Category Archives: Current Affairs

The Slap Heard Round The World

The news keeps getting weirder and weirder. Not just in the US&A, but in France where President Emmanuel Macron was slapped by a far-right medieval swordsmanship buff.

It’s unclear if the incident had anything to do with misdirected rage over the atrocious final season of Game Of Thrones.

On a more serious note, as much as I may have wanted to slap W or the Kaiser of Chaos, I would have never acted on such an impulse. Lack of impulse control characterizes the populist far right across the globe. Think of any MAGA rally or the Dipshit Insurrection.

Here’s how the slapper was described by Al-Jazeera:

The man alleged to have slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face subscribes to several far-right YouTube channels and is a fan of medieval swordsmanship, media reports and sources close to the investigation said on Wednesday.

A police source identified the suspect as 28-year-old Damien Tarel, who had no previous criminal record.

<SNIP>

Tarel, dressed in a khaki T-shirt, can be seen slapping Macron then shouting “Down with Macronia” and “Montjoie, Saint-Denis”, the battle cry of the French army when the country was a monarchy.

Macron’s tenure as president has been a rocky one. He was elected mostly because he was NOT far right leader Marie Le Pen. Macron stands a decent chance of being the third consecutive French president to lose reelection. That’s worrisome because the hard right’s vote increased from 17.9% in 2002 to 33.9% in 2017.  I’ll leave it there as my knowledge of French politics is limited. I know what I don’t know.

When I saw the clip, I pondered how the Impeached Insult Comedian would have reacted if President Biden were slapped. Marie Le Pen denounced the Macron slap. My hunch is that Trump would have either been silent or mildly deplored it publicly but allowed his real reaction to leak via the usual suspects. Vicarious violence is his jam.

Slapping someone is a gesture of contempt. It means that they’re unworthy of a punch. It’s another sign that democracy is in trouble in 2021. The good news for Emmanuel Macron is that he’s not up for reelection until next year. The bad news is that the slap heard round the world happened at all.

I nearly called this post Slap Unhappy until I learned that slaphappy was one word.. Who knew? You learn something new every day.

The last word goes to Squeeze even though the Macron incident was all slap and no tickle:

Yeah, I know what slap and tickle means in British slang. I was in the mood for some Squeeze. Sue me, just don’t slap me.

A Postcard From The Unemployment Line

Help Wanted Sign

There’s been a lot of talk in the past months about how Americans don’t want to go back to work.

I say bunk.

Americans want to work. They need to work. Not just for the paycheck, but for the pride of accomplishment and the upward mobility it provides. It’s ingrained in our DNA, all those descendants of seekers who came from all over the world to this egalitarian utopia.

OK it’s not egalitarian, it’s not utopia, and there are just as many current immigrants these days as descendants but go with me on this.

Companies are complaining they can’t get people to work for them. Imagine that. For years companies molted workers every time the economy went the least bit south, disregarding years of service and the effect on not just the workers but their families and their communities, all so the company could show a healthy bottom line to the stock market.

And I say that as someone whose main source of income these days comes from the healthy bottom line those companies show the stock market.

It’s my main source of income since like so many others I am on that unemployment line, right behind the waitress from my favorite restaurant and the guy who used to work at the gas station. OK it’s no longer a physical line, it’s the cyber-line of the California Employment Development Department website. The line stretches over a million people long at the moment. The EDD is so overwhelmed that getting a straight answer has turned into many people’s full time employment. And not just those trying to get their accounts straightened out. A new industry has popped up to take advantage of the state’s fumbling response to an unprecedented need and a massive amount of fraud. For a fee someone will robo-call EDD for you till they get through then stay on hold till an actual human answers the call. Then they patch you in.

American ingenuity at it’s finest. Find a need and fill it as dentists and cement contractors say.

Meantime there is an enormous surge in post COVID hiring needs. The most ubiquitous sign in the state at the moment is “Help Wanted”. Conservatives are blaming the state government for this shortage of workers, saying the combination of unemployment insurance and extra money being doled out to keep people afloat is causing workers to not want to go back to work.

First of all let’s get this out of the way. No one is getting money just handed to them by the state. They are getting the benefit of the money they have invested in unemployment INSURANCE, money they had no say in it being taken. For me that is over 40 years of paycheck dings every week to pay for something that up until a year ago I never put a claim in on. I’ll also add that for over half of those 40 years I was an employer so I personally got dinged twice every week. This is the rainy day fund you were taught to have “just in case”.

Well for the past year the rain has been a deluge.

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The Friday Fishwrap

Herb Caen Column Heading

Once upon a time there was a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle (that was a newspaper) named Herb Caen. His column ran in the paper six days a week, but his Friday column was called the Friday Fishwrap. A convenient reminder that that morning’s paper would be used in the evening to wrap up and dispose of the remains of the no meat on Fridays throw aways. Thus he filled the column with throw away items, thoughts, flotsam and jetsam.

In his honor I’m going to try that today.

The Democrats missed an opportunity last week with the 1/6 investigation vote in the Senate. They should have let the Repugnicants filibuster, really filibuster, the Jimmy Stewart in MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON type filibuster, where all work in government comes to a stop. The public would have gotten a look at what the filibuster really is. Then the Dems could have gone on a media blitz tearing up the Repugnicants for bringing the federal government to that halt. It could have built a groundswell of support into a tsunami of criticism, the kind of criticism that would prevent the Repugs from trying to filibuster the For The People Act or the Infrastructure Plan.

On HBO Max right now is a film of the play OSLO. It’s about the back channel negotiations that led to the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 between Israel and the PLO. The key takeaway from the film is that the Norwegians who acted as facilitators between the two parties insisted that each day when the meeting ended all the participants would then sit down and have dinner and drinks together and talk only of their families and friends. In other words humanizing each side to the other. If the Israelis and the Palestinians can do that, surely those of us on the left can have a meal with those on the right.

The San Jose rail system is still down, a week after the proverbial disgruntled worker killed nine. The reason? He had planted bombs at his house and bomb making materials were found in his locker at the yard. The VTA is taking no chances and methodically going through everything looking for explosive material. Maybe if they had combed his employment record as keenly as this, nine of his fellow workers would be alive today. Just saying.

The Army won’t investigate Herr Obermeister Flynn’s comments on the appropriateness of a “Myanmar style coup” here in the country all members of the armed forces swear an allegiance to protect. They say it’s because they never investigate retired officers. OK then, call him back to duty and court martial his ass for insubordination, treason, and any other crime you can think of that he’s committed.

There’s an old saying in politics: If you’ve got the votes, call the roll. Gavin Newsom has the votes to overcome this insipid recall vote so it looks like we will have the election in early September. Once that is finished, can we please talk about making it more difficult to qualify a recall vote? Ten percent of the electorate should not have the power to force a wasteful and unnecessary recall election.

More after the break

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Names In A List

Flowers at VTA Yard

I was going to write about something else till local events overrode that plan.

Once again the country faces yet again another (I can’t use enough synonyms for often) mass shooting. This one was a little closer to home which makes it no less sorrowful but much more impactful on those of us in NorCal.

This was the largest mass shooting in NorCal history, eclipsing the 101 California Massacre in 1993. I hate that we have names for these unimaginable events. I’m sick at heart for the families who lost a husband, son, brother, best friend in an act that was as horrible was it was preventable.

They were just heading into or finishing work, another day moving the citizens of San Jose around from place to place. The shooting was timed to catch the most people being there, shift change. Half of them not quite awake at 6AM, half of them dog tired at 6AM. Just working folk who never did harm to anyone, the kind of people politicians always say they are for. I’ll add in that the names of the men who didn’t get home yesterday are a perfect cross section of the cultural melting pot that San Jose is: White, Hispanic, Sikh, Arab.

It was an equal opportunity shooting.

