Archive for category Political Pungency

25 years ago: Yes, maybe, and nofuckin’ way

Things I could have easily believed about the year 2017 twenty-five years ago, when I graduated from college:
  • People would be using computers to videoconference in real time
  • The notion of “writing letters” would be a quaint memory for most
  • Most entertainment (music, movies) would not be stored on the physical media of the day, but retained digitally in remote places or on tiny devices
Things I could have believed with only minor difficulty:
  • The Red Sox would win three or more World Series
  • I would run a marathon at 5:30 pace
  • I would settle in Colorado
Things I would not have believed under any circumstances:
  • The U.S. President would be both deranged, stupid, and proudly immoral
  • A lot of people would be happy that the POTUS was deranged, stupid, and proudly immoral
  • That POTUS would be Donald Trump
Anyone who thinks I dislike Trump because he’s a Republican is mistaken. I do hate congressional Republicans uniformly and a good many Dems as well, and figure that almost anyone who runs for high office has some kind of obvious flaw inviting a massive and crippling punch to the middle of the face.

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We don’t just resist enlightenment; we like being ripped off

According to another depressing poll from the Pew Research Center, churches and banks earn more trust from Americans than colleges and the media. Not surprisingly, Republicans and right-leaning people are more openly hostile toward reality and more eager to embrace horseshit and ruinous influences than others.
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Say what you will about the media and higher education, but lying to people for the purpose of parting them from their money is almost the sole intent of the people running churches and banks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Donald Trump walks into a hotel room

Donald Trump walks into a hotel room. Vladimir Putin is standing at the foot of the bed with his pants around his ankles, clasping his rigid phallus, which Trump enviously notes is nearly four inches long. Ivanka lies naked on the bed, arms and legs akimbo, a pool of yuck betwixt her meticulously groomed thighs, and even more vacant look than usual on her kewpie-doll features.

“Did you just fuck my daughter?” Trump asks incredulously (and again, with no small amount of envy).

“Of course not,” declares Putin, nonchalantly tucking his rapidly deflating meat-whistle into his goofy pants. “We were just discussing policy.”

“Great!” booms Trump, his familiar ugly rictus of a “smile” quickly polluting his features. “We’re done here — but would you consider naming some good folks to my new U.S. Anti-Extramarital Affairs Council? Send me your best.”

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More hollow appeasement of idiots by most visible idiot on Earth

Donald Trump remains a bloated old shitbag who looks so openly irate and stressed and confused while performing the most basic of tasks, like signing his own name, that it’s impossible to not feel a modicum of pity at the sight of him in addition to the frustration and despair any decent or sane person has to experience when confronted with the fact that we Americans live in a country that elected such a worthless human being president, and therefore live in a country with numerous people whose major function as citizens is taking up space unnecessarily until they blessedly expire and rot into forgotten irrelevance, as Trump himself will do one day erelong.

I’d love to tell him all of this to his face, but the real impact of this executive order, like so many of his preceding ones, is probably minimal. He’s basically telling preachers of the swamp-dwelling Elmer Gantry type that they can officially tell parishioners whom to vote for, which is like giving a teenage boy permission to masturbate vigorously and often. Read the rest of this entry »

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In case you’ve never been to Goat Scrotum, U.S.A.

Psychological projection is a potent force, and smart people are at least as susceptible to its wiles as anyone else — maybe more so. Even continually and accurately pointing out examples of projection in other people won’t immunize you; only cold, uncomfortable reality can break its spell.

If you’ve been telling yourself, in spite of what mounds of polling data and other metrics of public opinion reveal every day, that “no one” or “hardly anyone” really thinks that a wall along the Mexican border is not only worth the expense but sure to be effective, you are wrong. If you tell yourself that “no one who’s paying any attention” really thinks that Trump plans to repeal the ACA and immediately replace it with a better plan, you are wrong. And it’s not just complete backwoods tunnel-vision ninnies who believe such things, although it’s safe to say virtually all such people believe them. I have spent some time in less urbanized, less economically flourishing parts of the state recently, and it has been an eye-opening, even jarring experience in terms of the dearth of cognition that occurs in an abundance of people between hearing something on the news and ejecting it from the primary hole in their faces. Read the rest of this entry »

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The paradox of the rhetorical circle-jerk

A lot of us are familiar with sort of belligerent online ranters who aren’t afraid to “speak their minds,” “stir the pot,” “put it out there,” and so on — as long as they can control the conversation, that is. On their blogs and social-media profiles, these people grow comfortable talking either into a void or to a (typically small) cadre of equally mindless followers. It is usually evident that their toxic views and flights of ideas are fueled by some combination of glaring intelligence deficits or legitimate mental illness. Their output is blatantly dishonest, repetitive, self-contradictory, and in violation of countless rules of grammar and style.

