Monthly Archives: April 2019

Wifery

Do most women want to stay home and wait on a wealthy husband? 

Andrews ties declining marital rates to financial insecurity and the impossibility of affording a middle-class life on a single income. She blames this on “the mass entry of women into the work force.” Instead of “shoveling women into the work force,” she suggests that it’s “time to focus on helping male workers specifically, their wages and their industries,” as a means of raising marital rates and increasing women’s ability to choose to stay at home with the kids. Never mind that we’ve already run the societally-backed man-as-breadwinner experiment and know exactly how it goes: An expansion of one single choice for some women and a shrinking of all others for all women. She suggests that, hey, women would rather have a husband and a child than equal pay, wouldn’t they?As though it’s a zero-sum game.

This tiresome bullshit is why we can’t get anything done. From the piece linked in the original:

The result is a two-tiered system that isn’t working for anybody. In the bottom tier, marriage is disappearing as lower-income women have too few men with solid jobs to choose from and as the growing number of men without regular work — by one analysis, 20 percent of prime-age males were not working full time at the start of 2018 — are being cut out of the marriage market altogether.

I am so exhausted of a “feminism” that imagines that poor women just found rich guys to marry instead of, you know, staffing the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. We have this idea that before 1968 women married and stayed home, even if it was a poor home, while their MANZ went out and earned, even if he didn’t earn much.

To which I would offer up ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY in which women worked to pay the bills because they either didn’t have husbands, or their husbands were disabled or At War or not around or got fired or didn’t make enough. Women have always worked. Poor women, anyway. Middle class women may have stayed home but then say that instead of saying “women” because the Real Housewives of 1950s Connecticut have about as much in common with their female farm worker contemporaries as I have with the Mercury Seven.

Wendy Wang is the director of research at the Institute for Family Studies, and before that she worked at the Pew Research Center, where she co-wrote a report about unmarried Americans. “The number of employed men per 100 women dropped from 139 in 1960 to 91 in 2012” among never-married Americans 25 to 34, her report found. “In other words, if all never-married young women in 2012 wanted to find a young employed man who had also never been married, 9 percent of them would fail, simply because there are not enough men in the target group.”

Well, lesbians exist, first of all, and with marriage equality being a reality now we may want to stop picturing all unhitched women as being deprived of a dude. Some of them may pine for each other.

Just … what a load. Nobody wants to get married anymore because nobody has any fucking money to do anything. When Kick was three weeks old Mr. A and I sat down on the floor of her nursery and tried to figure out if we could afford for me to go back to work, or if we could afford for me NOT to go back to work.

I had a low-paid nonprofit job serving the sort of Important Historical Organization I was constantly being told people my age didn’t value. I hadn’t had a raise in five years by that time. When we first hired someone so I could go back, I did the math. Subtract her salary from mine, and I took home $8 an hour. Before taxes.

(That isn’t, by the way, an argument to pay her less.)

Yeah, I needed to work, and we needed those eight bucks. And nobody who needs those eight bucks right now is going to be comforted by a study from the Ladies Against Women Institute about how mothers really shouldn’t be in the workforce because they’re making all the men unhappy. What the blue hell.

The answer isn’t to push out women in favor of paying men more. It’s to pay everybody more and every time I hear about not throwing money at a problem I wonder if maybe we shouldn’t try it just once and see how it goes.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Music Edition

There’s a lot of dumbassery out there today. Have something beautiful:

A.

We’ll Do Literally Anything To Avoid Gun Control

Is there a right this doesn’t trample on? 

A company called ZeroEyes out of Philadelphia markets a system to police departments that can detect when a person is entering a given facility carrying a gun. It integrates with any number of closed-circuit surveillance systems.  But machine learning algorithms don’t just come out of a box knowing how to recognize a firearm any more than a drug dog arrives from the breeder knowing the difference between marijuana and oregano. To teach the algorithm, a team from the company shows up on location and proceeds to stage mock attacks. Slowly, the algorithm begins to learn what a gun looks like in that specific setting, depending on light, angles, and other conditions. They’re currently working with New York City Schools and have a contract with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, but are not yet deployed to the border, said Kenny Gregory, a software engineer at the company.

We’ll stage mock attacks on schoolkids, shoot teachers and call it a training exercise. We’ll further stigmatize the mentally ill, suggest that everybody with a diagnosis is just a murderer in waiting. We’ll make people carry bulletproof backpacks and put dogs and guards on every train. We’ll create fucking PRE-CRIME SOFTWARE in order to watch people every second of every day.

We will do all of that, to avoid doing the one thing that might make a difference.

While some polls show that 70 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, that number is far lower, about 31 percent, among conservatives. And so the political debate, while fiery, has stalled. Gun-detection algorithms that alert security personnel when an armed person arrives might reduce the number of victims — though likely not as much as if there were no armed shooter in the first place.

Because of the gerrymandered stranglehold the dying GOP and the fascist NRA have on our discourse, we have to have fucking mind-reading algorithms tell us if someone’s carrying a gun because literally anyone might be carrying a gun.

Let us never underestimate our willingness to avoid solving a goddamn problem. Do we really not see how stupid this sounds?

A.