Read anything you want about the shooter (and I will not name him, his name should be lost to the eddies of history) and you will not find a single person saying “Oh, he was such a quiet man” or “he was a nice guy”. Again and again he’s described in anti-social terms, from his ex-wife to his ex-girlfriend (who had a restraining order on him) to his neighbors. I half expected to hear someone saying “yeah, I pretty much expected something like this from him”.

An angry white male loner incapable of a sustained romantic relationship who views his co-workers as having somehow swindled him out of better jobs and who owned not one but two semi-automatic hand guns. Copy that description and hold on to it because it fits all 15 of the shooters behind this year’s mass shootings. And it will fit the next 15, and the 15 after that.

Don’t even give me your “thoughts and prayers” Repugnicants. Don’t give me your piety about the 2nd Amendment which once again I will take the opportunity to point out that unlike the 1st Amendment does NOT include the phrase “Congress shall make no law”.  This is exactly the time to enact tough restrictions on gun possession, purchase, and registration. You want to own a gun? Then you have to be willing to accept the following:

  1. A limit to the number of guns you can own
  2. Full background checks at the time of purchase (including mental health)
  3. A national database of gun ownership, location, and transfer
  4. No gun show sales, purchase only through authorized sellers
  5. An absolute ban on military style assault weapons
  6. Limitations on the amount and specifications of bullets
  7. Mandatory gun safety and training classes
  8. Bans on modifications to most weapons (can’t turn a semi into full automatic)
  9. All weapons to be confiscated upon the granting of restraining orders

I absolutely can not see how any of these interfere with any law abiding person’s 2nd Amendment rights. They aren’t perfect but they at least make it so that if you own a gun you are less likely to use it to randomly kill innocent people. Were they in place on Wednesday nine human beings would be at home with their families today instead of just being names on a list.

  • Paul Delacruz Megia, age 42
  • Taptejdeep Singh, age 36
  • Adrian Balleza, age 29
  • Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, age 35
  • Timothy Michael Romo, age 49
  • Michael Joseph Rudometkin, age 40
  • Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, age 63
  • Lars Kepler Lane, age 63
  • Alex Ward Fritch, age 49

We’ll end with a local band as would seem appropriate. This song is about how the most patriotic thing you can do is to lay down your arms.

Shapiro Out

A Postcard From Out Of The Past

A Postcard From Out Of The Past

Have you ever said something and wished you hadn’t?

If you’re married it’s probably a daily occurrence.

We’ve all done it. That cutting jab about the boss’s wife when she’s standing behind you at the office Christmas party. The letter to the editor excoriating the town council for a particular decision before realizing that policy is actually going to benefit yourself. The admiration for a band based on the only listenable song on an album.

Now-a-days we have Twitter to thank for being a repository of an entire lifetime’s supply of regrettable statements or opinions long since repudiated. With Twitter though even removing such thoughts doesn’t prevent them from reappearing years later. Someone somewhere will have cataloged and archived your appreciation for CATS The Movie.

A 22 year old Jewish woman named Emily Wilder finds herself pursed by the ghosts of Tweets past.  Ms. Wilder was a student at Stanford University where she wrote for the school newspaper, got good grades, put out an occasional Tweet filled with the passion that only a college student can exert, and also was a Middle East peace activist often taking the side of Palestinians. She was in particular involved in the Return The Birthright movement.

Birthright is a program by which young American Jews are given a free trip to Israel to experience the uniqueness of a country where they are in the majority. I always thought it was a great program till I found out that it’s major funder was Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Republican infamy and that once students arrive in Israel the program heavily slanted the experience away from anything having to do with those folks in Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank.

Returning to Ms. Wilder, a group of students calling themselves the Stanford College Republicans decided to go on a Twitter rant about her because, heaven forbid, she got a job with the Associated Press as a junior reporter. If we’re going to be honest calling her position reporting is a stretch. She was so far down the food chain microbes fed off her. Over a year removed from having graduated from Stanford, this group for some reason thought it was appropriate to rage against her.

Then again they seem to be one of those conservative college groups that feels no matter how much privilege they have it’s not enough. Here is the opening of their mission statement:

Against the backdrop of the pernicious leftist assault on our liberty and the moral fabric of our nation, challenging the left’s monopoly over American campus politics by exposing students to conservatism is crucial for the survival of conservatism in coming decades.

Um right, leftists are in control of Stanford. The Stanford that is home to Billionaire’s Corner where all the computer science buildings are. The Stanford that is home to the Hoover Institute. The Stanford whose endowment was doubled by demanding a cut of Google’s profits since the original search engine was developed using their computer network.

Yeah, it’s a real hot bed of liberalism.

Nevertheless an enraged group of incels, er, I mean, conservative students thought there was no way anyone with an activist pedigree could ever be impartial in her coverage of…um, hold on let me check what she was assigned to cover…oh yes, local Phoenix area goings on. That’s right, she wasn’t the AP Jerusalem bureau chief or even a reporter there or even a full fledged reporter anywhere but in the suburbs of the American southwest. She had about as much to do with AP’s coverage of the Middle East as the janitor in the chemistry building on campus.

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Fractured Fairy Tales

Fractured Fairy Tales Logo

 

I was a cartoon kid. I grew up on them, devoting endless Saturday mornings to the careful study of the various nuances of Underdog, Top Cat, or Yogi Bear. But far and away my absolute favorites were anything that came out of the Jay Ward factory. Bullwinkle and Rocky, Tom Slick, Dudley Do-Right, Peabody and Sherman. I may not have understood every joke, in fact there were times I knew something was a joke but too “adult” for me, but I loved the way they just kept spitting them out.

One that I generally did get the jokes for was Fractured Fairy Tales. Take a story that even at the age of seven or eight I had heard a zillion times and put a funny modern twist on it. Add that great narration by Edward Everett Horton and I’d say I would be on the floor laughing but I was already on the floor and laughing.

I bring this up because whenever there is fighting between Israel and an Arab entity (be it country or terrorist group) as there has been the last two weeks inevitably there will be a wag out there opining that this is just two peoples fighting over which Middle Eastern desert sect wrote down the better/correct fairy tales.

Both sides fairy tales are fractured. As are so many of the fairy tales we tell.

Personally I’m an atheist. Where did the world come from? Don’t know, don’t care. I deal with what is, not what might be. I wish the rest of the people in the world saw things as I see them, I think we’d all be better off, but I’m willing to respect a person’s right to their own opinion. You want to believe in God, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, the Church of Bob, that’s your belief system and if it works for you then as the kids these days say, you do you.

Where I do have a problem is when you want to take your personal belief system and impose it on everyone else. I’m not in favor of universal excommunication of all religion, but if your religion says in effect “Only our fairytale is the correct way to live your life, follow or we will make your life worthless” then I’m going to have to say “With all due respect, bullshit”.

Throughout human history we have told these fractured fairy tales. Ancient civilizations were mostly structured by fairy tales. What is a king or royalty but a construct by which a fable is told that this person, by right of family or maybe because he pulled a sword from a stone, is to rule over the rest of the land. As humans have evolved many societies have done away with that particular fairy tale or at least turned it into a profitable center of entertainment.

Yeah, I’m looking at you QEII.

The fairy tales did serve a somewhat useful purpose back in the day. They taught children to not steal from their neighbors or to be careful of the wolf in the forest or to not judge a beast too quickly for he may be an enchanted prince (or at least a nice guy). They also gave hope in a time when many lives were frankly hopeless. Maybe your fairy godmother will get you to the ball or a handsome prince will wake you from a spell or that even an ugly ducking can turn into a beautiful swan.

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It’s A Trap!

When I was a kid, I was kind of obsessed with animals, and especially the Rex Harrison “Doctor Doolittle”*. Unlike my childhood obsession with Watergate , I think that made me a relatively normal kid. But the one thing that always bothered me about that movie was the Pushmi-Pullyu.

