Monday, December 28, 2020

New Year, Same Old Bullshit

Even as we’re about to turn the calendar page and put out the dumpster fire that was, the same misguided arguments continue to circulate. Here are a few more from last week’s Facebook browsing.

The Right is desperate to deflect blame for the lack of COVID relief for Americans, so they’ve become heavily invested in the fact that foreign aid was also included in the omnibus bill that was passed, and eventually signed by the Current Occupant. I’ve seen a lot of this sentiment online.

There is so much wrong with this I barely know where to start. But the first point has to be, “The Republicans have been in charge for four years, completely unimpeded for the first two. If it’s so important to them, why didn’t they address the water situation in Flint?”

Answer: Because they don’t give a shit about the people in some woe begotten city in Michigan, except as a fulcrum in bad arguments for not doing other things that would help average, suffering, non-Fortune 500 board member Americans.

Another point is the obvious lack of understanding about how this Omnibus bill was put together. Several bills were cobbled together to ensure passage in a short period of time. Merely an exercise in expediency. So pretending that the COVID bill is larded with pork for other countries is misleading, intentional or otherwise. Do they think this is the first year the US has doled out foreign aid? It’s not. Do they think that only the Democrats approve of foreign aid? They don’t.

Foreign aid is passed for a number of reasons:

·        It keeps shaky countries from collapsing and possibly falling under the influence of our enemies.

·        It gives us leverage to influence their behavior and national policies.

·        It gives the government leverage to promote American businesses expansion into their countries, which is probably why the Republicans sign on… there’s money to be made by their benefactors.

·        It’s the right thing to do on a humanitarian level, for the richest country in the world to help out some of the poorest.

The most direct critique of this idea of foreign aid in the “COVID Bill” is that the two are not mutually exclusive. Who says the government can’t do both. And it’s not the Democrats who are holding up COVID checks, it’s the Republicans because they just don’t want to do it. Watch how fast and overwhelmingly they vote down the House’s stand-alone $2000 check bill.

As I’ve said before, this COVID crisis reached emergency status because the party in power believes, right down to their DNA, in not doing the one thing that is required in this situation… the direct cash payments to average Americans, without first running them through private businesses for skimming. A dozen other countries shut down their businesses and issued regular checks to their citizens so the virus could be contained without crashing their economy. And that’s why they’re in recovery and we are still spiking and have been banned from traveling to their countries. The federal government didn’t take it seriously. Half measures will not solve the problem.

The Republicans will counter by claiming “poor” and point out that it runs up the deficit. To which I say to fuck right off. No Republicans complained when Trump’s tax bill went through in 2017 and the deficit exploded, even well before the strain of COVID. That says they don’t really care about the deficit at all, other than as a means to keep their opponents from helping people who don’t do them any good. They only worry about the deficit when someone else is doing the spending.

We need to get a handle on COVID right now and worry about the deficit later. If we don’t, the economy will continue to crater and people will continue dying at a record pace.

Yes, we have vaccines now, but not nearly enough. It’s going to take the better part of this year to get enough people vaccinated before we can live anything close to a normal life again.

A lot of people are angry about politicians getting vaccinated ahead of, well, fill in the blanks… health care workers, teachers, retail workers, etc. I think we need to have a functioning government so I’d include politicians as essential workers, with the following exception: Anyone who belittled the virus as a hoax or overblown or just the flu should fuck right off too, along with those part-time deficit hawks. They can share an Uber to FuckOffsville.

The only thing that lets me cope with this is that if these me-firsters didn’t get vaccinated, they’d just be out there getting others sick, like their staff or the congressional support staff, who probably have to wait in line for the shot like the rest of us schmucks.

And speaking of the vaccine, here’s another idiot take on the situation:

This is literally binding two things together that have nothing in common other than the use of a card. Would they say the same thing about a driver’s license or social security card? (Probably, if either one were proposed now instead of ages ago.)

If people are going to want the regain the freedoms to eat out, see movies or otherwise assemble without wearing masks, they’re going to have to demonstrate that they’ve had the shot. It’s not like you could take someone’s word on it. People are already lying about having “a medical condition” that keeps them from wearing a mask. So if not a card, then what? Chip implants under our skin? I’m pretty sure the Right would kibosh that on the basis that we’re already getting “chipped” by Bill Gates and the vaccine.

They also ought to have something to differentiate someone from having one shot versus having both. Different colored cards, maybe? Or they can combine it with the flu shot or shingles shot and make it a punch card. After five shots you get a free small order of fries.

The voter ID thing is just more fake rationale for the way conservatives use ID carding as voter suppression. I’ve written exhaustively on this already. They would be much more believable if they weren’t also closing DMV stations in Democratic areas and dumping voter rolls, reducing early voting stations, pulling back absentee voting, and every other “anti-voter fraud” action they’ve taken that just “coincidentally” keeps their opponents from voting easily.

And then there are the conspiracy memes that really only conspire to keep rational argument at a minimum.

Maybe someone would break it to the numb-nut who created this, that in 2020, not having taverns, restaurants, and churches open has zero effect on whether people could organize a revolt, because of some recent advances called “telephones” and “the internet” that they didn't have in the 1700s.

Also, why is a “revolt” necessary? Because one side lost an election and their leader is desperately trying to cling to power?

Someone thinks locking down public places, which is necessary to fight a pandemic, the scale of which this country has never seen, is also a top-secret scheme to prevent idiots from banding together to fight the government? They give the government too much credit. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and an emergency plan to fight a deadly virus is just that. But in return, we have to be mildly inconvenienced by wearing masks and staying home.

Yes, those who would otherwise be working at these closed places are put out, but then there’s an obvious solution to that, which I mentioned above… you know, the ones the Republicans are dead-set against.

And now, some non-virus-related idiocy:

This is nothing but Republicans trying to ride the coattails of actions they took in the 1800s, which made them seem reasonable and the Democrats tyrants.