Quote Of The Day: Bill Weld On Trump

I’m a hardcore Democrat so I’m not supporting Bill Weld, BUT I got a kick out of that slogan when I saw it on the book of faces. As a longtime observer of presidential politics, I’m keeping an eye on Weld’s nascent challenge to the Insult Comedian. In the primary era, presidents who face a serious intra-party challenge lose re-election. By serious, I mean someone who can poll enough votes early on to inflict political damage such as Pat Buchanan or Gene McCarthy neither of whom expected to win the nomination. But Poppy Bush lost and LBJ withdrew. Mission accomplished.

Weld is something of an anachronism: a moderate New England Republican. They used to be plentiful but now they’re as rare as the dodo bird. Weld, however, is no dodo.

Massachusetts pols have traditionally done well in the New Hampshire primary. It’s also one of twenty states where unenrolled voters can vote in a party primary, which gives Weld a chance to bloody Trump’s nose with the help of  independents. And they’re plentiful in the Granite State.

Weld sat down for an extended interview with the NYT’s Jeremy W. Peters. I got a kick out of this exchange:

There’s conservatism and Trumpism. One is an ideology, the other is more of an attitude. But increasingly a lot of conservatives worry that the two have become inseparably linked. Are they?

They shouldn’t be. Trumpism is frankly devotion to Mr. Trump’s megalomania. I mean, he’s got a lot going on in his head. The man is so angry so much of the time. It’s hard for me to see how one single head could contain so much anger, so much wrath.

He says, “I’m a counterpuncher.” He is not a counterpuncher. He will take off with tweets or action after any slight, real or imagined. My read is the guy is terrified maybe he’s a loser, which is why he lashes out at anybody. I don’t know everything that’s going on there. But I do know that I would not want to have the president’s demons. I feel for the guy in a way. They’re not normal.

That reminds me of some venerable Neil Finn lyrics:

There’s closets in my head where dirty things are kept
That never see the light of day
I want to drag them out, go for a walk
Just to see the look that’s on your face
Sometimes I can’t be straight I don’t want to hurt you
So forgive me if I tell a lie
Sometimes I come on cold but don’t believe it
I will love you till the day I die

I guess the last line could be the president* referring to his true love, himself. Hell, the next couplet fits as well:

I believe in doing things backwards
Take heed, start doing things in reverse

That concludes what one could call the sub-quote of the day. I believe I just did.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Beelzebubba edition

OK, people – a few hundred dollars worth of hardware and labour and the loss of my Windows 7 Professional software later, I’m back online and ready to rock.

Only one subject this morning – Hail Satin!!

IRS recognizes Satanic Temple as ‘church’, grants tax-exempt status

April 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has formally recognized the Satanic Temple as a church, according to a celebratory announcement by the organization and as confirmed by the Associated Press.

On Thursday, the Satanic Temple announced on Instagram that “for the very [first] time in history, a satanic organization has been recognized by the United States federal government as being a church.” The IRS website confirms that the Satanic Temple is now a tax-exempt organization “eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions,” but gives no further details on its status beyond being a “public charity.”

The AP, however, reports that it received a copy of the notice, which classifies the Satanic Temple as a “church or a convention or association of churches.”

The IRS’s decision comes despite the Satanic Temple’s own website all-but acknowledging it isn’t a religion in the traditional sense. The group’s FAQ page explains that it doesn’t believe Satan or other supernatural concepts literally exist, but embraces Satan’s name as a “symbol of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority.”

It claims to qualify as a religion because it has “deeply held beliefs that we actively advocate,” a “narrative structure by which we contextualize our lives and works,” and a set of symbols and practices that give a “sense of identity, culture, community, and shared values” – a definition of “religion” that could encompass any number of ideological, political, or cultural groupings not traditionally considered to be religions.

“IRS regulations draw a clear distinction between ‘churches’ and other religious organizations,” Catholic News Agency adds. “A church must have certain characteristics, according to IRS requirements, including: a recognized creed and form of worship; distinct ecclesiastical government; formal code of doctrine; ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study; established places of worship and regular religious services.”

Rolling Stone notes that the Satanic Temple itself has rejected tax-exempt status in the past, but reversed its position in 2017. Temple president Lucien Greaves made the change in protest of President Donald Trump’s moves to protect religious liberty, which Greaves claimed was turning religious groups into a “privileged class” from which Satanists should benefit as well.

“This acknowledgment will help make sure The Satanic Temple has the same access to public spaces as other religious organizations, affirm our standing in court when battling religious discrimination, and enable us to apply for faith-based government grants,” the Temple’s announcement added, meaning the new status is likely to bolster its legal claims in cases such as its placing of Satanic statues in the state capitals of Arkansas and Illinois.

The Daily Caller notes that the new status is “redundant” on the matter of grants, as there currently aren’t any federal grants exclusively available to faith-based groups, and faith-based and secular groups are equally free to compete for grants.

1 posted on 4/26/2019, 4:16:56 PM by ebb tide
This should be good.
To: ebb tide

It will be the official Church of the Democrat(sic) Party.

2 posted on 4/26/2019, 4:22:45 PM by Reverend Wright (TAX the WOKE !)

Projecting just a wee bit, aren’t we?  Democrats by and large favour separation of church and  State.
You know? Like in the Constitution you inbred idiots claim to worship?
.
Maybe you were thinking of Franklin Graham?

To: ebb tide

Leftist, commie, socialist, anarchist, satanic-demokkkRAT bureaucrats; the gov’t is stocked with so many of them, my calculator melted trying to count one agency’s roster.

