100-Proof Blogging by Randle Aubrey

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A HOMOPHOBE BITES THE DUST

I just got some wonderful news in my inbox today: Bryan Fischer, host of religious hate group the American Family Association's Focal Point radio show and one of the most virulently homophobic and bigoted sons of bitches to drag the name of Jesus through the dirt on public airwaves, was just diagnosed with cancer and is probably gonna die soon.


Now it's in your head, too.
And here I thought there was no such thing as God... 😈

Look, I know we're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, or whatever. But for one, he's not dead yet, and for two, fuck this asshole in the neck with a chainsaw. He can't die fast enough, as far as I'm concerned.

Bryan Fischer has made his entire fucking career preaching hate in the name of love, gleefully doing his part to keep the masses of bigots within his sphere of influence cow-dumb enough to vote against their best interests - and mine - in the name of Almighty Jeebus Diabeetus. And he's made a pretty fucking penny doing it, as well; the American Family Association is an incredibly well-heeled organization, pushing rhetoric and policy that has directly contributed to the rise of right-wing religious extremism in this country.



Would that I could eat a giant tray of enchiladas fresh from the cucina of someone's undocumented abuelita and take a giant, wet shit all over Bryan Fischer's legacy. Rather, I'll just 'pray' for his death to come hard and quick and fast, so as not to allow any time for the AFA or Fischer's family to milk his illness for financial contributions to an organization that deserves nothing less than to be dismantled and bodily ejected from the public square, permanently.

So remember, kids: speaking ill of the dead is all right when they damned well fucking deserve it. And the hatemongers always deserve it.


Monday, February 27, 2017

THERE ARE THINGS IN THIS WORLD WORTH FIGHTING FOR, GODDAMMIT


I am fucking exhausted.

In the last thirty-seven days since our Dirtbag-In-Chief officially usurped the presidency was sworn in, the #TrumpTrain has ridden me and everyone else like a two-dollar whore on BOGO Sunday. Any one of the batshit ridiculous things they’ve been responsible for pereptrating in the last month or so could easily constitute an ongoing, national scandal. And they’ve been averaging two or three a day, for Chrissake.

That’s the point, of course: to Gish Gallop the electorate into submission. It seems to be working, as far as I can tell; the massive outporing of resistance against the Cheetocracy has already begun to dwindle, as many of the demonstrators who have something to lose from being on the line suddenly remember that fact, and go back home to their lives and their families, nervously scanning the news feeds and hoping that herd immunity will protect them from the worst of Republican excesses.

It hasn’t so far, but it’s hard to #staywoke when the ceaseless beating of our civil liberties threatens to leave many permanently concussed…

In times like this, when the shit continues to hit the fan with alarming speed and incredible velocity, it’s important to remember that resistance to kleptocratic ‘virtue’ is about a lot more than fighting against our newfound status quo. It’s about the things out there that that are worth fighting for. Things that can help make our world a better place, rather than drive our collective dicks into the dirt.

Whatever those things are for you, figure them out and cherish them and make their causes your own. Spread your knowledge and your love for those as part of your resistance strategy, and give people something to look forward to. As it stands, all most people have to look forward to right now is another day filled with angst and anxiety over what manner of abuses the #TrumpTrain is going to unleash upon the electorate next. But there’s a bigger and better world out there that exists beyond their puny and pathetic minds, and it’s cleaving to that vision with all of your might that will not just eradicate the wages of Republican destruction, but will work to bring about a world where such monsters will no longer hold sway.

“Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything,” so the saying goes. But what you stand for matters. Make it something more than just fighting in the trenches, and others will do the same.

Friday, February 24, 2017

WEEKLY DISPATCHES #011: THE PHILOSOPHY OF RENTED MULES

"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.
The future is a strange place to live. We’re surrounded by so many familiar things, but we interact with them in so many unfamiliar ways. Technology has woven itself into the very fiber of society, fundamentally altering it in ways we are only just beginning to conceive of.

Among the most radically changing aspects of society in the age of technocracy, outside of the looming threat of climate change, is mankind’s changing relationship to labor-, and entrepreneurship. Automation has transformed the nature of labor in so many ways, but so has Big Data and the advent of modern telecommunications. The ascendance of neoliberal culture has brought with it incredible tools and innovations with which to shape the world, but as the stewards of such innovations and the capital that drives them, their agendas, no matter how sweeping, stand only to serve or benefit a limited range of people who are largely inured from the fallout they leave behind.

Without a better understanding of the changing nature of the relationship between, labor, data, and technology, the latter will continue to outpace its ability to be legislated, leaving workers in the digital dust. So here: have some food for thought, and get ready to welcome our not-so-new robot overlords.

