Friday, February 17, 2017

CASUAL FRIDAYS WITH THE MAJORITY REPORT


DDD EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ~ FRIDAY, FEB 17, 2017


THE LONG COLLAPSE

Folks, you may have noticed that it’s been a while since yer old pal Jerky treated y’all to one of his patented DDD Executive Summaries. Today, after Trump’s eye-popping hour-plus press conference / public nervous breakdown, I figured I should probably start sneaking in a few before the now all but unavoidable catastrophic nation-wide pan-institutional collapse begins, at which point I’ll be too busy constructing and guarding my rooftop trebuchet to be typing this online drivel for you ungrateful fuckers.  

By the way, did you know that while Trump was doing whatever the hell that sorry spectacle was supposed to be, a number of his hand-picked staffers were being walked out of the White House by security personnel after six of them failed their mandatory FBI background checksNo word yet as to whether would-be White House aide Sebastian Gorka--the former Breitbart "News" editor with a penchant for Magyar haberdashery festooned with regalia borrowed from murderous anti-Semitic Hungarian secret societies--was among the turfed.

Speaking of personnel troubles, Trump having to jettison National Security Advisor Mike Flynn--and thus, by association, his wretched Pizzagater son Mike Jr--over his lies about both the number and nature of his contacts with Russian intelligence officials in the weeks leading up to Trump’s inauguration is genuine cause for celebration. Anything that forces Trump to make an abject fool of himself with the kind of pretzel logic bullshit spewed during today's presser--"Flynn is a great guy but I couldn't trust him anymore because he lied about a call that was no big deal anyway and I knew all about it and I only forced him to resign because of the media and Russia is fake news"--is an indication that this traitorous administration's vulnerabilities are very real, and very serious. Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward declining Trump's request that he take over for Flynn is another indication that this is so.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the collapse of would-be Labor chief Andrew Puzder’s nomination. Not that Puzder was a great nominee. Quite the opposite in fact. The fast food mogul's abysmal record on labor is second to none, he's a crass sexist boor, and his ex-wife was so terrified of him that she wore a disguise when she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1990 to discuss his abuse of her during their 14-year marriage. But none of that mattered to the Trump White House. The real reason for Puzder's sudden disappearing act? Apparently, the dude just wasn't racist enough. You better believe that whoever they pick to replace Puzder won't be quite so "soft on border issues".

Which brings us back to the Big Picture, and yer old pal Jerky's decidedly pessimistic take on it. 

Yes, it's true, there are some signs that more Americans are waking up and becoming more vocal and active at the local level, with grass roots activism spreading so fast that some observers are likening it to a kind of nascent Tea Party for Nice, Reasonable People... and, as is to be expected, some right-wing pundits are now trying to float the idea that a bunch of people worried about losing their health insurance are all just "paid protesters". 

And yes, it's true that some in the faith community are brave enough to swim against the tide of current evangelical opinion by letting their parishioners know that Trump not only isn't a "true" Christian, he's actually pretty fucking close to being the exact polar opposite of one.

And, perhaps most importantly, it's also true that a senior intelligence official recently reacted to Trump's ongoing, ill-advised war on the intelligence community by coldly declaring to a journalistic friendly: "He will die in jail." And that's great. I mean, we're all keeping our fingers crossed, obviously.


And yet, when all is said and done, I still fear it may all be too little, too late. And I'm not alone in my apprehensions. Timothy Snyder, a Yale scholar and an expert on European history, is worried that time is already running out on American democracy. He recently declared:
"The story that Americans have told themselves from the moment he declared his candidacy for president, was that one institution or another would defeat him or at least change his behavior—he won’t get the nomination; if he gets the nomination, he will be a normal Republican; he will get defeated in the general election; if he wins, the presidency will mature him. That was what Obama said. I never thought any of that was true. He doesn’t seem to care about the institutions and the laws except insofar as they appear as barriers to the goal of permanent kleptocratic authoritarianism and immediate personal gratification. It is all about him all of time, it is not about the citizens and our political traditions. ... I think things have tightened up very fast; we have at most a year to defend the republic, perhaps less. What happens in the next few weeks is very important."
And there's the rub. Not only does America not have the luxury of waiting until the next Presidential elections in 2020, she doesn't even have the luxury of waiting for the 2018 mid-terms. Which means impeachment is the only solution. Which means finding enough Republicans who are willing to put nation ahead of party, to put what's right ahead of "winning", to recognize and rebuke the Trump personality cult... but also the absolutist, ideologically rigid political cult that the GOP has morphed into over the last three decades. 

