Another lame pro-murder meme

This meme popped up on a friend’s timeline:

This doesn’t even make sense.

I know the pro-murder crowd thinks that the gun is just an innocent bystander in a mass shooting, just some kind of incidental ornament, and that “blaming” the gun is as ridiculous as “blaming” the car for the DUI. However, no one is blaming the gun. That framing device is sheer equivocation.

No, my position on DUI is not to find out what car is involved and to ban it.  My position on DUI is to take the drunk driver’s keys away from him.

We will now let the pro-murder crowd work that one out.

A lesson unlearned

It seems that Hasbro has decided to come out with a “Cheaters” edition of Monopoly. Their rationale is that since people are incorrigible cheaters at the classic board game anyway, they might as well play along, encouraging “players to cheat by such methods as moving another player’s token, skipping spaces, or stealing extra money from the bank when they pass Go.”

“Those who successfully pull off the cheats are rewarded with cash and property,” Hasbro sweetly concludes.

Well.

I was never a huge fan of the game as a child.  It seemed to me that there was something inherently unfair about the game, where one person ended up with all the money and everyone else ended up broke. You may imagine how vindicated I felt when I learned that the game was originally meant to be a lesson in unrestrained capitalism, a warning about what happens when you let the rich eat you instead of the right and proper vice versa.

So, Hasbro, “Those who successfully pull off the cheats are rewarded with cash and property”?

You don’t fupping say.

You, free press, listen up.

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  There are two reasons for this.  First, most of my creativity posts have been happening over at Lichtenbergianism.com, and I see no reason to double-post.

Second, I have had to face the fact that if I were to rant liberally here, I would soon be reduced to a soggy lump of foaming, impotent fury. The Current Administration is simply a fire hose of corruption, venality, meanness, and double-talk, and no one can keep up. I do not intend to try, at least bloggingwise-speaking.

However, I have just about had it with the aggressive lying that seems to gush forth from anyone allied with the Current Administration whenever they are asked a question by the members of our free press.  The strategy that makes me scream and throw things the most is the ‘pivot,’ wherein the reporter asks a solid question which the liar doesn’t want to answer, and they will pivot to another topic entirely.  Allow me to demonstrate.

Suppose you were a parent, and you wanted to know if your child had taken out the trash.

—  —  —  —  —

YOU:  Bobby, have you taken out the trash?

BOBBY: The fact that you ask that question means you haven’t taken the time to ascertain the facts of the matter here.

 —  —  —  —  —

YOU:  Bobby, have you taken out the trash?

BOBBY: I think the more important question is whether Jill has done her chores at all.  Has she cleaned her room?

 —  —  —  —  —

YOU:  Bobby, have you taken out the trash?

BOBBY: If you were being honest, you’d recognize that I’d already put away my clothes and taken the dog for a walk.

 —  —  —  —  —

Unbelievable. No parent would tolerate such a response to a direct question.  And yet our press is trapped, especially in live media, unable to press their point and get a direct answer.

For our comrades in print, however, I do have a suggestion.  At the moment, you report their non-answer, catapulting their lies straight into the record.  Don’t.  Stop reporting their words.  You asked a question — report on their answer, not with their answer.

In other words, if they don’t answer the question, report that they didn’t answer the question.  Do not report what they said.  Frame your report so that the reader has an idea of what you were trying to get the bottom of, and then report that the liar failed to answer.

Here are some examples:

With two bags of trash standing by the kitchen door, Bobby was asked whether he had done his chore of taking the trash out.  He evaded answering the question directly.

One of Bobby’s chores is to take out the trash.  When asked whether he had done so, he attempted to shift attention to his sister Jill and her chores.

When asked whether he had fulfilled his chore of taking out the trash, Bobby left the question unanswered, instead enumerating other chores he said he had accomplished.

See?  At no point do you repeat Bobby’s misleading words.  You report on his answer and whether he answered the question at all.

Guys in broadcast media, I got nothing at this point other than a mute button or to cut the interview short after the liar attempts to obfuscate the issue and to tell the audience that since the liar had not answered the question, there was no point in continuing.

Honestly.

There’s a small kerfuffle going on over in the Twitterverse over the New York Times interview with the Current Embarrassment. Maggie Haberman took exception to the rest of Twitter taking exception to the reporters’ abject stenography of the man’s usual incoherent ramblings, and her ratio[1] is about what you would expect.

Have a look:

Etc.

The tl;dr is that we expect the New York Times to dig a little deeper, to confront this fraud with questions that make it clear that he’s a fraud, and not to let him run amok through the truth.  There are those who say that it’s obvious that he’s a fraud just from the transcript, but that is not the case.  If it were, the NYT and the Washington Post wouldn’t keep running similarly uninformative stories about his die-hard voters who still think he’s saving us all from the hellscape of the Obama administration.

