Some choose darkness

We all live in bubbles—it’s more comfy in here, isn’t it?

But some choose to live in some pretty dark bubbles.   On a whim just now, wondering what the conservative side of the world thought about Sean Spicer’s disastrous press conference where he idiotically compared Assad to Hitler (who didn’t even use chemical weapons, you guys), I went to the Fox News website and typed in Sean Spicer Holocaust.

This is what I got:

Zero results.

Here’s what Google gave me:

Not a fair comparison, you say?  Google is an aggregate search?  Fine. Here’s CNN:

No, it’s not because CNN is “liberal.”  CNN is a news outlet, and Sean Spicer’s astounding gaffe was news.

Fox “News” chose deliberately not to tell its audience that this thing happened.  Fox viewers have no idea that the Republican Administration’s press secretary said that

“I think a couple things. You look — we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You had a — someone who is despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

and that it went downhill from there.  (For a truly hysterical, laugh-so-that-you-might-not-cry summary of the debacle, see as always Wonkette’s take.)

A study done several years ago showed that people who watched only Fox News were less knowledgeable about current events than those who watched no news at all.  Even taking into account that correlation is not causation — people that blindered would seek a narrow worldview anyway — it’s still a reason why your rightwing relative thinks you’re an insane libtard.  Whenever you shower them with facts, their innate fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in: you’re a snotty, pointy-headed intellectual without any common sense.

It’s a pretty thick, dark bubble to be in.

Signs & Portents

Last night, my lovely first wife and I finally got around to watching Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, and it was pretty much everything everyone said it would be.  But since we were having to stream it via VH1 we had to watch the ads, which is not our wont.

Most of the ads were what you might expect: Axe products, that kind of bro stuff.  But late in the show, there was an ad (which I cannot find online) which floored me.

It was—in style and in content—a campaign ad.  For the Current Republican Administration.

It led with “jobs added in the first month,” which even the most rabid Trumpista cannot think the CRA accomplished (especially given its stunning incompetence in almost every area).  Other stuff, similarly pitched.  I wish I had taken notes, because I can’t remember now.  My jaw was on the floor the entire time.

I thought it was by some organization called makeamericagreatagain.com or something, but here’s a hoot of a thing: if you click on that link, it doesn’t go at all where you think it will go.  makeamericagreat.com just leads to a single page.  greatamericapac.com is a PAC, but doesn’t have the ad on its site.

Anyway, it ended by encouraging us to keep up the pressure so that we could “finish the job.”  It was a campaign ad for people who already won the election.

Is this where we are now?  Is this who we are now?  Our government—We The People—is one big reality show.  With ads, selling us styrofoam opinions and urging us to watch Must See GOP.  The Real White House Staffers.  Survivor: American Cabinet.

I wondered if the ad were part of the White House communications push to subvert American opinion during the run-up to the 100th day mark.  (As always, Wonkette’s take on the story is a delight.)  But since the ad was from a PAC, that would mean the CRA was coordinating with a PAC.  IS THAT EVEN LEGAL, KENNETH?  Actually, I don’t know.  Is it?

Stay classy, America.

(We’re doomed.)

That’s not how it works

The other day I found myself behind a very large, black pickup truck.  It had all the accoutrements—if one may use the term—one expects from the male of that species, and it was being driven as one might expect it to be driven, i.e., without regard for others.

Plastered across the driver’s side of the back window was this:

::sigh::

This is big bad, no?  We know that the driver has big hairy balls, as indicated by his embrace of the death cult.  He has no reservations about killing.  He will shoot evil-doers.  He will shoot you.

You know what’s coming, right?  You can guess what occupied the center of the rear window, can’t you?

Yep.

I’ve written about this before, 10 years ago, and my point is the same: this is not what the man meant.

