Not even an answer

A few weeks ago I faxed my representatives in the Congress (using the very good to do so) about the Current Occupant’s praise of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “handling of the drug problem,” i.e., murdering drug users and drug dealers.  The question was very simple: Do you agree with the Current Occupant?

Here is U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson’s response, via email:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. 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.

I will address my comments to Senator Isakson:

Senator, you may not remember it, but you and I worked together a couple of times on the State STAR Student program, and we encountered each other once or twice through your chairmanship of the State Board of Education and my involvement with GHP.  You always struck me as intelligent and balanced.

But this unwillingness to speak out against the unconsidered comments and actions of the incompetent, venal, egomaniacal, and vindictive man you have in the White House is both craven and disappointing.  Is this how you want to be remembered, as an enabler of the disaster that the Executive Branch reveals itself to be every day?  Do you really want it said that you were willing to allow the worst excesses of this White House as long as your party’s social/economic agenda could be crammed through Congress, often flouting your own rules to do so?  Is this who you thought you were going to be when you ran for office?

Shame on you.

A real simple question


My question today to my senators:

Do you agree with the U.S. President that the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem”?

Duterte, of course, has been attempting to solve his nation’s drug problem by killing all the drug sellers and drug users.

I wonder what form email I’ll get in reply?

And Trump supporters, I really really need to hear you justify this.  I want to hear how much you will abase yourself to avoid criticizing your leader.  I want to hear you agree that murdering people is a good thing.

And while we’re on a roll here, I need to hear you agree with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s support of Saudi repression of political dissent:


Object permanence: how does it even work?

This popped up on Facebook today:

This is the “evidence” used by racists whenever they’re doing the uh-UH you’re the racist thing: since the Democratic party took this position over a 100 years ago, they’re the real racists.

There’s plenty of this type of thing in archives about our great nation:

Like with today’s racists, it seems to have been a talking point passed freely around:

But back to my point about today’s racists’ uh-UH stratagem.  I have found that there’s no point in arguing any kind of historical perspective, because those folks don’t do historical perspective.  (Cf., “Why was there a Civil War?” With a conservative and a liberal take from writers who do have historical perspective.)

So when confronted with this fuppery:

… I shall now reply, “That’s absolutely true.  Those voters were racist cretins.  Here’s the deal, though: those voters haven’t changed. They’re still racist cretins.  Their party allegiance has certainly switched, though.”


I had a realization this morning.

People who voted for the Current Republican Administration have gotten very defensive about their new leader.  It seems that the rest of the world looks on agape as the man flounders his way through actually governing the nation, and his supporters are miffed when anyone points out that on the whole a seven-year-old has better self-control and predictive skills.

“SNOWFLAKES!” they yell.  “HE WON! GET OVER IT!”  Their point seems to be that nuh-uh, he isn’t floundering, he’s the bestest President ever look at how he’s done the most of any President evAR.

Ahem, as Delores Umbridge would say.

This morning, I read this article and realized a thing.

Here’s the money quote:

“…because the president knows effectively nothing about policy, he doesn’t understand in advance whether developments have worked in his favor or not. Trump relies on media coverage to tell him, after the fact, whether he’s done well or poorly, and he then reacts accordingly.”

I would like to point out to the Trumpettes that this is why you voted for him.  The very fact that he knows nothing about policy, nothing about government, nothing about protocol, is why you voted for him.  You wanted someone who was going to go in like a bull in a china shop and wreck the status quo.

So when the rest of us point and laugh at the man because he trips over his own ego and ignorance at every turn, you don’t get to get huffy about it.  You have to embrace it.  “Yes,” you must say, “we admire him for getting all pissy because he lost the spending bill battle.  In fact, we love that he got outmaneuvered by the Democrats—we think that kind of incompetence is exactly what we need in the White House!  Drink Brawndo!”

Yep.  Keep reminding yourself: this is why I voted for him.  This.

The rest of us will keep pointing and laughing.

What is wrong with these people, #3,276,990

Here’s a screen shot of an article in Variety.

—click to read the entire article—

This is very funny, is it not, the reduction of an act of violence, a fupping missile strike, to a bon mot, a piquant witticism to make one’s fellow billionaires chortle?

These are the people in charge now: so rich, so insulated, so absolutely unconcerned with the other 99.9% of the earth’s population—or the earth itself—that the death and misery of other humans is a humorous abstraction for a stand-up routine.

What is to be done?

I can’t even

Remember how Bill Clinton was always referred to as a “draft dodger”?

Or how we all slagged Barack Obama for not saluting a Marine when getting off the helicopter?[1]

Or how none of us liberals “support” the “troops”?[2]

Hold that thought, because it’s time to play yet another round of IOKIYAR!

The Current Occupant was inspired recently to personally pin a Purple Heart medal onto Army SFC Alvaro Barrientos, where he congratulated the young man, whose leg had been amputated, telling him it was “tremendous.”  Just tremendous, not yooge?  But I digress.

The Current Occupant’s brain, from my observations, seems to be pretty binary: A/NOT A.  There is no B, and Cthulhu help the rest of the alphabet.  He sees winning and not winning.  The young man won a Purple Heart.  He was to be congratulated for winning.  Simple.

The idea that perhaps the young man would rather have his leg than the ribbon, that there might be more layers to this man’s experience, that perhaps other words might better express the Commander in Chief’s appreciation for a citizen’s service/sacrifice, never entered the Current Occupant’s brain.

So “Congratulations!… Tremendous!” it is.

Now imagine, if you will, if Barack Obama had handed a Purple Heart to a wounded soldier—let’s say, for the fun of it, a white boy from North Carolina—as if he were getting the immunity idol instead of being voted off the island.[3]  Imagine how Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly or god help us Michelle Malkin would have reacted.  Imagine the huffing and puffing on the Sunday circus shows from Mitch McConnell or Lindsey Graham or John McCain.

How do you think the rightwing Wurlitzer is reacting to this tone-deaf gaffe?

  1. crickets
  2. crickets
  3. crickets
  4. dead crickets
  5. all of the above

Take all the time you need.


[1] Which, as a civilian, the President is not supposed to do.  Reagan, that Great Pretender, was the first to pull that stunt.

[2] Limited to bumper stickers, yellow ribbons, and yelling at hippies.  Funding veterans healthcare or GI Bill not included.  Prosthetics sold separately.

[3] Imagery used deliberately.

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 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. just leads to a single page. 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:


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?


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”:



[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.