Saturday, August 20, 2016

Out Occupyin'

Back in a bit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Down Town

When You're Alone And You Got No Place To Go

 The Weasel Who Lives On Trump's Head Is Restless.
Oh, And Bad Tie Choice. Loser Tie.

When you're finally alone in Downtown America, it's apparent that all sentient life hates Trump.  It's in the papers, on the Intertubes; it's what everyone is thinking when they aren't hating other people. Our Pestident in Washdeecee hates him in a way only the living embodiment of Woodrow Wilson can.

The Partei Republikanner, which gave him his own convention, hates him, too. The Weasel who lives on his head hates him, and it's beginning to show -- it's possible the Weasel has even bitten him once or twice in public.  Even the people who support him actually hate him for making them support him.  He is unfit to be Pepsodent, and by all accounts is unfit to be anything, except a Rubber Bear in the Museo Di Trumpo -- and no one is really sure about that.

Slight Adjustments To A Mr Fish Cartoon From 2012.  

The Repub party is the victim of its own Badness, but even if it refuses to die, it will lie down, and on top of its own Candydate. The Elephant hates him.

So... it will be a near-decade of America being led into a future where all its citizens are monetized, monitored, and shamed if they haven't purchased the latest shiny technology, and where the Old must not be seen or indulged. It is The Time Of She. But it cannot be yet -- or, can it?

We're not enamored of anti-climaxes here in Downtown America. Do we have to wait?  She must be crowned; we must see her Coronation Balls, and there must be The Historic Speech; school children will be allowed to take the day off in order to witness it. Whether by Trumpo or She, there's a so-called Democratic Republic to be dismantled, one way or another. Let's get it over with, huh?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

It's All One Ghetto, Man

Russ Cohle Breaks It Down For Us 
(No. 1 In A Series)

It's all one ghetto, man -- giant gutter in outer space.
-- Det. Rust Cohle (Michael McConaughey; True Detective (2014), Episode One / written by Nick Pizzalatto)
HART: So what's with the crucifix on your wall?
COHLE:  It's a form of meditation. I contemplate the moment in the garden -- the idea of allowing your own crucifixion.
HART:  But you're not a christian.
COHLE: I consider myself a realist; in philosophic terms, I'm a pessimist. Means I'm bad at parties.
HART: Let me tell ya -- you're not too good outside o' parties.
COHLE: ... I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature, separate from itself; we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the delusion of having a self, an accretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each some body -- when in fact, everybody's nobody.
HART: Well, that makes me feel a whole lot better, Russ.
COHLE: I think the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our own programming. Stop reproducing. One last midnight -- hand in hand into extinction; brothers and sisters, opting out of a raw deal.
HART: You know what? Don't say that shit to anybody else. People around here don't think like that.
COHLE: ... Look: as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgements. Everybody does it, all the time. If you've got a problem with that, you're livin' wrong.

 Obligatory Cute Mongo Photo at End Of Blog Downer

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Better Than The Pokey-Go Stuff

The Epic Battle Continues

She, On The Hustings

After the less-than-Democratic convention (the structure of which was based on an extended Amway commercial), She has received the Expected Bounce -- yet, people still do not like her. Gosh.

Trumpwarbler. Doubling Down

Meanwhile, Trumpolina continues to inflame everything, and to preen in public. There are articles issuing from every online, print and teevee news organization about Trump's past, his messy present; his murky future. Even the current Pestident, champion of PTT, has stepped up and said in measured tones that Trump is a wart, a carbuncle, and unfit to be himself.

(That's all true, as far as it goes. But all kidding aside, sitting Presidents are the de facto head of their political party -- but in my long Dog's memory, I can't recall any Pres making the kind of flat declaration which Obama made yesterday.)

I understand that Trump is a buffoon and his chances of winning the general election are little better than 30 per cent -- but at this point, the number and the scope of the anti-Trump attacks seem a bit like beating up a loud, obnoxious drunk who has defecated on himself... just because they're loud, obnoxious, and have defecated on themselves. Even narcissistic billionaires, if they're beaten enough in public, can make their opponents appear the bullies.

But, as I keep barking, this Bozo is his own worst enemy and will not, cannot win the general election. And the campaign continues, because it must: ninety-plus days of Night, an amazing spectacle which we must endure (because America is the land of the strong), and which will have all the allure of drinking an entire bottle of Ipecac enrapture the nation.