When I was a kid, all those mega-movies coming out of Hollywood based on such novels as Ben-Hur or The Robe all portrayed early Christians as practically feeding themselves to the lions.  They were meek.  They offered themselves as sacrifices, as martyrs.  They went to their gruesome (offscreen) deaths with beatific calmness, certain they were going to join Christ in eternal bliss.

It was a good thing, we were told, by both Hollywood and Sunday School, to recognize one’s wormly status and to embrace it.  He was despised and rejected of men; He hid not His face from shame and spitting.  We were to follow His example, were we not? Something something other cheek.

So where does this ultramacho bullshit come from?

We all know the answer: it’s conservative white men for whom everything is about dominance.  Period.  There is nothing in their attitude that is congruent with what they say their religion is; but it is as if they feel they have “perfected” Christ’s message by taking it to some kind of “next level.”[1] They are more than you in every way: more manlier, more Christianier, certainly more kick-buttier.

I’m not the only one who has noticed.  Here’s a good read from a Christian author.  And of course my favorite liberal evangelical blogger, Slacktivist.

Needless to say, I have no solution.  I know it would take a true Road to Damascus moment for the scales to fall from these men’s eyes, and I’m not in charge of those.  If I had any advice for them, though, it would be, “Mean, prideful, and poisoned is no way to go through life, son.”

For funsies, here are two images I found in a Google search for “Christian truck decals man”:

Oy.

—————

[1] Spoiler alert: They’re wrong.

Something I don’t get

So yesterday the Republican Administration signed a quickie little bill that encapsulates that particular party’s stance on the working person. Here, read the article.

tl;dr: The Obama administration put into place a regulation that says if you have a contract with the federal government, you have to document any labor/wage violations you’ve had for the past three years, the presumption being that if you’re a real dick to your workers, the federal government might want to give our tax dollars to someone who isn’t stealing them from their employees’ paychecks or killing them outright.  Emphasis on might; the rule was not ironclad.

However, even that was too much for our captains of industry, and so they got their employees (aka Congress) to fire up the Congressional Review Act and overturn the regulation.  The CRA is a particularly nasty little piece of procedural fuppery that says a Congress can overturn any regulation within 60 working days (which for our Congress could be nearly an entire year) and then prohibit the re-introduction of that regulation or anything resembling it unless the Congress passes a law doing so.

Here’s the deal: companies can skirt the labor/wage laws with near impunity.  They can require you to work overtime without compensation (another recent CRA triumph); make you work in unsafe conditions; limit your hours so that they don’t have to pay you benefits; etc etc etc—and 99 times out of 100 nothing will be done about it.  The workers affected by these kinds of things are usually low-wage workers without agency.  They can’t stand up to the boss because they can’t afford to lose their jobs.

So the previous administration decided that perhaps the carrot of easy federal money could be supplemented with the stick of lawful compliance.  You’d think that wouldn’t be too much to ask.  You know, follow the law, we give you our Ameros.  Seems simple enough.

What gets to me is why this should even be necessary. Your company screws over its workers?  No Ameros for you.  Period.  You’re breaking the law.

But for the Republican Party, those laws are the problem, and any regulation that seeks to enforce them is a Bad Thing.  If they could overturn the laws themselves, they would, and my advice is to keep your eyes peeled and count the silver.

The root of all evil

Here’s the link to the article imaged below.

Emphasis mine.

This is Gingrich’s modus operandi: he loads everything he says with nasty, vituperative words so that even if you are only paying attention halfway, you cannot avoid feeling revulsion at whatever the hell he’s ranting about.

He’s done this since the 90s, and he’s done it deliberately. If you wonder where Kellyanne Conway or Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly came from, look no further.

Newt Gingrich is why we are where we are today.

An UNBELIEVABLY easy answer

Sent to Isakson, Perdue, and Ferguson:

Yesterday afternoon the President tweeted the following:

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! —@realDonaldTrump, 4:48 pm, 2/17/17

I expect you to denounce this tweet from the White House—and the sentiment it represents—in no uncertain terms.  Will you?

Yeah, right.

