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. 



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. 


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"


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."


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? 


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? 


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. 


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 ...


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. 


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. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Recap: September 17, 2021


Seriously, I'm not going to get any credit for NOT mentioning the whole Hi I'm a rap star and my cousin knows a guy who has swollen nuts so anyway do your own research thing?


Okay, well, then let's get right to it. 

Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, 

Seventeen years of service. From what I can see of his decorations he must have been a fairly decent Marine. 

He's right now busy destroying his entire career in a very public manner. 

The guy lost his shit over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

A lot of us wish it had been done better, but as I've repeatedly noted: those who quit and retreat from the battlefield don't get to dictate terms. 

Biden could have done a better job. 

So could have Trump. 

So could have Obama.

So could have Bush. 

This is the nature of war. This is the nature of leaving a war you haven't won. I know they teach Marines about Vietnam, this guy should have paid more attention. 

I'm not saying it's right or wrong. I'm saying this is how it is. 

You don't have to like it. I don't have to like it. Lieutenant Colonel Scheller USMC doesn't have to like it. But the difference is that you and I can say whatever we want, publicly, privately and there's not much anyone can do about it.

But the rules are different for Scheller. 

He's an active duty Marine. An officer. His job is to lead by example. Period. No exceptions. No excuses. 

And so long as he's wearing that uniform, his job is to shut the fuck up and soldier. 

He doesn't have to like it. 

When I was an active duty officer, I served under George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and I'm going to tell you that it was very, very personal to me. Rumsfeld, that son of a bitch, lied us into this war. I watched him do it. As an intelligence officer, I knew those fuckers were lying. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell, all of them. I knew it. We all knew it. We knew those dirty rotten fuckers were full of it. But my job was to shut and soldier. To do the best I could with what I had and lead my people in accordance with military law, custom, and tradition. 

And I did. To the very best of my ability. Without complaint. Every minute of every damn day. 

What's that? 

Oh, I see. 

That bit about "the military doesn't have to follow illegal orders."

Heh heh.

Yeah, about that, the orders weren't illegal. 

See, the Constitution doesn't say shit about the President or the Vice President or the Secretary of Defense or any of the people in charge having to tell the truth. 

Go look for yourself. 

No where in our laws does it say that the President and Congress can't start a war on a lie. 

In fact, the way this works if you're in the military is that the President and Congress get to define what truth actually is. And trying to correct them on it has very unpleasant consequences. 


Oh, you damn right I'm cynical. 

You have no idea how cynical I am. 

But that's how it is. You can maybe think otherwise if you're a junior troop, all shiny and new. But a Lieutenant Colonel with 17 years of service? Yeah, that guy knows better. There is no way that he doesn't. He knows what his job is. The Marine Corps is damn good at making sure you know. 

We work for the President of the United States of America. 

He says invade, we invade. 

He says retreat, we retreat. 

And it's our job -- literally our job -- to lead our troops in either direction with equal skill and fidelity. 

Shut up and soldier. That's the job. 

As an officer, you can't live with that? Then resign. Resign first.

As enlisted, wait to the end of your enlistment. 

Those are your options. 

Then you can say whatever you like. 

If you go back to the beginning of this blog, the very first day I started writing professionally, you'll see that it started the day after my retirement from the service. And not one minute before. I couldn't stand the son of a bitch in the White House and I despised what he had done to the country I had sworn to give my life for. But so long as I wore the uniform I did my duty, I led by example, and I carried out his lawful orders with fidelity, skill, and enthusiasm. 

Because that's the job. 

You know, I see an awful lot of former military say that their oath never ends. And then I see those same folks say things that aren't all that dissimilar from the insubordinate actions of Lieutenant Colonel Scheller -- if indeed their oath is still in effect. 

You say your oath is for life?


Which part of your oath? All of it? Or just some mumbling about enemies foreign and domestic and you get to define who those enemies are? 

Because if your oath, all of your oath, is still something you consider yourself bound by, well, fellas, I guess you'd best shut the hell up about your elected officials. 

There comes a day when you are no longer bound by that oath. 

I spent two and a half decades living up to that oath every day, and that's enough. 

The day after my retirement was official, I started writing publicly about politics, because then I was a civilian and I had the right to say as I please. Just like any other civilian. And that's when I could call the president a son of a bitch to his face. And did. 

Nowadays, I'll say as I please. And do. 

