100-Proof Blogging by Randle Aubrey

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

STILL WE RISE: AN ARGUMENT FOR A NEW AMERICAN LABOR PARTY


Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
- Maya Angelou, "Still I Rise" 

Where do we go from here?

That seems to be the question on the mind of nearly every liberal and progressive since Election Day. Trump’s victory has the left in complete disarray, and despite the terrific show of force that was made during the Women’s March, there has yet to emerge any clear cut strategy for dealing with the Trump Organization that doesn’t involve politics as usual in Washington. The Democratic Party meanders somewhere between mindless navel-gazing and meaningless internecine squabbles, gradually acquiescing to the Trump Organization and the three-piece jackboots of the Republican Party as they rapidly flush large chunks of the federal government down the latrine, flooding the country with piss and shit and fear and despair. Hillary Clinton is in exile, sales of George Orwell’s 1984 are through the roof, and Capitol Hill is looking more and more like the Reichstag with every passing day.

What’s a revolutionary to do?

There’s an argument to be made that trying to reform the Democratic Party from the ground up through things like the 50-state strategy is the way to go. But persuading major coalitions like the DNC and the DCCC to reverse course away from the corporatocracy is like trying to stop a steam train with a penny on the rail; you’re only going to be flattened into something unrecognizable by the rush of so-called “progress.”

The election’s fundraising numbers bear it out; labor and small-dollar independent donations were completely dwarfed by the mega-millions the corporatocracy and and K Street were able to leverage, making the pressure to adhere to a neoliberal party line (read: a pro-business, data-driven oligarchy with socially liberal overtones) a force to be reckoned with.

And while the Democrats pay a lot of lip service to getting money out of politics, remember the words of Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” They will not present a formidable challenge to things like the Citizens United decision; they cannot, at risk of losing their seat to someone less qualified and more pliable.

As much as we'd like to think that we're dealing with small-d democrats in the Democratic Party, we're not. Nor have we been for quite some time. The gap between the two parties has become as narrow as it is deep; today's Democratic Party is the new Party Of Lincoln, the "reasonable Whig-era conservatives" people like David Brooks are always endlessly, fruitlessly searching for in the GOP rank-and-file from behind the op-ed pages of the New York Times.

They don't live there anymore, having long been forced out by design through the astroturf machinations of the Koch brothers' Tea Party movement, the only goals of which were to primary Republican House and Senate races, and let bumblefuck conservatives off the hook for the Iraq War by allowing them to don tricorne hats and call themselves "independents." Now the lunatics run the asylum, and have blossomed into full-blown fascists under the Trump Organization. The Democrats are already beginning to follow suit, goose-stepping their way right off a cliff.

Take Elizabeth Warren, who recently voted for Ben Carson as director of HUD, claiming that a “no” vote could have made room for someone “much worse.” From Tiger Beat On The Potomac (thanks Charlie Pierce!):
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, facing flak from usually supportive liberals for backing Ben Carson's bid to become housing and urban development secretary, on Wednesday defended her decision despite "serious, deep, profound concerns" about his qualifications. 

"Yes, I adamantly disagree with many of the outrageous things that Dr. Carson said during his presidential campaign," the Massachusetts Democrat wrote on Facebook. "Yes, he is not the nominee I wanted. But 'the nominee I wanted' is not the test." 

Warren said that Carson "made good, detailed promises" in responses to written questions she posed on a variety of housing policy issues, though she acknowledged that "I don't know" if the conservative former brain surgeon can be trusted to follow through on those commitments. 

Warren had sharply questioned Carson during his confirmation hearing in the Banking committee but on Tuesday chose to support advancing his nomination to a vote by the full Senate, surprising some fans on the left who have kept her on the 2020 presidential shortlist. The liberal blog Daily Kos headlined a post on Warren's pro-Carson vote "The Resistance Crumbles." 
This is a meaningless gesture. There is no way that Ben Carson, or any of Trump’s other cabinet picks, are not going to be confirmed by the Republicans; they won’t dare cross Trump until Paul Ryan says so, nor why would they? He’s going to give them everything they want while he goes on teevee and tells millions of poor people that dismantling the agency is “for their own good.”

Elizabeth Warren is supposed to be one of the “lions” of the progressive movement, someone worth backing even as far as a 2020 presidential bid. So why in the hell is she equivocating over such a black and white issue? Every single one of Trump’s cabinet picks are either thoroughly corrupt or grossly unqualified, and should be ridden out of D.C. on a rail. But apparently, the top-down strategy from Chuck Schumer seems to be fighting a handful of cabinet picks, and letting the rest slide. Why? Who knows. They gain nothing from doing so, and have only sutured themselves to accountability for the kleptocracy when it inevitably implodes.