3 posted on 4/26/2019, 4:23:34 PM by carriage_hill (A society grows great when old men plant trees, in whose shade they know they will never sit.)

Are you sure it wasn’t your alleged brain that melted?
To: ebb tide

The main sacrament of Satanists is abortion

Think about that for a minute

5 posted on 4/26/2019, 4:25:07 PM by Truthoverpower (The guvmint you get is the Trump winning express !)

Nah – the main sacrament is sacrifice of pre-teen children.
.
Or was that ICE’s?
.
(I actually have this t-shirt: )
Demons
Rush fanboy YYZ makes a good point here :
To: ebb tide

The IRS already gave the Church of Scientology tax status as a church. The Satanists couldn’t begin to touch that bunch for being evil.

10 posted on 4/26/2019, 4:36:22 PM by -YYZ- (Strong like bull, smart like tractor.)

Of course – this is Free Republic, and Freud never sleeps :
To: Roman_War_Criminal

Sodom and Gomorrah comes to mind.

6 posted on 4/26/2019, 5:25:11 PM by ExTexasRedhead

Come for the sodomy, and come back Gomorrow for more.
To: Roman_War_Criminal

It’s an anti-Christian hate group of atheists.

What’s their religion?

Is the Klan a religion too?

8 posted on 4/26/2019, 5:34:00 PM by a fool in paradise (Denounce DUAC – The Democrats Un-American Activists Committee)

…asking for a friend…
.
More satanic majesties at the link below…

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Cuts Deeper: Game of Thrones Thread

Swift as a deer. Quiet as a shadow. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Quick as a snake. Calm as still water. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Strong as a bear. Fierce as a wolverine. Fear cuts deeper than swords. The man who fears losing has already lost. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords.

What an incoherent, half-ass, mumbling nutsack of an episode, coming on the heels of perhaps the show’s finest hour of all time. I was amped for this one. I was ready for some serious mind-fucking time-traveling landing-sticking and what we got was a muddily staged episode of The Walking Dead backed inexplicably by the Westworld soundtrack.

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A Reckoning with Age

I spent the past few days at a gathering at which the shortcomings of young people was a frequent topic of conversation.

Or if not a topic of conversation, an aside. An easy joke.

A tour guide pointed out a painting of a figure from classical mythology holding a book. “Kids think she’s got an iPad.” Everyone laughed.

A librarian displays a beautifully handwritten letter and everyone laments the way kids today can’t read cursive script anymore because they aren’t taught it, nor are they able to write letters.

Young people also often stare at their phones at the dinner table. They seek out confirmation of what they already know instead of new information. They don’t read newspapers. And they don’t value the past.

Of course one could refute such nonsense point-by-point. I tended to change the subject, as this was an Official Outing at which I could not ask people outright to stop being the way they are. I could go chapter and verse on why people read and write more now than they have in a century, or ask if Gilgamesh bitched this much when kids abandoned cuneiform. But that’s beside the point.

The point is: Young people aren’t the problem.

It’s not “young people” voting for divisive, uncivil, crass politicians.

It’s not “young people” crowding onto Facebook to share poorly sourced screeds about Michelle Obama putting crack pipes on the White House Holiday Tree.

It’s not “young people” scolding activists and hating on protesters and resurrecting the least fashion-forward of the Nazi trappings with “America First” and concentration camps for migrant refugee kids.

Young people aren’t watching Fox. Young people aren’t watching cable news 24-7 nor demanding their podiatrist and gastroenterologist put it on in the waiting room for everyone to suffer through.

Young people aren’t segregating schools or closing mental health clinics or demanding tax cuts for the uber-wealthy at the expense of public parks. Yes, they’re taking selfies in superblooms and trampling on plants but twas ever thus.

The complaints of totebaggers about the world being difficult and contentious and loud and rude are just that. They aren’t the failings of America’s youth. They’re not the result of smartphones or a lack of media literacy or Common Core Math or not reading cursive or “divisive politics” or anything else we’ve convinced ourselves is the problem.

They’re the faults and failings of nice stable middle class people who are absolutely refusing to admit that they are old and not cool anymore and maybe never were. Not long after Trump’s election someone described this era as the Going Out of Business sale for the Baby Boom and while I don’t disagree, it’s more than that.

This country’s midcentury honkies never fully reckoned with their whiteness and they never fully reckoned with their aging and they’re being forced to do both now and it’s just as ugly and violent as any other reckoning through which America has had to go.

They’re reckoning with gender, too, or rather throwing temper tantrums about pronouns as if it’s some kind of new onerous burden to call people that which they’d like to be called.

All these things — whiteness, age, gender — are things they didn’t think about for five or six decades. They did what everyone does: They lived their lives and expected that to be important someday and it isn’t. They did everything right, and things still suck.

They — we, I am past 40 now and I see shit like this from people my own age as well as my “elders” — are just old, and white, and cisgender, and straight, and not all that smart, and some of us having made money through sheer dumb luck doesn’t make us better or geniuses, and the only thing wrong with any of that is defending it like it’s under attack by the existence of people who are not any of those things.

The only thing wrong with the reckoning is the horrible things we’re doing to avoid having it happen. Being old doesn’t make you old. I have friends from the Greatest Generation who get up every day absolutely fucking stoked to have outlived all the great bastards of their time, and they seem eons younger to me than people I went to school with crabbing about not knowing the names of artists on the VMAs. Being uninterested in the world makes you old, that’s all that makes you old. Google some shit, stop talking about how you don’t watch TV, and quit acting like liking bacon is a personality.