Lieutenant Colonel Scheller has every right to detest his Commander-In-Chief. 

However, so long as he's wearing that uniform that's where his freedom of expression ends. 

His public statements, his appearance on Fox News and various other broadcasts, disparaging the elected government of the United States, his Commander-in-Chief, his superior officers, that is gross insubordination and a violation of half a dozen articles of the UCMJ. 

He's a disgrace to the Corps.

He has dishonored his uniform and his oath.

And more than that, he has pissed on the very ideals of the Constitution he claims to uphold. 

Now, some have suggested that this officer has suffered a mental break. 

I don't know about that. I'm not a mental health expert.

He might appear irrational to you, but the problem is with MAGAs and some officers like this is that it's hard to tell. Some of these guys are wrapped so fucking tight and are so utterly gung-ho that outside of a very specific environment they appear to be insane. 

But inside that environment, well, they are what you need when the job is war. 

Guys like this, some of them, they can't function outside of war. 

They can't return to civilian life. 

I think that's what you're looking at here. 

That's why their marriages fall apart. That's why they end up estranged from their kids. That's why they drink and turn to drugs and maybe put a pistol in their mouths. That's why they sign up with some thinly disguised mercenary outfit while pretending to be a "security contractor" and spend the rest of their lives murdering people for money in a foreign land. Or become a cop here

That's why they end up smashing their way into the US Capitol, in the middle of an insurrection, in the name of some wannabe fascist. That's how a guy who spent his whole life sworn to the defense of the nation finds himself beating a cop to death with the American flag.


Sure. Probably. I dunno. When everyone is insane, what's sanity? 

Like I said, I'm not a mental health expert. But war is by definition insane. And when you spend your entire life in it, well, maybe some of it rubs off. 

Doesn't matter. It's not an excuse. 

This kind of gross insubordination cannot be tolerated in the ranks. 

Scheller, whatever his mental state, he knew what the consequences of his actions would be. 

And it's time to pay the price. 

See you tomorrow. 


Hello Facebook Followers.

(Also, various and assorted others)

You're wondering where I've been all week, aren't you? 

Well, I was suspended. From Facebook. 


For the last several years, it's become tradition for me to be suspended on or about the anniversary of 911 and this year is no different. 

Facebook's idiot mechanical brain decided a post from two weeks ago (which I suspect was targeted by people mad about my annual 911 post but who couldn't flag that any more because I've taken it down and moved it here, so they picked a target of convenience) about a new law in a certain state, a post that literally mentioned not one single human person, political party, gender, identity, or ideology in any fashion whatsoever, was somehow a violation of its "harassment and bullying" policy. 

And I was suspended.

Formerly, when this happened, there was some sort of appeal process. But I was not offered such this time because Facebook claims to be "shorthanded during the COVID pandemic" (which I suspect is shorthand for "we just don't want to spend any money on actual people and we don't really give a shit how that works out for you, Zuckerberg needs a new mansion) and thus unable to review anything their mechanical brain flags. 

Basically, they're letting software make judgement calls regarding the subtleties of human expression and interaction without any human oversight and those judgement calls are final and absolute. 

No chance of error there, eh? 

You could write an entire scifi subgenre of horror stories about all the things that could go wrong with this idea. 

Nevertheless, here we are and it's impossible for me to modify my behavior to prevent this sort of thing in the future, because I have absolutely no idea what part of the two-line throwaway post violated the policy. 

What terrible thing did I say? 

This: "Really not surprising a bunch of Dollar Store cowboys who worship the idea of manifest destiny, rough frontier justice, and some idiotic heroic mythology of a lost cause as their own Thermopylae would once again legalize vigilante-style justice and the open carry of six-shooters."

That's it. 

That's what I said. 

Now how is that harassment and bullying? 

Harassment? Who did I harass? Literally who does that comment harass? How does it harass them? 

Bullying? Who did I bully? Texas? I bullied the entire state of Texas? Like the entire state. All those big tough giant hat wearin' beefsteak-eatin truck-drivin' pistol-packin' shitkickers. I made them cry. Stonekettle is bullying us! We are emasculated! We'll never be able to wear our pointy-toed boots in public again! We might as well be Vermont! 

They've been bullied. By me. 

I did that. 

I guess that's what Facebook is saying.

