100-Proof Blogging by Randle Aubrey

Friday, October 28, 2016

FASCISM IS TOO BIG TO FAIL

"Now if you begin to feel an intense and crushing feeling of religious terror at the concept, don't be alarmed. That indicates only that you are still sane."
Wally Weaver, "Watchmen"
In a year filled with personal and political dick punches too numerous to count, it seemed inconceivable that anything could further shock the nation's collective consciousness out of near brain-death. And then:
"Jury finds all Oregon standoff defendants not guilty of federal conspiracy, gun charges"
The Oregonian
October 27th, 2016

A federal jury on Thursday found Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and five co-defendants not guilty of conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs through intimidation, threat or force during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The Bundy brothers and occupiers Jeff Banta and David Fry also were found not guilty of having guns in a federal facility. Kenneth Medenbach was found not guilty of stealing government property, and a hung jury was declared on Ryan Bundy's charge of theft of FBI surveillance cameras.

"More than we could have hoped for,'' said one of Ammon Bundy's lawyers, J. Morgan Philpot.

"Stunning," said defense lawyer Lisa Ludwig, who was standby counsel for Ryan Bundy.

"I'm just thrilled," said Neil Wampler's attorney Lisa Maxfield.
That's right: Y'all-Qaeda stormed Indian federal land with guns and occupied it for no particular reason, while the world watched in real-time on social media. The FBI forces that surrounded their occupation did nothing to remove them, let alone engage with them. They totally trashed the place when they left, and now get to ride off into the sunset scot-free like some fake-ass heroes for the lunatic fringe.

What Bundy and his fellow teabagger morons engaged in is the literal definition of treason, yet despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt, they will receive zero punishment for it. I don't know how many dead hookers the judge, jury, and legal teams in the Bundy case have stashed in their collective basements, but somebody must have found them. All of them. How else does this happen?

Meanwhile, some seriously grandiloquent fuckery is happening in the Dakotas:
"Law Enforcement Arrest 141 #NoDAPL Water Protectors, Shoot Beanbag Rounds and Pepper Spray"
Colorlines
October 28th, 2016


Yesterday (October 27), officers from at least five states—North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming and Nebraska—seized the latest camp built by opponents to the Dakota Access Pipeline.  There were numerous arrests, as well as reported violence by officers against animals. The 1851 Treaty Camp was created Sunday, October 23, near the Cannonball River in North Dakota.

Between 200 to 300 militarized police officers, eight all-terrain vehicles, five armored vehicles and two helicopters were on scene, according to the Sacred Stone Camp website. Police wearing riot gear arrested 141 people, the Guardian reports, as well as pepper sprayed, shot beanbag pellets and beat occupiers with batons, as seen in several videos posted to Facebook. The confrontation occurred after officers asked that water protectors retreat south and leave behind the camp, and they refused...

This event happened on the same day a federal court jury acquitted seven White Oregon men of all charges for leading an armed militia in a 41-day standoff with law enforcement in January—a parallel Indigenous Environmental Network campaign organizer Dallas Goldtooth highlighted in a post on his Facebook page. “The racial undertones of yesterday's actions cannot be ignored,” he wrote. “Armed white men stand off against police in Oregon: Acquitted. Unarmed water protectors in North Dakota: Concussion grenades, rubber bullets and batons.”
As far as studies in opposites go, it doesn't get much starker than this. Given the current political/electoral climate, where guys like Republican has-been Joe Walsh are saying batshit crazy things like:
And the orangutan running for president says equally batshit crazy things like:


All I can keep thinking to myself is:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

HILLARY CLINTON BROKE POTUS DEBATES AS WE KNOW THEM...AND THAT'S A GOOD THING



With the presidential debate shitshow now safely behind us, the autosopy of Donald Trump's now-doomed candidancy is revealing some fascinating details behind the on-screen dismantling of the prospective Sniffler-In-Chief.

These debates mark the first time a presidential candidate - in this case, President-elect Nasty herself, Hillary Clinton - has actively conspired to use her opponent's supposed "strengths" against him to achieve victory during the debates, rather than by simply making better, stronger arguments.

