Tuesday, February 28, 2017

ON TRUMP'S BUDGET AND THE POSSIBILITY OF BECOMING A FAILED STATE


For the time being and the foreseeable future, between special projects and DDD Executive Summaries, I'll be linking to news reports and other media that I come across that I believe to be of critical importance. Either that, or of great comedic value. This MSNBC report on Trump's disastrous incompetence, is the former. It actually achieved the impossible by making me long for the Preznitcy of George Dubya Bush.

Monday, February 27, 2017

WEEP NOT FOR MILO

“Glibness and superficial charm. Manipulation of others. A grandiose sense of self. Pathological lying. A lack of remorse, shame or guilt. Shallow emotions. An incapacity to feel genuine love. A need for stimulation. Frequent verbal outbursts. Poor behavioural controls. These are just some of the things that social media are encouraging in all of us. They’re also a pretty comprehensive diagnostic checklist for sociopathy – in fact, that’s where I got the list.”
***
Under protest and against my better judgment, I suppose I should write a few words about Milo Yiannopolous and his catastrophic disaster of a week. Under protest, because the full Milo saga is so twisted and byzantine it defies attempts at chronological narrative presentation. Against my better judgment, because as a non-invested observer who thinks Milo and his antics are a pox on our culture--not a serious pox like smallpox mind you, more like chickenpox: irritating, ugly, and in rare cases dangerous--I'm probably not the best person to be writing his story. 

I'm also not too keen on having to deal with Milo's fans trying to White Knight for him by exercising their l33t trolling skills against me and my paltry little hobby blog, the way I've seen them do to others, especially on Youtube, where defending Milo has become a sort of click-bait cottage industry. Anyway, hesitation aside, I guess I do have a couple things I want to say about this controversy that I haven't seen anyone else say yet, so there's nothing I can do but press on.

First things first, for you lucky few who have yet to run across Milo in your online meanderings, USA Today has a decent bio, whereas a more in-depth (and judgmental) primer can be found in James Kirchick’s excellent overview for Tablet Magazine, titled “Donald Trump’s Little Boy is a Gay Half-Jew with Jungle Fever”.  Published in June of 2016, the first two paragraphs provide an accurate and fairly definitive snapshot of Milo's carefully groomed public persona, as well as some insight into his political leanings, insofar as these bear assessing:
Milo Yiannopoulos is a fervent supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Referring to Trump as “Daddy,” the ostentatiously gay British media personality provides a camp component to the presumptive Republican nominee’s fan base. What seems to excite Yiannopoulos about Trump is what seems to excite most of the tycoon’s voters: a brash, take-no-prisoners attitude. When I recently asked Yiannopoulos to name the Trump policies he favors, he replied with a very revealing answer. Trump supporters don’t care about the man’s policies, he said. “They want to burn everything down.” Suddenly Yiannopoulos’ Twitter handle, @Nero (followed by more than 200,000 Twitter users), made all the more sense. 
Simultaneously vacuous and sinister, equal parts nihilist and narcissist, Yiannopoulos is the model Trump advocate. And as Trump comes under increasing scrutiny, Yiannopoulos, who writes for Breitbart.com, has gone to great lengths defending the worst elements of his campaign. Shortly after our encounter, which took place this March over brunch in Washington, Yiannopoulos published a long article championing the “alt right,” the largely Internet-based, populist movement that has surged to prominence on the heels of Trump’s success. Among its various constituencies, the alt right is comprised of mens’ rights advocates, pseudo-intellectual “race realists,” technocratic authoritarians... and outright neo-Nazis. Speaking of the movement’s “intellectuals,” the bulk of whom write for avowedly racist and anti-Semitic publications like VDARE and American Renaissance, Yiannopoulos and his co-author described them as “dangerously bright.”
At this point, just over half a year after this article was published, some updates are required. First, and most famously, Milo had his Twitter account permanently revoked after starting an online fight with Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the much-maligned all-female Ghostbusters reboot. Secondly, he no longer works at Breitbart. 

Which is where things get complicated.