What they omit is that in the mid-1960s, millions of people left the Democrats to become Republicans when Lyndon Johnson and the Dems got the Civil Rights and Voting Rights laws passed. As far as I’m concerned, when they did that, they abdicated claims to their history. For all intents and purposes, based on their actions since 1964 and 1965, they became the party of racism, here and now. What who was doing what 150 years ago is irrelevant.

And not for nothing, I don’t know what Obamacare has to do with race relations, other than giving people of all races a chance to get health insurance. I’ll wear that badge proudly. The author of this meme basically makes the point for me. Republicans used to be the party of supporting minorities and now it’s the Democrats.

And now, because it’s the end of the year and I still have a number of graphics I’ve culled but never saw fit to use, I present my 2020 Annual Meme Dump!

23 days and counting.

Similar to an old joke I told back in the 70s:

Q: How do Republicans change a light bulb?

A: They don’t, they just sit around in the dark and talk about how good the old one was.

From those who knew him well.

Just shows how low they’ll go to smear someone if they think they’d benefit from it. All this stuff is fake and it’s been fake all along.

Nothing further needed…

I just kept this to demonstrate, whenever you see something from the Federalist Society, they are 100% misogynist in their beliefs. I don’t know how any female can align herself with them.

Just for shits and giggles.

Words of wisdom. I wish I knew whose.

And lastly but not leastly…

I tell myself this time after time, but still, here I am.

Thank you for reading me this year. Your time and attention mean a lot to me and keep me going throughout the grind. Here’s to a great 2021, or at least a year better than this one has been.

Because if we can’t break that threshold, we are well and truly screwed.

Monday, December 21, 2020

It's Always the Season for Debunkery

Contrary to how it might seem, I’m well aware that people are seldom swayed by logical arguments. All the literature suggests that if you want to change minds, then make an emotional argument that appeals to someone’s feelings. Yet why do I continue to engage in logical debunkery?

Because to me, it’s still important to have a clear delineation between right and wrong, what’s true and what’s false, and what’s valid and what’s bullshit. If you cede the grounds of truth, it’s awfully hard to claw it back. So I try to fight every missed point, every apples to oranges comparison, every instance of stunning hypocrisy, and every meme full of straight-up lies, any time I can. Truth and logic have to matter, or else we’re just a bunch of monkeys fighting for bananas and gibbering in the trees.

This brings me to today’s debunkery, which I picked up from Facebook over the weekend.

There two very distinct reasons no one outside the Right Wing Bubble talks about impeaching Pelosi over the lack of a COVID response bill.

First off, there is no valid comparison between Trump/Ukraine and Pelosi/COVID bill. Trump interfered in the execution of a Congressional order to supply aid to Ukraine. He stopped it so he could use it as leverage for a personal, political reason. That’s illegal and he was impeached for it.

On the other hand, even assuming Pelosi is responsible for holding up the COVID bill, that’s just lawmaking. It takes both sides to come to an agreement. It’s neither illegal nor impeachable for one chamber leader to hold up a bill for basically any reason. Hell, McConnell has had the House COVID relief bill, and many, others, on his desk since May.

This leads to the second reason, which is that it’s highly debatable that Pelosi is to blame for the failure of a COVID relief bill to pass. As far as I’m concerned, she’s in the right, considering all the poison pills the Republicans have in their bill, from the liability shield for employers who don’t provide anti-viral protection for their employees, to ham-stringing the next Administration’s ability to deal with this and any other financial crisis.

Mitch would just love Nancy to roll over and give him everything he wants, but Nancy don’t play that shit. So why is it that she’s the problem and not him? He could have acted on a relief bill months ago, even if it was just to start negotiating, but half the year went by without even an opening bid. And to listen to some other Republican congressmen, we really don’t even need more money or unemployment, people just need to get a job. But businesses need some more tax breaks, don’t they?

If there’s to be a price paid, it will have to be political, like voting her out of office. (Good luck with that.)

(Note: An agreement was announced this morning that a COVID bill will pass, after the Republicans backed down on their bid to tie up the COVID money that’s been set aside.)

This one misses another giant point as it tries to rationalize right-wing racism.

Mexico and Canada closed their borders to us because we’re an infectious mess. We’re the nation who didn’t take COVID seriously and now leads the world in cases and deaths. This is a classic quarantine situation that is necessary to preserve national health.

That has nothing in common with Trump closing the borders… And Trump has had so many closed border issues that I don’t even know the instance to which the meme creator is referring.

Trump famously tried to close the southern border by building a wall and encaging anyone who dare try to immigrate illegally OR legally. (Check out what happens to people who try to apply.) He’s had a myriad of reasons for this, mostly fear-mongering over gangs or Muslim radicals he says were pouring over the border. Nothing that explains separating children from their families, locking them up, and removing the capacity to get them back to their parents. It’s more like Republicans don’t want any more brown people showing up here (and voting for Democrats.) That’s pretty racist.

Or we could be talking about the Muslim ban brought forth in his first months of office. Declaring that all citizens from any particular country are a threat-based solely on where they’re from is completely racist. There was no effort to filter out legitimate students or engineers or any other skilled labor, just a blanket denial of passage.

Or it could be referring to blocking flights from China at the onset of the ‘Rona, which, unfortunately, was done so haphazardly, the virus came flooding in any way. That wasn’t racist, it was just inefficient and poorly executed.

When a meme finishes with “Let that sink in,” why is it that it’s almost always complete bullshit? 

Great, more whiney shit about “freedom.” What’s the endgame here? Do these fuckers want everyone suffering or dying from the virus? All so they can wear their big-boy Freedom pants?

I’ll tell you what… Exercise your freedom and avoid the COVID vaccine altogether. Leave it for the rest of us “sheep” so that there will be fewer shortages. Then you can have all the freedom you want to traipse about the country and swing your big balls all over town. Get all the “freedom” lovers together and just roll around in all that freedom. Drink beer, shoot guns, get tattoos and share beard grooming tips.

