Monday, July 24, 2017

ALT RIGHT "JOKE" A CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD

The spirit of Julius Streicher is alive and well in today's race obsessed alt-right.

One example of psychological projection and self-pwnage by the Right that I’ve recently come across is the plethora of racist trolls making “We wuz KANGS!” jokes every time they see an ad for Marvel’s Black Panther movie. It’s nothing short of hilarious that they should mock imaginary Black people for doing something that they, themselves, do on a daily basis.

Of course, there exists a tiny handful of amateur Afrocentrists who sometimes take their conclusions to ridiculous extremes. But their numbers are dwarfed by the rabble of White Supremacists who take the exact same sort of inexplicably visceral pride in events and accomplishments that have literally nothing to do with them.

Are they not bursting with pride at their “White Heritage”? Do they not revel in ticking off the accomplishments of the “White Civilization”? Do they not boast of the enduring legacy of “White, Western Culture” at every opportunity?

Adding an extra layer of irony to all this is the fact that a significant subset of the alt-right self-identify as "Nordic Pagan", and "Odinist"... meaning they're the ones who give serious credence to comic book fairy tale bullshit.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but there’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure, or even pride, in your origins or your heritage. But imagine being so bereft of personal achievements, and so ignorant of your familial or community history, that in order to find something in which to take pride, you have to reach all the way back to your genes. It’s pathetic.

So scrub away the racist Ebonics from the alt-right’s little “joke” here, and you’ll find—as is so often the case with those who allow themselves to be ruled by their darkness—that what they really hate is an element of themselves that they subconsciously recognize within the Other.

They are screaming into a mirror, shaking a fist at their own shadow.

BOXING: THE DECLINE AND FALL a Guest Editorial by A.C. DOYLE

Between 1999 and 2006, it was my frequent honor to be able to exclusively share with you, dear friend and reader, the writings of one A.C. Doyle; one of the brightest minds, sharpest wits, and finest wordsmiths that I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. Today, more than a decade after a severely diminished Daily Dirt pulled itself, bloody and broken, to whatever disgusting cold water hovel it is where old websites go to die and be forgotten, I'm relieved to say that I can still call Ace a friend. Which is great news for you... because I recently asked Ace if there was anything he felt like writing about for my little hobby blog, here, and he replied by sending me this beautiful, George Plympton-esque ode to, and elegy for, the sweet science of organized pugilistic arts... and so much more. As you are about to discover. Enjoy! - YOPJ


My salsa partner in Queretaro, Mexico -- a very elegant middle-aged woman -- described last year’s Mayweather/Pacquiao bout as a “slapfight outside a gaybar at 2AM”. I replied that this was an insult to both gaybars and slapfights. Two men making 40 million apiece performed Kabuki for 36 minutes, and went home richer than they’d ever imagined. 

Good for them.

Bad for boxing.

At least in the United States.

In Mexico she and I watched it in a bar. Free. In the Philippines it was free of course, and probably in much of the rest of the Pacific Rim. Boxing -- particularly if it includes a regional star, such as Canelo or Chavez in Mexico, Pacquiao in the Philippines, a belt-holder in Panama or Thailand or Korea -- is a source of national pride, and you would no more charge to see a prizefight than you would charge to see your heroes in the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup.

That peculiar vanity, charging an enormous sum to watch a sporting event on TV, is nearly unique to the U.S.

And nearly unique to boxing.

We don’t charge PPV fees to watch the Super Bowl or World Series or NBA Finals or March Madness or Olympics. Why is it only with professional boxing, and only in the U.S., that we decide to severely restrict viewership and fan base, by way of making one pay $119 to watch a slapfight outside a gaybar? (Again, with apologies to both slapfights and gaybars).

If your first guess is some combination of corruption, Mafia influence, Vegas, bookies, poor ghetto black boys whose agents are robbing them blind, well, yes. All of that.

And the advent of closed circuit TV in the 1970s. I am now of an age where I am within a year or two of needing to scroll THREE screens down to enter my birth year for airlines tickets, e.g. But I still have some brown hair, and can remember the “Friday Night Fights” of the 1960s, and my pleasure in eating some cheese pizza (we Catholics couldn’t eat meat on Fridays back then, which was just pizza fine by me) with me Da and me sisters’ beaus and watching the fights. Unless Boston College was playing Holy Cross. It was what men and boys did on a Friday night.

Even after closed circuit and Don King arrived in the 1970s, the most prestigious fights aired the ensuing Saturday, on ABC’s Wide World Of Sports. Yes, we knew already who had won The Rumble In The Jungle or The Thrilla in Manila or Hagler-Hearns or Hagler-Duran or Hagler-Leonard or Leonard-Hearns or Leonard-Duran or Hearns-Duran. Or Holmes-Cooney or Norton-Foreman or Frazier-Foreman or Ali-Norton or Spinks-Holmes or Ali-Spinks. If you’re over 40, you recognize every one of those names. Household terms. I’ll circle back to this.

Actually, no, I’ll address it right now. Until the mid-1980s there were eight champions. Fly, Feather, Bantam, Light, Welter, Middle, Light Heavy, and Heavy. And there was only one sanctioning body, the WBA, since 1921, the (reasonably corrupt) organization that determined who had to fight whom, and by which date. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, knew the Heavyweight Champion Of The World. From Armstrong to Dempsey to Louis to Marciano to Patterson to Ali to Frazier to Foreman to Ali to Spinks to Ali to Holmes to Tyson to Holyfield (with or without his lower earlobe), these were among the most famous celebrities on Earth.

Name the current four. I bet the best you can do is “probably those two gigantic blond Russian brothers have a couple of belts between them”.

Middles were often considered the best “pound for pound”, and a great many were household names as well: Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Graziano, Jake LaMotta, Carmen Basilio, Ezzard Charles, Tony Zale, Emile Griffith, Carlos Monzon, Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr. Name the current middleweight champion. Can you? Did Mayweather move up from Super Light Middle Duplex Welter? Is Canelo a Light Middle, Super Welter, or Secret Double Probation Middle?

And while the lower weight classes were often ignored by the mainstream media, largely due to being dominated by Latinos and Asians, fans of the Sweet Science will remember Alexis Arguello, Wilfredo Benitez, Jimmy Wilde, Pancho Villa, Azumah Nelson, Willie Pep, Henry Armstrong -- um, shit, I can’t think of a single bantamweight except the Dutch Dynamo Kid Williams -- Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, Kid Gavilan. If some of these names are obscure to readers under the age of 40, that just proves the central theme of this disquisition.

Name the most recent American Olympic boxing champs. Can’t, can you?

Whereas we all knew Cassius Clay and Joe Frazier and the Spinks brothers. I remember the 1984 Olympics, in which black athletes started having less conventional first names. Pernell Whitaker, Tyrell Biggs, Meldrick Taylor all won golds, as did five other Americans, including Mark Breland, the best of the lot, and Evander Holyfield took a bronze. Pernell, Tyrell, Meldrick, and Evander -- everybody was talking about those crazy boxing names!

The Olympics are the only sporting event that women watch more than men, and as Marketing MBAs have come to run our television networks, boxing has been exiled to the ass-end of the cable dial during the Olympics, relegating the main feeds to Gymnastics, Gymnastics, and Gymnastics, with a sprinkle of Synchronized Swimming and Aquatic Ballet and Diving. I’m not sure we’d even be aware of a Flo-Jo or Jackie Joiner-Kersey these days. Heaven forfend, some Nielsen viewer might turn the channel to General Hospital or a re-run of Friends if they had to suffer through high hurdles or boxing.