Sam Lavigne, “The Networked Assembly Line”
The New Inquiry, 12/20/16
“Whenever we interact with software/websites/businesses built using machine learning systems, we provide data that trains and/or improves those systems. The frequently quoted line that “if you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer–you’re the product being sold” should be amended: you’re no longer just the product, you’re also the unpaid laborer. If we understand work as any human activity that generates wealth, and our interactions with machine learning systems as incremental contributions to the means by which companies make money, then we are in effect laboring without compensation nearly every time we use the Internet. Machine learning systems are factories of production, and we are always working on improving the factory.”

David Ellerman, “Against The Renting Of Persons”
The Straddler, Winter 2017
“So we have this remarkable consciousness that the whole system based on the renting of human beings is normal. The option of abolishing the employment relationship per se and having people jointly working for themselves in enterprises isn’t even on the table. Cooperative groups are totally marginal in our society. Just to get people to say that it’s the renting of human beings is difficult. They say, no, it’s the hiring of human beings. We rent cars, we rent apartments, but we hire human beings. But it’s exactly the same thing. In the UK, a rental car is called a “hire car.” Google it. An economist will tell you that you buy an entity or you buy its services. So you buy a car or you rent—or hire—a car. Renting or hiring a car means you’re buying so many car days or car months. When you rent an apartment, you’re not buying the apartment, you’re buying the services of the apartment for a month or three days or whatever it is. It’s the same with human beings. You can’t buy human beings anymore, but you can rent them. And that means you buy their person hours. But just that understanding is difficult for people. They’re so trained to see a difference between these words hire and rent.”

Peter Frase, “Four Futures”
Jacobin, 12/13/11
“One thing we can be certain of is that capitalism will end. Maybe not soon, but probably before too long; humanity has never before managed to craft an eternal social system, after all, and capitalism is a notably more precarious and volatile order than most of those that preceded it. The question, then, is what will come next...The socialisms and barbarisms described here should be thought of as roads humanity might travel down, even if they are destinations we will never reach. With some knowledge of what lies at the end of each road, perhaps we will be better able to avoid setting off in the wrong direction.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ANTHEM OF THE WEEK: "SUMMER HOLIDAYS VS. PUNK ROUTINE" BY REFUSED



We're all tired of dying, so sick of not trying
Scared that we might fail

We'll accomplish nothing, not even failure...
 Rather be forgotten
Than remembered for giving in

There's a lot more at stake in resisting the Cheetocracy than defending our civil liberties and preventing the GOP from executing Grover Norquist's ultimate bathtub swirly on the federal government: it's about standing up to bullies and thugs whose sole reason for living is hurting people.
"Do not doubt that this is a war of nerves as much as a war of resources. Systematic psychological abuse is a favorite tactic of the alt-right, and was an election strategy for Trump. Identify an enemy by name or aspect, grind them down with threats and harassment, do your best not just to dehumanize them in the eyes of others but to undermine their own sense of human worth. Hours after Donald Trump declared victory, forum members from one of the many Neo-Nazi outlets that stumped for the president-elect were cackling over the misery of frightened women, people of color, and LGBT citizens terrified for their families and communities. Andrew Angin, publisher of the Daily Stormer, urged his followers to double down on the abuse:  “You can troll these people and definitely get some of them to kill themselves,” Anglin wrote. “Just be like ‘it’s the only way you can prove to the racists that Hillary was right all along.’”

Anglin egged on his tame troll army, reassuring them that headlines announcing a rash of suicides would further demoralize the left. Read that back to yourself. Understand that these are words of war. Understand that rational as despair may be, there are those who would count your pain a victory.

They would be wrong on that count. Because the new right, the alt-right, all these new permutations of old bigotry consider every emotion weakness if it isn’t ballistic spite. They adhere to a cult of toxic masculinity that deems evidence of feeling a defeat. That is why they are so fixated on “triggering” their opponents, why they are obsessed with the notion of “safe spaces,” why the worst possible thing you can be is a “snowflake,” oversensitive, convinced of your worth as a human in a humane society. They believe that compassion is maladaptive, that liberalism is a disorder. They are wrong. Having feelings does not make a person weak. Allowing those feelings to control your behavior is what makes monsters."
Laurie Penny, "Against Bargaining"
The Baffler, 11/18/16
Ordinary people - not weirdo radicals like myself and so many other in the blogosphere - are sick and fucking tired of being pushed around by the Powers That Be and their army of trolls and bigots and miscreants, both on and off line. And what we're seeing already, despite the right-wing populism that helped propel the Cheetocracy into the White House, is that the massive influx of new blood into the resistance is beginning to stand together against the bullshit are outside of the regular partisan divisions, because they are finally beginning to be erased.