And then, when you’re gasping for breath and suffocating, be sure not to have your freedom curtailed in some hospital. Just dig a hole in the back yard and go lie down. Then you and your “freedom” can take a nice long nap.

With freedom comes responsibility; to yourself, to others, to your community, country, and planet. Shared sacrifice brings people together for a common goal that benefits everyone.

You have the freedom to do what you want… why be an asshole?

Thank you for visiting today. I hope you and your family have a great Christmas and a safe holiday season.

Here’s my favorite ornament for this year.

And why look at ornaments without appropriate holiday music?

 See you next week, to close out the year.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Resistance is Feudal

We live in an alarming time, a time where it doesn’t seem like our country will ever go back to business as usual. The ‘Rona aside, we’ve got about half the country living in a partisan fog, unable to tell real things from fake. The politicians they elect, backed by the only media they listen to, continue blowing the fog into their faces, telling them things they desperately want to believe, that THEY are the “real Americans” and everyone else is an enemy of the state.

And I’m sure that if a Republican were to read that statement, he would assume I was talking about the Democrats.

The lengths that Republicans, elected and otherwise, have gone to overturn righteously-cast votes of other American citizens in the last few weeks, is appalling. Despite each debunking, they cling to the idea that this election was somehow stolen from them. And then when the lack of evidence becomes choking, they just start making stuff up, claiming it just had to be there because there’s no other way Biden could have won.

It’s kind of the same way so many believe that a God created man and earth out of nothing, just like they appear today. No volumes of evolutionary evidence can sway what they “know.”

They seem to ascribe to the Bigger Cheater Theory, which says, “Given how hard they cheated to win, (gerrymandering, limited voting places, and equipment, rigid ID requirements, sabotage of the post office to cripple the delivery of ballots both to and fro), the only way Democrats could have won is by cheating even bigger. And it was cheating so clever, it didn’t leave a single trace of evidence!”

Virtually every lawsuit brought to bear was laughed out of court. Even the Supreme one, where Trump was sure he had bought enough votes there to approve anything he needed.

The logic came down to, “We think they cheated because some people told us they did, but we can’t prove or validate any of it. We also don’t like how they held their election, although it was consistent with their state laws. So we want you to invalidate millions and millions of votes so we can try it again. Better yet, just hand us the presidency.”

And when a case finally went to the Supreme Court, over a hundred Republican Congressmen signed on with their approval of this logic. Despite having just won their own seats in that same election, the Trump part was somehow rigged, so all those votes should be discounted so Trump can win.

These people showed us that to them, our votes mean nothing. And that’s the new Republican paradigm… “Hang the voting, we’ll just pull strings behind the scenes to get what we want, which is to stay in power regardless of the will of The People.”

Just like Madison and Jefferson drew it up, huh?

All these people who comport themselves as such supreme patriots, these red, white, and blue Super Citizens, are willing to flush the Constitution down the toilet as soon as it becomes expedient. Such true-blue Americans! Paragons of justice!

These governors, attorneys general, representatives, and senators need to be remembered by the rest of us as the seditious shit-weasels they are and treated as such for as long as they cling to power or public life. They literally approved the nullification of an election whose results were as overwhelming as they were clear, solely because they didn’t like the result. Nothing else is relevant or applicable.

Even after the SCOTUS ruling, there’s still another avenue of pursuit, which is for Congress to disregard the voters’ decision when appointing and approving electors. And that really comes down to the same logic described above, just overturning the vote because they don’t like it.

The kindest explanation is that they’re terrified of the outgoing president and they don’t have the backbone to defy him and defend the Constitution, or the values this country is supposed to represent. They want to appease this troll so that one day he will smile upon them, thus directing his fan base to accept him as one of his loyal toadies, fund his campaign and attend his rallies.

All it costs is the soul of this country.

One day there will be history books about this time, which will either examine it as a black hole in our nation’s record or praised as the start of a new authoritarian government, where We the People have become nothing more than modern-day serfs, toiling in the fields for the benefit of our Masters.

“But we want a say in government!”

“Shut up and get back on the plow!”

“We’re crying out for justice!”

“I’ll give you something to cry about…”

“Come see the violence inherent in the system!”


Director's DVD Commentary: "Seditious Shit-Weasels" would be a great punk rock band name.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Excuse Me, Pardon Me

A lot of people are talking about the Pardonpalooza going on right now with the Current Occupant and his demon spawn (and other assorted hangers-on). I see lots of serious analysis about what’s legal or Constitutional and what’s not. But I think there’s a major point that I don’t see being addressed.

Why would Republicans not make a stand over this and tell their deposed leader that they cannot set a precedent that a president can pardon himself right before a Democrat assumes the presidency?

Think about it. If Trump is allowed to pardon himself, that means every future president is free to commit whatever malfeasance he wishes and then give himself a pardon on the way out the door.

Maybe they’re counting on Biden’s basic decency, (I don’t think Biden would ever stoop that low), but what about whoever comes next? This is especially tricky considering the kind of pardon Trump is talking about… a general, non-specific pardon to cover whatever it is that comes to light. Eventually, someone else will come along who has as little honor or decency as Trump has, and look at the presidency as his crowning achievement in profiteering. Yes, I know, if it’s another Republican, that’s no problem for the McConnells of the world. But what if it’s one of “the enemy?”

I know, we’ll just tell them that we might run Hillary again!

A self-pardoning president is the first step in establishing a dictatorship. Granted, he’d have to steer clear of committing the kinds of crimes a state could prosecute, but that still leaves a lot of room for mischief. (And a lot of room for grifting, especially if one happens to get away with owning hotels and golf courses while serving as president.)

Regardless of what the Supreme Court thinks about the constitutionality of a self-pardon, it’s something that this nation just can’t have. I hope the calmer heads prevail if this should ever reach the SCOTUS, but I’m not sure there are enough of them left.