I mean, I'm going to just go ahead and interpret it that way, because it amuses me to do so. But, I don't really know, because there is no way to know. 

There are no guidelines, no explanation, no feedback, no appeal, no help

Nothing. Facebook provides nothing in the way of support whatsoever. So there is literally no way to know. Thus there is no way to do better. No way to learn. No way not to do it again

You literally cannot comply with Facebooks policy, because there is absolutely no way to know how you violated it. 

And yet, every single day my Facebook DMs are literally full of people calling me all sorts of horrible things, threatening violence. One guy literally threatened to show up and rape my wife and son while I watched. I got in contact with the police, they went to his house and arrested him and he's in jail right now, but when I reported it to Facebook they said it didn't violate their policies and, hey, if you don't like it, just ignore him. 

Because those things are not, apparently, harassment or bullying according to Mark Zuckerberg.

But, Goddamn, don't bully Texas. 

Again, I don't know. 

This is the third time this year and it's likely to keep happening. And every time I'm suspended, it's for a longer and longer timeout. 

Facebook doesn't care how much time and effort you've put into their platform.

They don't care if you're actually trying to comply with their idiotic and arbitrary rules. 

They don't care. 

And because Facebook does not care, the company has given over management of the platform to software, to machines and algorithms, and removed human training and judgement from the loop.

And you can't argue with machines. 

Sooner or later, I'm going to get suspended permanently. It's inevitable at this point. Especially since the robots are crawling backward through my timelines and going after posts that didn't violate policy ten years ago, but somehow do now -- even though they are about subjects long gone. 

Facebook does not care and will not listen. 

Twitter isn't any better, just different in its terribleness. 

The rules of social media are applied arbitrarily and there's just not one damn thing you can do about it. 

I think eventually social media will have to be regulated like any other utility. Maybe not eventually, maybe pretty soon and right now. 

And when that happens -- and it will just as soon as Republicans are back in charge and they come for those platforms that booted their demigod Donald Trump -- it's going to cost Facebook and Twitter billions

And they will have no one to blame but themselves. 

These companies are not going to get a whole lot of sympathy from me, even if it is Republicans who stick it to them for their own selfish reasons.

There is no point in complaining about it though I obviously am, or talking about "fairness" or anything else. Social media isn't fair. Despite the vaunted appeals of Zuckerberg and Dorsey to "free speech" and "public dialog" social media isn't about those things and never has been. 

It's about profit. 

And I will say these platforms are a pretty good example why the free market cannot be trusted to manage itself. Facebook and Twitter, and their various technological vassals and satellites, don't give a good goddamn about you and why should they? 

If they actually did, they'd treat you like people instead of like an insurance company denying a claim.

It's as simple as that, really. 

But until that regulation happens, if it does, you're just shit out of luck. 

I can't work this way. 

It's just not possible. Literally. Even if I wanted to, Facebook won't let me. 

So here's what we're going to do: 

I'm going to move political commentary back to my own website, here. 

No. No. Stop screaming. This is a good thing for me and for you

Why me? I'm hoping that becomes self evident by and by. 

Why for you? Well, for starters, you keep telling me how much you miss long form. Okay. Here it is. Also, no comment limit. Comments are limited on my Facebook page. Not everyone can comment on my page, that's the most common complaint I get. But, over here, well, anyone can comment so long as they obey the rules. Blocking. I can block you from my Twitter and Facebook pages, or at least make it difficult for you to see my content. Here? Even if I don't let you comment, you can still see the posts.  Also vastly better formatting, higher resolution. Etc. Etc. Also, a bunch of other cool stuff that will eventually become apparent.

Now, does this mean I'm going to completely abandon Facebook? Or maybe Twitter? 


Not unless Zuckerberg and Dorsey kick me out of their worlds permanently, which is of course entirely possible at any random moment for totally arbitrary reasons. You pays your money and you takes your chances. 

What I'll do is post mostly non-political content on Facebook, hopefully things that won't get me afoul of the Faceborg Collective. And political commentary will be summarized every day on Stonekettle Station and a link posted on Twitter and Facebook and in the Facebook Stonekettle Station Group. 

Meaning you can comment here on Stonekettle Station directly, you can comment on Twitter, you can comment on Facebook as you always could, and if you're a member you can participate in the resulting comments in the Stonekettle Station Facebook Group. So, you get more options to post your voice and opinion, you get more content, and you get it more often and in more detail.