Stupid answers

I know that our Congress is so technologically illiterate that they have no way of responding meaningfully to the millions of emails they get, especially these days when the whole planet knows them to be craven wankers more concerned with preserving their party’s dominance than the republic, but seriously, Sen. Isakson?

As you know, I have been emailing my elected congresscritters some very simple questions, almost none of which they have answered directly. This past week, I was astonished to see five emails from Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Prepare to be amazed.

Two of them said this:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding federal policy. I appreciate your thoughts and the opportunity to respond.

As a member of the United States Senate, I am pleased to see constituents, such as you, taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns about the federal government and its policies. Your letter will be helpful to me as the Senate considers legislation dealing with the issues facing our great nation.

Thank you again for contacting me, and I hope you will not hesitate to call on me in the future if I can be of assistance to you.

Three of them said this:

Thank you for contacting me about President Trump. I appreciate hearing from you and am grateful for the opportunity to respond.

I believe the American people elected President Trump because they want change in Washington. They want us to rein in federal spending and reduce our national debt so we do not mortgage our children’s future. Voters also sent the message that they need relief from excessive government regulation. We must promote a level playing field and institute commonsense, pro-job growth solutions.

I also recognize that our country is very divided at this time. I hope that President Trump and leaders in Congress will make it a priority to find areas of common ground where we can work together to help all Americans regardless of their race, sex, religion, or where they live. I am ready to work with the president and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get the best results for Georgia and the country.

Thank you again for contacting me.

I think the only thing worse than not getting an answer at all from your elected officials is to receive a string of emails that say literally nothing more than, “We got your email.”  There is absolutely no indication that either he or his staff have actually registered what my specific concern is.  I mean, I have sent the man fifteen questions.  To which five of those are these even an non-answer?

Somehow this is not that “let’s put aside our partisan bickering” bullfuppery I have heard so much about from these putzes.

An unbelievably easy answer

You may recall that back in December the head of the current Republican administration tweeted his desire to jumpstart the nuclear arms race, because that makes sense.[1]

Now it is being reported that he and his boyfriend Vlad were talking the other weekend, and the leader of the free world confessed that it seemed to him that neither country had enough nuclear warheads and that Obama was a poopyhead for negotiating the most recent START agreements limiting the two countries.  Not banning nuclear weapons, minds you, just limiting, but even that chafes the Leader’s butt.

Sweet baby Cthulhu, how small are the man’s hands??

Off we go to our senators, who would be in charge of any treaties, etc.

On Dec 24, 2016, I emailed you to ask if you agreed with the president’s tweet that we should restart the nuclear arms race.  You haven’t answered.

Now it appears that the president, in a private talk with Putin, has denigrated the limitations of the most recent START agreement.

If this proves to be the case, will you support a nuclear arms race?  If so, to what end?

I do not expect an answer.

—————
[1] It does not make sense, not strategically, not tactically, not militarily, not ethically, not even economically.

A Fantasy Interview

One day, in the gym locker room,[1] on the flatscreen TV:[2]

FOX NEWSBOT: We welcome to the program Congressman Frothermouth, from [Red State Redacted].

REPUBLICAN FROTHERMOUTH RIGHTWINGER [RFR]: First step repeal Obamacare repeal it disaster horrific consequences protect American freedom health care costs we’ll have a plan BUT FIRST REPEAL IT BECAUSE ARGLE BARGLE GYAAAAAHHH!

BOT: You say that the Affordable Care Act has been a disaster…

RFR: ARGLE BARGLE GYAAAAAHHHH!

BOT: In what way?

RFR: [all the terrible things that would still have happened even if ACA had never existed]

BOT: Let’s look at some data.  More citizens now have insurance than before ACA.  Health care costs have actually slowed. There are fewer preventable deaths now.  People are now actually getting preventive care.  Are you saying that the plan the Republicans will propose will continue these trends or even better them?