Maybe it was because I was growing up in a family with 3 girls spaced within 3 years, but the Pushmi-Pullyu reeked of only 1 thing to me: conflict. Oh I know it was supposed to be a delight, the rarest creature on Earth, fanciful and fearful at once. But all I saw was a Pandora’s Horse of anger, fighting, and unhappiness. Even at a young age I knew all creatures, great and small, wanted their own way and only discipline, sacrifice, and an eye to the greater good could ever change that.

Which leads me to the new half of the GOP (“Q Party”) Pushmi-Pullyu, West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito and her working group on infrastructure. It started off with a laughable proposal that essentially ignored President Biden’s list of items. As criticism mounted, Capito said it was a starting point and that there was room for it to grow. Seems hopeful and reasonable, right?

Naturally Newton’s Third Law of Motion kicked in and the other half of the Q Party Pushmi-Pullyu, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, harrumphed out his objections to any additional spending. Capito must have kicked back swiftly and on target because his next phlegm-ridden squawk quickly aligned his position with his other end.

Capito and friends met again with President Biden this week and I give him a lot of credit. Everyone knows that even if the Democrats agreed to everything the Q Party wanted, they’d still vote against it! And I mean, even if it had everything, including leaving their precious corporate tax rate alone, they have no intention of giving Biden and the Democrats another accomplishment.  That’s because:

There won’t be any Q Party votes for any Democratic proposal. Ever. The 2 senators from West By God Virginia are both trying to bring bipartisanship back to our politics, and in the abstract, I think that is a very worthwhile use of their time. But only Joe Manchin, the Democrat, knows that the mission is doomed from the start (so does Biden, but he’s just playing along).

How will Capito–who needs to burnish her procurement bona fides as an heir to the late Robert Byrd—react when she gets burned by McConnell’s eventual order to sink the entire bill in the Senate? West Virginia needs this funding. I don’t know, nor do I care. Fuck her and her careful kowtowing to McConnell over the people who elected her to help them. I only hope Manchin has set us all up for a major plot twist in Act Two.

The Democrats will eventually get their bills through, though Biden won’t get everything he wants (nor does he expect to—the stimulus bill was a happy fluke). I’m not upset with all of the stuff both West Virginia senators are doing on the side because the Senate can’t act on anything until the House writes the bill, and that isn’t expected to be voted on until the first week of July.  Back to the show.

*Our cat Finn is too. Here’s a photo of him watching it:

A Postcard From Your Census Taker

2020 Census Form

Question #1 was all that mattered. All else was elaboration.

Greetings!

So last year, 2020 in case you forgot, with nothing else to do because the pandemic had cancelled all my regular work and with a desire to do what small part I could to help our country, I agreed to work for the US Census Bureau as a Census Enumerator. That means I, like thousands of others across the country, would go out to the homes of people who had not sent back the Census form delivered to them in the mail or hadn’t gone online to the Census website to fill out the form and get the information needed.

From my experience I’ve got one thing to say about the results of the 2020 Census:

It’s wrong.

It’s wrong because there was no way this census, under these circumstances, could be right. The circumstances I mean were not just those emblematic of the pandemic but the ones that were deliberately installed in order to insure a miscounting of the American population.

And imagine that, the results come in and major blue states lost congressional seats while major red states gained seats. That is not the end result of migratory patterns of older citizens moving to warmer climes or younger ones moving to find new work opportunities. That is the end result of a deliberate misuse of the system by one political party in it’s never ending attempts to game the system in order to win elections and control the federal government.

The census should have been put off till the pandemic was over. Yes I know, the census is written into the Constitution and not doing it in 2020 might have brought on, well let’s call it a constitutional contretemps, I don’t think it would have qualified as a crisis. Here it is in black and white, figuratively and literally from Article One, Section Two:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting
of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight,
Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

If the timing would have been constitutionally suspect my reply would be that in the same paragraph enumerating the every ten years it also says to only count free persons, no Native Americans, and all other persons (in other words black slaves) as three fifths. The 14th amendment did away with the three fifths, but kept the no Native Americans. Yet we now count Native Americans because of a 1940 decision by the Census Bureau to include them. If the Bureau could do that in 1940 they certainly could have done away this one time with a dictate as to the count being every ten years.

I’d also point out that if we stuck to the one representative for every 30,000 people Congress would currently have nearly 11,000 members. Rhode Island and Providence Plantations alone would have 35 representatives.

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Hire a Clown, Expect a Circus

I have been reading a lot of really stupid stuff in the ether, and not because I deliberately sought it out. Now you have to, too.

Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. I thought something was up when I saw this on John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight:

That was just a weird interaction, so I wasn’t surprised when they said they were getting divorced. I should not have been surprised by this hot take from The Washington Post since they are trying to out-New-York-Times The New York Times, but I was:

Jim Justice, the governor of West Virginia (who, by the way, is an idiot), has been such a failure as a vaccine leader that he couldn’t convince the members of the girls basketball team he coaches to get vaccinated. You can guess what happened:  a bunch of them got infected with Covid and they had to forfeit their place in the state tournament. You hate to see it.

Oh, and the Justice nonsense didn’t stop there. Big Jim’s Big Idea to encourage younger people to get vaccinated? He wanted to give them savings bonds. And when that wasn’t feasible (bonds are entirely electronic now) his Second Big Idea was to give out silver dollars. Perhaps pocket watches will be next on the list.

I know a lot of people have stepped up to get vaccinated, but a lot of people haven’t, and the ratio of vaccinated people to unvaccinated people isn’t uniform across the country. In addition, those places where vaccinated people are sparser also tend to feature fewer people wearing masks. So while parts of the country can really make a big jump back to how things were in The Before Time, lots of us are stuck in places where we need to continue to be careful. Here’s The Atlantic’s take on it:

(There’s a more serious piece that could be written about the very real trauma millions of us have been through, HOW THE PANDEMIC ISN’T OVER YET, and how lots of us live among people who don’t care if they spread a deadly disease to us because they are members of a twisted death cult. This obviously isn’t that place.)

This is one of the U.S. Senators from Kansas:

 

I had no forking idea who he was at first, either.

One of the big obstacles facing the Democrats right now is Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat. What’s the solution proposed by some liberals?

 

Just a reminder that the governor of West Virginia–who would name Manchin’s replacement–is a Republican, and a trumper. (And an idiot).

To paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcom, he was so preoccupied with whether he could, he didn’t stop to think if he should:

 

Today I cannot share your laughter, ship of fools.

A Postcard From Mumbai

The Dobi Ghat

The Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat in downtown Mumbai. A million pieces of laundry hand washed every day and returned to their owners with nary a mix up.

 

Count me as one of those of European ancestry who have a fascination with India.

I have only been there once, but the country and it’s peoples got deep into my soul long before I was physically in the country. Maybe it was a little too much Gunga Din when I was a kid. Trust me when I tell you that no movie, no television show, no amount of E.M. Forester or Rudyard Kipling can prepare you for the experience of actually being there. The term “an assault on the senses” was coined especially for India.

When COVID hit the world in early 2020 it was assumed by many that India would be hit particularly hard. Rampant poverty combined with a billion plus people combined with third world conditions even in the midst of modern cities seemed to be a recipe for contamination that might take down the world’s largest semi-democracy.

Instead India wasn’t hit too badly. Many theories were put forth for this paradoxical situation including that Indians spend more time outdoors, weren’t as obese, the population is relatively youthful, and most interestingly that because Indians are exposed to more diseases on a daily basis they have built up a natural immunity not just to coronaviruses but to many pathogens.

Or in laymen’s terms, Darwin was right.

Begrudgingly the government did institute several restrictions on gatherings, asked the population to mask up, and in general took the same steps that most developed countries had taken to slow the growth of the pandemic. There seemed to be an attitude of “while we’ve got this licked, we want to help the rest of the world”.