Which means unless we get really, insanely lucky... it ain't gonna happen.

More soon. Keep watching this space. - YOPJ

***
SUGGESTED READINGS

Believe it or not... this is mild compared to the other shit.


1. Yer old pal Jerky has been based in Toronto for going on a quarter century now, and in that time, he's developed a healthy disgust for "Canada's Worst Newspaper"TM, the Toronto Sun. With the utterly middle-of-the-road Toronto Star, the tweedy and stuffy Globe & Mail, and the upstart neoconservative National Post, Hogtown does not lack for conservative opinions. But to call the Sun "conservative" is to miss the point entirely. The Sun's specialty, not to put too fine a point on it, is in ALWAYS being SPECTACULARLY WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING. This Torontoist history of the Sun's stubborn wrongheadedness about everything from LGBTQ issues to South African apartheid to Pinochet to eugenics (into the late 80's!)... it's a long and sordid list. The illustrations are particularly eyebrow-raising.

2. Did you know that The Disney Channel once produced and aired a series about Donald Trump fighting crime with a black pirate's ghost?! The series was called The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage, and the synopsis reads thusly: "It’s the story of Barry Tarberry (Daniel Hugh Kelly), a businessman based explicitly on Donald Trump, and yes, he most certainly does buy a haunted mansion in the Caribbean. That mansion is haunted by the ghost of Black Jack Savage (played by Stoney Jackson in the pilot, Steven Williams in the rest of the series), who was an escaped slave who became a pirate in the 1700s, and who was eventually lynched for trying to save his people. Now, Barry Tarberry and Black Jack Savage have to save 100 lives… or they’ll both be sent to hell." Here's the intro:

To find out more about the series (and see more videos featuring its unique awfulness), head on over to Blumhouse.com.

3. Britcom veteran Frankie Boyle has penned an epic takedown of Trump that is so jam-packed with quality gags and zesty zingers, yer old pal Jerky was sorely tempted to run the whole thing! But of course, that would be wrong of me. So here's a chunk of it...
I actually think Donald Trump is going to prove a lot of people wrong, but sadly not George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, or whoever wrote the Book of Revelation. It says a lot about the man that building a giant wall isn’t even in the top five most Game of Thrones things about him. Of course, presidents always enter office with something to prove, it’s just rarely their sanity. ... You look into Trump’s eyes and you see the fear and confusion of a man who has just been told he’s got stage-four cervical cancer. He is a super-villain in a world without heroes, a man so obnoxious and unhappy that karma may see him reincarnated as himself. ... I’m in an unusual position in that I don’t support Trump being invited to Britain, but I do hope he comes. Britain is divided at the moment and nothing unites us like hating Americans. ... If the Queen ever has to shake Trump’s hand, she will put on so many gloves she’ll look like Mickey Mouse. ... My best guess at the great man’s next move is the hoisting of an enormous burning eye above Trump Tower. It’s a building for which the words tacky and gaudy somehow seem too jolly and frivolous. Close up, it looks like the memory stick where some giant alien sex-killer stores his worst atrocities, or a version of the black slab in 2001: A Space Odyssey, sent to restore our consciousness to the level of chimpanzees. Trapped inside, Melania Trump has a look that I’ve never seen before, the eyes of someone waiting with increasing impatience for Stockholm syndrome to set in. The look of a woman frantically trying to unlearn English, appalled to find that this only makes her understand her husband more clearly.
...and here's a link to the rest of it, which you most definitely should read at your earliest possible convenience. I mean, that "giant alien sex-killer memory stick" bit is killer! Line of the week, IMO.