So, yeah...the left *could* try and stem the momentous tide of neoliberal backsliding in the Democratic Party, this is true. But what would be the point? The party has all but completely abandoned the working class, regardless of race, color, or creed; there’s nothing there worth salvaging. As if this crap with the cabinet picks isn’t enough, just look at what the DNC did to Bernie Sanders. All told, he's not much more liberal than George McGovern was, and they Sanders so much dirtier than anything that happened back in ‘72. But my, how history repeats...

Speaking of history and victimization, let’s look at voter turnout in 2016 versus 2012. Sure, Hillary won the popular election by three million votes. Who cares? She was down 70,000 votes from Obama in 2012, while Trump was up over two million votes over Romney in the same year. Furthermore, third-party voting more than tripled in the same span of time. People are hungry for change, real change. Give them a new party to vote for, one that isn’t run by kooks like the Green Party is, or run by neoconfederate potheads like the Libertarian Party is, and they’ll flock to it, I guarantee you.

The Democratic Socialists of America, while not a political party (as of yet, anyway) have already more than doubled in size since election day. With the biggest income gap since the Gilded Age as our backdrop, the time is ripe to build a new movement, one that can primary both Democratic and Republican politicians from outside the system rather than trying to reform them – or it – from within.

Will it be difficult? Yes. All the same, trying to reverse the course of the Democratic Party at this point will almost certainly prove to be impossible.

The technocracy has failed us. The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders may have been a failure by design, but it demonstrated that we are on the brink of a massive, nationwide populist uprising. If there's ever a time to capitalize on that with a formidable third-party challenge to both major parties, it's now.

Sure, the left ain’t got that Tea Party money, and that counts for a lot. But look at how many people are on the streets right now. Not a day has gone by where tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people have flocked to the streets at their own expense or their own peril to stand up to the full-frontal assault on civil liberties that has begun to take place. There is a revolutionary fervor in the air that hasn’t been felt in decades, and if you put your finger to the wind, you’ll feel that the current is detached from any existing political establishment, floating along on a wave of nostalgia as aware of its own proud traditions as it is ready to stand up and fight for them.

I understand that building a labor party isn't going to get us a new president in four years. But I have a feeling that Trump will do a pretty good job of taking care of that himself, one way or another. Meanwhile, what are we left with? A neoliberal technocracy funded by libertarian billionaires, as divorced from labor as the Republican Party, but who claims to not give a shit about your skin color, or who you have sex with?

The rise of a new proletariat is at hand. Only by engaging the recent surge in American populism on its own terms can we prevent its subversion to the will of fascism. A populist labor party movement has incredible potential to pull in a much wider cross-section of the public than ever before. It will be slow, it will painful, and it will be beautiful. Everything that endures always is.

Monday, January 30, 2017

CHEETOCRACY, ASCENDANT

A second major theme is watching the set of people involved. There appears to be a very tight “inner circle,” containing at least Trump, Bannon, Miller, Priebus, Kushner, and possibly Flynn, which is making all of the decisions. Other departments and appointees have been deliberately hobbled, with key orders announced to them only after the fact, staff gutted, and so on. Yesterday’s reorganization of the National Security Council mirrors this: Bannon and Priebus now have permanent seats on the Principals’ Committee; the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have both been demoted to only attending meetings where they are told that their expertise is relevant; the Secretary of Energy and the US representative to the UN were kicked off the committee altogether (in defiance of the authorizing statute, incidentally).

I am reminded of Trump’s continued operation of a private personal security force, and his deep rift with the intelligence community. Last Sunday, Kellyanne Conway (likely another member of the inner circle) said that “It’s really time for [Trump] to put in his own security and intelligence community,” and this seems likely to be the case.

As per my analysis yesterday, Trump is likely to want his own intelligence service disjoint from existing ones and reporting directly to him; given the current staffing and roles of his inner circle, Bannon is the natural choice for them to report through. (Having neither a large existing staff, nor any Congressional or Constitutional restrictions on his role as most other Cabinet-level appointees do) Keith Schiller would continue to run the personal security force, which would take over an increasing fraction of the Secret Service’s job.

Especially if combined with the DHS and the FBI, which appear to have remained loyal to the President throughout the recent transition, this creates the armature of a shadow government: intelligence and police services which are not accountable through any of the normal means, answerable only to the President.
At least now I know what I can't sleep at night.
The regime’s main organizational goal right now is to transfer all effective power to a tight inner circle, eliminating any possible checks from either the Federal bureaucracy, Congress, or the Courts. Departments are being reorganized or purged to effect this.
Sooooooo.....again I ask my #NeverHillary comrades: still think she's as big a monster as Trump is?

Do ya?

DO YA?


THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY

It all started out innocently enough...


...and then J.D. showed up. As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing...





...and expecting a different result.

Repeat after me:

We have always been at war with Oceania.
We have never been at war with Oceania.
We have always been at war with Oceania.

