100-Proof Blogging by Randle Aubrey

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DONALD TRUMP AND AMERICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE GAMBIT



If there’s one thing fascists love to do, it’s build monuments.

From Mussolini’s bisectioning of Rome with the Via dei Fori Imperiale to the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Firdos Square to the paper tiger winter chalet Vladimir Putin erected in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, there’s a deep, narcissistic vein that flows through the history of nation-building, one that our forthcoming Orangutan-In-Chief is eager to wring every last drop of blood cash from in order to craft cardboard cutout infrastructure he can slap his name all over and gaze in admiration at from the White House.

It’s a total sham of course, just like the rest of Trump’s presidency already has been, despite the fact that he hasn’t even taken office yet. But it’s a sham with teeth, if not merit.

David Dayen, writing in the New Republic:

"The American Society for Civil Engineers has identified trillions of dollars worth of pressing projects in America: repairing bridges and airports, dams and levees, seaports and waterways, mass transit and freight rail. Add to that corroded water pipes, an aging electrical grid, and insufficient broadband access. We’re going to need to upgrade it all at some point; deferring maintenance just costs more later.

An infrastructure boom would generate good-paying middle- and high-skill construction and engineering jobs. The projects have a high “bang for the buck,” returning more money to the economy than what’s put into them. Businesses invest in communities where it is easier and safer for their workers to commute and live. More roads without traffic jams and new electric grids that don’t leak energy even have climate benefits.

During the campaign Trump spoke often about America’s broken infrastructure as an example of how ‘we don’t win anymore.’ In August he vowed to double rival Hillary Clinton’s proposed $275 billion investment; eventually he committed to a 10-year, $1 trillion plan. ‘We’ll get a fund, we’ll make a phenomenal deal with the low interest rates and rebuild our infrastructure,’ Trump said, intimating that investors would be able to buy infrastructure bonds (which is actually an old Obama administration stimulus strategy known as ‘Build America Bonds’)."
Dayen’s report doesn’t quite get to the heart of the issue, which is that America is crumbling from within after decades of neglect and buck-passing on Capitol Hill, leaving millions in the lurch when it comes to even the most basic of services: roads that don’t look like a scene from Mad Max, basic Internet connectivity, even clean drinking water, and more are simply a foregone conclusion across wide swaths of the country.

Playing on those very real anxieties and vagaries of public life across the DMZs of America is one of the things that got Trump elected, and even earned him a grudging mandate from the opposition: Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders have all come forward to say they would be “eager” to work with Trump on infrastructure, provided his plan is on the up-and-up.

Surprise! It’s not. Not even close. Dayen again:
This report from Peter Navarro, set to be one of Trump’s leading economists, lays out the blueprint. The government would sell $1 trillion in revenue-producing bonds, needing only to supply an equity cushion to ensure everyone gets paid. Navarro estimates around $140 billion in government funding when all is said and done, which you could easily get through repatriation.

Investors would get a tax credit to entice them to buy bonds, and Navarro claims that the tax revenue from new jobs created by the projects makes up for that cost. He also wants to contract out these projects, building in a 10 percent profit margin for the private contractor. Navarro claims that construction costs are higher when built by the government, and the private sector is more efficient.

Does this sound familiar? It’s the common justification for privatization, and it’s been a disaster virtually everywhere it’s been tried. First of all, this specifically ties infrastructure—designed for the common good—to a grab for profits. Private operators will only undertake projects if they promise a revenue stream. You may end up with another bridge in New York City or another road in Los Angeles, which can be monetized. But someplace that actually needs infrastructure investment is more dicey without user fees.

So the only way to entice private-sector actors into rebuilding Flint, Michigan’s water system, for example, is to give them a cut of the profits in perpetuity. That’s what Chicago did when it sold off 36,000 parking meters to a Wall Street-led investor group. Users now pay exorbitant fees to park in Chicago, and city government is helpless to alter the rates.

You also end up with contractors skimping on costs to maximize profits. A shiny new toll road between Austin and San Antonio, Texas, done through a public-private partnership is falling apart after only a couple years, and improper drainage is leading residents of Lockhart, a city along the route, to complain of flooding. The contractor refuses to make the fixes; instead the company is walking away with outsized profits.

Under this scheme, private investors and contractors hold power over project selection. Trump – a.k.a. the government – would just be the name on a privately owned bridge or seaport or electrical grid. The notion of an inherent public benefit to infrastructure improvements, the entire point of the enterprise, is totally eliminated.”
Those of you with long enough institutional memories will also remember that that this is essentially the same that happened with the provisional government in Iraq after we took out Saddam Hussein. You see how well that turned out.

The difference here is that, once upon a time, the Bush Administration would shamefully hide these kind of corporate raider shenanginans under a pile of lies and deceits. Donald Trump hasn’t the grace to show any shame. Maybe – just maybe – the Left can work with that.

Give The People What They Need, Or They’ll Take What They Want

Like the health care crisis handed off to President Obama in the early years of his presidency, America’s infrastructure debacle can no longer be ignored, regardless of who’s in office. And not just for the obvious reasons, either; beyond immediately pressing concerns about equal access to basic human services (as if that wasn’t incentive enough), the jobs aspect cannot be underestimated, both for practical and political reasons.

One of Trump’s other big campaign promises was to bring jobs back to America. What he neglected to mention is how many of those jobs will be performed (and are already being performed) by robots rather than people. Per Anthony Reed, writing for the website Shareblue:
“However, America’s manufacturing output is not in decline. To the contrary, it has grown by 17.6 percent since 2006. Efficiency has also increased: The output per worker has doubled since the 1990s.

In fact, if we needed the same number of workers today to produce at the same rate as the 1990s, we would have 20.9 million workers. Instead, we have 12.1 million doing the same amount of work. Nine million workers are no longer needed due to our efficiency. Suddenly, the real reason manufacturing jobs have disappeared becomes clear.

Which brings us back to automation.

Over the next four years, robots are expected to continue to render jobs superfluous — 7 million jobs will be lost and 2 million will be gained in the latest projections. Most of those 2 million jobs will not be filled by the same people who lost the other jobs, as the skills required to create and upkeep robots differ dramatically from the skills that the robots replace.

These numbers are completely independent from outsourcing and are clearly a much more significant problem for unemployment. Taking into account the jobs we have already lost from automation, that is 16 million jobs that are no longer required, or roughly 8 times the number of jobs lost to outsourcing.”
In essence, minus some form of national infrastructure project that puts people a whole fuckton of people to work, the unemployment rate stands a very real risk of being higher at the end of Trump’s first term than it was when he started. If you think white working poor people are pissed off now…

Failing to deliver on promises of protectionism and job repatriation will cost Trump nothing politically; as long as he continues to throw enough red meat at the GOP base in the form of election recounts and plans for Islamic gulags and the browbeating of the punditocracy and so on, they’ll follow him right off a cliff and straight into the race war they’ve been itching to fight since right after they lost the first one.

The essence of “white pride” undergirding the Republican party broadly and the Trump administration specifically is pride misdirected; decades of ever-increasing lack of opportunity and resources have left broad swaths of America’s white, rural population ripe for political exploitation. This is not a bug in the system; it’s a feature.

