Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Vodka Wednesday

Cheap shots (it’s vodka webnesday!)

Twice the force. This one is very disturbing – follow at your own risk.

If you followed the last link – too soon? - 
I point out once again, it’s possible to impeach Kavanaugh NOW.

Susan Collins, you’re full of shit.

You too, Nikki Haley.

Kind of makes me glad neither of my daughters went to Yale.

She looks good on paper. Gotta wonder what the move here is.

Dude, in retrospect we’re cringing at your behavior too.

Dude, I agree with you about Avenatti. Doesn’t mean that he’s been wrong though.

35 years ago, World War Three didn’t start, thanks to one man’s gut.

Dude, I know what I said the other day, but it’s what a parent says to a child in this situation. The reality is that they were laughing AT YOU.

And because I love you, a song I don’t think I’ve heard in 35 years:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Why I find it easy to believe Kavanaugh’s multiple accusers

Let me tell you a few things about rich, or even moderately well-to-do, white boys and men raised in the United States. Typically between the ages of 14 and 30. Some of whom will even read this. They are among the worst people you could ever meet.

It’s a unique subset of Americana – part of a class of people who get every advantage life can possibly offer them; health insurance, travel, a good education and guaranteed college, upwardly mobile career paths and expectations, fraternities and secret societies… it leads to a sense of entitlement that translates in many many cases to inexcusable boorishness. So many of this class of people become leaders in finance, law and politics that it’s nearly an unspoken part of the up-and-coming lifer’s resume.

Having grown up as a white male just outside of this subset (okay, substantially outside of this subset – we was poor) but growing up along-side them (getting into college, etc.) I was often astonished at how much all of these young men expected everything to go their way. That no matter how awful a thing they might have done, that they knew not only that they could get away with it but that they were supposed to.

They drank alcohol to excess because they were supposed to. They had (biblically had) women at parties because they were supposed to. They travelled and did the same things because they were supposed to. They committed acts of silly and stupid vandalism – often while drunk. They all believe in this. They brag about it in a bizarre display of comparative dominance, like wild animals. Sometimes they believe this because it’s what they’re taught. Sometimes it’s because they teach themselves. But one thing they all have in common is that this is a phase of life – something they do and then move on from. They look at the terrible things they’ve done to themselves and other people with pride, but behind them. In their eyes it’s unfair to expect anything else.

Judge Kavanaugh is most certainly one of these people. His classmates were – to this day they brag about it. They brag about him bragging about it. They are most likely all decent citizens and people NOW. They got through that phase. Even though that experience digs into the brain and influences them for the remainder of their days – displayed as simple misogyny to inappropriate behavior to sex crimes all the way to people who wish for the days of The Handmaid’s Tale. But they are also the people they used to be.

We are living in a time where the political party in power, from its lowest woman (and yes, the lowest people in the party are women – or black – look at how they’ve been used as pawns during this whole Kavanaugh process) to the most raw version of all this at the very top are people who believe in this. Who respect it. They will defend to the death those who have experienced it with them. Many experienced it themselves, including the man at the top.

It should come as no shock that Kavanaugh is this kind of man – I expected it of anyone that would get nominated. The people in power right now have coddled and brought forward men like this. Men who have had these experiences. MANLY MEN. There are tens, hundreds of thousands of men just like him out there, and if my some miracle we keep Kavanaugh off the bench the next one up will be just as bad. A believer that this is right. His right.

It’s sad, really, but we’ve done this to ourselves. This is a result of the further widening of the wealth in this country since the Reagan error, plus a near psychopathic coddling of people so far to the right in their Christianity that they believe that 51% of the electorate should be second class citizens. You do this for 4 decades and pretty soon everyone who considers themselves young (or young at heart) simply can’t remember a time when it wasn’t like this.

Now there are exceptions. Hell, I know a few. But people like Kavanaugh, the Comics-gate idiots, etcetera etcetera flat out believe that their entitlement outweighs anything else and will lie, steal and cheat to preserve it , all the while claiming that it is unfair to even point it out. Because what they’ve done and what they believe is how it’s supposed to be.

We are long overdue a new revolution. People without power with pitchforks and placards far outnumber this subset of Americana. People like to hide behind the idea of a new revolution just to justify their own ideology as right but this isn’t about my ideology, or yours. It’s about changing their sense of entitlement into something they should be ashamed of. Not their wealth and position, but what they did with it at the expense of others. It’s not about ideology, it’s about that golden rule that they constantly throw in our faces while breaking it with every step.

We need to revolutionize how we treat each other, top to bottom and starting at the top. Starting at the bottom. Starting in the middle. Start SOMEWHERE goddamnit!

