Thursday, March 31, 2016

Gone But Not Ever Really Gone

From HuffPo:
Tuesday night, during a televised town hall interview on CNN, Stygian homunculus and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was asked if he still planned to honor a pledge he made some months prior, in which he promised to support the eventual GOP nominee. As you might imagine, given Trump’s famous flexibility toward concepts such as “honor” and “promises,” the candidate answered that no, he had no intention of following that pledge’s directive, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “No, I don’t anymore.”
So now, everyone in the political universe is coming to grips with one of the most foreseeable events in the Western hemisphere finally coming to pass — Trump’s explicit abrogation of a contractual obligation he made with Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus. Now, the remaining competitors for the nomination — Ted Cruz and John Kasich — are slowly coming around to the notion that they might want to similarly withdraw their tacit offer of support for a candidate they have long despised. Perhaps the most shocking thing about this is that it’s only now that these men have decided to embark on a spree of thinking for themselves.
But the failure of this pledge should stun nobody. Priebus’ pledge was always a catastrophically dumb idea and its utter collapse was always just a matter of time. It was a bonehead gamble from the outset, tying the hands of the very people it was ostensibly designed to protect, and empowering a serial con artist to run roughshod over the Republican Party. It should end Priebus’ career.
Does anybody really expect anybody to "lose his job" over any of this? As in "clean out your desk and stay the hell away from the GOP"? That is (and should be) the reasonable expectation on the part of every normal person with a living thinking brain - because that's how it works for everybody with a real job - but that's not how it works for an Aristocracy.

Reince Priebus prob'ly won't stay in the Chair for very long after November 8th, but the guy's not gonna be sellin' shoes or baggin' groceries. The Wingnut Welfare System will kick in almost immediately to make sure he doesn't fall too far. He'll write his book, and he'll pop up in all the ususal places as "a contributor", and eventually, he'll land in some sweet little gig that one of the "Think Tanks" has had custom-made just for him - and it'll pay him plenty as long as he spins his work in favor of the Daddy Mega-Bucks Patron du jour.

Our "leaders" keep preaching "Accountability", but it doesn't apply to anyone with the right connections to Money & Power. 
When I start seeing a few dozen Political Leaders and Press Poodles and Military Brass and Wall Street Bosses (et al) "running onto their swords", then maybe I start to think we're getting back to where we need to be.

Until then, all bets are off.  Anything goes.  Guys like you set the tone, Mr Priebus - the populace isn't behaving in any way that isn't in line with the examples you and your guys put on display almost every day - so go ahead and bitch about "Moochers" and "Free Stuff" and "Lawlessness" and "the degradation of society", etc - but you'd best be looking to yourselves first.  This isn't terribly more complicated than Practice What You Preach - and in case you hadn't noticed, even the rubes are starting to figure it out.

You wanna be counted among the Nobility? (First, no, asshole - we don't do that here).

But yeah OK, Mr Priebus - here's the thing though: nobility carries some big-time baggage, not the least of which is a Code of Honor, and that code requires you to pay a very high price when you fail it.  You've brought shame and dishonor on this country, and on your fellows, and on yourself. You're now expected to pay that price so the rest of us can have a better chance to get back to living in a nation of laws, and not of despots who would place themselves above the law.

Do you get it?  Good.  Now do your duty and fuck off.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Small Dose Of Large Reality

Stay together. 
Work Together. 
Get shit done.

Just One Question

On the near-total, and at least borderline dangerous silliness of our GOP-Branded (and ConservaDem) "leaders" who're constantly flogging the Fear-Bishop, may I just ask, "Please, can you let us be a little less stoopid on this whole immigration/terrorism thing?"

I really do understand that an awful lot of Federal Spending is going into the pockets of an awful lot of "Security" contractors, who then turn around and graciously donate big piles of  campaign dollars to your SuperPACs (purely out of the generosity of their souls and their deep abiding sense of patriotism and civic duty, of course) and completely unrelated to the fact that you're pimping the paranoia every fucking day - but c'mon, guys, maybe leadership is about not treating us like we're all stoopid so we can have a better chance to stop acting like were all stoopid. 