Lyndon Johnson had it right when he said that “if you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket.” There’s no better way to do that than to rob him of the values he holds dear – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – then tell him a black man stole it.

Sixty years of Republican bait-and-switch from the top down have turned the conservative base into an angry, white, Pavlovian mob of race-baited and triggerhappy jingos who could look a fascist demagogue like Donald Trump dead in the eye every day for eighteen straight months and not blink, all the way through pulling the lever for him on Election Day. They’re blinded by a rage they have no understanding of, one their puppet masters will not take responsibility for. Rather, their thought leaders will, once again, continue to foist the blame for their wrecking of the country on hippies and Negroes and women and liberals and anyone else who doesn’t look, act, think, or fuck like they do.

The only way to pacify the conservative base (and thereby avert further catastrophe) is to give them what they want. And what they want is jobs. Good jobs. Jobs they can take pride in, pride that has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Jobs that will lead to further opportunities in their communities. The best and fastest track to those jobs is through infrastructure projects, and the only people who can push those projects are those who don’t have a vested interest in maintaining conservative apoplexy or dismantling the state for private gain: the Democratic Party.

Topping From The Bottom 

Many have said that as the insurrectionist tendencies of the Republican Party continue to break political precedent in Washington, the Democrats should follow suit and turn their obstructionism against them. But taking an eye for an eye stands to render the whole nation blind, and I’m not sure anyone is ready for that.

No one is required to accept the legitimacy of a Trump presidency, but meanwhile, the pressure is rising in the hinterlands, and the white people have spoken. The Democrats must govern, no matter the cost. Thankfully, this is one of those rare moments where topping from the bottom might actually work to the Left’s advantage, by enabling them to steal his infrastructure goals right out from underneath him.

Trump has already shown an easy willingness to go back on his promises; this one stands to be no different, especially given that conservative ghoul and Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan seems dead set against it. This gives the Democratic Party leverage to pressure Trump by playing the two of them against each other in a highly public fashion; if he cannot manage his own party leadership enough to deliver on jobs, then how on earth can he put the Mexicans behind a wall, or the Muslims into FEMA camps?

Fucked up reasoning, I know. But we live in fucked up times.

Along the way, there will be opportunities to better balance Trump’s infrastructure package into something that won’t just fill the coffers of private enterprise at the expense of all else, and the if the left draws the battle line here by obstructing the shit out of the rest of Trump’s platform – an easy enough thing to do, given what utter garbage it is – those opportunities can be maximized even further.

What comes out at the end is uncertain, but there’s one thing that isn’t: allowing Trump to roll out his infrastructure plan unfettered will bankrupt the nation, create untold disaster for millions for years to come, fail to put a meaningful number of people back to work, and bring us one step closer to economic collapse and violent social upheaval. And that, Dear Reader, is no solution at all.

Monday, November 28, 2016

#NODAPL AIN'T THE ONLY STORY THAT'S "UNDERCOVERED"

(PHOTO: Alyssa Schukar, New York Times)


Props to Joy Reid for giving Media Matters For America's Eric Boehlert the occasional fifteen minutes of fame to discuss real news:
JOY REID (ANCHOR): The Washington Post had a headline on Monday talking about this use of water cannons on the Dakota Access protesters. The weather was freezing, it's like 35 degrees there now, it’s going to be 23 tonight. It's very cold. Why would something like that not cause -- not be front page headlines all over the country?

ERIC BOEHLERT: Right. The story has been unfolding for a long time. It's sort of been criminally undercovered for a very long time. So, you know, it was making news during the election cycle, but we've come to the point where, you know, during a campaign, we cover one story. I mean, it's literally election coverage 24/7. October, September, November, all these months. So, this is, obviously, an important story, needed to be covered, wasn't. Look, the press does a very bad job, liberal protesters, progressive protesters. Go back to the run-up to the Iraq war. They were dismissed, set aside, not important. Flip it over, Obama hadn't even filled out his Cabinet, and the Tea Party protest began, that was nonstop news. So there's a long-running double standard in terms of how the beltway press looks at protester based on ideology, and again, this is just a criminally undercovered story.

REID: To say nothing of the protests at the inauguration in 2000, which many Americans don't even know happened.

BOEHLERT: That’s right.

REID: They don't even know there were massive protests against the inauguration of George W. Bush. You would think it never happened, because it never made the media.
Still waiting for Joy Reid to march down the hall and point her camera in Chris Matthew's face and ask him what he knows about the protests against the Iraq War though, considering his repeated paeans of unrequited love for the former Blockhead-In-Chief and his selling out of co-stars for blood money.

And then upstairs, to ask Phil Griffin what he knows about why no one's been sounding the alarm about Standing Rock on MSNBC for the last seven or eight months, considering that the network touts itself as being something other than a neoliberal propaganda whorehouse.

And then down into the basement to ask Joe Scarborough to stop beating Mika up for long enough to explain between chugs of Colt 45 just how sandpapery his hands are after giving Donald Trump so many handjobs over the last eighteen months.

I suppose I shouldn't hold my breath. Normalizing fascism = profit!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

THERE WILL BE BLOOD


There is a storm brewing at Standing Rock.

The protest is working. The dogs didn’t work. The tear gas and the pepper spray didn’t work. The LRAD and the water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures didn’t work. The water protectors will not be fazed; in fact their numbers are growing, and the world is watching.

Wendigo howls in rage. The oil barons have had enough.


From the announcement, via Russia Today:
The Army Corps of Engineers said it is “closing the portion of the Corps-managed federal property north of the Cannonball River to all public use and access effective December 5, 2016,” according to a statement tweeted by the Young Turks' Jordan Chariton.
“This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontation between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions.”

The notice said the Corps of Engineers had established “a free speech zone on land south of the Cannoball River for anyone wished to peaceably protest the Dakota Access pipeline project.”

The notice said anyone found on the Corps’ land north of the Cannonball River after December 5 “will be considered trespassing and may be subject to prosecution under federal, state, and local laws.” It also said anyone staying on the lands would do so “at their own risk, and assume any and all corresponding liabilities for their unlawful presence and occupations of such lands.”
Water protectors have the government on the ropes. But refusing to leave means people may die.

Do not doubt that the water protectors will refuse to leave.

Meanwhile, hundreds of registered military veterans will be marching on Standing Rock to stand against the pipeline. They arrive the day before camp sweeps begin.

It is unclear whether they are aware of the Army Corps of Engineer’s announcement. Doubtless, there will be a standoff.

The organizers of the march have implored the servicemen marching on Standing Rock to do so unarmed.

Make no mistake: some of them will refuse to comply. Death is coming to Standing Rock.
Will President Obama pave Death’s way with Native blood to fill the coffers of his successor? How many water protectors will he allow to die on his watch?

There will be blood. That blood will be on your hands, Mr. President. The world will NOT forget.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ACTUALLY, NOBODY EVER CARED ABOUT HILLARY'S E-MAILS

"Are you for real? Bill, hold my earrings..."
So this happened:
Trump flips, now opposes prosecution for Clinton – CNN Politics
November 22, 2016

During the presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, would join crowds of his supporters in chants of "lock her up!" and said to her face during a debate that if he were president, "you'd be in jail."