Her debate tactics not only shine a light on Trump's blustery incompetence and paper tiger politics, but also demonstrate that she'll not be so easily outmaneuvered by, well...damned near anybody else on the world stage. What this means for the particulars of her policy proposals down the road is hard to say, but one thing is for certain: Hillary ain't about to take no shit from nobody on the Right, not now, not never.

Ezra Klein breaks the whole thing down in a fascinating play-by-play for Vox magazine. It's worth the watch, if for no other reason than to watch Trump get repeatedly dick-punched. But more importantly, this video illustrates what will likely be the sort of playbook Hillary taps from moving forward into her likely presidency, being that it's bigots and scumbags and traitors all the way down in the Republican Party.



Hillary knows that she has will have to face down an incredible amount of mistrust, misogyny, and outright hostility during the remainder of the campaign, and far into the future. Just ask Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the House Democratic Headhunter's Oversight Committee, speaking with a WaPo reporter while sharpening the tines of his pitchfork:
“It’s a target-rich environment,” the Republican said in an interview in Salt Lake City’s suburbs. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”
But if the recent POTUS debates and her thirteen-hour womanhandling of the Benghazi hearing are any indication, the only thing Hillary will have to fear is a dearth of a worthwhile opponents.

#imwithnasty

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

THE IRON LAW OF FALSE EQUIVALENCE: WAR ON TERROR EDITION

Washington is broken. There's a corrupt duopoly. Both sides do it. Repeat. They don't know how dumb they sound.
The biggest trick the Devil ever pulled is convincing the world that he doesn’t exist. The second biggest is the Iron Law Of Media False Equivalence, outlined as follows:

No matter what manner of cuckoo bananas mouth-drivel any member of the conservative “intelligentsia” (try not to guffaw; I couldn’t) spews forth, no matter what manner of insane or dangerous or flat-out moronic shenanigans they engage in, somehow, somewhere, a liberal of equal or quasi-equal standing must be held in equal contempt for something they either did or said, no matter how truthful or accurate or poignant.

Why? In order to preserve the notion that “Both Sides” are equally culpable for the prolonged, savage gutting of the American Experiment. Why? Because, as I mentioned just the other day –
“As long as media organizations...continue to present all perspectives as equally valid regardless of their mendacity, they will always structurally advantage those who are willing to lie to execute their agenda.”
– and doing so is immensely profitable to the snake-oil salesmen and death merchants who fill the coffers of the mainstream press.

And now, a word from today’s “Both Sides” sponsor:

Writing in The Week on the eve of the third and final presidential debate, author Damon Linker lamented, quite rightfully, the near-total lack of discussion between the two candidates about the fact that the United States is currently engaged in no less than five active military conflicts across the globe. When it comes to our nation’s propensity for endless war, there is absolutely a conspiracy of silence at work, and every day it becomes more deafening.

Everyone’s got their reasons, of course, and Linker knows them all. Let’s start with the Heavenly Host Of Saint Ronnie, shall we?
“Republicans have an incentive to avoid a conversation about our multiple wars because the GOP finds it more politically advantageous to portray Barack Obama as a feckless commander in chief who has made the country less safe through grandiloquent displays of spinelessness. To put our wars on the table for discussion and debate would expose the actual truth, which is that Obama has very much governed as a hawk (albeit one who, unlike Republicans, prefers not to brag about it).”
So far, so good. This is one of the more inconvenient truths of the GOP’s military propaganda machine, and it’s been in effect since LBJ scratched his head and muttered, “maybe this ‘Nam thing wasn’t such a good idea after all...”