But India, like so many other democracies around the world, is now ruled by a populist quasi tyrant, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is Modi who at first dismissed COVID, continued to hold super spreader events like political rallies, railed against the actual science of COVID, and who now has taken the extraordinary stance that social media companies should not just take down but ban any message critical of his response to the crisis. Remind you of anyone else?

So it’s no surprise that Modi disregarded the experts who came to him three months ago saying all signs point towards a huge upturn in cases about to hit the country. Instead he doubled down on the notion that things were only getting better, lifting all restrictions on gatherings. The northern town of Haridwar held one of the world’s biggest gatherings this month, with millions of people celebrating the Hindu festival Kumbh Mela.

On Monday India reported it’s largest single day number of infections, 350,000. 2800 people died of COVID on that day alone. This after a full week of infection rates north of 200,000 per day the previous week. Hospitals are jammed, oxygen has become scarce, and crematoriums have become so backed up with bodies they are forced to stack them like cordwood.

Several Indian states have disregarded the federal government’s antipathy towards doing anything to solve the crisis and taken measures of their own. Maharashtra, home to Mumbai, has banned any gathering of more than five people, all non-essential commerce, and limited even essential services to restricted hours. The response from the federal government to these measures has been scorn. The response in the real world has been a leveling off of COVID cases.

The Indian government has been able to vaccinate about 10% of the population which would be great were it not for the fact that that still leaves over a BILLION PEOPLE unvaccinated. This in a country that produces more vaccines than any other in the world, but they are hindered by greed (foreign countries are willing to pay more for vaccines) and a lack of the raw materials and native intellectual property that prevents the factories from being able to produce more for themselves.

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Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Oligarchy Definition

OK class, use it in a sentence.

It’s been a bad week for oligarchs.

From the 48 hour birth, life, and death of the European Super League in soccer to the pullback of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, the fat cats have been taking a bit of a pounding, most of it at the hands of the so called little guys.

If you still can’t quite understand the entire Super League fiasco don’t worry. I follow European soccer pretty closely and I am hard pressed to come up with a rational for the absurd circus the Dirty Dozen have put us through. The no longer failing New York Times has a good play by play of how this all came to be.

Suffice it to say, twelve of the fourteen richest teams in Europe decided they wanted to create their own league to play in, one that they would have total control of and which ultimately would have destroyed the delicate pyramid that feeds and nurtures the other hundreds of teams in dozens of national leagues. Fans, the people who actually pay to go to or watch games on TV, revolted. It was quickly established that even the most ardent of fans would abandon lifelong allegiance to one of the twelve in favor of continued allegiance to their national leagues. Television networks, the ones who would be paying the largest portion of the tab for the Super League, started muttering “what if they have a league and no one watches”.

And just like that, poof, it’s gone.

The birth and demise of the Super League is being laid squarely at the feet of the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United as well as being the guys who sign Tom Brady’s checks, Stan Kroenke owner of Arsenal, the LA Rams, the Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Avalanche, and John Henry, owner of Liverpool FC as well as the Bahstin Red Sox. The line being put out is it’s all American hubris, coming in and thinking they can make this into the NFL. They’re taking the fall, but this whole plan stinks of Russian and Arab oligarchic slight of hand.

That’s how oligarchs work. They quietly pull all the strings so that if something goes wrong they can walk away with clean hands. That’s what’s happening in this case, Americans are taking the fall while the Russian oligarch owner of Chelsea FC and the Emirati prince owner of Manchester City get to say “I know nothing!“.

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One Size Does Not Fit All

doctor administering vaccine

Just checking, you’re not a female 18-48 by any chance?

I don’t know about you dear reader, but I’ve always been a bit suspicious of the phrase “one size fit’s all”. Personally I’m not the kind of one size that would allow me to fit in anything that might be considered all.

The number of people who fit well into one size fits all is pretty small. For most people it will be a little small or a little big or a bit tight or a bit loose. Most of us might fit into it, but few will actually be happy about it.

Which brings us to the COVID vaccine(s).

You might have heard that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been put in a time out because six women between 18 and 48 developed blood clots after receiving a J&J jab. That’s six out of roughly I don’t know how many millions. One died. I will not in the least discount this, but really folks, stopping the distribution of a vaccine in the middle of a pandemic because 6 women of child bearing age had a bad reaction is just a little too one size fits all for me.

Or maybe it’s more throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That seems a tad more appropriate.

Discourage women of child bearing years from getting the J&J jab and encourage them to get the Moderna or Pfizer? Seems to make sense to me. Obviously there is something going on with that particular vaccine when it comes to menstruating women as far as the limited facts on hand would indicate. Tell those who fall into that category, sorry this one’s not for you, try across the proverbial pharmaceutical street. Then do the medical detective work to figure out what went wrong (clue: menstruating might have something to do with it).

In the meantime let males and women over 50 get it so that we accomplish what the primary goal of the exercise is: To Eradicate COVID.

Ah but to do that Big Pharma would have to admit something that they have never wanted to do. They’d have to admit that not every drug/vaccine is right for everyone. In other words, one size doesn’t fit all.

I live with that fact everyday. My wife (Cruella) can’t take codeine because unlike most of the rest of the world her body lacks the enzyme necessary to turn codeine into morphine.   In the parlance of the medical world she is a “poor metabolizer”. It’s rare but not so rare as to never have been seen before. However whenever she has needed pain medication and tells the nurse/doctor/nurse’s aide that codeine doesn’t work and that she needs straight morphine the immediate reaction is that she’s a drug abuser. Don’t believe me? Try it the next time you go to the dentist for a root canal.

Knowing this yet still wanting to be part of the solution Cruella went and got her first Pfizer jab. Her reaction was swift and undeniable.

She got a case of shingles.

Oh yes, shingles, or herpes zoster for the medical students out there, is a known side effect of the Pfizer vaccine. Shingles laughs at blood clots in the netherworld of COVID vaccine side effects. Six blood clots? Try 148 cases of shingles from the Pfizer vaccine (240 overall from the three brands). Far and away the number one reported side effect on the CDC’s VAERS reporting site. Still that number is incredibly small compared to the millions who have been jabbed over the past few months.

And here’s where I have to fault the Feds and the Pharmas. Pfizer, even with all those reported cases, still insists it’s just a coincidence. The Feds say there’s not enough evidence. Six blood clots were enough for the Feds to put a temporary kibosh on the J&J vaccine. 240 cases of shingles, well that’s just coincidence/too soon to tell.

When we sit here and wonder why so many people are apprehensive about getting vaccinated the usual suspects are conspiracy theories and right wing media messaging. It’s rarely posited that people are tired of not getting the full story, of being lied to by their government and leaders. You say I should take this vaccine? Aren’t you the same people who said Vietnam was winnable, Watergate was a third rate burglary, I did not have sex with that woman, there was no collusion.

Yes, I understand, the Feds want people to get vaccinated so we all can get back to “normal”. But the Biden administration not giving the public all the information they need to make an informed choice is just as bad as the Trump Administration telling people COVID will just disappear one day.

Joey B. Shark or Dr. Fauci or Jenny PressWrangler need to stand up and say “Hey, we know the vaccines aren’t perfect, you might get a bad side effect from it, but the side effects aren’t nearly as bad as DYING from COVID. And on top of that only a very small percentage of people even get these adverse reactions. A good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow.” Then they need to back that up by footing the bill for any medical care required because of an adverse reaction. Better yet get Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson to foot the bill since they’re the ones making the profits.

The bottom line is that if what worries authorities is telling people they MIGHT have an adverse reaction to the vaccine, then they are giving COVID vaccine alarmists fuel to fire up their misinformation cannons. Tell the truth, warts and all, it’s in everyone’s interest.