We're getting back to labor vs. capital, which is a much stronger place position to fight from because it refuses to hold parties exempt based upon political allegiances. It's what got us everything the GOP is so desperate to take away, and the class struggle of old is rapidly shaping up to be the defining conflict of the twenty-first century.

Fuck making America great again. Let's make America Red again.



FACE VALUE

“Uncle” Charlie Pierce is doing great work over at Esquire skewering Toupee Fiasco and all of his conservative cronies on the daily, and you should totally be following be following his column. From his work at Grantland through now, he’s always been an incisive commentator, providing valuable insight into any subject he chooses to write about.

It’s with the utmost respect for that in mind that I dare say that Uncle Charlie didn’t work this particular line of reasoning…
Update: The Entire Executive Branch Is an IKEA Assembly Disaster
02/22/17

One of the most valuable services that The Washington Post has been providing since Inauguration Day is the running tally of key Executive branch positions—the ones requiring Senate confirmation—for which the administration had yet even to nominate someone. This is an important bit of data for a number of reasons.

First, it demonstrates that Camp Runamuck was in no way prepared to assume the presidency on Day 1. Second, it demonstrates that things have not gotten appreciably better. And, third, it renders laughable Mitch McConnell's persistent prevarication about how we'd all be sailing along if the Democrats would just confirm all the president*'s nominees. In brief, there are 549 of these positions available in the Executive Branch. According to the most recent figures, the administration has failed even to nominate someone for 515 of them.

Now, I suppose, it can be argued that this is how the president* is shrewdly cutting waste in government. After all, he knows that uranium can be used to make nuclear bombs, so why does he need an undersecretary of state for arms control? He knows more than the generals do, so of what use to him is an undersecretary of defense for intelligence? Why does the CIA need an inspector general, or the EPA an assistant administrator for chemical safety? Why does the National Park Service need a director, anyway?

This is yet another thing about which the Congress should be screaming. The executive branch is hamstringing itself. Maybe some of these positions are superfluous, but it would be nice to be sure that the president even knows what some of them are. The most stark mental image of this administration remains a phone ringing forever in an empty office.
...quite to its logical conclusion.

The “phone ringing forever in an empty office” is the point. Mitch McConnell’s “persistent prevarications” regarding Democratic obstruction are just a side show to obscure that the whole point of installing the Cheetocracy is to dismantle the federal government, loot the Treasury, and bounce before the check arrives. That being the case, the Trump organization and the Republican Party were more than prepared to step into power on Election Day: stepping into power means finally getting a chance to fuck shit up on behalf of your corporate masters while laughing all the way to the bank.

The worst part is, they’ve made zero secret of this. The left just hasn’t been listening. Or if they have, they’ve refused to take that threat seriously.

One of the most frequently cited passages in Masha Gessen’s now-seminal article “Autocracy: Rules For Survival” for the New York Review Of Books is the first rule of survival: believe the autocrat.
“He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable. Back in the 1930s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture. More recently, the same newspaper made a telling choice between two statements made by Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov following a police crackdown on protesters in Moscow: “The police acted mildly—I would have liked them to act more harshly” rather than those protesters’ “liver should have been spread all over the pavement.” Perhaps the journalists could not believe their ears. But they should—both in the Russian case, and in the American one. For all the admiration Trump has expressed for Putin, the two men are very different; if anything, there is even more reason to listen to everything Trump has said. He has no political establishment into which to fold himself following the campaign, and therefore no reason to shed his campaign rhetoric. On the contrary: it is now the establishment that is rushing to accommodate him—from the president, who met with him at the White House on Thursday, to the leaders of the Republican Party, who are discarding their long-held scruples to embrace his radical positions.”
If people weren’t following this one before, they sure as Shinola are now. But had they done so when fat-weasel-in-a-human-suit Grover Norquist told NPR way back in the long, long ago of 2001…
"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."
...we might – emphasis on might – not be in our current predicament.

"Dammit...y'all were s'posed to forget about me!"
Much ado was made of the metaphor of course, but out of what can only be described as Masha Gessen’s “innate tendency to reach for a rationalization” on behalf of the mainstream press and thereby most of the public, nobody took Norquist’s ultimate goal – metaphorically drowning the government in a bathtub – seriously. Nobody except for a handful of now-inveterate bloggers who are responsible for so much of the blogosphere as it exists today. Many of them are still active, and if you weren’t following them before, you should probably start now.

Flash forward fifteen years, and the Cheetocracy is giving Lady Liberty a bathtub swirly that may very well be the end of her, depending on the way things pan out over the next year or so. And they’re doing it precisely because it’s exactly what they wanted. It’s what they’ve wanted for going on four decades, and the only reason why they've gotten what they wanted is because those who could have done something about it didn't listen. And by all accounts, they still aren't.

