We Always Criticize the Protesters

During the Bush years, we filthy hippies FREQUENTLY heard that if we were not so filthy, and did not smoke so much pot, and would just get jobs already or shut up about Palestine or not make giant puppets, more mainstream people like [hippie-puncher] would join the anti-war movement and the war would end.

(Because refusing to end a war unless people conform to your aesthetics of protest is such an admirable sentiment. “I would have stopped all that killing but you used the wrong words so I did not.” The FUCK kind of sociopathic shit is that?)

During the protests that formed the beginnings of the visible Black Lives Matter movement, in Ferguson and Baltimore, it was the same thing: Why do they have to wear rude T-shirts and break windows? Why can’t they let themselves be tear-gassed peacefully? If they’d wear suits and ties, white America would totally be down with recognizing their fundamental humanity!

(Like you cannot disapprove of badly trained cops shooting unarmed black people without more forcefully disapproving of burning down a CVS. Like there’s a scale and somebody is recording your tone of voice.)

And after Chicago protests of police killings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and Laquan McDonald, some of the smug in Chicago’s press asked why there weren’t Michigan Avenue marches for TV cameras on every single day, because every single day black men, women and children were dying in the city.

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Link.

As if killings by agents of the state don’t merit protests against the state, but also: You do not get to ignore a thing, and then say that thing does not exist, and then blame other people for your ignorance of their actions: 

CHICAGO — How come nobody is protesting against neighborhood gun violence?

People have been asking variations of that question on social media lately, many of them reacting to recent high-profile protests following the release of the video that shows Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by a police officer.

But Chicagoans were protesting, marching and engaging in important discussions across the city long before the video emerged … and they still are.

[snip]

Martinez Sutton, who grew up at 62nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, said there are so many protests and neighborhood meetings that it’s hard to keep up.

“It’s always happening. They fight [gun violence], not only in the streets, but they’re trying to get legislation passed. A lot of people think just because you don’t see them in the street, they’re not doing anything. But that’s just not the truth at all,” he said.

Sutton’s younger sister, Rekia Boyd, was fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer in 2012. Following citywide headlines about the Laquan case, the Independent Police Review Authority has recommended that the officer be fired.

Why aren’t you protesting X instead? is just always a way to argue against you protesting anything. It’s just a way to say, “Why am I hearing your voice? Why are you speaking to me like you’re a person? Why are you bothering me? Go away.”

And if it’s pointed out that all along people have been protesting the “right” way, the “right” things, that they did wear suits and ties and got the firehoses turned on them anyway, that they stood calm and quiet and got beaten for it anyway, people who are determined not to see you will keep their eyes closed.

So once and for all time, there’s no perfect way to protest. That’s a useful thing to remember this week, as the RNC gets underway in Cleveland. There is no way to completely insulate yourself from criticism that you are Doing It Wrong. You will always be Doing It Wrong to people who have no interest in seeing you Do It Right.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Fawlty Towers- The Germans

I showed an except in my Boris Johnson post the other day. Here’s the entire episode:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Wish You Were Here

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Street In The Twilight by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

First, a prologue. There’s been another horrendous terrorist attack in a beautiful place in a country that’s our oldest friend: Nice, France. The French Counsel General, Grégor Trumel, made the following remarks at a Bastille Day event at the New Orleans Museum of Art:

“I think more than ever we should stick to our values together — French people, American people,” he said, citing the national motto of France to hearty applause. “The words ‘liberté, égalité and fraternité’ are stronger than ever.”

Trumel led the crowd in a moment of silence and later, a rendition of the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise.” But before that, Trumel thanked supporters for attending the reception and reminded gatherers that France is not just a country, but an ideal.

“Perhaps for 5 seconds, 3 seconds, we thought that we could cancel the reception, but no — never,” he said. “Never. Never. It would be a victory for our enemies, and we should not compromise with violence, terror and horror.”

In the spirit advocated by Monsieur Trumel, let’s resume our regularly scheduled programming:

It’s been a less stressful week here in New Orleans. The weather remains blisteringly hot but we’ve had the odd bit of rain to cool things down and the tropics are quiet for the moment. Plus, the news from Red Stick may not be good but it’s not as bad as last week at this time. It will simply have to do.

I watched Hillary-Berniepalooza this week. It went fairly well. Bernie was scowling at the beginning but, eventually, warmed to his task. It had the hardcore Dudebros squealing like stuck pigs, which warmed the cockles of my heart whatever the hell those are. Watching it, I realized that if I were casting an actor to play Bernie it wouldn’t be Larry David (who can only play himself) but Walter Matthau circa Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys:

Walter Meme

You’ll have to see the movie or play to get the running “enter” gag. Y’all should see it anyway. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Neil Simon? The man knew his way around a joke. His work has become somewhat overlooked. It’s a crime, I tell ya.