And if I do get suspended permanently, and my Facebook or Twitter pages taken down, or I go silent on those social media sites, well, you don't lose anything because it'll here on my website. If you don't hear from me on Facebook, come here and see what's going on.

This will also make sharing content easier -- as you can just post a link to the article on Stonekettle Station instead of trying to figure out how to share Facebook and Twitter posts to various platforms and forums.  

I've also updated Stonekettle Station to make every page a secure connection, which should fix access for those of you working through corporate connections. 

And I'm making other updates as I go. 

Anyway, that's how it is. 

First daily summary went up on September 15th

Second one yesterday on the 16th

I'm working on today. See you around. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Recap: September 16, 2021


Thursday began in the usual fashion.

With me walking into the kitchen in the dark, barefoot, and stepping into ... liquid? 

What the hell?

It's pouring rain outside and has been for weeks. Is the roof leaking? Are we sinking? Women and beagles first! Get to the boats, Rose! 

Turn on the light, ah it's a coffee machine malfunction and there's a half a gallon of this morning's brew dripping off the counters onto the floor. So, I got to clean that up before I had coffee. On the other hand, the dogs thought me crawling around on my hands and knees, cursing, and mopping up the mess with paper towels was hilarious.

I put them out in the rain. Not so funny now, is it, assholes. 

They don't care. They like the rain and ran around gleefully peeing on things as is their wont.

So, that's my morning. We're all fine here. How are you? 

Let's start with some feedback on yesterday's post: 

I'm thinking somebody maybe did little too much LDS back in the 60s.

It's always fascinating (get it?! Fascinating. Huh? Huh? Raises one eyebrow) to me what will set people off. I made a fairly innocuous generalization yesterday about how conservatives and liberals have more or less swapped roles over the years...

...and a bunch of people who claim pot makes you mellow got all kinds of soggy and hard to light about it. 

DMs this morning are like the Klingon/Federation Neutral Zone.

Look here, my comments weren't "definitions." 

They were generalizations that were supposed to be exaggerated. That's often how humor works. And humorous hyperbole used to illustrate and convey an idea is a common writing technique.

Yeah, nothing gets by you. Except maybe all the clues. 

Literally nothing I said yesterday was aimed at you personally. Any of you. 

Unless, of course, you want it to be. 

Eventually I got coffee. But things did not improve...

Lot of people mad today.

Fox News this morning madder than hell about California. 

Specifically that anyone should be happy about the vote in California, such as the majority of people who live in California and voted the way they wanted to. Like, you know, democracy and such.

I mean, how dare people be happy about their win? 

MAGAs would never do that. No, Sir!

Or post about it on social media. Endlessly. 

Or hold rallies to cheer their victory. Or dedicate entire news shows to it. Or listen to their politicians crow about it. Over and over. 


They are so much better than us. Less emotional. Reserved. 

Stoic even.


Here in Florida, Republicans are suing in federal court to halt mask, social distancing, and vaccine mandates. Basically Florida Republicans oppose any measure that would halt or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in any fashion, and nowhere is this stance more hardline and outspoken than in Tampa -- well, I mean outside of the governor's office in Tallahassee. 

Today, however, the head of the Hillsborough Country Republican Executive Committee informed the FEC that they would likely be late in filing their paperwork -- which as a Political Action Committee they are required to do on a monthly basis. 

They will be late in filing the paperwork because the committee member responsible for doing so is unavailable. 

The committee member is unavailable because he's dead. 

He died from acute irony.

And in true job security fashion as taught in all the finest American business schools, the dead guy was the only guy who knew how to do the thing and he didn't give anyone else access to the software or train anyone as his backup. It just don't get any more Republican than that.  And that guy, the linchpin, the critical guy in the process, that guy wouldn't wear a mask or get vaccinated or stay away from public places because, goddammit, you're not tellin' me what to do! 

But then, these guys are perfectly willing to sacrifice their own kids (and yours too), so I guess it's not any great stretch to find them leaving their entire organization in the lurch with their stubborn selfish stupidity. 