Are you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

THE SHAMING CIRCLE


Shame is a powerful and destructive emotion. In many circumstances, it can be fatal. As such, it should never, ever be treated lightly. Especially by people who are ostensibly trying to help others overcome it, like blogger Emma Lindsay claims to do.

Several days ago, Ms. Lindsay published an article on Medium entitled "Why Does Dating Men Make Me Feel Like Shit?" detailing her struggles with beginning to date men again after exclusively dating women for the last five years. In summary, the article outlines how patriarchal values create a culture of shame for men whose romantic and physical desires don’t live up to those values, how that shame colors their romantic interactions with women, and how the toxicity of it all is detrimental to both sexes.

It was an incredibly difficult read. And not because I don't agree with anything Emma Lindsay is trying to say, or because her writing is bad or her narrative wasn’t compelling. In fact, I agree with just about everything she said, and I actually read it a couple of times so I could really chew on it before responding. My issue lies with her framing, which is incredibly insensitive to the culture of shame she seems so eager to root out and dismantle.

From the headline - "Why Does Dating Men Make Me Feel Like Shit?" - on down, I kept asking myself, "who is she writing this for? Who's her intended audience?"

If she's writing it for men, spitting in the face of male confirmation bias isn't likely to earn her a sympathetic ear, because they are ashamed. Women? If so, spitting in the face of male confirmation bias is likely going to earn her an overly sympathetic ear, because they want to shame those who have shamed them. You need only read people’s reactions in the comment thread – which were many, as this article was fairly well-trafficked – to see what I’m referring to. Hardly anyone who clicked through to read the article did so with an open mind, which is thoroughly detrimental to what is in fact an incredibly important subject. Especially for men, who, as the subject of the piece, are the ones that really need to read it.

As far as the article itself, there's a lot of amazing insight and wisdom to be had, but only if you can get past the fact that she broke one of the very rules about sex writing set down by Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas that she claims to champion: inserting herself into the story. And because of that, to quote Young himself, "It just doesn’t feel right."

What it does feel like – and I can only speak for myself in this regard, although I'm hard-pressed to believe my sentiment to be a unique one – is Emma Lindsay telling men to feel ashamed of feeling ashamed about their sexuality, and also to feel ashamed of putting that shame on her rather than "manning up" and dealing with it. It's a great way to stir shit for clicks, but isn't going to empower men to address their shame, or empower women to understand that shame on an individual level without judging it.

Although based upon some of her other work, "I don't know what to do about it, I just want to bitch about it" seems to be Emma Lindsay's modus operandi. Again: great for clicks, bad for discourse. Remind me again who should feel ashamed?

What she's doing here is akin to pouring gasoline on a grease fire. It's abusive, for Chrissake. And when people feel abused, they feel ashamed, and when they feel ashamed, they don't listen. They shut down, either in anger or in fear or in despair. As a man reading this, the only reason I was able to do so, let alone talk about it now, is because I read something remarkably similar a few weeks ago that wasn't a clickbait minefield of emotional triggers. If you perchance find someone in the predicament Emma Lindsay describes being in, skip her article and send them this one instead.

Using sensitive subjects like shame over sexuality as tools in what amounts to a literary publicity stunt is disingenuous at best, and borders dangerously on anti-feminist practice. Sexual shaming, regardless of how it takes form and against whom it is directed, is a tool of the patriarchy, not of the revolution. And I'm not sure who's side Emma Lindsay is on, other than her own.

Monday, February 20, 2017

THE WHITE ELEPHANT IN MOM'S BASEMENT



It’s time the nation rid itself of the myth of the “angry, old white dude” as America’s main progenitor of hate-wing culture. The truth is much more illuminating, not to mention disturbing.
"America, and perhaps existence itself is a cascade of empty promises and advertisements — that is to say, fantasy worlds, expectations that will never be realized “IRL”, but perhaps consumed briefly in small snatches of commodified pleasure.
 

Thus these Trump supporters hold a different sort of ideology, not one of “when will my horse come in”, but a trolling self-effacing, “I know my horse will never come in”. That is to say, younger Trump supporters know they are handing their money to someone who will never place their bets — only his own — because, after all, it’s plain as day there was never any other option. […]

4chan value system, like Trump’s ideology, is obsessed with masculine competition (and the subsequent humiliation when the competition is lost). Note the terms 4chan invented, now so popular among grade schoolers everywhere: “fail” and “win”, “alpha” males and “beta cucks”. This system is defined by its childlike innocence, that is to say, the inventor’s inexperience with any sort of “IRL” romantic interaction. And like Trump, since these men wear their insecurities on their sleeve, they fling these insults in wild rabid bursts at everyone else. 