Because I know all these things I find it very easy to believe and support Kavanaugh’s multiple accusers. Now you know all these things. I just taught them to you — although you already knew it all. How easy is it for you to support them?

You should. We have to start fixing this somewhere.

Cheap Shots:

This Gamble is kind of a big deal, and worth paying attention to.

I am reminded of the last line of the bit “Ralph Jameson” from his 1964 album, “I Started out as a Child”.

It was probably better in the original German. 1938 German.

He really is dreamy, isn’t he Senator?

No no no, they’re laughing with you, not at you. Okay, it’s at you but still, it’s a laugh.

Jeanine Pirro will cluck like a chicken when I snap my fingers in three… two…

Just for the picture – the law firm of PJ, Moose and Squee.

And because I love you, this surreal and brilliant take on it all:

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

“I Have No Son!”

Because I can do no better, you should really read this article about how Alexander Hamilton was obsessed with the problem of someone like Trump coming along.

Also, let’s boil trump today into the most pure essence, even better than his tweets: “I Have No Son!”

Cheap shots (found some very well aged tequila):

What do you suppose the odds are that Dr. Ford is one of the 2-6% who is lying? I just don’t buy it.

Besides, we now have some corroboration.

What is it with this nutcase and impossible walls?

“Al least you got a nice boat out of the deal.” You know, because possession is 9/10 of the law, amirite? (read the Update from the pool report)

Just checking up on his golf course.

Come on daddy, you’ve even lost the First Daughter.

And because I love you, Colin Hay.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Feed the Birds, Tuppence a Bag

I don’t have much coherent in my head other than TAKE MY MONEY! For this trailer.

Therefore, get out your drinking glasses and get ready for some Cheap Shots:

White Men as a minority. For reals.

You should all keep in mind that Senators who are leaning towards “yes” on Kavanaugh also screamed for the expulsion of Senator Al Franken.

Remember those 65 Women standing by Kavanaugh? Actually, It’s only two.

Oh, and while we’re at it, 200 trumps  65 er… 2.

In case you didn’t think Ted Cruz is a sleazeball, check this out.

I cannot do better than this headline.

Fuckin’ snowflake.

Representative Federal Prisoner #1537195486.

Found himself murdered?” WTF!?!!?!!?

I really hope he wears a deerstalker cap during this.

Take the deep dive – this is actual obstruction of justice.

And because I love you, proof that Justin Timberlake was wrong – or so I hear.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Willful Ignorance as Political Currency

<tap tap tap> Is this thing on?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Don’t worry, I’m still the same old crank I always was. I just got too addicted to social media, an addiction I’m trying to break. Here’s hoping it takes with a return to old school blogging.

I got involved in a social media thread yesterday where a person wanted to claim that racism in the south springs from the Democratic Party of today. That the racism switch from Democratic to Republican never happened. I suppose when your political party is headed by such an overt racist you have the desire to deflect and I understand that, but this unbelievable, willful ignorance still makes me furious. It is so easy to disprove with just a few minutes of effort on the internet (which I’ll save you from – the switch happened in 1948 when Truman kicked the Dixiecrats out of the Democratic Party, just after he defeated Dewey).

But it got me thinking. Why has willful ignorance become such a treasured commodity in our social discourse? How did it become such a strong currency in our political discussions? Why is willful ignorance seen as a Political POSITIVE by so many people?

There’s some knowledge I have thanks to being descended from my father that I’m not going to get into, but I think it really starts with the expulsion of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party in 1948.

Understand that Harry Truman HATED the Dixiecrats. They nearly cost him the presidential election of 1948. Sure, when you look at the popular vote (Dixiecrats – 2.4%) and the electoral college (Dixiecrats – 39 votes out of a possible 531) it doesn’t seem possible, but the reason many newspapers called the election for Dewey is because of the belief that Strom Thurmond (the Dixiecrat candidate) had successfully split the vote. They were laughably wrong, but polling backed them up right up to election day.

After the election Truman consolidated power and kicked the Dixiecrats out, who were democrats until Truman adopted a civil rights platform, and because the Republican Party had been shifting rightwards for some time they were welcomed in. Most Dixiecrats became Republicans (for example, Strom Thurmond and Herman Talmadge) but a few came back by agreeing to a party loyalty pledge in 1952.

I could go on and on about that, but that’s not my point today. My point is that the Dixies wanted the South to remain Segregated. They wanted enforceable racism to stay. They were willfully wrong and they were welcomed into the Republican Party with open arms – because they were badly beaten in 1948 and needed new blood. The Republican party slowly became the party that would welcome anyone to get votes. I’ll get to that in a moment.