For every good and well-meaning liberal that fails to understand just how effectively the conservative movement has been mindwiped of anything that isn't groupthink, Two Minutes Hate, and the Anti-Sex League, there are hundreds of thousands of angry, deluded, fearful proles who would like nothing better than to see all the murderous prophecies of the Republican Party ushered in to full fruition, no matter the cost.

Oh, wait? What cost? That shit's all fake news?

Never mind.

#justkeepshopping

"THE GOOD OL' DAYS," AND OTHER LIES WE TELL OURSELVES

In light of the Cheetocracy's recent move toward "draining the swamp" of any and all Arabic peoples (except the ones we do business with, of course) via executive order, an old video of  Saint Ronnie and Poppa Bush debating immigration policy during the '88 primary has had a great many people pining for the halcyon days of "reasonable conservatism" on immigration policy.

WITNESS THEIR CONGENIALITY!!!!!



Now, allow me to offer a bit of context as to the bullshittery of the situation:

Immigration policy wasn't quite the political football in the eighties that it is today, as a useful tool for getting the rubes to dance the goosestep tango.

Rather, it was "welfare queens" who bought gold-plated lobsters and ruby-encrusted steaks with their food stamps, or something;

It was crackheads who just needed one more baton swat to the head so they could get on eye level with the bootstraps they needed to pull themselves up by;

Oh, and don't forget about the faggots, and how they spit on water faucets to give AIDS to the straights in the Devil's name...

The spectre of scary Arabs had indeed been raised throughout the period, but largely as a proxy to Cold War realpolitik overseas. Back then, just about all of our homegrown terrorists were white, and by and large, they still are.

That leaves our cousins south of the border, who were much easier to contend with in the pre-NAFTA years, when Mexico was still only a partial disaster of our making, and not a complete one. Hence the polite overtones you're seeing here. There's also the deferential dog-and-pony show Poppa Bush is playing with Saint Ronnie, his former boss, on the national stage. The only thing better than earning merit badges for false morality is dripping with false humility while collecting them.

As a snapshot of GOP history, yeah: it's nice to see Republicans engaging in the same respectability politics that constantly scream at Democrats about. But make no mistake: as the guy who threw the doors wide open for demagogues and theocrats to come have a place at the table at the dawn of the eighties, cementing Nixon's Southern Strategy well into the 21st century, Reagan made sure that elsewhere on Capitol Hill and beyond, it was business as usual for the Republican Party: constant fearmongering in order to pave the way for tax cuts, deregulation, military buildup, and the gutting of social services. Only this time, he had Jerry Fallwell on his side. And Pat Robertson. And Bryan Fischer. And ultimately, after dismantling the Fairness Doctrine, Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh. Or, as I like to refer to them, "Goebbels and Göering."

Now before we start on chewing on that old chestnut of "Reagan and Tip O'Neill got things done!", the latter showing his belly to the former every time they sat down for a chat is not "getting things done": it's constant and consistent Democratic capitulation, and we're seeing it happen again even now. Save the post-mortem Reagan blowjobs for Chris Matthews; he's always ready to pucker up.

With few exceptions, there have been no "reasonable" conservatives since Eisenhower left office, only connivers and cowards and con men, coalescing in the form of Donald Trump. Videos like this do a great job of whitewashing that legacy. Don't believe the hype.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

WEEKLY DISPATCHES #007: MOCK PAPER SCISSORS


“Weekly Dispatches” is a weekly round-up of some of the best and brightest political reporting the Internet on a given theme, brought to you every Friday to better catch up on your dialectic over the weekend. If you’ve got any ideas or recommendations for topics to cover, send an e-mail to Pink Elephants at 100proofpink@gmail.com. 
I’m gonna keep this one really brief, because it’s a day late, and I’ve got a lot of shit to do. It’s about my new favorite blog that you should totally be following, Mock Paper Scissors.

Blogger tengrain has been performing what I think might prove to be one of the most valuable services available to use since Inauguration Day: summarizing the daily actions of Donald Trump and the members of his organization.

Given the dizzying speed with which they’ve been able to wreck shop on Capitol Hill so far, having a set of regularly updated cliff notes on hand will be extremely useful in crafting anti-Trump strategies moving forward.

Here are the first five days of “The Trump Empire,” as presented by Mock Paper Scissors in honor of the great journalist Molly Ivins, who exhorts us all to never listen to the words and always check the record.
I’m in the process of getting permission from MPS to cross-post these daily updates to Pink Elephants, but in the meantime, you RSS junkies can subscribe here.

We're at a point where the blogosphere is about to get real relevant once again, now that the corporate media has all but completely sold out the American people. #KillYourTV and your mainstream news feeds, and help support independent media by reading it, sharing it, and paying for it with whatever you can spare. We need you as much as you need us, now more than ever.