***
QUOTE OF THE DAY

"For evil to take place, the acts of a few people are not sufficient; the great majority also has to remain indifferent. That is something of which we are all quite capable."

- Tzvetan Todorov, literary critic and historian of evil, passed away on the 7th of February. It was a particularly ill-timed passing.

DDD EXTRAS

If you want to learn about some cool and/or weird things that happened on this day in history, check out our sister-site, Useless Eater Blog, where you will find out xxx!

THE TAKEAWAY

Now I remember why I stopped doing these things... They take FOREVER!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A DOCUMENTARY EVERYONE (AND THEIR FOLKS) MUST WATCH


ALL THE WORST PEOPLE...

Jeff Sessions protege and HP Lovecraft lookalike Stephen Miller, Trump's 31-year-old "policy wank" and new favorite brown-noser, follows David Duke (who declares the admiration to be mutual) and racist cartoonist Ben Garrison on the Twitter machine, and dropped his best friend the summer before high school because he was Latino. Which I guess shouldn't come as a surprise, all things considered. And yet, somehow, it still manages to register...

H.P. LOVECRAFT MEETS M.C. HATECRIME!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

OUT LIKE FLYNN! AND SO IT BEGINS...

Oh, this is just too fucking rich.

The Hill's reporting on the Flynn debacle -- which, trust yer old pal Jerky, is the beginning of the end for the Trump administration -- is the best I've seen so far.

Monday, February 13, 2017

NEW KEITH OLBERMANN ~ MICHAEL FLYNN MUST BE FIRED (AND ARRESTED)


DDD TOP TEN LIST ~ WHAT KELLYANNE CONWAY LOOKS LIKE!

"Our Top Ten Lists Go To Eleven!"
It's been a long time since yer old pal Jerky has put together one of his patented Daily Dirt Top Ten Lists. After all, there probably isn't a more shopworn comedy conceit under the Sun. And yet, I get a lot of pleasure out of putting these lists together; and seeing as David Letterman retired last year, who better than yours truly to pick up the hack slack? Furthermore, I can think of no more worthy subject for this, the first of what is sure to be many such lists, than the Wicked Witch of the West Wing herself, the one and only... Kellyanne Conway! Brace yourselves, folks... this one gets kinda rough! - YOPJ



11. Kellyanne Conway looks like Wayland Flowers should be standing next to her with his arm up her ass.

10. Kellyanne Conway looks like a scarecrow brought to life by an evil gypsy curse.

9. Kellyanne Conway looks like Jigsaw from the Saw movies wearing a wig made from straw that pigs wouldn't eat.

8. Kellyanne Conway looks like she's a few weeks overdue for her monthly bath in the blood of unsuspecting young virgins.

7. Kellyanne Conway looks like how the inside of a menopausal woman's purse smells.

6. Kellyanne Conway looks like she lives on Diet Coke, nicotine gum, and a devastatingly powerful cocktail of psycho-pharmaceuticals.

5. Kellyanne Conway looks like she auditioned to be a cable TV horror host, but was rejected for giving children nightmares.

4. Kellyanne Conway looks like Dennis Leary. Even he thinks so!

3. Kellyanne Conway looks like a Real Doll designed by someone using images cut and pasted from old Mexican murder tabloids.

2. Kellyanne Conway looks like someone took a skin shed by Ann Coulter during a molt and pumped it full of fluids collected from one of Roger Stone's swinger orgies.