And I understand the aversion to bloodsports. In Mexico, you see many women, but hardly any kids, at bullfights, and only perhaps five women out of 150 people betting at cockfights. It’s worth noting that the bulls and gamecocks have no choice in the matter, while Pacquiao could have retired with enough scratch to support his great grandchildren in luxury after the Mayweather slapfight, but instead fought Horn last week. I boxed as a kid, and enjoyed it, until the black boys hit puberty. Before then, you could outpoint bigger boys, because they were typically slower. But all of a sudden, on the cusp of 7th grade, some black boys got bigger, stronger, AND faster! That was it for me. Seeya later alligator.

But don’t ever believe that the vast majority of serious boxers don’t enjoy what they’re doing. Nor would they give it up if not for the paycheck. If that were true, why would Boxing Clubs even exist? And why would it be called The Sweet Science. It’s a sport, a discipline, a very tricky thing to master. It requires thousands of hours of training under the auspices of exquisitely talented teachers to be any good at all.

Two weeks ago walking down from the funicular ride atop Bergen Harbor, I spied a young man practicing.


I walked up to him and said, in English, “you’ve got fine form and footwork, are you thinking of going pro?”

He replied, in a thick Russian accent, “no, I’m not good enough….but the other men at the boxing club groan when they draw me as their next opponent.”

“I bet they do, son, I bet they do.”

“Did you ever box?”

“Yes, for a few years, until the black boys hit puberty.”

“Ah”, he laughed, “we don’t have blacks in Russia or Norway. Lucky for me.”

I was with two other middle-aged men. I pointed to one and said “he grew up with me in Brockton.”

“Brockton, oh my God, that is so coooool! Did you box also?”

My friend chuckled “no, are you kidding, that shit is SCARY!”

“You said Broctkon, yes? Not Boston. Brockton?”

“Yes Brockton.”

“That is so cool, I’ve never met anyone from Brockton!” My friend and eye rolled our eyes at each other. It was the first time we’d ever heard our shit-hole city described as “cool”.

“Did you know Rocky?”

“Hey”, my friend cried, “do we look THAT old?”

“My aunt dated him”, I replied.

“Wait, your aunt was Rocky’s girlfriend??? Oh my Gawd, that’s amazing!”

“She said he was a great cook and a perfect gentleman. She dated him when his name was still Rocco Marchegiano, and was with him in New York when he changed it to Rocky Marciano before the Louis fight. He told her Rocco Marchegiano was too Italian, he needed a name like Joe DiMaggio, Italian but American.”

“Wow. Did you know Marvelous Marvin?”

“Oh sure, he cut my best friend’s lawn! He was on our block every week or two. We were both classmates of his half-brother, Robbie Sims. Toughest kid at Brockton High School. Which was a tough motherfucking school. That’s why our fathers sent us both off to wimpy prep schools, so we’d survive adolescence!”

“I don’t think I know this Robbie Sims.”

“Yeah, he never made it higher than 4th or 5th in the WBA rankings, not sure he ever had a title fight. Fists of thunder, but not much of a chin.”

“Ah, the chin. That’s what made Ali and Robinson – and your Brockton men, Marciano and Hagler -- the greatest ever. Impossible to knock them out, the hardest chins ever made.”

“Yep. But I’ve watched the Leonard fight ten times, easily, and Leonard won. Nobody from Brockton would admit it at the time, but Leonard won.”

The Russian teenager atop the Norwegian fjord talking to the middle-aged men from Boston and Queretaro let out a great guffaw. “Yes he did….if the fight had been to the death, Hagler would have killed him, but Hagler fought the first three rounds southpaw, trying to confuse him, and Sugar Ray just went for points. The ten-point-must system had just been initiated, and boom, after three rounds he was up 30-27. He just needed to win three of the next nine for a draw.”

“Yup. And the Hagler-fan mythology that Sugar Ray climbed on his bicycle from Round 4 onwards simply isn’t so. He went toe-to-toe in several rounds, the 7th and 8th being epic. The kid hit Hagler hard and got hit by Hagler hard, he didn’t hide until the 11th and 12th.”

“What a classic”, the Russian teen crowed, “one of my favorites, and so much to learn from both of them. Hagler never fought again. Moved to Italy and made bad movies.”

“Yeah, I passed him once in Marco Polo airport in Venice, saluted him, mentioned him mowing lawns on Boylston St., and he gave me a hug. He looked great, and clearly retired before any brain damage, he was sharp. Whereas Sugar Ray is an idiot these days.”

“Yes, sad”, the Russian shook his head. “You need to know when to quit.”

Indeed.

It is incorrect to buy into the latterday handwringing about “intentionally causing brain damage”. That’s no more true than saying it about linebackers and defensive backs, whose jobs consist of running into other humans at high velocity and knocking them to the ground. And it conflates intent with result. If you get to the top echelons of professional boxing and continue against top-flight opponents for too long, especially in the heavier weight classes, you run the Troy Aikman risk of concussive brain damage, to be sure. And you know it.

Smoking ain’t good for you either.

And every single under-employed racist asshole who voted for Trump in the belief that his life would improve is a bigger retard than Louis, Ali, Frazier, and Leonard combined. So let’s dispense with the self-righteousness of Ivy League squash players wrinkling their weak chins at blacks and Latinos and Asians who know how to fight. If you’re a Navy Seal or a Green Beret or a Special Forces or MI-6, you learn how to fight. Get. The. Fuck. Over. It.

The modern $150K per year MBA mommies who’ve banned drawstrings on sweatshirts and anyone under the age of 21 riding in the front seat of a car are blameworthy on many fronts, but they did not kill boxing in America.

So, where did professional boxing go wrong, and why are the silly Mixed Martial Arts more popular now in the U.S.? Well, first off, the proliferation of sanctioning bodies. By the mid-1980s it became clear to promoters that a “championship” bout was more profitable. Thus was begotten the WBF and the WBC and the IBF and the Boxing-R-Us organizations, who conspired to strip legitimate champions of their particular belts if they didn’t fight the IBF #2 by February, while the WBC was demanding a champ fight a different #2 by March. Meaning some champ or another was always being stripped of one belt or another, allowing for a “championship bout” between shittier fighters next month.

For the exact same reason -- videlicet, “championship bout” -- weight classes proliferated. If you take eight champions in eight weight classes, multiply by four sanctioning bodies, then add six or eight new weights, for every four or five pounds, BINGO!, now you have 60 champions and 60 times every six months to advertise a championship bout.

About which nobody cares. Downside Number 1. If I hear that Hector Gonzalez is fighting Manuel Hernandez for the Super Light Welter 143-146 pound North American Boxing Federationy Thingamabob Belt next week, for only $79.99 on Comcast Pay-Per-View? Fuck, I’ll choose that re-run of Friends six days a week, and twice on Sunday.

The proliferation of weight classes and sanctioning bodies was the first death blow for professional boxing. There were no longer champs, household names, Sugar Ray Robinson, Ali, Foreman, Rocky. Just 48 or 64 so-and-so's, nobody to root for, no heroes, and for all of the new Coward Class of Champs, way too easy to duck serious challengers. Pacquiao and Mayweather might have actually fought, exchanged blows, in 2009 or 2010, in their prime, man alive, what a fight! Two old men in 2016? For $129.99? Only idiots paid for it, and received what they deserved, as the boxing world whined “Oh dear oh my, we didn’t make as much profit as we’d hoped for the much-hyped ‘Fight Of The Millenium’!”

It’s sad. Mayweather, the greatest fighter of this millennium, will probably be best remembered as being a “chicken”. His promoters made up a thousand excuses never to fight Pacquiao or Cotto in their prime. So the welter and middle haven’t had a great fight in twenty years. Compare this to Leon Spinks, whom Richard Pryor lavished praise on for immediately granting a re-match to Ali. “Motherfucker’s got heart, Brother Leon”, I recall Pryor saying. In the 1950s through the 1980s, you saw a GREAT fight eight or ten times per year. Now it’s about once per decade.