Friday, January 27, 2017

STRATEGIC SYMPATHY

It never ceases to amazes me how quickly my fellow lefties can leap across the Madonna/Whore spectrum when it comes to things like raising the spectre of sexual abuse.

Before the fated video of Melania Trump withering after a brief exchange with her husband at the inauguration made her America’s clipped-wing nightingale in a gilded cage, before full-throated defenses of her dignity and the hashtag #FreeMelania were trending all over every social media channel, you couldn’t find more than a tiny minority of liberals who would call her anything other than a Russian moll, or a gold digger, or just a flat-out tramp. Endless memes contrasting her against Michelle Obama basically made her out to be a whore for power who deserves as much scorn as her husband does.


Charming, aren't they?

Since then, the polarities have completely flipped, with only a small percentage of liberals still calling her these things. Many have softened their tone somewhat, thankfully. Stassa Edwards at The Slot makes the most eloquent rebuttal against the #FreeMelania set in her article, “Melania Trump Doesn’t Deserve Your Sympathy”:
“Here, Melania is a victim of her husband’s brutishness; she is passive and silent, has no political opinions but instead is a sort of tabula rasa for America’s women, on which her treatment is proof of President Trump’s innate misogyny. President Trump’s casual misuse of his wife is a domestic tragedy with national implications. But that narrative only works if, in fact, you believe that Melania is a blank slate or, at least, a woman simply acted on rather than a woman actively collaborating with her husband’s ideologies.

If the past is any indication, Melania is no passive victim. Recently a 2011 interview with Melania on the Joy Behar Show went viral on Twitter. In the interview, Melania defends her husband’s adamant commitment to the birther conspiracy born of the Tea Party—his belief that President Obama is not an American citizen, that he was born in Kenya and that his Hawaii-issued birth certificate was, in fact, a forgery. “Do you want to see President Obama’s birth certificate or not?” Melania asks Behar. “I’ve seen it,” Behar responds. “It’s not a birth certificate,” Melania says as she shakes her head. Here, Melania recites her husband’s conspiratorial and fictitious claims, ones Donald Trump repeated for five years until, in September 2016, he “conceded” that they were untrue. Melania has never indicated whether or not she agrees with that concession.

But Melania has always been willing to defend her husband and to employ tactics that typify the Trump approach to the world. After journalist Julia Ioffe published a profile of Melania in GQ, Melania denounced the piece, calling it “yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting.” When Ioffe received a barrage of anti-Semitic messages and threats, Melania said, that Ioffe “provoked them.” Later, Melania almost trollishly announced that, as First Lady, she would launch a campaign to prevent bullying on the internet, denouncing social media’s “mean and rough” culture.

Like Ivanka Trump, whose brand and subsequent media narratives have worked to distance her from her father’s repugnant ideologies from racist birtherism to sexual assault, Melania is no innocent. She’s willing to vocally defend her husband—not only to stand next to him for the sake of political spectacle or personal gain, but to do the obligatory media tours and, like her step-daughter, insist that he respects women.”
I won’t lie: I’m largely in agreement with Edwards’ assessment. This is not to say that I feel no sympathy for Melania Trump; I just don’t feel it in a way that is anything other than strategic.

If the public or the media can find a way to amplify Trump family tensions by openly supporting her over him, we might be able to sabotage the family, thereby salvaging the office of the presidency, and by proxy, the nation. Mike Pence might be a mook, but at least he knows enough about politics to know that mindlessly signing executive orders on behalf of his fellow theocrats *could* come back to bite him in the ass. Meanwhile, we do what we can to get the family out along the way. Outside of that and my standard refusal to condone partner abuse of any kind, that's about the best I can manage.

I will, however, concede that Edwards does seem to be turning a blind eye to the more subtle mechanisms under which domestic abuse can operate, the mechanisms that can in one moment have her pretending everything is just ducky and that she truly is the callous Commie we all want her to be, and in the next have her all but completely caving underneath that orange monster’s withering gaze. All the same, I can’'t help but wonder if Melania herself didn't turn a blind to all these things to some extent when she decided to let him put a ring on it.

It’s not like Donald Trump’s ridiculously abusive shenanigans weren’t a matter of extremely high profile public record long before Melania came along. To quote someone from Facebook thread on the subject:
"I feel sorry for her...but she knew who she was marrying as the gold digger she was. Ivana's divorce case involved marital rape and a gag order. Marla and daughter Tiffany were essentially shoved aside. She knows he's a dog. She made the pact with the devil to live in that golden tower fully aware of the man she was literally getting in bed with, make no mistake. Was it worth it? A poor little Slovenian girl is now FLOTUS. Idk. The deals we all make, I guess?"
There's a fine line between blame and responsibility, and while I'll never blame Melania for her abuse, I will say that the odds of her not knowing that she was about to marry one of America's worst scumbags was slim to none, yet she decided to pull the trigger anyway. Why? Who knows. Maybe he was 'different' with her. They always are, at first. Maybe she thought she could change him. They so often do. Or maybe she just didn’t give a shit, and really is the gold digger that everyone thinks she is, and maybe she’s giving as good as she gets. I don't pretend to know what lies in the heart of Melania Trump, and anyone who does is trying to sell you something.

