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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Travel Advisory

 

[Update below]

I will be a little scarce around here for the next week or so. 

I have to drive to the middle of Canada with my son in order to repair and retrieve a vehicle.

So, I'm looking at about 2000 miles up, some repair work in the middle of Saskatchewan -- which we can hopefully complete ourselves (we're bringing parts and tools) and not have to haul the vehicle to a shop. And then 2000 miles back.  

We're going to be moving right along, hoping to beat the winter weather, so no stopping to smooze with readers unfortunately. 

I'm hauling along my cameras and other kit, hoping maybe I'll get a some photography opportunities. I'll try to post from the road, maybe a few pictures, but no promises. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go get a COVID test and get moving. 

See you on the road. 

[update]

We have returned from 4000 miles round trip and two weeks in Saskatchewan. 

While it was a good trip, we were unable to repair the RV ourselves. 

We were,  however, able to find a reputable mechanic and shop. We were able to move the RV to the shop without much trouble -- it runs, just not well. Mechanic thinks we're probably looking at a broken valve spring or a bent push rod and I agree. Problem is that all the shops in Regina are booked solid right now and we were lucky to even get on this guy's schedule. He can't even look at the problem for another week, and then it'll probably be at least two more weeks waiting on parts and then whatever time it takes for the repair. 

So...

We unloaded the remain items from the RV and put them in the SUV (we took my wife's 4-wheel drive SUV instead of my Mini, in case of snow and so we'd have more room if we had to do exactly this). Moved my daughter-in-law's kayak from the roof of the RV onto the SUV, and headed south. 

My son has a YouTube Channel, CKW Outdoors, where he provides a bit more detail and some video of our time in Saskatchewan. 


If you liked that video, remember to click "like" and maybe even subscribe to the channel. 

2000 miles from Regina to Milton, Florida is about 30 hours of driving down through flat, flat plains states. So we drove 12 hours per day, stopping for food and exercise breaks, and stopped each night at a decent hotel for dinner and good 8 hours of sleep. 

Three days later and we are home safe and sound. 

My son and daughter-in-law will fly back to Regina when the repairs are complete in a few weeks and repeat the drive. 

I've got some catching up to do and I'll be back in the saddle tomorrow. 

See you then. 


Friday, October 8, 2021

Recap: October 8, 2021

  

Charles Ernest Grassley.

Republican Senator from the state of Iowa.

He's 88-years-old, he's in his seventh term, four decades in the Senate. He is, in point of fact, the President Pro Tempore Emeritus of the United States Senate. 

You'd think he'd be old enough to know better.


"So I congratulate you and your people."

Well ain't that nice? 

Judge Lucy Koh is an American, born in Washington D.C. She's a graduate of Harvard Law. She was an attorney for the US Department of Justice, Special Assistant to the US Deputy Attorney General, and then an Assistant US Attorney for Central District of California. She then went into private practice representing major technology companies in patent and trade secrets before being appointed Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and then appointed by Barack Obama as US District District Court Judge. 

But all Grassley saw was an Asian woman. 

It's right there in his own words, "your people." 

Your people. 

You think he would have said that if Koh's ancestors had come from Western Europe? 

Somewhere right now, congressional staffers are patiently explaining that's it's not 1950 to Chuck Grassley and he's just shaking his head and saying, "I don't get it."

Of course when I said that on Twitter, well...

He's from a different generation where his comment was a compliment.

Oh.

Tell me, which generation was it where "yer one of them 'good' minorities'" from an old white man in power wasn't condescendingly racist?

What context makes that okay? 

When this person says "put history in context" what they mean is whitewash it so they can pretend that doesn't exist.

But that's it, isn't? 

That's the goal. Erase that history. Pretend it doesn't exist, until it doesn't.


The history of racism in America is painful. 

It's shameful. It's embarrassing. 

It should make all Americans of conscience feel bad. 

It should make them want to be better. 

That's the whole point of history, to learn from our mistakes, to learn from the atrocities of the past, and therefor do better in the future. 

Since the hysteria over Critical Race Theory began a few months back, I've watched my feeds for examples of the sort of unconscious and embedded bias CRT attempts to educate people about. Grassley's comment above is an obvious and egregious example. Of course he's not the only member of Congress, my erstwhile boneheaded dinosaur of a Congressman Don Young comes to mind. As does Donald Trump. 

But it's not just members of government.

Here's an example from my Twitter timeline yesterday.



I know this person thinks she's being woke and aware and whatever word we want to use, but look at that. Look at the embedded unconscious bias. What if people in "poor" countries don't die from malaria, how will we feed them all? 

She'd likely be aghast if I'd said: We should restrict medical care to only those people who can prove they are productive members of society or who are rich enough not to be a burden on the rest of us if they live a long time. 

But she is essentially saying the same thing, only couched in a manner of concern for some imagined  future "humanitarian crisis" in "these very poor areas."

Very poor areas that just happen to be inhabited primarily by people of color.

It's not a generational thing.

It's a perpetuation of bias and racism in our thinking from one generation to the next. 

If Americans are ashamed of their past, then they need to face it, change the present, and create a nation future generations can be proud of. 



Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Recap: October 4, 2021

  

I am suspicious of any ideology that deals in absolutes. 

I am suspicious of any cause whose sacred principles require others to make a sacrifice. 

But we'll come back to that. 

Facebook went down without warning yesterday. 

To be honest, I was busy and didn't really notice until I started getting messages from various friends and family asking what was going on. Yes, I'm that guy. I've got a couple of degrees in CompSci and nowadays I make a living via the internet, so I'm the one in my circle people call when they're having problems with The Google. 

I looked into it, mostly by checking other social media sites, and assured them it wasn't on their end. Likely things would be back to normal in a few hours or so. 

But, it got me thinking about my dad. 

When he was young, my dad was the most active guy I knew. He was a veteran, a Navy man, restless, always going, full of energy, he had a million friends, and he was always eager to learn new things. 

But you get older. 

The horizons get closer and closer as the years go by. 

You live long enough, you start to lose people, friends, family. You lose connections. Your eyesight goes and your hearing. You hurt. Goddamn, how you hurt after a while. The world speeds up and you slow down, things change, complexity increases, it gets harder and harder to keep up until you just can't any more. You become more and more distanced from the world. 

His health went to hell. The things he used to love doing, he couldn't do any more. 

But there was the internet. 

Social media. 

Birds. 

Wait, what? Birds? 

Yeah, birds. 

My dad became a birder. A bird watcher. He loved birds, always had. It was something he could do.  Something he could still enjoy without reservation. He'd walk slowly downstairs every morning in his old ratty Navy sweats (later riding the chairlift the VA installed in my folk's farmhouse when he could no longer manage the steep stairs), and shuffle out to the sunroom to see who might be visiting his feeders. I think he spent more on food for those birds than he did on feeding himself. On cold Michigan mornings when he hurt too bad to do it himself, my mom would fill the feeders for him. There he'd sit in his old easy chair, watching intently. He knew them all, the various species, the colors, male and female, their songs. When he was able, he'd sit out in his woodshop and make birdhouses. He could talk about birds all day and my folks' property was often a riot of wings and color and birdsong. 