Let’s move on to this week’s theme song. I’ve picked two repeat artists, Nick Lowe and Pink Floyd, with different songs with the same title. Nick’s song features the great Paul Carrack on second lead vocal and is pretty darn chipper. The more famous Pink Floyd tune is wistful but awesome nonetheless.

Now that I’ve alternatively pepped you up and gloomed you out, it’s time for the abominable showman to take a bow and go to the break.

Continue reading

TP Hit The Ground Stumbling

Just when I thought the Trump campaign couldn’t get more unprofessional and inept, these tweets hit my timeline:

Then there’s this awesome screen grab from MSNBC:

The Insult Comedian is an emotionally unstable and erratic man. While it’s true that Mike Pence is a terrible choice, you cannot ask someone to run with you, then snatch the prize away. Pence may be a loser-the Hoosier state GOP wanted him out as Governor-but unless we’ve missed something, he’s not the second coming of Tom Eagleton either. And Trump is certainly no Geroge McGovern. George was a bad general election candidate but he was a fine man and a war hero. Trump is a craven chicken hawk who talks big but runs for cover when the shit hits the fan. That’s why Newt was his perfect number two.

Then there’s the Trump-Pence logo, which emphasizes the TP.

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It looks to me like a turd heading toward the crapper much like the Trump-Pence ticket itself. Some have detected phallic imagery, one thing’s for certain they’re going down thanks to their undisciplined and downright crazy candidate. Forget the polls: people want their President to be cool under pressure or at least pretend to be. The Insult Comedian can do neither and don’t get me started about Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire and his meltdown last year over Indiana’s anti-gay law.

This mishigas has given me an earworm. Its title is the antonym of what’s happened to the Trump campaign today:

PS: I wrote this post on the fly. It was strangely exhilarating. I hope it make sense as opposed to Pence who makes none whatsoever.

Friday Catblogging: Watching Me, Watching You

Della Street and Oscar love sitting on the trunk that serves as our coffee table. They’re always watching. Hopefully, my friend Lex is wrong and they’re not part of an alien scouting party:

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The post title is an excuse to post this paranoid Tull tune. I’m sneaky that way:

 

Basil Fawlty Diplomacy with Boris Johnson

I had no idea that the rather stern and dour new British Prime Minister had a sense of humor. Theresa May shows her antic side with the appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, which is his first frontbench post in a Tory cabinet. I toyed with calling him the Insult Comedian, UK, but that nickname belongs to another bad haired public figure. Besides, Boris is actually funny in an Oxbridge undergraduate way whereas Trump is merely insulting.

I realized this morning that the perfect analogy for his undiplomatic diplomatic style is the cranky, xenophobic, fictional British innkeeper, Basil Fawlty. I’m of the opinion that Fawlty Towers is one of the funniest teevee shows of all-time and Basil is one of John Cleese’s finest comic creations. Basil is the quintessential Little England boor/bigot much like Boris. Who among us could forget this bit?

Now that I think of it, Boris’ antics are a cross between that sketch and The Upper Class Twit of the Year. He’s a most undiplomatic diplomat who’s perhaps more suited to head up the Ministry of Silly Walks.

The reactions to Ms. May’s appointment of Boris to a senior and sensitive post have been as hilarious as appointment itself. Since it’s Bastille Day, I’ll give the French Foreign Minister the first crack at Britain’s new Basil Fawlty Diplomacy:

France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, who met Johnson when the two men were both mayors, was asked on French radio if he was surprised by Johnson’s appointment. “I don’t know if it surprised me,” he said. “It’s a sign of the British political crisis that has come out of the referendum vote.”

He said France needed a partner it could negotiate with who was “clear, credible and who could be trusted”. The Europe 1 radio interviewer told Ayrault: “I’ve got the impression you’re scared of being faced with the fanciful Boris Johnson?”

Ayrault replied: “No, I’ve got no worries at all about Boris Johnson. But you know very well what his style and method are. During the campaign, you know he told a lot of lies to the British people and now it is him who has his back against the wall. He is up against it to defend his country and also so that the relationship with Europe is clear.”

I eagerly await Boris’ comments about President Hollande’s coiffeurgate scandal. If you haven’t heard about his bad hair day, here’s the lede of the Guardian’s story about it:

Wispy, thinning and suspiciously free of grey, François Hollande’s boring hairstyle has never been held to much scrutiny, unlike his wonky ties, which have their own website.

But now the balding pate of the French president is at the centre of an embarrassing scandal dubbed coiffeurgate after the weekly paper Le Canard Enchaîné revealed that his personal hairdresser is on contract for almost €10,000 a month, paid from the public purse.

You cannot make this shit up. I want to die and come back as the French President’s barber. And 10,000 euros to manage a combover? This was a problem that robustly bald former Presidents Giscard and Mitterand never had.

