Reality vs. Angering Spin

You can argue, as authoritarians like Ron DeSantis do, that teaching current events in light of the actual past stigmatizes innocent young white children with the sins of their grandfathers, but that is only a transactional argument in the service of increasing your side’s power.

It is harder to argue persuasively about a simple fact like this:

Which is why wealthy fascists will always focus on the terrible burden to the “job creators” a living wage for unskilled workers would impose on the wealthy. They focus on why we must pity the poor super wealthy, who grace us all with their generosity and create a beautiful and just society for us all.

Believe that, you know, the myth of the generous, selfless billionaire philanthropist — or stay focused on the so-called grotesque injustice of one person having more than 10 million others, while children starve in the wealthiest country in human history.

And, of course, people like me completely ignore the fact that people who inherit a mountain of money deserve every penny of it, free of DEATH TAX, while poor people, even if willing to work very hard, only deserve a minimum beyond the bare legal minimum. Period.

US Covid deaths back to a 9/11 body count weekly

Now that the brutal daily death tolls of Covid-19 are behind us, we are all relieved to act like Covid-19 is no longer a deadly threat.   We now have vaccines, boosters and a drug that cures it in many cases.  The number of people dying of the pandemic has gone way down from its horrific peak numbers around the 2020 elections, even here in America, the world leader in Covid deaths (thanks Jared, Pence and Donald).  The sad fact this holiday season: Covid death in the US is on the rise again, a 40% rise over the last two weeks.   

The tracker on the NY Times website shows that 466 Americans died of Covid yesterday.  Multiply that number by 7 and you get 3,262.   More than the 2,996 people who died in the horrific terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.   The numbers are also up for the seasonal flu and a new threat called RSV.

Sekhnet, vaxxed and triple boosted, is often the only person wearing a mask outside.   I was the only person I saw on the E train last night wearing a mask.  Everyone is so relieved not to have that invasion on our personal autonomy, the slight difficulty drawing a breath, that every subway car, supermarket and restaurant is now a superspreader site.  Since the radical right weaponized reasonable health precautions and equated wearing masks with intolerable tyranny (totally different from forcing ten year-old rape victims to give birth!), many now see wearing or refusing to wear a mask as a political statement.  

If so, think of the statement this way: if I have asymptomatic Covid-19 and could give it to you, there is less chance of transmission if I submit to the tyranny of wearing a fucking face mask, for your sake, and the sake of everyone else who might be susceptiple to dying of this deadly disease, you ignorant, racist, misogynistic, kool-aid drinking, MAGA hat wearing, USA! USA!!!chanting asshole.  

Just just let me do my routine, Your Honor

Towards the end of Lenny Bruce’s obscenity trial a policeman read Lenny Bruce’s obscene words from a transcript he’d made at the nightclub when Mr. Bruce, during his routine, was arrested for public obscenity. The policeman read Bruce’s words “Defendant said ‘Yeah, you know how that shit works, you watch it go down and all you can say is ‘fuck!'” Continuing from his notes the detective read “defendant then cocked his head to the side. There was laughter.”

Bruce, who was by then bankrupt and defending himself, jumped up to object “Your Honor, please, he’s butchering my act, he’s delivering my lines off kilter, out of time, with no nuance, irony or any hint of humor. I’m a comedian, Your Honor, and if you would just let me do my act you’d see I’m being funny. The audience gets laughs out of my material. Please, Your Honor, let me just do my act for the court, you can hear my words in context and judge for youself, but not like this. If you find that my act is obscene, in the context of my attempt to get laughs, sentence me to prison and let me just be done with this. I’m begging you, have mercy on me and let me just show you what I do. This prosecution has bankrupted me, I’m staying in a hotel and can’t afford to pay the bill, I’d rather just go to prison, Your Honor, if you find my act obscene.”

But this American judge, at that time in history, was not going to let some little filthy-mouthed, wise ass heroin addict degenerate New York Jew subject his courtroom to words like fuck shit penis cock cum pussy and God knows what else. The judge told the pro se defendant he was out of order, denied his request, ordered him to sit and be quiet, the policeman continued to massacre Bruce’s act, which he read verbatim, words which were indeed, context and intent irrelevant, legally obscene under the law of that time and place.

After the prosecution rested, Mr. Bruce asked to be sentenced, as he was broke, tapped out defending himself while banned from earning a living. The judge told Bruce he would have to come back to court in a month for sentencing.