After Truman we got Eisenhower, who was an incredibly popular man. Recruited by both Democrats and Republicans he declined to state his preference for a very long time (including refusing to run in 1948) but finally came down on the Republican side, running for President in 1952 and winning handily. He called himself a Progressive Republican, willing to fight the right wing of his party, but he accommodated them as well, welcoming corporate executives into his cabinet (a first) and eventually issuing Executive Order 10450, which barred members of the LGBTQA community from federal service – resulting in the firing of over 5,000 people (this order wasn’t rescinded until 1995). His administration started veering more and more to the right and Eisenhower actually railed against it. He only grudgingly supported “Operation Wetback” because he wanted to curb illegal immigration, and at the end of his presidency warned against the Military Industrial Complex, that was growing and building with heavy Republican support.

Then came Nixon. Woo boy, then came Nixon. Although he lost against Kennedy he didn’t lose by all that much. Had Pennsylvania gone the other way we’d have never had Kennedy. The gap between the two in the popular vote was only 0.18%. It was close. Kennedy got most of his southern votes thanks to having Lyndon Johnson as his running mate. And there were controversies about ballot-box stuffing in Illinois. Nixon had been a rabid anti-communist, and he very nearly rode the coattails of the Eisenhower Presidency into the White House.

In 1968, with LBJ flailing and the once-promising Camelot years falling into the ruins of Vietnam and the social revolutions going on, Nixon developed a new idea: The Southern Strategy. The idea would be to appeal directly to all of the Dixiecrats and former Dixiecrats who had remained loyal to the Democratic Party by using race as a position point. One of his men, Lee Atwater, came up with buzz words and phrases like “forced busing”, “state’s rights”, “welfare state” and so on that it became possible to be an open racist without using actual racist slurs. And between the Democratic disarray and Nixon pulling everyone he could into the Republican Party it worked.


Once 1976 came around the Republicans were hurting, thanks to the fact that Nixon’s law-breaking finally caught up with him. Ford was tainted by his pardon of Nixon so the nation wanted ANYONE else and the Democratic Party gave us Jimmy Carter, who was doing fine until Iran exploded. Believe it or not, Carter actually brought the hostages home before he left office but Reagan gets the credit because it finally happened after he was elected. Never mind the months of negotiations that went before. Reagan was a conservative Republican and he wanted to tap a potential new base: the Religious Right.

Up to this point the Religious Right was treated with widespread scorn. They said crazy shit. Several leaders of this group would tell their followers that they could reroute hurricanes and tornadoes. A couple built theme parks. One built a huge church out of glass and crystal. There were faith healers. One of them actually fund-raised that if he didn’t get enough money God would “call him home”. I’ve lost count of the number of “last days” that we have passed by. Nutcases, but nutcases with followings and many of them were simply non-voters, because God wasn’t in Government. Reagan cultivated their leaders, and their leaders preached the Gospel according to St. Ronnie. When Regan secured the Republican Nomination he force the party to accept them, and to accommodate them.

The Republican Party found themselves in the position of having to accommodate the crazy. And the crazy takes the Bible as gospel – that every word is true. At least, every word that they cherry-picked that supports their own bigotry. Against LGBTQA rights. Against Abortion. Some were even against any evidence that the earth is more than 6,000 years old. If Science or evidence contradicted their beliefs, then their beliefs were right no matter what. Willful Ignorance, for religious purposes. I kind of understand that. Freedom of religion is cool. It’s part of being US.

But then Reagan had a couple of rules changed about television broadcasting: He had the Fairness Doctrine repealed, and he got the FCC to stay mute about the idea of regulating cable. Once cable took off Roger Ailes began to work on the framework for what would become Fox News. He worked with Reagan on media, and then George Bush I after that, and then just prior to the start of Bill Clinton’s second term launched Fox News. Paula Zahn, Bill O’Reilly, Neil Cavuto, and Sean Hannity all had shows from the first week and their agenda was a simple one. Repeat Republican talking points and belittle anything said by a non-Republican, no matter what that was. Follow Reagan’s 11th commandment – say no evil of a fellow Republican. By the time the 2000 election took place, This Republican Propaganda Channel was available in 56 Million homes. As there is no such thing as a Democratic Propaganda channel everything they said went unchallenged. The Religious Right had their own channels too. Yes, that’s a plural – at one time there were several.

And oh boy, some of the crazy shit they said. Do a few Google searches and see what you get.