But now that he actually will be president, Trump says he won't recommend prosecution of Clinton, who he told New York Times reporters has "suffered greatly."

What's more, he said the idea of prosecuting Clinton is "just not something I feel very strongly about."

The quotes come from the tweets of New York Times reporters Mike Grynbaum and Maggie Haberman, who attended a meeting between the President-elect and reporters and editors at the paper.

"I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't," Trump said, according to the tweets. "She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways."

It's a stunning departure from the campaign rhetoric, which could come as a shock to some of the President-elect's most ardent supporters. The Times characterized one exchange as extending an olive branch to Clinton supporters.

"I think I will explain it that we, in many ways, will save our country," he said.

He said the issues have been investigated "ad nauseum" and he added, according to Haberman, that people could argue the Clinton Foundation has done "good work."

Allow me to make something perfectly clear:

Nobody EVER gave a flying fuck through a rolling doughnut about Hillary Clinton’s goddamned e-mails.

Conservatives never gave a fuck about Hillary’s e-mails, not any more than it allowed them to add one more faggot of wood to the bonfire under which they plan to burn her effigy alongside President Obama’s as a lesson to the rest of us.

Liberals never gave a fuck about Hillary’s e-mails, not any more than allowed them a convenient excuse to check out of this election in droves for finding her “unlikable,” which they totally did. Or worse, to vote for Tofu Palin herself – Jill Stein – which they totally did. Or that other guy.

The media never gave a fuck about Hillary’s e-mails, not any more than as the McGuffin for a grand narrative of false equivalence. They’ve already moved on the rather lucrative business of normalizing fascism in real time.

Hell, Donald Trump never gave a fuck about Hillary’s e-mails, not on principal at least. They were a useful political tool, and they, like him, have outlived their usefulness.

The only person who gave a fuck about Hillary’s e-mails was Steve Bannon, Breitbart.com's ranking Nazi propagandist and chief orchestrator of Donald Trump’s campaign, and a guy who makes Joseph Goebbels and Grima Wormtongue look like rank fucking amateurs.

Bannon figured out that facts really do matter to conservatives; it’s all about sharing the right facts with the right conservatives. The Gamergaters and MRAs get one set. The angry white working poor get another set. Stormfront gets a very special set all of their very own.

And the rest of us? We got out own set, too, thanks to Bannon’s very own Government Accountability Institute, a think-tank he founded with some Hollywood money he made back in the nineties. They’re the ones that published Clinton Cash last year, the book that started all the fake scandals about the Clinton Foundation that were the opening salvo in a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton that worked all too well.

WNYC’s On The Media has the scoop, talking recently with Bloomberg Businessweek senior national correspondent Joshua Green about the work he’s done profiling Bannon over the election season:
“[T]he way that the two sides of Bannon worked in synergy was well, now you have these stories on the front page, on the evening news and Breitbart can pick up its rolling narrative about how terrible and nefarious Hillary Clinton is, but instead of just making these claims they’re pointing to, look, The New York Times says so, look, 60 Minutes has a package on this. And, lo and behold, Bannon basically orchestrated an elaborate plan to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency that succeeded.”
Steve Bannon is a political mad scientist with a thing against Jews, a Hitlerite demagogue against whom every political operative in Washington should be barring the doors and the windows, along with unplugging every computer on Capitol Hill.

Instead, he’s managed to get the smartest kid in remedial school elected as President of the most powerful nation in the free world, and is having the red carpet rolled out to him as we speak.

Meanwhile, CNN is doing their best to normalize fascism as quickly as possible, the good old-fashioned way:


Up next: “The Bell Curve: Fact Or Fiction?”

Friday, November 18, 2016

MY WAR ON CHRISTMAS CARD TO FOX NEWS' TODD STARNES


Conservative "D'oh!" Boy, Todd Starnes.
Failed Dick Van Patten impersonator and theocrat-for-hire Todd "Babyface" Starnes was compelled to engage in yet another round of garment-rending on the opinion page of the Fox News website yesterday, weeping and wailing and gnashing his teeth over what! A tragedy! it was that the United States Army refused his request to allow the Six-String Soldiers - a rootin', tootin', Ayrab-shootin' military bluegrass outfit - to take center stage at his annual jumped-up Jesus Jamboree, the Fox Radio Christmas Show.

Poor Babyface had just received his rejection letter, which stated, to wit: After reviewing your request, we have opined that the show is a religious event, and therefore we cannot provide official support based on restrictions in AR-360-1...We value our relationship with you as well as FOX News and hope you understand our declination is guided by law and Army regulations.”

His response? From the book of "Oh, Please!"-iastes, Chapter Five, Verse Bumblefuck:
"I’ve been busted, folks. What the Army alleged is the gospel truth.

My Fox Christmas show unashamedly proclaims that Jesus is the reason for the season. We are loud and proud.

In my defense, though, the reason my Christmas show is religious is because Christmas is in fact a religious holiday. I had no idea the Baby Jesus or Heralding Angels violated Army regulations. [...]

This is what President Obama’s fundamentally transformed nation looks like, folks. It’s a nation where men and women in uniform protect Constitutional rights they are not allowed to practice.
"
I took the liberty of thoroughly debunking Starnes' fragrant pile of horseshit in a letter posted to his Twitter feed:
Here's the complete text:
Dear failed Dick Van Patten impersonator and professional conservative shitmouth Todd Starnes:

AR-360-1, the criteria underneath which your request was denied, was enacted by the US Army on September 15th, 2000, as an internal regulation designed to establish "policies and procedures for conducting Army public affairs programs." It was NOT enacted at the behest of any presidential administration, and it certainly has absolutely NOTHING to do with our current president.

But if it feels true, it must be, amirite?

Using lies of omission to blame everything you don't like about our government on President Obama makes you a propagandist and a coward and a whore, and since bearing false witness - especially from such a large platform - is considered a sin under your religious commandments, I hope that whatever God you believe in punishes you appropriately for it.

The Army didn't want to send their chicken-pickers to play at your Bible-thumping Jesus Jamboree because of the potential for bad PR? Too bad. Maybe if the Religious Right hadn't warped into a coalition of wild-eyed zealots and fanatics after repeated lashings and economic degradations by Republican fearmongers like yourself, the Army wouldn't have deemed you so toxic as to avoid your engagement entirely.

But what do I know? I'm just one more vituperative, foul-mouthed blogger of the Left who believes in outdated concepts like fact-checking and citing multiple sources. I should probably just be ignored.

All the same, you should probably just go fuck yourself. In the neck. With an icepick.

Happy Holidays!


P.S. It took me about three seconds to figure out that you're completely full of shit, by the way. If any of your followers failed to do the same, it's for not wanting to, likely because hippie-punching is the only thing that gives them a boner anymore outside of the overpriced dick pills you've peddled to them whenever Fox News' Two Minutes Hate goes to commercial.
Warning shots have officially been exchanged. Who wants to live forever? Let the War On Christmas commence!