In the Hollywood version of this, Lenny goes back to his shabby hotel room a broken man, takes off all his clothes and overdoses on heroin, dying in a naked heap next to the toilet bowl.

And the audience who sees Dustin Hoffman’s brilliant portrayal of Lenny, understands, Jesus Christ, this guy was a popular, smart, very funny comedian and they literally crucified him for being an irreverent hipster and saying the F-word for laughs, making a mockery of eveything they held sacred.

“Your ‘work’ is obscene, you will serve time in prison, you will never work again. Your life as an adorable little piece of shit who can fucking say whatever comes into his demented little fucking heroin addict brain is now over, sir. Go ahead and style yourself a heroic martyr of the First Amendment, a persecuted icon of free expression. You are nothing. The law says ‘fuck you’ to your dream of being able to say whatever you fucking please to ‘get a laugh’. You’re dead and you’ll never work again, asshole. Death of despair? Be our fucking guest. Roll credits, bitches.”

“Biden rethinking relationship with Saudi Arabia”

I don’t know what the most sickening aspect of this Washington Post headline is.

That the psychopathic young acting monarch of this medieval theocracy, a ruthless billionaire who murdered a critical journalist and had him dismembered, is cutting the oil supply to help his suck up friend Jared Kushner’s father-in-law claw his way back to power to avoid prosecution for multiple felonies?

That our great, exceptional country, a beacon of democracy and freedom to other countries, is hostage to a family of torturing medieval billionaire sheikhs who seem to have a chokehold on the world’s oil supply and can dictate prices at will? We’re beginning to reexamine our relationship with the House of Saud? Beginning?

Well, better late than never, I suppose.

If you read the article you’ll notice that only Democrats seem to be critical of dictatorial crown pronce MBS, the Reformer, and his current plan to drive up prices at the American oil pumps to help American right wing extremists and his embattled buddy Vladimir Putin, who never helped Trump in any way, I mean, why would he, I mean, why wouldn’t he? Now support for beleagured, innocent Putin is a touchstone for Republicans.

Only Democrats seem to give a damn about this axis of theocracy, repression and evil. Talk about a marriage of convenience made in hell… I can picture these implacable religious fanatics meeting again in the new Crusade, and they won’t be smiling at each other, or handing each other two billion dollar checks…

https://wapo.st/3rO5XDC

Lesson in American values — baseball edition

A lesson to boys and girls who love the NY Yankees and particularly their modest superstar Aaron Judge.  It’s a business, kids.  Don’t get too attached to your favorite player.  Even if he’s a humble, cool giant and almost always gets the big hit when the team needs it, robs somebody of a homerun or throws out a runner at the plate in a close game.  Even if he arrived in the Major Leagues after a career in the Yankees’ minor league system (“farm system”) and has always expressed his desire to play his whole career for the Bronx Bombers.

Judge, a superstar player at the peak of his powers, is going to be a “free agent” at the end of this season, his seventh with the NY York Yankees.  He is having a season for the ages, is the leading candidate for Most Valuable Player in the American League and has added a phenomenal base stealing percentage (16 out of 18) to his major league leading offensive skills (he leads everyone in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, slugging percentage, total bases, WAR, and is in the top ten in batting average).  He is also an excellent defensive player. 

His contract with the Yankees is up, meaning that as soon as the season ends he can test the “market” and get the money his skills command.   The contract he signed a few years ago underpaid him, in terms of today’s ridiculous major league baseball salaries for star players.   Judge is a superstar, and can expect to be offered, at age 30, after a ridiculously great year, the highest contract ever for a baseball player.  When the Yankees did not sign him during Spring Training (ESPN reports: Judge declined the Yankees’ seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer earlier this year and figures to land a more lucrative deal thanks to his potentially record-setting 2022 season) he put thoughts of his future record contract out of his head and put in one of the great baseball seasons of all-time, greatly upping his market value.   

When he asked for a million dollars more than his contract called for, during negotiations before the season, the Yankees made him submit to arbitration where they wound up splitting his claim with what they offered.  Seriously?   As a show of good faith?

It’s a business, kids.  A million bucks is a million bucks.

Rap mogul, billionaire JZ, decided a few years ago to represent baseball players, as a way to make more money.  He was the agent to the stars who told then Hall of Fame-bound Yankees superstar Robbie Cano that the Yankees were disrespecting him by offering him only about $200,000,000 to remain with the team.  Cano repeated this statement about disrespect in the media and signed with the highest bidder, for about $40,000,000 more, on his way to oblivion.   He spent the rest of his declining career probably regretting JZ’s advice, although Agent JZ no doubt grabbed several million more on the additional forty million he negotiated for Cano.  Money talks, yo.

The Yankees president declared recently that Judge is an “all-time Yankee” and that they will be “competitive” in the attempt to keep him on the team.   Don’t be taken in by that PR, kids, another team will offer Judge more money and, in all likelihood, Judge will take it, and kill the Yankees for years to come.   Don’t let this shit break your hearts, kids, it’s a game, but it’s a business.   The business of America, as we all know, is business.   No reason to get sentimental when it comes to the bottom line.  Suck up the heartbreak that your hero can be bought and sold.  It’s the country we live in, kid, it’s what American heroes do (see Robert DeNiro’s classy credit card commercial).

Judge could do a remarkable thing, like take a few million less to remain with his team, but expecting the remarkable is a ticket to disappointment.  Don’t set yourself up for it, kid.

Torture Memo author weighs in on Trump obstruction of justice

It’s been a long time, I think, since I referred to someone here as a piece of shit, fucking or otherwise, but if anyone qualifies it’s tenured professor of constitutional law and former OLC stooge (under VP Dick Cheney) John “Torture Memo” fucking Yoo [1]. Here he is rearing his ugly head which I have spared you in this audio clip, as a legal expert on FOX, to tell Fox Nation that now that the government has the stolen documents back, after only 19 months or so of trying, there should be no further investigation because . . . you figure it out, jerk-offs.

Imagine having this proud fascist as your professor of constitutional law at Berkeley University. Foof!

[1] The genius of the secret torture memo, co-authored by Yoo and now lifetime federal judge Jay Bybee, was using a tortured definition of the word “torture” to make every cruel and inhuman technique simply “enhanced interrogation” unless the pain caused was equivalent to something they randomly pulled out of their assholes — the shutdown of a major organ system in the body.

I watched my father’s liver cancer shut down his liver and finally his kidneys and it was extremely gentle. He had no pain at all, his breathing became more and more shallow and then he was dead.

Side order of incoherence, anyone?

Take the two sides of the “controversy” over unaccountable police killings of unarmed civilians, disproportionately “minority” citizens, in avoidable confrontations that could be deescalated instead of ending in the death of the civilian. You can talk about what actually happened in each of these cases, or you can deny that these cases mean Jack shit, motherfucker.

If you have no worries about making a coherent, persuasive, evidence-based presentation of facts, if you don’t give a rat’s ass about what might be true or what might be demonstrably false and you agree with Mr. Hitler that effective political marketing is equal parts terror and rage, you can contest anything at all. When you do, your outraged fans will be wildly tickled, so it’s win-win, baby.

First, the tragic facts :

George Floyd was murdered, in public, on suspicion of passing a counterfeit twenty, by a policeman who was sentenced to a long prison term for his murder, after a trial that happened because a brave teenager captured the entire murder on her phone’s video camera.  We can see that the calm murderer cop was helped by three colleagues who kept the small crowd at bay and helped subdue the large “suspect” under their knees, while they choked the life out of a handcuffed, prone man who was gasping that he couldn’t breathe and finally calling for his mother, over the span of eight or nine minutes it took for them to kill him.   We know this because we watched George Floyd’s murder on a horrific video that captured every minute of the man’s agonizing slow death at the hands of those who vowed to protect and serve the rest of us. Under those unique conditions, with the filmed proof in hand for all to see, and credible eyewitnesses all telling the identical story under oath, one policeman who murdered one unarmed, non-resisting Black man was indicted, tried and convicted of murder.

Cue the gigantic multi-ethnic crowds, before the indictment, here and in cities all over the world, millions marching during a pandemic, protesting the deadly violence that is spmetimes a first resort for stressed out policemen armed to the teeth and protected by a unique legal immunity and one of the world’s most powerful labor unions.

The proposition of the protests was simple:  it is intolerable for those enforcing the law to routinely murder people (disproportionately Black and brown people) who pose no threat to them because … police have a dangerous and thankless job, or are badly trained, or are sometimes angry assholes who were bullied as kids.   It is never right to kill an innocent young woman in her bed because you suspect there may be a cache of illegal drugs in the apartment, after you break down her door in the dead of night pursuant to a “no knock” warrant.  Or to shoot into a car when the passenger informs the officer he has a legal gun and is producing a permit.   Or in a playground, seconds after arriving on the scene where a Black kid is seen waving a toy gun.  It is a sin that this long, bloody history of unaccountable, deadly state violence against non-threatening persons, going back to the original Slave Patrols, is allowed to continue in our democracy.  With the filibuster (nowhere enumerated in fucking Alito’s sacred constitution) no change is possible to any law that is arguably in controversy with at least 41% of the Senate!

The protests were overwhelmingly peaceful, though there were instances when some in those large crowds, confronted by heavily armed military style anti-riot squads usually only seen during violent civil wars, expressed outrage by breaking windows, overturning cars, burning stores, looting.   There was also probably some “unprovoked” destruction of property.   

The relative rarity of such violence by the George Floyd murder protesters was no problem for defenders of police violence, no matter how misguided, or, frankly (and God forbid we offend anyone) racist.  All you need are a couple of vignettes of “irrationally” angry crowds of Black “sons of bitches” (in the disgraced former president’s earthy language about protesting football players), and their guilty, conscience-stricken “woke” white allies burning cars and buildings, disrespecting the police.

Run the instances of violence on a loop, play them over and over to your frightened, angry audience, insist that no crowd has a right to such anger, except your crowd, because they’re absolutely right to feel rage against some fucking cheating liars who constantly claim your leader is lying — while they steal from you! — because not only are they liars, they are the living embodiment of Satan.  Fucking Satan, who loves the Child Tax Credit, for some reason understood only by old Beelzebub himself.

My favorite part (in the sense of “favorite” as a powerful emetic) is the “liberal” media jumping into the fray to be balanced and neutral.   The New York Times is one the greatest purveyors of this toxic, “objective” neutrality [1].   

Switzerland was neutral during Nazi military aggression, laundering money for the Third Reich and scrupulously not taking sides in the larger dispute known as World War Two.   As a young child I thought, fair enough, they were neutral.   But if you are neutral when one side is intent on exterminating the other, including all civilians and children who look like the other in any conquered land, and silencing anyone who has any complaint about the victorious army’s right to do whatever military might and fanaticism enable them to… well, probably by the time I was ten I understood that in World War Two Switzerland basically sided with Hitler by not taking sides.   The Pope, for his own reasons, made a deal with Hitler also, called the concordat, because the Pope is very fancy.

The incoherence of the reactionary counter narrative is bad, but the seemingly objective, normalizing reporting of the incoherence, as though there are equally good people, equally compelling arguments, on both sides, on every side, is even worse.  It gives a veneer of truth and an air of respectability to arguments that are not even arguments, treating something like “Birtherism” as a disproven or disputed theory rather than calling it what it actually was — a marketing slogan to galvanize racists behind an insane banner based on an angry, racist fantasy of kicking an illegitimate Black liar out of office. 

Propaganda is essential to the rise of any tyrant, and without media amplification of propaganda (with George Floyd’s murder and the protests that followed, the GOP company line is that the protesters were just violent “woke” assholes with no excuse for their outrage much worse than the peaceful Trump rioters of January 6th) the culture cannot be saturated with it and authoritarianism can never take root and flourish.

[1]   Never mind, this article needs its own post, to follow soon.    Meanwhile, here’s the “gift” link for you, if you have stomach acid to spare.  Democrats likely fucked in Georgia, and everywhere, with only selves to blame.

Why the voices of the “opposition” party are so consistently muted, timid and measured, while white racist violence and intimidation, even terrorism intended to ignite further killing and bigger, more consequential hate crimes (like that mass murdering young racist in Buffalo, New York the other day in his online Manifesto) continue unabated, with their promoters screaming around the clock that what you are seeing is not what you are seeing, that they know you are but what are they, that violence by white nationalists is not like violence by unarmed, angry, “woke” protesters, attacking police is “legitimate political discourse” because … and get ready for the unbearable bullshit that follows in a torrent, from a high pressure firehose.  Nazis [2]  never sleep, not a wink.   You going to be Switzerland, or pick a side?

[1]   Never mind, this illustrative article I’m thinking of needs its own post, to follow.    Meanwhile, here’s the “gift” link for you, if you have stomach acid to spare.  Democrats likely fucked in Georgia, and everywhere, with only selves to blame

[2]  Lest you take offense at my use of “Nazi” to describe unquestioning, ambitious followers of a deranged, compulsively lying, hate-filled, easily manipulable, revenge-driven maniac frontman for obscenely wealthy reactionaries (Mr. Trump), consider that the Nazis were around for years before they took power, doing the same street level bullying and public screaming the right wing militias and their elected Republican allies are doing now.   

It was five years after the Nazis took power, at first with the same 39% support that Trump enjoyed throughout his term, and purged leaders of their street fighters in “The Night of the Long Knives”, before the first night of nationally organized mob violence against Jews,Kristalnacht“, and eight long years until the “Final Solution,” the mass killing program for which the Nazis are so rightfully famous, or infamous, as the case may be.  Like the NY Times, I dread to seem one-sided… now back to my fabulous new place in the Hamptons with me!

Joe Manchin casts vote to sink legislating Roe, along with all 50 MAGA senators

John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 – March 31, 1850) was an American statesman and political theorist from South Carolina who held many important positions including being the seventh vice president of the United States from 1825 to 1832, while adamantly defending slavery and protecting the interests of the white South. He began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent of a strong national government and protective tariffs. In the late 1820s, his views changed radically, and he became a leading proponent of states’ rightslimited governmentnullification, and opposition to high tariffs. He saw Northern acceptance of those policies as a condition of the South remaining in the Union. His beliefs and warnings heavily influenced the South’s secession from the Union in 1860–1861

Remind you of anyone?

In the late 1820s, his views changed radically, and he became a leading proponent of states’ rightslimited governmentnullification, and opposition to high tariffs.

Note on the Book of Irv

As I suggested yesterday, I’d like to get back to rewriting the story of my father into a readable 250 pages (the first draft, which you can see here as it emerged, is about 1,200 pages) but I’ve been unaccountably distracted by the worldwide resurgence of the kind of fascism that always leads to mass murder, after years of brutal repression.   The world’s getting a little appetizer in the deliberate war crimes Trumpie’s pal Putin is committing in a war of unprovoked aggression against the civilians of Ukraine [1].   

The movement we have here has been on the move for decades, pretty much since the New Deal programs began, funding their dozens or hundreds of powerful octopus arms with billions in hereditary wealth, determined to destroy the administrative state, all social programs, and reserve government coercion for poor people who don’t have shit to say about it.  These are the same supremely entitled motherfuckers who are always upset when “entitlements” like Social Security, child labor laws, anti-pollution laws, unemployment insurance, pro-labor and pro-environmental enforcement agencies, governmentsubsidized private health insurance for the old, the poor, a century- belated ruling that segregation is unconstitutional, anti-lynching laws and so forth become the normal expectations of ordinary American citizens.

Globalist is usually right-wing code for “nefarious fucking socialist Jews” (which, as a nefarious fucking socialist Jew, I am allowed to say, happy Passover, y’all) but it applies much more accurately to the global coordination between extreme right wing parties.   When it comes to the international fascist movement, Sloppy Steve Bannon is right there, 100% gung ho, ready to be a muscular martyr for the cause.  Ditto angry Trump confidante Stephen Miller, racist Jeff Sessions’s protege and loyal Trumpist in the bunker with the mad former president.  Furrow-browed Tucker Carlson, TV dinner fortune heir (and the political party Carlson propagandizes for), loves Victor Orban, the Hungarian fascist, and hosted his FOX show in Hungary, a model society for his ilk — why do gays need rights?   Why should I be against Putin, he never called me a bad name?   Why do George Soros and the Clintons hate our freedom so much?   How do we actually know Trump wasn’t cheated, along with the rest of us, in a cleverly rigged election?  Why are Blacks always angrily complaining about unarmed family members being killed by cops when whites never do?    Why do I always pose these hateful things as questions?   Do you want to get sued for directly defamatory, or prosecuted for treasonous, behavior? Do you actually believe my viewers want nuanced answers? Do I not give them answers they already know every night, in the form of leading questions? 

So, yeah, I’m distracted, I don’t know why, keeping one eye on the 50/50 chance we will have our own one party state, bound by a Fuhrer’s Oath of personal loyalty to a compulsive liar and vindictive king of open corruption, where a timid but comparatively decent party bows to the will of violent mobs and submits peacefully to their own public executions.   C’est la vie, I suppose.

[1]

Not to say the US didn’t do virtually the identical thing under the aptly named Dick Cheney when it launched a preemptive war, based on lies told over and over to the citizens of the US and the world, against Iraq a few decades back.  How many Iraqi children and old people did we kill, maim, turn into homeless refugees?   We will never have an accurate count of the many thousands our smart and stupid bombs killed or crippled, though the number of brown refugees who fled the brutal “liberation” of Iraq was in the millions.