I see these guys and they idolize this ridiculous fake version of history and this weirdly twisted version of freedom, like Mel Gibson, an American playing a Scotsman, dressed in a kilt that the Scots wouldn't wear for another five centuries, face painted in woad that the highlanders hadn't worn in a thousand years, fighting a famous battle on a bridge with no bridge, having sex with a woman he probably never actually met, seeking revenge against tyranny what killed his father who was actually still alive and totally not dead, shouting Freeeeeeeeeedom! And somehow missing the fact that Braveheart's insurrection was an abject failure (warning, possible metaphor) and the guy ended up being convicted of treason (ominous foreshadowing music here) and for murdering civilians "sparing neither age nor sex, monk nor nun" and then was dragged naked through the streets of London behind horses, hanged, cut down before he could fully strangle, castrated and disemboweled alive, beheaded, and finally cut into pieces and had his head dipped in tar and placed on a pike over London Bridge. (I didn't say it was a great metaphor, but maybe we could play that part for those currently in jail awaiting trial for the January 6th insurrection just, you know, for fun).

Of course, it's not just America. 

Hai Shaulian, a prominent Israeli anti-vaxxer died Monday. From COVID. 

His final Facebook message Saturday explained to his readers how he couldn't breathe and that his condition was "extremely critical." 

He said he was sure he'd recover "with God's help." 

He was right on first two accounts, wrong about the last one. 

Shaulian repeatedly called on his followers not to get vaccinated and said of his antivax stance, "It has nothing to do with the coronavirus. It has nothing to do with vaccines. It has to do with coercion" and "There is no epidemic. The vaccine is unnecessary and dangerous."

Turns out, it had everything to do with the virus and vaccines are pretty damn necessary.

Being smothered to death in your own snot is a hell of way to find out your god thinks you're an idiot, isn't it? 

I don't know. Maybe it's just me. 

As I've previously noted: maybe it makes me a bad person but I've just run out of any sympathy for these people. Everyday I read about yet another "prominent antivaxxer who died of COVID" and I smile. I shrug and say to myself, "welp." Look, it's bad enough they're killing themselves, but their boneheaded malicious libertarianism is putting us all at risk. 

This pandemic would be over if it wasn't for these goddamn selfish assholes.

It's not the vaccines that are dangerous, it's the guy who refuses to get vaccinated. 

This isn't freedom, it's deliberate stupidity.


Over at Fox News, the people who think they're qualified to count all the ballots and audit all the elections demonstrate their facility with basic math

Joe Biden kicking some ass here, I mean did Trump ever put in 101% on his best day? 

But I digress. 


And we circle back 'round to California.

I suppose this needs a bit of introduction. 

A few days ago, the governor of South Carolina tweeted this: 

A nightmare! 

Naturally, I said something about this on my various social media feeds. Because that's what I do.
Really? A nightmare? Like: Oh my god, America is a nightmarish dark radioactive wasteland of deprivation and devastation were capitalists are hunted in the streets like starving animals by radical gay socialist mobs waving torches made from burning copies of the Constitution and George Washington's powdered wig. A nightmare! It's a madhouse! 
I might have been somewhat sarcastic. 

And invoking Charlton Heston was probably uncalled for. 

There was more. More sarcastic remarks about saving poor endangered capitalism and such like that. You get the gist. 

Various readers weighed in and eventually the conversation worked its way around to California, as any discussion of the state of America that begins with "A nightmare!" inevitably must. 
"Ca has the highest welfare takers highest poverty rate highest taxes highest homeless population. Failed state propped up by high tech"
Of course, the account that posted that particular observation is very likely a troll, software and not even an actual meaty human being. But the sentiment, that's a common meme, a common idea, pushed by Republicans (some of which are actually from California) and Russian bots alike -- and thus eventually by my MAGA hat wearing neighbors in a display of the only form of trickle down economics that actually works. 

California is a hellhole of homelessness and taxation, a dark radioactive wasteland of deprivation and ... well, yeah. You know. You've heard this. Right?

But let's take a closer look, shall we? 

If you actually care to pull the actual numbers, it turns out that California's welfare recipient statistics are basically the same as Texas, Florida, and New York. 

Liberal states, conservatives states, all have about the same numbers of welfare recipients, those using SNAP benefits, homelessness as a percentage of their large populations, etc. 

That is: states with larger populations tend to have a larger number of people. 

Yeah, I know, but try to keep up. 

And more people equals more homelessness, more people who need assistance, more crime, and more of, well, pretty much everything. This isn't a conspiracy. It isn't any pithy observation. It's just statistics. 