Being unwilling to ask questions makes you old. Not just questions about “what’s Zendaya all about” but questions about your own stuff. What if my music sucks? What if my books suck? What if my clothes were stupid? What if the things I fought for don’t in fact live forever? What if the fight I told myself for years is won isn’t over?

What if I don’t get a parade the way I thought I would? What if nobody’s grateful? What if nobody even remembers? These are terrifying things to think about so for years people just, like, didn’t. Believe me, I know how scary these thoughts are. I have them every day. Writing a book or two about how Bush sucked shit was something I used to think was a powerful statement, dear God.

What if I am just, after all, a person who did some stuff and maybe I wasn’t all that great at it? Maybe I didn’t try as hard as I could have. Maybe I failed. Maybe I convinced myself it’s too late to try again. People will do ANYTHING to avoid that question. To avoid that feeling you occasionally get where you realize you’re looking out of your own head, you know?

But we’ve got to stop making this all somebody else’s problem. Language is fluid and the world is ever-ending and people are inventing new ways to read and write CONSTANTLY and maybe Miley Cyrus isn’t our thing but luckily we’re not contractually obligated to bring her up. We are as much citizens as we’ve ever been, and the only thing that ages us is hating the young.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Back In The High Life Again

Mesas In Shadows by Maynard Dixon

I had a stupid kitchen accident this week. The sink was full-ish so I decided to pour boiling water into an airborne/hand-held colander. I missed and mildly scalded my left hand. It hurt like hell for a day or so but barely qualified as a first degree burn. I did, however, feel like a first degree dumbass. It was not unlike being an honorary Trump.

I just finished reading John Farrell’s fine 2017 biography of Richard Nixon. I learned two positive things about Tricky Dick. First, he broke his arm as a young politician after slipping on the ice outside his DC area home. The break occurred because he held onto his daughter instead of bracing for the fall with his hands. Second, Nixon was a good tipper. He tipped 25% in the late Sixties when 10% when standard and 15% was a big tip. Hell has frozen over: I just said something nice about Nixon.

After last week’s sad theme songs, I decided to elevate the tone a bit. Back In The High Life Again was written by Steve Winwood and Will Jennings in 1986. It was a big hit; surely aided by James Taylor’s gorgeous harmony vocals.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Winwood’s chirpy original and a mournful interpretation by Warren Zevon, another wry and sardonic guy. We’re everywhere, y’all.

Now I want some Miller High Life, which is my favorite cheap beer. It’s even good enough for my beer snob/home brewer friend Greg. On that note, let’s take a swig of Miller, then jump to the break. Try not to spill any. Wasting beer is a sin.

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Massive Resistance

Massive resistance to desegregation was a thing after the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Supremes erred by using Felix (The Hot Dog Man) Frankfurter’s phrase that desegregation should be implemented “with all deliberate speed.” What followed was deliberate delay, not speedy progress.

Team Trump is following its own path of massive resistance in regard to Congressional subpoenas. The Insult Comedian has bragged that he runs the “most transparent administration in history” when, as always, the opposite is true. Projection thy name is Trumpy.

The Trump regime specializes in lies, cover-ups, and delay. They’ve made an art of kicking the can down the road in an audacious attempt to delay the president’s* day of reckoning. I halfway expect Rudy to use the phrase “with all deliberate speed,” he’s surely heard of it. Trump just as surely has not. Nothing exists if it doesn’t involve him.

The law is on the side of the House oversight committees but not only is the law an ass, it’s a slow ass. It’s one of the few things Trump knows: litigation is tantamount to delay. It’s why he *always* threatens to sue whenever things go against him. The good news is that Congress has deep pockets but the process is inherently slow. In fact, it moves “with all deliberate speed.”

 

Friday Catblogging: Lap Of Luxury

Dr. A was graced with both Paul and Della on her lap. Naturally, she took a picture:

Great White Hopes Or Killer Bees?

Everybody’s running for president; every Democrat, that is. Former Veep Joe Biden disregarded my unsolicited advice and threw his shades in the ring. Why not? He’s the polling frontrunner, which is a meaningless distinction at this point, Just ask Ed Muskie, Howard Dean, and Rudy Giuliani. That’s right, the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover was the early GOP frontrunner in 2008. In 2019,  the artist formerly known as America’s Mayor is reduced to being Trump’s mouthpiece. Where’s that rebuttal report, Rudy? Or was it just another lie?

I’m still undecided in the race. I like four candidates and consider them plausible presidents: Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar. Note that none of them is a white dude and three aren’t dudes at all. They haven’t received the level of media attention that four white dudes have: Bernie, Biden, Beto, and Buttigieg. I’m uncertain whether to call them the Great White Hopes or the Killer Bees so I gave the two labels equal billing in the post title.

Here’s the deal: I understand the attention paid to Bernie and Biden. The former was the 2016 runner-up and the latter has run twice before and was Barack Obama’s veep for 8 years. They have the name recognition to go along with the white hair of which Bernie has much more than Joey the Shark. They have another thing in common: they’re both septuagenarians, which is not disqualifying but gives me pause.

Mayor Pete seems to have supplanted Beto as the MSM’s darling. They both have slender resumes for putative presidents but it’s the Why Not Me election so they’re running. My preference is to have a nominee who has run and won statewide, which rules out the young gun set of the Killer Bees.