As long as Democrats look soft of terrorism, not only do they become less so (and they have, in a big way), but Republicans look even more like righteous Defenders Of The Realm for calling out supposed liberal fecklessness. But they can’t ever stop, lest their chickenhawk status be placed on full display.
“Democrats, on the other hand, have several reasons of their own to avoid a conversation about our multiple wars. First, because they quite understandably fear that the American people might object if they realized the Democratic administration was meddling militarily in so many places. Second, because the results of and strategic goals at stake in these interventions are so consistently muddled. Third, because it would reveal that Democrats are closely following the foreign policy vision of their nemesis George W. Bush.”
All right, now we’re getting somewhere. The Obama administration has taken the War On Terror to unprecedented levels of scope and legitimacy, casting a wide, diffuse shadow over the Democratic Party. That shadow only stands to darken with the likely election of Hillary Clinton. If anyone’s truly guilty of perpetuating endless war’s conspiracy of silence, it’s them.

You might be asking yourself at this point where the aforementioned false equivalency is, and you’d be right to do so. But it’s important to note that, when it comes to Both Siderism, there are actually three sides: as the promulgators of false equivalence, the media is partisan almost by definition. And sometimes, the best way to push get the rubes to swallow the razor in the apple (H/T to Driftglass) is to wrap a thin veneer of truth around it, then glaze the whole thing with a bit of false humility:
“And finally and most troublingly, the press has an incentive to avoid a discussion of our actions in places like Somalia and Yemen because the details are extraordinarily complicated — and journalists have no faith in their own ability to explain the necessary historical and geopolitical background to each conflict in a way that will keep an audience engaged, or faith in the American people to process and evaluate that information in a responsible way.”
In other words: “We’re not bought and paid for to keep our mouths shut, no; you’re just too stupid to understand the truth, and we’re just too smart to dumb it down for you!”

Of course, Linker himself hasn’t spilled any ink in The Week on foreign policy discussions in over a year, where he did little more than criticize Hillary Clinton for having the audacity to outline a set of Middle East foreign policy goals without going into the weeds about the complexities of the region. But does he pick up the torch? Take a wild fucking guess.

A search of the magazine’s archives reveals a huge deficit of foreign policy coverage. What’s there is mostly clickbait, with the occasional 800-word piece on how Obama is going to screw up next. No mention of the myriad non-state actors in the region, no mention of the astronomical profits being made over blood and oil, no mention of the longstanding collusion between the American military and domestic industrial powers...nothing. Gee, I wonder why that is?

By all accounts, The Week is a centrist publication, working actively to court any and all partisans they can with as little bias as possible. But doing so requires them to continuously commit a staggering number of lies of omission, up to and including refusing to call out their own bullshit. After all, personal mea culpas don’t sell many papers, and there’s a lot of money to be made serving as one more congenial face on the totem pole that props up the Iron Law Of False Equivalence, the Bigliest and Most Profitable Lie in the history of journalism.

Linker closes his claptrap by saying that:
“When everybody else decided it was a good idea to forestall a public debate about enormously important and complicated policy questions, the press decided to go along and let it happen.”
Let it happen, you say? The press isn’t just fiddling while Rome burns; they’re a choir loud enough to drown out the screams and the sizzle of flesh for those who prefer the ka-ching! of their cash registers to remain unimpeded.

Monday, October 17, 2016

(IN)ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS


A lot of liberal-minded folks were saying that when Trump was stalking Hillary all around the stage like a wounded jackal during the last presidential debate, she should have called him out on it live on the air and set his punk-ass straight.

It would have have made for a fairly satisfying dick-punch moment against someone who richly deserves it, this is true. But whether intentionally or otherwise, famed composer and Tim Burton wunderkind Danny Elfman really demonstrated the value in her refusal to do so when he scored a supercut of the debate with something appropriately sinister:


There was nary a conservative woman watching the debate who didn't hear a similar, jangling refrain drifting through her head, causing her to break out in a cold sweat based on life experience.

Who didn't see herself in Hillary up there on stage, trying to freely and honestly express herself in what she knows to be the fucking lion's den.

Who didn't see her husband or her boyfriend or her boss or her pastor or God only knows who else in Trump, looming in the background of every frame, remind her just who's in charge and what they'll get if they run their bitch mouths more than they should.