While this was all happening, the internet basically exploded. Web pages. Blogs. Livejournal. Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat! Universities putting their archives online. The Cloud. So many resources for information became available. Newspapers put their archives online. You can research your ancestry. Look up quotes. Look up pictures. Find people. Research the history of nearly anything.

But at the same time, opinions came online as well and EVERYONE’s got an asshole, er, opinion. Some places encouraged and cultivated some pretty dark and dangerous stuff (everyone, just stay off 4-chan). Some places tried to be friendly. Some act as cultural centers for such a diverse group of interests that it’s impossible to comment on even 1% of them. And The Republican Party invited many of THEM in, and the people who responded are much like the people previously brought in, so swayed by the two decade effort of the Republican Propaganda channel that they tend to believe what they get from there as a source then they got in actual SCHOOL.

And those numbers grew and grew. And now they’re online. And they’ll argue with you. Most of them have never even HEARD of Reagan’s 11th Commandment.

And then John McCain made the biggest mistake of his life and put Sarah Palin on the ticket. She was one of the nutcases. She was a Dominionist. She was loud, vacuous and narcicistic. She never checked anything she said, had any depth to anything she said, and often contradicted something she had said only 10 minutes previously. Her lack of actual knowledge about ANYTHING was staggering, and her Willful Ignorance was world class. She had never heard of Reagan’s 11th commandment either and suddenly a party full of people who respected it had to refer to her in reverence and awe. And a LOT of the country bought it. 45.7% of the people who voted bought it. It wasn’t enough, but this was on the table now.

The Republican party tried to go back to its tax cut and corporate roots but that didn’t work either and more people like Sarah Palin were in office now. So it’s only natural that someone like Sarah Palin, but only more so, would rise to the crop. Many tried to be that person, but most couldn’t pull it off. They needed a natural.

Donald Trump is exactly that natural. He is the King of modern Narcissism. He’s a man who believes whatever comes out of his mouth, even if it contradicts what came out his own mouth previously, or positions he supported previously. A man who may be a Russian Stooge. So now we’ve added the necessity of personal loud narcissism to the equation. Willful Ignorance squared.

So the people who value Willful Ignorance finally elected a leader who embodies their own ability to not see the world as it is.

I’ve simplified this greatly, of course, but I’ve had many an argument online with people taking positions that are easily disprovable if you’re willing to use the internet for what it was built for – a research tool. The internet is a GREAT research tool, but most of the internet (about 75%) is devoted to various social media sites, or pay homage to them in some way. So of course people only use the internet for this one thing, and never bother to actually verify if what they are saying is actually TRUE. They instead use what they already believe, and that outweighs anything anyone else could say. Willful Ignorance – even though the resource to verify or rebut their belief/opinion is right at their fingertips.

It appears that all those cuts in education that started in 1970s have really taken hold.

It used to be that your opinion would NEVER outweigh facts. That calculus has changed and it’s all social media and its satellites. And like many of you, I’m sick of it. But I’m addicted to it too. Same as you.

I cannot stand for Willful Ignorance. Not when reality is in opposition with it. Not when the truth is easily available to people at the exact same keyboards where they spout their ignorance. So maybe Social Media just isn’t for me – but that said, it’s become the best way to get a message out, and as someone who produces and consumes public art that matters to me.

So I’m looking for a solution. No clue what it is but I think we need one. Making Fox News reportable to the FCC? Making any website that generates over $1B in revenue reportable? I have no idea.

But I’m tired of your Willful Ignorance. And I’m tired of it being a political virtue. It has to stop, or we’re all fucked.


Cheap Shots (hey, I can drink again!):

Congressman AD the Voice.

Hey, I’m all in favor of keeping Kevin McCarthy out of the Speaker’s chair, but this is nuts.

Queueing up my bet Ed Wynn impersonation: “OH, REALLY?

Here is my opinion of the whole “Anonymous Op-Ed” summed up in a single cartoon.

You know, it’s possible to impeach him NOW. And I’m not talking about Trump.

NRA Spokes-creep Dana Loesch is a racist cunt. (ooh, I’m a gonna get hate mail for that one)

It’s worth pointing out that while Ted Cruz is criticizing him for swearing, Beto O’Rourke does actually “show the fuck up”. Keep in mind that Cruz has a voting absenteeism rate in the senate 10 times his colleagues.

Y’all are surprised that the pot-smoking, founding member of Farm Aid who powers his tour bus with biodiesel and lives in a compound powered by solar panels would support the progressive? Really?

Apparently History class shouldn’t teach about a 2-time Presidential Candidate and Secretary of State.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

And because I love you and to prove that I’m back, have some new music from The Pineapple Thief: