the African-American community.” Until very recently, Breitbart news used a “black crime” story tag. 
Misrepresented crime statistics are a main propaganda point of America’s hate movement, and a pillar of white supremacist thinking in the United States. Stormfront, the oldest hate site on the internet, has thousands of pages devoted to the “issue” of black-on-white crime. 
The idea that black people are wantonly attacking white people in some sort of quiet race war is an untruthful and damaging narrative with a very long history in America. White Americans’ unsubstantiated views about the potential of violence from black people was the number one excuse they used to justify slavery, lynching, Jim Crow and various forms of mass incarceration. Never was Klan violence or the lynching of black people by white people ascribed to an inherent white trait. Without the ability to claim oppression of black people as a form of self-defense, racial segregation and white supremacy would be seen for what they are: rank oppression of other people for financial or other benefit.
The maze of online white supremacist propaganda that Roof entered into is largely no more. Google cleaned up its search results after the Southern Poverty Law Center publicly exposed the problem in a January 2017 video. When black on white crime is typed into a Google search now, the results return legitimate sources of information, such as the FBI’s crime statistics, mainstream news and academic research.
Okay, so I know that's a LOT of information to absorb. But give me a break... it's a big fuckin' topic. That's why you should probably download the full report and read it at your leisure. I mean, just in case you missed the court case that basically removed all doubt about how conservatives/right-wingers/Republicans are pretty much all racist sacks of shit, if and when they think they might be able to get away with it, check out the linked to a Washington Post article by Christopher Ingraham.

***

And, finally for today, the Los Angeles Review of Books has published Tony Fonseca's magnificent career overview of Ramsey Campbell, one of yer old pal Jerky's all-time favorite writers in any genre, who just happens to be an absolute master of the Modern English horror story. After starting off on the wrong foot with a terrible title--"Horror For People Who Don't Like Horror"?! NON-sense!--it quickly gets down to business, starting out with a thorough accounting of Campbell's early ouput:
RAMSEY CAMPBELL IS ONE of the most respected authors of weird and dark fiction in the world. Born in 1946, he began reading Lovecraft at the age of eight and began writing when only 11. As a teen, he submitted Ghostly Tales, a self-illustrated collection of 16 stories and a poem, to a reputable publisher, under the name John R. Campbell. Although the stories were rejected because of their genre, the publisher encouraged Campbell to keep writing (the author’s juvenilia was eventually published in 1987, as a special issue of Crypt of Cthulhu magazine). In 1961, Campbell submitted a story to Arkham House’s iconic author/publisher August Derleth. That story, “The Church in High Street,” appeared in the anthology Dark Mind, Dark Heart (1962), edited by Derleth, under the pseudonym J. Ramsey Campbell. It was Campbell’s first professional publication. 
