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


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


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


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?


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


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!


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


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."


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


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.


Hello, friends!

A few weeks back, in the wake of the admittedly disappointing, premature release of the Mueller Report -- which, just like the recently kaiboshed SDNY investigations into the Trump org's criminal goings-on related to campaign funds being illegally used as hush money for the porn stars and Playboy models Trump was fucking while his line-jumping immigration cheat wife Melania was pregnant with/giving birth to Little Barron Trump, pretty much shuttered operations the day after Trump named his criminal co-conspirator William Barr Attorney General of the USA -- our old pal and undisputed heavyweight Tweet-Lord Seth Abramson put together a Tweet Storm about other, still ongoing investigations into the cabal of shadowy Sinister Forces (alongside the fatally corrupt criminal cult that the GOP has long since become) behind the conspiracy to install President Rotting Pumpkin Face in the highest office of the land.

Here, for your edification, is the entirety of Abramson's Tweet Storm, complete with links, illustrations, and occasional added links and information from yours truly. 

It all started with this Tweet:
1/ POST-MUELLER INVESTIGATION #1, per the NYT: "Investigators are still examining the campaign contacts of an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation who has worked for Prince Mohammed [bin Zayed of the UAE]."
(NB: I'll list the three investigations, then explain them.)

2/ POST-MUELLER INVESTIGATION #2, per the NYT: "Investigators are still examining...a Lebanese-American businessman [George Nader] who acted as [a pre-election] emissary [for Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE, also known as "MBZ"].

3/ POST-MUELLER INVESTIGATION #3, per the NYT: "Prosecutors are investigating whether another top Republican donor whose security company worked for the prince [Elliot Broidy, named RNC deputy finance chair post-election by Trump] should legally have registered as [MBZ's] agent."

4/ (The NEW YORK TIMES has also implied that a *fourth* investigation is ongoing—but because the reference to it mentions the "special counsel," I've held off on saying that the TIMES is "officially" reporting it as ongoing. In the next tweet I'll summarize its contours, though.)

5/ POST-MUELLER INVESTIGATION #4, per the NYT (see prior tweet for note): "[Prosecutors] also questioned Rashid al-Malik, an Emirati real-estate developer close to MBZ and...the head of Emirati intelligence. Mr. al-Malik is also close to Mr. Trump’s friend Tom Barrack... (cont.)

6/ ...and investigators are asking whether al-Malik was part of an illegal [UAE] influence scheme, according to two people familiar with the matter." From PROOF OF CONSPIRACY research, I know the key al-Malik intel involves pre-election contact with Barrack—and possibly Manafort.

7/ Those who read this feed know that I've long been saying—and saying, too, that those most fully "in the know" are saying—that the pre-election crimes most likely to implicate Trump and his family involve bribery and aiding and abetting, and *not just Russia* but other nations.

8/ The Mueller Report is a must-read for every American, despite being long and complex. Once you've read it—and this is the hard part—you have to understand that, for all the terrible stuff you just read, it's only a narrow window on a much larger story still being investigated.

10/ Beginning then—in March 2018—journalists around the world began investigating this conspiracy. I know not just because I've written a book about the "Red Sea Conspiracy" but because major-media journalists from all over have contacted me to say they're working on this, too.

11/ There are 3 reasons you've heard little about this:
  1. The best reporting on it is in foreign media.
  2. Our media consistently "buries the lede" in reporting on the story—as it considers America not ready for it.
  3. The story is so complex it's taken over a year to research.
12-19/ I'll now tell you the basic facts of the story that has emerged:
  1. Six nations hatched a plot to elect Trump. The plot was hatched in 2015; the nations involved were Russia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. The leaders of these countries were all involved.
  2. Three of these six nations—Russia, Israel, the UAE—had infiltrated deep into the Trump campaign by March 2016: Russia through Dimitri Simes; the UAE through Yousef al-Otaiba; Israel through Kushner, Groner, and Birnbaum. The campaign understood the plan these nations had.
  3. The plan was simple: historic detentes between the US and Russia and the Sunni Arab Gulf states and Israel; the US drops all sanctions on Russia and Russia agrees to withdraw support for Iran, thus clearing a path for a new Arab-Israeli alliance to remake the Middle East.
  4. The Trump campaign became aware of the plan via *many* interlocutors: Kushner; Flynn; Nader; Manafort; al-Otaiba; Simes; Birnbaum; Barrack; others. The plan was seen as a "grand bargain" and sometimes called that—other times it was called "the Middle East Marshall Plan."
  5. Russia began operations in what would become the plot (through the GRU and IRA) in 2014, at a time it was in a *massive* new joint investment program with the UAE and there were regular high-level Moscow/Abu Dhabi contacts. The UAE and Russia knew Trump would run by 2013.
  6. By March 2016, Russia had become the first nation with a "man in"—Dimitri Simes. (Though you could argue Kushner saw himself as an unofficial agent of Israel prior to that). By April 2016, Israel had a "man in"—via Birnbaum. By May 2017, UAE had a "man in"—with al-Otaiba.
  7. Saudi Arabia (whose leader, MBS, is a mentee of the UAE's MBZ); Egypt (whose leader, el-Sisi, is in power because of the UAE's MBZ); and Bahrain (whose leader is basically along for the ride), did not *need* their own agents, as they effectively were using the Emiratis'.
  8. The conspirators spent March through July trying to get access directly to the Trumps, though Jared Kushner was conspiring with Simes, al-Otaiba, and Netanyahu's office by late spring. On August 3, 2016, agents of Israel, Russia, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia got to Trump Jr.
  9. At that August 3 Trump Tower meeting, both the family and campaign were represented: the family via Don Jr., the campaign via Trump's chief domestic policy adviser, Stephen Miller.
Four nations offered the Trump campaign illegal pre-election assistance; Don Jr. said yes.