Death Knell Number Two? Racism. Yeah, the exact same reason Donald Trump is President. Boxers are typically black and Latino. Whereas MMA douchebags are usually lily-white (until lately). And you know it’s not a real sport when most of the champions are 48-year-old ex-Marines. Who refuse to fight slick black teenage boxers from Philly, or any Muay Thai experts. Cuz….um….they might lose to a Negro or Asian. Gen Y and Millennial American boys have enjoyed an atavistic regression these past 16 years to 1950s-style racism. They say “nigger” at cocktail parties in Boston or New York, without social repercussions. While their conservative parents would never have done so. The last thing they want to see is a black or Latino winning a fight against a Master Race Aryan. Hence their fetish for bogus MMA fights, where one white guy dry-humps another white guy in a homo-erotic embrace for three minutes until the judge cums in his tighty-whiteys.

Death Knell Numero Tres? The Vegasificiation of Title Fights. Twenty-seven of Rocky Marciano’s fights were in Providence, RI, the closest city with a large auditorium to our home city of Brockton. He fought in Philly, he fought in Chicago, he fought in Boston, he fought in San Francisco, he fought in New York, he fought in Maine, he fought in D.C. One place he never fought was Caesar’s Palace.


That’s my father, Connie, on the left, watching Rocky fight Joe Louis at Madison Square Garden. I used to see Tyson fight, every six weeks or so, at The Felt Forum, when we all knew, by the time he was 19, that he’d be the next great heavyweight champ. Six bucks for tickets in the peanut gallery, nine bucks the good seats, twelve bucks ringside. We’d order ringside, so you could get drenched in the blood and spittle of his opponents.

Ali fought in Pittsburgh PA, Lewiston ME, DC, Houston, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, Zaire, The Philippines, L.A., New York, Toronto, Wembley in London, Miami, Tokyo, Switzerland, Dublin, Jakarta, Jamaica, Nassau, Munich, Mexico, Kuala Lumpur.

But fighters don’t fight around the country and around the world anymore. They only fight in Trumpistan resorts. You will never see a title fight in your state capital again. Never. You can probably find some boxing club where 12-year-olds wearing beach balls on their fists bop each other around for three 40-second rounds, and some ruddy-faced Irish mother is selling 60 cent beers from a cooler in the back. But you’ll never see a prizefight in The Boston Garden or Providence Civic Center or Philly Spectrum or LA Forum or Soldiers’ Field again.

Our national treasure, Michael Buffer (who coined the now National Landmark Certified phrase, “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!”), perceived this trend nearly 35 years ago, and struck a shrewd deal with a brash young Atlantic City and Vegas heir to a real estate fortune named Trump, that if he deigned to call a few fights on Trump property, he’d be required to introduce all championship fights on all Trump properties in perpetuity.

And that’s why we all know Michael Buffer, who looks great at age 72. I saw him introduce the Canelo-Chavez fight last month, totally in Spanish, and that way he rolls his Rs really works well. We know him and his catch-phrase because nearly all championship bouts are now held in Las Vegas. Last one I saw anywhere else was Tyson v. Tubbs, to christen “The Big Egg”, or Tokyo Dome, in 1988. The evening performance was Mick Jagger with Tina Turner. They rocked pretty damn well. Quite a day at The Big Egg.

But no father will ever take a son into town to catch a title fight anymore. No local newspapers will hype the big showdown at the local basketball/hockey arena. Two casinos in Las Vegas will be the only place to find $2500 tickets, and the rest of the world can pay $119 on PPV to see people they’ve never heard of fight for a weight class they’ve never heard of in a title fight sanctioned by an organization they’ve never heard of. The Continental Slapfighting Conference’s Super Ultra Mini Maxi Medium Middle Welter Light Heavy Fly belt. Featuring the best 146-148 pound fighters of the past eight minutes.

You’d think, with 65 champions, they could send a few out into the hinterlands, have an occasional prizefight in Mexico City or Boston or New York or Paris or Berlin. Sadly, no. It’s an international treaty obligation that all lucrative fights take place in Vegas.

And of course, foreshadowed above, Death Knell Numero Cuatro is the real misericorde. PPV, with every cable television provider, charging five times the market price to watch a shitty fight in Vegas. In the 1970s, nobody had access to closed-circuit TV. I actually remember going to The Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden and paying twenty bucks to watch Hagler-Leonard in 1985. Back then bars and concert halls had access to closed-circuit, and you’d pay ten or twenty bucks to see a fight. I paid to get into bars for Tyson-Douglas (a bigger upset than Joe Willie’s Jets over Unitas’s Colts), Tyson-Spinks (over more quickly than the national anthem, THAT was a bad investment), the infamous parachute delay in Holyfield-Bowe II, Holyfield-Lewis I, etc.

But then they changed the PPV rules for bars paying that ridiculous $119 and making it up in cover charges of 5 or 10 bucks, and instead made them pay thousands. Last time I saw a fight in an American bar was Pacquiao-Cotto I, in November of 2009, at an immense Atlanta sports bar, that could afford the thousands of dollars, because they had 500 clients on board.

This was the death of American boxing. You can see Wonder Woman or any number of other movies still in the theaters for $9.99 or $12.99 on Comcast or Xfinity. If you could see a prize fight for ten dollars, or on ABC’s Wide World Of Sports a week later, for free, then you might be a boxing fan, as might your boy. But you can’t. Because corruption and Marketing MBAs have decided that $119.99 is the going rate for a prizefight, and fuck the next generation of fans, we need our Trump profit NOW!!!!

So, to conclude, the modern American teenage boy has never played poker, nor chess, nor backgammon, and is a helpless mess during an electrical outage during a hurricane, because cards and board games are not part of his social vocabulary.

But he probably knows who Tom Brady and Stephon Curry and LeBron James are.

But can he name a single boxer? No.

Once he leaves the nest at age 47, will he ever order up a $119.99 PPV that his Mommy isn’t paying for to see Whatshisname Chang have a slapfight with Whodafuckis Ramirez? No.

We make him pay a week’s salary in Trumpistan to see a prizefight, while he can watch 50-year-old bald ‘roid-rage Navy Seals frottage each other to lily-white orgasm for free. Or put on earbuds and shoot fake brown people with their posse of online friends in Kill 'Em All v.3.8.1 after a tour of gunning down real brown people in the Middle East.

While Berkeley bloggers whine about how we should ban “bloodsports”.

Bloodsports are alive and well, and more popular than ever. Every teenage boy in America plays them, in ever increasing verisimilitude, with his Google Virtual Reality Goggles. Shoot the commie, shoot the nigger, shoot the cop, rape the boobalicious lady, it’s all good, why go outside and toss a football around when you can assassinate dozens of people on your TV every afternoon?