Campbell’s first published book was the Lovecraft-tinged The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants (1964), published by Arkham House when he was 18. His collection Demons by Daylight (1973) brought attention to his distinctive style and thematic concerns, and eventually led to a second Arkham House collection, The Height of the Scream (1976). That same year, he published his first novel, The Doll Who Ate His Mother. His second novel, The Face that Must Die (1979), explored dark psychological themes of madness and alienation — themes he would return to throughout his career. He received his first World Fantasy Award in 1978 for the story “The Chimney,” his second in 1980 for “Mackintosh Willy.” His 1980s novels and novellas — The Parasite (1980), The Nameless (1981), Incarnate (1983), The Claw (1983), Obsession (1985), The Hungry Moon (1986), The Influence (1988), Ancient Images (1989), Midnight Sun (1990), and the semi-comic Needing Ghosts (1990) — displayed a newfound interest in switching between the horror, dark fantasy, thriller, and crime genres. 
Campbell hit his stride in the 1990s, publishing his first dark comedy, The Count of Eleven (1991), followed by The Long Lost (1993) and the three novels Campbell fans line up behind when they want to argue for his mastery: The One Safe Place (1995), The House on Nazareth Hill (1996), and The Last Voice They Hear (1998). Campbell has remained prolific, his more recent output including Silent Children (2000), Pact of the Fathers (2001), The Darkest Part of the Woods (2003), Secret Stories (2005), The Grin of the Dark (2007), Thieving Fear (2008), Creatures of the Pool (2009), The Seven Days of Cain (2010), Ghosts Know (2011), The Kind Folk (2012), Think Yourself Lucky (2014), and Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (2015). Never one to rest on his laurels, he has recently (and incredibly quickly) completed his Three Births of Daoloth trilogy: The Searching Dead (2016), Born to the Dark (2017), and The Way of the Worm (2018). Word has it that yet another novel, The Wise Friend, is due to be published in autumn 2019. 
One of Campbell’s earliest creations was the fictional city of Brichester (of the fictional Severn Valley), around which he constructed an elaborate mythos. He recently returned to the Brichester Mythos in the novella The Last Revelation of Gla’aki (2013). The Three Births of Daoloth trilogy (a.k.a. The Brichester Trilogy, all three titles released by PS Publishing) further develops the cosmic horrors he invented as a young man in The Inhabitant of the Lake. In a 2016 interview with psychology professor and horror author Gary Fry, Campbell explained his motivation for the trilogy: he wanted not only to update the Brichester mythos but also to perfect it, correcting the small mistakes he had made as a young writer. He conceived of the trilogy as a unit, so the series is tightly knit and the vision consistent, even as the story and characters evolve over 60 years. The trilogy is a nod to some of Campbell’s other early influences, such as Arthur Machen, but it was Lovecraft, according to Campbell, who provided the “crucial focus.” In the trilogy, Campbell aims for cosmic terror, calling it “the highest aspiration of the field” because it results in “a sense of awe that can border on the numinous, or more precisely a dark version of that experience.”
Look, I'll probablyhave more to say about Campbell at some later date, but for now, I'm falling asleep at the computer due to recent bouts of insomnia. In the meantime, you should definitely check out his work, as it is goddamn magnificent. I'm a particular fan of his short works. The anthologies Cold Print (for his Lovecraft-influenced early work), Demons by Daylight, and Dark Companions are all great places to start!