He had my old film cameras set up inside the glass. And he'd spend the day happily snapping away. He'd get the film developed and laboriously scan in the images to his computer -- why not a digital camera? Because he knew how to do film and that's what he was comfortable with and what business is it of yours? 

And then, well, then he'd spend hours sharing those pictures with other birders on social media. 

He was one of Cornell University's legion of bird watchers, carefully tracking migrations and sightings and another data points in a vast global web of science and information. In the last years of his life, it was what gave him joy. It gave his life meaning and purpose. It mattered to him. It was something he could do. Every day. He looked forward to it. 

But see, there's something I haven't told you. 

My dad was prone to depression, as a lot of older people are.

When he was cut off from those things that mattered to him, it affected him badly. When his internet connection was down or the software didn't work or he couldn't connect to the things that gave his life joy, well, it was depressing. He'd muddle on, find something else to do, but still it hurt him. 

And that's what I was thinking about yesterday when Facebook went down. 

My dad's been gone for longer than I like to think about now, my mom lives alone in the old farmhouse. She's a thousand miles away. We talk. She's got her friends, a lot fewer now than there used to be. But there's been a pandemic for two years now, social distancing, services shut down, the things people like her do to maintain their social lives have gotten a lot harder in recent years -- and it was already hard enough before.

If you live long enough, loneliness becomes a looming ghost in your life.  

And so social media, Facebook, is important to a lot of people. It's part of their lives. Just as other forms of technology are, TV, phones, electricity. 

Now, I can already hear the righteous rage, because people have been righteously screaming rage at me for going on 24 hours now. 

So, before we go any further, I suppose this is where I have to make a disclaimer: 


Facebook sucks. 


Yes, it does. 

Facebook sucks giant festering donkey balls. 

I'm not talking about Facebook the platform, though that sucks too. 

I'm talking about Facebook the monstrous, multi-tentacled, poorly managed, juggernaut of a company.  

Those who have followed me for more than a few minutes know, or should know, my opinion of Facebook. And Twitter. And massive global multibillion dollar corporations in general. 

And that opinion is not high. 

Facebook, Twitter, et al are very often churning cesspools of the very worst of humanity. 

I have said so. Many times over the years. 

I moved my content back to here because of it. 

I've written over and over about the damage these unregulated platforms are doing to our civilization, about how internet billionaires like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg are essentially spoiled maladapted children who've been handed a loaded machinegun, and about how our enemies are demonstrably using these communications systems every day to wage information warfare on our democracy in a manner most of our leaders are ill-equipped to even comprehend let alone counter with any degree of effectiveness -- I mean, you only have to look at Senator Blumenthal on your TV right now doddering on hysterically about the "The Finsta" to see that. 

But...

And there's always a but isn't there? 

But, the very things that make these platforms so dangerous are also the things that give meaning and joy and purpose and opportunity to many people. 

People like my dad. 

They aren't trying to destroy the world, they just want to talk to other people who enjoy looking at pictures of birds. 

And in that regard, well, Facebook is their world.

And that's what I was thinking about yesterday when Facebook went down and I said on Twitter: 

I'm literally texting with older family members right now who are suddenly isolated due to FB being down. It's hugely frightening for them to be cut off from their primary means of social interaction. 

I don't think some of you really understand what this is like for some people.

Now, please note that I did not say: Facebook is awesome! 

said that for some people who I was talking to, the sudden unexplained outage of their primary means of social interaction was terrifying, disorientating, depressing

But I didn't say: hey, Facebook is awesome and we should have more of it and please let me gargle Mark Zuckerberg's tiny hairless balls. 

What I said did not seem controversial to me. 

A day later, it still doesn't. 

I said that for many people, ordinary people who have little other means of social interaction, Facebook is important. And maybe a lot of us don't realize just how important until it goes down and they call you up worried that they did something wrong. And those people are not monsters, they just regular folks, old, confused, lonely. 

And that, predictably, did not sit well with a lot of very, very righteous people. 












There were more. Hundreds of comments more. But that's probably enough to make the point. Well, except for this one, my personal favorite:



I'm eager to watch this person spend the day talking 90-year-olds through the download, installation, and setup of Zoom software, along with the requisite video conferencing hardware, and get them all connected and chatting via some sort of coordination process that doesn't involve social media or long distance international charges and yet somehow magically functions on a global scale. 

But it's more than that. 

Do you see the assumption in that comment? Start a zoom party! Set up video conferencing! This assumes everyone can not only access the necessary technology and can afford it, but that audio and video are suitable mediums for them. I guess if you're hearing or vision impaired, you're just shit out of luck. More, it assumes everyone you socialize with is online at the same time you are. Oh, and here's a thing you might not be aware of: not everybody has the bandwidth. My mom? That farmhouse I mentioned? Rural Michigan. Farming country. No cable service. No fiber. No broadband. You can't even get copper DSL anymore because it wasn't profitable for the local phone companies. So, she accesses the internet via a cellular connection and she's lucky to get that because the cell tower in the cornfield behind her house is only a few years old -- a lot of areas near her don't even have that. So, she's got a cell connection and a limited number of bits each month. And beyond that things get very expensive very fast. Even in the local town, access is limited. Remember when Biden was talking about broadband as infrastructure? That's why. Because there's a lot of America, probably more than you care to imagine, just like this. 

Some people can't just go outside and "meet people in real life," and it takes a hell of a lot of unconscious privilege to think that's some sort of solution for everyone -- especially when you're condescendingly suggesting it on social media.

Some people can't just easily switch to other platforms. They don't know how. Or those platforms don't work for them. Or those platforms don't connect them to the world they need -- not you, not your needs, theirs. 

And then there's this idea, shouted at me over and over these last 24 hours about how people existed before the internet, before Facebook, they can do it again. Like my 90-year-old mom is going to roll outside in her walker because Facebook is down and take up skydiving or something. Oh, man, if only I hadn't been socializing on The Facebook all these years, look at what I missed! Woohoo, Imma try some rodeo next! 

And it's worse than that because for the last two years we've been telling these people to stay home, to avoid physical contact, to isolate. And now -- now -- here you are shouting for them to go outside and meet people? 

I mean, can you even hear yourselves? 

A lot of these people lived full lives. Some of them were skydivers, or racecar drivers, or scientists, teachers, pilots, doctors, adventurers, veterans... But, here you are telling them to go outside and do stuff because it's just that easy when you're 90 years old and dragging an oxygen tank behind your walker. 

Again, if you live long enough, the horizons close in and there comes a day where you just can't anymore. Before the internet, before social media, when that happened a lot of people just sat and waited to die. No matter how attentive and caring, their families have lives of their own. There can't be someone there all the time. A lot of their friends are gone. Their spouses. Their families. There can't always be someone who understands. Who shares your interests and experiences. Social media, Facebook for good or ill, provides a means to connect to others who do share your history, a place to still be able to interact and be part of the world. These things matter

Those who are suddenly cut off from that, well, it's frightening, it's lonely, it's unsettling, even if it's "only" for a few hours and it shouldn't take a lot of empathy or imagination to see that. 

Should there be a better way? A better company? A better platform? One that's not destroying the country too? 