But they haven’t a clue if a flush beats a straight, nor how to respond to a Ruy Lopez chess opening, nor will they ever recognize a single middleweight champ. In the latter instance, because someone decided that boxing ended in 1995, and for only $119 we can discourage three generations of Americans from ever watching it again.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

OF RETRACTIONS, SETH RICH, AND HANNITY'S TOTAL LACK OF HUMANITY


In late June, Think Progress published an exploration of journalistic ethics by Laurel Raymond entitled "A Tale of Two Networks: How FOX News and CNN Handled Two Recent Retractions". It begins:
In recent months, both CNN and Fox have retracted stories on their websites regarding particularly high-profile topics on the left and right, respectively. Both sites issued similar excuses: A breakdown in normal editorial standards that led to something being published that shouldn’t have been. 
Yet in most other ways, the two cases are a study in opposites. 
CNN, on one hand, retracted its story within a day and issued an apology. The network immediately carried out an internal investigation. Three employees resigned. Those that remained were told that any future stories on the topic would need to be vetted by two top executives before publishing. 
Fox, on the other hand, took a week to retract the story, though it was debunked by other news outlets within hours. Little news of an investigation within the network emerged. No on-air apology was issued, despite a week of speculative coverage on the cable network. No employees resigned. And one of the network’s stars — Sean Hannity — continues to promote the conspiracy theory to this day.
Taking the above into consideration, reason would seem to dictate that it should be FOX News management, on air personalities and behind the scene employees who are being constantly ridiculed for promoting "Fake News" and worrying for their safety as they're being stalked and harassed by unhinged (ahem) "journalistic ethics advocates".*

But no. FOX News never faces any repercussions for their constant journalistic fuck-ups and lies. Just like Trump has yet to face any repercussions over his repeated, and repeatedly proven, lies. Because just as somewhere deep down in his psyche, Trump has to know that he has no business being in the White House, on some level, FOX News viewers have to know that what they're watching isn't journalism in any real sense.

As Seth Meyers recently quipped: "Trump not lying would be news. Another Trump lie is just ho-hum." The same can be said of FOX News.

Which brings us to Sean Hannity, and his ongoing attempts to push a disgusting and typically groundless Far Right conspiracy theory surrounding the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

It should be obvious by now for anyone who hasn't been totally absorbed into the conservative movementarian Borg that Hannity couldn't give two tugs on a dead dog's cock about anything other than collecting metaphorical scrapings from the bottom of the allegorical barrel in order to fashion them into the cable news equivalent of shiny, klinky baubles that he can then shake at his house-bound, utterly brainwashed audience in an attempt to distract them from Trump and the GOP's non-stop cavalcade of incompetence and treason. 

But if you stop and think about it for a moment... it's worse than that.

I need you, my friends, to really try and come to grips with the implications of what Hannity is doing when he pushes the theories that a) Seth Rich was the source of the Podesta emails that WikiLeaks (most likely in league with both the Trump campaign and the Kremlin) made public before the 2016 election, and that b) he was then subsequently murdered--either by Podesta, or Donna Brazille, or the Clintons themselves, depending on who you ask--in an act of petty revenge over having done so. 

Never mind the fact that there is zero evidence for these theories. 

Never mind the fact that--despite all the hysterical, over-the-top reactions, mostly the product of intentional misinterpretations--said email dump was one of those Nothing Burgers political commentators keep referring to these days, featuring nothing more scandalous than a few embarrassing instances of petty inter-office politicking. 

Never mind the fact that Julian Assange's decision to play disgusting games with Rich's family--insinuating that he has information that could lead to the identification of Rich's killers while simultaneously offering a 20,000$ reward to anyone with information that could lead to the identification of Rich's killers--doesn't even make any goddamn sense.

Never mind all that. Because as disgusting as the above-listed shenanigans can get--and with devoted Trumpnik Roger Stone now saying that Rich's parents should be charged with obstruction over their requests that partisan hack "investigations" cease and desist, they've gotten pretty fucking disgusting--perhaps the most important takeaway from all this is what it says about the New Fascist International Deep State faction.

First of all, this dark thrashing in the murkiest of mucks tells us that they're desperate. 

Second, it signals that there are literally no limits to the depths that they're willing to sink to in order to "win".

Demonize and attempt to delegitimize the free press? Check.

Weaponize the NRA just as they kick-start the dormant culture war? Check.

Fire FBI director Comey in the midst of an investigation into Trump's Russia ties? Check.

Fire Mueller for getting too close to the truth? Check back in a week and we'll see.

It has long been obvious that a certain segment of the American population, after decades of having poison dripped into their ears while they slept, are so far gone that they now willingly choose hatred and fear over hope, or the chance at a shared future; that they would willingly submit to the ultimate solitude of oblivion rather than partake of the relatively minor efforts required to build, and maintain, community.

I don't know about you, but I feel something in the air. A dark, negative energy; a shadow gaining weight.

I fear that we may be, all of us, standing at the brink of a world historic catastrophe. The Republicans, assorted alt-right race haters and terrorists, and other longstanding conservative movementarians... all of them would rather there be a second Civil War than be forced to loosen their grip on the reins of power even one iota. 

God help us all... I'm starting to think they may get their wish.

*Journalistic ethics? Shades of Gamer Gate!

MEANWHILE, IN CANADA...


Some dude named Theo wants you to Look at This Picture...

QUID PRO QUO EXPLAINED


CLAPPER AND BRENNAN GIVE TRUMP BOTH BARRELS

If we are lucky enough to pass through the current crisis in such a form that allows for things like the publishing of accurate historical accounts--free of pre-approved narratives and from ideological molestation--this astonishing presentation by former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at the Aspen Institute on National Security will undoubtedly be included.


They do not varnish their opinions, nor do they sugar their words. Long story short? It is no exaggeration to say that the United States is a nation in the grips of a profound existential crisis. Topics covered include Russia's interference in the 2016 election, the danger posed to future elections, and the challenges posed by the Trump phenomenon in general.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

OUR OLD PAL BRADBLOG SOUNDS THE ALARM (EVEN LOUDER THAN USUAL)

I'll just cut and paste directly from the Bradblog, and urge you all to click on over and subscribe to that incredibly important website's daily email updates. I've been receiving them for years, and they're the real freaking deal if you're interested in knowing everything there is to know about the sorry state of America's democracy. - Jerky

On today's BradCast: We may be quickly heading towards a very troubling Constitutional crisis and what will it take for voters (and corporate media!) to appreciate the dangers posed by our absurd voting systems in the U.S.?

President Donald Trump offers some astounding revelations regarding his thoughts about firing the nation's top law enforcement officials (the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, the Acting FBI Director and the Special Counsel investigating Team Trump) during a rare interview with the New York Times. He also suggests he believes he can restructire the Dept of Justice so that the FBI Director reports directly to the President, rather than the Dept. of Justice. 

The breathtaking admissions in the interview leads at least one former top Justice Department official under Obama to predict that "we are headed for a massive clash....I don't see how we get past this without him firing either [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller or other people at the Justice Department and a massive, massive crisis."

Continue reading this incredibly important, revealing, and downright ominous report--or listen to the always lively radio show, delivered to you free, five days a week--over at the BradBlog.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

HEADS UP! TWIN PEAKS ANALYSIS PROJECT BEGINS AT MEDIAVORE!


Hey gang! Why not head on over to the DDD's sister-blog, The Mediavore, to take part in our ongoing exploration of the Twin Peaks phenomenon? We're starting where it all began, with the legendary film that served as the pilot for the ground-breaking series.

So, in order, here's the project's introductory post!

Next comes my breakdown of the Pilot Film!

Then comes my breakdown of Episode One!

Enjoy!