Back to Boris’ Basil Fawlty shtick. Both the Guardian and Slate have compiled some of BoJo’s best/worst xenophobic slurs. Slate has more details so Imma quote them. The first one sounds like a description of Labour’s leadership scrum:

In a 2006 column, also for the Telegraph, Johnson wrote “For 10 years we in the Tory Party have become used to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing.” After backtracking furiously, he said he would “add Papua New Guinea to my global itinerary of apology.”

The next one involves our current President and shows more of BoJo’s racist side:

In an op-ed published in April, he claimed President Obama removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office upon assuming the presidency in 2009 because “it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire—of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender,” comments several leading British members of Parliament (rightly) condemned as racist.

This quote involves the next President and makes Hillary sound like Nurse Ratched:

During Hillary Clinton’s first run for the White House, in 2007, Johnson referred to her as “a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” criticizing her for embodying “purse-lipped political correctness,” and reviving a long-discredited conspiracy theory that claims she and then-President Bill Clinton conspired to murder Vince Foster, a close friend and White House aide who committed suicide in 1993.

Boris has also slammed Donald Trump and pretty much everyone else he’s ever dealt with. Just think, absent his Brexit wingman, Michael Gove’s betrayal, he might be in a leadership contest with the new Prime Minister. Don’t mention the Kenyan mau-maus.

My favorite Boris slur is this “prize-winning” limerick about Turkish President Erdogan:

There was a young fellow from Ankara

Who was a terrific wankerer

Till he sowed his wild oats

With the help of a goat

But he didn’t even stop to thankera.

That’s funny but diplomats don’t usually call the head-of-state of a friendly country a goatfucker; not even the posh pigfucker did such a thing. (Boris belonged to the same boozy club at university as his frenemy Cameron.) The limerick is Basil Fawlty diplomacy at its finest. Don’t mention the goats.

The Independent has thoughtfully come up with a map to illustrate the countries that Boris has insulted in the past:

That graphic isn’t as, uh, graphic as the goatfucker pun but I’m glad to see that Boris hasn’t offended many people in Latin America. Perhaps a tutorial from the Insult Comedian is in order. Don’t mention the wall.

In case you’re wondering why Boris isn’t malaka of the week, it’s because he wore the crown of malakatude back in 2010. And I try my utmost to avoid repeat offenders. Besides, this post title rocks if I do say so myself and I do.

You’re probably wondering what possessed Prime Minister May to appoint this straw-haired buffoon to a senior post in the new government. For one thing, he’s a straw-haired buffoon with a constituency. For another, it’s a way for the UK RINO (Remain in name only) Prime Minister to make Boris eat his veg and clean up the colossal mess he’s made since his chum Cameron opted not to do likewise. Don’t mention the pig. It also sets BoJo up as a patsy to take the fall if Brexit negotiations go as badly as expected. Finally, Guardian pundit Jonathan Freedland nails the real reason for this appointment and the quick governmental transition:

There is a reason why the Conservative party is the most electorally successful political organisation in the western world. They have an iron will to power their rivals lack – and they have just shown it once again.

True but who knew that the neo-Iron Lady Theresa May had a sense of humor? Everyone knows now.

That concludes the inaugural edition of Basil Fawlty Diplomacy with Boris Johnson. I cannot wait for his first tour of European capitols. I only hope that Boris doesn’t mention the war in his first meeting with Chancellor Merkel.

Repeat after me: don’t mention Kenyan mau-maus, the goats, Nurse Ratched, or the war.

My Hero

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To add my .00002 cents worth to what Adrastos posted below…count me in with him and others who think Justice tNRBG is … wise and just. Sorry, but we’re long past the fainting couch and pearl clutching over what are entirely reasonable observations regarding the most manifestly unqualified individual to obtain a major political party nomination for president in my lifetime. Hell, Trump makes Agnew seem almost reasonable, Quayle almost seem presidential…and Bush Junior almost seem articulate and prudent (well, –video link).

Hell, just this past week not five blocks away from my small house in an otherwise sleepy backwater town we had the police engage in at a fairly realistic simulation if not actual exercise in military tactics (here’s the alleged reason — one thrown “brick”). Demonstrators and participants at the Republican convention in Cleveland are discussing the pros and cons of carrying firearms…WTF?

For way too long we’ve been living with the consequences of the Republican Party in fear of a voter base that decided their ideal leader was Donald J. Trump. And they’re still too scared to recognize that, after generations of toxic rhetoric and a political press that’s abandoned journalistic ethics in favor of alleged”objectivity” nonsense  (“opinions differ on the shape of they earth”) … the lunatics who’ve been fed a diet of horseshit and sewer water (with sides of guns and hatred) are now insisting that this same diet be … the national vision.

Justice Ginsburg is simply pointing out the obvious. Trump’s a nut.

Oh, and the “real” ‘Merikuns who think he’s the icing on the cake? Well, they’re no more “real” than the rest of us who agree with Justice tNRBG. And guess what? We outnumber them, and come November, we’ll outvote them.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Fare Prey

A punny title that I could not resist. The tagline is pretty darn good too.