Here's a link to the text of AR-360-1 by the way, in case you need something incredibly tedious to read to help you sleep: http://www.asaie.army.mil/Public/IE/Toolbox/documents/r360_1.pdf


Thursday, November 17, 2016

A LIBERTY PRIMER FOR THE TRUMP REGIME


Though the time for reflection over 2016’s stunning presidential election upset, has not yet passed, the time for taking action against it is already here.

Citizens must act quickly and decisively to protect their persons and effects – both digital and tangible – from the vagaries of what promises to be, as security engineer and journalist for The Intercept Micah Lee put it, “the most invasive, and barely accountable, intelligence agency in the world.”

Additionally, it is imperative that the public maintain higher critical standards than ever when seeking out and disseminating information regarding the state of domestic and global affairs. Too many so-called “news outlets” on the Internet are little more than hysterical propaganda whorehouses designed to scare or anger people for clicks. Consequently, they have generated some of the most trafficked and traded falsehoods that helped usher in Trump’s presidency, lending credence to that most venerated and cautionary maxim: “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.”

But first, it’s important to know what we’re up against. For that, I turn to Masha Gessen, who’s article “Autocracy: Rules For Survival” in The New York Review Of Books provides a clear-eyed, unflinching view:
“Trump is anything but a regular politician and this has been anything but a regular election. Trump will be only the fourth candidate in history and the second in more than a century to win the presidency after losing the popular vote. He is also probably the first candidate in history to win the presidency despite having been shown repeatedly by the national media to be a chronic liar, sexual predator, serial tax-avoider, and race-baiter who has attracted the likes of the Ku Klux Klan. Most important, Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat—and won.

I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now.”
Gessen goes on to describe what the American public can likely expect from a Trump presidency, citing historical precedent as a means by which to glimpse into a fairly grim future. Yet no matter how ugly things become, we must not look away.

“[H]umans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable,” Gessen implores us. “But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock.” Numbness in the face of despair will bring about certain and resounding defeat; stay outraged, stay firm, and take your opposition seriously, and this, too, shall pass.

To best do that, it’s important to obtain insight not just into the character of that opposition, but the logic and even the vocabulary they employ. Before this election, most people had never even heard terms like “masculinist” and “cuckservative,” let alone had any idea precisely what they meant. Thankfully, Jessica Roy of the Los Angeles Times has us covered.

“How can you identify someone who considers themselves part of [the alt-right]?” she asks. “Like most groups, the alt-right has its own code words and slang,” which she’s curated the most commonly used of in the following report:

'Cuck,' 'snowflake,' 'masculinist': A guide to the language of the 'alt-right'


Roy has actually been doing an exemplary job of collecting tools and resources with which to educate concerned citizens about Trump’s army of bigots and zealots, and the disinformation campaign they have waged against the American public.

In another recent Los Angeles Times piece, she reveals that one Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, is currently compiling a publicly available database of the aforementioned hysterical propaganda whorehouses currently peddling bullshit along the shoulders of the information superhighway. While the list is by no means complete, Zimdars tells us that her document is a living one, and is open to user submissions.

I encourage you to bookmark this document in your web browser, and refer to it often. It just might save your sanity enough to fight another day.

False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources


(AUTHOR’S NOTE: As of this writing, Prof. Zimdars has currently removed the main body of the database, and is compiling it in a second, companion document. However, the current one still offers valuable tips for spotting fake news sources, and is absolutely worth taking note of.)

Lastly, the most important precautions that must be taken involve the methods we use to engage with various online communities. They are also the most difficult and time-consuming, and many also come with a price tag. Yet failing to incorporating at least a portion of them into your workflow will leave you vulnerable to a surveillance state under which any expectation of real privacy has already long since vanished.

When they begin to seek you out – and they will, they always do – why make it easy for them?

Thankfully, there’s no need to. In her piece for Medium entitled “A 70-Day Web Security Action Plan for Artists and Activists Under Siege,” Candace Williams, head of Community Operations for BlogTalkRadio, the world’s largest podcast hosting platform, has compiled a simple, actionable plan anyone can use to achieve a higher degree of online privacy.
“Web security is like a tree. A young tree can be snapped by a fist. As trees grow layers and roots, they require knowledge, equipment, and energy to cut down. I’m trying to help you add layers of security to your daily routines...I’ve tried to choose the layers that have the highest return on your investment in time and money. Think about your situation and resources and create your own action plan.” (emphasis mine)
“This article is just a quick brain dump. The next step is for us to organize and help those who don’t have the same level of privilege,” Williams reminds us. Empowering your fellow citizens with the tools and knowledge to defend themselves empowers them to defend you, as well. Or, as Williams put it, “Remember to secure your own oxygen mask before helping your neighbor.”

None of the resources I’ve collected here will provide any guarantee of your safety, security, or liberty in the months and years to come under a Trump regime. If you decide to take a public stance against our Dear Orange Leader, make sure you’re doing so with a clear knowledge of the potential consequences for yourself and your family, take whatever precautions you can, and hold on to your hats. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, and we’re not all going to make it to the finish line.

Good luck, and Godspeed.

WHITE PEOPLE: STOP TELLING PEOPLE OF COLOR HOW TO GRIEVE


All right, boys and girls: it’s time for a lil’ thought experiment.
Your spouse just died. Terminal cancer.

It was a hard fight, and a long one. It took nearly every ounce of strength and money that you had, which wasn’t a lot to begin with.

Near the end, there was a point where you really thought it was going into remission; the chemo seemed to be working despite the ravages it wrought, so much so that you and the oncology team started high-fiving each other for their tremendous, life-saving work.

But the black spot on your spouse’s brain stem they told you to pay no mind about turned out to be yet another tumor, one that flared up with a vengeance a couple of months after chemo ended. The stroke happened without warning, as you sat by the hospital bed talking about all the things you were going to do together once they were cleared for departure.

You’re sitting on the edge of your seat in the waiting room, hoping for the best but fearing the worst, when the doctors deliver the news. The doctors were overconfident in their diagnosis, and now your spouse is dead. You sign a form or two with shaking hands, and the doctors recede, leaving you alone with your grief.

As you collapse back into the chair, you start to cry. Your spouse is dead, despite putting nearly everything on the line to save them, because of nothing more than what appears to be gross negligence on behalf of the hospital’s oncology department.

As the full impact of your loss begins to wash over you, your sadness turns to outrage, and a guttural “fuck” escapes your lips, followed by another, and another.

“God damn doctors,” you sob to yourself through a tear-streaked face buried between two hands. “God damn them all.” Inconsolable, you begin to weep openly, for you have so little left to lose.

Suddenly, you feel an insistent tapping on your shoulder. Hoping it to be someone who might be able to offer moral support, you look up and see...a pediatrician?