MEHR, MIT GRUNKA-LUNGAS:  ... and the official tracking now rates Il Duce's chances of winning at below ninteen per cent.

Monday, August 1, 2016

We're Whalers On The Moon

Birthday of Big Marine Mammal Avatar Creators

Over at The Soul Of America, it's a celebration of Herman Melville's 197th birthday, and things of the Sea, and a Whale and other notables which Herman brought back, to tell Thee. I considered writing a post from the viewpoint of the Whale just for the potential Yucks (because, god knows, We Need The Yucks Wherever We Can Get Them), but gave it up and settled for the Humorous Image.

The best thing about the post, and the reason I mention it here, is -- Herman tends to be overlooked in a culture whose highest expression is a Rhianna / Pitbull remix; it's good to be reminded that he is still there -- as he reminds us that we are chased by our mortality; and that sometimes the Form Of The Destructor is large, albino, and aquatic.  For me, it's a big lawn mower. Your mileage may differ.

I was introduced to Melville when I was fourteen -- not through the novel he's most often identified with, but in the short work, "Bartelby The Scrivener" (1853), a classic in its own right. Ishmael's tale was next, and I was, uh, hooked. Later, I wasn't able to read anything by James or Conrad that didn't refer back to the narrative style I encountered first with Melville.

When I consider it, "Moby Dick: Or, A Whale" is ubiquitous now. There is No Whale before He who populates a goodly portion of that book (Yeah, okay; 'Shamu'  and 'Willy': not the same thing). That Big Marine Mammal is archetypal, now.

And His (or, Her) echoes in the culture are manifest:  We get Futurama's We're Whalers On The Moon / We Carry A Harpoon; or Robert Graves' "Good-Bye To All That" (where the President of his College at post-Great War Oxford tells the assembled, 'Gentlemen, the menu indicates that tonight we are dining on "Whale and Pigeon Pie." You will find the ratio of the ingredients to be precisely one whale to one pigeon');  or, Robertson Davies' What's Bred In The Bone (" '...Catch Me!' She said through a mouthful of whale' ").

And, when something appears in Family Guy, it's now hard-wired into our DNA.

 Herman Left Out The Part Where Whales Like 'Total'

MEHR, MIT KEINE POLITIK: My Very Own Hillaryite Colleague asks, "So you hate music, too?" (This, because of the Rhianna / Pitbull quip.) And I would agree, it's absurdist reductionism to claim that the essence of culture in Eusa is rap music and movies like Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. I'm convinced that people (or, Whales; or very intelligent Honey Badgers) in the not very distant future will look back on this period as one of the most varied and vibrant in the history of our humanoid species -- until, you know, that thing happens.

UND NOCH IMMER MEHR:  Once I saw this, I could not un-see it. It is an actual book. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Your Summer Vacation

Don't Go There


Friday, July 29, 2016

Sister Redacted And The Baseball Bat

I Don't Live Today

Supporter Of Senator Sanders Outside DNC, 7/28/16 (Photo: Patrick T Fallon / AFP)

Answer:  Yes, but I came in after She had started. I listened. After seven minutes and forty seconds I couldn't stomach it any further, muttered Fuck This, shut off the teevee, and put on the Are You Experienced? album.  America has its own political and cultural Manic Depression going on, my man, and a Purple Haze has been hanging over Philadelphia this week in a soul-draining miasma.

The woman on that podium reminded me of a past next-door neighbor -- portly, draped in a tentish Mu-Mu made out of a fabric that had once been blue, who always started our neighbor-to-neighbor conversations with complaints about physical ailments and slowly moved on to, well, anything; the topic didn't matter. Always, it was delivered in a flat, mildly sarcastic tone.

As my neighbor spoke, she didn't talk with you; she told you. She was angry in that free-floating, Bill O'Reilly You-don't-ever-push-the-Factor way some people have. They're a box 'o crazy which will pop open at the least provocation, leaving you covered in bile, thinking All I said was, 'How're you doing?'.  

At first, you agreed with whatever silly nonsense she was spouting, in the spirit of politeness and self-preservation. But that was no protection: if you allowed her to really get going, she might begin to include you in whatever high dudgeon she worked herself into -- from sciatica, to the goddamn idiots who cut her off in traffic all the time, to her daughter-in-law, that ungrateful, spiteful bitch. Finally you were frozen, hands in pockets, saying Uh-huh Uh-huh, and hoping for the detached wheel door from any stray 747 to drop on her and allow you an exit.