1. Kellyanne Conway looks like the kind of person who would willingly go to work for a person like Donald Fucking Trump.

***



Saturday, February 11, 2017

GUEST POST BY OUR OLD PAL MOJO

Hey folks! As old school Dirt readers are already aware, yer old pal Jerky used to provide plenty of room for readers to express themselves, be it in the form of letters to the editor, guest editorials, "First Amendment Zone" commentary, and other such venues. Today's offering comes from our old pal Mojo, who has been among the Daily Dirt's hardest of core enthusiasts for a very long time, indeed. His musings on race and racism in Canada, a series of thoughts kicked off upon reading this MacLean's story, are hereby presented for your infotainmentational delectation. Enjoy! - YOPJ 
Dear Jerky;

Racism was hit and miss in Canada when I was young. In my little town if you heard a racist comment it was directed toward First Nations people. At the time, we mostly saw them only after they'd received their allotment, when they'd come into the towns from the Rez to get drunk. We just called them Indians back then. I won't mention some of the other names, but there were as many as there were for blacks in the U.S. 

These were not the Noble Savages we learned about in history class. The ones we saw were mostly mean and nasty drunks. We used to go to court on Wednesdays to sit in the audience and see who got caught doing what. The nastiest thing I heard a judge say was during the case of a native woman who had stabbed her husband with a poker because he was being abusive ("went Indian" as the phrase was back then). He whined about being stabbed and the judge said: "Pity it didn't go deeper; it might have let some of the wine out."

Now, they've improved themselves in our neck of the woods, and I'm proud to call them my neighbours, and several are my friends. 

I never witnessed truly hateful racism until I lived in Toronto. The things I heard Italians calling Greeks, and most whites calling Asians, made me mad. And all based on false stereotypes. But the racism was not institutionalized the way it was in the southern states. Things have improved vastly since then, though you will still find isolated instances.
 
Unfortunately, thanks largely to the American government using fear to control and manipulate their population starting around 9/11 and escalating ever since, I have seen prejudice occur more and more often in Canada, pushed by the media and the politicians, particularly the Conservative Party of Canada. That's the party that rose from the ashes after Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives suffered a terminal defeat at the polls, forcing them to join with the far-right Reform Party, creating something more like the American Republicans. 

Before the merger, Reform had serious trouble growing beyond their regional, rural roots, because many of their policies were openly racist and discriminatory against minorities and women. Now, thanks to their re-branding as the Conservative Party, formerly fringe right-wingers have gained some apparent respectability, and it's becoming more common in Canada to hear politicians say nasty things about Muslims. They're instilling the same fear in the population that was so successfully used to manipulate the American people. 

There is nothing to fear. It is stupid to be afraid of something that hasn't happened and probably won't. By all means people should always be prepared if something does happen, but it becomes far more likely to happen if people allow fear to colour their feelings and actions towards these groups. 

I have read the Qu'ran and Islam is a religion of peace, no more encouraging violence than the Torah of the Jewish people. Shari'a is not of the religion of Islam but is a tool used by the leadership to control the people. It is one of the things they are coming to Canada to escape. they are entitled to their rules of Halal just as the Jewish are entitled to rules governing kosher. 

A Muslim is just like any of us. They want to be able to enjoy their customs (not Shari'a) and holidays. They no more want our government shoving their beliefs down our throats than the rest of us do. They want quiet and peaceful lives, free of injustice and tyranny. They want to live, work, learn and be happy, just like the many ethnicities and races that make Canada the wonderful place it is. 

Let us leave the past in the past. Build a bright new future. It's the least we owe our children and the world.

Sincerely;
Yer Old Pal MoJo

MYSTERIES OF THE PETRO-CYCLE


WHEN HATE IS THE ONLY THING LEFT


On Sunday, January 30, at 7:50 in the evening, a young man wearing a mask and carrying a rifle walked through an unlocked door and into a mosque in the Quebec City suburb of Sainte Foy. As he shouted “Allahu akbar!”, the young man pointed his rifle at the fifty men who had assembled for evening prayers and pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. His gun had jammed. Undeterred, he ran back to his car, retrieved a 9mm handgun with a 15 round capacity, returned, and opened fire, emptying his gun into the crowd.