She’s looking down down upon you with a pinched, stern expression. “Y’know, not all doctors are bad,” she says, angrily. “You shouldn’t talk about us that way. We’re just trying to help, and some of us have lost loved ones, too. Now can you keep it down? We’ve got lives to save!”
This was basically the scene on my Facebook feed the other day, after I posted this photo:


Apparently, it’s not wise to stand between white women and pumpkin spice. They’re likely to call you a racist, or divisive, or some other such nonsense. Consider the following exchange:



The saddest part of all this is that Karen is someone I know personally as a hardworking and tireless advocate for progressive principles, a well-meaning and sensitive soul who firmly endorsed and got right in front of movements like #safetypinUSA. Small wonder, then, that critics like Ijeoma Oluo have been so scornful of the movement: 

I was told that I was part of the problem. I was told that I was being divisive. I was told that my skepticism was making people sad. None of the commenters seemed to be aware that telling a black woman that she was wrong to question white people is kind of the opposite of racial solidarity in a country where the majority of white voters just elected Trump. (emphasis mine)

Then, I was called racist. A few times. I was called an asshole. I was called an idiot. I was told I had no brain. Multiple people vomited all their “social justice credentials” on my page and demanded that I acknowledge that they were good white people. Some accused me of censoring them with my critique. Others accused me of shaming them. One white woman demanded an apology and then told me that she deserved respect because her ancestors fought for the North in the civil war. 
Now clearly, I'm no black woman, but...sound familiar, doesn't it?
“You shouldn’t talk about us that way. We’re just trying to help, and some of us have lost loved ones, too. Now can you keep it down? We’ve got lives to save!”

For fuck’s sake, white people: stop telling people of color how to grieve. Stop conflating the way people of color express their grief with some sort of activism. It’s not. Stop enforcing respectability politics by mandating an "acceptable" range of grief expression, one that just so happens to not offend your tender fucking sensibilities.

Let them bury their dead American dreams in peace. Haven’t they suffered enough?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

SOLIDARITY, ONE PIN AT A TIME


When I started #safetypinUSA a few days ago, I had no idea the level of enthusiastic response it would receive. Who knew that such a small and simple gesture of political solidarity could have such resounding impact not once, but twice?

Thinking to capitalize on the success of the movement in post-Brexit Europe, I started a Facebook event to promote the hashtag in a moment of desperation two days after Trump was elected. Within hours, #safetypinUSA was trending across every major social media platform, with hundreds, then thousands of people jumping on board to show their support and their stories.

Of course, no movement for social justice, no matter how well-intended, is without its share of critics, legitimate or otherwise. People are right to question if #safetypinUSA is longer on aspiration than it is on direct action, but as so often happens in the clickbait era, many of those making the critique believe their conclusion supports the evidence, not the other way around.

The most egregious example comes from one Christopher Keelty, who’s self-righteous screed “Dear White People, Your Safety Pins Are Embarrassing” at The Huffington Post has received nearly as much exposure as the movement itself, which perhaps was the point of the exercise:

“We don’t get to make ourselves feel better by putting on safety pins and self-designating ourselves as allies. And make no mistake, that’s what the safety pins are for. Making White people feel better....marginalized people know full well the long history of white people calling themselves allies while doing nothing to help, or even inflicting harm on, non-white Americans.



If you really need some way to show your support, if you just can’t bear to sit in your discomfort for even a little bit longer, here’s my suggestion: Instead of doing the thing white people invented to make ourselves feel better, follow the example of the people from the marginalized communities you want to support.”

There’s little doubt in my mind that there are people out there for whom virtue signalling and cheap expressions of grace are the motivating factors behind participating in #safetypinUSA, but even a cursory glance at any comment thread dedicated to the subject will demonstrate that for a vast majority of those involved, #safetypinUSA is creating opportunities offline (an important facet of the movement clearly lost upon young Mister Keelty) for all manner of people to get together and have frank, open discussions about race in a way they never have before.

While it’s unclear how ethnically diverse all of these conversations are, it seems readily apparent that, prior to #safetypinUSA’s rise to, many of them weren’t even happening at all. “Even if small conversations and knowing we are here in solidarity with each other is all this movement accomplishes,” as one #safetypinUSA Facebook commenter stated, “that's not useless.”

Yesterday, I put out a call on my event feed encouraging people to share their #safetypinUSA success stories. I received a number of incredible responses.

"No direct confrontations, but I've had friendly questions about the pin, got a hug from an Argentine friend when I gave her one of my extras, and got a huge smile from a young African-American store clerk when she figured out why I was buying a box full."

 

"I wear mine to work as a retail manager in the mall. Over a dozen others asked me if I had a spare, as they wanted to be visible allies as well. Each time, it sparked a small conversation that would not have otherwise happened about looking out for each other. One of my gay associates hugged me in thanks, happy she knew she had a safe space. A woman of color tearfully thanked me."
 

"I teach in a Catholic women's college and the safety pin seems to have made it more possible for individual students to talk to me about the election. It has been too tough to navigate through classroom discussions because of the charged emotions and fear of controversy and ugliness when it's solace (with a healthy side of venting) that's needed. I've bolstered this by saying in class that I welcome discussion one-on-one. As a result of wearing the safety pin I am quite sure I've had discussions that would not otherwise have occurred."
 

"It's worth pointing out that many of us wearing the safety pins are targeted minorities ourselves. For example, I'm a Jewish lesbian with epilepsy. That doesn't mean I can't be a safe harbor for someone else. I see it more like a mutually assured safety."

Similar accounts abound across the Internet. Are they having an immediate, tangible impact on policy? Of course not. Does that make them somehow invalid, or worthy of scorn? It would appear that young Mister Keelty believes so. I wonder, then, if he would so easily decry #safetypinUSA’s effectiveness after reading an account like this, which I received via e-mail:

“I'm mixed Asian and white and have experienced physical racial harassment/bullying as a child when I lived in a small town in Iowa. It got so bad that My parents moved me to [name withheld] so I could be around a more diverse population.

 

Today was my first day at my laboratory clinical site in the suburbs of [name withheld]. I currently attend college in the cities, but this site was assigned to me randomly. While I was in the lab, although all of the lab workers were nice to me when we discuss work related topics, an awkward moment happened after a few hours of working together.
 

While I was looking through my notes, all 4-5 people in the room started to make fun of how the "liberals" were completely stupid for making a big deal that "niggers" were being harassed, etc. Yes, these words were thrown casually in my presence. They talked and laughed amongst themselves for a good 10 minutes in front of me, all while I kept a silent "slight smile" on my face pretending to focus on my notes. After about 10 minutes I could feel my face burning red with this uncomfortable feeling. However, because I was still a "student", and it was my first day at clinicals, I figured I should remain friendly and observe for now. I realize that if this continues, I will have to bring this up with my school immediately.
 

Then, I walked out of the room to receive an elderly patient. When I started to draw his blood, I noticed he had on a safety pin on his collar. After I finished, I kept staring at his pin trying to make sense of what his thoughts were while interacting with me at that moment. All of a sudden I felt a rush of calmness and coolness embracing my body. I felt safe mentally that moment I was serving this elderly man because he chose to wear the pin that day. In fact, he was the first person I've seen wearing the pin in real life (outside social media). Then, when he caught me staring at his collar, he became very open and we chatted a bit before he left.
 

Even though I didn't experience physical threats this time, I did feel threatened emotionally and mentally at my work/clinical site because I was the only minority in that lab room while the bigotry conversation took place. I felt outnumbered and scared to speak up for myself (for now) since I still have 3 more weeks left there.
 

