Category Archives: Michael F

Surrealistic Bully

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I keep repeating it — apologies — but it’s gonna be a long four years. And that’s not to defend CNN or Buzzfeed… well, CNN, at least…which like plenty of other “news” organizations, sure as hell had tons of fun breathlessly reporting on all the HRC email and foundation non-scandals…while ignoring both serious and frivolous material about Trump. Go figure. Oh, and fuck James Comey, too.

Sadder still is that some — not a majority or even a plurality (I keep reminding myself) but some welcome this descent into Bananaland USA…at least until they get tossed into the frying pan. And when (not if) that happens, will they continue to blame libruls? Is the Pope Catholic?

Sigh–I thought Bush Junior was history repeated as farce…and maybe he still is. But that just means the old quote (from yeah, this guy) might need a modest revision or addition…first as tragedy, then as farce, and finally as … reality television. And that’s pretty goddamn depressing.

Obamacare Repeal Kabuki

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If it wasn’t so consequential, it would be kind of amusing to watch the knots wingnut leadership is twisting themselves into as they still insist they’ll, no really, eventually replace and begin to repeal what’s they’ve blasted for the last six years as the single most horrible and worst-est law ever, honest…the Obamanation (hahaha, thud, says the wingnut, laughing his head off). And they promised their raging constituents, furious at the black man’s insurance reform/signature legislation, they’d repeal it on day one of their triumphant return to power.

But what’s Paul Ryan’s (or Texas tag team Cornyn/Cruz’s)  tune these days? Yeah, no shit: there are actual, honest-to-god benefits people get from Obamacare/ACA/Insurance reform, benefits that if cut will cause real harm and damage (as often as not to the most bitter opponents of the black guy’s insurance reform … which happens to be an almost mirror image of not-at-all-black-guy Mitt Romney’s own reform in that despicable librul bastion Massachusetts).

No, it’s not perfect by any measure — no public option, no Medicare buy-in, far too willing to cozy up with Big Insurance — but given the real-world circumstances, it was the least that could be done, and it needed to be done, and Paul Ryan knows that, despite the universal GOPer cover-your-ears-I-can’t-hear-you-we’ll-sue…twice…-and-take-it-to-the-Supreme-Court opposition.

Oh, and to top it off, the media’s ALLOWING Ryan et al to get away with barely a question.  (Note: similarily they’re allowing Mitch-the-Turtle McConnell to now insist that opposition to a new SCOTUS nominee is unacceptable).

If he was still around, Orwell would be nodding his head because, you know…

Wingnut Beer Goggles

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Athenae wrote about this Tuesday; The Atlantic also brought it up, others reflected on the tendency towards tribal loyalty and how it shapes perception

Fake news/propaganda/spin has always been around. I could go back further, but there were the five o’clock follies in Saigon, Ron Zieglar’s ever more dadaist dismissals and denials re: Watergate (and the subsequent effort to label it a “third rate burglary”)…WMD, last throes, and the outward scorn that (probably Rove) evinced towards “the reality based community” back in the days of Mission Accomplished…so it’s not real surprising that we now have The Cult of the Donald. particularly in an era when corporate media has sold what’s left of its soul for ratings and access.

But…cult or not, facts are stubborn (or, during The Cult of the Ronald, stupid) things. And the facts can form the basis of, if not eliminating The Cult of the Donald, at least keeping it in check/undercutting it. Because, despite the decades long smear campaign against Hillary Clinton (and, by extension, the Democratic Party), the Trump cult was outvoted…and when reality overcomes tribalist myth, it’s as likely as not that The Donald will crash and burn like plenty of other wingnut icons (offhand, I’m thinking of a former Loosiana [sic] governor who rode in like a conquering hero … but eventually slunk away universally hated).

Can’t say I’m very optimistic…but I still think history and facts are on our side…

Gary Busey Wasn’t Available?

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Roy Moore is on the short list to replace Jeff Sessions. Yeah, that Roy Moore.

Christ, seems like every day it’s something else piling on. I won’t lie: since the election, I’ve been letting myself get distracted by all sorts of things (including some sort of small animal that invaded my attic this week…anyone know how to get rid of a squirrel, or maybe a bat? Am open to suggestions).

Anyway, beats the hell out of having to actually consider the next four — or, lord forbid, eight — years of wingnut kleptocracy and Banana Republicanism … voted in by a constituency that must have thought George W. Bush was too nuanced and restrained. Avert my eyes/somebody tell me when it’s finally over. But that’s what they’re counting on, along with a weak-to-non-existent official opposition and an elite media/press that made a Faustian bargain long ago…and shows no sign of reneging/regret.