20/ I've given you the most basic contours. The full story (at least as I've written it) takes 500 pages and 3,500+ endnotes. It can't be relayed on Twitter. But it is fully sourced, and sourced with the top media outlets in the world (particularly in the US, the UK, and Israel).

PS/ Many may wonder, "What's the connection between the Mueller Report and this?" The answer: Mueller's report is a prequel, following 2 of 7 characters—the US and Russia—in what was, in the event, a full five-act play. It's the TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD to Rowling's HARRY POTTER.

INVESTIGATION #1: Israeli intel expert Joel Zamel offering illegal pre-election aid to Trump's campaign.
INVESTIGATION #2: UAE/Saudi agent George Nader repeatedly meeting the Trump team secretly in last 90 days of campaign.
INVESTIGATION #3: UAE agent Broidy bribing Trump.

PS2/ I'm *not* one of those who thinks Pelosi is "waiting" for all this to come out—I tend *not* to ascribe much long-range strategic thinking to most politicians. But I'll say that the case for impeachment will be *much* stronger once this evidence is fully in the public record.


And here you thought the worst thing about Trump is that he's the kind of racist piece of shit who goes around telling American citizens, who were duly elected by their constituents to enact needed reforms to the government, to "go back where they came from" if they "don't love" the USA as is, no reforms allowed! This, from the self-same moron who's done nothing but whine and complain about how the USA is an "international laughing stock" (oh, the fucking irony of that!), in the midst of an era of "American Carnage" that "only he" can correct.

Friday, July 12, 2019


Not just the t-shirt with its (untrue, btw) "message", but the fact that this vile jackwad feels perfectly justified and comfortable wearing it out in public, and appears to be going about his business unmolested, blissfully free of the knuckle sandwiches upon which he should rightfully be feasting.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


A fascinating short documentary based upon a Top Secret NSA handbook that was discovered among the vast collection of files and information "freed" by Edward Snowden. It doesn't really contain anything we didn't already know, but it's an intriguing glimpse into the institutional aesthetics of the American intelligence community, right down to the brutalist architecture of the Project X building at 33 Thomas street in New York, NY, an imposing and (according to Tom Hanks) downright terrifying building that formerly sat in the shadows of the Word Trade Center's Twin Towers. Esquire's Keith Flamer describes the building thusly:
The tower is 550-feet high but only 29 stories tall due to its nearly 20-foot double-height floor-to-ceiling interiors. It also has three sub-basement levels. Labeled “Project X” in Warnecke’s original architectural drawings, it was designed as “a skyscraper to be inhabited by machines.” Today, the former long distance telephone and telegraph hub operates primarily as a fortified, high security corporate data complex (and alleged covert government nerve center) with powerful computers, cables, switchboards and “big brother” surveillance equipment.
A skyscraper to be inhabited by machines, eh? And this was built a fairly long time ago, too... in the heyday of the technocrats and in the early days of cybernetics. So much so that the documentary above would make a decent companion piece, or appendix, to Lutz Dammbeck's documentary The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet., for which I wrote an in-depth concordance a little while back.

Sunday, June 2, 2019


Hey folks!

Sorry for being AWOL recently. I've been somewhat busy with a number of personal projects in various arenas, currently at various levels of completion. I'll tell you more, here in this space, when I have more to tell. 

Also, to be perfectly honest, the political situation here in North America, and pretty much everywhere around the globe, seems beyond the ability of the average person to comprehend, much less influence. It almost feels like we're desperately clutching the fur of some wildly bucking Beast, anxiously waiting to see what long-established institutional norm will be next to be toppled and shattered by its rampage.

Anyhoo, enough of all that. In the last month or so, I came across a number of interesting articles that I wanted to share with y'all, but never got around to. So today, I decided to do that, before too much more time passed and these articles became less relevant. And so, without further ado, here is my Suggested Reading List for today...