But what I will say that she didn't follow the Molly Ivins Rule: "Never listen to the words, always check the record." And that, despite everything, is what makes it hard to muster greater sympathy for Melania Trump. Perhaps if her husband wasn't one of America's worst high profile scumbags, and maybe if his chicanery hadn't been a matter of public record for the last couple of decades, it would be be easier to rally behind her. But this is precisely why, before now, I've tried with all due diligence NOT to discuss, let alone analyze, their relationship. There's just not enough information about it to render a verdict, and what information there is doesn't look good for anyone involved, including her.

This is not to say that we should ignore their relationship, but that would should tread lightly with our commentary, and reserve our judgments until something irrefutable and irredeemable comes to light. Then we can bury the sonuvabitch and #FreeMelania for good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

REVENGE OF THE NERDS

Night will fall and drown the sun...
Thanks to Trump, Scientists Are Planning to Run For Office
by Ed Yong
The Atlantic, 01/25/17

For American science, the next four years look to be challenging. The newly inaugurated President Trump, and many of his Cabinet picks, have repeatedly cast doubt upon the reality of human-made climate change, questioned the repeatedly proven safety of vaccines. Since the inauguration, the administration has already frozen grants and contracts by the Environmental Protection Agency and gagged researchers at the US Department of Agriculture. Many scientists are asking themselves: What can I do?

And the answer from a newly formed group called 314 Action is: Get elected.

The organization, named after the first three digits of pi, is a political action committee that was created to support scientists in running for office. It’s the science version of Emily’s List, which focuses on pro-choice female candidates, or VoteVets, which backs war veterans. “A lot of scientists traditionally feel that science is above politics but we’re seeing that politics is not above getting involved in science,” says founder Shaughnessy Naughton. “We’re losing, and the only way to stop that is to get more people with scientific backgrounds at the table.”

[...]

Naughton, a chemist by training and a former breast cancer researcher, ran for Congress herself in 2014 and 2016, but lost both times in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primaries. She puts those losses down to her inexperience with politics and her outsider status, which locked her out of traditional donor circles. In creating 314 Action, she hopes to provide other scientists with the money and mentorship that would have helped her. “Partly, we’re making the case for why they should run—and Donald Trump is really helping us with that,” she says. “Then, we’re showing them how to run, and introducing them to our donor network.”
...when a good nerd goes to war.



Science has never been apolitical, as much as many members of the scientific community might like to believe otherwise. As long as reason remains the enemy of faith, men and women of science must stand up and defend their work, their colleagues, and the millions of people who stand to benefit from rich and varied scientific discovery. And now, more than ever, they are.
Hackers downloaded US government climate data and stored it on European servers as Trump was being inaugurated
by Zoë Schlanger
Quartz, 01/21/17

As Donald Trump was sworn into office as the new president of the US on Jan. 20, a group of around 60 programmers and scientists were gathered in the Department of Information Studies building at the University of California-Los Angeles, harvesting government data.

[...]

Hackers, librarians, scientists, and archivists had been working around the clock, at these events and in the days between, to download as much federal climate and environment data off government websites as possible before Trump took office. But suddenly, at exactly noon on Friday as Trump was sworn in, and just as the UCLA event kicked off, some of their fears began to come true: The climate change-related pages on whitehouse.gov disappeared. It’s typical of incoming administrations to take down some of their predecessor’s pages, but scrubbing all mentions of climate change is a clear indication of the Trump administration’s position on climate science.

[...]

Over the first 100 days of the new administration, a volunteer team of programmers will be scanning government websites and comparing them to the archived, pre-Trump versions, to check for changes. “We’ll be letting people know what the changes exactly are. We hope to produce a weekly report on changes,” Wiggin says, perhaps in the form of a newsletter.

While Wiggin and Allen say the changes to whitehouse.gov are disconcerting, they also note they are small potatoes compared with what could come next: the large government data sets related to climate change and environmental health that scientists use for research. For example, there’s a massive Environmental Protection Agency database of air quality monitoring data that might become a target of Trump-appointed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s office, based on Pruitt’s history of suing the EPA to roll back air pollution regulations.
Science, like truth, has a liberal bias and places value on accuracy and memory. Hence why, in light of Trump's forthcoming fossil and mineral extraction race to the bottom, these folks are taking immense personal risk in defiance of convention to preserve the record and keep the flame of history alive.

Not all heroes wear capes, yo. Some wear lab coats. Or khakis.