By 7:55, the shooting was over, and the first call was made to 911. Police arriving on the scene found a bloodbath of dead and dying men, and yet, incredibly, the first thing they did was rough up witnesses, survivors, and those tending to the wounded, possibly adding to the body count. An investigation is pending.

At 8:10, another call was made to 911. Someone claiming to be the gunman wanted to give himself up. By 8:50, Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old anthropology and political science student and part time blood bank employee was in custody.

By the time the dying was done and the counting finished, Bissonnette would be charged with six counts of first degree murder and five counts attempted murder.

Not counting the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, in which 60 innocent Muslims lost their lives, Bissonnette’s rampage stands as the deadliest ever attack on Muslims in North America. Despite Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling the massacre a terrorist attack, terrorism charges have yet to be filed against Bissonnette.

And maybe therein lies a question worth exploring. If Alexandre Bissonnette is a terrorist--and I believe that he is--then what kind of terrorist is he?

According to Bissonnette's friends and classmates, throughout junior high he was a shy, unpopular introvert with an interest in firearms, hunting, and the military. While attending Universite Laval, his interests evolved to include a variety of conservative causes. He joined student organizations and discussion groups, both online and off, and made efforts to participate.

People noticed a change roughly a year ago, roughly coinciding with French Far Right politician Marine Le Pen's visit to the province of Quebec. Bissonnette began professing great admiration for Le Pen, as well as then American Presidential candidate Donald Trump. His rhetoric grew ever more strident and extreme, his interactions with others more anti-social.

Bissonnette soon veered into hardcore racism and anti-Muslim invective. His trolling eventually became so intense that few who were aware of his online activities were surprised to discover that he had perpetrated a deadly massacre.

So, what does this mean, re the question at hand?

Well, for one thing, even though Bissonnette appears to have been completely self-radicalized, and even though he acted alone, it means that we would be fools to dismiss him as a deranged, apolitical "lone wolf" like, say, Elliot Rodger, or Adam Lanza. 

In fact, I think the opposite could be argued. I think that Bissonnette, hollowed out by the corrosive power of the politics of right-wing hate, was left utterly defenseless when the wider culture began its rapid terminal slide towards populist extremism. A non-stop diet of Far Right propaganda succeeded in pounding all the reason, proportion, and empathy out of him, then filled him anew with an incandescent grievance... a horrible swelling of inchoate missionary zeal that would find its ultimate expression in a tragic spasm of barbarous brutality.

In this sense, Bissonnette is not just a soldier for, but an avatar of, the alt.right politics of hate. His politics are literally all that is left of him. 

Being a hollowed out cipher who exchanged his mortal soul for a half-baked pseudo-ideology copy/pasted from Reddit is something that Bissonnette shares with his predecessors in the annals of alt.right terrorism: Anders Breivik and Dylann Roof.

And yes, I am suggesting that there is a substantial, substantive difference between right-wing terrorists of generations past, like Timothy McVeigh, and today's alt.right terrorists... though I'm sure all three secretly dream of one day hoisting foamy mugs with McVeigh in the hallowed mead halls of Valhalla. One needn't watch all two hours of Roof's FBI confession video, or read all fifteen hundred and fifteen pages of Breivik's manifesto, to realize that there is a certain, shall we say, confusion grinding away behind those addled pates. 

Not that confusion is any defense against extremism. The fact that people don't come much more confused than Omar Mateen, for instance, didn't mean much to the hundred and one people he shot (49 killed) in Orlando last year. Which brings us to the Trump administration's impeccably timed announcement that the federal anti-extremist program will no longer be targeting "right wing extremists".

Which is problematic, when you consider that pretty much every single terrorist--be he Jihad-besotted suicide-bomber, or neo-Pagan wannabe Viking, or even pseudo-intellectual “cultural Christian”--is, at heart, a "right wing extremist". The days of the Weather Underground and the Red Brigades have long since passed, after all.

Then again, maybe the real reason the Trumpniks decided to shut down efforts focused on uncovering non-Muslim right wing extremists is because they figured out a more cost effective way of doing so. For instance, by simply calling roll at police stations across the country.