Denial — it ain’t just a river in Egypt.

These guys denied they were married.

Shapiro Out

 

 

 

Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin

Hack Looks Askance At Hick Schtick.

Repeat after me: Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin.

Thus spake Willie Stark in Robert Rossen’s brilliant film adaptation of Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men. The line was adapted from advice Willie’s fixer Jack Burden gave him in the book after Willie delivered a dull speech:

“Just tell ’em you’re gonna soak the fat boys and forget the rest of the tax stuff…Willie, make ’em cry, make ’em laugh, make ’em mad, even mad at you. Stir them up and they’ll love it and come back for more, but, for heaven’s sakes, don’t try to improve their minds.”

I realize that sounds like something that pardoned felon Steve Bannon would have said to the Impeached Insult Comedian, but it’s sound advice for any politician even an honest one like Joe Biden. It certainly fits the time we live in:

Quite literally, the super-rich got richer, and the poor got poorer during the pandemic.

Repeat after me: Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin.

One way to do this is to enact the Biden administration’s increase in corporate taxes. Another more satisfying way is to enact the Wealth Tax proposed by Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren. It will make the fat boys squeal like the pigs they are.

But will the Emperor of the Senate Joe Manchin support such a surtax? He’s from one of the poorest states in the Union but raising taxes became heresy for Blue Dogs after Mondale was blown out in the 1984 election and reinforced by the Gingrich wave election in 1994.

in 1984, Fritz Mondale made it a point of honesty in his acceptance speech:

‘Mr. Reagan will raise taxes and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.’

When I searched for the exact quote, it turned up articles warning Democrats not to raise taxes. All were written before the boom, bust, and boom of the pandemic.

Income inequality began its rise in the Reagan era, and exploded last year. Since the right no longer has an appealing salesman like Ronald Reagan, that makes it time to:

Biden’s infrastructure bill *should* be enormously popular. We can all cite crumbling infrastructure in our states and communities. In New Orleans, the greatest infrastructure need involves our water system. The vast majority of the pipes are over 100 years old. They burst with alarming regularity, which leads to frequent boil water orders. The city needs federal money to replace the system. It will take many years, but we need to get going as soon as possible.

I, for one, am relieved that Mitch McConnell has declared his entire caucus against the American Jobs Act. That means there will be no bad faith negotiations with Republicans as Leader Schumer plans to use the filibuster proof reconciliation process again. As with the COVID relief plan, I consider McConnell’s move to be cynical: GOPers will pop up to support projects if the bill passes.

It’s up to Democrats to find middle ground between AOC and the Man of La Manchin. It may sound hard but it’s easier than getting libertarian creeps like Aqua Buddha to agree to a spending proposal that’s guaranteed to attack income equality while improving roads, bridges, and the like across the country. It’s ironic that the original proponent of internal improvements, Henry Clay, hailed from Kentucky given the Turtle and Aqua Buddha’s posturing but he was a Whig, they’re Trumpified Republicans.

The Republican attack on the COVID relief plan was muted because they knew their states would benefit. I expect the same dynamic to play out here. Besides, the faux populism of Trump has seeded the ground for more government spending. Infrastructure week may have been a running joke under Trump, but President Biden hopes to make every week infrastructure week.

Willie Stark was famously based on Huey P. Long who was a blowhard with authoritarian tendencies, but he was big on infrastructure before it was called that. He talked a lot of rubbish, but delivered massive projects throughout the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Joe Biden seems an unlikely heir to Long but the mere fact that he’s regarded as a moderate helped pass the first huge spending bill and will help pass the next spending bill if the Man of La Manchin allows it. He should follow the example of former West Virginia Senators such as Jennings, Byrd, and Rockefeller and take the money and run.

Make it so, Joe, make it so.

Soak the fat boys by passing a wealth surtax and/or corporate tax hikes, then spread it out thin by passing the American Jobs act.

The last word goes to the Steve Miller Band:

 

These Little Town Blues

 

The attack on an elderly Filipino women named Vilma Kari in New York City this past week was horrific. I don’t want to make light of it in anyway. But I do want to talk about two related issues to this attack.

The first is whether this was a “hate crime”. There are genuine hate crimes, attacks where the only rational is the victim’s race, color, or national origin. I want to suggest that this might not be the case here.

The attacker, Brandon Elliot, had recently been paroled from prison. He had been sent there as a 19 year old for having murdered his mother by stabbing her in the chest. He had been sentenced to 15 years to life, got out in November 2019 after having served 16 years and was unceremoniously dumped on the streets of Manhattan with no job, no home, no support system. He banged around from flop house to flop house until he ended up at a hotel turned into a homeless shelter for the duration of the pandemic on West 40th Street. That hotel had been made into a homeless shelter because a hotel previously used for that purpose had to be closed because of complaints from the neighborhood residents.

Put a pin in that thought, we’ll get back to it in a moment.

Dermot F. Shea, the NYC police commissioner, put it succulently when he said

“I don’t understand why we are releasing or pushing people out of prison not to give them second chances, but to put them into homeless facilities or shelters — or in this case a hotel — and expect good outcomes”

Why indeed?

Taking a 19 year old kid who obviously had serious mental health issues, so serious that he killed his mother, throwing him in prison for 16 years with no psychiatric therapy or even remedial education or job training, and then releasing him back to society is a recipe for an outcome that is never going to be good. That it took nearly a year and a half for that fetid pot to boil over is amazing in and of itself. That it happened to manifest itself as an attack on an Asian woman in the midst of a national outcry over anti-AAPI hate crimes I submit was just a coincidence.

Perhaps what was going through the unhinged brain of Brandon Elliot was not seeing an Asian and blaming her for COVID-19 but rather seeing an old woman who might have had a slight resemblance to his mother. “You don’t belong here” might have meant “You don’t belong here because I killed you 19 years ago”. It might have meant “I killed you once and paid for it and now here you are to continue to torment me”.

So he did the only thing he knew to do, the thing his life experience in prison had taught him to do. He attacked.

To ascribe this as a hate crime by definition means the perpetrator has to KNOW he is carrying out his actions solely and only because of his victim’s race. Brandon Elliot is, pardon my bluntness, a crazy person. Crazy people listen to the voices in their heads, not to the propaganda from Fox News.

The second point I’d like to bring up concerns the two security guards and the delivery man who are seen in the video of the attack standing around not doing anything to help the victim and then closing the door with the victim still on the ground and Brandon Elliot running off.

Like the voices in Brandon Elliot’s head, those three men did what the voices they heard from on high told them to do. The thing is these voices were real and they all said the same thing.

Don’t get involved.

Their bosses say “don’t get involved because we don’t want you getting hurt”. Nice, but that’s not the real reason. That real reason has to do with insurance and possibly getting sued; sued by the victim, sued by the guards, sued by the perpetrator, sued by the guy who just happens to be walking by. Better to do nothing and be called callous then to do something and get your financial ass handed to you.

The delivery company’s rational is even more cavalier. Don’t get involved because you need to finish your route. Mrs. Fancy Pants has been waiting two days for that special cream from Amazon and if you don’t get it to her by 5pm we’re going to never hear the end of it. The route, the route, that’s the only thing that matters. A crazy person stomped on an old woman outside the building you were delivering to? Too bad, so sad, did you get your deliveries done?

In both cases it comes down to commerce over compassion, keeping your job over being fired.

360 West 43rd Street is located in what they now call Midtown West. Back in my time in NYC we called it Hell’s Kitchen and it was, to be polite, not a nice place to be. It’s the West Side in West Side Story. It’s the dirty streets of Sleepers. It’s where Sonny Corleone had his talk with his brother in law.

Nowadays it’s been renovated into an upper class island of prosperous housing, trendy restaurants, and high end shopping. The kind of neighborhood that has security guards, not doormen, in the lobbies.