Best Guess Last Year
Americans dead because of "terrorism":         30
Americans dead because of "accident": 110,000+ (top 5 preventable causes)

If we actually have people in Congress who really are concerned with spending tax dollars appropriately, and wisely, and with the intention of doing the most with the least, we'd have somebody standing up to tell us to stop losing our shit every time some faithless chickenshit asshole (hiding behind a mask because his 'god' is so great, and his cause is so just, and he's so fucking courageous) - every time that asshole threatens to kill us all with his big scary knife - from 6200 miles away; with a fucking knife.

They preach this phony Gospel of National Security and then pass the collection plate, and it works every time. We all hafta stop doin' that.

Today's Rejection

From the fine folks at Urban Dictionary, on my submission of the word "genitopenia":
Thanks for your definition of genitopenia!
A few volunteer editors read your definition and decided to not publish it. Don't take it personally!
To understand what definitions we publish and reject, check out this blog post:
Try rewriting your definition so that it's easier for others to understand, then try again.
Urban Dictionary
genitopenia: (jen' - it - o - pee' - nia)
a deficiency or diminishment of the genitalia; primarily found in the male of the subspecies American Ammosexual.
Usage: "he needs bigger and bigger guns in his attempts to compensate for his advancing genitopenia".
I got vision in a world of myopia.  Guess that makes me too clever for words(?)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Who'da Thunk It?

I really hope there's absolutely nobody in Washington who's surprised by this shit:
Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter 5-year-old civil war.
The fighting has intensified over the past two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other as they have maneuvered through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.
In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east.
"Any faction that attacks us, regardless from where it gets its support, we will fight it," said Maj. Fares Bayoush, a leader of Fursan al Haq.
This is straight outa some fucked up movie.  And it's the work of an awful lotta people who really do (mostly) know what they're doing.  

Now try to imagine just how bad it gets with Trump or Cruz in the White House, running from one disaster to the next. Thanks anyway, guys.

Today's Observation

...comes from our latest dead celebrity, Garry Shandling.

At about 37:30, talking about what needs to happen to get "things" squared around and working in our favor again:

(The USA) ... "it's an addictive culture bottoming out."

Marc Maron's WTF podcast:

Remembering Garry Shandling: tackling the most complex philosophical question of our day - "What The Fuck"?

Gonna miss Garry Shandling. A lot.

Go, Bernie

Hawaii, Washington and Alaska.  A Bernie sweep.

You could make something of a point - "well, after all, it's the Left Coast, y'know".  Except for that Alaska thing.  Seems there may be a bit of a fly in that sugar bowl.

Alaska isn't exactly a hotbed of Hippie Liberals - even on the Dem side of things (I suspect).  State-wide, they generally elect people from out on the right end of the spectrum, and there's no compelling reason for me to believe there isn't something of a 'Conserva-Dem slant' to Alaska Democrats as well.  Which (to me) should mean that a Neo-Liberal like Hillary ought to have done pretty well, or at least she shoulda done OK.  She didn't - not well, and not OK.  She didn't land one lousy trick all day; and you can point to some Grand Strategy of having to concentrate your efforts and bypass certain states or areas or whatever, but you'd best not be ignoring the simple fact that she got her Butt. Stomped. Straight-up.

Just averaging the percentages of the votes in those 3 states shows Hillary lost 75-25. If you get beat by a 3:1 margin by anybody anywhere at anything, you might have more than a bit of trouble.  And in "your own party"?  

But then, what's up with the apportioning of the delegates? I don't pretend to know how it all works, or how it's supposed to work. And a political party gets to do things the way they wanna do things. But maybe somebody needs to take a long look at the party rules that say a candidate can "win" 40% of the delegates by getting 25% of the votes(?)

You guys are The Democrats.  You know - like democracy and shit?  A bit more of that first part and a lot less of the second, if you please.

Weaving Tweets

Your Easter Card

Throw-Back Easter

With my favorite big brother rockin' those Mom-made Easter shirts - 1959.