And now, let’s engage in a little Decembunkery…

This one is especially irritating because it comes from a US Senator, who should (and probably does) know better. What does he know? That the system for sending the stimulus checks and the system for running elections are entirely different.

The IRS handled the distribution of stimulus checks, (to be specific, the IRS led by the Trump Administration,) so I can see where they’d take shortcuts just to rush the checks out so Fearless Leader could bask in the good PR.

But election registrations are run on entirely different systems managed by individual states, which is an entirely different group of people. So there is no crossover of data. All we have here is another baseless accusation of election fraud with zero supporting evidence. Just like they present in court.

Also, consider that even if some dead people remain registered, how are they going to vote? There is still voter verification going on. Someone would have to either show up or mail back the specific ballot belonging to the deceased. Then you have to multiply that process by the number of people it would take to change an election result? The entire accusation is ludicrous. It’s just not an efficient or realistic way to rig an election. (Unlike gerrymandering, dumping hundreds of thousands off the voter rolls, or requiring specific IDs that you then make harder and more expensive to obtain.)

This is just a smear designed to appeal to those without critical thinking skills, who very much want to believe it.

And now, let’s hear from those very brave and rugged individualists who would rather infect their family, friends, and neighbors with a deadly disease than be told what to do by some pencil-neck doctor.

I’ve got an idea for another sign that should go on the front door of everyone who agrees with the one above:


Occupant couldn’t care less if you live or die.

He’s too busy rolling around in his freedom.

(Ammo deliveries around back.)

This is 100% about selfishness. A pandemic requires a degree of sacrifice from all residents. But many don’t have the decency to give a shit about anyone else because they won’t be told to wear a mask or how many packages of TP they can buy, or which direction to walk in a store.

They may feel like William Wallace, but they’re more like a scared little boy acting out so no one catches on. They’re the poster children for “compensation.”

What if they just looked at it as having the freedom to help end a national disaster by being slightly uncomfortable for a little while? It’s not like they’re being asked to go fight a war in the Pacific.

It’s the people who fuss about wearing masks that condemned the rest of us to wear them for the foreseeable future. I just hope they’re rugged enough to pass on the hospital care when the Rona eventually catches up with them. Just go out in the back yard and die like a man.

And now, more faux shit about Socialism:

Actually, it would be quite simple. Canada, Denmark, Sweden, the other Scandinavian countries, all with socialist systems, and all quite comfortable with free speech. Of course, no one advocates for freedom there because they’re too busy enjoying life. Aren’t these the countries always ranked so high in citizen happiness?

The anti-social Anti-Socialists always like to bring up scary places like Cuba or Venezuela when trying to pursuade people that certain socialist ideas that would help the vast majority of America are actually a bad idea. And that for some unexplained reason, it’s much better to toil our lives away for basic necessities so that the wealthiest 1% can afford more yachts.

The truth is, we already have “socialist” programs in The United States.

The funny thing is that if any of these were proposed today, Conservatives would still put up a fight. Hell, they’re already trying to get rid of Social Security and the post office. I’m sure the only reason these things came to be is that there was no internet when they were first proposed. The rich didn’t have enough tools to persuade the masses to vote against their own interest.

Monday, November 30, 2020

They Started It

My sister sent me a long text this weekend, consisting of Republican grievances from the last four years, which she lifted off a friend’s Facebook group. She was pretty pissed and wondered if there was a Democratic version.

I don’t know about another version but I’m willing to comment and debunk the original. It was the usual list of exaggerations, half-truths, and mountains made of mole-hills. Lots of extenuating circumstances were left out. Lots of projection of their own verified faults onto their enemies. You know, same old, same old. So let’s dig in. My responses are in blue.

Let us all be a United States again,” from former Vice President, Joe Biden. "We're at war with the virus, not one another."

The problem is we have memories.

We remember the women’s march the day after the inauguration.

               You mean the one that was bigger than his inauguration? Funny, that’s what happens when a     misogynist gets elected president, and whose backers seek to take away women’s rights over their own bodies.

We remember the 4 years of attacks and impeachments.

               This is coming off of eight years of attacks on Obama. You don’t like the negativity and animosity? You started it, from birtherism down to the color of the guy’s suit. Also, no one gets impeached without committing crimes. If your hero wasn’t a crook, he wouldn’t have had to worry about impeachment.

We remember “not our president” and "RESIST."

Was Obama your president? Because Mitch McConnell “resisted” every piece of legislation Obama put forth, once he had to power to do so. Just because it was Obama’s.

We remember Maxine Walters telling followers to harass us in restaurants.

We remember the Presidents spokesperson being kicked out a restaurant.

If you’re going to get up on the People’s podium and tell obvious, verifiable lies, threaten and belittle the press, then I don’t feel so bad if you might have to get your salad to-go.

And I don't have to remember the death threats surrounding election officials whose only crime was not illegally tipping the scale towards Trump, because it's happening right now.

We remember hundreds of Trump supporters physically attacked.

WE remember unarmed black people getting killed by the police, over and over and over again. We remember the president issuing many words of support for the abusers and none for the abused. We also remember groups of “Boogaloo Bois, and “Proud Boyz” coming from all over the country to incite violence and mayhem wherever there was a peaceful protest. And I remember the president’s encouragement to them too.

 We remember Trump supporters getting Doxed, and fired from jobs.

That, I don’t remember. I remember people getting fired for writing or saying irretrievably stupid, sexist, or racist things. The fact that stupid, sexist, racists support the president says more about him than us.

We remember riots and looting.

And the white supremacists were there for all of it. Not for nothing, though, if the police were saving their most brutal behavior for use on middle-class white people and had been for decades, they’d be rioting too. Riots don’t happen in a vacuum, they happen when people are pushed to the limit.

We remember “a comedian” holding up the President’s severed head.