If you want to talk real numbers that actually matter, like the ratio of people on welfare and SNAP to people who don't need government assistance then take a look at the poor conservative South where the per capita rate of government assistance is much higher than California on its worst day. And while you're at it, look into what states pay into the system. Because the amount states like California contribute is vastly higher than, oh, say Alabama. Something I note California's critics rarely, if ever, mention.

Saying California has more homeless people is like saying California has more electoral votes. 

No shit, Einstein, you don't say? 

California has the largest population of any state. Larger than the next most populous state, Texas, by 10 million. California also has the most benign climate (in every sense of the word: weather wise, politically, and economically) of any state. And that combination attracts the highest number of migrants (both domestic and foreign, including both legal and undocumented foreign immigrants) of any state. As such, California's large homeless population isn't so much a condemnation of its policies (which are essentially the same as any other state) as it is the predictable end result of several intersecting curves. 

Homelessness, poverty, the need for assistance is a national problem that affects every state. 

It's easy to point to California's homeless population as some political statement, because you see California on the news everyday. 

No one broadcasts pictures of homeless camps in Iowa. Or Alabama. Or here in the Florida Panhandle, but they're there and they are the same exact problem here as in California, but you won't hear my asshole congressman Matt Gaetz complaining about them and demanding Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi do something. 

Taxes pay for civilization. 

More taxes, more civilization (yes, yes, up to a point). 

California's large diverse population (most especially including its immigrant population) and its vast modern infrastructure and climate are what attract those high tech industries. 

High tech industries with high paying jobs in cutting edge fields attract more high tech industry, more immigrants, more population, more infrastructure, more innovation, and more supporting satellite jobs like food, housing, transportation, energy, communications, education, entertainment, emergency services, government, etc. 

AND also the associated problems of any large population -- such as taxation and homelessness to name just two. 

California is the exact opposite of failed. 

It's a major economy that literally drives technology trends, innovation, culture, entertainment, education, and so on, worldwide. 

Not to mention California feeds about half our country and several others. 

The very problems outlined here, "Ca has the highest welfare takers highest poverty rate highest taxes highest homeless population. Failed state propped up by high tech" are literally proof of this. 

Again, you don't see this same guy shouting "Alabama has the highest percentages of farm subsidy takers highest rural poverty rates highest teen pregnancy rates highest COVID infection rate. Failed state propped up by NASA jobs in Huntsville..." 

But you could. 

You could say that, and it would be just as dumb as shouting about California. 

High tech doesn't "prop up" California any more than agriculture does. Those industries, and many more, are part and parcel of the state. They are what help to define it. Just as cotton and peanuts do here in this part of the South or fishing, mining, and oil do in Alaska or cattle does in Texas.

The problems this meme points to are the problems of any large population.  Because those are the problems created by success

You don't hear about poverty and homelessness in Iowa, trolls and pundits don't point to it as some sort of gotcha, because the population -- and thus the resulting culture -- isn't large enough to drive national and global trends. And so no one gives a fuck about Iowa. But the state's problems are the same as anywhere else in America. Drugs. Homelessness. Poverty. Taxation. Infrastructure. Etc. 

Civilization is complicated and messy and fraught with unexpected outcomes. 

Go ahead and point to a "successful" state without the problems of taxation and homelessness and poverty around the edges of that success. 

Go on. Where is it? 

You certainly can't here the US. Not in Texas. Not in Florida. Not in New York. Not in Iowa. Not in Alabama. Not in any state. 

You can in other nations, however. 

But the solutions to those problems in those peaceful nations are the very systems conservatives today here in America decry as "socialism" and "tyranny." 
"Ca has the highest welfare takers highest poverty rate highest taxes highest homeless population. Failed state propped up by high tech"

You can squint your eyes and maybe agree that everything this post says is correct. From a certain point of view. 

But it's not the pithy gotcha the people pushing it think it is. 

Instead it's a demonstration of a blustering ignorance and a shallow incurious mentality incapable of comprehending even the most basic complexities of modern civilization.

Bluster isn't intellect. 

Soundbites aren't wisdom. 

Ignorance isn't a virtue and rage isn't patriotism no matter how self-righteous. 

You want to do something about poverty? Homelessness? Taxation? Do you really?

You want a better nation? Do you? 

Be a better citizen. 

Here's a picture of a hummingbird making a highspeed approach with his eyes closed. 

See you tomorrow.