I will support anyone against Trump but the mayor of a  college town with a population of 109K? Really? Julian Castro also has not run and won a statewide race but at least he was a big city mayor and cabinet secretary. What’s the difference between him and Mayor Pete? Ethnicity. The campaign press corps has a hard time identifying with a Latino; even one with such an amazing Horatio Alger-type back story. Julian is just as cute as Pete and would also make history. Beto would simply be the latest white dude to be nominated albeit a white dude who used to be in a band. I was too. Perhaps I should run.

There’s another difference between Castro and the other young guns: he’s running a substantive campaign. He’s thought a lot about immigration and how the system can be changed and reformed. It’s badly needed after the chainsaw tactics of Trump and Miller. Castro is a longshot but he’s making a contribution to the dialogue in a way that neither Beto nor Buttigieg is. Frankly, I hope that Castro and/or Beto will drop out and run against John Cornyn back home in Texas. Winning the senate is every bit as important as retaking the White House. Democrats have been fixated on the latter way too long. We need to multi-task.

It’s still early and anything can happen in the Democratic field. There are two qualities that are being underestimated by observers thus far. First, the 2020 nominee has to be tough: Team Trump’s only path to victory is total annihilation of their opponent. Second, many voters want a restoration of what Gamaliel called “normalcy” and Adrastos calls normality. They are quite simply exhausted by the endless Trump scandals. I’m convinced that many 2016 Trump voters will pull the lever for peace and quiet in 2020.

The post title is, of course, wry and sardonic. None of the Killer Bees thinks of themselves as a Great White Hope although both Bernie and Biden need to do a better job explaining themselves to people of color, especially black women who are tired of being taken for granted. They should be: they’re the backbone of the Democratic base. That’s why the clips of yesterday’s She The People forum were so much fun to watch. Warren killed it. Bernie struggled. So it goes.

One reason I chose the featured Killer Bee image was the sign in the background: Swine Flu Inoculation Center. The executive branch is loaded with swines. We need to stop the disease called Trumpism in its tracks.  Additionally, the Insult Comedian has pandered  to the anti-vaxxers who have brought back measles.  Thanks, Trumpy. We need inoculation from these swines. If it takes the Great White Hopes or the Killer Bees, so be it. Just win, baby.

The last word goes to the original Killer Bees led by the great Elliot Gould:

I’m caught in another last word lie. Does that qualify me for a Trump regime cabinet job?

Let’s shut things down with the musical stylings of the Blues Brothers; some of whom were also Killer Bees:

Gaslighter In Chief

gaslight_pelosi_trump

No real surprise with this or any other stunt Trump pulls between now and election day. He’s testing, prodding, pulling, doing whatever he can think of to undermine both traditions AND actual laws while insisting it’s either all in our minds, or that he’s the real victim, or what about Hillary, and, hey, look over there…

Of course the elite media eats it all up, playing the we’re-so-savvy game…I’ll bet at least some of them can hardly wait to ensure they’re not tainted with librul cooties and take a rental car to the nearest Real-America-Diner-and Coffeeshop, where two regulars at the counter morph into The People.

Christ.

Trump, for all his rabid, fervid, base — and his “feral survival instinct” — is weak, and should be treated that way. He’s bluffing, like he’s done his whole life (bankrupting a casino? How do you do that? It’s like falling off the floor)? He’s hoping he can bully and bluster his way through.

Caution won’t work. He has to be confronted. Otherwise…yeah.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Teen-Age Mafia

The most amusing thing about this cover is the hyphen in teenage. I guess the usage changed in the Sixties when teen-age culture went mainstream.

 

Quote Of The Day: Impeachment Edition

I’d like to thank Lawrence O’Donnell for reminding us of the eloquence of a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who stood up for the rule of law and against a president of his own party in 1974. The father of the current Governor of Maryland, Lawrence Hogan Sr. was a FBI agent before entering politics. He was the only Republican to vote for *all* three articles of impeachment filed against Richard Nixon.

Here’s the QOTD:

Now, I`m a Republican. Party loyalty and personal affection and precedence of the past must fall, I think, before the arbiter of men`s action – the law itself. No man, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.

It isn`t easy for me to align myself against the president to whom I gave my enthusiastic support in three presidential campaigns, on whose side I`ve stood in many legislative battles, whose accomplishments in foreign and domestic affairs I`ve consistently applauded.

But it`s impossible for me to condone or ignore the long train of abuses to which he has subjected the presidency and the people of this country. The constitution and my own oath of office demand that I bear true faith and allegiance to the principles of law and justice upon which this nation was founded. And I cannot in good conscience turn away from the evidence of evil that is to me so clear and compelling.

My friend from New Jersey, Mr. Sandman, said last night he wants to see direct proof and some of my other friends on the side of the aisle said the same thing. But I submit what they`re looking for is an arrow to the heart. And we do not find any evidence an arrow to the heart. We find a virus that creeps up on you slowly and gradually until its obviousness is so overwhelming to you.

We have to step back and we have to look at the whole picture. And when you look at the whole mosaic of the evidence that`s come before us, to me, it`s overwhelming beyond a reasonable doubt.

<SNIP>

He consistently tried to cover up the evidence and obstruct justice, and as much as it pains me to say it, he should be impeached and removed from office.