Sorry to repeat, but it’s going to be a long four years…and hopefully NOT an even longer eight.

Putin On The Ritz

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So, Vlad himself allegedly signed off on Operation Are-They-Really-That-Dumb? — gee, anyone wonder why? And that’s without knowing specifics, like, for instance, how much the Clown-Puppet-in-Chief might owe to Russian banks, etc.

Meanwhile, just my .000002 cents worth, but the Cabinet selections suggest an upcoming looting of the treasury that’d leave Harding Administration hacks in a combination of awe and envy…there’s corruption, then there’s open season on public funds getting shoveled into private pockets by the container ship-full.

But hey, I guess we don’t have to worry about the emails, right?

Get ready…come January, we’ll be getting it…good and hard.

In Other News, Opinions Differ On The Shape Of The Earth

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And Team Trump thinks foxes make excellent hen house guards…

Am out of town, on a quick trip to a deep-blue state — felt like a brief change of scenery if not outlook would be good after last month — so keeping things short today…but still thinking, damn, this is going to be a long four years…

Dollars And Pence

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First, good for those employees at Carrier who didn’t lose their jobs. At this point in my  middle-aged life, I’m well aware of just how frightening the prospect of getting laid off is.

Second, I’m also aware that tax incentives and other financial/political considerations are all in the business playbook nowadays. Hell, my local downtown is getting rebuilt via a combination of direct state government spending, TIFs and lord knows what else (a good bit of it done by GOPers Mike Foster and PBJ…go figure). So, on a practical level, I won’t holler — too loud — at the “solution” Trump/Pence offered, which, in so many words, is Throw Money At It.

However, this is an excellent example of the hypocrisy of alleged conservative free-market ideology. Turns out, they’re as eager to spend tax dollars as anyone else. They just want the money to go to their donors and contributors (but not necessarily their voter base or the greater public good).

Oh, and again, while I’m glad some Carrier employees will remain employed, some won’t. So, not exactly saving the day. More like glass half full. Plus, think of how other businesses might react. It’s a whole new source of revenue to exploit.

Finally, saving a few jobs still doesn’t change my mind about Trump/Pence. Nothing can take the taint off of either/both/the whole incoming administration. Sleaze is sleaze.

If Caligula Means Little Boots

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What’s Latin for Little Hands?  Tiny Fingers?

Little Gloves? I guess Little Mittens would only be confusing.

Anyway, hope you have a pleasant holiday, particularly if you’re traveling and especially if you’re spending time in Trump territory. I’ve got a nice bottle of wine (ok, two)…that ought to smooth things over for the duration.

Cheers!

Believe Nothing Until It’s Been Officially Denied

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The post title is something I recall attributed  to journalist Claud Cockburn; turns out the origin is a little more complicated…anyway…Trump is officially denying the effort to staff the incoming administration is a cross between The Night of the Long Knives and Operation Stumblebum. Be your own judge.

Last week I speculated they’d try to buy some time/breathing room by insisting they’ve inherited a colossal mess. That’s still possible, but I think we’ve also seen a bit of if not deer-in-the-headlights, then dog-that-finally-caught-the-car. Other than a few personal tweets, there’s been no pushback on the troubling-if-not-frightening report that Trump really IS presently unsuited for anything besides photo-ops…and that the Obama administration is embarking on what amounts to a cram-session/crash course to do what they can before January 20th.

Hmmm…I wonder if the Democrats will be pressured into accepting dubious Cabinet and other Executive appointees based on the fact that the top of the ticket is…scarily unqualified (and, in contrast, recall the extreme GOP opposition to any/all Obama Executive appointments). Less honeymoon and more toddler/training wheels.

Of course, given it’s Trump, I’d say be goddamned careful about just how much room you want to give the guy. At a certain point, and much, much earlier than is prudent, he’s likely to think/insist he’s got a lock on the position…and that’s when things gets scary. It’s going to be a bumpy ride regardless, but…

So, Thanksgiving Just Got A Lot More Interesting For A Lot More People

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First, apologies for recycling a recent Photoshop effort, but I couldn’t think of much anything else … guess I’m still processing it all and at least trying to reach stage 5/acceptance on the grief scale. Paul Krugman and Roy Edroso have good advice for not just the upcoming holiday gatherings but the next (hopefully only) four years… and the single other thing that came to mind seemed to be in poor taste, even if considered with the best intentions.