Remember that thought I asked you to put a pin in? Time to pull it out.

The hotel that was closed down as a homeless shelter was on 36th Street, four blocks from the hotel Brandon Elliot was now staying at on 40th Street. Four blocks closer to 43rd Street. If it hadn’t been closed down there is a good chance Brandon Elliot never gets near 43rd Street, never sees Vilma Kari, never goes nuts, just remains yet another whack job roaming the streets of New York.

I hope the neighbors who forced the hotel shelter out of their neighborhood think about that. I hope the parole board who released Brandon Elliot think about that. I hope the New York Department of Corrections and Community Service who were handed a mentally unstable 19 year old and turned him into a severally disturbed 37 year old through neglect and inattention think about that.

But they won’t. Like the security guards at 340 West 43rd Street, they’ll just close the door.

A much better version than Sinatra. See what Marty Scorsese and an unlimited budget for cocaine can do?

Shapiro Out

A Postcard From Sacramento

Sacramento Postcard

Welcome to Sacramento, state capitol of California. It’s got a bunch of really neat government buildings, a nice river, and um…let me see.. I think there’s a basketball team but that’s really more a rumor than a verified fact.

It’s a town better known for who has left it (Greta Gerwig, Brie Larson, Raymond Carver, LaVar Burton) than who actually lives here. If you live here it’s a 90% chance you work for the state government or for a company that depends on the patronage of those who work for the state government.

Even elected officials of the state don’t stick around unless they have to. Unlike the other large cities of the state there are no jokes about Sacramento traffic or the high cost of living here because traffic isn’t bad and it costs less to live here than any other major city in California. Yet any day they don’t have to be there most state officials skedaddle back to their home districts.

It’s a nice place to do business, but you wouldn’t want to live here.

And the business this past week was a legal insurrection against the duly elected governor of the state.

Governor Gavin Newsom will face a recall election despite the fact that he is currently polling at 52% approval, has the state’s vaccination program up and humming, and has begun to get the state opened up after the COVID blitzkrieg.

Apparently that’s not good enough for the people who are upset that he made them wear a mask in public and slowly, patiently, safely was reopening the state. Oh and back in November he went to dinner at a fancy restaurant and didn’t wear a mask.

So they have once again opted to go all in on a political coup to unseat a governor. Hey it worked in 2003, maybe it’ll work again.

Never mind that it didn’t work the eight other times it was tried. Yes, this will be the tenth recall election Californians have been forced to deal with. Why? Because it’s stupidly easy to get a recall election called.

To qualify a recall measure for the ballot only requires a petition to be submitted containing the signatures of registered voters that equal 12% of the total number of ballots cast in the last election for the position being recalled. 12.5 million votes were cast in 2018 for governor which means, hold on a sec I gotta get the calculator out, you only need 1.5 million signatures.

I could stand outside a Safeway Market in LA or San Diego and get 1.5 million signatures on a petition to bring back MANIMAL.

The point is in a state where the 2018 election was low in turnout, where 17.5 million people voted for president in 2020, where there are 21 million registered voters, allowing just 7% of registered voters to push through a time consuming, expensive, and unnecessary recall election is absurd.

So who’s behind this recall you ask. Well kids, we’re a state that encompasses many diverse communities and many cultures and…oh who the hell am I kidding you know who’s behind this, the Repugnican Party.

They can’t win elections the old fashioned way by appealing to the broadest number of voters thus getting the most votes. They don’t want to do the work to try and actually govern. So they flounder around, yelling and screaming that Demoncrats are stealing elections and forcing people to not die from a horrible contagious disease because you know FREEDOM!

Instead, pretty much since lockdowns began, they send the QAnon Qwazies to sit at folding tables in shopping centers and have them yell at people to sign their petition to recall the governor because they don’t like the way he’s handling the pandemic and ya know, stuff. If you ask how they would have handled the pandemic they yell about how COVID is no worse than the flu, masks don’t work, that this is just a conspiracy to steal people’s livelihoods, yada yada yada.

To be fair, they actually got a little over 2 million signatures on their petition which would be a good number in just about any other state, but here it’s not even HALF of the number of votes the LOSER of the 2018 election got.  Newsom got almost 8 million.

I know Repugnicans don’t believe in math (hence their love for the Electoral College) but I think 8 million is, hold on let me get the calculator out again, FOUR TIMES more than 2 million.

At a time when politicians should be working to help mitigate the damage from a virus which has killed 50,000 people in California, Repubnigans have chosen instead to try a backdoor, immoral way to undo a fairly won election. No need to storm the capitol, no need to incite violence, tell the QShaman to stay in jail, we’re gonna try this with millions spent on deceptive TV ads and playing to the COVID weariness of the voters.

In other words they are going to do what they do best, ignore the real problem and focus on a fictional one.

Recalls were put into the state constitution as a mechanism to oust corrupt politicians from office. That is the only reason they should happen. I’ve kidded around about the rationale for the recall, but of all the charges laid at Newsom’s feet, none of them involve corruption. They all involve dissatisfaction with his policies or his politics.

The mechanism for recall should be available, but the threshold for getting a recall election is ludicrously low. At least make it equal to the number of votes cast for the other candidates in the prior election. That would have meant the recall backers would have had to collect, hold on one more time for the calculator, three times as many signatures.

Recall is like impeachment. It should be used sparingly and only because serious CRIMES have been committed, you know like inciting a mob to attack the Capitol.  You don’t recall a state official because you don’t like his policies. You wait till the next election, try to convince a majority of voters that yours is the correct position, and vote him out. That’s the way democracy works.

The next gubernatorial election by the way would be exactly one year after this recall election.

Can you say pointless?

 

This is the Scottish supergroup Middle of the Road. They were ABBA before ABBA was ABBA. Why is a Scottish group singing about a California city while cruising down a canal in Amsterdam? It was 1971, that’s all I need to say.

Shapiro Out

Thank You For Your Stimulating Gift

Joe Biden And The Checks

Joe Biden and The Checks sing their #1 hit “Pay Me My Money Down”

 

Thank you Mr. Biden for the gift of the stimulus checks we received recently. It was very kind of you and the Democrats in congress to think of us in this time of need for the entire country.

Just as my parents taught me to always write a thank you note, they also taught me never to speak ill of the dead so I’ll forgo saying anything about congressional Republicans.

The wife (Cruella) and I are in the fortunate position of having been able to weather, so far, the COVID storm financially solvent. We don’t need to use our $2800 to pay past due bills or rent or mortgage or put food on the table as I know many others must. On their behalf I thank you for that small lifeline as well as the extension of unemployment benefits and supplemental aid.

As for us we intend to use that money to do what it’s name implies, stimulate the economy.

Our local economy.

We could go out and buy something big and fancy. Frankly our refrigerator and dishwasher are both on the edge of extinction but they still work and should they stop working we have the space on our credit cards to go out and make an emergency purchase.

The idea of just going on a mad shopping spree and buying “stuff” isn’t very appealing. We have reached the age that makes us think before every purchase “will our kids have to get rid of that when we’re gone?” and in any case the reality is that COVID has made it more difficult to buy truly local. By that I mean just because you bought something at the local Target or Wal-Mart doesn’t mean you bought local. Shopping at the local outlet of those companies doesn’t keep them in business, it just adds to the pockets of the Walton or Dayton Families.

Don’t even get me started on Amazon.

With restaurants beginning to open back up for indoor dining the idea of eating out every night was bandied about, but we’re still a little leery about being in small enclosed spaces with people we don’t know. Besides we both like to cook. Going out to eat every night would be like cheating on our kitchen, a momentary pleasure offset by feelings of guilt every time we put pan to stove.

We’d love to use it to travel, but, well, you know.

Then we had the perfect solution sweep into our laps. A friend told us about a woman he knew who, having lost her job when one of the local wineries had to close their tasting room, had started her own housecleaning business.