Sure. Of course. Why not? 

But here's the thing: Facebook is like a coal-fired power plant. 

Yeah, it's terrible for the environment. There's going to be consequences. It's poisoning people. It's destroying the future. It's polluting the air and water. It is. No argument. But, it also provides power. It keeps the lights on, it keeps thousands of homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer, it provides the juice to run industry and schools and hospitals. Without it we'd freeze or starve or have to squat in the dark and shit in a hole. We need that energy. People die without it. 

What?

Oh. 

Right. You're that guy. The one up above in those tweets. People existed before technology, they can do it again. Learn to grow their own food, pump their own water, milk cows, make candles, ride horses or walk, live their allotted time and die. Life was better then. Right? 

Civilization existed before electricity. 

We could go back to that time. 

But there are unpleasant side effects and quite frankly I don't want to live in the fucking Stone Age. 

Could we do better than burning coal to power our civilization? Of course. Obviously. There's something between caveman and murder the planet. 

But you can't just burn down the powerplant without having an alternative in place. 

Well, I mean, you could

In point of fact, that's exactly what certain people demanded of me yesterday. Shut it off. Burn it down. Old people were fine before Facebook, they'll be fine without it now. LGBT people found ways to communicate before social media, they'll go back to that. Shut-ins should just get up off the couch and go outside, learn to skydive, make their own candles, tan leather, meet real people! Shut it down. Do better. 

Do better. 

Yeah, that's not better. That's not a plan. That's arson and people die in a fire.  

It's not just old people. 

It's not just disabled people and the shut-ins.

It's not just those who use social media to keep in contact with loved ones deployed overseas and who have family far away. 

It's not just the introverts or those with crippling social anxiety. 

It's not just those who have reason to hide their identity in the real world for fear of violence and hate and who without social media would have no social interaction where they could be themselves. 

It's not just those who find joy in a larger world they would have never known outside of an online global community of people who share their interests -- like birds. 

It's not just people who have built businesses and a living around these platforms. 

It's not just about writing letters or using a phone or reading a book or going outside to meet people. 

It's all of those things and much, much more. 

And if you can't see that, then that says a hell of a lot more about your lack of empathy and imagination than it does about those who use Facebook. 

Can we do better? Can we regulate these companies? Can we limit the power of those like Zuckerberg and Facebook? Can we prevent these platforms from becoming weapons aimed at the head of our Republic? And can we do it without marginalizing those who need it most? 

Of course we can. 

But burning it all down isn't how you do any of that. 

When I described an analogy on Twitter yesterday similar to the power plant metaphor above, this guy showed up:



Sorry about the people, but my principles are more important. 

Collateral damage, someone else said. Dismissing those innocents who might be lost when we bulldoze that big polluting company. We've got to think about the bigger picture, the country, sacrifices have to be made. 

Sorry about the collateral damage, but this is war

It's funny, ironic, that those liberals who are most eager to sacrifice others to their crusade against Facebook are the very same people, almost name for name, who were outraged when the Republican Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, suggested those very same old people should be willing to sacrifice themselves for the economy. 

Ironic, indeed. 

I pray to the gods of technology to grant me the confident assurance of every mediocre tech bro on Twitter. 


I am leery of any ideology, left, right, or other, that deals in confident absolutes. 

And I am suspicious of any cause, no matter how noble, that requires others to sacrifice for your principles. 

If you want a better world, be a better human being. 





Sunday, October 3, 2021

Recap October 3, 2021

 

Fox News headline this morning. 

Democrat -- DEMOCRAT -- Tammy Duckworth hasn't paid property tax on her Illinois home since 2015, report says.

Why, that cheating bitch!


Except disabled veterans are exempted by law from paying property taxes in Illinois. 

Yeah, except for that part, you know. 

And Fox News actually does know, because they actually spell out that Duckworth is fully 100% entitled to her exemption in the actual article under that inflammatory headline: 

In Duckworth’s case, the 53-year-old U.S. senator pays zero in property taxes because she is a disabled U.S. military veteran with a 70% or higher disability rating, as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

She and other similarly disabled veterans in Cook County who own homes get the tax break regardless of their income level, the Sun-Times reported.

Duckworth lost both of her legs and some use of her right arm after the helicopter she was piloting was hit by a rocket-fired grenade in Iraq in 2004. 

The article also mentioned that Duckworth paid more than $16,000 in property taxes on a second home she owns in Virginia -- because even though Virginia offers a tax exemption for disabled vets, it's not her primary home and so she doesn't quality. 

So, she didn't pay taxes she wasn't required to pay. 

And she did pay taxes that she was required to pay. 

The outrage! 

Fox News is literally attacking a 100% combat disabled veteran who was severely wounded in the service of her country for not paying taxes that she doesn't owe and for paying taxes where she does. The article literally describes Duckworth's valor and then somehow implies that same Senator, a combat veteran who is a hero in every sense of the word as defined by Fox News and its viewers, as somehow doing something wrong because ... something. 

And if you read the comments under the article you'll see that Fox's conservative viewers agree, even if they're not quite sure why they're certain Duckworth is somehow up to no good. 

Republicans love Veterans and tax breaks until it's a decorated combat veteran who happens to be a woman of color and a Democrat.

I'm not a politician. 

I am however, a disabled veteran. 

I make a decent living. And you'd better believe I take every veteran related tax break I'm offered. 

Why wouldn't I? I earned it. 

Why wouldn't you? 

Why shouldn't Duckworth? 

I mean, what's the logic here? If you make some arbitrary amount money, as determined by random Republicans on Twitter, you're not really a veteran any more? A real combat hero should live in poverty? How much is a pair of legs and an arm worth anyway? 

I really enjoy that part where this guy thinks people should just volunteer to pay taxes they don't owe. 

Trump, a rich coward who got out of serving his country by faking a crippling injury via a doctor that his daddy paid for, once crowed about how smart he was for not paying taxes and his supporters cheered and enthusiastically agreed -- just as they did when he and his Republican cronies slashed taxes on the wealthy and multitrillion dollar megacorps. 

But the very same people are now mad because a combat veteran didn't pay taxes she doesn't owe

It's not just Fox News:

That's Chicago Sun Times yesterday. 

Which is, no doubt, where Fox News stole the idea from. 

It's funny how the Sun-Times article leads off by attacking disabled vets in general and Duckworth in particular, yet the Senator's property is not some palatial estate but rather a 1600 square foot home worth a modest $250,000 and the others mentioned in the article make vastly more money than she does. Not only that, but the article specially says that property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and senior citizens are a "tiny sliver of the $1.5 billion in all real estate tax exemptions granted to Cook County homeowners this year." 

A tiny sliver.

And yet the Chicago Sun Time is pretty sure it's somehow Duckworth and other combat wounded veterans who are the villains here. 

This isn't anything new, of course. These same people, all who profess to love the military are who are utterly outraged when a black man kneels during the National Anthem in what they see as the ultimate insult to veterans, were the very same people who mocked John McCain's combat disability and who went after Bob Dole, who attacked Gold Star families because they didn't vote for Trump -- a guy who openly mocked a disabled reporter and called veterans "losers" and "suckers." 