And the sisters - Christie and Leslie.  Again with the Mom Couture.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Charlie Gets There

Charlie Pierce, attempting to give a us a look at things to come. 
It is my considered opinion that, as far as the simple process of voting goes, the World's Last Great Democracy couldn't organize a two-car funeral if you spotted it the hearse. The primaries on Tuesday night were an endless carnival of blunders, cock-ups, and general mayhem. This is the first election cycle we've had since John Roberts declared the Day of Jubilee and gutted the Voting Rights Act. These two things are not coincidental. The good folks at the SEIU have done a great job aggregating the various atrocities.

For example, Native Americans, the last Americans to obtain the right to vote, face a staggering array of obstacles. In Alaska, for example, Native villages can be as much as 150 miles from a polling place, and that only by boat or airplane. There is no consistent national policy on whether or not tribal identification cards are recognized under the spate of new voter-ID laws that passed in the wake of the 2007 decision upholding an Indiana law and that became a flood after Roberts and the Court declared the Day of Jubilee seven years later. The isolation of many Native communities often prevents people who are trying to vote from receiving the legal advice they need to protect their right to the franchise. And that is only the most extreme example of the chicanery that is going on.
This election ought to be a landslide that rightfully sweeps away the GOP and shames them out of their stoopid reliance on an Authoritarian and Hypocritical Bait-n-Switch brand of politics. But instead, it promises to be another close one - another great example of the media-generated, ad-revenue-fueled myth of a closely divided nation, sponsored by smart corporate money that wants more tax dollars funneled into their coffers while making sure the Coin-Operated Politicians have the rubes pissed off at anybody but the Rent-Seeking Corporatists.

Here's how I think it's supposed to work. 

People are turning away from the GOP in droves, and probably, while a lot of them intend not to vote at all, a nice big bunch (who would usually vote for them) intend to vote against the Repubs like they did in '92.  If you can keep a significant percentage of them from voting at all, you'll probably still lose, but it'll look really close, and that's what matters now.

And even if you can't keep enough people away from the polls to make a big difference in National or State-Wide races, you can prevent the balance being tipped in the very important "small stuff" races like County Supervisor and DA and State Legislature etc. So if the GOP can keep a handle on that level, then they can go on pretending they have a case to make about "big, far-away government tellin' the little guys what to do yada yada yada".

Remember always that elections get decided by about a dozen votes per precinct. 

The key is maintaining balance between the 2 competing sides. If the Red Group has 49%, and the Blue Group has 49%, that means I can throw in my 2% to support whatever candidate promises me the biggest tax breaks or subsidies or military protection for my investment holdings in FuckedUp-istan, or whatever. This is the old game of Divide And Conquer, but with a heapin' helpin' of Henry Kravitz Corporate Raider thrown in. 

(And don't you dare start thinking we aren't being distracted while certain politicians are working hard to sell everything in this country to the highest bidder and take us back to the glory days of 1750, but that's a slightly different rant - closely related, but that comes after a few more rounds)

Voter Suppression is all about not allowing "the divide" to get so big that the 2% loses its oomph.

But also too, remember that the GOP is very much on the defensive:  
1) makes it all the more dangerous
2) they're just looking to survive to fight another day, and that means: 
3) the Dems have to dominate. They have to win big. And when was the last time they managed that one - and more to the point of my theme here, when was the last time they were allowed to do that?  Hillary seems to be the perfect fit for the occasion - ie: she'll win, but not by enough to upset that delicate and finely-crafted balance.  And that also is a slightly different rant.

And BTW - if you think it looks like a mini-series on network TV, you ain't wrong.  The game is totally reliant on distraction and misdirection, and we've been thoroughly conditioned to  get caught up in the gripping drama of real-life events as they unfold blah blah blah, so that we stay frozen in place, allowing "our betters" to make the important decisions for us while we pretend to be well-informed and involved.

One last wrinkle: those astoundingly shitty Anti-Civil-Rights laws passed recently in Georgia and North Carolina? That's this year's version of The Big Wedge designed to motivate the "Christian Values Voters".  The GOP will likely flack the fuck outa that one, screeching that the valiant "conservatives" are trying to protect Real America from The Homo, and if you don't go vote, then the police will have no choice but to break down your doors and force you to Gay Rape your house pets. You know the drill.