Trump the loser, the outsider, the hot mess, the pathetic joke, embodies this duality. Trump represents both the alpha and the beta. He is a successful person who, as the left often notes, is also the exact opposite — a grotesque loser, sensitive and prideful about his outsider status, ready at the drop of a hat to go on the attack, self-obsessed, selfish, abrogating, unquestioning of his own mansplaining and spreading, so insecure he must assault women. In other words, to paraphrase Truman Capote, he is someone with his nose pressed so hard up against the glass he looks ridiculous. And for this reason, (because he knows he is substanceless) he must constantly re-affirm his own ego. Or as Errol Morris put it, quoting Borges, he is a “labyrinth with no center”.

But, what the left doesn’t realize is, this is not a problem for Trump’s supporters, rather, the reason why they support him. […]

Trump’s ventures of course, represent this fantasy: this hope that the working man, against the odds dictated by his knowledge, experience, or hard work will one day strike it rich — Trump University, late night real estate schemes, the casinos. Trump himself, who inherited his wealth, represents the classic lucky sap.

But Trump also equally represents the knowledge that all of that is a lie, a scam that’s much older than you are, a fantasy that we can dwell in though it will never become true, like a video game.

Trump, in other words, is a way of owning and celebrating being taken advantage of.

Trump embodies buying the losing bet that will never be placed.

He is both despair and cruel arrogant dismissal, the fantasy of winning and the pain of losing mingled into one potion.

For this reason, the left should stop expecting Trump’s supporters to be upset when he doesn’t fulfill his promises.

Support for Trump is an acknowledgment that the promise is empty."
At no point during the election did anyone in the mainstream press speak meaningfully about how 4chan’s aggressive libertarianism and penchant for extremely subversive humor served the miscreants who dwell there as a palliative against the dying light of the American Dream, or how as such they had as profound an influence on the electorate as Fox News, Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, or any of the hate-wing media establishment. As the dark underbelly of millenialism, they are the electorate, and they do not give a fuck.

Sadly, this song has been sung before, and no one was listening, likely because the guy who called the tune more closely resembled those he was describing than he’d care to admit:
"For (Hunter) Thompson, the (Hell’s) Angels weren’t important because they heralded a new movement of cultural hedonism, but because they were the advance guard for a new kind of right-wing politics...[they] were mostly working-class white men who felt, not incorrectly, that they had been relegated to the sewer of American society. Their unswerving loyalty to the nation— the Angels had started as a World War II veterans group—had not paid them any rewards or won them any enduring public respect...Though most had made it through high school, they did not have the more advanced levels of training that might lead to economic or professional security. “Their lack of education,” Thompson wrote, “rendered them completely useless in a highly technical economy.” Looking at the American future, they saw no place for themselves in it. […]
 

[R]ather than gracefully accepting their place as losers in an increasingly technical, intellectual, global, inclusive, progressive American society, [the Angels] stuck up their fingers at the whole enterprise. If you can’t win, you can at least scare the bejeesus out of the guy wearing the medal. You might not beat him, but you can make him pay attention to you. You can haunt him, make him worry that you’re going to steal into his daughter’s bedroom in the darkest night and have your way with her—and that she might actually like it."
The Great Gonzo understood this as something much greater than a partisan political phenomenon: as a byproduct of the slippery slope to obsolescence in a world driven by hypercapitalism, one that would only accelerate with the pace of unchecked global change. Thompson also understood that with every prole that upended his basket of fucks, they were becoming an angry, white mob that would have their reckoning whether the rest of the world liked it or not.

While connecting these dots here in the peanut gallery is a valuable exercise, without mainstream journalists following suit (are you listening, CNN?) we can only expect more of the same, with every “whitelash” bringing us one step closer to domestic armageddon.

File under: shit I wish I’d understood and written long before the Cheetocracy came to power as it might have had a tiny, tiny hand in preventing it

Friday, February 17, 2017

WEEKLY DISPATCHES #010: TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY



"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.
It’s not been a good week for our Dumpster-Fire-In-Chief; he lost a cabinet member in record time as a fucking Russian spy, had a prospective replacement for that position literally call his administration a “shit sandwich,” and can’t get the various agencies that comprise America’s “deep state” to stop arguing over which one gets to pick him apart first. In other words: there’s nothing to see here, and everyone should just move along. #AlternativeFacts

A shit week for Trump, while not a great week for the nation, is certainly an improvement. It means that the immense public and internal pressure being applied history’s now-most unpopular Preznit and his gang of miscreants is actually! working! and we really need to keep it up.

But there still seem to be a great many folks on the left – including a great deal of establishment Democrats – who think appeasement, collaboration, and capitulation remain preferable tactics for dealing with a cabal of evildoers who stole the White House. Again.

Please allow me to disabuse you of that notion, because not only is it fundamentally out of sync with reality, it makes you party to low-grade treason.