If you’re wondering, it was some variant of a pelt or hunting trophy Wildebeest/Hilldebeest, since all the various forces finally managed, deservedly or not, to extract their pound of Clinton flesh/harpoon their white whale/bag their prize. An odd consortium ranging from Villagers who forever thought of the Clintons as — out of their proper place in DC high society? — to the “objective” media (see Rules, Clinton) to the assorted wingnut factions looking to, well, stick it to the bitch (paraphrasing Newt Gingrich’s mother — video link).

Sorry to digress…anyway, what’s done is done (and I’d just as soon NOT form the circular firing squad), the people have spoken, kind of…and funny how that goes: Obama gets an actual majority in 2008 and 2012, but must govern carefully and considerately, Trump comes in a la Bush Junior with a bare electoral majority and, ahem, not even a plurality of actual votes … but already I’ve heard at least one reference to mandate, and I’m pretty sure that was on librul NPR (if I recall, it was Eddie Munster doppelganger Paul Ryan who said it).

So, a new media cycle is beginning, and just to play seer for a moment, here’s my .0000002 cents worth on where I believe it leads — first, mandate or not, Trump enters office horribly unqualified to do much of anything besides photo-ops. Maybe he defers to Pence (gag) and/or Congress…and he has nothing approaching a defined policy…

So in lieu of the dog ate Don’s homework, they’ll insist on how REALLY horrible the mess was/is, which (of course) means that blame lies with Obama and librulism…I don’t even want to think about military and/or foreign policy, but as things go sour economically, we’ll continue to hear it’s the fault of the left, and, similar to the Kansas experiment that’s an ongoing exercise in how long the voting public will tolerate shit sandwiches (long enough in Kansas to RE-elect Brownback…sigh), it’ll continue to be anyone else’s fault except theirs, while they dish out plenty of red meat-good-old-fashioned-tribalism- and-hate-to-the-base…

Goddamn…it’s going to be a long four years.

One More Week Of This…I Damn Sure Hope

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So, the longest of long slogs is down to the final days, and it appears, knock on wood, that the Clinton firewall is holding. And…I’ll admit it, my own arc of Trump has been one from goddamn, how hilarious, to goddamn, they really did it, to…goddamn…especially as the race has tightened…

Especially as allegedly mainstream wingers have gleefully boarded the same Trump bandwagon that has a reserved first-class seat for noted scumbag and Loosiana senatorial candidate David Duke.

Especially as the demonization of Hillary Clinton is now fully embraced by the same. It’s one thing to pander to a lunatic base, but setting the country up for either unprecedented obstructionism, or, god forbid, a manifestly unqualified grifter unable to practice basic impulse control (great — let’s give his stubby little fingers access to the nuclear button)…a line has been crossed. The GOP is…bugfuck insane.

And that’s not an offhand remark…

Here’s to the non-insane option next week, at least on the national level…

Rogue v. Rancid

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So as the campaign — at long last (and damn, that sucks…I used to enjoy the debate, if not the entertainment) — anyway, as the campaign winds down and Team Trump approaches its sell-by date (although, again, anything can happen)…the latest rounds of whatever-you-might-call-it…brought back, at least for me, the memory of Team Palin opting to go all out for Team Palin, and eff the Straight Talk Express.

But…that seems tame and even quaint compared to the daily-if-not-hourly cases of Team Trump melting down like a carved pumpkin in late-November (or in Gingrich’s case, like a couple hundred pounds of flailing jello). Amazingly though, Trump’s floor remains at 37-40 percent…in other words, still better than the popularity rating of Bush the younger at its nadir, and goddamn, what the hell ARE they thinking? Going all in for The Donald — the Katrina Fridge of candidates? A guy who makes Bush Junior look like Pericles? Lord.

So…four more days to wonder if not worry about an October surprise…Happy Halloween…and here’s hoping for treats of some kind instead of the shittiest of tricks…

Egopithicus Gropus

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Couldn’t agree more with Adrastos; about all I’d add is, as usual, Trump was graded less on a curve than a cliff…to the extent that some of the libruls even let wingers spin the idea that “the first half hour” was, what — Reaganesque? — simply because it wasn’t a total disaster? That Trump, by not visibly drooling, exposing himself, and/or rolling around in a puddle of his own filth, “exceeded expectations?”