Who still feels the sting on her cheek, or the bruises on her arm, or the hand up her skirt. Who cried and shook in mute despair alone in the bathroom or the stairwell after it was done, before fixing her hair and her makeup and pretending like nothing happened.

Who desperately wishes she could call out her abuser but won't, out of fear that doing so would only invite further abuse like it did to her friend or her neighbor or her co-worker, and not just from him but from those who stand by him and think he's such a great fucking guy.

Sure, Hillary could have turned around and verbally smacked the taste out of Donald Trump's mouth, to which her supporters would have cheered and her detractors would have jeered, and to which the corporate media would have speculated on just how shrill and hysterical she might be if elected and how it would further cost her a mandate they're not sure she has anyway, and blah blah blah...essentially reducing her willingness to stand up for herself down to something small enough to shove back in the kitchen to grab another round for the boys.

In light of all that, her silence spoke volumes.

Saying nothing was a nod to conservative women everywhere that, when it comes to dealing with abusive men, they are not alone. That even one of the most powerful women in the entire world has to deal with the same level of unmitigated, fearful bullshit that they do on a regular basis. That putting party over principle will continue to ensure that abusive men remain unimpeachable, even celebrated for their abuse of others. But most importantly, that standing in resistance to men like Trump can also be done in silence, simply by pulling the appropriate lever in the voting booth in just a few short weeks.

We don't have to talk about ending misogyny, her actions spoke. We just have to be about it. Riding Trump out of Washington on a rail might not solve the problem, but it's one helluva good place to start.

Friday, October 14, 2016

FAKE WILL MCAVOY'S TWITTER FEED WILL MAKE YOU WISH HE WAS REAL (TWEETS)

As much as I don't miss HBO's The Newsroom and Aaron Sorkin's post-hoc self-righteousness, watching main character Will McAvoy skewer pundits and politicians on his fictional prime time news show was definitely a visceral and satisfying experience, especially when cursed with the knowledge that it will never happen in real life.

If you've ever wondered what it might look like if Will had a Twitter feed, look no further. Someone out there has made it happen, and they're spitting fire and brimstone in an incredibly alluring fashion. And of course, it's all about that Great Orange Ape running for President, Donald Trump.
Now I know that Jeff Daniels isn't actually Will McAvoy, but if it takes a fake newsman to do a real news program, then sign me up.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"WE'RE POURING KEROSENE ON A CANDLE": EX-CIA AMARYLLIS FOX TALKS AMERICA'S WAR ON TERROR WITH AJ+




"An Al-Qaeda fighter made a point once during a debriefing. He said all these movies that America makes, like Independence Day and Hunger Games and Star Wars, they're all about a small, scrappy band of rebels who will do anything in their power with the limited resources available to them to expel an outside, technologically advanced invader. And what you don't realize, he said, is that to us, to the rest of the world, you are the Empire, and we are Luke and Han! You are the aliens and we are Will Smith."
And yet, the West fails to see the irony...

Amaryllis Fox is a CIA Clandestine Service Officer turned author and activist, who is using her experience working for America's World Police to educate and inform the public about what's really happening in the War On Terror.

Fox recently took to AJ+ to make a few observations about the current state of global conflict, and while it's pretty surface level stuff, she makes a couple of really salient points that are so often missed in discussions of terrorism and national security.

Simply put, we're losing the War On Terror because we're losing the War Of Ideas, and we're losing the War On Ideas because we stopped listening to what our opponents actually want.

If the West actually wants to end this conflict - which I'm not sure we do - then we need to heed the words of author Stephen Covey: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

And for Chrissake, we need to stop replying with guns. And drones. And MRAPs. And death squads. And so on.

Here's a full transcript of the clip, for the five of you who still read shit:
If I learned one lesson from my time with the CIA, it is this: everybody believes they are the good guy.

I was an officer with the CIA Clandestine Service and worked undercover on counterterrorism and intelligence all around the world for almost ten years.

The conversation that's going on in the United States right now about ISIS and about the United States overseas is more oversimplified than ever. Ask most Americans whether ISIS poses and existential threat to this country and they'll say yes. That's where the conversation stops.