Republicans tell you they love and respect the military. 

But that's not true. 

What they actually love is the idea of an obedient all-powerful unstoppable force they can use to crush their enemies and threaten into subservience those they see as less than worthy. 

Most of all, they see the military as a projection of their own manhood and the right arm of their mean bitter religion.

They despise the idea of a military made up of actual people. 

They are actively revolted by veterans who might have been damaged in the service of their country, mentally or physically, because to them any disability is weakness and any veteran who is less than a comic book hero in their eyes lessens their manhood and makes mockery of their small miserable selfish god. 

This country doesn't deserve heroes like Tammy Duckworth. 

And yet, there she is, still serving. 






Thursday, September 30, 2021

Recap: September 30, 2021

I wrote this two years ago when Thunberg was 16 and after she spoke at the UN. It was a post on Facebook and a short thread on Twitter. The Facebook version is suddenly trending again and my DMs are full of angry Climate Denialists (and helpful editors who missed the date on the post and are busy telling me I got her age wrong), all of which means it will likely get taken down by FB's algorithm. 

So, I'm reposting an updated version here as a recap. 
-- Jim

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Recap: 28 September, 2021

  

Is it just me? 

Am I the only one sick and tired of being held hostage every year? 

A bunch of spoiled miserable children pretending to be Senators and Representatives threatening us, threatening America, threatening the world, with ruin and disaster?

Am I the only one sick of this bullshit? 

Any elected official who says they intend to let America default on its financial obligations for some political point is too goddamn irresponsible to be in office. Hell, they ought to be in prison.

If some Taliban Jihadi said they had the means and intent and were prepared to deliberately crash the global economy and bankrupt the United States we'd call that guy a terrorist and send in the drones. 

Hell, they write movies starring Bruce Willis about this sort of thing and in those stories, the guy trying to take down the US financial system isn't the goddamn hero. Maybe we need to send Bruce Willis to Washington. 

Mitch McConnell is a fucking terrorist. 

No, that's not hyperbole. McConnell is literally threatening every single American -- and lot of the world -- with ruin and disaster. That's terrorism by definition. 

Indeed, if McConnell and his Republican pals succeed in crashing the US economy again and defaulting on America's loans, people are going to die. These son of a bitches are no different than any America-hating Al Qaida terrorist motivated by miserable politics and hate-filled religion to hurt just as many of us as they can in the name of their fanatical ideology.


This isn't about "when they need to borrow money."

This is about money already borrowed and about bills that are already due. 

This is about money Republicans under Trump have already spent. 

Trump told you he was going to build a Wall across border and make Mexico pay for it. Instead, we are the ones who ended up paying for that folly. 

Trump told you he "rebuilt" the military. Where did you think all that money for all those new ships and fighter jets and nuclear weapons came from? I mean, we didn't have it, right? Those trillions and trillions of dollars weren't just laying around in a vault somewhere unused. We had to borrow it. Trump borrowed it. Republicans borrowed it. Congress borrowed it. 

Trump told you he was going to teach China a lesson and he started a trade war and then had to pay farmers for the crops they could no longer sell. Where do you think that money came from? Trump told you he was collecting billions in new tariffs, did you believe him? Did you? So, where is that money?

Trump and Republicans cut taxes on the wealthiest of America, the billionaires and multi-millionaires,. They slashed taxes on massive corporations that rake in billions every year. Trump looked you right in the eye and lied, he told you that profits and income taxes on new jobs would not only pay for it but make it so America would be awash in cash. You know what happened? Predictably those billionaires pocketed the money and those corporations bought back their stock and they all took their profits and stashed them overseas and Trump just fucked us all yet again. And now that bill is due. 

I could go on here, down through the budget line by line but why bother? 

If we scrapped every bit of Biden's Build Back Better plan and just carried on as Trump left things, we'd STILL HAVE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING. 

The simple truth of the matter is that this is about money we've already spent. Trillions of dollars that Republicans rubberstamped under Trump, just as they did under both Bush Senior and Junior and under Reagan.  

Republicans have no trouble raising the debt ceiling and paying the bills when it's a Republican president buying more guns and missiles and nuclear bombs. 

But when it comes to the things that would most directly improve the quality of every American's life and put the country on a path to a decent constantly improving future, things like infrastructure, healthcare, energy, the environment, transportation, technology, education, good jobs and a living wage,  social programs, etc, then suddenly they're all about crashing the economy and holding us all hostage. 

When Trump spent all this money, Republicans justified it by saying that's why Americans elected him. 

Well, Americans threw him out of office and elected Joe Biden and now Republicans are suddenly saying the will of the people somehow doesn't matter and so they are right now engaged in extortion. Literally extortion. And that's the best thing you can say about it. 

Mitch McConnell is no different from any mob enforcer threatening to burn down your house unless you pay up. 

They are literally right now threatening the whole world.


Republicans like to tell the world that we don't negotiate with terrorists. 


Of course, like most everything else these people say, that's a lie. 

We do negotiate with terrorists. Hell, Trump invited them to Camp David. In fact, terrorists about about the only people we do negotiate with these days. 

Still, maybe it's time to draw a line in the sand. Stop negotiating with these particular terrorists. 

Maybe it's time for Joe Biden to take them at their word. 

If Republicans won't raise the debt ceiling and Democrats don't have the balls to override that opposition, then maybe it's time for Joe Biden to stop fucking around with these people. 

All of them. 

America has to pay its bills. 

The global economy is already fragile. If we default on our obligations, we could see another global financial disaster -- and this is where I remind you that we have not yet fully recovered from the last one. 

America has to pay its bills. 

Now, when you have bills to pay and you don't have enough income or credit, you have to make some cuts. 

So start cutting. 

The president has direct control over certain expenditures -- or rather programs that spend money, which ultimately is the same thing. 

Start cutting. Start with the Defense Budget. 

Cut the F-35. Kill it. 

Cut all new nuclear carrier construction. 

Cut it all. No new weapons. And so on. Start at the top and work your way down with the red pen until the DoD expenditures are a quarter what they are now. 

Do what can be done via executive action. 

Then take that money and pay the goddamn bills. 

Mitch McConnell threatens us? Then kill the programs Republicans hold most dear. Gut them. Shut 'em down. And then take that money and pay the bills Republicans ran up. 

And don't tell me you can't, because Donald Trump did exactly that when he wanted money to pay for his wall and neither Democrats nor the Mexicans wouldn't give it to him. Republicans are the ones who set this precedent and thought is was a spiffy idea. 

Chicken, home, roost, etc. Suck it, Mitch. 

Hyperbole? 

Maybe. 


Here's a competing idea. Don't say I don't show both sides. 



See you tomorrow. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Recap: September 27, 2021


Ladies and Gentlemen, my Congressman. 

We're so proud.



It's certainly no surprise a privileged white Southern Republican who was elected by the wretched dregs of the defeated Confederacy's descendants would openly embrace the Nazi's genocidal racist Replacement Theory.

That part at the end where he literally goes after Jews is the Sieg Heil cherry on top this creamy white vanilla sundae of  white supremacy.

More later, see you then. 


[Later]


Well, well. Look who's trying to walk it back.