A HISTORY OF THE INFINITE ~ A PHILOSOPHICAL AUDIO DOCUMENTARY


Sometimes I come across interesting stuff in my online travels, and even though it has nothing to do with politics, or conspiracy theories, or my own personal projects, I still want to share it with y'all. This is one of those times. I've always been fascinated by the concept of infinity, and this audio doc series (all presented in a single YouTube video) is the beek's knees. I hope you get as much out of it as I did! - Yer Old Pal Jerky

Sunday, July 21, 2019

QUOTE OF THE DAY, SUGGESTED READINGS, AND MORE!


First up, we have this very interesting, in-depth exploration in the New York Times that sheds some light into how Youtube accidentally (?) became the world's most effective vector for Far Right propaganda, thus radicalizing a generation of young men and boys into reactionary politics. Remember, if you've already reached your quota of free NYTimes articles for the month, just open this article in an "incognito" window.

***

Next up, but definitely related, comes this series of VICE interviews with people who have literally lost family members to the deranged, Trump-centric, post-Pizzagate, conspiranoid hurricane of weaponized nonsense known as "Qanon". It begins:

One of the most disheartening signs of our advancing hellworld are the thousands of people who wholeheartedly believe in the deranged conspiracy known as QAnon. 
It's near impossible to summarize the entire QAnon conspiracy theory, as it’s fluid and ever-changing. The nuts and bolts are that a secret government insider, the titular Q, has taken to the internet forum 8chan of all places to drop clues (known in the community as Q Drops breadcrumbs) about how U.S. President Donald Trump is taking down the deep state. The conspiracy takes some twists and turns into the occult, an ever-present cabal of pedophiles, possible executions, and the idea JFK Jr. may have faked his own death and is cosplaying as an old guy who goes to Trump rallies. 
While the QAnon conspiracy often feels like an elaborate troll, an online community of real, actual people has built up around it. There’s been a lot written about how lonely these people are, how they will cut themselves off from their family ... and poking fun at the whole thing. Rick Ross, a cult deprogrammer and executive director of the nonprofit Cult Education Institute, says the community bears a lot of the hallmarks of a cult: the main character is infallible and everything is part of a greater plan. ...
No one knows how hard it is to break through a bubble one creates around themselves than loved ones. While maybe it’s funny for those outside peering in, what is it like for those who are close to them, the people who experience their loved one's brain being rotted by YouTubers breaking down 8chan posts in real time? 
I decided to seek them out. I found a woman whose husband became so obsessed with YouTube conspiracy videos he would follow her around the house and force her to watch them, someone who avoids their mother because of Q, and someone who was dumped by the man she loved because she actively attempted to debunk QAnon. Here are their stories.
Some of these stories are ridiculous, while some are truly heartbreaking. All of them are disturbing, in that they provide yet more evidence to the increasingly voluminous pile that shows how we are, most likely, up against something that goes far beyond the mere human propensity for occasionally believing stupid things. 

I think it's patently obvious by now that what we are witnessing is an engineered phenomenon, wherein a new generation of propagandists have at their disposal bleeding edge communications tools and predictive psychometric technologies that have allowed them to create "psychiatric software" bordering on literal mind control. 

This is one of the core elements of my "New Fascist International(e)" theory, which I hope to explain more fully in an ebook that I've been working on for the past two and a half years. So keep your eyes peeled.

***

In an important op-ed piece for the Washington Post, Paul Waldman describes the lengths to which a newly empowered Far Right are going in order to prevent those who have yet to be brainwashed into their cult from voting at all, thus maintaining their illegitimate grip on power until the day finally comes when they can do away with the charade of democratic elections altogether, and simply exert their God-ordained right to rule over their lessers entirely unimpeded.

Unfortunately, WaPo is behind a paywall nowadays, so if you find yourself locked out, here is a distillation of Waldman's most important points and revelations:

As we turn our attention toward the 2020 elections, Republican lawmakers across the country are asking: How can we keep people from voting? In Tennessee, which already has lower-than-average rates of turnout, the legislature is on the case
"Tennessee could penalize some paid voter registration groups with fines for too many faulty signups and criminal charges for violating new requirements under a proposal passed by the House on Monday. The vote bucked some voting rights groups, who have voiced fear that the bill would create a chilling effect on Tennessee’s already-poor voter participation marks. Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett has made the legislation a top priority, deeming it important for election security after Shelby County, which includes Memphis, saw a flood of often-faulty registrations that came in on last year’s deadline. But Tennessee Black Voter Project, which led the voter signup charge in Memphis and elsewhere across the state, has said the bill immediately followed the group’s efforts to register 86,000 black voters."
Under this law, organizations that mount voter registration drives will have to be trained by the state, and then they can be fined and face jail time if they have lots of registrations with mistakes. 
Just to provide a bit of context, every group that does registrations gets some faulty ones. When you sit at a table outside a supermarket registering people to vote, there are always jokesters who will fill out the form in the name of Mickey Mouse or Clark Kent, but the group doing the registering is legally required to submit the forms, even if they’re sure they’re false.

The problem here is obviously not that erroneous registrations create some kind of unmanageable burden on state officials, because they've always existed and always will.
It’s that too many black people registered to vote in Tennessee, and something had to be done about it. 
So in addition to using all the other tools in their voter-suppression drawer, Republicans in Tennessee decided to clamp down on registration, knowing full well that liberal groups are much more likely to mount registration drives than conservative groups.
This isn’t the first time something like this has been tried. Before the 2012 election, Republicans in Florida passed a registration law so restrictive that it led nonpartisan groups such as the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote to suspend their voter registration drives in the state.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who often makes plain what other Republicans prefer to conceal amid a fog of misdirection, used to say that “low voter turnout is a sign of a content democracy.” More recently he has described Democratic efforts to make voting easier, with measures like making Election Day a national holiday, as a “power grab.” In other words, he makes no bones about the fact that if we made it easier to vote, too many people would vote for Democrats.