Sunday, July 16, 2017

SELECTED READINGS ~ JULY 16, 2017


The recent Salon.com article asking the rhetorical question What Exactly Lurks Within the Backward Grooves of Stairway to Heaven?--excerpted from Erik Davis' Led Zeppelin IV book from the 33&1/3 series-- makes for a fun read, particularly when the authors draw a nifty parallel between 80's televangelists laboring over turntables in their efforts to suss out Satanic messages by playing songs backwards and the then novel artistry of early DJ spin-masters:
Though one doubts that Minister Mills was chillin’ with Grandmaster Flash or DJ Kool Herc, rap musicians and Christian evangelicals both recognized that popular music is a material inscription, one that can be physically manipulated in order to open up new vectors of sense and expression. For both evangelicals and rap DJs, the vinyl LP was not a transparent vehicle of an originally live performance, but a source of musical meaning itself, a material site of potential codes, messages, and deformations of time. Alongside the more kinetic and rhythmic innovations introduced by scratch artists like DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, we must also speak of a “Christian turntablism”: slow, profoundly unfunky, obsessed with linguistic “messages.” Some evangelical TV broadcasts from the early 80s even include top-down shots of the minister’s DJ decks so that viewers can admire the technique of squeezing sense from sound. However, while rap and all the sampled music that follows it treats the vinyl LP as an open form capable of multiple meanings and uses, Christian turntablists remained literalists, convinced that they were revealing a single “fundamental” message intentionally implanted in the grooves by a diabolical author. Unfortunately, when it came to “Stairway to Heaven,” these DJs for Jesus could not agree on the exact wording of Led Zeppelin’s insidious messages. Once again, ambiguity trumps.
There's something for everyone--from the casual Zeppelin fan to the committed Thelema practicing Crowleyite--in this short article. If you're any kind of pal o' mine, you'll enjoy it. Remember to pass it on!
***

Continuing with today's musical theme, Washington Post political reporter (and life-long prog rock head) Dave Weigel has just published a book about the much-reviled musical genre he and I both hold so dear, entitled The Show That Never Ends. Now, thanks to the Red Bull Music Academy, you can read an excerpt from said book: an entire chapter, in fact. And it's not just any old chapter... it's the chapter called "A Billion Times the Impact", and it's about progressive rock's deepest and darkest practitioners, King Fucking Crimson. Weigel goes deep for this one, folks. After a bunch of stuff about the birth of the business end of prog (Harvest, Pink Floyd, Van Der Graff Generator, etc), we get to the meat:
Crimson made its London debut on April 9, 1969, at the Speakeasy, gigging steadily through the spring and folding into the scene. They started talking to the Moody Blues about touring with them – an embryonic band backing up the country’s symphonic hit makers. It didn’t pan out. “I think they [the Moodies] were terrified,” said Michael Giles. “There was a power and an energy coming off Crimson that couldn’t be denied.” 
None of the musicians who popped up at the shows even attempted to deny it. King Crimson settled into a sound and image. Fripp, never comfortable standing up to play guitar, decided at the band’s May 14 gig that he would play seated on a stool. “You can’t sit down,” warned an exasperated Greg Lake. “You’ll look like a mushroom!” 
Fripp was unmoved. “My considered opinion,” he’d tell an audience at a later concert, “was that the mushroom is a fertility symbol in many cultures.” So the guitarist sat down, and he won immediate validation from one of the only people whose opinion mattered. Jimi Hendrix was at the show, “jumping up and down,” and pronouncing Crimson “the best group in the world.” 
After the show, Hendrix approached Fripp wearing a white suit with a matching sling on his right arm. “One of the most luminous people I’ve ever met,” remembered Fripp. “And he said to me: Shake my left hand, man, it’s closer to my heart.” 
The Rolling Stones were set to play an outdoor concert at Hyde Park on July 5. King Crimson, just six-odd months into its existence, was booked to support them. On July 3, the Stones’ multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones was discovered at the bottom of his pool. There was a moment of panic about whether the show would go forward. The panic subsided and nothing was canceled, as funereal portraits of Jones were placed at either side of the Hyde Park stage. King Crimson would have forty minutes to play to the largest audience they’d ever seen. 
“Here’s a band that’s going to go a long way,” promised the announcer. Seven seconds later the band crashed into the first chords of “21st Century Schizoid Man,” all majors and sharps in 4/4 time, the entire band swinging like a fist. ... King Crimson held the stage for forty minutes at Hyde Park, playing highly structured songs – “The Court of the Crimson King,” “Epitaph” – and songs that served to scaffold their incredibly quick solos. Lake didn’t even get vocal parts for the last thirteen minutes. The brief “Mantra” consisted largely of a tender McDonald flute melody. “Travel Weary Capricorn” was a showcase for Giles – a song so evocative of basement jazz that the impressions of “Schizoid Man” started to fade. 
But the jazz number ended with a strangled-cat solo from Fripp, as Lake and Giles laid down a thudding beat. This was “Mars,” a travel-sized cover of Gustav Holst’s piece from The Planets. A mellotron carried the melody as the band relentlessly bent the classical piece into a Satanic groove. It ended with air-raid sirens, played by the band’s management. And that was the show. “Standing ovation,” recorded Fripp in his diary. “Mammoth Success, of importance which will take time to appreciate. We’ll look back to see this day in years to come and fully realise its significance.”
That's the shit right there, man. And as the story behind Crimson gets more chaotic and complicated, Weigel's telling of it only gets better. At one point, during an interview with Gordon Haskel, the disgruntled former singer says: "The King Crimson weapon is musical fascism, made by fascists, designed by fascists to dehumanize, to strip mankind of his dignity and soul," he said later. "It’s pure Tavistock Institute material, financed by the Rothschild Zionists and promoted by two poncy public school boys with connections to the city of London." Because of course it is. Yer old pal Jerky can't wait to get his hands on Weigel's book

PS - Purchase it (or anything else) from that Amazon link and you'll be supporting yer old pal Jerky's blogging efforts!

***
Those of you who've been riding along with yer old pal Jerky and friends over the last little while know that we consider the UK's Adam Curtis to be one of the best and most important documentarians currently producing work. We so respect his work, in fact, that we will soon be producing concordances (like these) to go along with some of his most important and relevant films and series, such as The Power of Nightmares, The Century of the Self, The Trap, and All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. But before we get to that, we suggest that you watch this early film of his, 1984's The Great British Housing Disaster, which all but predicts the Grenfell Tower disaster, which incinerated scores of innocent people alive in central London only a few short weeks ago.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

PLAYING CATCH UP ~ THE "QUALITY" OF TRUMP'S PEOPLE


If there's one thing Donald Trump wants you to know about Donald Trump, it's that Donald Trump likes to surround himself with nothing but the best people... just top quality, all the way. People like former Apprentice contestant turned inexplicably vicious minion Omarosa "Lil Bow Down" Manigault, whom Business Insider reports has recently taken to signing her correspondence as "The Honorable Omarosa Manigault". Yer old pal Jerky can't help but wonder how long it will be before we get to see these hyperbolic honorifics evolve into even more ornate forms? I'm guessing it won't be too long before we're dealing with "The Right Honorable Reverend Doctor Omarosa Manigault Lucifer Trump Esquire, the Third"... and I can't hardly wait!


I don't know about you guys, but when I picture "all the best people", the first thing that comes to mind is Trump supporters! Which brings us to the story of long-time Trump supporter (and Traditionalist Youth Network founder) Matthew Heimbach, who has been flitting about the periphery of infamy for years now, with the latest incident being when he was filmed violently shoving and shrieking at a black woman at a Trump rally... an incident for which he is now being sued. This being America that we're talking about, Heimbach reacted to being sued in the traditional, American way: by launching a lawsuit of his own... against Donald Trump! Why sue his hero? Well, it turns out Heimbach claims he assaulted that black lady (from behind, while she was texting) "in self defense" and "pursuant to the directives and requests of Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President." Only time will tell if the "Donald Told Me To" defense works, thus setting an intriguing--and, for Trump, financially devastating--precedent. Fingers crossed, y'all!