Up on your hind legs, kids. Stay together. Work together. Get shit done.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Modern Police Work

11.45: Arrived at crime scene
11.45: Examined body. Signs of a struggle
11.45: Found murder weapon in drain
11.45: Realised watch was broken
Pixelated Boat

Today's Quote

If you wish to be a warrior, prepare to be broken.
If you wish to be an explorer, prepare to be lost.
And if you wish to be a lover, prepare to be both.
--Daniel Saint

Today's Tweet

And this one may be the all-time winner.

Gouge out my eyes with a rusty garden trowel and incinerate my brain - please - somebody - make me un-remember this.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Today's Tweet

After the attacks in Brussels, the home of NATO and the capital of the European Union, leaders inside Belgium and beyond vowed not to back down in their fight against terror.
In Belgium, where officials declared three days of national mourning, Michel offered a resolute message to those who supported and cheered the attackers.
"To those who have chosen to be barbarous enemies of freedom, democracy and fundamental values ... we remain united as one," Michel said. "We are determined to defend our freedoms and to protect our liberties."
In its message claiming responsibility, ISIS noted that Belgium is one of the nations "participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State."
A Twitter post widely circulated by prominent ISIS backers Tuesday featured the words, "What will be coming is worse."

Belgian authorities say the man in white is one of three suspects tied to the airport attack.
The other two died in the explosions, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told CNN. But investigators believe the man in white planted a bomb at the airport, then left.
"The third man left a bomb in the airport, but it didn't explode. ... And we are now looking for this guy," Jambon said.
A photograph released by investigators shows the three suspects side-by-side.

Today's GIF

Upside Down And Backwards

The National Treasure formerly known as Charlie Pierce has today's take down on David Brooks: 

(yeah yeah - OK - "today" as in 4 days ago. I'm pleasantly otherwise occupied. Priorities hafta shift a little and I catch things up when I can)
Moral Hazard noticed that Master had left his computer on, and that there were words on the screen, arranged in paragraphs. He wandered over and put his paws up on the desk. He looked over at Master again. Master's eyes were open but he was not seeing anything. Moral Hazard read, and he understood. He walked sadly out of the room, through the kitchen, and out onto the fire escape over the alley. He let the afternoon breezes wash over him. He wondered if Master would ever wake up, or if anyone would notice if he did.
My own little bit: for all The Fountainhead fans, just turn things over; look at the mirror image, and it's easy to see that David Brooks is straight outa Central Casting - positively born to the role of Ellsworth Toohey.  A venal, self-serving word-weasel paid to reinforce The Noble Lie.  And to paraphrase St Ayn's own way of describing this thing: "the epitome of evil is the man who knows the truth and recognizes it when he hears it, but denies it and substitutes a conveniently profitable lie - meant to deflect the anger of the mob, and redirect it against the very tools they need to free themselves."

You can get regular and thorough David Brooks take-downs at driftglass.

And every Friday afternoon, check in with The Professional Left Podcast.

Today's Pix


Monday, March 21, 2016

Marketing To The Id

I'm thinking this is probably not really about self-reliance or empowerment or even the usual patronizing bullshit of "lemme mansplain about how we just wanna keep you sweet brainless dollies a little safer".

Selling with sex is one thing, but look at it.  She's an attractive, purposeful-looking grownup woman - throwing open her coat to give us a peek at her kinda-girlie lingerie, while reaching around behind her, hoping to grab hold of somebody's big hard steely penis, which of course is her only salvation because she's really just that "sweet brainless dollie" who can't possibly survive without some guy's dick in her hand.

A whole Marketing Division somewhere is toasting themselves because they know there's an army of dumbass ammosexuals masturbating on Mom's clean sheets over this right now.

Guys - even without my own little hangups, there're enough Repression Issues in just this one picture to keep a battalion of Freudians on the bestseller list for-fucking-ever.

Halfway To Summer

This being the Vernal Equinox, it won't be long before it's time to pack up the old family wagon and make the trek to a relaxing week at a beach somewhere.

You'll wanna check out all the gear, but also, you need to take certain precautions to be sure your flabby winter bod can take the added stress of the vacation season - especially if you've got kids.

Let's be careful out there.