In any case, if you or someone you love is currently involved in a hate group, and extrication from said situation is proving difficult, why not pay the good folks at Exit USA a visit? They've been where you are, and they know the way out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

DDD EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FOR FEBRUARY 7, 2017


MINUTIA AND INCONSEQUENTIA
  • Good news, folks! The Illuminati finally got off their asses and set up an official website! Yer old pal Jerky has already looked into it for you, and I gotta say, it seems pretty legit. They're even selling this really snazzy black wooden pyramid thingy (pictured below) with three metal pendants hidden inside. At $70 per unit, enlightenment has never been so affordable!
  • The offices of VICE have always reputedly been the scene of cocaine-fueled bacchanalia, but finding out former VICE Canada music editor Yaroslav "Slava Pastuk" Pastukhov used his influential position to coerce employees, interns, and young musicians into serving as drug mules for an international drug smuggling cartel? That's just... well... actually, nah. That's totally the kind of thing I always figured was going on behind the scenes there. 
  • Neil Freeman has put together a beautiful map of the United States as redrawn with entirely new states, each of which has a population of roughly six million people. It's his way of dealing with the increasingly untenable problems associated with the electoral college. It also has the added benefit of being quite lovely, with evocative place names and a certain je ne sais quoi

***
SUGGESTED READINGS

1. Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the Fifty Greatest Progressive Rock Albums of All Time is an odd thing. On the one hand, it's a weird list, with some unforgivable omissions and a bunch of entries that, in yer old pal Jerky's opinion, don't really qualify as progressive rock... and I'm pretty loose and inclusive when it comes to prog! On the other hand, it's a great, eclectic bunch of albums, and brings attention to some very deserving and little known acts. So if you're interested in becoming a prog rock connoisseur (and who isn't these days?) this list should serve as a more than decent jumping off point.

2. All you foodies out there who love to indulge in “rare” and unique foods and delicacies that you can only get in certain parts of the world, sometimes only at certain times of year… please allow me to introduce the humble Madawaska ploye! The ploye is an extra special, hearty crepe (fancy talk for unflipped pancake) made with a special kind of buckwheat flour found only in the northwest panhandle of New Brunswick, and in nearby, neighboring regions in the US state of Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec... but not too deep into either! Yer old pal Jerky grew up eating these savory, spongy, dark yellow ployes, usually with a slathering of butter and a shmear of "cretons", which is another Madawaska delicacy, a fatty meat spread akin to head cheese, but a lot more... grey. It ain't pretty, but it's tasty. You can also eat them with molasses or maple syrup, if you have a sweet tooth.

3. Whenever yer old pal Jerky's academic background in Philosophy comes up, people are always full of questions. What is it, exactly, that's being studied? What qualifies one thinker as a philosopher and another as, say, a literary essayist? or a political scientist? or a critic of some sort? Doesn't anybody who lives by a credo, in effect, practice philosophy? Well friends, those of you who'd like to learn more about what it is, exactly, that philosophy students study, are in luck, because Wheaton College has generously made available the entirety of Professor Arthur Holmes' influential 81-lecture course, "A History of Philosophy", on Youtube, kicking things off with "Part One: The Beginning of Greek Philosophy", in which he comes to grips with some influential pre-Socratics:


This, my friends, is the good stuff, and indicative of the amazing things that the Internet is capable of. If you were to dedicate just an hour per day to the study of the history of philosophy, simply by watching Professor Holmes' course and taking notes while you do, you'd be finished in under three months! And you'd have a university-caliber introduction to the foundations of Western civilization under your belt. Furthermore, yer old pal Jerky guarantees that, if you take this course and make a good faith effort to understand it, a lot of things will, all of a sudden, make a lot more sense to you. In fact, I've been thinking of using Professor Holmes' course as the basis for a new, experimental website of sorts... an interactive sort of thing. Anyway, keep your eyes on this space for news!