I continued to listen. During my 7:40 of Philadelphia, the voice of She on the podium also reminded me of my mother's voice, when, disgusted with Some Thing Or Other, she would say meaningfully to either my brother or myself, "Wait 'till your father gets home".  It also reminded me of my Second Grade teacher, Sister [Redacted]. Before she had that breakdown and locked me in our classroom's tiny broom closet (true story), Sister Redacted was famous for That Tone Of Voice when publicly correcting a student's wrong answer.

 She Did Not Fly; She Did Not Sing; She Only Knows How To Swing That Thing

The Rules Of Engagement were that if you spoke at all, you were required to stand up, next to your desk, when reciting or providing an answer. Sister Redacted, arms folded, would listen.  If you got it wrong, she would regard you with a distasteful expression. "That is wrong, and you should already know this," she would say in a flat, contemptuous tone of voice (and that Voice on the Podium brought the Sister's back with a surprising clarity. It connected as straight and solid as a baseball bat), followed with, "But since you don't seem to know -- can anyone here show him his error more clearly?"

(Expressing some unspecified displeasure was Sister Redacted's default expression, as if she had just eaten a mouthful of fish with bones in it. You were, after all, the squalling product of Original Sin, and it was a tossup whether Holy Mary would deign to give your sorry ass an assist on the Via Dolorosa of Life so that you might avoid the eternal punishments shown in Dante's vacation guide. Or, you know, not.)

As I watched She delivering her address, her voice projected that same flat, exasperated, lecturing, reproving tone. It was my mother warning us You're gonna get it; it was my neighbor, explaining how the world had been specifically bent to torment her; it was Sister Redacted's baseball bat: Are you that stupid? 

There was no warmth in the delivery, no sign of compassion that wasn't included as a requirement in Her speech. Of all the personas she could have chosen to convince America that She is Our Hope, what She presented (at least for one Dog in the West) made her momentarily channel the character of an Irish Dominican nun with a bad attitude.

America: The Land Of Choices (Original Photo: TomClarkBlog)

Oh, I heard the 'America is threatened by powerful forces, threatening to tear us apart'. I heard the 'we' and 'together' as opposed to Trumps 'I alone can fix things'.  But I heard more references to business and to  "our great entrepreneurs" than I did financial oversight, or trade treaties which do not make it simpler to Screw The Peasantry worldwide. She spent an hour convincing people that She was precisely the person her handlers and flacks were saying we would not see. She's misunderstood. You'll see a different Hillary tonight. She will be warm and kind and good.

And if she had been, would I feel differently?  No. I can't ignore how Clinton behaves, who She represents, or that Her nomination means those running the Democratic National Committee will define Progressivism in America as technocentric neoliberalism: Nothing Essential About The Structure Of Power Will Change. She Will Ensure Business As Usual.

Both She and Il Duce (no matter how much he bad-boys it for the cameras) will Fluff the same Powers That Be.  Both major parties are being purchased by the same banking and finance / oil / pharma / Tech money. The only difference is the Koch Brothers, and a handful of other decrepit old Bundist billionaires are lined up to support the Right, and a similar number of so-called Progressive billionaires on the Left. 

The People? We don't figure in this equation. We're almost superfluous in the game of power and influence these people play. It's ultimately about power. It isn't about compassion, or altruism, or human rights: God forbid humans should have greater rights than corporations, or their Owners, or The Right Sort. 

This is what "The Fix Is In" is all about, and We know it -- one reason, which I keep barking about, why Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren gave so many Democrats and Independents a focus: their campaigns seemed rooted in their values, which they enunciated clearly. She? Not so much.  At the other end of the spectrum, the Tea Partei and their backers over the past decade have forced the traditional Republican party further to the right (a process Herr Gingrich began in 1993, amply assisted by Lil' Rupert, Lard Boy, Mikey Wiener and Glamorous Glenny, among others). They're one primary reason that Trump is the Right's official candidate today.
I could only take 7:40 of it all before I gave up.  She's a Megalomaniac, running against another Megalomaniac, and She will be the winner; and Yep; We're Boned.

Sorry if this lacks the nuanced political analysis These Times deserve, but that's how it is out here in the Forward Area, peeps.