So, sure, I’m fully on board with Team Prog…but simple observation, not leftist perspective, saw through the spin. Trump was, is, and will forever be terrible in this kind of forum. What works with the wingnuts stinks up the joint (like sulfur) when it comes to the broader public. His verbiage was incoherent word salad that might have  embarrassed Sarah Palin (emphasis on might), multiplied by PharmaBro Shkreli facial expressions, with more than a little condescending, knuckle-dragging mansplaining…and that’s before Donald really let loose his inner clod with as dumb a response as has ever been made to the easiest of softballs — “will you accept the results?” Hell, Trump managed to not trip over his own, um, Little Donald, on that one during the primaries. That he couldn’t tamp down his inner inchoate rage during the final big event of Campaign 2016 — the longest of dreary slogs — demonstrates an unfitness for office that, even if he loses, ought to sober all of us up from the heavy drinking that helped get me through the hour and a half last night…he’s still a major party nominee.

Three more weeks…

Creepy Clown Sightings Up This Month

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Link.

More seriously, as the end game arrives with — thank heavens — Team Trump falling apart like a cheap suit (minus some possibly ominous rumblings), it looks like Donald-The-Creepy-Clown will be on full display, lashing out at, well, everyone… except his core supporters, who right now are somewhere between anger and denial…and not likely to go any further through the stages of grief…if they’ve even heard of, much less understand the stages of grief.

Well…it’s still not over till it’s over, so I sure as hell hope (and assume) the Clinton campaign isn’t shopping for Oval Office furniture (and I can think of one person to NOT shop with),  but it’s nice that at long last the finish line is in sight, and we seem to have passed Peak Trump (well, except for the 35-40 percent…ugh)…the latest question seems to be will Donald have negative coattails if not toxic ones and take the Senate and/or House down with him…would be nice. Though…at this point I’ll take a Trump loss…ANY loss.

Sometimes It Really Does Sound Better In The Original German

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This is how it’s pronounced, and while I can’t be sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Pence was one of the first people who came to mind when learning its meaning. Yep. Your worst nightmare of a school vice-principal, a man who combines a demagogue’s cadence, the smug arrogance and authoritarianism of right-wing religious hypocrisy…and Bob Knight’s hair style…into a single face-in-need-of-a-fist. A man who makes Orrin Hatch almost seem reasonable…almost.

I dunno, obviously I’m not “objective” — I hope Trump and Pence lose the election…badly…but something about the media’s bestowing the crown of victor on this guy after Tuesday’s performance just didn’t pass the smell test. First, Pence lied.  Repeatedly. There was the cloddish “Mexican Thing.” The press even noticed that Pence regularly left the top of the ticket twisting in the wind…I think they called that “going rogue” in 2008.

Sure, Tim Kaine didn’t send punditry into swooning about starbursts and other embarrassing  nonsense (speaking of 2008) but neither did he “lose” as badly as was suggested in the immediate reactions. He did what he needed to do…and, apologies for repeating — again — but this election isn’t about persuading what has to be a microscopic pool of undecideds, whoever they might be. It’s about getting your voters to the polls (ok, and maybe about convincing a few Johnson and Stein voters in swing states that they DON’T want a repeat of 2000).

It’s about making sure the guy in the picture above isn’t sworn in as Vice-President, but instead, takes at least a figurative punch in the face next month. He’s in need of it.

Reality Television Versus Reality

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So, Monday night we all got a glimpse of the kind of train wreck a Trump administration would be — a yuge one — as The Donald sighed, sniffled, bullied, and lurched incoherently through his responses, equal parts Elmer Gantry and Elmer Fudd. “Laid an egg” doesn’t even begin to describe, and the equally scattershot/scatter-brained excuses — it was a bad microphone, Lester Holt was mean to me…the first half hour was good (that’ll be the one they really push, and at least some in the media are pathetically playing along) — anyway, the excuses just underscore that it was, ahem, a disaster.

More troubling though, is that despite the obvious — Trump is a fraud, a con artist, a grifter, and worse still, not a particularly good one, a fraud who’s managed to survive only because, to cite our side’s rhetoric, the game/system is rigged — despite this, some 40 plus percent of our fellow citizens (including a clear majority here in Loosiana) will vote for the guy come hell or high water. Their minds are made up…don’t confuse them with the fact that their nominee behaves like a particularly bratty eight year old.

Don’t confuse them, but by all means let’s outvote them…

What Drew Magary Said

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Shorter version (basically his title) — Trump Voters, Eff You.

Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit. YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

No. Shit.