Maybe less a walk per se, and more that little dance you do when you're a Southern white supremacist elected by Southern white supremacists who calls people of color the n-word but then tries to explain how you didn't really mean it in a <quote>racist<unquote> way.

"[T]hey are importing new voters"

Importing.

That's what Gaetz said. 

Importing. There's a suggestive image, eh? 

That's what Gaetz said he said. 

Importing new voters. What's that mean? Because he specifically said that in response to his first Tweet.

So, let's just look at that first statement again:


"Replacement Theory" 

Capitalized. A formal statement. Replacement Theory. I.e. a white nationalist conspiracy theory which clearly and unequivocally worries that certain liberal "elites" are working to replace America's white western European descended population and their associated "western culture" with non-white, non-European, non-conservative peoples, such as Middle-Eastern, African, and especially Latin and South American peoples, perceived to be "socialist" and thus "liberal." The origins of Replacement Theory can be traced directly back to the policies of Nazi German (and, yes, 1930s America) which very clearly targeted Jews, Romany, and other non-Aryan populations. 

When Tucker Carlson talks about Replacement Theory, he is very clearly using it in this manner. 

He's said so and made no bones about it. 

When the Proud Boys shouted "Jews will not replace us" in the streets of Charlottesville, this is exactly what they were talking about. 

Matt Gaetz said "Tucker Carlson is CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening in America." 

That is what Matt Gaetz said. 

No caveats.

Oh, I'm sorry, Gaetz did caveat his statement. 

"The ADL is a racist organization"

The ADL. The Anti-defamation League. 

Gaetz specifically went after Jews in defense of people shouting "Jews will not replace us." 

And he did this in the context of a media personality who daily rails against brown-skinned immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. 

And he did this while specifically alleging Democrats are "importing new voters" in order to change America. 

If those "new voters" were white Christians from English-speaking Western European countries, well, Republicans wouldn't be worried about them changing our culture or voting for liberals, would they?

"The Left/Media think of replacement solely on race/ethnicity terms. I don’t at all."

Bullshit. 

The only way Gaetz's fears make any sense is if he's saying that Democrats are importing non-white, non-Christian, non-European immigrants to change the face of America and put themselves in power. 

His comments, Tucker Carlson's comments, literally make no sense in any other context. 

Gaetz, Carlson, Republicans who push Replacement Theory, tell me, what does their base think they mean? When the Proud Boy shouts "Jews will not replace us," what do you think the Proud Boys mean by that? Who do MAGA voters think Gaetz is talking about? 

Because I think they're afraid of exactly what they say they are. 

"Those reading more into it are projecting their own bias."

I don't mean it in a "racist" or "anti-Semitic" sort of way, it's just totally a coincidence I'm talking about keeping brown people and Jews out of America. I'm not a racist, you're the racist! 

The argument of every racist who ever lived. 

Meanwhile, Matt Gaetz is going after writer Tara Dublin. 


After Dublin wrote about being set upon at one of Gaetz's rally's, Gaetz made her the subject of his podcast last week and sent a horde of his supporters to harass and bully her.  

This is classic Gaetz behavior. 

A few years back, Gaetz's supporters hired armed Bikers For Trump to keep women, his own constituents, out of a town hall meeting here in Milton, Florida. No, seriously. Bunch of blubbery goons, unwashed hairy leather boys on their hogs in the parking lot of the local confederate hangout Grover T's Southern BBQ, to make sure liberal women voters didn't get inside and make Matt cry by asking any questions of the guy who's supposed to be representing them in Washington.  

But, this time it's a big mistake on Gaetz's part. 

Based on Gaetz bowel freezing fear of women and on Tara Dublin's history of stomping holes straight through misogynistic bigots, I'd say this isn't going to turn out how Gaetz hoped. 

In fact, Dublin is at this very moment preparing a lawsuit alleging harassment by the Congressman. 

Free free to swing by her Twitter feed and lend some support. 

You want a better government? 

You need to start holding those who you elect to run it to higher standards of behavior. 

Or, you know, any. 


Here's today's picture of a hummingbird (like Matt Gaetz in his own district, it might be a little hard to find).

 






Saturday, September 25, 2021

Recap: September 25, 2021


I've been mostly offline the last few days dealing with some real world issues. 

So, I missed it but I assume Trump is currently being reinstated because the Arizona Cyber Ninja Pirate Kraken audit proved Joe Biden lost by like a Quebizillion votes...? 

So, anyway, anyone know what channel the inauguration is on? 

Hello? 

But seriously, a bunch of crooked Republicans (that's redundant, isn't it? It sounds redundant) did their damnest to rig an election so only their party could vote and only their candidate could win and Trump sucked so hard, so goddamn hard, that not only did he lose in the reddest of states to Joe Fucking Biden but when they hired a bullshit openly partisan "cybersecurity" outfit to steal "audit" the election, Trump actually lost even harder

There's a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, this thing is a ravening gravitational monster that pulls in goddamn stars by the millions and eats them whole and even it doesn't suck as hard as a Republican who actually tried to cheat in Arizona of all places and ended up losing even more

Republicans actually paid to get their pants pulled down and spanked on their bare ass in public... okay, that's maybe not the best analogy when it comes to Christian Conservatives, but I think I've made my point here.

Trump naturally blamed "the press." 

Me? I blame Justin Bieber. 

What does The Biebs have to do with it? 

Exactly.

Meanwhile, Trump Junior gave a speech at a "gun mega-store" in Marietta, Georgia earlier this week where he proudly referred to himself as a "5th Avenue Redneck."

5th Avenue Redneck.

I'll just pause for a minute while you savor just how stupid rich you have to be to think that's clever. 

I'll pause for an extra minute so you can consider just how much of a simple country chump you have to be to applaud it. 

Think about the guy saying it. Junior here spends more on hair product in one week than his audience likely makes in a year -- or, you know, about the cost of an AR-15. Think about the toothless goobers listening to this ridiculous Ken Doll and nodding their heads. Hey! He saed 5th Abenew Redneck, Bubba! Hell, this feller's one of us! He's not like them other New York elites! 


Junior told the assembly of Confederate flag-waving ass cracks that only way to stop Joe Biden's agenda is with their guns. Praise Jesus! And also dismissed gun violence: 

In terms of, as a percentage of crime, it's like nothing, right? It's statistically very insignificant. That's not saying that we want to allow those things to happen. Obviously, that's not the case. But they're [gun control advocates] able to manipulate the data.

Them damn Yankee liberals are able to man-ip-u-late that dater, Bubba!

I really enjoy the part where your murdered kids and dead Americans are statistically insignificant. It don't get any more 5th Avenue than that.

One abortion is one too many. 

One black person voting in Georgia is one too many.

One immigrant crossing the border illegally is one too many. 

One poor person getting some food stamps? One too many!

One homeless person on the streets of Nancy Pelosi's district... well, you you know. But 30,000 Americans dead from gun violence every year? Another murdered school? Another shot up church? Another movie theater? Another mall? Fuck it! Statistically insignificant according to some rich greasy douche calling himself the 5th Avenue Redneck -- which I haven't Googled because I don't want to end up on an FBI watchlist, but I assume "5th Avenue Redneck" is his Eddie Munster Cosplay porn star name. 