***
QUOTE OF THE DAY


"The news is currently that spinning image of a newspaper, but it never stops spinning."

- Our old pal Conan O'Brien, cracking wise on the Twitter machine.

DDD EXTRAS

Our sister-site, the Useless Eater Blog, continues to provide you with all the low-down nitty-gritty on all the strange and savage goings on in the world of humans being human beings! Like for instance that time Savonarola made a bonfire out of all those vanities. Did you know that happened on this day, back in 1497? Hard to believe it was so long ago, isn't it? Ah well... such is life.

"YOU'RE IN FOR A BIG SURPRISE!"


Saturday, February 4, 2017

...AS YER OLD PAL JERKY SCRAMBLES TO KEEP UP...

WHERE THOSE EXECUTIVE ORDERS COME FROM

What a week it’s been! Like a diabolical infant colossus suffering from projectile diarrhea, Dear Leader Trump spent the last few days giving the rest of the world a taste of the foul be-shittening that Americans have suffered since his inauguration. 

Last week, for instance, he threatened to send military troops to "deal with" Chicago's crime problem; this week, we learned that he leveled similar threats against Mexico. Last week, he put federal employees on notice about their social media habits; this week, Iran was put on notice over a successful missile test (and by the way, congratulations, guys!). And of course, this week, we learned that during his call with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, Trump complained about a deal to accept twelve hundred refugees as the "worst ever", and said the call itself was the day's "worst by far". Last week, of course, Trump was busy being America's worst President ever, by far.

So you see how they all connect.

Not that choosing targets farther afield helped bolster Trump's approval ratings at home. In fact, the opposite seems to have happened, as everyday, more Americans appear to be waking up to the reality of this shared nightmare. One indicator of this is the fact that it's taken Trump exactly 8 days to slide into majority disapproval status... something no President in living memory managed to do before serving at least a few hundred days.

Whether Trump's historic plunge in popularity was entirely due to the fallout from the disastrously incompetent roll-out of his unconstitutional "Ban on (some) Muslims"--up to and including White House spokeslizard Kellyanne Conwoman's use of the (fictional) Bowling Green Massacre as justification for it--or whether it was something else, pollsters have yet to determine.


For instance, Americans may have been expressing their displeasure at Trump choosing to fill the Supreme Court vacancy stolen from President Obama with Neil Gorsuch, a 40-something Scalia clone who started a Fascism Forever club back in his prep school days. Of course, he now says he was kidding--which I suppose makes his college years some sort of perverse performance art project--so I'm sure it's okay. I mean, I'm sure no Republicans would have complained if, say, Justice Sotomayor had chosen to write "Viva la Reconquista!" in her high school yearbook, then spent her college years working to make Texas and California part of Mexico again... right? 

And by the way, what the fuck was up with that handshake?!


Unfortunately, most Americans couldn't care less who sits on the Supreme Court. So that probably isn't what caused Trump's approval ratings nosedive. Could it be because they discovered that Trump's plan to bestow "religious freedom" upon America involves creating "wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious objections to same sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity"? This, in the same week that he asked Jerry Fucking Falwell Jr to head up "a White House task force on reforming higher education"?!

Sadly, that probably wasn't it. It's far more likely folks didn't appreciate the way Trump used the 65th annual National Prayer Breakfast to put on a clinic for how to be a flaming asshole, by attacking Mark Burnett--who had just introduced him--and mocking ratings for The Apprentice ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced him as the show's "boss", prompting this response from Arnold:

Then again, Americans love them some drama, so maybe the drop in Trump's popularity is just blowback from that botched Navy SEAL raid in Yemen.

What's that you say? You haven't heard about that botched Navy SEAL raid in Yemen? The one that led to the loss of SEAL Team 6 member William Owens and a $300M Osprey? The one that killed scores of innocent civilians, despite initial Pentagon claims of "no civilians killed"? The one that Trump okay'd over din-din? The one that was undertaken "without sufficient intelligence"? The one he didn't bother overseeing from the White House Situation Room, despite being in the White House at the time? The one described as "a disaster" by multiple government officials? The one that some Trump loyalists tried floating a "Blame Obama" tactic over, before having that tactic decisively slapped down, forcing them to switch narratives midstream and declare "Mission Accomplished!"? 