Here's a deeply depressing New Yorker piece by Adam Gopnik about how the South were the real winners in the Civil War. It begins:
Not so long ago, the Civil War was taken to be this country’s central moral drama. Now we think that the aftermath—the confrontation not of blue and gray but of white and black, and the reimposition of apartheid through terror—is what has left the deepest mark on American history. Instead of arguing about whether the war could have turned out any other way, we argue about whether the postwar could have turned out any other way. Was there ever a fighting chance for full black citizenship, equality before the law, agrarian reform? Or did the combination of hostility and indifference among white Americans make the disaster inevitable? 
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in his new book, “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow” (Penguin Press), rightly believes that this argument has special currency in the post-Obama, or mid-Trump, era. He compares the rosy confidence, in 2008, that the essential stain of American racism would fade through the elevation of a black President with the same kind of short-lived hopes found in 1865, when all the suffering of the war seemed sure to end with civil equality. Instead, the appearance of African-American empowerment seemed only to deepen the rage of a white majority. Then it brought forward Klan terrorism and Jim Crow in the South; now it has brought to power the most overtly racist President since Woodrow Wilson, openly catering to a white revanchist base. It’s a depressing prospect, and Gates is properly depressed and depressing about it.
If you follow this link, you can actually listen to a mellifluously intoned audio version of this article instead of just reading it.


Dan O'Sullivan, writing at his ongoing creative project "Welcome to Sullyville", offers up a wide-ranging and substantial meditation on the current state of American culture, particularly as it pertains to how America's creeping Fascism has metastasized into a now exploding Fascism, the hows of it, the whys of it, etc. It's called Pigs, A Million Different Ones, and after a brief introduction, he posits that...
...the Internet is now the world’s largest subduction zone, where an endless column of young, mostly white males are overtaken and crushed by the unstoppable force of far-right extremism. Violent misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, gay-bashing, anti-black racism - you name it, you can find it, in ever more plentiful amounts online. 
The biggest tech platforms you can name - Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit - serve up this kind of poison on an industrial scale, mushrooming and expanding at a rate that makes catching up with the spread almost impossible. The early neo-Nazi webforum Stormfront is on life support, largely because there is no need for the far-right to stay in an online cul-de-sac; they have free run of the world now. Worst of all, those consuming this economy of hate, which has exploded into an epidemic over the past ten years, are still mostly boys. 
Meaning, we as a society are going to be living with the effects of this radicalization for the rest of our lives.
I urge you to read the article in full, and to share it with friends and family... as long as you think they'll get something out of it. O'Sullivan has a pretty good grasp on many elements of the New Fascist International(e) gestalt, and he could be a writer to watch.


Our old pal Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll (my concordance here), has written a lovely article for The Paris Review about a topic that is near and dear to yer old pal Jerky's heart. Titled "To Believe or Not To Believe: That is NOT the Question", it is an exploration of the surprisingly vigorous paradoxical interplay between legitimate, profound skepticism on the one hand, and Western esoteric traditions of occult practice on the other. Along with Eugene Thacker (whose In The Dust of This Planet I also put together a concordance), I think Bebergal is one of the contemporary English-speaking world's finest writers on these topics, and this brief article is a good place to start getting a handle on where it is, exactly, that he's coming from. It begins:
Many years ago at a dinner party, I met a couple who had brought along their two-year-old son. The mother was Jewish, and the father was a practicing Buddhist from Tibet. Making small talk in the kitchen, the mother began to tell me about how she had been unable to get pregnant, so her husband had gone to their lama to ask him to bless them with a child. Some months later the couple successfully conceived, but before they broke the news to friends and family, they received a call from the lama, who told them that their unborn son was a bodhisattva—a being who has achieved enlightenment but chooses to reincarnate for the good of the world. As she told me this story, I felt dizzy and entranced. All I could see was her suddenly illuminated face; all I could hear was her voice. 
Now, I am not a Buddhist, but I experienced what she said about her child as true. He was beautiful and played quietly on the floor at our feet. For me, this was an encounter with the numinous, a realization of holiness and magic that didn’t require what religious people call faith. Moreover, when my trance broke and the other voices and sounds of the party returned to my awareness, I didn’t immediately begin to rationalize what I had been told or how I had felt about it. That spirits of the dead might move through the heavenly spheres and reemerge in new earthly forms seemed as real to me as the food that was being prepared for us. The language the family used to convey the story stirred all our imaginations. 
As a writer whose chosen subject is religion and, more recently, magic and its supernatural cousins, I admit that I am more disposed to exploring, and perhaps even experiencing, these kinds of altered states, but I am not more susceptible to believe in them. Not only because I am often critically challenged by readers and friends but because I am interested in what it means to hold to the irrational with a rational embrace, using skepticism as a compass to travel the map of the weird. One consequence of this, however, is finding myself without a home.
Let me tell you, if the above intro isn't enough to catch your interest and make you want to read the rest of the article, I don't know what to say to you!