Next up in this parade of all the best people, we've got Hartford's own Steven Marks! This plucky go-getter was recently caught red-handed painting threatening anti-Trump graffiti , including "Bernie Sanders 2020!" and "LEFT is BEST!" and (this is the best one) "KILL TRUMP!" all over a bunch of elementary school equipment. "But wait", I can hear you saying, "I thought this entry was about Trump supporters!" Well, it turns out our clever friend Steven is a Trump supporter! And what's more, he was "only acting out of anger towards liberals and they are breaking major laws every day and being disrespectful towards our government"! See how it all makes sense when you just stop and think about it? What with all those thousands of phony self-inflicted hate hoaxes that the liberals have made up since Trump was elected, someone needed to step in and help even out the false flag hate crime deficit! We salute you, Steven! Good luck in court!

Okay, so it's probably true that the three examples selected above may not speak as highly of Trump's sycophants and fan base as he might have hoped... but unlike many of the people on this list of alleged donors to Trump's inauguration fund, they at least have the somewhat significant advantage of being actual, flesh and blood human beings. Our good friends at The Palmer Report are trying to make sense out of this mess, but it's one heck of a big mess to sort out.

You can almost hear that Crypt Keeper cackle...
Before I go, I've got one last question for you. Why do so many Republicans look like the family patriarchs from Southern Gothic horror movies? You know the type... those surreptitiously decadent, genteel types who turn out to be part of a long family lineage of incestuous baby-eating Satan-worshiping serial killers? I mean, just look at Mitch McConnell up there. I'd wager a good chunk of change that there's a trunk full of blood-spattered baby clothes in the attic of that fucker's Kentucky plantation house. 

PLAYING CATCH UP: THE PHILANDO CASTILE VERDICT


I was so naive.

Here I thought that, with the unambiguous murder of Philando Castile in a suburb of St Paul, Minnesota, one year ago tomorrow, America had finally seen an incident so unambiguously awful, so unforgivably egregious, so well and completely documented, perpetrated against such an obviously undeserving victim, that nobody would ever try to justify what happened, or rationalize what was done to him. 

Of course, I was wrong. 

First, as if on cue, came the usual suspects: Youtube "race realists" and other assorted trolls and cowards from the alt-right fever swamps. They mocked Castile's grieving mother, questioned his girlfriend's motives for live-streaming the incident's aftermath, and even speculated about Castile's guilty looking ears. Some claimed Castile was a Crip (he wasn't), that his gun permit wasn't valid (it was), and on and on, one false accusation after another, and countless speculations that were all proven wrong upon the public release of the police dash cam video in the days after the end of the trial of officer Jeronimo Yanez was completed.

Ah yes... the trial. Again, call me naive--or maybe blame my white privilege--but that verdict came as something of a shock to me. For Yanez to be declared not guilty seemed impossible, just as the thought that he would not be facing any repercussions for his actions now seems perverse.

But not, apparently, to some of my more conservative friends. Of course, racist online shitlord trolls like the ones described above are one thing; they were always going to do their rancid thing. But when some of my lifelong friends, one of whom also happens to be a law enforcement officer, start hemming and hawing and offering up excuses and "yeah buts", it breaks my fucking heart. 

"But Jerky," my LEO friend insisted, "it's not like YOU have years of training in the proper Use of Force!" Frankly, I don't think you need years of training in use of force to recognize a murder--or an abject physical coward--when you see one. Not to mention the fact that other experts in the field have said that Yanez' behavior was "objectively unreasonable".  It really shouldn't have to come to that. We have eyes. We have brains. Goddamnit, we have our common humanity. Yanez should never have been issued a weapon, and he definitely should be serving time for manslaughter... at the very least. 

Castile is driving home from getting groceries in the early evening with his girlfriend and her four year old daughter. He gets pulled over for some reason (something that's happened to him dozens of times before), and he immediately and politely informs the officer that he has both a handgun and a permit to carry it. He is then asked for his license and registration, and as he goes to retrieve those items from his wallet, officer Yanez bellows out: "DON'T GO FOR YOUR GUN!!!" Castile, nonplussed, insists "I'm not, sir-" At which point Yanez, heedless of the safety of all three occupants of the vehicle, empties his fucking gun into Castile's soon to be corpse. 

The rest, as they say, is history, Facebook live-stream style. 

During the trial, as part of his defense, Yanez claimed that he smelled marijuana coming from the car, and part of what put him on edge was the idea that the couple might have smoked weed with a child in the vehicle. If they were willing to do that, Yanez figured, then they were capable of anything. This, from the man who emptied his gun into that self-same car. And the jury, god damn them, bought it. 

According to one juror, Yanez' account and the fact that Castile's girlfriend "didn't seem credible" were the deciding factors. One hopes in vain that these jurors will one day have to face a higher justice over the role they played in this injustice.

I think it's worth pointing out, by the way, that the violent crime rate, from ALL demographics, is near an all-time low. Furthermore, a few high profile incidents notwithstanding, police work is safer than ever. Which makes Yanez' cowardice--and much of the rhetoric surrounding so-called "law and order" political issues--all the more galling and grotesque.

Listen... I'm a realist. I recognize and accept the fact that we, as a society, have to grant a certain degree of leeway to the people who we task with enforcing the laws. And I understand that the problems of abuse of authority, increased police militarization, and the disturbing rise of "for profit policing" go beyond the issue of race. But racial animus is undeniably at the heart of so many of these problems, and that's something we're now able to witness for ourselves, thanks to the spread of cheap, portable video technology revealing that Black folks were not, in fact, exaggerating about this shit.  At this point, after all the evidence that we've seen, to argue that there isn't a serious problem with the way police interact with the black community, you have to be blind, either physically or spiritually.

Anyway, I'd like to wrap things up with something that a friend of mine who goes by the nickname Whop-ology wrote on the day of the Yanez verdict. He wishes to remain anonymous for the time being, but I can reveal that he is an African American husband and father who is gainfully employed and a member of the armed forces. I'd never seen him post anything of this nature before, and when I read it, it floored me. He didn't give his work a title, but for now, let's call it "The Verdict".

Just rap nigger
Just sing nigger
Just dance nigger
Don't think you have rights nigger
Don't think you are right nigger
Don't think you are white nigger
Just don't be caught trying to fight nigger
Just don't be caught doing what's right nigger
We just don't care about your life nigger
We just don't care if you are polite nigger 
Just pull up your pants nigger
Just play sports nigger
We just don't want you here nigger
We just don't want you to breathe nigger
Why don't you stop calling each other niggers nigger
Why don't you leave nigger
Every verdict will be the same nigger
Every murder your blame nigger
Look at Chicago nigger 
Look, that's not our problem nigger....
Yea he was stopped because of the shape of his nose nigger
Stop being nosy nigger
They heard the voice recording, it played for the jury nigger
The one showing he calmly followed directions saying he legally carried a gun in his clothes
7 shots this case should have been opened/closed
I know nigger 
So watchu gonna do? Watchu gonna do?

PLAYING CATCH UP ~ I GOTTA WHOLE LOTTA LINKS!

