Thursday, August 31, 2017

Today's Tweet



Reaffirming the reason we hear (mostly) "conservatives" constantly harping, "Ya cain't fix stoopid" - because so many of them have firsthand knowledge and direct experience.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Troll Big Or Stay Home


WaPo, Michael Cavna:

At first glance, you might not notice. There’s the tangerine-tinted skin. The buttercream half-bouffante. The long red tie. Everything looks like standard-issue Trump caricature — till you get to the teeth. They jut out like a rodent’s, as if for chewing up opponents or gnawing on one’s own political tail.

This, standing 15 feet tall and puffed out by hot air, is Trump Rat. And he is set to make his Washington debut come lunchtime Tuesday on the green of Dupont Circle, for a two-day engagement a short hop north of the White House.

You Know It's Likely


In some ways it's kind of a cheap shot. At least it's a little too easy and obvious.

But I think we know that a year from now - even tho' a lot of 'em will still be getting payouts from Treasury - because it'll still be pretty fucked up down there - somebody will shake that Etch-A-Sketch and jagoffs like these guys will be right back at it.

And I might as well put my cynicism to work here and make the point that lots of cronies are about to get rich(er) because of their sudden realization that they have a burning passion to provide "relief goods" to all those poor innocent victims.

Today's Tweet



There is literally an archived Trump-as-hypocrite Tweet for every occasion.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

But Then We're Stuck With Pence


Pinch-faced blue-nosed purity warrior - 2005 edition:



It seems like they're just being assholes - and they are - but it goes beyond that.

I think they can't stand the thought that we'll notice how well good old-fashioned Keynesian economics works when you put it in action.

If they go ahead and do the funding for a proper recovery after a natural disaster, then they prove the real value of Direct Spending Stimulus - and they hate having to admit that.

They hate it so much that they'll cut that direct stimulus somewhere else - as a political offset.

So they're not "offsetting the spending" by saving money elsewhere; they're offsetting the benefits in Houston (eg) by creating damage in places like Des Moines or Omaha.

The cynicism required for that kind of move is pretty awful, but what's truly horrifying is knowing so many Americans are so ignorant of the fundamentals of economics that they'll swallow anything these assholes put out.

Education is not optional in a free society that wants to stay that way.

Keith


Back towards Righteous Preciousness

Another Today's Tweet



Read the whole thread (15 parts)

OK For Me But Not For Thee

Pegged in the red.


WaPo Fact Checking - Sandy vs Harvy:


“The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy.”
-- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), interview with NBC’s Katy Tur, Aug. 28, 2017

- snip -

Many Republicans said that the emergency spending should have been offset by cuts elsewhere. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), at the time chairman of the Budget Committee, was one arguing the money needed to be offset. “This legislative abuse is an insult to families facing real emergencies in the wake of the storm,” he declared.

Many Republicans in the House voted for an alternative bill, crafted by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), now President Trump’s budget director, that would have funded a smaller emergency bill with a 1.63 percent across-the-board reduction in spending on discretionary programs. “It’s so important to me that I think we should pay for it,” he said. But his gambit was rejected.


- snip -


So was the $50 billion bill filled with pork — two-thirds of which was unrelated to Sandy?

No.

The Congressional Research Service issued a comprehensive report on the provisions, and it’s clear that virtually all of it was related to the damage caused by Sandy. There may have been some pork in an earlier Senate version, but many of those items were removed before final passage. There were also some items that appear to have been misunderstood.


How many people in Houston were among those beating the drum right along with Cruz back then, while keeping very quiet about it now?

My guess is: a shitload of 'em.

But of course it won't matter because they've grown very comfortable with having been conditioned to forget anything from even the recent past that doesn't fit the current circumstance.

Say what you will about the near-total worthlessness of Mitt Romney's GOP, but they nailed it with that Etch-A-Sketch imagery.



Today's Tweet



Confirming my bias a little bit - but then again, I don't think it's a bad thing to confirm a bias against efforts to fog things over and shovel shit to cover up the parts of our history that make us uncomfortable.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Today's Pix














Today's GIF

Dogs are smart, but as with everything else, there are exceptions.


Kinda like politicians - and bloggers.

Today's Tweet



Guess who said it.