If you're walking down the street in Iraq or Syria and ask anybody why America dropped bombs, you get: "They were waging war on Islam." And you walk in America and you ask why were we attacked on 9/11, and you get, "They hate us because we're free."

Those are stories, manufactured by a really small number of people on both sides who amass a great deal of power and wealth by convincing the rest of us to keep killing each other.

I think the question we need to be asking, as Americans examining our foreign policy, is whether or not we're pouring kerosene on a candle.

The only real way to disarm your enemy is to listen to them. If you hear them out, if you're brave enough to really listen to their story, you can see that more than not, you might have made some of the same choices if you'd lived their life instead of yours.

An Al-Qaeda fighter made a point once during a debriefing. He said all these movies that America makes, like Independence Day and Hunger Games and Star Wars, they're all about a small, scrappy band of rebels who will do anything in their power with the limited resources available to them to expel an outside, technologically advanced invader. And what you don't realize, he said, is that to us, to the rest of the world, you are the Empire, and we are Luke and Han! You are the aliens and we are Will Smith.

But the truth is, when you talk to the people who are really fighting on the ground on both sides, and ask them why they're there, they answer with hopes for their children, specific policies that they think are cruel or unfair. And while it may be easier to dismiss your enemy as evil, hearing them out on policy concerns is actually an amazing thing.

Because as long as your enemy is a subhuman psychopath that's going to attack you no matter what you do, this never ends. But if your enemy is a policy, however complicated, that we can work with.

THE STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE FINAL TRAILER IS HERE, AND IT IS BADASS


Galen Erso and Director Krennic's back story are revealed, Jyn's prison escape is made, and the stakes for the Rebellion get laid out flat in the final trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One, set to release on December 17th.

And now, thanks to the good people at Disney and Lucasfilm, I have the worst case of interstellar blue balls. Problem is, if I strike them down, they'll become more powerful than I can imagine.

In the meantime, I'll just have to stare longingly at the official movie poster, which dropped the day before the trailer did:


Epic. As. Fuck.

Is it December yet?

Friday, October 7, 2016

WHAT THE HELL IS A VURRO, ANYWAY?


If Rob Zombie and Jerry Lee Lewis got frisky after a fifth of Wild Turkey and a half a dozen benzies, their baby might grow up to be someone like this:



I dunno who this guy is or what he's about, but Vurro's one-man musical mayhem videos started popping up on Facebook roughly a month ago, and he now already has over 25,000 followers, and shows zero signs of slowing down.



For more, check out Vurro's Facebook page.

MAINSTREAM MEDIA TO GOP: "YOU COMPLETE ME"


After the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot exchange that was our nation's one and only vice-presidential election debate for the season, the Huffington Post wasted no time in releasing a fact-check video against Trumpian shoeshine boy Mike Pence, showing the astounding number of times he denied that Trump ever said anything bad or disparaging or crude about anyone ever:



It's shocking, it's funny, it's absurd, and most importantly: it will not change one fucking thing.

Go ahead: show the to your crazy Uncle Liberty (or whomever stands in as the lunatic teabagger in your life) and see what they have to say about Pence’s pack of lies.

Watch in horror as the “come to Jesus” moment you were hoping would happen if you just made the right argument – and this one will totally be the one! - wither and die in the face of rabid, psychotic ignorance.

Then stand there, dumbfounded, as Uncle Liberty hitches up his coveralls, spits in your commie pinko liberal eye, and plugs the conservative media feeding tube back into his temporal lobe, so he can continue signing the hymns of Reverend Limbaugh over the corpse of Saint Ronnie in blissful, fanatical peace.

There are three things in this world that the gibbering lunatic groundlings of the conservative movement give absolutely zero fucks about:
  1. Facts
  2. (Objective) truth
  3. Liberals
Multiple generations of conservative cult leaders have thoroughly convinced the base that listening to the likes of people like you and I is not only tantamount to treason, but that refusing to do so and watching us twist in the wind over it is the key to victory for their merry band of idiots and wingnuts and bigots. The only thing they care about is how good at making face their spokespeople are, and how hard their hippie punches are connecting. All the videos, articles, and podcasts in the world will never change that.