  • We get a clean house, she gets the money.
  • We support a new local business, she gets the money.
  • We don’t add to a pile of “stuff” we don’t really need, she gets the money.
  • We stimulate the local economy, she gets to be stimulated.

That last one didn’t come out right but you get the idea.

$2800 will buy us a year’s worth of housecleaning, three hours once every two weeks. Our hiring her will potentially get our neighbors to hire her. They can tell their friends. Pretty soon she can build a business that will purchase supplies, hire others, pay taxes, help send her kids to college, you know, all those things that contribute to what we call the American Dream. That’s what I call stimulating the economy, exactly what your checks were intended to do.

I hope others who are in similar situations to ours will do the same.

If they chose to buy something, I hope they will try and buy it from a local company. Need a new refrigerator? Go to the local appliance store, not the local Best Buy. Want something new to hang on the wall? Support a local artist. Even if they do use the money simply for food, going to the local market will be a better use of the money then forking over to Costco or Wal-Mart. The reality is that local merchants and service providers can’t just issue more stock or take on a higher debt to survive this crisis, their debt is already up to their nostrils. They need butts walking through the door, ie,  the local community to survive.

My economics professor in college put it best. “Remember, when you buy from them, they can afford to buy from the guy across the street, who can then afford to buy from the guy across town, who then buys from your company and you get to keep your job”.

Besides, everybody ought to have a maid.

I was going to use the Nathan Lane Broadway version, but how could I resist Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, and Jack Gilford. Bialystock, Bilko, and Cracker Jack. 

Shapiro Out

FREEDOM MAN!

Q Over the Capitol

Did you know “if” is the middle word of “life”?

Happy Revolution Day!

Today’s the day the Qatriots say they will rise up and retake the country, installing the blessed Saint DonnyJohn as Head Chef and Chief Bottle Washer back into the White House cause you know, FREEDOM MAN!*

Or maybe not.

Now we’re told that oh so special March 4th date is actually a “false flag” sent by the Lame Stream Media to discredit the movement. Like they need anyone else’s help to discredit themselves.

They’ve kicked the metaphorical can down to March 20. Or sometime in April. Or next Tu B’shevat.

Or maybe they are just gonna wait till November of 2024. Yeah, that’s the ticket, that’s when things are gonna change cause that’s when the Lizard Overlords will be defeated by a combination of Jean-Luc Picard, Luke Skywalker, and Buzz Lightyear that will bring peace and harmony to the galaxy (cue majestic music rising to a crescendo).

Honestly, if at this point you are still Crazy for Q it’s time to go back on your meds and realize you got played. You got played by the greatest game players this country has ever seen, the Republican Party of the 21st Century.

That’s the party that has no central governing philosophy other than, um, well, FREEDOM MAN! As of today they are literally taking as their mantra that the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill is bad because, well I can’t really figure out why they think it’s bad. Fiscal responsibility maybe? Too much support for liberal programs like feeding the hungry and keeping people in their houses? The $15/hour minimum wage? Oh wait, they got that struck out of the bill already.

80% of the American public think this relief bill is a good thing and should be passed because 80% of the American public are worried that when the masks come off there won’t be an America worth coming out of the isolation chambers for. This bill isn’t to build some useless naval monstrosity of a ship, it’s to make sure Main Street doesn’t become filled with tumbleweeds instead of shops.

And 80% of Americans understand that.

Yet the Republicans and their shock troops are hating on it because should it pass it will be seen as a “win” for the Demoncrats. And they can’t allow the Demoncrats to win because they told all their voters that Demoncrats are evil and you know, FREEDOM MAN.

I have never voted for a Republican. My father only voted for one, Jake Javits for senator from New York, back when there was this thing called a Liberal Republican. My grandfather never voted for a Republican because he was a solid Tammany Man, but that’s another story. In other words, I’ve been a died in the wool Democrat since birth. But back in the Before Times (in this case1999 GWB) I at least could listen to and understand why Republicans believed as they did. They were the party of big business, small government, and the middle class.

Now they are the party of neo-Nazis, conspiracy theories, and FREEDOM MAN. They win elections through gerrymandering and fearmongering. One of their lawyers even got up in front of the Supreme Court yesterday, a court they have heavily packed, and when asked why it would be bad for everyone eligible to vote answered in essence that if everyone eligible to vote actually did Republicans would never win. They paint anyone, Democrat, Green, even the Libertarians, as the Evil Other who must be defeated so god’s holy white nation will not be corrupted.

Or maybe that’s just a false flag and they’re doing it so they can break up the pedophilia ring that’s being run out of Hillary’s condo in Boca Raton. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Shapiro Out

*FREEDOM MAN is the registered trademark of PETER ADRASTOS ATHAS and is used herein with his official okey-dokey.

She Didn’t Believe in Transcendence

This is a piece about sexual harassment. Reading it may be difficult or upsetting for survivors of sexual violence. If you need to talk, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is available for help and support 24/7 at 800.656.HOPE (4673) & online.rainn.org.

When I heard the news that Andrew Cuomo is a sexual predator, I just felt…really, really tired. I have no emotional investment in him, and frankly I don’t care for any of the Cuomos. Now I care even less. But after 4 years of the trump assault, no one needed this, least of all his victims. There are now 3 women on the record, but we all know there are a lot more. There always are. No one should be surprised either at how freely he treated women in this disgusting manner. No one should be surprised because when they are in a position of power where there is no one to push back, abusive men talk to women like this—degrading comments, intrusive questions meant to humiliate, the literal and figurative breakdown of our personal space—ALL THE TIME.

I was sexually harassed on the job. I had finished my first round of graduate school and was at home for a few months before I moved to Boston with my best friend. I found a long-term temp job that would carry me until we moved and I actually liked it. It was a family-run company that made some kind of light industrial goods that I don’t remember. The secretary was going out for surgery, but as she told me as she trained me my first day, she was never coming back. I could handle the bookkeeping and accounting so I was happy to have the steady income.

The day-to-day management had passed from the father to his son, who was in his 40s and a big flashy spender. He had a fancy car and an airplane and was desperate to impress me.  As it was summer and all of my siblings were working, I got dropped off and picked up as part of the roving family carpool so I’d bring my lunch and eat in the little anteroom to the women’s bathroom. It was clean and private, and I was the only woman working there so it was fine. I always had a book and it was a quiet hour alone. Or it was when my boss didn’t come in to chat with me about whether I had a boyfriend or what I liked to do for fun (sound familiar?). I began to dread my lunch hour.

Luckily the shop foreman saw him go in one noontime and came and called him out to the shop floor. Later the foreman came to see me, apologized profusely for not knowing, told me he’d told my boss never to do that ever again, and gave me the keys to the company pickup truck ostensibly so I could go the bank and make the daily deposits but really so I could get out at lunch time.  I’ve never forgotten his kindness. And naturally that didn’t stop my boss, it just redirected his efforts into trying to let him fly me up to Boston for my job interviews, you know, to save time that we could then spend together sightseeing. Ugh. That bothered me less because it was nowhere as menacing as being shut up in a small room with him, but it was still unwanted, unwelcome, and pathetic.

And that’s the thing the I see so clearly in Cuomo’s behavior:  its pitifulness. It’s the behavior of insecure, socially deficient men, the kind of men that women immediately know to avoid at gatherings. I’ve been online a long time and one of the communities where I hang out is, and has always been, overwhelmingly male. The women who hang out there tend to either be pleasers or tough, intelligent women who stand up for themselves. Over the years, the pleasers have disappeared and the women who stayed insist on being treated respectfully. This sets up a lot of confrontations with a segment of the male membership. There is the obvious group, the ones who call women disgusting names to their virtual faces. And then there are Cuomos, the ones who are obviously forked up when it comes to women but who don’t immediately call you the c word.