So this elderly man's gesture helped me tremendously. It reassured me that I can make it a few more hours today without breaking down. And that means everything to me.”

Symbols matter to people, even the most innocuous ones, and nowhere is that more apparent than in moments like these. Moments that far too many people like young Mister Keelty are willing to discredit in the pursuit of Internet mindshare.

Ultimately, however, the critics are half right: expectations must be kept low and efforts must be kept high if this movement is to have any lasting impact. Many will doubtlessly remove their safety pins at some point, and retreat to the safety of apathy and/or ignorance as time goes on. If you are a part of #safetypinUSA, I urge you not to follow suit; it is only a gateway into activism, not it’s destination. Just ask Ijeoma Oluo, whose piece “Questioning Safety Pin Solidarity Revealed Why I Can’t Trust White People” offers the most thoughtful critique against the movement:

“I’m not saying you can’t wear a safety pin. I don’t have the power to say you can’t wear anything. You can wear what you want. And the sight of a pin could well bring a smile to someone in a time of need. But it’s not enough. Not even close. Don’t expect that pin to earn you trust. Don’t expect thanks for the solidarity you should have always been showing. Don’t expect your pin to provide comfort in lieu of action. And don’t expect it to bring actual change. We have real work that has to be done and I suggest we get started.”

#SafetypinUSA is but the first step. What will be your second?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

THERE AND BACK AGAIN



There are a lot of people who feel totally helpless in the wake of this election. It’s hard not to feel like we’ve been collectively gut-punched, yet again, by forces of fear and hate that we seem to have no hope of resisting.

Fully half the nation just witnessed a boorish, loudmouthed, failed businessman-turned-carnival barker get elected to the highest office in the land by an army of wild-eyed zealots who, for decades now, have been starved of real resources and fed a steady diet of lies as to who has stolen them by a party for whom winning is equivalent to governing.

Undoubtedly, Trump’s victory and the ensuing conservative gloat-fest will cause far too many liberals and progressives to check out of the process entirely, especially the young ones for whom this is their first real political heartbreak. You never forget your first, especially when it’s of this magnitude. I just hope that at least a few come back around someday. We’ll need every last one of you, and the sooner, the better.

For the rest of you that might be feeling adrift but not-as-yet untethered from the process, no one will blame you for taking whatever time you need to grieve for your loss, reflect upon it, and return to the fold in whatever way you can. I’ll encourage you to keep it brief if you can, and speak no more upon the subject.

Just know that, no matter how disillusioned you might feel right now, coming back around doesn’t have to mean doing the same thing you were doing before you left.

Go volunteer at your local food bank, or your local homeless shelter.

Start a clothing drive or a food drive in your neighborhood, and donate it to the charity of your choice.

Find any and all social justice groups in your area and volunteer with one of them as well, whatever their cause might be.

If you can't find a social justice cause in your area, start one.

Wear a safety pin on your lapel.

http://100proofpink.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-safety-pin-movement-american.html

If your job lends itself to unionizing, or to transitioning into a worker co-op, start agitating. Quietly. If it doesn't, find one that does, if possible.

Start a blog (I did), and share it with your friends. Creating spaces for conservations is critical.

Write letters to the editor of every local newspaper expressing your distate for the President-Elect, and demand that, regardless of their political affiliations, they hold him firmly accountable for all of his actions in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Write letters to all of your state legislators expressing your distate for the President-Elect, and demand that, regardless of their political affiliations, they hold him firmly accountable for all of his actions in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Once you’re done with that, go outside.

Talk to strangers.

Get to know the people who live next door to you, and across the street from you.

Get to know the person you buy your beer from, or the person you buy your groceries from.

Find people who don't look like you, who don't think like you or act like you or fuck like you, and get to know them. Quietly.

You can start a revolution on the Internet, but you can't finish it here.

The streets are calling. Are you listening?

THE SAFETY PIN MOVEMENT: AMERICAN EDITION (#SAFETYPINUSA)


In the wake of "Brexit," the UK's referendum to leave the European Union, hundreds of thousands of British citizens took to wearing a safety pin on their lapel, a quiet and dignified gesture intended to signal to their immigrant brothers and sisters that they stood in solidarity with them against the tide of fear and hate that drove the Brexit decision.

"The humble safety pin makes an anti-racism point" - BBC News:

Simply put, I say that, in the wake of Trump's election, we repeat the practice here in the states. Too many reports have already flooded the airwaves indicating a sharp increase in racially-motivated violence and intimidation across the country, and while this simple act may not change that, it will demonstrate to those who are the targets of such agression in your community that they have allies on the streets, and not just the Internet.

If you're with me on this, join my Facebook invite here:


The Safety Pin Movement: American Edition - Facebook

Also, don't forget to wear and share your safety pin using the hashtag #safetypinUSA on your social media networks, and tell your friends to do the same. Let's all show a little class in the fight against fear, and put a pin in American racism today.

#Election2016
#safetypinUSA

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

GLENN BECK TO AMERICA: "SORRY YOU GOT OFFENDED" (AUDIO)



Glenn Beck wants you to know he’s really sorry that you got offended by him.

The former Fox News demagogue, founder of hate-wing news site The Blaze, and slightly doughier Alex Jones alternative has recently embarked on something of an apology tour in the Democratic hinterlands, making appearances on Charlie Rose and MSNBC, in the New York Times, and many other places, claiming to be a changed man.

Does that mean he’s renouncing his abhorrent beliefs about FEMA camps and Obama’s “deep-seated hatred of white people” and the like? Of course not. But he’s certainly seen which way the wind is blowing in terms of his party’s ascenscion of an orangutan to the position of Dear Leader, recognized his role in said ascension, and realized that his crumbling media empire really needed something resembling an act of contrition in order to salvage what remains.

But that middle part, y’know...Glenn Beck’s actual role as a saboteur of the American experiment? He’d much rather we just leave all that in the past, and start over with a clean slate, rather than hold him to account for all of the endless hours of bomb-throwing and hate-mongering he participated in over the last decade or so. That’s no way to make friends, is it?

No, but since nobody likes you anyway, Becky-poo, y’all better get to some proper groveling sooner or later if you want to keep Tomi Lehren’s locks the proper shade of bottle-blonde.

Oh, sorry...we don’t talk about her, either.

In what might perhaps be the last stop on his shame parade, Beck stopped by the WNYC studios in New York City for an appearance on the Peabody Award-winning radio show On The Media last week, and apparently, the show’s co-host and inveterate journalistic battle-axe Bob Garfield found an empty basket of fucks gift-wrapped next to his microphone the day of the interview. The results were, shall we say, spectacular.



In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, ten points to House Cuckoobird for having the temerity to suffer a handful of slings and arrows in the name of public contrition. It’s the least he can do, and the least he deserves. But without a direct account of and numerous apologies for all of the specific things he said and did, along with a solemn vow sworn on a Bible wrapped in the Constitution that he will collapse his media organization and wander off into obscurity to die alone on his Ranch That Lies Built, I see no reason why anyone should believe that Glenn Beck won’t immediately be back up to his old tricks once the smoke of the election clears.