So why bother making a video like this at all, you might ask? It’s a comforting thought to believe that HuffPo has a vested interest in setting the record straight, and that once the accumulated list of Republican degradations against the American people becomes suitably tomelike, it will shame the party of Lincoln into humble submission. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are three things the Huffington Post gives a great many fucks about:
  1. Clicks
  2. Shares
  3. Advertisers
And videos like this one go a long way toward satisfying all three.

Sanctimonious preaching to the choir keeps the ratings up, especially as we get closer to Election Day. The more good and well-meaning liberals keep plugging into 24-hour coverage of Donald Trump’s Shock And Awe presidential campaign, the more money media outlets like The Huffington Post stand to make and not pay their writers with. Convincing you that sharing supercuts of douchebags like Mike Pence doling out mouth-poo in front of a live studio audience actually makes a difference in the discourse is part of their strategy. Meanwhile, Arianna Huffington is off in Davos with David Brooks getting Ashiatsu massages from tiny Korean women, and laughing all the way to the bank.


The only way to stuff monsters like Mike Pence and Donald Trump back into their cages is by cattle-prodding them live on air every time they make outlandish assertions about Mexican rapists or death panels or the Kenyan Usurper or any of the other horseshit fabrications they create on a regular basis, and to share that with their roiling mass of supporters to demonstrate what feckless weaklings their thought leaders are.

Like a mongrel dog, you can’t rub Trump’s nose in the shit he left on the rug when you find it the next day; you have to watch him and do it the instant it happens, or he’ll swear up and down to his friends at the hydrant that the cat did it. And they’ll believe him, because he’s such a good boy.

As much as I’d like to commend The Huffington Post for their work in this instance, I’ve never been one to celebrate mediocrity, let alone complicity. And I’m not about to start now.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

IN SAN JOSE, THE STRUGGLE FOR ARTISTS IS REAL...AND SO IS THE GATEKEEPER HYPOCRISY

San Jose Inside just dropped a very thoughtful article about the struggle Silicon Valley artists face in monetizing their work and going full time. Much of it essentially comes down to this:
“There’s this expectation that somehow I’m magically supposed to be able to monetize my work when there’s a fundamental problem, which is that I cannot get people to value the work enough to think that they should pay for it.”
- Tricia Creason-Valencia, a San Jose independent filmmaker
It should be noted that, when I ended my stint as a freelance writer for Metro Newspaper Group - San Jose Inside's publisher - in June of this year, my pay scale was as follows:
  • 1000-1200 word blog post, average eight-ten hours of work - $30
  • 2500-4000 word feature story, average twelve-sixteen hours of work - $75
Let's do the math: I made $3.75 an hour as a blogger, and $6.25 an hour as a feature writer. And that's being incredibly optimistic.

That puts me on par as a working professional with migrant farm workers and prisoners working for scrip. Which isn't to say that those folks should make more money, but frankly, so should I.

Something something glass houses...

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TRUMP'S TAX LEAK IS A RED HERRING


Liberals everywhere are mad as hell about the Trump tax leak, and I'm over here like:





We can talk about Trump's tax files until we're blue in the face, but we might want to try looking in a mirror first. If you had and lost a billion dollars, what would you do?



With such a savory and deplorable buffet of indictments at hand, let's not lose site of the fact that in this instances, what's good for the goose really is what's good for the gander, with the only difference being that most of us have yet to lay our first golden egg, while he's been barren for decades.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

ZOE LEONARD'S POTUS BUCKET LIST, AS READ BY MYKKI BLANCO (VIDEO)


Let this one rattle around your insides for a while, and see if you don't feel at least a pang of empathy for the sentiment here:




I want a dyke for president. I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia.

I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to AIDS, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying.

I want a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the DMV, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and laid off and sexually harassed and gay-bashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape.