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Getting unfriended in five joyous steps

I’ve mentioned before that I have more than a few friends who voted for our ever-more-embattled C-i-C, and that they not only don’t take umbrage at the stuff I write about various pertinent goings-on, but also chuckle at a lot of it.

But not everyone has such accommodating people in their online lives. If you have friends or “friends” who disagree with your politics or religious beliefs in a manner you find toxic, don’t worry, you don’t need to take action — soon enough, they will.

This is how it goes: Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump’s first success will be a failure

It’s interesting to imagine what will happen when President Trump first achieves what he honestly believes to be a genuine political victory, and what even some objective observers might view as one. (Insert old metaphor about stopped clocks and twice-a-day correctness.)

Trump will be eager to take full credit for whatever this turns out to be — say, a surge in employment in a given sector or the capturing of an Islamic terrorist on U.S. soil. This is nothing new, since he regularly assigns himself credit for things he had nothing to do with or aren’t even going well, bullshit that the media has been happy to call him on.

Trump is used to being disparaged and mocked in the press, but I suspect that there is a part of him that thinks that he can turn this around by perpetrating some grand or merely grandiose act of presidential shazam. When this doesn’t materialize — and as I think we can all agree, it won’t, as the media is going to keep taunting and baiting him and exploiting his personality disorders for a whole array of good reasons — I think he will be deeply disturbed.

In other words, Trump can take the potshots he’s getting now — not with any amount of grace or equanimity, but without literally collapsing or doing something so egregiously fucked up that some authority greater than him has to intervene. But I don’t think he’ll be able handle the continued jeers and taunts and insults and criticism when he truly believes he’s being a good president and no one seems to notice or care. Because if there is one thing a narcissist despises more than his poor qualities being maligned, it’s his supposedly good ones being ignored.

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Dumb and dumber, and no fucking way

fb_img_1486073038241I need to un-train my mind in certain ways.

I see this sort of thing and continue to think, “How the hell is it that so many people can rally behind anyone, let alone a U.S. president, who both rages away at phantom enemies (and legitimate criticism) like this and is functionally illiterate to boot?”

Then I recall the output of the most vocal Trump fans I’ve crossed online paths with recently, and remind myself of the obvious: People who like Trump unconditionally aren’t disregarding the fact that he thinks and writes like a preteen with severe lead poisoning; they actually don’t even notice this. If anything, they probably assume that Trump is turning out Shakespeare-caliber prose and thundering away perfectly on-point every time he ejaculates this sort of unintelligible, raving nonsense. They can no more appreciate how his words look to normal people than I can follow the logic of someone doing tensor calculus in his head or merely speaking Russian.

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Every conservative is a fat, Christ-addicted gun nut (and here’s a meme that proves it)

Not exactly, but isn’t it fun to think that way? Doesn’t that get your liberal heart beating with real force?

What I’m actually considering here is a doppelganger of sorts of that argument — the persistence of the “liberals want to live on government handouts” myth. It’s an interesting political phenomenon in that no one internal to the idea actually believes it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mental disarray and personal politics, part II

Building on an observation I made yesterday: When people who are clearly mentally unbalanced are at least coherent enough to form political opinions, in any contest they observe between a candidate who goes about things comparatively quietly and one whose chief strategy is inexhaustible high-volume raving about Stuff That Needs Fixing, they invariably go for the shrieking demagogue. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mental disarray and personal politics, part I

I continue to be intrigued by people who self-identify as conservative in spite of having been supported by some combination of the government and other people’s charity for literally their entire lives. I ponder the underlying psychology and then conclude there’s actually nothing unusual about this seeming contradiction: If you can’t or won’t make your own way in life to an even marginal extent, it eases your internal conflict to symbolically align yourself with those who can and do.