Continuing with the task of clearing off my scratch-pad of stuff that I've wanted to blog about, here is a selection of "Suggested Readings" that I'd collected in the last two months and failed to pass along. I originally had a ton more links to share, but some--like this story about Trump cancelling a long-standing White House tradition of celebrating the end of Ramadan with a special dinner--haven't aged well, which means that what's left has already gone through a winnowing of sorts, so you know they're all top quality reads, chock-a-block with important, usable information, or as in the case of The Onion's "Trump Papers" project, just funny as all get out. So let's get started, shall we? - Jerky

Graeme Wood's in-depth profile of alt.right poster-boy Richard Spencer for The Atlantic, cheekily entitled "His Kampf", makes for pretty compelling reading. The fact that Wood and Spencer were high-school classmates in Dallas gives the interview sections a certain degree of intimacy, making the reader feel like they're sitting across the table from Spencer, sharing a sincere, if somewhat distasteful, conversation. Of note is the fact that Wood interviewed Spencer twice for this profile, once before the infamous incident wherein Spencer was punched by a masked "antifa" while being interviewed for Australian TV, and once after. This brush with real-world consequences seemed to take a bit of the bombast out of him, perhaps even dampening his evident glee in the wake of Trump's ascendancy:
“Am I just going to be harassed for the rest of my life? Living in Whitefish is quite difficult,” he said, due to protests. “I thought there would be a little bit of anonymity” in Alexandria. Now he could not walk around without fear. 
He said he was going to change his haircut—I’d remarked that it made him stand out—but insisted that fashion was the reason. “I think the fascist haircut has peaked. Aesthetically, I think it can definitely be improved on. Maybe I’ll try a Tom Cruise, from Mission: Impossible IV.” 
He sounded vulnerable, for the first time since he’d said the St. Mark’s campaign had wounded him. “I have a right as a citizen to walk the streets and not be attacked, and I have the right to be protected,” he complained. 
Spencer was obviously right when he said he should not be assaulted. But we both could taste the irony in the situation. If he hadn’t caught himself, he might have started talking about his “human right” not to be brutalized with impunity. Instead he recovered, and used the irony to his advantage. “The fact that they are excusing violence against Richard Spencer inherently means that they believe that there’s a state of exception, where we can use violence,” he said. “I think they’re actually kind of right.” 
“War is politics by other means and politics is war by other means,” he said. “We don’t all want the same thing. And that’s why I think there is a kind of state of war going on.”
It's a long profile, jam-packed with references to everything from Nietzsche to William F. Buckley Jr to more obscure figures in the history of Far Right thought. It also covers a lot of ground that probably didn't need covering, such as Spencer's short-lived foray into the world of drama club geekdom. However, it is the most complete portrait that we currently have of a man who, regardless of what we may think of him, now finds himself in the position of being a significant though leader in what passes for America's political culture. So stick with it. The concluding paragraphs are well worth the slog.

***
Okay, so now that we've got THAT dirty business out of the way, why not unwind by spending a little time with The Onion's new large-form project, The Trump Documents? Check out this video explaining the incredible, expansive trove of classified documents and secret recordings that the nation's most trusted news source has procured from a whistleblower from within the White House itself...

***

And it's right back into the darkness, with this Washington Post expose about a secret back-channel to the Kremlin being set up by Blackwater (aka Academi, aka Xe Services, aka Evil Incorporated) founder, Trump co-conspirator, and wannabe Bond villain Erik Prince, one of the shadiest among the vast armies of Shadow People currently casting their darkness upon the land.


***

Meanwhile, as the Deep State's rogue New Fascist International faction is poised to capitalize upon its current situational advantage in such a way as to cripple and eliminate any competition, thus permanently consolidating its position as the sole meaningful power at the levers of societal control, the DumDum Left is doing everything in its tragicomically degraded power to make it as easy as possible for them to achieve that goal. As the late, lamented cultural critic Mark Fisher wrote a few years back in his increasingly relevant essay Exiting the Vampire Castle:
‘Left-wing’ Twitter can often be a miserable, dispiriting zone. Earlier this year, there were some high-profile twitterstorms, in which particular left-identifying figures were ‘called out’ and condemned. What these figures had said was sometimes objectionable; but nevertheless, the way in which they were personally vilified and hounded left a horrible residue: the stench of bad conscience and witch-hunting moralism. The reason I didn’t speak out on any of these incidents, I’m ashamed to say, was fear. The bullies were in another part of the playground. I didn’t want to attract their attention to me.
One of the things that broke me out of this depressive stupor was going to the People’s Assembly in Ipswich, near where I live. ... The atmosphere was anti-racist and anti-sexist, but refreshingly free of the paralysing feeling of guilt and suspicion which hangs over left-wing twitter like an acrid, stifling fog. 
Then there was Russell Brand. ... For some of us, Brand’s forensic take-down of [BBC anchor Jeremy] Paxman was intensely moving, miraculous; I couldn’t remember the last time a person from a working class background had been given the space to so consummately destroy a class ‘superior’ using intelligence and reason. This wasn’t Johnny Rotten swearing at Bill Grundy – an act of antagonism which confirmed rather than challenged class stereotypes. Brand had outwitted Paxman – and the use of humour was what separated Brand from the dourness of so much ‘leftism’. 
Brand makes people feel good about themselves; whereas the moralising left specialises in making people feed bad, and is not happy until their heads are bent in guilt and self-loathing. The moralising left quickly ensured that the story was not about Brand’s extraordinary breach of the bland conventions of mainstream media ‘debate’, nor about his claim that revolution was going to happen. ... For the moralisers, the dominant story was to be about Brand’s personal conduct – specifically his sexism. In the febrile McCarthyite atmosphere fermented by the moralising left, remarks that could be construed as sexist mean that Brand is a sexist, which also meant that he is a misogynist. Cut and dried, finished, condemned.
Sorry for the lengthy, and much-edited, sampling of Fischer's essay, here, but I feel that his anecdote about the DumDum Left's reaction to Brand's utterly harmless use of such 'gendered" terms of endearment as "bird" and "dearie" perfectly sums up an attitude that we've all encountered among some ostensible allies, and will thus have the ring of familiarity for much of my readers, as left-leaning and liberal (in the New World sense of that word) as they may otherwise be. Fisher, who generally wrote about culture and the arts, committed suicide earlier this year. He was 48 years old. Read Consider reading the Vampire Castle to be your good deed for the day.

***
"Quick! Save his life so we can torture him for a decade!"
For all the outrage being expressed in certain circles over the Canadian government settling with former child soldier and Guantanamo Bay torture survivor Omar Khadr for ten and a half million dollars in recognition of their long-term failure to intervene on Khadr's behalf while his basic rights were being trampled over and over again for over a decade, one wonders whether any of these people have ever stopped and examined the so-called evidence against Khadr in the first place, which is basically a ridiculous tissue of lies. 

***

Being a bit of a scribbler, himself, yer old pal Jerky was tickled by the howls of butthurt outrage generated by The Guardian editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson's savage take on the Finsbury Park terror attack, in which a van was driven into a crowd of Muslims by a man shouting Islamophobic slurs. For the cartoon in question, reproduced above, Rowson simply slapped the logos of London's two most notoriously Islamophobic daily newspapers, The Sun and The Daily Mail, onto the side of the vehicular murder weapon. And, boy oh boy, those papers did NOT react well. But it seems to me you'd have to be willfully blind to think that THIS wouldn't one day bear some rotten fruit...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

QUOTE OF THE DAY ~ JULY 8, 2017


"Next to Fred Trump, Roy Cohn was the single greatest influence in Donald’s life. And Roy is incandescent evil. I would sit with him, and it was enough to make you rush back to church, the Satanic feeling that he would give you. That was Donald’s mentor and constant sidekick, who represented all five of the organized crime families in the City of New York."

— Investigative journalist and long-time Trump investigator/foe Wayne Barrett, who conveniently passed away this November, shortly after the New Yorker ran an article suggesting that we were lucky to have him around to help guide us through the wide-awake nightmare of Trump's ascending to the White House. Oh well... so much for that.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

SORRY FOR BEING AWAY! HERE ARE MY PATHETIC EXCUSES

The chief problem with “alternative history” is that for those unacquainted with the best scholarship on the subject, with no yardstick to measure the truthfulness or accuracy of the new historical perspective, the chance of entering an imaginative space dominated by the unreal is all too likely. A journey through the unreal is an unreal journey; the blind begin to lead the blind. In the case of conspiracy theories, the results of exploitation of history may be quite deadly. For many malcontents, history is a powerful spur to destruction; a fair account, on the other hand, helps us understand a little more. If you want absolute certainties, you’ll be prepared to believe anything.
- Tobias Churton
Gnostic Philosophy
(2003)
Folks, a whole lot of stuff has passed by without yer old pal Jerky bothering to comment on it over the past couple months. This is partly due to a certain degree of outrage overload on my part, combined with a feeling of helplessness in the face of what I have always understood, deep down, to be my own absolute flailing impotence against what is daily revealing itself to be a rapidly metastasizing, world historic evil.