I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who cross-dresses and has done drugs and been in therapy.

I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught.
Zoe Leonard, 1992
So do I, Zoe. So do I. But the sweet baby Jesus ain't on the ballot, so I guess we're shit outta luck.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

POE'S LAW IS DEAD; THE GOP KILLED IT


Poe's Law is dead, driven into the sea by those with no appreciable sense of irony:

"[S]omehow, Facebook has gone from having a problem “suppressing” conservative news to having a problem allowing fake news...This is the world of pages with names like The American Patriot, pushing highly emotional stories with only a tenuous connection to the truth.

These pages are successful because engagement on Facebook — especially on political Facebook, and especially in conservative political Facebook — is generally fueled more by a given post’s ability to stoke passion in its readers, rather than by old-fashioned qualities like “usefulness” or “accuracy,” and...pages on Facebook are less concerned with communicating correct information as a public service than they are by ensuring their stories are “liked” and “shared” with enough frequency to make money. Put bluntly, there’s money to be made off of conservative outrage, and very little incentive to do so responsibly."

But there’s always been a crapton of money to be made in the mudslinging business, and as long as conflict breeds capital, conservative media crackhouses like Breitbart and The Drudge Report will continue to pour sewage into the electoral groundwater with gleeful abandon.

But the good and impartial people at Facebook have taken their finger off the scale and left the robots in charge, so everything should balance out, right?

"The problem for Facebook is that the distance between fake news sites and the “conservative websites” they’ve been accused of suppressing is rail-thin. Each item in the list of topics Facebook was said to have been “suppressing” is a subject of as many wild conspiracy theories and hoaxes as newsworthy stories.

But to acknowledge this would be to lose the thin, filmy sheen of neutrality under which Facebook inoculates itself....The responsibility of flagging false articles now falls on users. But Facebook is an echo chamber. The people reading the Daily Caller and the Blaze do so because they’re already onboard. They’re not going to tell anyone it’s fake. People see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe.

The act of suppressing conservative ideas connotes the promotion of liberal ones, but that isn’t really an accurate depiction of what happened at Facebook. Facebook’s problem isn’t that it suppresses “conservative news” or allows “fake news.” It’s that those two categories are increasingly indistinguishable.”

As long as media organizations – of which Facebook is undeniably a member, despite their numerous protestations to the contrary – continue to present all perspectives as equally valid regardless of their mendacity, they will always structurally advantage those who are willing to lie to execute their agenda.

And if that agenda is the legislative equivalent of fertilizer barrels and a timing switch under the Capital Building, where does that leave companies like Facebook? Complicit in acts of verbal terrorism.

Remember, remember!
The Eight Of November
Republican treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why Republican treason
Should ever be forgot!

Monday, October 3, 2016

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GOP DEPLORABLE

Of course they do, sweetheart. Of course they do.






I'm not often up for an asylum tour of America's Rust Belt, but The Washington Post - who are perfectly content to gawk and point angrily at the rubes for the same tomfoolery they refuse to have the same reaction towards within their own ranks - dropped one that was too good to pass up. Here's a snapshot: 

"The first time she had seen him, at a rally in June, she was just beginning to realize how many people saw the world the way she did, that she was one among millions. At the time, her hips were still sore from a series of injections intended to calm her. She had gotten them in February, during a difficult time in her life, when she had been involuntarily hospitalized for several weeks after what she called a “rant,” a series of online postings that included one saying that Obama should be hanged and the White House fumigated and burned to the ground. On her discharge papers, in a box labeled “medical problem,” a doctor had typed “homicidal ideation.”

She goes on to say that:

“It never crossed my mind that I’m losing it,” she said several months after her release, and a big reason for this conviction was the rise of Donald Trump, who had talked about so many of the things she had come to believe — from Obama being a founder of the terrorist group ISIS, to Hillary Clinton being a co-founder, to the idea that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered in a White House plot involving a prostitute and a pillow.