Every Republican understands that; McConnell is just one of the few willing to say it out loud. But the truth is that suppressing votes is absolutely critical to Republican success. They know full well that their ability to compete and win in the American political process is dependent on the countermajoritarian features of our system — the filibuster, the fact that the Senate gives the same representation to the fewer than 600,000 residents of Wyoming as the nearly 40 million in California, the electoral college — nearly every one of which works to the advantage of the GOP.
And as the party grows more dependent on older, wealthier, white voters — who are more likely to be registered and more likely to turn out — Republicans know that the harder registering and voting is, the more likely they are to win. No prospect is more threatening to Republican success than high turnout.

Consider the last three midterm elections. Last year, turnout was 50 percent, and Democrats won huge victories, including taking back the House. In 2014, a “wave” election for Republicans, it was only 37 percent. In 2010, another Republican wave, it was 42 percent. Anything that gets more people to the polls will be good for Democrats and bad for Republicans. 
Which is why the GOP will do everything in its power to keep registration and turnout low — and why making it easier to vote is so important for Democrats. So in the coming days we’re almost certain to see a further separation between red and blue states.
It will look like this: Where Democrats are in charge, they’ll institute automatic voter registration, same-day registration, no-excuse absentee voting, extended early voting, and anything else that will maximize turnout and make voting easy. Where Republicans are in charge they’ll employ voter ID, restricted early voting, polling place closures, and anything else that will drive voting down, particularly among African Americans.
And if all that isn’t enough, Republicans will go after the people registering voters, too.
Get the picture yet, folks? It isn't four relatively progressive Congresswomen representing their communities and their constituencies who pose a threat to America and the American WayTM... it's the entire radicalized Far Right reactionary pseudo-religious cult into which the Republican Party has transformed over the past few decades that is the TRUE "enemy of the people".

***

But don't take my word for it! Here's a former intelligence agent who was part of the team who drafted National Intelligence Estimates for a previous White House (Paul Nailer is a pseudonym) to tell you why "The Biggest Threat to Our Country Today is the Republican Party". He begins, in part:
In case you’re not familiar with the finer points of threat assessment within the national security apparatus, the NIE is the big enchilada: the document seen by presidents and members of congress; an objective, non-political, comprehensive piece of work that categorises and prioritises the threats faced by the United States. 
While I no longer have regular access to the complete set of intelligence reports from which the NIE is drawn, I have access to some, and I am an avid reader of the related publicly available information. I’ve developed my own amateur NIE based on this information, and here’s the organisation at the top of the list: 
The Republican Party. 
Shocking as that may seem – and your level of shock may vary widely depending on how closely you’ve been tracking the actions both center stage and behind the scenes of the rapidly toxifying Grand Ole Party – the real problem with this revelation is that we cannot actually do much about this threat in the classic manner. 
The threat from the right is the first national-level “insider threat” the United States has faced since the Civil War. It is insidious, asymmetric, powerful – and existential. ... Let me say it again: the Republican Party is the biggest threat the United States is facing. And without proper attribution, recognition, and a well-articulated and implemented counter-strategy, it could be terminal. There is no other reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the facts. 
An enemy of the United States might seek to sow discord between ethnic groups, or to wage a disinformation campaign, or to highlight moral inconsistencies that weaken the standing of the United States on the world stage. An enemy of the United States might try and degrade the capacity and public trust within our intelligence apparatus. It might use propaganda and weaponised information. It might seek to engage in fraud or other criminal acts to sway an election in their favour. Does any of that sound familiar? 
The Republican Party has steadily embraced authoritarianism, suspect electoral tactics, and racism more and more over the past few decades. That process has been turbocharged with Trump at the helm of the party. We’re now seeing an explicit embrace of white supremacy. Denial in the face of climate change. Deliberate sowing of discord within the FBI and the CIA. Weakening of the rule of law. Brazen criminality. Removing funding for elections oversight. Blatant human rights abuses at the border. 
The explicit nature of these acts is the point. The Republicans mean to bludgeon any and all resistance to their reshaping of the nation’s institutions to their will. And so far, they’ve gotten away with it.
I realize that I've quoted from the article quite extensively, and that you may feel like there's no real reason to go ahead and read the entire thing for yourself. But I suggest that you do, if only to more fully grasp the fact that "Donald Trump and his coterie of criminals have done more in two years to weaken the United States than the Soviet Union was able to achieve in decades."