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Notorious RBG vs. The Insult Comedian

The latest. and oddest, campaign controversy is between two elderly New Yorkers:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s well-known candor was on display in her chambers late Monday, when she declined to retreat from her earlier criticism of Donald Trump and even elaborated on it.

“He is a faker,” she said of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, going point by point, as if presenting a legal brief. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she said. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

It reminded her of something her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, a prominent tax lawyer who died in 2010, would have said.

“‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’” Justice Ginsburg said, smiling ruefully.

There’s been much tut-tutting among pundits and law professors about Ginsburg’s comments in response to a questions from the media. They may be unusual but SCOTUS is an inherently political body. And it’s not like the Supremes have never gotten directly involved in Presidential elections. Anyone recall Bush v. Gore? You know, the case that elected George W Bush and changed the course of history. Then there was the time Justice Charles Evans Hughes resigned his seat to become the GOP nominee in 1916. I think Woodrow Wilson would have called that political. In fact, he did in the course of defeating Hughes.

The Insult Comedian with cotton candy piss hair’s response to RBG is typically unhinged:

Did the mean old octogenarian hurt the poor widdle rich kids’ feelings? Good. He was so butt-hurt that he forgot to say “so sad” and was sparing with the “verys” and exclamation points. Perhaps he’s the one who’s losing his mind. Nah, it was lost to his ego sometime in the 1980’s. At least the tweet wasn’t anti-Semitic, that’s real progress for the Donald.

This whole flap is most amusing. I wonder if anyone in the House will follow the example of sainted moderate Jerry Ford and try to impeach the Notorious RBG as he did with Bill Douglas. Of course, they’d have to admit to supporting Trump, which many of them are loath to do.

Despite all the huffing and puffing-most disappointingly by Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern who’s usually wiser than this-there’s no ethical violation here. The judicial code cited by RBG’s critics does not apply to the Supremes; whether or not that’s a good thing is for another day. Justice Ginsburg was asked a question and answered it in the blunt, direct manner for which she’s renown. If Chief Justice Roberts calls her on the carpet, I’d love to be a fly on the wall of his chambers:

Roberts: Why the hell did you say that, Ruthie, baby? (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t call her that but that’s how we’d say it in New Orleans.)

RBG: He’s a loudmouthed menace who makes Nino look sensible. Do you want him appointing half the Court? Surely, you’re not voting for this racist clown.

The key to understanding RBG’s comments is this: the next President could appoint up to five Justices if they serve two terms. That would be the most of any President since Eisenhower who picked well under the tutelage of Tom Dewey’s man, Herbert Brownell. There are no steady, well-informed hands on Team Trump. Just imagine the venerable ratfucker Roger Stone helping to pick Supremes. The mind reels.

Let’s raise a glass to the Notorious RBG who’s willing to take the heat to help prevent Trump from becoming the first Insult Comedian to be elected President. Never gonna happen, my friend.

 Since RBG mentioned New Zealand, I’ll give Neil Finn and Crowded House the last word. Btw, this song is *not* about Trump. He only thinks he’s God:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Last Days and Time

Last Days and Time was released in 1972. It was Earth, Wind & Fire’s musically ambitious third studio album. It helped mark them as rising stars. The spectacular cover art was taken from a painting by Mati Klarwein who’s also known for the cover of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.

Here’s the trippy album cover:

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The back cover is fiery-n-smoky as well as funky:

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Here’s the LP in the YouTube playlist format. I’d forgotten how good it is. Time to get your funk on, y’all. Warning: there will be commercials but it’s worth it.

Veepstakes, Lowstakes, 2016

I am on the record as believing that the second slot on any national ticket is worth what FDR’s First Veep, Cactus Jack Garner, said about the office itself: “It’s not worth a bucket of warm piss.” Vice Presidential speculation is strictly a parlor game for the media and political junkies. Geographical balance is irrelevant, as is ideological balance or imbalance for that matter. The only reason the pick is of any significance is as an example of the nominee’s judgment. J Danforth Quayle was a terrible pick but Poppy Busy won 426 electoral votes in 1988. And Sarah Palin didn’t lose the 2008 election, Senator Walnuts did a bang up job of that himself.

The speculation continues because it’s fun. In the case of the Republicans, it’s a matter of who will take the job since you have to be Trump’s second fiddle and he’s strictly a one-man band.  It’s hard to imagine anything more demeaning than that but there seem to be 3 guys who are willing to go down in flames: Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, and Mike Pence. Apparently, the latter is so unpopular at home that Hoosier GOPers are trying to foist him on the Insult Comedian and an unsuspecting nation. Neither Newt nor Governor Asshole has anything better to do and both are natural attack dogs who haven’t had rabies shots since they were feral puppies.