More Monuments Mess

LA Times Op-Ed, Lisa Richardson:

Blacks and whites will have different perspectives on their entwined history. War victory for my white great-great-great grandfather, Jeremiah H. Dial, who enlisted in the 31st Arkansas infantry regiment and was wounded in the battle of Stone River, Tenn., in December 1862, would have meant defeat for my great-great-great-grandmother Lavinia Fulton and their daughter, Mary Ellen. Instead, Lavinia died a free woman, living to play with her grandchildren and give thanks to God every Sunday in church in Birmingham, Ala. I thank God my great-great-great-grandfather lost. Every right-thinking person should be glad he lost.

Yet the monuments debate isn’t really about the past. It’s about a present-day assertion of white supremacy and whether our nation is going to stop making excuses and stare it down. Most of the statues, as has been widely discussed, were erected long after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. They were hoisted into view to assert white dominance at specific points in time when African Americans gained a measure of political influence — during Reconstruction and the civil rights era. With the bronzes came domestic terrorism, lynchings, bombings and cross burnings. The current uptick in neo-Nazi and white supremacist activity was entirely predictable. With clockwork precision it surged at the time of the nation’s first African American president.

So why do some people treat modern icons as if they were ancient relics, like marbles from the Parthenon?

Fear. History isn’t being erased, but it is being corrected. Relocating a Confederate statue to, say, a museum, is an acknowledgment that we see the naked emperor; we see through the contorted logic that it is possible to separate the Confederacy from the institution of slavery, that it’s a whites-only story and slavery is blacks-only, and that treason is the same as patriotism.

- and -

To all the bronze Confederate soldiers, in whom I see the image of my great-great-great-grandfather, I would extend this grace. Without resentment or rancor, I would move them into museums and there tell the story of their lives. I would end their utility as flashpoints for racism and division, and, once and for all, allow them to retire from their long service as sentries over a whitewashed history.

The only problem is in that last graf: "once and for all". It doesn't happen that way. 

This is the weirdness of politics, as practiced by very clever people who can be devious and cynically manipulative.  There's no such thing as once and for all.

Not as long as we have assholes like this guy:

Richard Wilson Preston
Charged with gun violation

- because there's no expectation for a shortage of assholes under current market conditions.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

More True History

Trying to square some people up with the truth seems futile.  But there's value in writing this shit down as I go - and the value may be mostly in pointing this out to myself from time to time, if nobody else.

The Atlantic, Adam Serwer - 2 months ago:

The strangest part about the continued personality cult of Robert E. Lee is how few of the qualities his admirers profess to see in him he actually possessed.
- and -
Lee had beaten or ordered his own slaves to be beaten for the crime of wanting to be free, he fought for the preservation of slavery, his army kidnapped free blacks at gunpoint and made them unfree—but all of this, he insisted, had occurred only because of the great Christian love the South held for blacks. Here we truly understand Frederick Douglass’s admonition that "between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference."

Privately, according to the correspondence collected by his own family, Lee counseled others to hire white labor instead of the freedmen, observing “that wherever you find the negro, everything is going down around him, and wherever you find a white man, you see everything around him improving.”

In another letter, Lee wrote “You will never prosper with blacks, and it is abhorrent to a reflecting mind to be supporting and cherishing those who are plotting and working for your injury, and all of whose sympathies and associations are antagonistic to yours. I wish them no evil in the world—on the contrary, will do them every good in my power, and know that they are misled by those to whom they have given their confidence; but our material, social, and political interests are naturally with the whites.”

Publicly, Lee argued against the enfranchisement of blacks, and raged against Republican efforts to enforce racial equality on the South. Lee told Congress that blacks lacked the intellectual capacity of whites and “could not vote intelligently,” and that granting them suffrage would “excite unfriendly feelings between the two races.” Lee explained that “the negroes have neither the intelligence nor the other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power.” To the extent that Lee believed in reconciliation, it was between white people, and only on the precondition that black people would be denied political power and therefore the ability to shape their own fate.

Today's GIF

Heartbreak is the foundation of art.

Today's Tweet



Saturday, August 26, 2017

3 Things

...about Joe Arpaio

First, (yes, I'll say it again): 
When I hear "Joe", I think "Sheriff". 
And when I hear Arpaio, I think "Nottingham".

Second, always remember that a pardon is an absolute affirmation of guilt.