***
QUOTE OF THE DAY!

But how do we know for sure that the guy who was fined for refusing to rent to Black people and called for a ban on Muslims and called Mexicans rapists and called Puerto Ricans lazy and called for the execution of innocent Black teens is a racist? If only there were a clear sign!

- Our old pal Jeff Tiedrich over at Twitter expresses his frustration 
over how difficult it is to figure out whether or not 
President Rotten Pumkin Face is a racist or not.

Friday, July 19, 2019

PLAYING CATCH-UP AGAIN... SHOULD I BOTHER?


CNN's Jim Acosta masterfully calls out the rank hypocrisy of President Rotting Pumpkin Face -- as well as the rank hypocrisy of right-wingers in general -- when it comes to their laughable assertions that Representative Ilhan Omar is some sort of horrible anti-Semite. This, over statements no tougher than that which is spoken and written by Jews within Israel, itself, against the dangerously reactionary Netenyahu regime in Israel.

And to think, these right-wingers enjoy fantasizing about how they're the last stand for freedom of speech in the West! It's absolutely fucking ludicrous. Furthermore, it has been my experience that, even though most try to keep it hush-hush, when push comes to shove, self-styled right-wing "intellectuals" more often than not turn out to be closet Holocaust deniers, or else, at they very least, they have some very "interesting" ideas about the (ahem) "Jewish Question".

***

One of the dumbest ongoing debates in the world of politics surrounds the question of "What is more evil? Fascism or Communism?" The debate is idiotic because the answer is obvious. For a number of reasons, Fascism is clearly more evil than Communism, the main reason for this being that while it is possible for evil people to become dictatorial rulers of nominally Communist regimes, the evil of Fascism is baked right into the ideology, itself. It is simply impossible to have a just, fair, or "decent" Fascist regime. No one, not even Stalin, became a Communist because they wanted to do evil, whereas that is the entire point of Fascism.

Regardless of the debate's obvious stupidity, it will likely continue for years to come, and that's because of two reasons. First, because amateur political hobbyists love to compare body-counts (even though that's a tricky proposition, indeed). And second, because amateur political hobbyists have this weird psychic blind spot that prevents them from looking back any farther than the year 1900 for some strange reason.

Which is fortunate for them, because if they ever do decide to play the body-count game without such a fortuitous limiter guaranteeing their parameters lead to foregone conclusions, they'd be faced with the horrible truth that Nazi Party, the Soviet Politburo, and even Mao's Cultural Revolution were all pikers when compared to... the Western European Capitalism and Colonialism Project.

I mean, for fuck's sake, a recent scientific survey has found that the colonization of America, alone, led to such a vast amount of megadeath over a short period of time that it literally caused a mini-Ice Age! Which makes me worry that some gang of overly ambitious multi-billionaires is going to see the linked article and get inspired by it. Can smallpox infected blankets be looming in all our collective encroaching futures?

***
Speaking of right-wingers getting big ideas, check out The Night Wolves, a short documentary about Vladimir Putin's Russian biker militia fighting alongside more traditional troops in the occupied territories of Ukraine.



According to the directors:
The Russian motorcycle club the Night Wolves first made international headlines in 2014, fighting as a paramilitary group alongside pro-Russian forces during the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Although the Night Wolves formed as an anti-Soviet countercultural group during perestroika, today they’re sometimes called ‘Putin’s Angels’, having embraced the potent mix of Orthodox Christianity, nationalism, hypermasculinity and Soviet nostalgia that drives the Russian president’s base.
Does any of this sound at all familiar to you? Well, it should. Remember when Trump posed for this ridiculous photo-op? It was only four months ago, when Trump threatened to sic "his" police, bikers, and other "tough guy" supporters on those Democrats who... um... don't like him and oppose his policies, I guess?


Oh well. I'm not saying Trump is copying his hero, Putin, here. I'm just saying it sure fucking looks like it.