I think the Hippocratic Oath applies to the Veepstakes: First, do no harm. But even when you pluck an Agnew, Quayle, or William Miller out of obscurity, if the timing is right and the top of the ticket is strong enough, you can win. Miller was Goldwater’s choice. He was picked because according to the nominee, “He bugs Lyndon Johnson.” Worst reason ever: Everything and everyone bugged LBJ. Goldwater-Miller lost badly to the infinitely more distinguished Johnson-Humphrey ticket.

In the spirit of helpfulness for which I am famous, I have some campaign poster suggestions for two possible GOP tickets. Mike Pence is such a dull pick that I’m not fooling with him. Let’s start with Donald-Newt, which I think will be the ticket:

tRUMP-nEWT

I also think there’s a chance that the Insult Comedian will double down on Northeastern malakatude and pick the wildly unpopular Governor of New Jersey. Why? He can yell as loudly as the Donald:

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Speaking of bridges, I’ll give Albert King the last word:

In dissent, Justice Neko Case. Guess I lied about that whole last word thing:

‘he had a football season to worry about’

Of course he did: 

A man claims he told Joe Paterno and his assistant coaches the day after Jerry Sandusky allegedly molested him in a shower at a 1976 football camp, but Paterno brushed him off, saying he had a football season to worry about, according to newly unsealed court records.

“I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted,” the man, who was 14 at the time. told lawyers for Pennsylvania State University’s insurer in a deposition two years ago. “I was embarrassed.”

The man later became one of dozens of Sandusky accusers paid millions by Pennsylvania State University. His testimony was released as part of a trove of records unsealed in an ongoing legal fight with its insurer over who should cover the costs of the millions of dollars Penn State has paid to end claims tied to Sandusky.

Let’s put this guy’s statue back up. Fucking hell.

Not that the rest of Penn State’s leadership is exactly covering itself in glory:

In May, Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement that the university never found evidence to substantiate claims suggesting Paterno and his staff had long ago been aware of or ignored Sandusky’s abuse, or that any of them had been raised during the accusers’ settlement negotiations with the university.

“None of these allegations about the supposed knowledge of university employees has been substantiated in a court of law or in any other process to test their veracity,” he said.

STOP IT. Just stop. Just stop defending yourself. There were 30 accusers. Everybody knew, and nobody wanted to do anything to disrupt the status quo, and it was disgusting, and you hid it on purpose, and just fucking stop. Stop trying to equivocate. It’s gross. It’s also counterproductive but mostly it’s gross.

I’m going to give you some free PR advice, Penn State. It’s a paragraph you could probably pay six lawyers $300,000 to draft for you, but I’m giving it to you gratis because somewhere in the janitorial department or something you have some decent people working for you and they deserve better than your mealy-mouthed corporate crap. Here we go.

Whenever a new allegation, a new document, new information about how much CHILD RAPE you covered up and enabled comes out, you say this and only this:

“We made terrible mistakes, at every level of university leadership. We are sorry to the depths of our souls. We will never, ever allow this to happen again.”

And in answer to every question about what you knew and when you knew it, about why you didn’t say anything, about why when you said something it was lies and bullshit, blah blah blah blah insurance culpability negligence criminal liability veracity testing blah blah blah SHUT THE FUCK UP. None of that matters. You pay what you have to pay, every last dime, even if it closes your doors. You do the time you have coming to you because oh boy, do you have it coming. And you say nothing but I am sorry, full stop. That’s all anybody wants to hear from those who, when faced with the chance to aid the powerless, protected the powerful.

They don’t want to hear about your reputation and about courts of law and rules of evidence and the weight of substantiations and your precious almighty reputation and they don’t want to hear that there are a lot of good people working there who didn’t rape children or protect child rapists because child rape is one of those things, guys, that kind of outweighs that you had a really bitchin’ backfield one itme.

Probably nobody wants to hear “I’m sorry” either. Let’s be honest. But at least if you’re apologizing, you’re not making it worse.

Schmucks.

A.

Tweet Of The Day: Kip Holden Edition

The only humorous thing that’s come out of the Alton Sterling protests in Baton Rouge are the memes involving the Invisible Mayor, Kip Holden. He used to be everywhere but hasn’t been seen in a few days. So much for leadership.

This meme, tweeted by NOLA Twitter legend Champsuperstar, is one of the best I’ve seen thus far. It was texted to Champ, I’ll give credit where it’s due if the creator comes forward:

Apparently, Kip only knows when to fold ’em as opposed to Holden. Apologies to anyone who has that accursed Kenny Rogers tune in their head right now…

Hey, maybe he’s holed up at Norma Desmond’s crib with William Holden:

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Have you seen Kip, Norma?

Since I gave you a Kenny Rogers earworm, let’s close with a better song:

Jill Stein: Crunchy Granola Machiavelli

You may have noticed that I’m not a fan of third parties. The goal of politics is to win elections and then do your damnedest to get shit done once you’re in office. One reason I’m so critical of the Jeremy Corbyn wing of the UK Labour Party is that they see Labour as a protest movement and not as a party of government. You cannot help people if you do not win elections.