I’m trying to come up with the liberal answer to this kind of person. Maybe a closet racist or closeted gay person who wishes to shed such biases because it’s “right” and who therefore superficially adopts anti-bigotry political stances?

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Obamacare: Source of angst, source of lies

I have been a beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act since the first open enrollment in January 2014. As a freelancer of long standing, I hadn’t had health insurance in almost ten years. When I filled out the online application at the Colorado Connect site (a technical Hindenburg, then and now) and told them I was essentially a self-employed business owner who expected to earn X that year, I was surprised to get a card in the mail just a few days later that includes a very decent plan. They asked for no verification of any of the info I’d supplied them, and have renewed my coverage twice now with no help from me.

So, I have no personal complaints. But I am sanguine enough to acknowledge that this says nothing about the experience of other people, and I am close with a few of them who have less than glowing things to say about the bureaucracy managing the ACA show here in Colorado. Moreover, the healthcare system in this country remains a nightmare for many. And while it makes no sense to blame President Obama personally or declare the program an on-balance failure — clearly, some people will thrive under the system at the expense of others, and I don’t think anyone in the know suggested this wouldn’t be the case — it is very easy to do this, because a large segment of the population is sufficiently bitter and blinkered to draw a direct line of causality between America having black Democratic president and their persistent case of anal warts.

I’ve just described the perfect storm for right-wing bloggers are pseudo-journalists, many of whom seem to prefer writing dishonestly to experiencing orgasms, to embark on a prolonged and gleeful misinformation spree. You’ve got angry right-wingers, lots of polls about health insurance, plausible debate over the overall effectiveness of the ACA in doing what it was intended to do (there are far more articles echoing this and this than stories offering opposing ideas in major media outlets, but we all know what the Yosemite Sam Brigade has to say about the mainstream media). That adds up to carte blanche for conservative “reporters” to throw meat scraps at the starving low-information piranhas just looking for one more reason to bitch about socialism, liberals, and (in the right company) blacks. Never mind that the meat is actually Tofurky or some such vegan impostor; stoking the fury of the pig-ignorant masses is critical. If you can do this by attaching a whole ton of deceitful shit to a central kernel of truth or even faint legitimacy, you’ve done your job and your site’s hit count will rise.

I found a great example yesterday Read the rest of this entry »

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That’s not what “information” means, sir

The greatest thing about unintentional irony is that its power to amuse is immune to the sands of time.

We live, of course, in an era in which every slack-minded crusader with Internet access seems to think that his frantic and delusional ideas about politics, religion and life in general merit a personal blog. This has boosted the number of people publicly expressing thoughts that are not only profoundly stupid but also magnificently oblivious to levels no observer could have predicted even twenty years ago. Nevertheless, every new addition to the canon of “Look at the pile of chocolate it looks like I stepped in! Why does it stink?” is just as entertaining as the ones preceding it. If nothing else, these actors are largely insulated from uncomfortable emotions such as shame and embarrassment, because they lack the intellectual candlepower to see how badly off the mark their shots invariably fall.

Hence my fascination with Granite Grok. Read the rest of this entry »

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Camille Paglia on Election 2016: Whether 2 plus 2 might equal 5 for sufficiently large values of 2 is anyone’s guess

This is unbelievably bad by the standards of both Salon and Camille Paglia, which is like saying that Donald Trump just said something amazingly ignorant about foreign policy, the economy, Christiani…oops! I’m not supposed to do that, because, see, as Paglia scolds, liberals are responsible for the explosive rise of Trump to the top of the Republican shitheap. (Andrew Sullivan has been saying the same thing, almost as tediously and tendentiously.)

Paglia asserts that Democrats have been “playing the race and riot cards against him to the max.” While I’ve never heard of the “riot card” before. I am mystified as to what the appropriate response to people disturbed by racist comments from a leading political candidate should look like. Feigning deafness? Nervous giggling? Sighing, “Ah, that scamp, he’s a bit much, but he’s just trying to breathe life into things”?

Paglia seems oblivious to the fact that Republicans have been pillorying Trump for the same things, as loudly as they dared, throughout the campaign. Well, except for respected voices such as David Duke, The American Freedom Party, the Ku Klux Klan, and various other Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, who in viewing Trump as a racist might as well be shouting their closet liberalism from the rooftops, on Paglia’s view.