None of this makes listening to his faux-victim posturing any less satisfying, though. Give a listen and see for yourself.

Monday, November 7, 2016

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS FULL OF...*GASP* REPUBLICANS?!?!?!?

"Oh saaaaay, can you Sieg Heil..."

Back in March, when gibbering orangutan and serial sex offender Donald Trump first began to skyrocket in popularity, Vox published what to those of us on the fringes of polite political discourse is a familiar refrain. Excerpt in 3...2...1…
“The American media, over the past year, has been trying to work out something of a mystery: Why is the Republican electorate supporting a far-right, orange-toned populist with no real political experience, who espouses extreme and often bizarre views? How has Donald Trump, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly become so popular?

What's made Trump's rise even more puzzling is that his support seems to cross demographic lines — education, income, age, even religiosity — that usually demarcate candidates. And whereas most Republican candidates might draw strong support from just one segment of the party base, such as Southern evangelicals or coastal moderates, Trump currently does surprisingly well from the Gulf Coast of Florida to the towns of upstate New York, and he won a resounding victory in the Nevada caucuses.

Perhaps strangest of all, it wasn't just Trump but his supporters who seemed to have come out of nowhere, suddenly expressing, in large numbers, ideas far more extreme than anything that has risen to such popularity in recent memory.…

What we found is a phenomenon that explains, with remarkable clarity, the rise of Donald Trump — but that is also much larger than him, shedding new light on some of the biggest political stories of the past decade. Trump, it turns out, is just the symptom. The rise of American authoritarianism is transforming the Republican Party and the dynamics of national politics, with profound consequences likely to extend well beyond this election.”
All of these breathless proclamations of shock and surprise by a beleaguered media who previously couldn't give two shits about lending coverage to a story that is essentially fifty years in the making are fucking pathetic. But let's just look at the last decade and a half, shall we?

Where were you when these newfound "authoritarians" lined up like good little lemmings and howled for blood after 9/11, taking a hatchet to the face of anyone who had the temerity to disagree that going to war in Iraq under completely and obviously false pretense *might* be a bad idea?

Where were you after the Iraq War became the most Colossal Failure Of The 21st Century, when those same "authoritarians" scrambled for cover behind the Koch brothers skirts, donned tri-corner hats, and returned calling themselves "The Tea Party," a geriatric rabble made even more dogmatic under the guise of free thought?

Where were you in 2008, when millions of these same "authoritarians" suddenly (and "coincidentally") activated themselves, right before the "White" House suddenly stood to *not* be for the first time since our nation's inception?

Where were you when Senate Majority Leader and failed Squirtle impersonator Mitch McConnell stated on the record after Obama was elected that the goal of the RNC was to make Obama a one-term president, while millions of "independents" across the country nodded their heads in vigorous assent?

Where were you when the bodies of young black and brown men and women began piling up in the streets at the hands of over-zealous police officers, to which these same “authoritarians” collectively diddled themselves with glee?

And lastly, where were you when all of these “authoritarians” chased Hillary Clinton through fake scandal after fake scandal after fake scandal over the last several years, following a proud tradition of witch-hunts against her family going back to “Slick Willy” ascending into the Oval Office?

Oh, that’s right...you and all the rest were lamenting the “corrupt duopoly” in Washington, and calling for a return to the “good ol’ days” when Tip O’ Neill could roll over and play dead get things done with good ol’ Saint Ronnie, before the “extremes on both sides” somehow fucked everything up.

Stop scratching your head in bewilderment over the state of American affairs.

Stop aiding and abetting the traitorous dogs of the GOP by pretending you had no fucking clue this was coming. Of course you knew it was coming.

They may have thrown the doors open to the kooks and the bigots and mouth-breathers, but you’re the ones who took the doors off the hinges and threw them in the flaming wreckage of our democracy.

If you're not willing to commit journalistic seppuku for that, then it's high time we frog-marched every last one of you into the fucking sea.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

THE BIGLIEST CON OF THEM ALL

Back in July, a Pew Research Center poll showed that roughly fifty-nine percent of Americans were “exhausted” by wall-to-wall coverage of the presidential election, with just over forty percent of respondents saying that over-coverage of candidates’ comments and personal lives is the principal contributor to their exhaustion.

Being that one of our two major candidates (the one in the pantsuit, FYI) isn’t known for shooting her mouth off on a daily basis and generating a near-constant shitstorm on Twitter, I think it’s safe to say we all know who’s responsible for the collective fatigue of the American electorate.

It’s also safe to say that that number has likely grown significantly since then. In fact, I know it has: I wasn’t over listening to Trump make fun of disabled people and openly court White Nationalists and call Mexican immigrants rapists back then, but I sure as shit am now. The election is only four days away at this point, but after all this and so much more, it feels like a goddamned eternity.

I can’t wait for this whole thing to be over, for Hillary’s coronation to take place (because let’s face it; that’s what’s happening here), and to pretend the whole thing never fucking happened. Unfortunately, I can no longer ignore the burning in the pit of my stomach telling me that, although he’s likely to lose the election, not only will Trump be here to stay, but he’ll big a bigger, badder hombre than ever. If anything, it’s hard not to believe after looking back at the last year that an official post-election entrenchment of the Donald in news and media culture wasn’t the end game all along.

Grab 'Em By The Nielsens

Much ado has been made and a great deal of ink has been spilled over the prospect of “Trump TV,” his fascist wet dream of a cable news network that would challenge that old, white nationalist standby, the Fox News Channel. He’s been rather quiet about it personally, at least until last week
“No, I have no interest in Trump TV,” Trump said during the interview, which was broadcast on Cincinnati’s 700WLW Tuesday morning. “I hear it all over the place. I have a tremendous fan base, we have a tremendous base. We have the most incredible people, but I just don’t have any interest in that.”
But we’re talking about a guy who lies so often and so easily that I see no reason not to believe that he’s 110% full of shit, and that starting a cable network wasn’t his endgame from Day One. Vanity Fair is largely convinced, based on the testimony of numerous sources close to Trump’s campaign…
"Trump is indeed considering creating his own media business, built on the audience that has supported him thus far in his bid to become the next president of the United States...[He] has become irked by his ability to create revenue for other media organizations without being able to take a cut himself. Such a situation 'brings him to the conclusion that he has the business acumen and the ratings for his own network.' Trump has 'gotten the bug, so now he wants to figure out if he can monetize it.'"
And now that ousted Fox News pervert-in-chief and Total Fucking Asshole Roger Ailes is advising the Trump campaign, and Ailes’ longtime frenemy and former boss Rupert Murdoch has put his troglodyte offspring in charge of the network, throwing the whole place into total fucking chaos, “Trump TV” not only seems like an inevitability, but like it’s probably already in official development.

How else can you explain “Trump Tower Live” away, the nightly Facebook Live broadcast of dead-eyed sock puppet Trump surrogates pimping for their Dear Leader that made its debut the same day Trump said he wasn’t interested in any of that television nonsense?

To The Baffler!

Since Facebook has conquered the news world without benefit of any recognizably human editing, and since the Trump campaign has made its name by sundering all vestigial ties to consensual reality, this would seem to be a textbook example of advanced media synergy…Already, senior Trump operatives like the candidate’s son-in-law Jared Kushner are clearly positioning the Trump brand for a dramatic post-election push into the mediaverse.