I mean, let's face it. I had no power back in the 'aughts, when I enjoyed a daily reading audience measured in the hundreds of thousands; what hope do I dare harbor now that my readership rarely scrapes past the low three digits? In the face of the Trump administration, and the vast and well remunerated army of boot-licking, brown-nosing sycophants who populate the increasingly septic "conservative movement" mass-media juggernaut, I know that me and my little hobby blog are nothing. Useless. Tits on a bull. 

And yet, and still... this urge to witness. And to document said witnessing. To note particular instances of grievous trespass, and to share with my few remaining readers my take on these events. Even when my take is limited to humorous asides, or offhand comments. Even when it's all I can do to point at something and declare in a voice barely raised, but noticeably sad, disappointed, and incredulous: "Do you guys see what I'm seeing?!"

Oh, I suppose this all may come in handy for someone, on some future day, once they've got the power back up and running and have scavenged a sufficient quantity of foodstuffs to last them through the next Purge Month and they want to check out a virtual time capsule of what it was like back in the days before The Big League Kablooey, to be one among the growing cohort of terrified observers for whom being good at pattern recognition and having a broad knowledge of historical precedents were enough to make them Cassandras in their own time.

I mean, for Pete's sake, we're living at a time when the so-called "alternative" media is full of stories about the rising threat of left-wing violence when in fact the Far Right holds a decades-long near monopoly on such tactics. Meanwhile (and not at all unconnected), the National Rifle Association is playing a whole new tune. They've gone from saying they need guns to fight some future hypothetical tyrannical government, to saying they need them to fight anyone who criticizes an increasingly tyrannical government, here and now. 

Of course, I'm sure that my speculating as to whether this overnight change in the NRA's posture might have anything to do with the President's race... that would just be more evidence of my liberal, leftist, postmodernist, cultural Marxist race-baiting ways. I mean, just because the NRA have followed in the the smoldering hoof-prints of the Alt-Right, Far Right, and White Nationalist movements to become big fans of Vladimir Putin's Russia--to the point where their leadership is in bed with Russian mobsters--that isn't necessarily a de facto admission that the NRA is, at its core, a profoundly racist and anti-democratic institution... is it? I mean, maybe they're just really big fans of Russia's super-strict gun control legislation! 

Okay, so it's probably not that, but surely their newfound love for Russia is based on something other than the New Fascist International's re-branding of the once and future USSR as "the Most Powerful White Power in the World"... right? If you've been able to figure out this paradox, please leave the answer in the comments below, or email it to me, because I gotta tell you, I'm finding this one to be a real puzzlement. 

Okay, so, in the coming days, I'll be playing catch-up on some of the stories and events I wanted to comment on, but didn't, and sharing with you some of the more important and illuminating (in my opinion) news reports, research studies, and think pieces that I've come across in that time.

For today, however, I leave you with a little something that I read many years ago in an excellent book called Up From Conservatism: Why the Right is Wrong for America, by reformed conservative movementarian Michael Lind, who got sick of seeing Far Right extremists mangling the meaning of the Constitution's second amendment. I think it's a fitting coda to today's somber, reflective offering:
The Second Amendment prevents the federal government from completely abolishing official state militias - nothing more, nothing less. Nothing in the Constitution prevents the federal or state governments, or both, from outlawing the formation of storm trooper squads on U.S. soil and limiting gun ownership to members of the National Guard. Members of right-wing paramilitary militias, of course, might claim a "natural right of revolution," of the sort invoked by the American patriots of 1776 (and by the Confederates in 1860-61), There is no constitutional right to revolution, however. There is, of course, a provision for instances where armed bands amass weapons and attempt to overthrow the federal government. The Constitution permits the death penalty for treason.
- Michael Lind

Friday, July 7, 2017

I ALWAYS ENJOY CASUAL FRIDAYS ON THE MAJORITY REPORT

Particularly when they have Andy Kindler on to engage in some light-hearted mockery of FOX News and all the usual suspects. So, as you all await some fresh, original content from yours truly, please enjoy this Casual Friday edition of the Majority Report alongside yer old pal Jerky!


Sunday, July 2, 2017

TWEET STORM FROM AUTHOR JARED SEXTON

Author Jared Sexton took to his Twitter account to discuss the origins of Trump's recent, somewhat disturbing Tweet, in which an old video of himself on a wrestling show is altered in such a way as to show him physically attacking an embodiment of CNN. It's funny, right? Ha-ha. Not coming from the President of the United States of America it isn't. And not coming from where it came from. Read on to see what I mean. Oh! But first, here's a short take from CNN and Carl Bernstein (which includes the video in question, in case you haven't seen it yet). - Jerky
  • Been going through the history of the guy who made that meme Trump sent out. It's all just overtly ugly, racist, sexist rhetoric.
  • These are the people who make up the alt-right, and the ones who are powering Trump and feeding off him.
  • Everything they say either further racism or promotes unthinkable violence. They openly fantasize about killing people.
  • Trump's continued endorsement only fuels this fantasy. They talk all the time about wanting a civil war, about killing liberals.
  • This isn't just internet boasting. This is the beginning of something really, really, REALLY bad. And Trump is adding to it daily.
  • If you don't believe it, go spend some time on Reddit. It's seething with this stuff and the people are unhinged. It won't stay there
  • This is already spilling over into the real world, in Portland, in Berkeley. It's not going to stop there.
  • These people are confusing the real world and the online one, and that violent rhetoric is going to find an outlet.
  • We're in a lot of trouble. There are sick, sick people coalescing and they're being emboldened by the President of the United States.
  • This isn't paranoia. This isn't being a snowflake. We're staring into the abyss here, and the abyss is staring back.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

YET ANOTHER TROUBLING THRESHOLD CROSSED

If you thought American political rhetoric couldn't possibly get any more dangerously divisive, reckless, or incendiary, along comes the National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch to prove you more wrong than you probably thought possible. Take it away, Dana!


The Week's Paul Waldman explores some of the reasons why the NRA seems to have switched up their tactics. With Trump in the White House, they obviously couldn't continue terrifying their members with ominous warnings about gun-grabbing feds kicking in their doors, the way they did for eight years under President Obama... or, as he's referred to in the above video, "THEIR" President.

Instead, with the second amendment safe and sound under Trump, they appear to have decided to diversify their portfolio by choosing sides in the newly rekindled Culture Wars, thus effectively promoting firearm-based solutions to such "problems" as college students yelling at Milo Coulter, or late night comedians saying nasty things about "THE" President (as opposed to "THEIR" President).

Of course, in the grand tradition of right-wing mind blindness, some of our conservative brothers and sisters are saying that the only extremists here are those who see anything extreme in this ad! Here's Townhall's own pointy-headed Matt Vespa with a less than convincing explanation.

On Thursday, Ms Loesch appeared on FOX News' Tucker Carlson show to explain that she was talking about “fighting violence with truth, because truth wins out all the time." Which of course begs two questions: Who made the NRA the arbiters of truth? And why does the truth needs guns?

In closing, Huffpost video editor McJesse over at Twitter sez: "If you're gonna go after comedians maybe don't shoot in front of a blue background?"