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Curious George Will

George Will is a hack. A very glib one, who can deftly turn a phrase and whose columns are usually worth a read for their literary dynamism alone. But he’s still nothing more than a blindly partisan shill.

Here he proclaims that Donald Trump has done serious damage to the Republican Party, but that the destruction has only really just started and that if he’s nominated, the damage will only multiply. What he ignores is that Trump didn’t himself knock the down the door allowing undisguised bozos to walk into the GOP clubhouse; other Republicans started tearing this door off its frames years ago, and Trump has merely strolled through the now-unguarded opening, yammering and telling off-color jokes in a manner reminiscent of Rodney Dangerfield’s character in “Back to School.” Trump did not create Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitch McConnell, Michele Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Steve King, Jan Brewer, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rick Scott, Orrin Hatch, Paul LePage, Mike Pence, Sam Brownback, or, most recently, Pat McCrory or Robert Bentley.

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When everything you say is a witty rejoinder

then-why-are-there-still-wolves-meme-320-px-tiny-Dec-2015-Tetrapod-ZoologyIt must be nice, in a sense, to be sufficiently simple-minded to believe that every analogy, comparison and analysis you create or borrow —  even when every last one is a dismal logical failure — is are not only coherent, but clever. (On top of that, fart jokes and Bazooka Joe comics are, no doubt, a never-ending gift of titillation to abject simpletons.) One such trope that is unlikely to disappear is “If we’re evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” This is the kind of outburst that, despite being inexcusably stupid on multiple levels, can cause whole congregations to erupt in wild, heartfelt applause.

And on the topic of self-reinforcing inanity, I just read this in one of several manufacturing plants of self-contained electronic ketamine that I really should quit frequenting:

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Just braying: regarding a boilerplate “We’re not bigots, it’s about the kids!” rant

I admit that in my experience, people who are overly fond of the phrase “just saying” usually have few if any intelligent things to say. It’s a close  rhetorical cousin of “‘Nuff said” and “True dat.” Unbeknownst to those who use it, the phrase is essentially code for “I know you’ll tear into this and rightly so, but I can’t help myself,” and shallow thinkers often append it to written or spoken opinions as a means substituting glibness for reason. It’s like saying “My bad” instead of offering a real apology or some sort of reparations for harm done, and does nothing to bolster an irredeemably foolish idea.

So when I happened across this startlingly stupid post by someone named Kathy Dunton on a blog with a title that starts with “Just Saying,” I was admittedly not expecting much of substance or value. Still, even the most open-minded reading of this bullshit does nothing more than open one’s mind to being flooded with bullshit. As it were. Get my drift? You feelin’ me? Werd!

The post is an open letter of sorts to transgender people, and asks them to understand that recent legislation coupling clear anti-transgender motives and actions to a dose of straight-up anti-gay nonsense isn’t really about transphobia or homophobia; it’s about keeping kids safe from sexual predators.

Taking it from the top:

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“Don’t listen to him, he’s as dumb as me! Listen to me instead!”

Sometimes the lack of basic reasoning skills possessed by pseudo-pundits like Sarah Palin is as profound as their general ignorance.

Palin is claiming that Bill Nye lacks the credentials and background to be commenting on scientific issues like global warming — even comparing him to *herself* by way of trying undermine his statements.

Even if she were right about Nye, who worked as an engineer for years before becoming the popularizer of science he’s best known for being, how does she expect to be taken seriously if she admits that she has no business talking about about climate change even as she continues offering her own childishly stupid ideas about it? How intellectually crippled does one’s audience have to be to hear someone say, almost flat-out, “Don’t listen to him, he’s as dumb as me! Listen to me instead!”

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Invariably dropping the “f” in”pro-life”

“I think about the public outcry that there was for an elk, and I think about the thousands of babies — healthy, full-term babies — that are killed down the street from where they paraded a stupid elk down the road.”

So spoke Abby Johnson to about 300 people on the campus of the University of Colorado as part an anti-abortion talk, or rant, or fever-dream soliloquy, or whatever description best fits

Abortion is an unpleasant topic and for obvious reasons is extremely emotionally charged. This, however, no excuse for slinging bullshit. If self-described anti-abortion crusaders were barred from lying or making abysmal analogies at nearly every opportunity, almost all of them would immediately fall mute. Read the rest of this entry »

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