Here would be my point if I were to jump into the fracas: at no point in the last six years and especially in the last two has Donald J. Trump even once shown a grasp of legislative or policy matters. Not. Even. Once.  Revealing this to us in an interview once again without any kind of followup question is really really pointless.  You think you’re making it obvious that he’s an idiot, but we already know that.  His followers refuse to know that.  Why keep doing it?

But tweeters who are more likely to be noticed by the NYT than I are already making that point.  I’ll stick to #Lichtenbergianism and my Precepts.

—  —  —  —  —

[1] The ‘ratio’ is kind of new intertubes-speak for the ratio between your retweets and your comments.  When your comments — which usually indicate disagreement — start outweighing your retweets, you know you’ve stepped in it.

Oh dear.

Here go read this.  Don’t want to click on it?  What if I were to tell you that the headline is

This Man Is Launching Himself in a Homemade Rocket to Prove Earth Is Flat

?

It’s easy to laugh at this guy, but every day we see the same thing all around us.  I was guided to the article from a friend’s post on Facebook, and just a few posts before that some guy was ranting about “Benghazie” and how come we hadn’t investigated that, henngh??

When someone pointed out the seven or so endless, fruitless congressional investigations and linked to a Wikipedia article, his response was, “I don’t get my facts from Wikipedia.” (The linker pointed out the 30+ references at the end of the article and noted acerbically that perhaps Mr. Whacko didn’t get his facts at all.)

This is where we are, folks. It’s an appalling repeat of the 1840s when the Flat Earth theory first popped up: shyster pitch-men who may or may not believe what they’re selling to the rubes; the appeal to Scripture as an absolute truth; the scalding vituperation towards science and fact; and the refusal to countenance any evidence that contradicts the Holy Word of whoever it is that’s telling you that the Earth is Flat.

You see it in the Alabama senatorial race, where all news is fake. You see it in the Sandy Hook truthers. You see it in all the commenters on the Current Embarrassment’s Twitter feed. (No link — you’re on your own there.)

And this from a crowd who used to scorn liberals for holding “relative values” and for wanted to teach skills and process instead of “facts” in schools.

Here’s your amygdala on drugs…

…or at least that’s the only reasonable explanation for this:

This is the chart Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Derp) plopped out the other day during the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.  They were interviewing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and some of the lesser-brained were asking/demanding that Sessions launch a special prosecutor to investigate ALL THE CLINTON URANIUM, KENNETH!

Okay. Let’s remind ourselves that a) Hillary Clinton didn’t approve anything, much less the sale of “all our uranium” to Russia; b) eight different federal agencies had to sign off on the deal, which c) involved allowing a Russian company to invest in a Canadian company that mines uranium in the U.S., and d) no American uranium was allowed to leave the country…

… so what the hell is this chart supposed to be telling us?

Actually, this is an easy question to answer.  This chart is telling us LOOK, A CLINTON! so that the amygdala-based lifeforms can get their life-sustaining shot of fear and anger.  There is no logical pattern to the chart.  It does not present any kind of evidentiary trail or connections. It’s just a conglomeration of buzzwords that make the wingnuts buzz.

Gohmert, who is not the sharpest spork in the knife drawer, was probably quite serious in presenting this chart.  If it were someone else, one might suspect him of being cynically manipulative, but Gohmert’s brain  — and the brains of everyone like him — actually works like this: lots and lots of ill-defined code words that swarm around his amygdala, giving him the energy to continue living.

If I were an elected representative in that meeting, I would be tempted to ask my esteemed colleague from Texas to walk us through the chart. On national television. I would probably interrupt to ask him to clarify the connections between items.  I would definitely ask him to state his conclusions in simple, declarative sentences.

Because I’m a mean, mean man.

This is who is voting on tax reform, people.

A thought experiment

Whenever we have yet another mass shooting in the country, the usual cry is that because of the Second Amendment we can’t do anything about restricting gun ownership in this country.  Proponents of guns will throw up all kinds of slippery slope arguments about restricting types of guns, numbers of guns, or ammo, and demand that the rest of us answer their unanswerable questions.  Or they throw up smokescreens about “mental health” and “banning cars” and other non sequiturs.

So, no, gun humpers, I am not going to engage in your hypothetical impossibilities.

Instead, let’s try this.  Imagine that this country is largely gun free.  You know, like the rest of the industrialized world.  Don’t pretend we had to have a way to get there.  Just assume that’s where we started, with no “Second Amendment” or other shibboleths that allow anyone to own an arsenal.

Imagine we live in a United States without the gun deaths we now have, a country without guns.

Now, let’s imagine you want to convince me that the country needs to become the United States we now have, with stockpiles of weapons and ammo, and daily gun deaths, and mass shootings every other day.

What are your arguments?  Remember, there is no “Second Amendment.”  You need to convince me that our actual current status is where we want to move towards.