A Bit Less Dumb Now

Wouldn't it be nice to look forward to a time when we can just learn this and be a little amazed, and not feel like we have to catalog the knowledge in a way that makes it easily retrievable because we know we'll need it to push back against some idiot god-knobber who wants to teach kids about talking snakes and 900-year-old boat builders?

Today's Question pretty much the same question I have almost every week.

Why is a 30-minute comedy show doing a better job reporting on these issues than the army of Corporate Press Poodles?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Today's Quote

Earth, teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.

Earth, teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.

Earth, teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone.

Earth, teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring. --William Alexander

Only 40 Weeks Til Christmas

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Today's Tweet

So at first, I'm thinking - well now, that'd make a pretty good meme; maybe something like:

"Next time my kids bitch about their hard-ass math teacher..."

-- or -- 

"All I've ever asked you to do around here is to clean up your room once in a while" 

But fuck that, cuz fuck me for not trying to think a bit past my own little corner of the world, which is still pretty well insulated from what seems like a bigger and bigger piece of the world that looks more and more fucked up practically every day.

I'm still gonna make my silly jokes, but I'll be trying to widen the horizon a little.  

It actually gets harder to ensure the survival of the species if we insist on never looking beyond, "it could be much worse for us, so be glad it's them".

Friday, March 18, 2016

Some Friday Tunes

Roots N Toots

Today's Tweet

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Today's Toon

I don't want to discount the real dangers of The Trumpenstein Monster.  Weirder things have happened in politics all over the world for a very long time.

But I want to make a coupla points.

First, even though Trump has a "commanding lead", he's still polling below 50% (mostly), which is half of the 30-40% of the rabidly nutty wingnuts in the GOP, which still adds up to about 20% of the total electorate.

But second - and here's the kicker - the GOP has spent a lot of time effort and money putting in place mechanisms intended (IMO) to shift political power towards minority control. 

eg: Only about 30% of Americans favor tight restrictions on abortion, but according to Gutmacher, 80% of the states have passed laws aimed at putting abortion out of reach for many women, and/or banning most abortions in one way or another. 

How many legitimate voters will be turned away in November because of Voter ID and continuing efforts to scrub the registration rolls?

When a sizable majority of votes cast nationally are votes for Democratic candidates (Mid-Terms 2014), but we still have a GOP majority in both houses of congress, and GOP majorities at the state and local levels, something's amiss.

So, it's not just the rhetoric and bombast that "conservatives" have been playing with for 35 years that created this Trump Problem.  We have to put that together with the nuts and bolts of a political organization built to make a "majority" out of about 48% of the votes by whipping the army of rubes into a rich creamy lather and pointing them at a variety of phantom enemies in order to drive them out to the polls each time.

Trump's no dummy. He saw that nobody's really in charge way back in 2011. Remember, part of the deal with authoritarianism (supported by an apologist army of corporate Press Poodles) is that when things blow up or fall apart, "there's plenty of blame to go around"; "mistakes were made"; "let's not start pointing fingers" etc.  The first order of business is to make sure nobody can be held accountable for anything, so the party faithful are just milling about in an amorphous blob looking for somebody to help them channel their anger at having been played for such suckers for such a long time. Trump just stepped in to fill the void.

Or more accurately, Trump is pretending to fill that void - if you notice, he's taking no responsibility for the shit he's throwing into the fan.

So what happens when this little pipe dream disappears with the morning fog, and along about midnight on the first Tuesday in November, the rubes are thinking they've been left just standing there with their dicks in their hands - again?  

The "wise gray heads" of the GOP are up late every night.  Worried, certainly - but as per usual, they're indulging themselves in a cynical exercise of trying to flip it back around so they don't have to admit to being wrong about almost everything. 

Lets' review:  
They don't think the problem is the fact that they've effectively killed off one of the major political parties that just happens to be essential to a healthy democracy. 
They think the real problem is that they might have to accept the blame for killing it off. 

This is up to you guys, GOP gurus. First you address it, then you fix it, and then Sepuku, motherfucker.  We'll miss ya, but we'll all be better off without ya.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Today's Tweet

Every failed attempt at anything is worth something.

Today's GIF

Took me a while, but here it is.  And yeah - it's been around for a while; don't care.  Can't  stop loving this.

Today's Pix