Yes, that botched Navy SEAL raid in Yemen.

It should be noted, however, that in the midst of all that human wreckage, Trump did at least get to fulfill one of his most beloved and oft-repeated campaign promises. He got to "take out" the family member of a suspected terrorist! That's exactly what happened when a bullet ripped through 8-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki's neck at some point during the raid. After reportedly suffering for two hours, Nawar was reunited with her big brother (and fellow American citizen) Abdulrhaman, who was killed alongside their father, accused Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar, in a drone strike authorized by the previous administration, back in 2011. 

So, you know, at least something about this raid went right.

SATAN, LAUGHING, SPREADS HIS WINGS
As for all the countless things that went wrong--including the non-stop farrago of lies about the op put out by the Trump administration, up to and including the bizarre release/retraction of a video they tried to claim was captured during the raid--surely we'll get to the bottom of things after a few hundred million dollars' worth of overlapping Congressional investigations. I mean, thank goodness the Benghazi hearings set such a high bar in establishing precedent for how to deal with this sort of thing. I can hardly wait to watch the fireworks on C-SPAN!

Hey! What's Trey Gowdy up to these days, anyway? I hear that dude is a real Rottweiler.

***
WHAT ABOUT BANNON?


1. Politico's Adam Wren sat through all the “documentaries” put out by the de facto US President Steve Bannon this week so you wouldn’t have to. So what did he discover? Well... let's just say that there are those who seem to think that Bannon is some kind of evil genius. Turns out they're half right.

2. Who knew that, back in the days before you could tell he was dying of long term alcoholic liver toxicity just by looking at him, de facto US President Steve Bannon was involved in Biosphere 2?! The folks at Motherboard have the inside scoop. You won't learn much about the project itself, which was "written off largely as a stunt, and not very good science to begin with", but what it tells us about one of the most powerful people in the world "could be the greatest finding of all."

3. Speaking of Bannon’s intellectual pedigree, were you aware that he's long been obsessed by a book touting a peculiar theory of history? As Linette Lopez explains in this Business Insider report...
In the book, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe theorize that the history of a people moves in 80-to-100 year cycles called "saecula." The idea goes back to the ancient Greeks, who believed that at a given saeculum's end, there would come "ekpyrosis," a cataclysmic event that destroys the old order and brings in a new one in a trial of fire.
This era of change is known as the Fourth Turning, and Bannon, like Strauss and Howe, believes we are in the midst of one right now. 
According to the book, the last two Fourth Turnings that America experienced were the Civil War and the Reconstruction, and then the Great Depression and World War II. Before that, it was the Revolutionary War. 
All these were marked by periods of dread and decay in which the American people were forced to unite to rebuild a new future, but only after a massive conflict in which many lives were lost. It all starts with a catalyst event, then there's a period of regeneracy, after that there is a defining climax in which a war for the old order is fought, and then finally there is a resolution in which a new world order is stabilized. 
This is where Bannon's obsession with this book should cause concern. He believes that, for the new world order to rise, there must be a massive reckoning. That we will soon reach our climax conflict. In the White House, he has shown that he is willing to advise Trump to enact policies that will disrupt our current order to bring about what he perceives as a necessary new one. He encourages breaking down political and economic alliances and turning away from traditional American principles to cause chaos. 
In that way, Bannon seems to be trying to bring about the Fourth Turning.
Knowing that a guy who believes all of the above--and who also believes that Sarah Palin, the Duck Dynasty guys, and Donald Fucking Trump are the best America has to offer--is now de facto President of the United States of America is enough to set even the stoutest knees to knocking. I think I speak for every sane human being on Planet Earth when I say: "Cirrhosis, don't fail us now!"