 Two persons I went to high school with were discussing the Trumpo vs. She topic.We're all familiar with it -- Trump = Evil; She = Less Evil.  

One of them said, "Hillary is all things to all people. When she talks to the mining industry, she's all about developing coal as an energy source. When she talks to environmentalists, she's against coal. Who the hell knows what she's promised Goldman-Sachs and the rest of the banks. But she wants to be leader so badly she'll lie her ass off -- so we don't know what her policies will be once she's elected.  Trump, on the other hand, will do things we already know about because he's been up front about it. And we know none of that is good; in fact, it's downright frightening"  They would vote for She on that basis, they said.  

I responded Well, I can't shake the feeling that this election isn't about us. It's about these two titanic egos, these two win-at-any-price, world-class assholes. They claim to represent two opposing political philosophies. This contest is about them. But it isn't about The People.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016



Go Ahead, Tubbo.

MVOHC:  Did you watch the Democratic convention?
DOG:  No.
MVOHC:  You watch the Republicans, but not your own party?
DOG:  I'm not a Democrat, ______. You know I'm not.
MVOHC:  But this is historic. A woman is being nominated for president!
DOG:  Uh-huh.
MVOHC:  You -- are just a hater.
DOG:  I watched it for five minutes, literally. I saw Al Franken burble about She enough to make me never want to watch him do anything again, ever. I'll watch Sarah Silverman because she's hot. Politically deluded in a profound way; but, hot.
MVOHC:  Je-sus. What do you want in this election? What?
DOG:  I want what everyone in America wants: Buy a five-pound bag of Oreos -- take it into a dark room; close the door, throw a blanket over me; assume the fetal position, and eat until I pass out.
MVOHC: I don't want that.
DOG: Oh, sure you do, one way or another. I'm just not willing to fool myself into believing that my desire for Stimulation and Satiety is really about some higher altruistic principle. I like my hypocrisy without a water-back, thanks.
MVOHC: Good luck with that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reprint Heaven Forever: Taliban

Someone Else Today. You Tomorrow. 

(From 2015. About 'lebenty billion people in The Russia reminded me this post was out there -- and given Herr Pence's recent history we should look past his little spiel at the RNC and remember that he will be happy to fluff Evangelical bottom-feeders with next to no motivation. He'll even do it for free.)

This bill is not about discrimination... [the purpose of the legislation] is very simply to empower individuals when they believe that actions of government impinge on their constitutional First Amendment freedom of religion... 
-- Indiana Governor Pence, to ABC's George Stephanopolis

SB 101: Religious freedom restoration. Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest... Specifies that the religious freedom law applies to the implementation or application of a law regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity or official is a party to a proceeding ... Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability... Specifies that the religious freedom law applies to the implementation or application of a law regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity or official is a party to a proceeding implementing or applying the law. Prohibits an applicant, employee, or former employee from pursuing certain causes of action against a private employer... (The RFRA, per the Indiana General Assembly)

I had intended to post a long rant on the perfidy and outright evil which characterize right-wing evangelism in America, but we'll just take those items as a given.

SB 101 isn't the first law passed in even recent memory allowing a minority in political control to enshrine their intolerance with the force of legislation -- in this case, evangelical christians (with a small "c") and their god-given (well, somebody's god, anyway) right to condemn -- in this case, LGBT Americans. And evangelicals love to condemn; being a True Believer seems to gives them the authority to do that, filled with Grace™ and love (and something else) as they are.

And our right-wing evangelicals want to be the dominant authority -- over women, over children, over education and art and sexuality. Our evangelicals, like the Taliban, would like to enact their own version of religious law in America -- and religious law is not about uplifting and empowering the human spirit; it's based on Thou Shalt Not.

Religious law of whatever flavor is based on the fundamental precept that Humans are bad, stained from birth with evil, who must be carefully watched by the Elders and restricted from committing more acts which The Elders believe are affronts against (somebody's) god.

And (as is always true in less democratic forms of governing), the force of religious law always rests on ultimate punishment. Those who break these laws are whipped and disfigured, have parts of their bodies crudely amputated; are tortured until they confess their crimes; are stoned to death, beheaded, or burned at the stake. And the entire community will be made to watch, or may be required to participate in a ritualized killing... as a religious requirement. As an object lesson.

And nations ruled by True Believers and their edicts -- religious, or political -- always become bankrupt cultures; shabby, frightening, and ultimately murderous places.  Ask the Muslims of Serbia and Croatia. Ask the Tutsis of Rawanda. Ask the people of Cambodia. Ask the people of Afghanistan. Ask the Jews of Europe.

(A Dog has a long memory:  The last member of my family had been a born-again evangelical; for a time, they were associated with a tiny sect, organized around a self-proclaimed 'pastor'. After a long illness, my family member died; at the funeral, I watched the 'pastor' turn what was a moment of grief and remembrance into his opportunity to tell a captive audience, at length, that their time on earth was short and everyone in earshot and beyond was hellbound and they'd better get right with the lord.

(He shouted and strutted; he preened -- a True Believer in full, in love with the power that act of condemnation gave him. Of passing judgement, and settling scores. I've found some of him in every individual I've seen or experienced since who claims to be 'moved' by an allegedly higher power. And the so-called "laws" associated with whatever freakshow delusion they're pushing which allow them to do pretty much whatever they want. Yes, they'll make fine leaders of America, or whatever they'll call their New Kingdom.

(Ask the members of the People's Temple at Jonestown. Ask the Branch Davidians at Waco. You might even ask the members of 'christian' congregations across America, listening to speeches made by their 'pastors' condemning other people as less than human and feeling such putrescent drivel is not only just fine but righteous.) 

SB101 is not the last legislation of its kind that we'll see passed in America. And if an evangelical christian ever becomes President of the United States, we will see many more. The United States is, in the eyes of many, the country where political apathy is king; perhaps that's so.

If it is, then God help us all. In our torpor, ultimately we may find ourselves ruled by the same kind of strutting, egotistical monsters that a real pastor, Martin Niemöller, had in mind when he made the oft-quoted observation:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out. --  Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)


(Reuters) - Indiana's Republican Governor Mike Pence, responding to national outrage over the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said on Tuesday he will "fix" it to make clear businesses cannot use it to deny services to same-sex couples.

Pence, in a news conference, said the law he signed last week had been widely mischaracterized and "smeared" but he called on the state's Republican-controlled General Assembly to send a new law to his desk this week to fix it...

But Pence found support from conservatives including Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz and possible presidential contenders Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio...
Critics say Indiana's law went too far in potentially allowing businesses to deny services to gay couples, because they could argue that doing so went against their deeply held beliefs.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana under an appeals court ruling last year.

Religious Freedom Acts in Georgia and North Carolina appeared to stall this week after Indiana came under fire. But the Arkansas House of Representatives is expected to approve this week an RFRA that has already passed the state's Senate.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Coming Of The Inevitable One

Update The First
You know -- I don't understand these people who trash-talk about America! Who say, 'we're in decline!'  -- She
We inaugurate a new blog category: Coming Of The Inevitable One, wherein we follow the media's coverage of this political contest -- knowing in advance that it shall be presented as being close, so very close.  Closecloseclose.

We shall use Fivethirtyeight dotcom as The Source for polling analysis. Periodically we will remind all humankind that this election is close, so close.

Episode I: The narrative Begins; A nation, already divided by race and class and wealth, was threatened from within by Bad Forces from The Right; and how, at the last moment, America was saved... by a little girl from Park Ridge, Illinois.

But it is so close. It is; it is. Be worried -- be very worried. Because... it is so close.
The first few polls conducted after last week’s Republican convention suggested a small to medium convention bounce for Donald Trump, with Hillary Clinton holding on to narrow leads in several surveys. But a series of polls released Monday morning show bigger gains for Trump. In particular, Trump leads by 1 percentage point in a CBS News poll, by 5 percentage points in a CNN poll, and by 4 points in this week’s edition of the Morning Consult poll. He’s also extended his lead for 4 points in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll, although it has generally shown good results for Trump.
The election will take place next week. Okay, next month. All right, all right; November -- But this takes nothing away from the fact that we must be worried!

Yeah. So give -- give money, and blood and sweat and tears and time you will never get back, ever -- all that; all for She -- so that She might save America, and Continue The Gravy Train usher in a New Era of Fucking The Peasants sacrifice for the amusement of the distant rich betterment of all humankind.  We will be so grateful.  Here endeth the Lesson.

She Reaches Across The Aisle: Mit Ein Grosser Kriegskriminal