Boom choka chaka boom boom. Now that's in your head. 

At this point I'm just sitting here waiting for Republicans to outlaw antibiotics next.

Honestly, how long until Texas Republicans pass a law making prayer a mandatory treatment for COVID?

Remember that time Governor Rick Perry got on TV and called on a whole stadium of Texans to pray to their miserable mean god for rain? As an official act of the state government? Remember that? And we thought Sweet Wookie Jesus, look at that guy just pissing all over the separation of church and state, man, somebody should totally put a stop to this religious bullshit before it gets out of hand. 

Guess what? 

Spoiler alert: No one put a stop to it.

Speaking of religious nuts no one is apparently going to stop, Marjorie Taylor Greene spent Friday screaming at people on the Capitol steps. 

You look at this woman, all red faced and yellow-eyed, shouting insanity, spit flying, and how do you  even tell her from the other nuts roaming the Washington Mall? 

Has anyone actually checked? 

Maybe she's not really a member of congress. 

Maybe she's just another cat-piss smelling goof with crazy hair who wandered in off the street? It's Washington, I mean, weirder shit has happened. 

Seriously, no one would have elected her? Right? 

This woman is horrible and that's a fact. But just how ignorant, how hateful, how goddamn horrible do you have to be yourself to vote for someone who thinks government should be run by the absolute dumbest, meanest, loudest bully in Junior High? 

And with that, we've come full circle back to Trump. 

Here's a hummingbird:


See you tomorrow. 


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

September 22, 2021

 

Remember the John Hughes movie Weird Science?

It was a simpler time back then and Gary and Wyatt, a couple of socially awkward outcast dorks, decide to cook up the girl of their dreams in a manner similar to Doctor Frankenstein building his monster instead of gearing up and murdering a school like if the movie was made today. 

They program their idea of a perfect woman into a 1985 personal computer (which might be the only really unbelievable part of the movie), hack into a government mainframe (as every teenager in 1985 totally knew how to do), strap bras to their heads (possibly the pinnacle of Michael Anthony Hall's entire acting career), and hook up electrodes to a plastic doll (thankfully instead of raiding the local cemetery for various body parts). 

Instead of a lightning storm, their rig is hit by a power surge and then both Kelly LeBrock and hilarity ensues in typical John Hughes movie fashion. Also, there's an appearance by a really young Ironman, just starting his career of playing rich douches. 

Remember that? 

Now imagine that instead of a doll, they hooked up a corn dog and it came to life. 

Corndogus Walkus Erectus


The movie even had an older brother who was literally a living pile of shit. 

Not to mention a mutant biker Nazi with a disturbing resemblance to Stephen Miller...


But, I digress. 


Trump's PAC is sending out text messages to "Trump Patriots." 

Not "American" patriots. "Trump Patriots." 

Like the worst video game you've ever played. 500% Match Unlocked! Exclusive offer to only true patriots! You're a true patriot, right? Can we count on you to make Trump proud? 


Oh no! If you don't send us money right now, right this "minite," Nancy Pelosi will eat a baby on live TV! There's not even time for spellcheck! You love the babies, right? True patriot that you are! Send us money! Save the babies!

This is literally the entire GOP platform. Right here. Booga booga! Be afraid! Give us money. 

That's it, that's the whole thing. 

They have no leadership. No solutions. No plan. 

Nothing but gibbering fear and naked greed. 

It's all a scam and they're not even trying to hide it and why should they? Their base is so damn stupid, so easily manipulated, that they keep throwing down dollar bills like a mark absolutely positive he's figured out the pattern in Three Card Monte and is going to take the street hustler for the entire pot. Double or nothing.


Republican ideology has become nothing but a grift.


Speaking of mutant biker Nazis, everyone's favorite crazy general is this morning explaining how the "Deep State" is going to be putting COVID vaccines in your salad dressing. 

I'll just pause for a moment so you can take that in: they're putting vaccines in salad dressing. 

Not really sure why he's upset. I mean, it's not like any of these drooling meatheads eat salad anyway.

Micheal Flynn, disgraced former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency until he was shitcanned by Obama for cause and forced to retire, former National Security Advisor to Donald Trump until he was outed as literally a foreign agent and fired by Trump after 22 days, QAnon, unrepentant insurrectionist, and pardoned criminal who barely managed to avoid prison, I mean, if anyone is an expert on Deep State salad dressing, it's this guy, right? Let's listen to him.  

"Somebody sent me a thing this morning where they're talking about putting the vaccine in salad dressing. Have you seen this? I mean it's, uh, and I'm thinking to myself, this is the Bizarro World, right? This is definitely the Bizarro World. These people are seriously thinking about how to impose their will on us in our society and it has to stop."

Well, we certainly agree Mike Flynn is living in Bizarro World. 

Somebody sent me a thing...

Yeah, likely it was a puff science piece from UC Riverside News about how some scientists are thinking about how maybe possibly you could maybe get plants to grow selected mRNA vaccines and then everybody would just eat salads and be vaccinated against various diseases. 

There might be a few hurdles between the idea and the implementation, however. 

It's an interesting idea. Sure. Probably make for some good window dressing in a science fiction story (hell, maybe I'll put it in this goddamn novel David Gerrold and I are supposed to be writing if only I could ever get him the outline I've been promising for a year. Anyway), but the article is on par with the kind of speculative ideas you read about in Popular Mechanics. 

I mean, it's a vegan's wet dream and all, but for now you'll still need to go get the flu shot, Farmer Ted. 

And it's hardly, "OMG! They're tryin' to vaccinate my salad!" 

Which is something Flynn might have had opportunity to say if he hadn't been first pardoned by Trump. 

But, again, I digress. 

Michael Flynn is a example of a veteran who cannot function outside the ordered structure of the military. 

Now, reportedly he wasn't any great shakes as a human being inside the military either, but he was at least functional enough to make it to general before getting fired. Flynn was reasonably functional and competent inside a very specialized community within the military. But outside that, without that correcting structure and oversight and daily interaction with people more sane and grounded, he's come completely unstuck from reality.

I mean, come on, right? Vaccines in salad dressing! OMG! If your wacky grandpa started talking like that, the nurses would strap him to the bed and force feed him nothing but institutional butterscotch pudding. 

Mike Flynn has spent the last couple of years with his head inside a plastic bag filled with his own farts and the lack of oxygen is really starting to become apparent. 

He's not the only one, of course. VA waiting rooms are full of broken vets like this, who've turned to drugs, booze, and violent insane conspiracy because they simply can not function in civilian society.

But how could Flynn have made it to General in the first place? 

Number of folks in my mentions asking this question. 

I'm not saying this is wrong per se, but, folks, you've heard me say many, many times that the skills and mindset that make for a decent soldier are not necessarily those that make for a decent citizen, or even a good human being.

In war, well, you know, it's about killing people. 

It's about killing people before they kill you. When you're not killing people, you're planning and training to kill people. That's war. It sucks. Maybe, as an aside, that's one of the reasons we should think about having less of them. But, again, I digress. 