RFR: Obamacare has crashed and burned ARGLE BARGLE GYAAAAAHHH!

BOT: Let me ask you this.  It’s been eight years since the Congress passed the ACA.  Why don’t the Republicans already have a plan to replace it?  After all, you’ve voted over sixty times to repeal it. Surely you’ve been at work all this time?

RFR: REPEAL THE MANDATE SELL ACROSS STATE LINES AMERICANS GYAAHHH!

BOT: I’ll ask again.  Why don’t you have a plan ready to go to replace the ACA?

RFR: We placed plans on Obama’s desk but WOULDN’T SIGN IT ANTICHRIST REPEAL OBAMACARE!

BOT: If you had a plan, and Obama wouldn’t sign it, shouldn’t you be able to pass it now secure in the knowledge that the Republican Administration would sign it into law?  Why don’t you do that?

RFR: First we have to REPEAL THE FAILED OBACAMARE ARGLE BARGLE GYAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

BOT: Is it at all possible that you have no plan, you never had a plan, that you will never have a plan, mainly because the ACA was a Republican plan to begin with?  Is it at all possible that the 60+ votes you took to “repeal” it was just grandstanding to rile up the amygdala-based lifeforms who constitute your base and who have no real understanding of the law but who because of your grandstanding now react with visceral hatred at the very mention of the name “Obamacare”?  And finally, is it not possible that you’ve caught your dick in your zipper and the only thing you can do now is keep yelling the same talking points without any coherent approach to legislating the issue?

RFR: WE HAVE TO REPEAL THE HEINOUS[3] OBAMACARE HILLARY’S EMAILS BENGHAZI RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS BOWLING GREEN MASSACRE!

And scene.

—————

[1] It’s the locker room where I look like this:

[2] Based on an actual Republican congressman’s interview, for real.

[3] No, it is unlikely the RFR would know or use a word like heinous, but this is a fantasy, remember?

Dear White House Press Corps…

One of the drawbacks of swimming at the gym now is that the flatscreen TV in the locker room is tuned to Fox News, and I never thought I would see the day when I hoped that sports would be on the tube.

Me, after two weeks at the gym. (artist’s conception)

Today I heard yet another presser hosted by Melissa McCarthy Sean Spicer and watched in disbelief as one reporter, referring to the Current Occupant’s statement yesterday that terrorist massacres were being “under-reported” by the “very very dishonest press,” fumbled his question.  Spicer skittered away across the surface of the pond, untouched by any attempt to get some hard truth from him.

Sweet Jebus, White House Press Corps, do yourself a favor and head straight to the nearest elementary school. Sign in, and ask to be assigned to a kindergarten class.  Take notes.

BECAUSE KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS CAN GET BETTER ANSWERS OUT OF SEAN SPICER THAN YOU CAN.

Here’s the deal: Never never ever ask a kid a yes/no question about some misbehavior.

TEACHER: Did you hit Suzie?

SEAN: No, I was just blah blah blah.

No.  Watch and learn.

TEACHER: Tell me what happened here.  Sean, you go first.

SEAN: Well, Suzie called me a doopyface so I hit her.

And scene.

How does this work for you guys?

Instant replay:

REPORTER: Yesterday, when the President said that terror attacks were being under-reported, did he mean blah blah blah?

SPICER: —::deny:: — ::pivot:: — ::spin:: — [runs away laughing, possibly shouting “nanny-nanny-boo-boo”]

That’s not how you do it.  Watch and learn:

REPORTER: Yesterday, the President said about terrorist attacks, and I quote, “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”  What did he mean by that?

SPICER: Um… I thought Melissa McCarthy was funny, but she chewed too much gum.  No more questions.

So there go you.  Hie thee to an elementary school and pick up some skills.  I imagine you could even learn this in Betsy Fupping Devos’ new string of for-profit Talibaptist madrassas.  Well, if any of the people being paid minimum wage to ride herd on students there are in fact teachers.