What the Democratic Party needs on the national stage, and what the left needs on a state and local stage, is to borrow a few pages from the GOP playbook on militant authoritarianism.

Stop wrinkling your nose and listen for a second.

The fact that the left is a broad coalition of snowflakes, and that getting said snowflakes to reach a consensus on most issues makes herding cats look like child’s play, is the main reason why we keep getting our asses handed to us, over and over and over again. To be clear, this happens even when we don’t elect monumentally-incompetent-and-possibly-batshit-crazy people to high office.

Sure, snowflakes can bond together and form an avalanche. But is such an inchoate metaphor of wanton destruction really an effective term for creating a life beyond austerity and proto-fascism?

Or perhaps something like this is more appropriate?


The Republican Party is many things: thoroughly corrupt, insatiably greedy, feckless, insane, incompetent, and a great many other, more colorful pejoratives. What they also are is organized, focused, and militant in the pursuit of a handful of critical goals that pave the way for their broader agenda. And so must the left be, if what remains of our nation’s good name and the least of those who inhabit it is not to be ground to powder.
“Trump voters, the countryside against the cities, have become something like the American version of the Khmer Rouge...But the not-so-benign neglect of once staunchly Democratic factory towns and mountain coal country is a reflection both of the marginalization of the former CIO unions within the party and — here the stereotype is accurate — the preempting priorities of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street. Digital America is blue and Analog America, despite being poorer, is red.”

Michael Kinnucan, “Why Republicans Are Impressive”
Current Affairs Magazine, 01/28/17
“This asymmetry is what’s so impressive about the modern Republican Party. It’s not just that they’ve won, but that winning has put them in a position to enact an extraordinarily ambitious and radical agenda, one which will in the course of a few months destroy pillars of American government that have stood for fifty years or more...The lesson is this: in modern American politics, having an ideologically coherent and disciplined party is an advantage, not a liability.”

“Hey Tea Party, meet your lefty cousins”
DecodeDC #178, 01/26/17
“After this election, some on the left are feeling pretty powerless - but Angel Padilla isn't. He got together with 30 other former congressional staffers to put together a concrete guide on how to resist President Trump's policies, and they borrowed all their knowledge from an unlikely source--The Tea Party. It's called Indivisible, and in this episode, Jimmy gets to the bottom of how it might work.”

Indivisible: A Practical Guide To Resisting The Trump Agenda
“The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism— and they won...Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party could stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.”

WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE? ME, OR YOUR LYING EYES?


WITNESS THE GLORY THAT IS TIME MAGAZINE'S NEW COVER:


The only thing that's missing is a bunch of turds floating around to indicate just what! a fucking! shitstorm! the last month has been.

But what do I know? I'm just some partisan hack in the peanut gallery with too much free time, amirite?



Just keep shopping. And don't mind the smell; Rome totally isn't burning or anything. You're just thinking too hard, that's all.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ANTHEM OF THE WEEK: "MISS MACGUYVER" BY BILLY SHEEN


If I was asked to describe her:
A lie detector, and an inspector, yes sir.
Investigator, Miss MacGuyver,

Never neglect her, she'll intercept your lecture.
Steals a slip from your prescriber,
Now she's your doctor, she's deep within your texture.

Changing the colors of your fibers,
You can't deny her,
She'll try and try until she gets hers.

There's a truth that lies within every man,
And if anyone can prove it, then she can.
Look into her eyes and take her hand
As she follows the fault lines of a fake man.
Bob Marley once said that “when the music hits you, you feel no pain,” but what is nostalgia other than the bittersweet longing for all that could have been?

Your humble scribe broke things off with his girlfriend over the past weekend. Our eight-month affair had run its course, and there was little else to do but end it on a high note before the inevitable decay of co-dependence sunk in and poisoned all that was good and pure about what we were.

She's an incredible young woman with an incredible life in front of her, but sadly, it's not one that I can be a part of, as much as I might like to. I could not and would not lie to her about that. About anything. It's why she was so important.

I was able to confide in her things that, after thirty-eight years on this planet, I've never shared with anyone, even myself in many respects. She gave me the place and the space to embrace the better angels of my nature, even though she knew it might mean losing me as her lover and companion.

That's what true love is: wanting and working for the very best for those around you, even it means letting them go.

Never, ever fucking forget that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

OPERATION: HUMAN SHIELD


Out of the mouths of babes...



...comes a set of vapid, empty talking points completely indistinguishable from those that dribble from the mouth of every Fox News correspondent.

Looks like someone has a promising future in the Youth League:
"Some Eurasian prisoners, guilty of war crimes, were to be hanged in the Park that evening, Winston remembered. This happened about once a month, and was a popular spectacle. Children always clamoured to be taken to see it. He took his leave of Mrs Parsons and made for the door. But he had not gone six steps down the passage when something hit the back of his neck an agonizingly painful blow. It was as though a red-hot wire had been jabbed into him. He spun round just in time to see Mrs Parsons dragging her son back into the doorway while the boy pocketed a catapult.
'Goldstein!' bellowed the boy as the door closed on him. But what most struck Winston was the look of helpless fright on the woman's greyish face. 
'You're a traitor!' yelled the boy. 'You're a thought-criminal!
You're a Eurasian spy! I'll shoot you, I'll vaporize you,
I'll send you to the salt mines!'
Back in the flat he stepped quickly past the telescreen and sat down at the table again, still rubbing his neck. The music from the telescreen had stopped. Instead, a clipped military voice was reading out, with a sort of brutal relish, a description of the armaments of the new Floating Fortress which had just been anchored between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
With those children, he thought, that wretched woman must lead a life of terror. Another year, two years, and they would be watching her night and day for symptoms of unorthodoxy. Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it. The songs, the processions, the banners, the hiking, the drilling with dummy rifles, the yelling of slogans, the worship of Big Brother -- it was all a sort of glorious game to them. All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak -- 'child hero' was the phrase generally used -- had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police."

Friday, February 10, 2017

WEEKLY DISPATCHES #009: THIRD PARTY PILE-UP!

“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.
In my last Weekly Dispatches column, I stated my formal case for supporting an American third party labor movement, but realized quite belatedly that, within said column, I failed to included any specific resources for existing third parties or supporting agencies.

Clearly, a list like that might be useful for people who are on board with the third party notion, but don’t know where to begin, amirite?

So you’ll find one below as the core component of this week’s column. But before we get to that, I just want to take a moment to address some of the incredibly fatalistic and negative responses I received to last week’s column, and to the piece I wrote which inspired it. Fatalistic and negative responses like these:
“Our voting system is not designed to have more then two parties. It just doesn't work.”

“I really respect you, and I'll try to find time to read this, but I've worked with third parties at the local level, and I don't think they are helpful at the national level, or depending on the state, at the state level.”

“While I absolutely agree with the need for a new direction, I wonder about the effect of dividing the vote. The system is rigged by, and for, the two major parties. Our "Winner Take All" system, as opposed to a parliamentary, coalition style government is working against true progress.”

“Staring [in] the face of fascism is ‘the perfect time?’”
Let me start with that last one first: YES. YES IT IS THE PERFECT TIME.

What we have here is a spectacular lack of imagination, and an overabundance of short-sighted, binary thinking. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, given how the slow shuffle to the right in big-d Democratic politics has done to the public what putting a frog in a pot of water to boil on the lowest setting does to the frog; cooking you alive so slowly that, by the time you realize what’s happening you’re ready to be consumed, so there’s nothing to be done but float dead in the water.

There is no rule anywhere that says you can’t support independent third parties and agitate for reform in whatever main party you’re aligned with at the same time. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Anyone who says otherwise is either too intellectually lazy to contemplate anything different, or is trying to sell you something.

They are two different lines of thinking, requiring two different sets of tactics. I know, haters, I know….holding more than one thought in your head at a time, is really, really hard. But stick with me here:

In the short-term, electing labor-friendly, third-party candidates for local office is one of the most effective ways to have an immediate impact on your community. It creates an opportunity to build local coalitions, institute progressive social policies, thereby beginning to emancipate people from the day-to-day struggles that keep them from getting involved in mass social movements. The story of “Red Vienna” in post-WWI Austria is a phenomenal example of how this can play out to great effect in an urban setting, especially as it echoes many of familiar struggles the left is dealing with today.

In the medium-term, a larger body of labor-friendly, third-party elected officials across multiple cities and counties can begin to form coalitions to apply greater leverage on the public’s behalf to those directly above them, further distinguishing themselves as forces to be reckoned with.

Lastly, long-term investment in third-party candidates creates the opportunity for them to, after a time, begin to run for state offices, thereby mounting formal primary challenges against establishment partisans from the major parties. Hell, maybe we’ll even run one of ‘em for President in my lifetime, or yours. But not if we don’t get started ASAP.

All along the way, we can still go to town hall meetings, attend rallies and demonstrations, make phone calls, write letters, and on and on and on to our aforementioned establishment partisans at the state and federal level, letting them know that enough is enough and that if they don’t get their shit together and fight the Cheetocracy tooth and nail, we’ll find someone who will.

No, it will not be easy. It will be difficult, excruciatingly so. But if there’s anything that this past election has revealed, it’s that the neoliberal politics of the Democratic Party have failed the working class, the neoconfederate politics of the Republican Party are driving our country straight off a fiscal cliff, and that bringing about the level of institutional reform required to course-correct either party will almost certainly be an exercise in futility.

I’ll also reiterate that, thanks to the unprecedented campaign successes of Bernie Sanders, there is an incredible resurgence of interest out there in third-party politics, as well as a burning sense of bitterness against the Democratic Party at the way the DNC did him in. Never mind the way they’ve spent more time navel-gazing since the Cheetocracy was first installed than they have forming a unified front and kicking some Republican teeth in.

I know, I know...Bernie’s still registered Democrat. So what? That doesn’t mean the class struggles that he spent months and months talking about on the campaign trail suddenly don’t exist, or that we shouldn’t take that message to its logical conclusion. There is a prime opportunity to get people on board with third-party politics in a timely fashion, and in yuuuuge numbers.

We just have to think bigger. Like this guy.
“The DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) stated it best, "We can work with anti-corporate Democrats – and use the Democratic Party ballot line when it makes sense to run democratic socialist local candidates. But we prioritize an inside/outside strategic approach towards the Democratic Party as an institution, and that means also building an independent mass base and even running candidates independently when it makes sense in context."

We need both desperately.”
He's absolutely right. Now, on to that list:

“The Party seeks, above all, to produce positive change within the political system. Our priorities are to influence politics in four largely interrelated areas: human rights, secularism, evidence-based policymaking, and respectful, nonpartisan dialogue. We seek to promote neither liberal nor conservative principles; rather, we wish to influence politics based on the idea that, when reasonable people are elected, productive dialogue follows.”

“The American Party of Labor is a revolutionary working class organization. Our aim is to abolish the capitalist system and all its horrors by replacing it with socialism, a system based on the principle laid out by Marx, ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his work.’ This is the first phase toward the higher phase of communism, defined by the principle ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.’”

“Working Families is a growing progressive political organization that fights for an economy that works for all of us, and a democracy in which every voice matters. We believe that our children’s life chances must not be determined at birth, and that America must be a nation that allows all its people to thrive.”

“The Party for Socialism and Liberation believes that the only solution to the deepening crisis of capitalism is the socialist transformation of society. Driven by an insatiable appetite for ever greater profits regardless of social cost, capitalism is on a collision course with the people of the world and the planet itself. Imperialist war; deepening unemployment and poverty; deteriorating health care, housing and education; racism; discrimination and violence based on gender and sexual orientation; environmental destruction—all are inevitable products of the capitalist system itself.”

“The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics.”

Thursday, February 9, 2017

PRESENTATION MATTERS

It really does.







Jack Smith IV looks like the kind of guy who would rifle through your bag and steal your geometry work to copy it. Only this time, the bag belonged to Fox News, and the homework assignment was a book report extolling the virtues of the Bell Curve.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

ANTHEM OF THE WEEK: "PUSHIN' AGAINST A STONE" BY VALERIE JUNE


There you go, There you go
Try to fill, all the space
In your hollow hearted soul
Carry on, carry on
Try to fill, all the space
Pushin' up against a stone...

Day 19 of the Cheetocracy, and it's quiet. Too quiet. After the initial onslaught of unmitigated bullshit brought to us by #PresidentBannon, and the Heroic! Fucking! Resistance! by millions of Americans to it, both sides seem to be licking their wounds and figuring out their next moves.

If there was ever a perfect illustration of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object, it's the last nineteen days. Now, if only I knew which side was which...

ELIZABETH WARREN VS. THE COWARD MCCONNELL

The only thing worse than that FUPA-chinned, shellbacked, spent piece of used jet trash (thanks Tom Waits!) Mitch McConnell basically telling Senator Elizabeth Warren to sit down, shut up, and stop citing the words of the wife of America's Most Hallowed Civil Rights Icon as ample and correct precedent for riding AG nominee Jefferson Beauregard Sessions out of town on a fucking rail:

"She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said on the Senate floor.

The line was an instant classic -- the kind liberals imagine being replayed ad nauseum in TV ads in a future presidential campaign. (Laaaawd, I hope so. -ed.)

(from CNN)
Is finding out that he gave Bernie Sanders a pass to do the exact same fucking thing the very next day.


But hey, the Republicans aren't sexist assholes, right?

RIGHT?

I'm not going to post Bernie's reading of Coretta Scott King's letter here, because fuck that. He wasn't the one who was supposed to cram her words down the coward McConnell's throat; Senator Warren was. Rather, I will post his ardent and sincere demand that the coward McConnell apologize to Senator Warren for his treasonous, misogynistic douchbaggery:

 
 
Okay...so those weren't his words, they were mine. Would that I could be Old Man Bernie's anger translator; all I would have to do is punch the coward McConnell in the face every time Bernie opened his mouth.

We're a long way from 2020, but if Elizabeth Warren decides she wants to run for president, the Republicans might wanna think harder about not paving her road to victory with any more gold-plated bullshit. #foodforthought