Even in peacetime, the training, discipline, and structure necessary to accomplish that job reliably can lead to a certain nationalist paranoid conservatism. Not always. I mean, I think I survived a lifetime in uniform with my humanity mostly intact, but that's why there's a process for making civilians into soldiers. 

Should there be a better way to reverse the process? 

Yes. No. Maybe. I don't know. 

I'm trying to picture this reverse boot camp, bunch of guys sitting around growing long hair and smoking pot, not following orders. Sounds like fun. 

One size doesn't fit all. 

Some folks, especially career vets are really lost once they take the uniform off. It took me a while to find something to do that felt as interesting and as important as what I used to be.

For some guys, it never happens. 

Outside the structure, conformity, and support of the military community, they are mentally vulnerable.  They're alone for the first time in their lives, nothing to do all day but smell their own farts, surf the internet for confirmation bias, and listen to Fox News. 

They don't know how to cope and maintain their own identity, because for these guys they never had an identity outside the military. 

Flynn isn't alone, I saw it happen to men I once admired and deeply respected. 

But I also remember how former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was forced to apologize for a report her department produced suggesting extremist groups may try to attract veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That report also said extremists might use economic recession and the election of the nation's first African-American president to recruit veterans. 

Napolitano was crucified for that and Obama himself took it on the chin. 

But in this post-January 6th America, this land of Donald Trump and Oath Keepers and Proud Boys and Ashli Babbitt and a General who not only daily exhorts his followers to sedition and who thinks Joe Biden is putting vaccines in his salad dressing, well, you know, turns out the Obama Administration was right about those veterans after all. 

Anyway, here's how not to take a picture of a hummingbird. 








Tuesday, September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021

 I've been mostly offline all day. 

Today was the first day it hasn't rained in three weeks. So, I figured I'd better mow some grass or else I might get lost and eaten by wild animals between the house and office.

My wife and I are also selling some property we own in another state and that's the usual paperwork nightmare. So, part of my day was taken up reading over contracts and signing things. 

I'm also installing storage in my main desktop machine. Which so far is mostly a waste of time given that the operating system will not recognize the new volume. Ah, the joys of living in the information age. It's not really a huge deal, given that I don't really store much of anything on local machines, all my data is storage in my own clouds on RAID based systems. Still, it irritates me. 

I'll have another go at it tomorrow. 

What I'm saying here is that I've been offline and I'm not much feeling like politics today. 


Anyway...


Now that I'm migrating some of my content back here to my own site where I have better control over things and a (possibly) reduced likelihood of getting myself suspended from various social media platforms, I'm seeing an influx of readers who are used to me on social media but perhaps not here on my own site. 

So, a few notes about how things work: 

Comments are moderated. 

So, if you post a comment, it may take a while to appear on the site. Please don't keep trying to repost it. I'll get to it eventually. 

There are commenting rules. 

You should read them. There's a link directly above the commenting dialog box. Those who don't obey the rules will not be allowed to post. 

This isn't Facebook. This isn't Twitter.

I don't tolerate trolls, idiots, or conspiracy nuts. If you're one of those, your comment will not post. Who decides who's a troll, idiot, or engaged in conspiracy theories? Me. Don't like that? Too bad. 

I don't have to give you a platform.

I don't have to give Trump voting, MAGA loving, anti-vaccinated jackasses equal time, and I probably will not. If you're stupid, that's your problem, I won't let you make it mine.

Likewise, I don't have to listen to you accuse me of (insert insult of your choice here: communism, fascism, baby murderin', tofu eating unmanly foreign car driving umamericanism, etc). You're entitled to you opinion, I don't have to listen to it and probably will not. 

Don't be an asshole to other commenters. 

Who decides who's being an asshole? You guessed it. If you're an asshole to other commenters, you'll be removed. 

I generally don't mind people pointing out typos.

I mean, free copyediting, right? However, beyond that, if you want to be my editor, you'd better be paying me. Or, you know, write your own stuff. 

Speaking of paying me, if you like what I do you can pay me to keep doing it, either by becoming a Patreon or via PayPal. It's not necessary that you do so. None of my content is behind paywalls, nor will it be. But if you do decide to kick in, I appreciate it. I'm entirely funded by readers, I'm not beholden to any publisher, sponsor, advertiser, or platform. Seems to be working so far. 

Anyway, thanks for following along. I'm glad you're here. 

See you tomorrow and here's a hummingbird for your trouble: 








Monday, September 20, 2021

Recap: September 20, 2021

 

You can't trust the government! 

You can't trust big pharma! 

You can't trust for-profit business!

But most of all, you can't trust government!

I'm not anti-vax per se, buuuuuut you can't trust ...

Right? 

First thing in my feed this morning is Sarah Palin looking like she's about two weeks into her third Rehab, doing some interview, wait, people still interview Sarah Palin, why? She was describing how she's not anti-vax per se mind you, but she's not vaccinated for reasons that sounded a lot like if you took the text of a Trump COVID speech and had it transcribed by a monkey working its way through a couple tabs of acid. 

Do your own research, she says.

And, of course, you just can't trust the government. 

I mean, this what I hear from both Republican politicians and right-wing anti-vaxxers.  You just can't trust the government. You can't trust Big Pharma. You can't trust anybody.

They'll trust some anonymous troll on the Internet. 

They'll trust their idiot uncle or some blowhard pundit or that one blonde with the big tits on Fox News. 

They'll listen to some rap star who's got a cousin who knows a guy with swollen nuts. 

But you just can't trust the government, you know, man? 

These people they couldn't wait for Trump's Warp Speed vaccination. He's so smart, he's so handsome, he knows what he's doing, he knows more than the doctors ... well, according to Trump anyway. 

But the minute Trump was out of office they stopped believing in that vaccine and so did Trump. 

You can't trust the government says Trump, and he should know, shouldn't he? 

We'll come back to that. 

Don't trust the government say people who blindly take every word Donald Trump says, no matter how bizarre, insane, or obviously wrong it is, as gospel. 

This has become Republican ideology, you can't trust the government. It's literally the only thing they believe in. 

And why? 

Why can't you trust the government? 

Well, I mean, look at history. 

Richard Nixon, for example. That guy didn't just lie his way into office, he actually colluded with Henry Kissinger -- who betrayed the administration he was supposed to be working for -- who sent Kissinger's pal Anna Chennault to sabotage the Paris Peace talks and prolong the Vietnam war so that Nixon could get elected. That little maneuver prolonged the war by years and cost us another 20,000 American lives. And then the greasy son of bitch committed even more crimes to get re-elected and got caught. And was impeached. And then resigned. 

See? You can't trust government.  

But I know people to this day, who think Nixon didn't do anything wrong. Or, well, okay, maybe he did, but hey, you wouldn't have wanted a liberal in office would you? And not just a liberal, but George McGovern! 

Better a crook than a fucking hippy, right? 

Or how about Reagan? You'd never guess the people who worked for Nixon and pulled his strings were right there doing the same for Ronald Reagan a few years later, would you? Same people backdoored Jimmy Carter with Iran just like they did in Paris. All's fair in love and war. Anything to get elected. But, then once Reagan was in office he had to make good on that deal. So, he sold weapons to our enemies and financed a secret illegal war in Central America. And when it all went sideways he charmingly forgot everything, left Ollie North to take the fall, and CIA director William Casey died before he could be subpoenaed. How convenient! 