               I remember Obama effigies being hung and burned, to zero outrage from the right. What’s your point? You have hurt feelings about what KathyGriffin did? I remember a famous saying about feelings that Trump fans used to promote with glee. So now you want to cry when YOUR feelings get fucked?

We remember Robert de Niro yelling “F" Trump” at the Tony’s and getting a standing ovation.

I remember a Republican congressman yelling “You lie” at Obama during a State of the Union address, which was unprecedented in its brazenness.

We remember Nancy Pelosi tearing up the State of the Union Address.

Am I missing something? Is there something sacred about a pre-event copy of a speech? Or are we just clutching pearls and grasping at straws now?

We remember the total in the tank move on the mainstream media.

               I don’t even know what this means. But blaming “the press” for everything is as unimaginative as it is inevitable from the right.

We remember the non-stop and live fact-checking on our President and his supporters.

You say that like it’s a bad thing. Fact-checking is the very essence of a journalist’s job, not to parrot whatever garbage is being dispensed from the briefing room. Most importantly, if the president and his followers weren’t lying every single time they opened their mouths, the press would have no reason to fact-check.

We remember non-stop in your face lies and open cover-ups from the media.

Like what? The Coronavirus is serious? Masks help stop the spread? The president’s campaign team regularly worked with the Russians and knew about the stolen Clinton emails in advance and knew when they were going to be published? Every one of those (and many more) are stone cold facts. They just get labeled as lies as a defense mechanism by the least truthful administration in history.

We remember the President and his staff being spied on.

               Our intelligence agencies spied on the Russians. Whose fault is it that Trump associates kept turning up on the wires? (Again, that’s a FACT, as verified in the Mueller Report. Which in no way “exonerated” the president or his staff.)

We remember five Senators shot on a ballfield.

               Yeah, that was bad. No question. But how come when it’s a Democrat, it casts dispersions on all, but when some right-wing nut-job shoots up a public place, he’s just a lone wolf?

We remember every so-called comedy show turn into nothing but a Trump hate fest.

Gee, comedy shows make fun of the president. That's happened every day since… let’s see…the invention of television. Suck it up.

We remember 95% negative coverage in the news.

If the president wants praise, he needs to do something praiseworthy. (Aside from lowering taxes for the richest of the rich.) What are his great accomplishments? Anyone? “ Cutting regulations = spewing pollution into the atmosphere and allowing banks to resume screwing its clients. “Religious freedom” = allowing discrimination of any kind as long as the discriminators can site a religious reason. Seriously, what did Trump actually do himself?

 We remember the state governors asking and getting everything they ask for and then blaming Trump for their problems.

You remember wrongly… obviously through the rose-colored lens of Fox “News.” Governors had to fight each other for supplies, and sometimes even the federal government, who frequently confiscated states’ purchases. No one had “enough” until long after it was needed. Kicking a nationwide problem to the states to solve demonstrates an appalling lack of leadership. The fact that you think he should be praised for his COVID response shows how little you know about what’s really happening. If Trump had exhibited even the minimum of leadership, like telling the country from the onset that distancing and masks work, these things wouldn’t have become a political issue and we wouldn’t have the highest death count from COVID in the world. (And still spiking.) This is an impeachable offense, right here.

And this is from July. It’s even worse now.)

We remember a Trump top aid verbally assaulted in two DC restaurants.

               Again with the restaurants? This is just list-padding.

We remember people banging on the Supreme Court doors.

I remember groups of heavily armed conservatives taking over statehouses in an attempt to intimidate the legislators within, who were trying to formulate a pandemic response… you know, after the president threw it to the states. Why is it that Republicans are more upset about the prospect of buildings being assaulted than people? 

We remember that we were called every name in the book for supporting President Trump.

               Names like fat, ugly, crazy, lazy, sleepy? Oh and I remember some choice names for President Obama, that we don’t say in polite company.

We remember that Hollywood said they would leave after Trump was elected but they stayed.

               Hollywood would leave?” You’re reaching, here. Seriously.

 This list is endless, but you get the idea.

The list certainly seems endless but that’s only because it’s basically fact free. Republicans are experts at ignoring their own faults and pointing the finger at their opponent, and they’re usually the same faults.

The fact is, conservatives working through Fox “News” and talk radio have coarsened politics into a take no prisoners, zero-sum game. Never compromise, never admit defeat, never admit you’re wrong. Always attack. And when the opponent reaches his limit and responds in kind, Republicans clutch their pearls and claim offense. It’s a race to Victimhood, to which only they are entitled.

I’ve had it. The Obama years turned into a full-on Republican assault on civility, tradition, and rational politics. They don’t get to start the fire and complain about getting burned too.

 I remember everything too.

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Old Electoral College Try

In the aftermath of the 2020 elections, I’m seeing a lot of upheaval, especially on liberal sites, about the Electoral College. We’re seeing its limitations (or features, depending on your point of view), as a way for the last two Republican presidents to lose the popular vote but win the election. If we were just counting up votes, Biden would have been considered the winner by the day after Election Day, at least.

But the Electoral College requires us to go state by state and through a convoluted formula, depending on 50 different voting systems, structures and regulation sets to come together and crown a president. That makes for a lot of room to attack the process, which the Trump campaign is vigorously trying to do.

So I can see the attraction in creating the simplicity of a popular-vote election system. Place the votes, count the votes. Whoever gets the most, wins. Why over-think it?

I know some people say that we need the Electoral College or else presidential candidates will ignore everywhere but the big population centers. I don’t think that’s a big deal because presidential candidates already ignore whole regions because they mainly campaign in big swing states. They practically live in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, plus Florida and Arizona. The rest of the south, it’s already known they’ll go Republican. The northeast? In the bag for Democrats. Same with New York, Illinois and California. So either way, some states are going to get ignored. Tit or tat. Pool or pond.

Here in reliably-blue Maryland, up until this year, we hardly ever even see national political ads. I think this year was different because they ran a lot of ads on TV solely to appease or antagonize the TV-Watcher-in-Chief.