I’ve known many people who are members of the Green Party. They tend to be nice, sincere, and overly earnest, which is why I think of the Greens as the Crunchy Granola Party. I may have to reconsider that label in the wake of Green Party Leader Jill Stein’s devious Bernie gambit:

But in a potentially destabilising move for the Democratic party, and an exciting one for Sanders’ supporters, the Green party candidate said she was willing to stand aside for Sanders.

Stein said she had made her offer directly to Sanders in an email at the end of the primary season, although she had not received a response. Her surprise intervention comes amid speculation that Sanders will finally draw a line under a bruising Democratic contest by endorsing Clinton’s presidential bid next week.

“If he continues to declare his full faith in the Democratic party, it will leave many of his supporters very disappointed,” she said. “That political movement is going to go on – it isn’t going to bury itself in the graveyard alongside Hillary Clinton.”

Stein said the Democratic establishment had conducted “psychological warfare” against Sanders and “sabotaged” his attempts to gain the party’s presidential nomination. Many of his young, progressive supporters are now moving over to the Green party rather than fall in behind Clinton, Stein added.

This is a non-starter, but it’s a brilliantly cynical ploy aimed at hardcore Dudebro Nation dead-enders. Most of the  reactions to Stein’s gambit have been of two varieties. First, excitement on the part of dimmer, factually-challenged Sanders supporters that such a thing could be possible. Second,  others have called the idea stupid since Sanders has long said he’d support the Democratic nominee and is finally doing so tomorrow.

Stein’s move is neither: it’s a way to divide the Berners by making him look like a sell-out for doing what he always said he planned to do.  It’s the ultimate empty gesture as she’s making an offer that can and will be refused because the smart play is for the Berners to *try* to take over the Democratic Party ala the Corbynistas and Labour. Of course, some Sanders supporters are too naive to understand that’s the path they should stay on, and that means supporting HRC. In short, Stein looks magnanimous and self-sacrificing without giving up a damn thing. Brilliant and devious.

The reaction to the Stein gambit has amused me. The punditocracy has completely missed the boat on this one. It’s a calculated appeal to Dudebro dead-enders; some of whom will vote for the Greens simply because that’s the pure thing to do. Much of the reaction shows what I recently called a fatal lack of cunning and guile; qualities that Dr. Stein appears to have in abundance. That’s why I dubbed her a Crunchy Granola Machiavelli. Coming from me that’s a compliment.

I’ll give Kermit the Frog and Ray Charles the last word:

 

The Fog Of Historical Pictures: Demonstration Edition

The ineptitude of the Baton Rouge police has been on display all weekend. They’ve manhandled and tear-gassed demonstrators, arrested reporters under false pretenses, and generally made a mess of things. I happen to share a newspaper, The Advocate, with Red Stick and their coverage has been excellent. Click here to check it out

This situation calls for a bit of comic relief, which is provided by a sign from an anti-Vietnam War demonstration:

That’s *almost* as funny/ironic as the notion that Baton Rouge is working on its police brutality problem. It doesn’t help when the Mayor is invisible. Kip Holden was planning to challenge Cedric Richmond for his Congressional seat. I wasn’t planning to vote for him since I want my representative to be from New Orleans. I don’t think I’ll have the chance since Holden has been hiding in his Kip and earning a well-deserved new nickname, The Invisible Mayor. I guess the pitcher will continue to be my Congresscritter:

UNITED STATES - JULY 14: Democrats' starting pitcher Cedric Richmond, D-La., during the 50th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game held at Nationals Stadium, July 14, 2011.(Photo By Scott J. Ferrell/Roll Call)

Unlike Kip Holden, Cedric Richmond isn’t afraid to get his uniform dirty.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “guess the site” edition

I’m not going to touch on the murders committed in my city, since I need some detachment that is just not showing up yet.  Maybe later this week, if Ms. A approves.

It’s just too soon to do anything but grieve.

Since the funny has eluded me so far, let’s do something different.

It’s time to play:

“Free Republic? Or Bernie Sanders Reddit?”

  1. Shut the government DOWN!
  2. Did Comey “punt” to Lynch to avoid political retribution?
  3. Comey is a LIAR!!!!!!
  4. More important than the indictment is this – Hillary was just caught lying, to the public and voters, over 6 times
  5. yes Hillary had “intent” to break the law every step of the way
  6. What I still don’t get is whether or not she meant to leak classified info she still DID! She keeps calling it a mistake.
  7. The entire circumstances point to someone who broke the law and hid the evidence.
  8. Do you guys still think that nobody needs an AR-15, or wonder why these people are trying so hard to take them away from us?
  9. It’s not the email account, it’s the SERVERS, YOU JACKASS!!!
  10. So is anyone else just screaming BULLSHIT at the top of their lungs?!
  11. So disgusted right now. He basically said, “We have to give her a pass we’d never give to people not named Clinton.”
  12. I agree – the lying criminal would be very distressed by losing the election. Unfortunately the fix is in and they are not going to let her lose.
  13. Just because there is no indictment, does not mean there should be no punishment. Comey very specifically pointed out, several times, that this did NOT mean Clinton was innocent. She was just not guilty of a crime.
  14. The Uni-Party strikes again!
  15. Hillary supporters don’t CARE that she’s a ruthless liar. She could rape and eat babies on the street corner and her sociopathic supporters would still wave the banner cause they have NO moral compass.