It is, of course, difficult to imagine a current House or Senate Republican quoting Larry Hogan Sr. let alone matching his anguished eloquence. The rule of law *should* be more important than the Current Occupant of the White House whoever they may be. This president* is reckless and lawless and the 115th Congress needs to stand up and be counted like the 93rd Congress and members such as Larry Hogan the elder.

Impeachment is not easy. It’s not supposed to be easy.  It’s a political action that may be politically unwise. Many of the arguments against it are compelling, I find myself nodding in agreement when Josh Marshall argues against it, but then I recall my reaction to reading Volume 2 of the Mueller Road Map. We can’t let this president* get away with thumbing his nose at the constitution and the rule of law. The example that would set for the future is dire.

Not only has the MSM let the GOP off easy on impeachment, the “cult of the savvy” is calling Elizabeth Warren’s stand in favor of impeachment a gambit or a tactic. It was a sincere reaction to the disgusting details laid out in the Mueller Report. It was the same reaction I had. Sometimes you have to do the right thing regardless of whether or not it’s easy or expedient. As JFK said in his legendary 1962 Moon speech: “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

The last word goes to the late Congressman Larry Hogan. The caption is wrong, it was a statement, not testimony but the words ring just as true in 2019 as they did in 1974:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: One Size Fits All

I spend a lot of time in my formative years listening to Frank Zappa. I was attracted to his oddball sense of humor and his wry and sardonic stage patter. Wry and sardonic sums me up quite well. Above all else, I loved his tricky music and the virtuosity of the musicians who worked with FZ.

One Size Fits All is my favorite Zappa album. The songs are tight, well-constructed, and perfectly arranged. It’s one of the last albums released using the Mothers name. It’s also one of the best bands Zappa ever assembled: the vocals by George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock are to die for. One Size Fits All flat-out rocks.

The cover art is by Cal Schenkel who designed 16+ Zappa covers. He was FZ’s artistic alter ego and described his style as “ragged surrealism.”

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube:

 

Journalism Is So Exhausting Right Now

Sigh: 

Fundamentally, transparency elements are designed to tell your audience what you want them to know about you — your processes, your people, your motivation, your ethics and your values.

Sometimes with those elements, we’re answering questions we’ve seen our users wonder about publicly (in a comment, in an email, etc.): How do I know you were fair in this story? Why did you use this survey data rather than this other one?

Sometimes, though, we’re adding information that users might not even know they need but will actually appreciate. We might want to tell them, for example, that a group of editors debated which word or photo to use for 15 minutes. Or that we left out a source because we were worried about repercussions if they went public with their story. (Your users aren’t assuming that level of thoughtfulness or concern.)

Look, there’s nothing wrong with this exactly. It’s … nice. Harmless. I suppose it’s helpful, if you think most attacks on journalists are genuinely motivated by good-faith misunderstanding of what journalism is and how it gets done. Then these measured, sober addresses of common complaints make all kinds of sense.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this approach. Explain who you are, why you’re doing what you’re doing, how many minutes you debated using a particular photo (Christ). It doesn’t hurt anything. It sounds really nice.

It just doesn’t have anything to do with any of the problems you have.

Look. Journalism doesn’t have a credibility crisis, at least not in the way this solution presumes. Journalism doesn’t have a crisis of good-faith actors who just Misunderstand what journalism is All About. Journalism doesn’t have a transparency crisis. Here are the current crises in journalism:

The financial one, where three decades of hedge fund ownership thinking in quarters instead of centuries squeezed all profitability out of local print news while humping the digital paradigm into the ground and refusing to spend on any of the things that kept the actual news afloat. Things like delivery drivers and advertising the fucking paper and oh, yeah, the journalists.

The political one, where a major party’s wealthy allies saw an opening to create a network and then a conglomerate of media screaming to Baby Boomers that Democrats, black people, women and gays were the devil and needed to be prevented from scrounging all the good welfare, and any news that told them different was biased because WE REPORT YOU DECIDE UNLIKE THOSE OTHER BASTARDS.

Journalists, of course, called anybody who said this was shady as shit hysterical and invited a literal Fox into their henhouse. They spent two decades interviewing and hiring people who hated them to tell their audiences that journalism was Inherently Liberal and Bad. They didn’t just tolerate these people. They put them on their op-ed pages.

At the same time, old people who didn’t know how to use the internet got their brains sucked out by Facebook because Mark Zuckerberg wanted to sell shit to the parents of the college kids he signed up for his girl-fuckability index. In between sharing videos of their grandkids and the cakes they bake, an entire generation is now reposting viral resentment porn about someone who overheard someone else who spoke in Spanish at the grocery store while buying expensive soda.

This all culminated in the 2016 candidacy of Donald Trump, who got up and screamed at journalists at his rallies and encourages the commission of violence toward anyone he doesn’t agree with and taught his people the words FAKE NEWS and how yelling that completely owns anyone no matter how great their arguments are.

It’s a fucking tsunami of bad faith, racism, rage and stupidity, literally none of it motivated by the kind of innocent confusion that things like “transparency tools” and “fact checking” and “truth-o-meters” and “cartoon character scales of Pinocchio-pants-on-fire that insult the intelligence of a five-year-old” can address.