Still, when I see the calls to eliminate the Electoral College, it’s depressing to me that people are dwelling on it because it’s a complete waste of time. The Electoral College isn’t going anywhere within our lifetimes, because it is included in the Constitution. To change that would require an amendment to the Constitution and that’s just not going to happen. Hell, we can’t even get an amendment passed saying that women are equal to men, which should be a basic understanding of the modern world.

So we’ll never get the 38 states needed to ratify such an amendment, nor will we ever get it through Congress, short of a veto-proof/filibuster-proof Democratic majority. That’s because the Republicans will never, EVER go along with eliminating their single best chance to win the presidency again. They NEED the Electoral College because they can’t count on continued racism to carry the wagon and there just aren’t enough rich businessmen to win the election for the Republicans.

At first, I thought having each state reformulate its approach to assigning electoral votes would be a good idea, like Nebraska and Maine did so that the will of different regions are reflected in the end result. But the problem with that is that it will become another way to gerrymander. Whoever is in power will draw the districts to favor their own party. Gerrymandering has already ruined the House of Representatives; no sense in skewing the presidential race the same way.

What I’d like to see happen is to have a bipartisan commission recalculate the division of electoral votes. I remember seeing the calculations once, (I don’t have the energy to research this point again) where when you divide California's number of electoral votes by their population, you get the figure of how much of a vote each person represents. And when you divide, say, Wyoming the same way, the voting power of one person in Wyoming is measurably higher than one person in California. So if they redid the whole scale to accurately reflect the distribution of Americans across the country, we might come closer to one person/one vote. Just let it be guided by the math. But again, the Republicans have no incentive to play along. The system serves them just fine the way it is.

What, you think we can appeal to their sense of fair play? They’re trying to overturn a legitimate election right now. There is no fair play, only the preservation of their own power and advantage.

Maybe at the state level, we can learn some lessons from what’s going on today. States who care about basic fairness should look at the ways Trump’s teams of lawyers are trying to overturn the will of the people. Maybe tighten up some loopholes and simplify the processes, so that a handful of mid-level operatives don’t have it in their power to refuse to certify an election, just because someone badly wants them to. (Or they badly want to themselves.) And maybe establish some legal penalties for having private meetings with one of the presidential candidates who is actively trying to steal the election. They should at least pay for their own Dom Perignon.

But aside from some tweaks, I think we’re stuck with the Electoral College. The only way to get rid of it is to have so many people opposed to it that politicians would be forced to act. And if we ever had that many people on one side, the Electoral College would no longer be an issue anyway.

 And now, a little…


I saw this on Facebook this weekend. As usual, it’s a simple argument that leaves out large swaths of information, which is has to in order to appear to make sense.

First off, in 2017 there was plenty of election meddling because the FBI and every other US intelligence agency said so. It was so apparent that our spooks were surveilling Russian operatives all over the place. You might have heard about it when their taps on the Russians revealed they were speaking with Trump’s campaign staff. It ended up with an impeachment some people were talking about.

Also, the Russian election campaigns were more about spreading disinformation and discord than actual hacking, although there was some of that, too. President Obama wanted to bring it to the public but for reasons that escape me, acquiesced to Mitch McConnell and kept the information limited.

The Russians were behind the WikiLeaks Clinton email dump, which tied the Clinton campaign in knots and doused them with embarrassing news on a daily basis. Again, this was discovered by federal authorities and intelligence agencies, not by members of Congress.

In the intervening years, the nation has learned a lot about how the Russians operate and how they sow distrust in the system. Many states have taken steps to combat attempts to tamper with their election apparatus, although many have not, leaving federal money to do so on the table. (They will deny Russian interference as long as they interfere in Republicans’ favor.) Why would we not learn from past mistakes?

So, yes, there was Russian interference in 2016 elections being called out in 2017, but it was not the kind of interference the Republicans are claiming happened this year, to which they’re trying to make a comparison. It was more to influence, less about hacking or intentionally losing votes.

Any complaints about Russian interference in 2018 and 2019 were still referring to the original cases. We held mid-terms in 2018 and the Democrats swept into the House. There were few elections in 2019, just local stuff, so there’s nothing to holler about there.

That makes the claim in this meme a misdirection. The last election WAS tainted, not only by the bias of the Electoral College but by a sophisticated disinformation campaign run by the Russians, who enjoy having a lap dog for Putin in a place where he can benefit them the most.

This year, they were still at it, and their effect is as yet, unknown. But the physical voting apparatus has shown to be in full working order, despite the desperate claims to the contrary from the loser. They know how hard they’ve been cheating… they can only assume that if they lost, we must have been cheating even harder.

Maybe it’s true, but I doubt it, and here’s why. All these charges they make in public, at press conferences, interviews, and speeches, are never made in court where there are penalties for perjury. They’ll run the bullshit for you and me, but not for the judge. Even the worst of the Trump shysters aren’t willing to go to jail for this asshole.

All we’re seeing are million-dollar charges with two-bit evidence.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Massage Parler

Now into the second week past the election, the deluded Right is still clinging to the idea that somehow the election was stolen from them, due to what must have been a vast criminal conspiracy that entailed more people voting for the other guy.

At every turn, both Republican and Democratic voting officials have stated that there were no discernable voting hijinks, other than random clerical errors that happen in every election. (And are statistically negligible.) Not a single investigation from people who are extremely motivated to find voting malfeasance has been able to do so.

You know, if it doesn’t quack, it doesn’t waddle, and it doesn’t float around on the water, it’s just not a fuckin’ duck, and it won’t become one no matter how desperately someone wishes it.