[T]he windowless beige backdrop of the broadcast—broken up by giant posters of the Maximum Leader himself—gives the proceedings an uneasy bunker-like feel, as though ISIS kidnappers are forcing otherwise intelligent and coherent American adults at gunpoint to shout spittle-flecked talking points nonsensically into the void. But such whingeing Popinjays forget their recent social-media history. Hadn’t Sarah Palin, after all, cannily leveraged her Facebook following into a high-profile career as a bona fide plain-folks pundit? And isn’t that why she’s one of the most revered political muses and orators of our age?

Oh, right. Never mind.
In defense of Trump (I can’t believe I just wrote that), Sarah Palin is one of the world’s most guileless bullshitters, which is half the reason why her rising star imploded well before leaving the stratosphere. That, and her daughter’s rank slut-shaming hypocrisy. And her son’s inability to keep his hands to himself. And that horrible fucking reality show…

They may be equally dunderheaded, but Donald Trump is possessed of a certain low cunning that Sarah Palin could never hope to achieve, along with a great deal more media training and a built-in cult of personality from his history as one of America’s most high-profile capitalists since Nelson Rockefeller.

He’s also had ample opportunity to learn from all of Palin’s mistakes, as evidenced by the fact that a) his rhetoric is more succinct, more bombastic, and so flagrantly contradictory as to make it impossible to keep up, and b) if his daughter is a slut or his sons are wife-beaters, we haven’t heard a damned thing about it. But I’m willing to bet at least one of these two things are true.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

"Loser" Donald's Win-Win Scenario

Now, I know that many of you might be asking yourselves at this point how such a thing like “Trump TV” could even be possible, let alone successful, considering that most of the media coverage surrounding the Great Orange Ape over the last eighteen months has involved trying to figure out what precise color of shitstain he is. If that’s the case, it’s most likely because you’re a good and well-meaning liberal who wants things to make sense, and actually has a flicker of compassion for your fellow man.

Rest assured, he does not. Nor, do I think, he ever will.

Neither do his supporters for that matter; not for anyone who doesn’t think, act, and fuck like they do, anyway. They’re precisely why he’s been able to defy all expectations and gain such a tremendous foothold in this election, even though he’s patently and obviously unfit to be president, they are also precisely why, when this election is over, Donald J. Trump is not going anywhere.

What’s important to understand is that as both a candidate and as a person, Donald Trump is the end-result of a fifty-plus-year social engineering experiment, wherein the Republican party has begged, borrowed, and stolen (mostly stolen) their way into the hearts of millions of angry, white Southerners (both literal and metaphorical) in exchange for money and votes;

Wherein a wholly corporate-owned and operated mainstream press have come to serve almost exclusively as a set of mouthpieces for the miscreants and lowlifes that comprise the rank-and-file of the Party Of Lincoln, dragging our nation’s intellectual dick through the dirt in the process;

Wherein a vast number of second- and third-tier scumbags have been able to carve a niche for themselves between the lies and make a comfortable living selling dick pills, power chairs, term life insurance, ShamWows, or whatever else they can fleece a nation of hate-addicted mouth-breathers for.

In short, the essence of the conservative movement is grift, from top to bottom. And Donald Trump is a better grifter than anyone.

Who else could pimp-walk away from the burning slag of a dozen or more failed business, and then parlay all of those failures into massive media success, becoming a so-called “kingmaker” of aspiring entrepreneurs on reality television? Who else could have the vision to see that American realpolitik has become a far bigger game show than the one he once hosted, and that there was an even bigger fortune to be made there, as well as a chance to secure an even bigger and better legacy beyond the election?

Trump’s paid himself to run for president; he hosted a birther conference during the soft opening of his brand-new hotel in Washington barely a week before the first major presidential debate, then name-dropped the joint live during said debate to an audience of millions, collectively amounting to a massive publicity stunt; in a particularly salacious bit of fundraising fuckery, he’s currently offering via e-mail a $35 ‘Presidential Black Card’ that apparently does nothing other than offer “recognition as leading Trump supporters who really drove our campaign to victory.” A dubious honor, indeed.

His ambition is matched only by his massively engorged ego, which is why his perceived “failure” of a campaign has been so consistently spectacular. Together, they make for an opposition researcher’s field day, a tree full of low-hanging fruit. They’re pulling skeletons out of his closet by the truckload, for Chrissake. But if his presidential bid is just a stepping stone towards building his own media empire – and I think it’s safe to say at this point that it is – then playing to lose has been the whole point all along.

Or, as the Washington Examiner recently (and more succinctly) put it:

"Supporting the supposition that Trump will not retreat from the political limelight stands the true reason: Continuing the fight against "Crooked Hillary" represents a potentially lucrative business opportunity wrapped in face-saving and patriotism."
Hence the constant accusations of the election being rigged against him, and his threat to contest the results of the election, and his entreating of the seething conservative mob to act as so-called “poll watchers” on election day, and so on...it’s all part of the plan to keep eyes and ears on him well past Hillary’s crowning. And so far, the whole thing has worked brilliantly.

A strategy like this demands that Trump’s campaign be the bigliest, craziest, griftiest campaign the nation has ever seen, in order to completely co-opt the news cycle. Which is has done, in spades. There’s an upside and a downside to all of this. First, the upside:

Trump’s campaign has exposed the truth that the Republican party is, in fact, full of Republicans who don’t give a flying fuck through a rolling doughnut about this country, and he’s done it far better than anyone else ever could have. It’s also exposed the corporate media for the feckless and craven sycophants that they are, by stretching the Iron Law Of False Equivalence practically to the breaking point.

Even now, the party and their media whores are scrambling to find some way, any way to shove the last eighteen months down the memory hole in real time, and as quickly as possible. But they can’t; Trump won’t let them. Selling them all out is part of the plan, and with any luck, they just might not bounce back from it completely, to the benefit of us all. Whether that means a third-party peel off for the GOP or a marginally more honest mainstream press, it’s hard to say. Either way, something’s got to give, and it already has.

And now, the bad news: pulling this off as well as Trump has is roughly the sociological equivalent of throwing a handful of plutonium into a broken particle accelerator for fun and profit. Over the last year, he’s deliberately turned an already vitriolic and unstable electoral base completely apoplectic in the pursuit of ratings, and will only continue to ratchet them up even more so once the election is over.

What that means specifically for the country is uncertain, but given the enthusiastic support he’s received from all manner of hate groups and militias across the nation, and the glibness with which he talks about locking “Crooked Hillary” up and employing “Second Amendment measures” in the event of his loss at the polls, an uptick in post-election right-wing violence – specifically against people of color, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic – seems all but assured, with any manner of backlash escalating tensions even further. Again, that’s part of the plan. Their marching orders need to come from somewhere, amirite?

Ultimately, Donald Trump has crafted the perfect strategy to turn himself into a media institution, whether intentionally or otherwise. Whether that was the plan all along or not is impossible to know, but one thing is for certain: when Donald Trump wins – and he will win, like it or not – we all lose.