Answers below the fold..

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You Cannot Get Upset Until a Rich White Man Thinks Things Are Bad Enough

You wanna know why both politics and newspapers are irretrievably fucked right now? Because we give our most valuable public real estate to people like THIS ASSHOLE MITCH ALBOM: 

The media — TV and Internet — would make you believe that every racial encounter in America was a tinderbox. That tension burned through every black-white interaction. That mayhem was around every corner.

But that’s not true. Real life doesn’t support it. The facts don’t support it. There were 990 people shot and killed by on-duty police officers last year in America, according to the Washington Post, and 41 police officers killed by gunfire — in a nation of over 300 million people. Both of those numbers are, of course, way too high. But I’ll bet many are surprised they are that low.

That’s because we are made to feel, by the relentless drone of news outlets, Internet videos and hateful streams of comments, that innocent victims are being shot left and right and police are being mowed down regularly.

This in no way should belittle the very serious problem of relations between Americans and the police who protect them. But you can’t just keep hammering one side of a story.

There’s so much straw stuffed into this argument it’s going to be legally classified as a fire hazard.

We shouldn’t “hammer” on one side of the story, which is that black people are afraid in their daily lives and lots and lots of white people in power like that JUST FINE. It makes Mitch up there have a sad. We can’t have white people being upset from reading Twitter, you guys! That’s the worst thing in the world!

We should wait until the dead number something SIGNIFICANT. And who will decide when a significant number is reached? Who will then tell us it’s okay to be outraged or upset or even — gasp! — read or write about it on the Internet?

Why, Benevolent Daddy Columnist, of course! You didn’t think you were going to make decisions on your own about how many dead people is too many, did you?

Nobody came with a news camera to the little shop on Woodward on Friday night. Nobody chronicled the laughter, the way white and black customers, side by side, gently rocked their shoulders to the beat of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis music, as they ate desserts served by a multiracial, multigenerational staff.

And if a cop walked in half those customers would tense up, and the other half wouldn’t, but I guess that doesn’t matter because people eat ice cream together every day. If black people can eat ice cream, how bad can their lives really be? I mean, it’s not like they can’t drink from our water fountains now. Go fuck yourself, you smug prick.

You don’t get to tell people worried about their friends and neighbors that their concerns are trivial, and you don’t get to tell people who are horrified by what they’re seeing that they get to close their eyes. You know why the news is upsetting? BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING UPSETTING. And if you don’t want to live in a world where you see upsetting things then it is incumbent upon you to create a world in which those things do not happen.

But Mitch knows his audience, and his audience is old white suburban jerkoffs whose only suffering this week came in having to watch the news in the perfect safety of their homes. Those people will always pay his bills, so he’s paying theirs by reassuring them it’s okay to not give a fuck. Which they were gonna do anyway.

Via Nancy.

A.

Your Country Didn’t Go Anywhere. It’s Here. It’s Right Here.

I am getting tired of describing the divide as city [government] mouse vs. country [individualist] mouse here: 

Think of America as a set of stories. Not as a set of policies. Not as a set of ideals, even. But as a set of stories we tell about ourselves and who we want to be.

This, I think, is where my fellow progressives fall down. We can argue until we are blue in the face about what the data proves, or what the facts say, and we will usually be right. But what we offer isn’t a mythology of the self. What we offer is a collection of figures meant to add up to an identity, and that never works.

The place I come from has a story of itself that is centuries old. It has a series of traditions and beliefs that barely waver. Many of those beliefs can hurt and destroy. But some of them are still beautiful ideals. My little town still comes together to bear up its own who have fallen ill, will raise funds to make sure they can be well, or at least comfortable as they wait for the inevitable.

If you say we should have a social safety net to do that, I would agree with you, but the social safety net doesn’t have a name. You didn’t graduate from high school with it. You can’t name all of its kids. We are still social animals, and kindness still goes best with smiles and casseroles, not paperwork.

I find this profoundly reductive.

We can be kind to each other individually, or in small towns, but if you do it on a large scale it becomes anonymously bureaucratic and paperworky and cold? That’s all a social safety net IS, that casserole-and-kindness impulse writ large enough to encompass everyone, instead of just the people you know at church.

Instead of talking about how liberals don’t pay enough lip service to part of America, perhaps we should say that nobody in America is paying enough attention to America at all. Because this — “My little town still comes together to bear up its own who have fallen ill, will raise funds to make sure they can be well, or at least comfortable as they wait for the inevitable.” — is America.

This is government, by any other name.