Even Fox “News” has been going, “You know, we think he won.” I mean, they called Arizona before anyone else, thus earning the Orange Turd’s ongoing wrath. I mean, where is a despot supposed to turn when his own state-run media stops backing up his lies? OANN? Hell, I couldn’t even find it on my Comcast system. I even tried to use the voice function. All I got was an error message that said this:

This television is equipped with a BS Chip. The BS Chip blocks the transmission of known purveyors of BS into households who might be either enraged or convinced by smoothly delivered lies, half-truths, skewed graphics, and logical fallacies. To view a channel blocked by the BS Chip, you must apply to the FCC and prove that you’re under 55 and your interest is purely academic. But we don’t recommend you do so. Surely there’s a game on somewhere, isn’t there?

I tell you, the tech in those “Smart TVs” is really advancing.

So, how do Republicans square these hard, cold, facts with the bullshit stories with which they surround themselves? Well, it seems that they’ve started their own social media site: Parler.

They got tired of having mean old Twitter and Facebook correct or block their fact-free diatribes and racist calls to arms, so they’ve taken their tiki torches and gone home to play in their own yard, where no one can tell them anything they don’t already know.

Now they can claim there were a million MAGAts at the Million MAGA March and there will be no photographic evidence to the contrary. (Like this.) They can claim there was a vast rollout of Dominion voting machines bankrolled by George Soros, which changed Trump votes to Biden votes, without which Trump would have won Texas unanimously. They can forget about wearing masks because the Rona is merely a liberal plot to curtail their freedom. They can blow on dog whistles as long as they like and no one will ever make them feel like a racist because of it. In fact, it will remind them of the good old days, where the only thing you had to do before telling a racist joke is look over both shoulders.

I read somewhere that George Soros is one of the financial backers of the Parler platform. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it would be delicious if it were.

I hope that Facebook and Twitter don’t experience a mass exodus of conservatives, but it’s purely for selfish reasons. If they all leave, where else will I get my “Debunkery” material? I’m sure as hell not venturing over there. It would be terrible for my blood pressure.

Director’s DVD Commentary/Disclaimer: The BS Chip is a total fabrication, but wouldn’t it be cool if it weren’t? It just kind of leaped out of my head as I was considering if I could even find OANN on my assortment of cable channels. It happens.

Tales from the Hood

I’ve had this story circling the drain for months now but I’ve been waiting until I could marry it to a short primary topic. And here we are.

Our ice-maker is going screwy. You never really think about your ice-maker until you go to scoop out a fistful of ice for your gin and tonic and only come up with cold dust. Sweetpea and I go through a good deal of ice, especially in the summer, so this icy snafu went mission-critical a few months ago.

Upon investigation, we noticed that when the ice dumps, sometimes a couple pieces get stuck in the apparatus, which locks it up and prevents it from making any more ice. So we began checking on it more and more frequently, to either jiggle out the wayward wedge or melt it from the apparatus with finger heat.

One evening a few months back, I was endeavoring to unclog a piece of ice, but it was really jammed into the works. With nothing to grab onto, I had to settle for trying to melt it by pressing alternating fingers alongside it. It was in one of the rear-most slots, so I had to reach waaaay into the back of the freezer and curl my finger around the works from behind. It was kind of an awkward position.

At last, I felt the last of the ice chip melt away and the lever began to lower, signaling that it was resetting. The lever sits on top of the pile of ice (when you have enough ice to make one). When the pile of ice shrinks, the lever lowers and when it goes all the way down, activates more ice making.

What I didn’t know was that there are all kinds of gears and moving parts on the inside of the ice-making apparatus, right where I had my ring finger. As everything started moving, a piece of metal clamped down on my fingertip, locking it (and me) into place. As I pulled ever harder, this metal piece squeezed all the firmer, steadily increasing the pressure. Sweetpea was in the kitchen with me and I began to call out... “Honey… HONEY…”

I don’t think I said anything else in actual English because, at that point, I realized that I was about to be literally trapped there by the fingertip. I began to quickly consider the consequences. I mean, who do you even call for something like this? 911? The Maytag Repairman? How long would I have to stand there with my finger in the freezer and the ice-maker chomping on my finger?

I didn’t know how much force this thing was going to eventually apply but I decided I’d better pull my damned finger out of there no matter how much skin or flesh is scraped off. And I did.

I anxiously examined my finger for damage and was quite relieved to see that it was just a cut.

(This was AFTER it was all cleaned up.)

It was numb for a while but I was none the worse for wear. While it seemed like an hour-long ordeal, in fact, the whole thing, onset to escape, was over in about 15 seconds.

Good thing I got out, or else I KNOW my picture would have been on Facebook, or maybe even a video, with one finger stuck in the freezer and another one gesturing at the camera-person.

We still have to clear the ice-maker but I learned my lesson quite clearly. There is no more melting the ice with fingers. Now the first option, if it doesn’t pull out clean, is to shatter the ice with a knife handle.

A BUTTER knife. I do not intend to bleed all over our ice bucket. Even if it would make a more realistic Bloody Mary.

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Way Forward


So, how was your week?

Lol… geez, I swear last week seemed like a month of real-time. If I’m ever given a week to live, I’ll go back and try to channel that one.

I probably watched more cable news last week than I have in the last five years combined. But it paid off, didn’t it? We finally got rid of the orange pox on the nation’s political hiney. Not that he’s going quietly or painlessly… he’s more like an inflamed hemorrhoid that just won’t let go.

Maybe we overestimated his capability to use the court system to cling to power. From what’s been filed so far, his legal strategy has been as well thought out as his White House personnel decisions. Judges right and left, from the Right and Left, are throwing out his lawsuits as soon as they’re heard because they neither make sense nor contain proof.

Keep counting there, but stop counting here!

As I’ve said before, Republicans don’t believe in anything but that which helps them at the moment. But why Trump insists on stopping a vote count while he’s behind is beyond my capability to understand. Even with a court packed with Republicans, who are probably itching to make a decision that helps the team, apparently, there has to be some kind of legal cover onto which they can grab. Stopping the counting of legally-cast votes is kind of a big reach.