ANTHEM OF THE WEEK: "NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF" BY DEAD KENNEDYS



Punk ain't no religious cult, punk means thinking for yourself
You ain't hardcore cos you spike your hair when a jock still lives inside your head


Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks: Fuck Off!
Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks: Fuck Off!

If you've come to fight, get outta here! You ain't no better than the bouncers
We ain't trying to be police; when you ape the cops it ain't anarchy


Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks: Fuck Off!
Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks: Fuck Off!

Ten guys jump one, what a man
You fight each other, the police state wins
Stab your backs when you trash our halls
Trash a bank if you've got real balls


You still think swastikas look cool, while the real Nazis run your schools
They're coaches, businessmen and cops, in a real Fourth Reich you'll be the first to go


Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks: Fuck Off!
Nazi punks, Nazi punks, Nazi punks: Fuck Off!
 
You'll be the first to go, you'll be the first to go
You'll be the first to go unless you think

What more can I say, other than watching Richard Spencer getting cold cocked on endless repeat is (almost) better than porn?

WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE...

Kellyanne...you got some 'splainin' to do...


Today in "do as we say, not as we do" news:
Trump White House Senior Staff Have Private RNC Email Accounts
by Nina Burleigh
Newsweek, 01/25/17

Senior Trump administration staffers including Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon have active accounts on a Republican National Committee email system, Newsweek has learned.

The system (rnchq.org) is the same one the George W. Bush administration was accused of using to evade transparency rules after claiming to have “lost” 22 million emails.

[...]

Making use of separate political email accounts at the White House is not illegal...But after then-candidate Donald Trump and the Republicans repeatedly called for “locking up” Hillary Clinton for handling government work with a private server while secretary of state, the new White House staff risks repeating the same mistake that dogged the Democrat’s presidential campaign. They also face a security challenge: The RNC email system, according to U.S. intelligence, was hacked during the 2016 race. “They better be careful after making such a huge ruckus over the private email over at the State Department,” says former Bush administration lawyer Richard Painter.
So I guess that means we can start issuing subpoenas, right?

Right...?

PANEM ET CIRCENSES

A shot of the White House press pool after Trump's post-inaugural press conference.



Very Smart Brothas is a fantastic blog, and you should absolutely be reading it. That being said, I’m not sure if the questions presented below are rhetorical or not...
Donald Trump Gives All The Fucks. This Is A Bad Thing.
by Panama Jackson
Very Smart Brothas, 01/25/17

[…]

The voter fraud shit is especially stupid. He’s been running around claiming that he won fair and square – bigly – and here he is NOW undermining the entire process. He also seems to think that if there was voter fraud – because Hillary won the popular vote – without thinking, at all, that IF there was voter fraud to the tune of 3-5 million (we’re talking ABC’s Scandal level shenanigans here), that possibly it would invalidate his OWN presidency.

But because this is Donald Trump, he can’t leave well enough alone. He needs to win so he does what any person who has to win does: doubles down.

Regarding the inauguration numbers – including a clear set of lies from the use of magnetometers to the grass coverings, of which he required Sean Spicer to tell for no real reason since it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme – he went and had a picture of inauguration framed and is allegedly putting it up on a wall in the White House, even if it has the wrong date on it. Apparently Slim Charles is Trump’s ego-maniacal muse. I wouldn’t flinch if he had “We Fight On That Lie” carved into the Resolute Desk.

However, calling for an investigation into the alleged voter fraud that didn’t occur during this election in WHICH HE WON? That’s an impressive level of megalomania even by Trump standards. Levying claims that fraud existed and forcing Sean Spicer to walk into the lion’s den and talk about it based on some “studies” (of which the authors, assuming this particular study is what he’s referencing, claim he misinterpreted) is beyond reckless. Why would you call for an investigation into something that you have no tangible proof of to begin with? He doesn’t even have an inkling. He had a thought because folks keep telling him that Hillary won the popular vote and because he is the Trump, that should be impossible.
...but if they aren’t, allow me to explain:

Trump’s voter fraud investigation nonsense is just building on history of scandalmongering that the Republicans have been pushing for years: Whitewater, Travelgate, the IRS 'debacle', Fast & Furious, BENGHAZI!(tm), the Clinton Foundation, and so on.

You'll notice that four of those involve Hillary Clinton, out of a small but fairly representative sample of the dozens of deliberate goose chases that the Republicans have sponsored since her husband took office in the nineties. What's another one, to the tune of Lawd-knows-how-many taxpayer dollars? Some people just want to watch the world burn, and some people like to get fat paid from watching the world burn.

Even though all the scandals against Clinton over the years have all been proven to be groundless, they were nonetheless effective in tarnishing her reputation as to even cause millions of liberal purity trolls to either check out completely, or worse, vote for people Tofu Palin, aka Jill Stein.