We are not where we are because journalists just haven’t been transparent enough. Jesus Christ, nobody will flagellate themselves in front of the public like journalists will, and all of it so useless and embarrassing. HERE IS A 45 HOUR SEMINAR ON WHAT WE DO AND HOW WE DO IT. Everyone attending is already convinced of the importance of your very important important-ness. Everyone you think needs to hear it is over at the bar watching Glenn Beck interviewing Alex Jones about jet fuel and steel beams while Maria Bartiromo’s boobs give out stock tips.

Those people? That audience that so desperately needs your transparency tools and explanations? They know how journalism works just fine. They know journalism is going to tell them about racism and corruption, about the savage legacies of slavery and segregation, about their comfortable lives being financed on the backs of the poor, about the politicians who pretend to appeal to their morals being child-molesting freakjobs, about their beloved churches being rapist protection rackets, about the favorite movie stars being perverts, about their priests being criminals, about their banks being thieves, and everything else that they think makes them upright crumbling beneath them.

And they don’t want to hear it. They’d rather be mad and they have license, granted by one of the two major political parties and the president of the United States, to be loud about how mad they are. They have an excuse to ignore what they don’t like to think about.

But all of this is going to be fixed if journalists just explain themselves the right way.

I swear to God it is like watching Tiananmen Square all over again only instead of a guy out there against the tanks it’s fucking Bambi. Blindfolded. Bleating “debate me.”

I was vague-tweeting about this nonsense yesterday and Jessica here nails the hell out of it:

Yeah. Journalism is indeed at risk, and does indeed need defending, but not with a bowl of beige oatmeal disguised as an earnest explanation of What We’re All About. This isn’t how you react in a crisis. This isn’t how you react in a war. Journalists are being shot and killed in their newsrooms and I don’t think a proportional response to the current moment is to add and infographic about How We Report This Story.

A.

The Mueller Roadmap: Volume 1 Notes

Team Trump let Rudy Giuliani off his chain to appear on the Sunday shows. Spittle, sweat, rage, and lies were involved on Rudy’s part. CNN’s Jake Tapper appeared tempted to offer the ex-mob buster a hankie to mop the flop sweat off his brow. The artist formerly known as Mayor Combover made at least one remarkable statement: “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”

Really, Rudy? Do you really believe that or are you so blinded by the spotlight that you’ll say anything to help your client? And this guy wanted to be president. It’s a good thing his 2008 campaign flopped. A reminder to political junkies: Giuliani was the GOP front runner at this time in that cycle.

I promised some readers that I’d comment on Volume 1 of the Mueller Report. Before I do, here’s one of the money quotes from that part of the report:

“In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.” In so doing, the Office recognized that the word “collud[ e ]” was used in communications with the Acting Attorney General confirming certain aspects of the investigation’s scope and that the term has frequently been invoked in public reporting about the investigation. But collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law.”

I’ve been fighting a war of words over the word collusion so I’m pleased that Team Mueller joined the wordy war without colluding or conspiring with me.

Since I’m a bad lapsed lawyer, I took notes while reading Volume 1. They’re handwritten and hard to read but I needed them to jog my memory before running my mouth.

  • Volume 1 is seriously redacted. There are black blotches all over its pages. Most of them have to do with grand jury information as well as our old friend HOM: Harm to Ongoing Matter. That concludes this homily about redactions.
  • It’s unclear if Team Mueller were down with all the redactions but it’s certainly possible. We’ve all learned not to trust Bill Barr so I’m not taking his word on anything. It’s truly Trump’s DOJ now. You know things are bad when Jeff Beau looks good in contrast.
  • Some of the material about Russian operations during the campaign is familiar to those of us who waded through past court filings.
  • We learn that so-called free speech hero Julian Assange is an inveterate liar as well as the world’s worst house guest. WikiLeaks was in such constant cahoots with the Russian cohort that it might as well be an arm of the GRU. They should change their name to WikiLies or RuskieLeaks.
  • There’s confirmation that Trump Junior is an idiot. He seems to have avoided indictment thus far with a dumbass defense. Given the number of redactions in the sections mentioning him, his name *may* be one of those submitted for criminal referral. I can dream, can’t I?
  • One of the weirder sub-plots involves the “deleted Hillary emails hunt” engaged in by Iran-Contra spouse Barbara Ledeen, Peter Smith, and Mike Flynn. It’s a bit of comic relief amidst all the seaminess.
  • Team Mueller fills in the blanks about Paul Manafort’s contacts with the Russians as well as his reflexive mendacity. It’s something he and the Insult Comedian have in common.
  • Erik Prince is in deep shit and sinking fast.  His contacts with various Middle Eastern potentates have a potent whiff of criminality and he lied about them under oath. There are a lot of black redactions in the section about the Blackwater founder and Betsy Devos brother. We know what that means: I eagerly await this shitbird’s indictment.
  • Steve Bannon may be a fascist asshole but he’s a smart fascist asshole. He knew enough not to lie to Congress or Team Mueller.

There was some silly criticism of the Mueller Report after its release. Anyone who thought the Special Counsel was going to single-handedly change the no-indictment policy hasn’t been paying attention. That’s up to a future attorney general or Congress. Team Mueller’s job was to investigate crimes, not change the law. There was never going to be a Deus ex Mueller to rescue us.