In the wake of far-right evangelical Jair Bolsonaro being elected President of Brazil, Buzzfeed's Ryan Broderick filed a report arguing that the era of being surprised at this kind of politics is over. Now it's time for us to figure out how to live with what we've done. And what is it, that we've done? Well, that's what his report, entitled How We Radicalized the World, aims to answer, in part. It begins:
From the balcony of BuzzFeed’s São Paulo office right now, you can hear screams of “Ele Não” echoing through the city’s winding avenues. It’s the same phrase I’ve seen graffitied all over the city this month. The same one I heard chanted from restaurants and bars all afternoon. It means “not him” — him being Bolsonaro. But his victory tonight isn’t a surprise. He’s just one more product of the strange new forces that dictate the very fabric of our lives. 
It’s been a decade since I first felt like something was changing about the way we interact with the internet. In 2010, as a young news intern for a now-defunct website called the Awl, one of the first pieces I ever pitched was an explainer about why 4chan trolls were trying to take the also now-defunct website Gawker off the internet via a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. It was a world I knew. I was a 19-year-old who spent most of my time doing what we now recognize as “shitposting.” It was the beginning of an era where our old ideas about information, privacy, politics, and culture were beginning to warp. 
I’ve followed that dark evolution of internet culture ever since. I’ve had the privilege — or deeply strange curse — to chase the growth of global political warfare around the world. In the last four years, I’ve been to 22 countries, six continents, and been on the ground for close to a dozen referendums and elections. I was in London for UK’s nervous breakdown over Brexit, in Barcelona for Catalonia’s failed attempts at a secession from Spain, in Sweden as neo-Nazis tried to march on the country’s largest book fair. And now, I’m in Brazil. But this era of being surprised at what the internet can and will do to us is ending. The damage is done. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably spend the rest of my career covering the consequences.
This is an important piece, and well worth reading if you're trying to wrap your head around what the fuck happened to the world while you were distracted by a variety of shiny new apps and gewgaws. I urge you to read, absorb, and share. I also urge you to check out the comments section, to see how bad the rot has gotten, how severe the Dunning-Kruger-compounded right-wing brainwashing problem has become.


Hey guys, just a reminder that I have been putting in a bit of time at my Mediavore blog, having recently begun a media diary of sorts. I call it a reading diary, and I do spend more time on my reading choices than anything else, but I'm also using it to keep track of certain life events (like a recent trip to Landlord/Tenant court) and the movies and TV shows that I watch. So, anyway, if you like that kind of stuff, or if you're at all curious about what the hell the image immediately above this paragraph is all about, then by all means, keep up with my updates over at The Mediavore!

Also, as always, the Useless Eater Blog updates with a new "On This Day" entry, every single day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


They say the eyes are the window to the soul.
So now the Republicans, who are so desperate to win at all costs that they'll even cheat in states where their victories are already all but assured, are trying to criminalize giving people a ride to the polls in Texas. 

Essentially, an evil state senator by the name of Bryan Hughes (who also happens to be a big fan of gay conversion therapy, of course) is pushing a bill through the Texas legislature that would, among other anti-democratic atrocities, outlaw carpooling or ride-sharing, if the ride being shared happens to bring people to a polling place on election day.

This is NOT an exaggeration.

Check it out for yourself. Pay particular attention to SECTION 2.11. Section 64.009, which reads in part:
"The Election Code, is amended by adding Subsections (e), (f), and (g) to read as follows:
  (e) A person who assists at least three voters voting under this section at the same time by providing the voters with transportation to the polling place must complete and sign a form that:
        (1) requires the person to affirm that the voters are physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring their health; and
        (2) contains the following information:
              (A) the person's name and address; and
              (B) whether the person is providing assistance solely under this section or under both this section and Subchapter B.
  (f) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form described by Subsection (e). 
SECTION 2.12. Subchapter B, Chapter 64, Election Code, is amended by adding Section 64.0322 to read as follows:
  (a) A person, other than an election officer, who assists a voter in accordance with this chapter is required to complete a form stating:
       (1) the name and address of the person assisting the
       (2) the manner in which the person assisted the voter;
       (3) the reason the assistance was necessary; and
       (4) the relationship of the assistant to the voter.
  (b) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form required by this section. The form must be incorporated into the official carrier envelope if the voter is voting an early voting ballot by mail and receives assistance under Section 86.010, or must be submitted to an election officer at the time the voter casts a ballot if the voter is voting at a polling place or under Section 64.009.
Keep an eye out for more like this from the Republicans, who have long since given up trying to hide the fact that they're a criminal-gang-slash-doomsday-cult who only pretend to be a political party anymore.