Years ago, in a smaller private subgroup of the community, one of the women shared some intimate details. Years later, and in a less private community subgroup, a guy who had once told us that while he was in his truck he threatened to run over a woman he had catcalled and who flipped him off in return (he later told us that he was “joking” and that it never actually happened—he just thought it would be a funny story to tell (of course it really happened)) started a thread to demand she tell him all of the details again. When she got upset, he essentially pulled a Cuomo. It was supposed to be funny! It was just a light-hearted request! OK, well if you were offended then I apologize! Geez! I was only joking! You’re so uptight! Lather, rinse, repeat.

I hope all the women Cuomo demeaned and harassed and assaulted come forward and sink his political career. It’s time for a few small repairs.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Coup Coup for cocoa puffs edition

Well, let’s get the obvious out of the way first, shall we?

1. Trump: “The election was stolen!”

2. Trump: “Let’s all march down to the Capitol building and fight like hell.

(Thugs wearing MAGA hats and waving “Trump 2020” banners trash the Capitol building and kill police)

 

.

(two hours into the riot)

3. Freepers: “It was Auntie Fa.”

At least they know that Julius Seizure has their backs, even if he didn’t show up to lead them like he promised.

A Message From President Trump
Youtube ^ | 01/07/21 | Donald J. Trump

Posted on 1/7/2021, 6:30:05 PM by Enlightened1

He tells angry people to march to the Capitol.

Then this… Very disappointed.

1 posted on 1/7/2021, 6:30:05 PM by Enlightened1
Womp womp womp.
To: Enlightened1

Nice Republic, while it lasted……

4 posted on 1/7/2021, 6:32:14 PM by rickomatic ( )

Of course, there’s always gotta be a killjoy….
To: Enlightened1

In before someone accuses President Trump of stabbing President Trump in the back.

9 posted on 1/7/2021, 6:33:03 PM by Rightwing Conspiratr1

And, of course :
To: Enlightened1

He never did tell Antifa to march to the Capitol.

15 posted on 1/7/2021, 6:34:24 PM by Meatspace

To: Enlightened1

Trump train wrecked his own train wreck.

61 posted on 1/7/2021, 6:49:00 PM by Berlin_Freeper

To: trustandobey

It’s over. There is no super secret save the day.

I wish him well. Pardon Everyone . Give them a finger on the way out.

75 posted on 1/7/2021, 6:53:13 PM by RummyChick (I do not advocate laying siege on the Capitol. Keep me off that list.)

To: RummyChick

There was no Plan. QAnon was always a fraud. Said that so many fell for it.

78 posted on 1/7/2021, 6:54:01 PM by Trumpisourlastchance

Diddums.
To: RummyChick

You obviously haven’t investigated the plan so don’t tell us we are stupid. President Trump knew about the things the Dems were doing, remember he said “the calm before the storm.” This is the storm.

117 posted on 1/7/2021, 7:08:27 PM by Cowgirl

Comment #105 Removed by Moderator
Hmm – wonder what that was about?  Ah – if only the moderators were as diligent about removing replies to deleted posts that quote them…..
To: rightofthefairway
“It’s a sad state when the people he(Trump) duped don’t have a clue for the enmity he has for them.”
(mean and sarcastic reply deleted by me)
That would explain the deleted comment above.
.
Follow below for more Volkssturm und drang!

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Today On Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “Burning down the House (and the Senate)” edition

Wow.

Just.

Wow.

Where to begin? I guess I should post these threads (more of less) in chronological order, so let’s start with – Gorn to shitpost!

At The Highest Levels – Part 1 of 3 (Pence is a Traitor and Should Be Arrested; But Can Still Come Through)
NeonRevolt and RonCodeMonkeyZ and Lin Wood ^ | 1-6-21 | NeonRevolt

Posted on 1/6/2021, 7:08:16 AM by CincyRichieRich

This is the kind of series I’d hope I’d never have to write.

And yet, here we are. After three years of doing my best to serve the groundswell that is the Patriot movement in the United States, and six total, being on the total warpath for Trump, I must now bring to you what are possibly the most important articles I will ever have to write which will reveal corruption, and contempt for the American people at the highest levels. This will be a three part series, released over the next few hours, so please, pay close attention to everything I’m about to tell you, because the future of the Republic now hangs in the balance.

 

(400+ words of incoherent rambling snipped by yours truly)

 

But I need to set the stage first. To understand everything I’m about to tell you, we have to go back; back to the fateful night of July 10th, 2016, when the then 27-year-old Seth Rich was found with two gunshot wounds in his back in the Bloomingdale neighborhood in DC, near his favorite bar.

I think PDJT will either announce arrest of Mike Pence and Rod Rosenstein and then ask the audience (2,000,000 or so in attendance) to protect him and to make sure these folks get arrested. Otherwise, Pence, at his wife’s advisement and a flash of honesty, does the right thing and tosses the electors…this will have a downstream effect of downballot challenges, too…like Georgia 2 senate seats.

1 posted on 1/6/2021, 7:08:17 AM by CincyRichieRich

To: CincyRichieRich

“I think PDJT will either announce arrest of Mike Pence…”

Nuts. Folks have gone totally nuts! Arrest VP Pence? Has everyone gone barking mad?

4 posted on 1/6/2021, 7:20:52 AM by Mr Rogers

To: Mr Rogers

FR has attracted lunatics who are here to pimp their own blogs, etc. Attention whores off their meds, like the OP.And this used to be such a reliable, conservative internet forum.

11 posted on 1/6/2021, 7:26:37 AM by LouAvul (The wheels of America are coming off and the media have stolen the lug nuts.)
Stop it, you guys – you’re killing me.
.
One more Lin Wood post, explaining my previous “Gorn” reference, before we jump below the fold to the groovy insurrection parts of today’s post.

Even the Freeperati have quit listening to Lin Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F’tang-F’tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel

Lin Wood bombshell: Sex trafficking, blackmail, and pure evil afoot https://noqreport.com ^ | by JD Rucker January 4, 2021 Posted on 1/4/2021, 8:47:29 AM by Red Badger

His latest bombshell is either absolutely insane or the key to exposing the powers and principalities ruling this world.

Attorney Lin Wood is quickly becoming the most controversial figure on the internet. His Twitter and Parler posts are both wildly popular and ridiculed. The QAnon crowd is torn between whether he’s schizophrenic or crazy like a fox. 4Chan debates about him are just as polarizing.

His latest bombshell is either absolutely insane or the key to exposing the powers and principalities ruling this world.

You already said that once.

I have my own opinions about it, but for once I’m not going to express them. Rather, here is what he posted last night, unedited:

(edited anyway from 500+words of insane gibberish) :

This blackmail scheme is conducted by members of 10 of world’s most well-known & “elite” intelligence agencies. One of those groups was hacked by a group known as Lizard Squad. The blackmail files of rape & murder were obtained by this group & copy was provided to Isaac Kappy.

1 posted on 1/4/2021, 8:47:29 AM by Red Badger
Oh, “Badger badger badger – SNAAAKE SNAAKE’s”  Lin Wood “lizard squad” bullshit is too much, even for the Freeperati :
To: Red Badger

Sorry, when I see Lin Wood, I think lunatic.

4 posted on 1/4/2021, 8:50:28 AM by brownsfan (The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.)

To: Red Badger

Bwahahahaha

This clown is Qtard central

What about the lizard men? How are they involved? We want to know about the lizard men, dammit!

6 posted on 1/4/2021, 8:51:38 AM by baclava

To: baclava
13 posted on 1/4/2021, 8:57:36 AM by PGR88
To: PGR88
19 posted on 1/4/2021, 9:03:38 AM by real saxophonist (Yeah, well, you know that’s just like, uh… your opinion, man.)
Ok – enough preamble – let’s go to the shitty nitty gritty!

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