That's why the GOP keeps horseshit like this up: the spectre of liberal corruption is enough to fuel confirmation bias among both supporters and detractors of liberalism, especially when the DNC can't stop tripping over their own shoelaces or screwing over their own constituents.

So what if the latest scandal isn't real, and doesn't have a veneer of legitimacy? None of them have, and none of them will. The rubes will eat it up anyway, because corporate media has no moral quandaries about engaging in the staggering levels of false equivalence required to maintain Republican lies, having been bought and paid for by the same reverse mortgage and dick pill companies and such that robbed Uncle Liberty of house and home while he jerked off to show trial after show trial after show trial...

Don’t worry: they'll just tell him to blame it on the black guy, squaring the circle and keeping hate-wing politics alive to screw the public yet another day.

Panem et circenses pro omnis!


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

THE PERCEPTION OF LEGITIMACY

Caught this adorable propaganda piece making the rounds on Facebook this afternoon:


Honestly, I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about this video. I want to believe that these cops have their hearts in the right place, and they're on the right side, so to speak. I want to believe that their relaxed attitude has more to do with well-behaved demonstrators than their ethnic makeup, but I'm too skeptical to just swallow this kind of stuff at face value. The one comment I would make is that, for me, watching this video affirms my last post about white people continuing to show up at marches, demonstrations, rallies, et cetera, especially those regarding issues facing people of color.

White supremacy may be a fucked up institution, but in situations like these, it is one that can be taken advantage of. White bodies at black and brown protests add a greater perception of legitimacy (and therefore safety) to the assembly, because White America (TM) doesn’t actually give much of a shit about black and brown bodies on the firing line advocating to be treated as human beings.

But you bet your bippy that they’ll start thinking twice if/when multi-racial coalitions becomes the new normal, and Heaven forbid the moment a nice white person steps out to take a baton hit meant for a black person; White America (TM) will lose their collective shit on the police officer and department responsible.

How else do you think the widespread violence against blacks during the Civil Rights Movement was able to end so abruptly? Whites got out in front of ‘em and started taking a few licks, and suddenly the nation was all, “Stop the violence! Let’s hear what they have to say!”

Before you start calling bullshit because the cops in the video are black, let me remind you that black cops are still cops, and as such are required to “serve and protect” white supremacy at the behest of their leadership. If they were called upon to suit up in the riot gear and quell a Black Lives Matter protest, don’t think for a moment that they would all have a sudden attack of conscience and refuse. The Thin Blue Line is as deep as it is narrow, and brooks no “treason” amongst the ranks of police, no matter how well-intentioned or justified.

Understanding and engaging in intersectional protest is the key to advancing a progressive agenda. All of this shit has to move forward at once in order to actually be effective. This means we need a lot more people – a lot more white people – to put their money where their mouth is and get out on the assembly line. There’s no better way to build a movement. 

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

To all of the white folks for whom the Women’s March On Washington (or one of the dozens of other cities in the US, or one of the hundreds across the globe) was your first time getting out in the streets to protest, I just want to say…

...thank you.

Thank you for finally feeling the fire under your ass that people of color have been attempting to kindle for ages. Thank you for realizing that Donald Trump and the gang of treasonous bastards he represents are not just their problem, nor have they ever been: they’re your problem, too. Thank you for finally understanding the significance of long-trafficked adages like “respect existence or expect resistance,” and “a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Thank you for arriving at the party late rather than not showing up at all.

It felt good to be out there, didn’t it? It felt good to stand in solidarity with literally millions of people all over the world and give a collective middle finger to the Orangutan-In-Chief and his cronies. It felt good to be a part of something greater than yourself, to be a part of a movement. To go out and kick some Trumpshirt ass.

This is just a sampling.
Voter turnout was down in a big way this election, but civic engagement has definitely been on the rise, from Black Lives Matter to Bernie Sanders’ unprecedented POTUS victories and beyond. More and more people are beginning to realize that there’s immense bipartisan consensus on almost every single major issue facing Americans, and that we need to set aside our political and personal differences and work together to achieve real victories in a class war where all of our livelihoods are on the line. If you were at any one of the Women’s Marches, you’re one of them, and I’m super proud of you, for real.

But now that you’ve made through your first protest, fellow white people, I implore you: please don’t let it be your last. Especially as the commentariat amongst your fellow demonstrators – particularly those who are trans, black, brown, or any other heavily marginalized group -- begin to have their way with all of your shortcomings, which they will. And have.

Many of them are movement vets. You’re not. None of them can opt out of their oppression. You can, in more ways than they can, at least. Try not to take their skepticism personally; they’re glad to have you, they’re just not certain you’re convictions involve something other than virtue signaling, and therefore temporary.

And who can blame them?