Or if this is too hard, then pretend I’m Australia, and convince me why I need to become the United States.

Take all the time you need.

Honey, please

I haven’t ranted nearly as much as I could, given the opportunities that abound in our nation today.  Part of it is that the opportunities are such a fire hose.  I feel like I’m in one of those money grab booths: I’m being bombarded by all the outrages of the Current Embarrassment and I just can’t seem to grab just one.

Somehow, though, I was completely struck dumb by one of the outrages that flew past yesterday — YESTERDAY, KENNETH! — so you know it had to be spectacular.

For some reason, in the midst of the Mueller indictments/arrests/pleas, John Kelly, chief of staff and supposed “adult in the room,” chose to go on Laura Ingraham’s show and defend the Confederacy.  The topic was Confederate monuments — for some reason — and Kelly said, and I quote, “… the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War.”

Wait, what?

My reaction, and that of the entire internet, can be summed up thusly:

WHAT THE HELL, JOHN KELLY? A lack of compromise caused the Civil War?? A lack of compromise on what, exactly?

I can’t even. Once again I am rendered dumb by the brazenness of this administration.  I will let Ta-Nehisi Coates do the honors.

UPDATE: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on the kerfuffle, i.e., Robert E. Lee being a dedicated slave-owner and similar niggling details: “All of our leaders have flaws, that doesn’t diminish their contributions to society.”

Wait, what?  She went on to list some of those men: “Washington, Jefferson, JFK, Roosevelt, Kennedy” — niftily giving John F. Kennedy two personæ in the process.

Okay.  Let’s see if we can suss out the problem with Sanders’ statement.  Here’s a quiz:

Sarah, sweetie, I know you’re from Arkansas, but ROBERT E. LEE WAS NOT ONE OF “OUR” LEADERS. This is a very, very hard concept for us Southerners to understand, but IT IS TRUE, KENNETH.

Here’s the answer key to the quiz.  Don’t peek.  I SAID, DON’T PEEK, KENNETH!

 

Funeral oration

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to celebrate the life of Bill Jones, who had a great life, one of the best, believe me. Didn’t he have a great life?

I’d like to just say that Bill’s cousin Edna has been very appreciative of all I’ve done for the family in this difficult time. And she doesn’t even go to my church, and she’s telling me what a great job I’ve done, isn’t that great? Thank you Edna for your kind words.

I’d like to have gotten by the house for a visit, but honestly I just couldn’t. Y’all live on the other side of the interstate, and it’s much more difficult—so much traffic, you wouldn’t believe the traffic. So big.

Bill Jones was born June 16, 1952, and died last Thursday of a heart attack. So sad. Not as sad as Ed McClintock’s pancreatic cancer, now there was a sad death, a real disaster. You should all feel proud of Bill’s heart attack.

This is a great funeral, isn’t it? One of the best, believe me. I know people are talking about how will the family pay for it—I know y’all’ve been struggling—and I don’t even want to think about how it will impact your contribution to the church. I know we’ll have to have some discussion about finances, won’t we?

Speaking of finances, did you see the new church vans? Air-conditioning, cruise control, they’re the best. We got such a deal on them, a great deal, the best. I know they’re a comfort to you in this time of grief.

Thank you all for coming. I gotta be going—I’m heading out to Vegas. Got some funerals to do there, too!

An open letter to my legislators

Dear Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator David Perdue, and Representative Drew Ferguson:

I’d like to thank you for your unwavering support of the man who shot 600 party-goers in Las Vegas. Your principled stance to support his actions has not gone unnoticed.

By standing athwart any attempts to prevent a recurrence —or by simply saying nothing— you have guaranteed that it will happen again. This is what America has come to expect from you, and I say well done!

I appreciate that you feel required to express regrets over the “senseless deaths,” and to offer your “heartfelt prayers and sympathies,” because certain things have to be said. The forms must be observed, after all. But I can tell that your true “sympathies” lie with the man who smuggled an arsenal into a hotel room and opened fire on the crowd below. If they didn’t, you would be joining those who call for prompt legislation to combat this so-called violence.  But don’t!  Stand firm!

It’s okay, too, if you feel compelled to use counterexamples and analogies that deflect the naysayers, like “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” That’s a good one! I also like the one about people using knives and fertilizer bombs—also effective when you don’t really want to stop the “senseless deaths.” Keep that up—we love it!

Oh, and the whole “now is not the time” or “we shouldn’t politicize these deaths”—I think those are very effective!  They buy you time to wait for all the sturm und drang to die down so you can get back to business.

I’m sure there are those who hope to influence you to do something—anything—to prevent another lunatic from shooting more U.S. citizens than have been killed in any one day in Afghanistan or Iraq, but stand firm! Keep doing what you’re doing! I understand your position completely, and I support you.

Yr obt,
Dale Lyles