And, in closing:

“If it’s time to lock me up, it’s time to lock up the world,” Melanie remembered thinking when she had heard that.

And so when she was released from the hospital with instructions to “maintain a healthy lifestyle,” she did what seemed to her not only healthy but also patriotic. She began campaigning for Trump."

Click HERE for the rest of the shit show, and remember: you don't have to be crazy to vote for The Donald, but it helps.

GARY JOHNSON'S GRAND PRISON SWINDLE



On a recent episode of his radio show, former Green Party presidential candidate and Leftist curmudegeon-for-hire Ralph Nader lamented the lack of access by third-party presidential candidates into the forthcoming 2016 of electoral debates.

The game is rigged against them by the DNC and the RNC, Nader claims, and they collude with the media and big business to guarantee their political duopoly ad infinitum by writing off the possibility of any third-party candidate gaining any real prominence.

He’s right, of course. Electoral politics is a dog and pony show, designed to foster political divisions that are as narrow as they are deep and give the public an illusion of choice. Everyone repeat after me, from the book of Chomsky:

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum....”

But what happens when those prized third-party voices do a perfectly reasonable job of writing themselves off?

It would be all too easy to pivot from here to discussions of Nader’s heir apparent, Jill Stein, who, after courting anti-vaxxer hippies, fearmongering over Wi-Fi mind bullets, and suggesting that 9/11 was an inside job, may very well have taken her last trip on the Magic Bus across America. But let’s leave that cuckoo bird in her cage for now, and talk about the person who presents as the most palatable alternative to Hillary or The Donald: Gary “What’s Aleppo?” Johnson.

Recent gaffes notwithstanding, like not being able to pick a favorite world leader live on national television (he is a Libertarian; Goodluck Johnathan, perhaps?), Johnson is the leading third-party electoral candidate, holding roughly seven percent of the popular vote.

That’s not enough to put him in office, but it’s enough for his swing state supporters to royally screw things up if they decide they’d rather be above it all instead of holding their nose and voting for their lesser of two evils.

Hearing those same people justify their support for Johnson by claiming he’s somehow a *slightly* more conservative version of Bernie Sanders because of his non-interventionist foreign policy and desire to legalize pot is like listening to Kenny G and being told that he’s good stand-in Miles Davis. For those of us who view Election Day as something akin to a Battle Of The Bands for the future of America, we’re compelled to beat you soundly with a coronet.

Case in point: Penn State journalism professor and former KUNM-Albequerque reporter Cindy Simmons recently appeared on WNYC’s On The Media to discuss a little-known incident from the early day’s of Johnson’s tenure as governor of New Mexico, involving a media publicity stunt designed to defang the state’s public prison system.



The only thing worse than him having the balls to pull this off was just how damned successful it was:

“By the time [Johnson] left office, New Mexico led the country in for-profit prisons, housing 44 percent of its inmates in private facilities. Only Alaska, with 31 percent, came close…In 2000, after four inmates and a guard were killed in private facilities, Johnson vetoed an oversight bill and startled reporters by insisting that New Mexico had the best prisons in the nation.


To this day Johnson is remorseless, saying he ‘saved taxpayers a lot of money.’”

And:

“The result of Johnson's privatized prisons and harsh sentencing laws: a wave of prison riots and deaths, the first prison killings in New Mexico since the Santa Fe prison riot in 1980 that left 33 inmates dead...Johnson's response to the riots on his watch was more violence: he shipped over 100 New Mexico inmates out to a notoriously brutal super-max in Virginia, ignoring criticism from Human Rights Watch.”

Give me a third-party candidate worth supporting, and I’ll carry water for them from sea to shining sea. Until then, I’m content to leave a schmuck and a swindler like Gary Johnson warming the bench.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

TRUMP'S POST-DEBATE WEEK IN REVIEW: WORST IN HISTORY? (TWEETS)


ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum can take it from here. His evidence speaks for itself:

If you still think Trump should be the President after reading this, you're probably a Nazi en route to shooting up a busy Houston intersection. But don't worry: his silence will have you well-covered.