Irony deficit: YUUUGE.
They watched you as slapped your pink pussy hats on friendly anti-riot cops and took selfies with them on one end of town, wishing they felt safe enough to do the same, while those same cops shouted them down shoved them out on the other. They watched how easy it was for you to slip onto overcrowded metro trains heading into the National Mall with your fellow demonstrators, while they took elbows to the stomach that forced them out every time they tried. They watched as you took your signs and piled them up at the base of Trump Tower after the march, knowing full well that the people who will be responsible for cleaning up your symbolism will look a lot more like them than they will like you.

They’ve watched you do things like this at countless demonstrations for decades, while they’ve collectively been on the receiving end of enough riot batons, tear gas, attack dogs, fire hoses, rubber bullets, LRAD cannons, and pepper spray to give every petty dictator across the planet a collective boner for the next thirty days, at least. (What can say? Too much is never enough for some sickos.)

(For the record – and it saddens me that disclaimers like this are still necessary, which is, in fact, a part of the problem – the “you” in question may or may not be you, the reader. Whether you specifically are or not is irrelevant to the purposes of this essay; if you believe otherwise, then you’re probably no longer listening anyway, so you might as well just click off from here.)

Worth a thousand words.
And now, thanks to social media, people of color are now able to offer the world a granular, real-time view of your shenanigans that was heretofore nonexistent. A sloppy view with little context and loads of confirmation bias, yes, but a view that is still revealing in aggregate, which is the only real way to observe the cultural symptoms of white supremacy.

But I hope you can understand that their criticism does not equal your failure. That’s white guilt talking, creating an excuse to disengage by encouraging you to prioritize your hurt feelings over their lived experiences, which inform their worldview in ways we cannot begin to empathize with. And no one can blame you for feeling hurt by their response to you, either. Your feelings and your intentions are indeed valid, despite what you may have heard to the contrary. But so are theirs, and having compassion and respect for their well-being as much as for your own is critical towards creating the solidarity required for sustained resistance.

Will it be messy? Yeah. Will a lot more people’s feelings get hurt? Oh, yeah.

Will it be worth it? You bet your ass it will.
Beyond the Usual Suspects
by Kenzo Shibata
Jacobin, January 23rd, 2017
[…]

The power of the march was in its diversity. Had only the “usual suspects” turned out — professional organizers, community leaders, political militants, and politicians — it could have been easily dismissed by Trump. Instead, it was a broad coalition, much like the most successful contract campaign rallies. The marches’ success can be measured in part by how it seemed to send the Trump campaign into a tailspin on its first full day in office.

The women’s march protests worked in the same way that a good union contract campaign works: the country engaged in an unprecedented and preemptive show of force against Trump. The marches’ messaging wasn’t perfect or even fully coherent. But that messaging was less important than the enormous collective muscle-flexing that so many in the country carried out. To defeat Trump’s reactionary agenda, this is exactly the kind of action we will have to engage in.

Turning this incredible moment into a successful movement requires everyone affected by the Trump agenda to show up for each other — and not just online. This means swallowing our sense of pride or purity and working with people whose tactics may seem too milquetoast — or too militant. These won’t be fights where we can afford to be splintered and stay home when our immediate rights aren’t at stake.

Our ability to defeat Trump’s agenda is directly proportional to the power we’re able to amass against him. Saturday’s marches bode well for our ability to build that kind of power under President Trump.
 

Monday, January 23, 2017

NOTHING SO SATISFYING...

…as watching Neo-Nazis get pummeled.

Apparently, a lot of the "they go low, we go high" folks are taking issue with the fact that someone from Black Bloc did to Richard Spencer the thing we've all wanted to do Richard Spencer since his punk ass first came on the national scene:

They've not been too strident, mind you; most of the commentary seems rooted in envy rather than disdain. Not that I'm terribly surprised; what I wouldn't give for a chance to go full Jay & Silent Bob on his smarmy ass.



But for those of you for whom clinging to principles of nonviolence is more important than giving fuckfaces like Richard Spencer the ol' what for, allow me to offer you a little context:


 


Understand that, on the national stage, Richard Spencer is the sniveling little Neo-Nazi creep begging to be allowed in for "just one beer," while a million of his dirtbag cronies wait outside to barge in behind him and wreck shop on our house of ill repute fine establishment.

Also understand that, in this context, we've already let him. And now, he won't. Fucking. Leave. And he won't. Fucking. Shut. Up.

His whole reason for being is making sure that people who aren't him or people just like him have a lousy time at the punk rock show life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as possible, because it makes him feel like winners in the Misery Olympics.

And just like every other spoiled and petulant man-baby who's never had to bootstrap anything in his life, if you give him an inch, he'll take a mile. Every. Single. Time.

Because if he didn't, he might have to own up to the fact that, without his wealth and connections, he's just one more mealy-mouthed loser who ain't worth jack shit, who won't listen, and who won't quit.

And there's only one to deal with that sort of nonsense: