Category Archives: Politics

President “That Guy” Knows What He Is Doing

Don’t lie to yourself. That Guy knows exactly what he’s doing.

Yesterday, about the attempted bombings:

Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on democracy itself.

The day before, about a Republican congressman who assaulted a reporter:

Any guy who can do a bodyslam, he’s my kinda guy.

And then he acted out the bodyslam. Don’t lie to yourself. That Guy knows exactly what he’s doing.

Sen. Chuck “Chickenshit” Schumer (D-Wall Street) Speaks Out On The Current Crisis

Apparently this story got under the skin of the Senior Senator from the Great State of Wall Street:

Chuck Schumer Relieved He’s Never Taken Stance Meaningful Enough To Have Someone Mail Him Explosive

As usual, The Onion had the real news. That story was published yesterday at 12:53 PM. It ends:

At press time, Schumer had issued a tepid statement urging Americans to consider all sides in the matter.

Two hours earlier, Schumer had tweeted:

Make no mistake: Despicable acts of violence and harassment are being carried out by radicals across the political spectrum—not just by one side. Regardless of who is responsible, these acts are wrong and must be condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. Period.

It’s accompanied by a graphic showing one news story about a rock being thrown through the office of a Republican and another about a bomb being sent to the home of a Democratic ally. I keep thinking I’ve heard this sort of thing before, somewhere…

You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.

CNN President Jeff Zucker Has Failed In The Current Crisis

After yesterday’s attempted bombing of CNN headquarters, CNN president Jeff Zucker issued this statement:

There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media. The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.

That statement is a serious, possibly fatal, failure of journalistic standards. Why?

CNN and the press has been strict about not calling false statements from “The President and the White House Press Secretary” lies, on the grounds they don’t know the state of mind of a person making a statement, that they usually can’t know a false statement is a lie.

A liar has to know he’s lying in order to tell a lie. A false statement made in good faith, or even in ignorance, is not a lie. Depending on the circumstances, it is something else: A false statement, a negligent act, an irresponsible statement, but not a lie.

The time my boss told me I was getting a raise, and his boss make him take it back? While the expression is “made him a liar”, and while he was rightly chagrined at going back on his word, that is not a lie. He told what he believed to be the truth. He was not a liar.

(I still hold a grudge over that, as much over my boss getting jerked around by his boss as over losing my tiny cost of living raise.)

So read this again:

There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media. The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.

That is an example of Jeff Zucker assuming he knows the state of mind of “The President and the White House Press Secretary”. He assumes they don’t understand what they are doing. He is assuming he knows their state of mind, which he does not.

Possibly Zucker is trying to de-escalate. That is an understandable mistake, but it is still a mistake. It’s wrong to go against journalistic standards to give powerful people a break in one case while obeying those standards elsewhere, also to give powerful people a break.

It’s also a grave misunderstanding of the situation. What was the response from “The President and the White House Press Secretary”? Here are the words of President That Guy earlier this morning:

A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!

So here is my question to Jeff Zucker: What makes you think That Guy doesn’t know what he’s doing?

“the Muller investigation just paid for itself” Is Ferguson, Missouri Justice

You’ve probably seen this tweet:

@Pappiness: As part of Paul Manafort’s plea deal, he’ll forfeit bank accounts and properties worth about $46 million dollars. Someone should let Trump know that the Muller investigation just paid for itself.

This is an understandable but unprincipled way to view a criminal investigation. It’s fighting the battle on Trump’s chosen terms. He’s good at getting people to do that. Stop playing his game.

Criminal investigation isn’t about making money. It’s a service, a public good, that is paid for by taxes. Money it generates should go into general revenue.

What it costs to investigate a crime is often well out of proportion with the monetary cost of that crime, and that can be a just expenditure of money. We recognize the injustice of measuring the value of justice by its cost…in principle–even as we tolerate it in practice! The murder of a rich woman should not get a bigger, better investigation than that of a poor man. There isn’t any just way to say one death is worth more than another. Wealthy neighborhoods get better police protection and investigation than others. These practices have to change.

We’ve seen what happens when money from investigations is given to the investigating unit. It often leads to fraud, both outright criminal fraud leading to convictions and casual fraud of the everyday sort. For instance: Seizing a muscle car and letting that unit keep the car for use in “investigations”. That’s legal but not legit.

We all know of towns that fund themselves with speed traps. We all know of rich people walking away from DUIs in ways that poor people can’t.

You know who else walks away from big-ass felonies by forfeiting money? The finance industry. Look at the number of charges which get dropped because the company involved agreed not to fight and to forfeit a lot of cash. Do the responsible individuals get punished? Sure. They feel it in their reduced bonuses or golden parachutes. Does it hold down financial crime? Does it deter or incapacitate the perpetrators, provide retribution or restoration? Does it do any of that? Or does it make getting caught at financial crime against ordinary citizens just a routine risk of business to be figured into ever-increasing interest rates and noted in a cheery stockholders’ report?

What it comes down to is that making revenue generation the goal of law enforcement–especially making the argument for a particular investigation by how it pays for itself, rather than how much truth and justice it delivers–is Ferguson, Missouri justice.

Ferguson discriminatorily squeezed some of its citizens under color of law to pay for a government the rest of its citizens wouldn’t pay enough in taxes to run. Whether it was pure racial oppression or simple class warfare–it’s harder to parse them apart than it is to separate salt from sugar–does not change our judgement that it is wrong.

That doesn’t mean seizing Manafort’s money wasn’t just. Getting money back from crooked financial institutions is just, even if it isn’t sufficiently just or perfectly just. If it’s a good start, I say live with that and improve later on.

“We got the money!” is a lousy justification for seeking criminal justice in the first place. Whether it’s profitable to investigate my murder shouldn’t determine whether my killer is found. Getting the money to fund government through prosecution is an unjust way of providing government. These are basic principles. Let’s respect them.

Are There Clean Dollars In A Dirty System? And If There Aren’t, What Then?

I don’t believe there are any clean dollars in a dirty system. If you buy sportswear–or almost anything not directly from the producer’s hands, and even then sometimes–someone is getting exploited. So Nike isn’t unique in exploiting working people. It’s not like the New Balance shoes I wear are morally any different. And good for Nike for putting some money in Colin Kaepernick’s pocket and some positive images of him into the world.

If there’s an active boycott going on–not a “moral disgust” boycott, but a “change your ways or we’ll do our best to put you out of business” boycott–that should be respected, as the Nike boycott was by so many back when it was in force.

And now it’s not, so go buy some, if you want to.

But there’s something very sick about a society that turns its ethics over to the market.

The market has a clear and unambiguous answer for every question of value. When it is asked, “What is the worth of a human life?” it has an answer, in the form of another question: “What am I bid?”

So if you don’t have a deep, deep pocket, you’d best watch your ass in the coming years, or overturn some tables now.

The Assistance

I hit peak McCain on reading this: John McCain’s Funeral Was the Biggest Resistance Meeting Yet.

Let’s call the roll of that gathering, shall we? From the article, in order: Meaghan McCain, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney–and at this point, let’s quote a paragraph:

For a moment, at least, they still lived in the America where Obama and Bush and Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney could all sit in the same pew, in the same church, and sing the same words to the patriotic hymns that made them all teary-eyed at the same time.

To continue the roll call: John Boehner, Elizabeth Warren, David Petraeus, Leon Panetta, Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Paul Ryan, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner–I understand no one slapped either of them, or threw a drink in either one’s face, but I suppose that’s to much to expect from a member of The Resistance–John Bolton, John Kelly–are you getting that warm, runny feeling yet?–and Jeff Flake.

Does that sound like The Resistance to you? It sounds to me like the people who got us into this mess in the first place. Which of those people has actually gotten in Trump’s way? Elizabeth Warren. The Obamas are taking a well-earned vacation, so they get a pass from me. The Clintons are out pimping their books. Leon Panetta and Al Gore are doing something, I suppose, even if it’s just shutting up because they don’t have anything useful to contribute. Madeleine Albright wrote a book that’s on topic but not going to motivate people to action, judging by the people I know who read it and recommend it, but she means well, bless her heart. And that’s the Democrats in the room!

And you know who else was at that memorial and gave a very moving speech? America’s Funniest War Criminal, Henry Kissinger! I shit you not: The very man who directed years of the criminal Vietnam War which John McCain got injured fighting. The only place we should see Kissinger hanging around is Nuremberg. But there he was, Resisting.

It’s possible to feel admiration for the personal virtues of a man like John McCain, who spent five years in a hellish prison and never finked on his comrades, and still despise the acts that put him in that prison in the first place. I realize that systematic mass murder of civilians is only a war crime these days if you don’t do it with a Very Expensive Weapon provided by one of the Major Powers, and that we’re supposed to pretend that strategic bombing isn’t terrorism. I myself figure anyone on any side of any fight who commits mass murder of civilians is a mass murderer. It’s awful hard to bomb a village in self-defense, but that doesn’t stop armies from trying, right?

The difference between McCain and Kissinger, then, is that one man had admirable personal virtues and the other did not. Kissinger’s virtues were turned exclusively to Evil purposes. It was his and Nixon’s policy to violently overthrow democratically elected governments they didn’t like. One can’t admire intelligence turned to that purpose.

So on reading that article, then hearing about Kissinger’s appearance, I realized there was a better word for that crowd: The Assistance.

The Assistance is the political creatures who thrived in a corrupt, self-serving political environment. They are the Ancien Règime of America, on an old road rapidly changing. And you know what? They don’t see any point in lending a hand, because it’s you who are in their way, as they ping little spitballs of tut-tuts at a man who exemplifies the system they are frantically trying to put back together. They are doing the absolute least they can do in defense of your interests–condemning in the strongest terms!–as they try to protect their own.

They are working to preserve the corruption that pays for their foundations and stuffs speaking fees strung with beads of zeroes on the end up their well-deserving buttholes. They get that money from the rich because it is the rich who they serve. When the rich yank the string on those speaking fees, you bet those political asses respond.

So don’t expect much from The Assistance. As always, we will have to save ourselves. And if you have to run one of The Assistance over in the process? It’s not like they weren’t warned:

Mysteries Revealed! A Simple Typo, Now Corrected, Makes It All Clear.

I finally figured out one of the Great Mysteries of TrumpWorld. It was a simple typo anyone, even the President Of This United States, could make, which I can now interpret. Here’s the original tweet, in full:

Despite the negative press covfefe,

Now here’s my corrected version:

Despite the negative press kayfabe,

He wrote covfefe when he meant kayfabe. It’s just that simple and it explains so much!

Respectable People Can’t Fight Trump Effectively. Who can? The Answer May Surprise You!

A dozen assorted National Security Officials issued a Stern Statement against Donald Trump this week. The text follows:

It’ll do nothing against him. What does work?

What works is people you, Gentle Respectable Reader, probably don’t approve of.

The first person to touch Trump as President and not come away soiled was national punching bag Kim Kardashian. She went in to negotiate the freedom of an unjustly imprisoned woman and won, and didn’t look like a fool or a thief afterwards.

The next person to touch Trump, and actually draw blood was porn star Stormy Daniels. She’s managed to make him look like the foolish old man he is. She’s also opened up a one of the few lines of criminal inquiry which is likely to score.

And now we have reality television figure Omarosa:

Reality-TV folks don’t build their brands on respectability—their freedom from conventional constraints like being predictable and well-liked is their power—but they can pull off One Big Pivot in their careers. Usually, it’s where they claim that, yes, they were part of the circus, but things have finally gone too far and gotten so bad that even they must shine a light on it! Only those who’ve been in the muck know what to fix.

This was the substance of Donald Trump’s own campaign message, and now Omarosa is using it against him.

That message isn’t available to Respectable People, and rightly so. The essence of being a Respectable Person is being a fake real person. That’s true of almost every major politician.  The Hillary Clinton of political appearance is a fake pretending to be real. You could see that most clearly after the election, when this funny, slightly sarcastic, human being went on television to plug her book. It was a Hillary Clinton I could have voted for willingly instead of at Trumppoint. She was visibly human, real real, not fake real.

What the women who beat Trump have in common is that they are, like him, real fakes. They really are something very close to those images they project. When you see one of them, you don’t wonder, “Are they really like that?” You know, yes, they are.

Trump does poorly against women who don’t have much interest in pretending to be something they’re not.

This is why he’s able to steamroll Respectable People. He sees, as most of us who are Not Respectable see, the lying and faking and fronting and bullshitting that goes into being Respectable. And he makes it visible, which he can do, being Not Respectable.

Since hardly anyone can maintain both the sort of self-reflective ability that goes into seeing these things and the will to act effectively on them, very few Respectable People can see what those of us who are Not Respectable know by heart.

still the sweet darling mouse who can't quite see the cat coming