And because earlier this week The New York Times ran this story, which is yet another “but-we-should-listen-to-what-these-salt-o’-the-earth-types-say-and-try-to-understand-why-they-think-that-way-and-empathize-with-them…” um…no. First, whether they’re hurting or not, they’ve gotten exactly what they want, or at least what they think they want. Offhand, the left has compromised or given in on, and this is by no means a comprehensive list…massive tax breaks for the rich, draconian drug laws, a prison industrial complex, savage cuts to both primary and secondary public education, subsidies to religious institutions, charter schools, anti-union legislation…wars, military buildups, “market based” environmental regulation, little or no public transit, general privatization (including prohibitions on public options for, oh, I don’t know, health insurance, utilities/internet, etc.), reasonable gun laws, voter suppression, abortion restrictions/TRAP laws…

We’ve more than met them half way…we’ve allowed them to define us not as political opponents but as enemies, to them and possibly to the state… and they complain about being called “deplorable?” Sometimes the proper response is a middle finger and/or a big old fuck you. Instead of trying to see things their way, we need to out-organize and outvote them. Let them complain…even as the policies we pursue make their lives — and our lives — better.

Keep Calm, And…

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Sure, the latest polls in some swing states show the race tightening, and there’s never — never — any excuse for complacency; however, I still think this is less an election about convincing allegedly undecided voters (I really doubt there are many of those) and much, much more about the parties and candidates getting their voters to the polls. Hence, the furious efforts by the GOP to disenfranchise Democratic voters…and their full court spin of any news that’s less than favorable to HRC.

Wingnut partisans are looking to instill a panic, in the hopes it will feed on itself. And, in addition to the whole “Washington is wired for Republicans,” you’ve got a media that’s looking out for themselves (or worse). Blowout elections don’t sell papers or generate website clicks. That they’re willing to play with dumpster fires is shocking, and in at least one case, genuinely deplorable, but that’s how they roll, I guess.

Yes, there’s the possibility of the nightmare scenario…and the very fact that there are enough of the basket of — or if you prefer, and I do, the sack of shit — is troubling, but … hell, we’ve always known they were there: they voted for Goldwater, for Wallace, then Nixon, they cheered and gloated when Ronaldus Magnus (blessed be Thy Name) went all in for States Rights in Mississippi, and later when Junior pretended to have a mandate … and they’d love to see the Trump train wreck (“bring it on!”) …but that should be motivation enough to get Democratic voters out in numbers sufficient to win. And that’s the goal. A win. A blowout would be nice, but I’ll take any victory the Democrats can get.

An Hour I’ll Never Get Back…

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Well, last night’s CIC Forum was … uninformative as only something like that can be. A quick post-event scan of the usual sources suggested no real winner, but one sure loser: Matt Lauer. He didn’t just screw the pooch but gave it a big wet sloppy kiss/tongue bath on live (if cable) television, and his kid-gloves approach towards The Donald was so extreme it was less grading curve and more sheer grading cliff.

But … to repeat, I think this campaign is less about convincing any undecideds than it is about making sure your own supporters…get. out. and. VOTE. People who claim to be undecided are probably just looking for a good excuse.

So…if your excuse, one way or another, is that The Donald is an actual Banana Republican (or, as Charles Pierce calls him, El Caudillo De-Mar-A-Lago) … it certainly came through last night. There was the high praise for fellow tinpot Vlad Putin, the outright lies about Iraq and Libya, ridiculous promises to replace … how many generals? Dozens, tens of dozens? “Take the oil.” WTF? I haven’t even mentioned his appalling response to a question about PTSD related suicides and sexual assaults by uniformed troops. In other words, The Donald promises he’ll make a dandy El Jefe.

And we sure did get quite an earful about HRC’s email.

60 more days of this…

Jazz Odyssey

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That’s actually a little unfair, since Jazz Odyssey involved new, if lousy, music. Trump’s two-step on either side of the border was more tired rehash, part Eddie Haskell, part Wayne Newton or Tony Orlando in Branson. So…wow, he manged to make it through an entire press conference in Mexico City without overtly insulting anyone. How presidential. He also demonstrated even more so that he’s an utter fraud from his comic hair weave to his (presumably) overpriced designer shoes. Wall? What wall? (Voodoo Wall?)

And then it was red meat for the rubes in Arizona…for which I’ll offer this single smidgen of credit: Donald Trump is offering us the clearest picture of who will fall for the lamest of cons, and will do so hook, line, sinker…rod and reel.

Watching the media treat this as anything other than the obvious fraud it is…unfuckingbelievable. I thought it was pretty awful/surreal in the run up to the Gulf War. Guess some things don’t change.