Third, this, from the archives at Phoenix New Times:

Taxpayers spent $1,102,528.50 this year to settle another of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lawsuits, New Times has learned through a public records request. The suit was brought by a man whom Arpaio framed in 1999 in a staged murder plot against the sheriff.

The payout, nine years after the wrongful arrest, is an indicaton that the aging lawman's publicity-driven, unsavory antics may keep costing taxpayers big money well into the future. The county is already struggling with a huge budget deficit, and the excessive costs of Arpaio's operation isn't helping matters.

In 2004, victim James Saville’s family sued Arpaio for $10 million, after Saville was found not guilty of attempting to kill the sheriff. The county recently settled with Saville for an undisclosed amount. It only had to pay the above amount out of public coffers; its insurance policy covered the rest.

Before you wish that you could collect $1 million by getting framed for Arpaio's murder, consider that Saville spent four years in county jail, awaiting trial as a result of the made-up crime.

A 4th thing is that pardoning Arpaio is a lot of things, but it includes a slap at the Federal Courts. 45* can't resist an opportunity for payback. Federal courts were mean to him and he used his "friend" to take a shot at them.

- rounding out the Arpaio legacy -

Joe Arpaio's 10 Grossest Publicity Stunts, Courtesy of His Departing Puppeteer

Pick One


Of course, both of these can't be true at the same time, but that's how 45* rolls - and it would seem that's how the rubes want it.



11 minutes later:



11 minutes.

"Those mean ol' Dems won't let me get anything done, and meanwhile I'm doing more than anybody else ever did before".

Etch-A-Sketching in real time.

Gaslighting on an industrial scale.

Another quick reminder from St Ayn of Rand:

Contradiction can exist, but it cannot prevail.


Friday, August 25, 2017

White Like Me

This guy reversed the old experiment (Black Like Me), by creating an online persona so he could step into the shoes of an Alt-Right knuckle-dragger.

WaPo interview with Theo Wilson:

After engaging in endless sparring matches in the comments section, Wilson began to notice something curious: His trolls seemed to speak a language unto themselves, one replete with the same twisted facts and false history. It was as if they had all passed through some “dimensional doorway,” arriving from an alternative universe where history, politics and commonly accepted facts had been turned inside out.

There was the idea that slavery was a form of charity that benefited enslaved Africans; that freed blacks owned more slaves than whites before the Civil War; that people of color make up the majority of those receiving aid from America's safety-net programs; and that investor and philanthropist George Soros is funding protest movements like Black Lives Matter.

You mention that in their forums they're also seeking “answers” to questions. What are they trying to resolve?

In today's America, they're struggling to understand why they'll have less opportunity than their father's generation. They also want answers to basic questions about race in America, such as: What's the point of multiculturalism? Why can only black people say the “N” word? How is racism not over when LeBron James and Oprah have huge bank accounts? How is affirmative action anything other than reverse racism? Why shouldn't I be proud to be white if someone else is proud to be black?

You mention that they also have some “fair points.” What are they?

I think it’s a fair point that leftists are widely tolerant of all kinds of people, but are often quite hateful to those who honestly hold conservative values. There are people who actually believe in God with all their heart. There are people who cannot cognitively resolve a guy kissing a guy. It doesn’t mean they’re seconds away from a hate crime. There is a legitimate human need to want to hold on to tradition in any culture.

Mr Wilson at Tedx Talks

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Today's Tweet



Special Racist Asshole Edition:

The Past Ain't Even The Past Yet


This makes me think she had some real points to make - a lot like the points black folks are still trying to make - but all I really remember about Angela Davis was the feeling that I was supposed to be wary of her - and that whole merry band of "black radicals" out there in California.

Trying to sort through it is complicated, and I have to continue looking back to learn a bit more from that weirdest of weird times we call the 60s, when I was very much just a knuckleheaded teenager, trying to make sense of what I thought I was learning about the world - especially the parts concerning Race Relations and Power and the Politics of Change here in USAmerica Inc - as the world's problems were getting bigger even as the world itself was getting smaller in what seemed like one big fuckin' hurry.

Way too much of "the news" - one of the things I was trying to learn from - way back in the golden age of "honest broadcast journalism" - turned out to be about as slanted and warped back then as I see it now when I consider how the Dis-Infotainment Industry has really kicked it into high gear.

I guess I could ask, "What chance does anybody have?".