That’s it. That’s all it is. Your town comes together to bear up its own who have fallen ill. Your community has decided to take care of its own. All government says is that the circle is wider. Your “own” is everybody you see and lots of people you don’t.

Look, we all break off the world in little pieces because loving it all is so expansive that we have to call it God, and that’s not some kind of flaw. I care about my neighbors more than I do about yours. That’s a human impulse.

The entire reason we have government is contained in that impulse. If I care about my circle and you care about yours, we end up with a bunch of vicious little gated communities suspicious of one another, unable to step outside our boundaries when the times demand.

Oh boy do the times ever demand we examine our boundaries. Wars, guns, poverty even in widespread abundance, violence on the part of the state towards its citizens and no way to check it, the ability of one man with a weapon to inflict harm on dozens at peaceful protests — this is a time when we are all retreating to our circles. We are all thinking we should just take care of our own small towns.

But we don’t WANT to limit ourselves. We WANT to take casseroles to everybody. If we know about an injustice we want to correct it. Ninety percent of our anger and our frustration right now is based on thinking ourselves powerless. We hear our own cynicism — gun control will never pass, the state will never be held to account, terrorists will never stop killing — and it exhausts us even as we utter it.

Our “leaders” for the past 30 years have specialized in telling us our problems are too big to solve, and giving us wonderful excuses not to give a shit. We can’t give anyone food stamps because some asshole found a way to use them for vodka on time. We can’t build decent schools and pay teachers fairly because my cousin’s girlfriend’s uncle knew a teacher that couldn’t be fired and anyway it’s the parenting. We can’t support cures for diseases or health care for anyone because it’s all too expensive and have you seen your tax bill lately?

And we can’t care about unarmed black people being shot dead by police over loose cigarettes or jaywalking or headlights, because there are too many of them, or one of them was rude, or we don’t really know the facts, or all lives matter, or by God if we let ourselves be hurt by this we will never stop hurting so close your eyes up tight.

We stay in our houses and we stay scared and we stay alone and we tell ourselves this is how it has to be, and we talk talk talk talk talk about how divided we are. We describe the canyon that separates us and we wish there was a bridge.

There is.

It’s called government. It’s called the goddamn system we built before some of us figured “system” could be used as a pejorative, it’s called the way we come together to make decisions about all of us, city mice and country mice alike. The thing we blame for creating the divide is the only thing that we have to heal it and instead of mocking it as inferior to a church social hour maybe we start using it.

Maybe we see how many people we can take casseroles to, if we pool our money. That’s taxes.

Maybe we decide to lift up the widow and the orphan, our own, and who and how and when. That’s elections.

Maybe we build roads and run wires and send our music out into the cosmos, and maybe we pull people from the floodwaters and try to put the fires out. That’s our national budget and our national debt and I don’t just mean the financial kinds.

Maybe we reach out over and over and over, and maybe our hand gets slapped back sometimes, and maybe some people figure out that they can make money by pitting the helpers against one another, and maybe instead of letting them get away with it we tell them to fuck themselves and keep doing the work anyway.

Maybe we let ourselves get taken advantage of. Many a small town benefit has raised funds for the less than perfect. Maybe we get braver, and stop acting like we need a perfect beautiful story in order to risk loving one another. Maybe we remember this is what we’ve been all along, writ large in the New Deal and unemployment and Social Security.

My little town still comes together to bear up its own who have fallen ill, will raise funds to make sure they can be well, or at least comfortable as they wait for the inevitable.

The social safety net doesn’t have a name? You didn’t go to school with it? You don’t know its kids?

For God’s sake, that’s America. That’s its name. That’s what we’ve called it all along.

A.

Today in Things That Are Not Helping

Oh FFS, the only good this law is going to do is for some attorneys’ kids, who will be getting NICE Christmas presents this year: 

A bill that passed the N.C. General Assembly on Wednesday will create statewide rules for police body camera and dash camera footage, if Gov. Pat McCrory signs it into law.

The bill’s main sponsors – two Republican members of the N.C. House who are retired law enforcement officers – have said it strikes a balance between the interests of police and the public.

But open-government advocates including the state American Civil Liberties Union chapter say the opposite – that this bill would give police inordinate power to keep footage shielded from the public.

How in the … what in the … NOT HELPING. Look, if I buy you a thing, and you do stuff with it that you claim is in my interests, I should get to see if that’s indeed what you’ve been doing with it, or if you’ve been breaking it on purpose or taking stupid selfies or SHOOTING UNARMED BLACK PEOPLE and then making up a story about it.

I can’t imagine this is NOT going to be the subject of a court challenge, or several challenges, and seriously, what a productive use of our time.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: The Life & Times Of Steve Marriott

Steve Marriott of Small Faces and Humble Pie was one of the best singers in rock history. He could do it all from crooning to screaming. This is his story:

Time for some blurry lagniappe: Humble Pie live on ABC’s In Concert.

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