A quick note on the way out of this mess. Athenae was right when she pointed out that the Dems Aren’t Solely Responsible For Fixing This. This shit is on the Republicans: they nominated, elected, and continue to defend a criminal. There have been hundreds of off-the-record stories of how appalled elected GOPers are by this president’s* words and deeds. I don’t see any of them stepping up and criticizing their criminal president* let alone actually doing anything about it. They’re too busy cowering at the prospect of being ousted from Congress by the red hat menace. They’re pussies, they should grab themselves.

I’ve come out for impeachment but I’m not an enthusiast. There is no easy way out of this mess. Given the no-indictment policy, Trump is going to run for re-election to avoid criminal charges. Let that sink in for a minute. One reason that the Nixon impeachment was easier for Republicans to eventually swallow is that Tricky was term-limited. The odds are that Trump will have to be defeated at the ballot box, which is, after all, the American way or what’s left of it.

I see a lot of hand wringing over the unholy mess that confronts the country. That’s how Team Trump wants its enemies to react. They won the electoral college by depressing Democratic turnout in 2016. If we get depressed, they win again. If we react with righteous indignation, they lose.  Few things in life are as simple as that.

My venture into bullet pointery has given me an earworm. Neil Young gets the last word:

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a criminal.

The Ones She Has Found: Game of Thrones Thread

That was sincerely, no shit, no cynicism, no joking, one of the loveliest hours of television I have ever seen in my entire life.

Spoilers within:

Continue reading

Dems Aren’t Solely Responsible for Fixing This

So it took about ten minutes after the Mueller Report for people to start screaming at Democrats for being spineless worthless cowards who lacked the political will to impeach Donald Trump immediately. People spent the rest of the week losing their shit at Nancy, Steny Hoyer, Chuck Schumer and all the rest of the leadership, demanding they do the right thing and IMPEACH OR GTFO.

Meanwhile the national press began autowittering gibberish about the optics for Democrats of impeaching or not impeaching. Every Clintonista who’s been looking for a paycheck found one opining about what it did to their president when Newt Gingrich stuck his head up his own ass and decided he liked the view. The OP EDS ALONE. How would impeachment impact Bernie’s or Biden’s or Warren’s chances in 2020? How does this play in a MAGA dipshit diner in Iowa? There are head-to-head national polls! Nothing makes these losers orgasm like completely baseless speculation and insane hypotheticals and this was a banner week for both.

And spare me the ‘splain. I am not defending Nancy or Steny or Chuck. And I do know the Democrats have the House majority and we gave it to them at great cost, so don’t mistake anything I’m about to say for a gesture of sympathy for highly paid people being asked to do their literal job.

I just have a question.

Why is impeachment being discussed as if only Democrats can do it?

Why is all the pressure on THEM to impeach or not impeach, to come out for removing Trump, to deal with the political implications of impeaching or not impeaching, to make a statement or take a stand or release a strongly worded press release? Where is the call to get on the record every single pudsucking suburban rep from the Party of Lincoln saying why THEY don’t want to impeach?

I mean it. Yes, the Dems have the House majority and could do this on their own if they wanted and they don’t want to which is insane, but why does that allow Republicans to not even get a question about this. And speaking of political will and Nancy’s lack of it, if 20 Republican reps suddenly went to Nancy and Steny and Chuck and said look, we want the motherfucker out of here today, I find it hard to believe that wouldn’t make a difference in her eagerness to move.

If 10 Republican senators came out in the press and said we would vote to convict Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, I find it hard to believe that wouldn’t change the game.

Why isn’t anyone in the national press calling for THAT? Why aren’t our favorite Twitter screamers mad at the silence from the GOP? Where’s the running tally of GOP statesmen and their positions, opposite the one keeping tabs on what AOC and Elizabeth Warren are up to? Where’s the holding of their feet to the fire? If democracy’s out here dying in darkness why are we only asking one party to light the goddamn match?

And if we’re not going to expect the same things from them, why don’t we even bother to PRETEND anymore that the GOP is an actual party with the same job and obligation as the Democrats? Why do we have to do fucking everything? Clean up their mess AND worry about how cleaning up their mess makes us look? You’ve got to be kidding me with this.

By all rights, having read that report, Democrats should be able to do a victory lap on Mitch McConnell’s flopsy turtle face with their balls. I mean good God, those are some of the dumbest crimes I’ve ever heard of and I used to cover night cops in small towns. These galaxy genius brains are texting each other detailed notes of fraud and grand larceny and shit, what a bunch of buffoons.

Democrats should be able to kick back, pass those articles of impeachment along and get half of Republicans to vote with them without even trying.

Maybe some of the Clinton alumni who’ve been out here jerking it to their boss’s record for the past 20 years can explain why the media they flooded only ever demands Democrats turn on their own. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman get advised to run away from Bill Clinton in 2000 but within the GOP it’s accepted wisdom that Truly Savvy Politicians will continue to suck Trump’s dick up to and including the day he puts their kids in a cage.

And in the face of all of that I’m supposed to be mad at Nancy Pelosi? I mean, I guess, okay, but in the hierarchy of who I’m pissed at the GOP is at the top of the list and is staying there. I am just so tired of WHAT ARE THE DEMOCRATS DOING ABOUT TRUMP being the headline when WHAT ARE REPUBLICANS DOING is the only question until we take the Senate back.

Where are the headlines and op-eds about that? Where is the running tally of how many Republicans would vote to convict Trump and the pressure to declare or shut the fuck up?

I am so tired. At some point I’d like it if we could ask the people who shit the bed to clean it up.

A.