But then I'd have to tell you not to bother watching this (even if you've got the 2 hours and 45 minutes to spare):


Now try this one on for size: You can't believe anybody, so you'll have to believe me.

"Post-Truth" is bullshit. I may not have more than a couple of dime's worth of neurons to rub together, but I'm not going along with anybody who tries to tell me there's no way we can ever know what's real and what's not.


12 people have walked on the moon for fuck's sake - and we got them all back so they could tell us about it. We can figure this shit out.

Keith


The list goes on.  And oh yeah - we can call 'em The RepubliKlan Party now. Thanks, Keith.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The View From Out There

An irrelevant freak show

A Little Diversion

Cuz ya can't do the "look what that fuckin' idiot did today" all day every day.

News To Me

The best thing I've come across in a long time.

From HuffPo (hey - even a blind hog roots up an acorn once in a while):

A native Virginian, a railroad magnate, a slaveholder, and an ardent secessionist, Mahone served in the Confederate army throughout the war. He was one of the Army of Northern Virginia’s most able commanders, distinguishing himself particularly in the summer of 1864 at the Battle of the Crater outside Petersburg. After the war, Robert E. Lee recalled that, when contemplating a successor, he thought that Mahone “had developed the highest qualities for organization and command.”

How did such a high-ranking Confederate commander wind up missing in action in a Charleston gift shop? Not, I think, by accident.

By now, Americans interested in the Confederate monument removal project have had it drilled into them that the monuments were erected decades after the end of the Civil War as testimonies to white supremacy in all its various manifestations: segregation, disenfranchisement, lynching, peonage, and second-class citizenship across the board. But the monuments were not merely commemorative.
They were designed to conceal a past that their designers wanted to suppress. That past was the period after Reconstruction and before Jim Crow, years in which African Americans in the former Confederacy exercised political power, ran for public office, published newspapers, marched as militias, ran businesses, organized voluntary associations, built schools and churches: a time, in other words, when they participated as full members of society.

Maj Gen William Mahone, CSA

Today's Quote


If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements Of Style.  The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now - while they're happy.
--Dorothy Parker

Bamboozle Me, Baby

Ben Carson went to Phoenix - and the obvious reason was to be exploited as "my African-American".

WaPo, Philip Bump:

And, as simply as that, a law was likely broken.

There are a lot of ways in which the federal government could be used to reward political friends and allies, of course, appointments being just one example. But the power of the government can also be leveraged to political advantage. Imagine a candidate who appeared at a campaign rally to be endorsed by the heads of each branch of the armed forces, for example. That would carry a lot of weight.

In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt signed the Hatch Act into law, a measure meant to preserve the impartiality of public servants. “The law’s purposes,” the Office of Special Counsel’s website explains, “are to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.​​​​”

Add it to the list. 45* cares nothing about these little-people rules.

Obeying the law?
Ethics? 
Honorability? 

That shit's for suckers - which is exactly why I call 'em rubes. They support 45* because he embodies their fantasies of having the power to live outside the norms, ignoring the simple fact that those norms - those rules - are there to protect them from Daddy State assholes like 45*.

Today's Tweet



The big bamboozle

Keith


The number of contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians has been underestimated - there were dozens.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Whoa


Tim Johnson, McClatchy DC

The Pentagon won’t yet say how the USS John S. McCain was rammed by an oil tanker near Singapore, but red flags are flying as the Navy’s decades-old reliance on electronic guidance systems increasing looks like another target of cyberattack.

The incident – the fourth involving a Seventh Fleet warship this year – occurred near the Strait of Malacca, a crowded 1.7-mile-wide waterway that connects the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea and accounts for roughly 25 percent of global shipping.

“When you are going through the Strait of Malacca, you can’t tell me that a Navy destroyer doesn’t have a full navigation team going with full lookouts on every wing and extra people on radar,” said Jeff Stutzman, chief intelligence officer at Wapack Labs, a New Boston, New Hampshire, cyber intelligence service.

“There’s something more than just human error going on because there would have been a lot of humans to be checks and balances,” said Stutzman, a former information warfare specialist in the Navy.

So allow me to reiterate: 45* keeps making all kinds of stoopid noise about beefing up the US Military's ability to wage war in MeatSpace, when the fight is going on in CyberSpace.

Today's Pix