I bet the Supreme Court doesn’t want any part of this. Well, Roberts doesn’t; he’s the only GOP-Appointee who cares about SCOTUS’s reputation. He knows that finding in favor of the president to disregard legally-cast votes would turn the court into a supreme joke. If they can avoid being tarred with Trumpian legal feces, they can then get on with the mundane duty of sustaining Big Business’s ability to reap obscene profits at the expense of the earth, climate, and average taxpayer, and ensure the ruling status of the White, Christian, male.

While we didn’t exactly get the Blue Wave we were promised by the pollsters, it wasn’t exactly chopped liver either. Joe Biden has the highest ever vote count for President, which is, at the moment, 4.5 million more votes than Trump.

To me, the funny part of that is that it’s 6.1 million more than Obama got at his peak. What that says to me is that people were so put off by the orange menace that they got off their collective asses and turned out 6.1 million eff-you votes for Joe Biden. Either that or they just reeeeeally hated Hillary.

I am pretty disappointed in the rest of the elections though… losing seats in the House and not flipping the Senate straight away. I know there’s still the Georgia runoff, but I’m not optimistic about that, not while they have a GOP governor and secretary of state, both of whom have shown no qualms about putting their thumbs on the scale in favor of their side. Don’t be surprised if several hundred-thousand black people in and around Atlanta suddenly get dropped from the voter rolls in the next two months, under the guise of fighting voter fraud. Stacey Abrams may not have enough time to work another miracle.

How Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins survived, I have no idea. And Mitch, well, that’s a travesty. Kentucky deserves a crooked, scheming, slug, like him. This is the second time during the existence of this blog that I’ve had to accept that there will be six more years of this walking intestinal blockage. This guy is going to obstruct President Biden like a triple-decker cheese sandwich on cork. And now, after the Democrats raised the specter of changing the filibuster rules, without actually winning the Senate, I won’t be surprised if Mitch beats them to the punch.

He’s also said that he intends to block Biden’s cabinet nominees. But I’ve heard a couple good counter-measures. First, Biden can just appoint “Acting” cabinet members, just like Trump did. And if anyone complains that they’ve exceeded their maximum time in an “acting” position, then pay it just as much mind as Trump did. (Zero.)

But my favorite plan is for him to provide his full slate of nominees and when Mitch bottles them up, appoint a group of acting directors that are so reprehensible to the GOP, he’ll have no choice but to approve the original slate. People like Hillary for Secretary of State, Obama Director of National Intelligence, Robert Mueller for Attorney General, Al Gore for EPA, like that. The Republicans just spent four years playing no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners politics. It’s time for the Democrats to do the same. As the old established GOP slice of wisdom goes, “fuck their feelings.”

I also like the idea of appointing some Republican Senators whose home state has a Democratic governor, who can appoint a replacement. That’s some hardball to play.

But back to the races, I just don’t know how there can be a significant number of people looking at the last four years, which included the negligent homicide of over 225,000 people, and say, “Yeah, I want more of that.” More lies, more science denial, more hostility to our allies, more racism and persecution of immigrants, more condoning of police brutality, more of stuffing the LGBT community back in the closet, etc. Are there really 71 million of such people who think that’s the way things should be? It saddens me. Presidency or not, we have a lot of work left to do.

Or maybe Trump will continue to hold his super-spreader rallies and kill off the rest of his base, so they won’t be a factor in 2024.

We may not be able to pass any grand programs in the next two years, but at least we can have a go at undoing Trump’s heinous Executive Orders. I’m glad to hear that people in the Biden camp have been keeping track of what can be done by the President without having to pass the Senate. And whatever Trump passed by EO can be reversed by EO, and that covers a lot of damage.

I just wonder if he has to file EOs one for one, or can he just issue a single, comprehensive, “Screw Your Executive Orders” executive order. Maybe he could steal my suggestion from the debates and repurpose the (Cousin Vinny) Gambino defense and issue a statement saying: “I hereby declare that everything that guy did was bullshit. Thank you.” He has to use the word, “hereby,” because that makes it official in Trump-world.

I’ll allow it. Again.

If Trump wanted his executive orders to be permanent, he should have included the standard “no take-backs” clause. Any kid could have told him that. Doesn’t he have grandchildren or something? After all, Biden has been using the “I’m Rubber You’re Glue” defense for years, to repel all the malarkey.

Now, all we have to do is convince the Right that counting legal votes after Election Day does not constitute fraud. I keep seeing these football-themed memes saying something akin to, “We won the game but now they’re putting more points on the board.

Which would be wrong if it were true. A more accurate assessment would be like, “The game is over but the scoreboard operator was a couple days late in posting the score.” If the scoreboard zapped out mid-game, would a football game suddenly revert to 0-0? Of course not, because scorekeeping doesn’t change what happens on the field. The valid scoring plays would still be recorded. And the valid votes are being recorded now.

It’s not like the whole world couldn’t see this “protest” being set up in advance, in plain sight?


·        Hammered the message that mail-in votes are somehow inherently fraudulent, so that Republican voters turn out to vote on Election Day, while Democrats embraced mail-in voting.

·        Sabotaged the post office to delay delivery of mail-in ballots.

·        In some states, forbade the counting of early votes, for which there is no coherent reason to do so.

So now when the Election Day vote, which they sculpted, comes in early for Trump, they demand the count to stop, knowing the Dem votes had yet to be recorded. This was widely predicted and the Republicans did not disappoint. That’s exactly how it’s playing out.

How is it possible that all these late votes are coming in so heavily for Biden?” they whine.

Because the Republicans designed it that way, with their own words and deeds. They set up their eventual appeal during the course of the trial.

It’s really quite simple. You cast the votes. You count the votes. Whoever has the most, wins. (State by state, or whatever… same principle.) As hard as the Republicans have been cheating via voter suppression and gerrymandering, it stands to reason they think the only reason Biden won is because the Dems cheated better.

They don’t understand that if we WERE cheating, we’d have gotten rid of Mitch and Lindsey, and every other Trump abettor who still defile the Senate.