Man, you just can't trust that government. 


Still, as crooked as Reagan was, maybe even up to committing actual no shit treason by selling weapons to our enemies, man, you know, he loved America! Hero. Cowboy. Man's man. A real president. Better than that wimp, Jimmy Carter. I mean, sure, Carter actually lives the life Americans claim to admire, honest, humble, truthful, hardworking, godly, selfless... 

Reagan might have been a senile traitor, but you wouldn't want Carter, would you?

Well, at least George H. W. Bush was a decent guy, right? Never mind he was Chairman of the Republican National Committee during the worse years of the Nixon Administration, literally in charge of the GOP's Dirty Tricks operations when "ratfucking" actually became an accepted mainstream political term. Or that as such, he tried to use that position to influence the corruption investigations of Spiro Agnew and later Nixon himself. Or that part where he was the head of the CIA running Operation Condor and directly assisting military dictatorships in Central America. And those ratfuckers who were behind Nixon and Reagan? Guess who George put in charge of everything? Yeah, but in fairness, he kinda owed them. Anyway, the guy who promised not to raise your taxes did anyway. 

Can't trust government, right? 

Couple years later and it's George W. Bush and who was it pulling the strings? You guessed it. Same old dirty ratfuckers from the Nixon Administration, same ones who worked for his dad, name for name. And sure enough, they lied us into two wars that would go on for 20 years and cost us another generation -- and that was maybe the least horrible thing that came out of that administration of secret laws and waterboarding and indefinite detention and rendition and ... well, you get the idea. 

You just can't trust these people. 

But hey, at least we didn't end up with that stiff, Al Gore, right? Mr. "I invented the Internet." Boring! That guy couldn't commit a crime if you gave him a thousand bucks in cash and dropped him off in Vegas at the Adult Video Network Awards after-party. 

And then they elected Trump. 

The you-can't-trust-government crowd elected the single least trustworthy human being in America.

Maybe the world.

This guy broke every promise he made -- and then lied about it right to our faces. 

This guy lied about every minute of every day he was in office, clumsy stupid lies like a child would tell -- and then he went golfing and lied about that. 

This guy hired crooks and liars and grifters and they proceeded to steal, lie, and grift -- and they didn't even try to hide it, they're still doing it. 

And all the while, Republicans cheered. 

Ha ha, they sneered like mean rotten brats. Cry more, liberals! Owned! Fuck your feelings! 

They were proud of it. 

And now? 

Now they say, well, you know, you just can't trust government. 


Well, no shit

When you keep electing worse and worse people, crooks and traitors and imbeciles, sometimes all at once, when you repeatedly elect people who are patently untrustworthy and you know they are untrustworthy, well no shit you can't trust them

Look, I'm not trying to say that the other side is all that great either. Lyndon Johnson lied us into Vietnam with that Gulf of Tonkin bullshit. And Bill Clinton, well, yeah, I'm not going to defend Bill Clinton. But Obama was as upright a president as we've likely ever had, with the exception of Carter. None of them were perfect, but at least they didn't sell weapons to our enemies or attempt an insurrection or tell people to inject bleach for fuck's sake.

And at least Democrats believe in good government -- even if they often fall short.  

Not only do Republicans not believe in good government, they actively hate government altogether. 

Reagan himself said it: "government isn't the solution, government is the problem" -- and then America elected him and he proceeded to prove it. 

And Republicans have been proving it ever since. 

We have to stop electing people to run government who don't believe in government. 

We have to stop electing people to run America who don't believe that America is for everyone. 

We have to stop electing people to run government who think government is the problem. 

We have to stop electing people who don't believe in democracy. 

You don't trust government? Then stop electing people you can't trust. 

In America, if you can't trust your government, well that's more a reflection on Americans than it is on government. 

If you want a better nation, you have to better a better citizen. 





Saturday, September 18, 2021

Recap September 18, 2021

 


The inaugural crowd here at Trump's reinstatement is yuge.


It's the Million MAGA March. 

Well, if you use bible math. You know where the earth is only 6000 years old, this could totally be a million people. Totally.

That's today, right? 

Sure! That's today. The election declared invalid. The insurrectionists vindicated. Trump reinstated. Hillary Clinton dragged off to jail and Mexico sent us a check for the Wall...

I mean, if it's not today, then when

Look, I don't want to be a pessimist, but I'm starting to seriously doubt if that Pillow Guy knows what he's talking about.

Capitol Police estimated turnout was only 400 to 450 people. And from the pictures I think they're probably being generous. 

The Proud Boys didn't show up. 

The Oathkeepers didn't show up. 

The usual Republican rabble-rousers, Gaetz, Greene, Cawthorn, Giuliani, didn't show up and those vultures never miss an opportunity -- or a free lunch. 

Hell, they couldn't ever book Sarah Palin and she ain't got nothing to do these days. 

I mean, goddamn, Bristol Palin could have drawn a bigger crowd. 

Look at these pathetic dipshits.

(photo credit Dana Milbank WaPo)

These same racist morons scream about a black man kneeling during the national anthem, but here these same flabby dickless hypocrites are, vandalizing that very same flag. 

III% 

More like 3% of the normal number of brain cells. 

These people literally cannot be kicked when they are down enough. 

They're not soldiers. They're not Minutemen. They're for damn sure not patriots. 

They're just a bunch of overfed self-important privileged assholes too damn stupid to see they've been used. Same as the dumb violent goons who rally to any authoritarian cause, from the Brown Shirts to the Bolsheviks to the goddamn Confederates. 

They couldn't articulate what their own complaints are if you paid them. 

All they know is that they're mad. That's right, they're mad. The politicians and the pundits and the news shows told them to be mad and by the Angry White Christian God they are. They've been mad for years now, hell, they can't even remember the last time they weren't mad. 

At this point, mad is embedded in their genes and they don't know how to feel anything but rage anymore. 

And yet, these people live in the most prosperous nation in the world. 

As revolutionaries go, these assholes, they can't even say they're hungry. They're not trying to overthrow the government because they're starving. Or because they've been deprived their rights and property. Or because the government won't let them worship their god in their own fashion. Or because they've been imprisoned without due cause. Or because they've been pressed into military service to fight an unjust war in a foreign land. Or because they're being overtaxed or under represented. Or even because the government is housing soldiers in their homes without just compensation.

They cannot point to a single grievance outlined in the Declaration of Independence that they must endure. 

Not one. 

No, in fact they have so much leisure time and so much extra income they can drive to Washington D.C. in their $50,000 trucks and spend all day on the Washington Mall shouting about how oppressed they are by a government that's trying to give them healthcare, civil rights, good jobs, clean water, clean air, and a decent place to live, all while doing its damnest to keep these unvaccinated dolts from getting a preventable disease on purpose and killing themselves from deliberate stupidity. 

Ultimately, these people were rallying for Donald Trump. 

And Trump? Well, he fucked over the organizers by telling his supporters not to go...

... and then he went golfing. 

Which is either hilariously ironic or a testament to MAGA masochism.