You see, the reason for Milo's very bad week is because of some things he said during two lengthy online interviews: a Joe Rogan Podcast from July of 2016, and a Drunken Peasants Livestream from roughly the same time period. 

During both appearances, sandwiched between his boilerplate "fabulous supervillain" shtick--including rampant misogyny, belittling of rape, anti-trans rhetoric, gay self-loathing, elitist classism, anti-Muslim bigotry, racist fetishization of the Black male body, evangelical Catholicism (yes, really), Trump apologetics, and countless other grotesqueries--he slipped in a defense of sex between grown men and young adolescent boys, saying it was no big deal, and that it could even have a salutary effect on the youth.

Barely anyone noticed. Even fewer cared. Months passed without incident.

Then, on Thursday, February 17, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news, Milo was announced as the keynote speaker for 2017's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), perhaps the most important "marquee" cultural event in the entire American conservative social calendar. His address was going to focus on his "experiences in America battling feminists, Black Lives Matter, the media, professors and the entertainment industry."

The next day, a cadre of anti-Trump conservatives known on Twitter as the Reagan Battalion were made aware of a short Youtube video featuring select portions excerpted from the videos mentioned above, highlighting Milo's questionable comments about how the "notion of consent" is "arbitrary and oppressive", how grown men having sex with 13-year-old boys does NOT count as pedophilia because the latter have fully functioning genitals, and how he's grateful to "Father Mike" for teaching him how to give great head.

The video had already been viewed thousands of times, but when the Reagan Battalion tweeted about it, asking whether it was acceptable for a self-described "conservative" institution like CPAC to be associating themselves with the likes of Milo... all Hell broke loose. 

In short order, Milo was disinvited from CPAC. He took to Facebook to defend himself, claiming that the video had been deceptively edited to put him in a bad light. Then his quarter million dollar book deal with Simon & Schuster fell through. Back at Facebook, Milo's updates took on a tone of barely contained panic. “I do not support pedophilia. Period,” he wrote. “It is a vile and disgusting crime, perhaps the very worst. There are selectively edited videos doing the rounds, as part of a coordinated effort to discredit me from establishment Republicans, that suggest I am soft on the subject.”

Unfortunately for Milo, it was all too easy to check for oneself and discover that his words were not only not "selectively edited", but that they were even worse in context. That's around the time a number of employees at the alt.right propaganda organ Breitbart--where Milo enjoyed celebrity status as the site's Chief Tech Editor, despite his "reporting" mostly consisting of his "Dangerous Faggot College Tour" appearance transcripts--were threatening to quit en masse if he wasn't fired. 

72 hours after the storm began, Milo held a press conference in which he apologized (but not really), tried (and mostly failed) to defend himself against... um... himself, and "resigned" from Breitbart. Kind of like how Michael Flynn "resigned" from the White House. 

While all this was going on--and please forgive this digression--one of the most entertaining sideshows involved watching how this right-wing super-troll and his far right fan-base reacted in real time to his being exposed by conservative activists, leading to his being dis-invited from a right-wing convention and fired from his job at an alt.right website. 

This image sums it up quite succinctly:


Yes! That's right! They blamed it all on that viscerally despised boogeyman, those loony left socialist MSM Democrat beta SJW cuck LIBERALS! 

Even more hilariously unhinged was the sprawling conspiracy theory concocted by goofy, lisping alt.right weirdo (and serial false pedophilia accuser) Mike "Gorilla Mindset" Cernovich, who lays out his insider knowledge of the insidious, multi-million dollar, years-in-the-brewing, anti-Milo plot in this magnificently cringe-inducing Youtube video:


It's sort of amusing, in a way, watching two leading PizzaGate promoters--who based much of their idiot claims of a Satanic child sex-and-ritual-sacrifice trafficking ring on the fact that billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was known to have slept with teenage girls--passionately defend Milo's assertion that adults who are attracted to 13-year-old boys aren't "technically" pedophiles. They truly, literally know no shame.

Okay, fun time is over. Now let's get back to that press conference, which is very much worth watching in its entirety:


It's one for the ages, isn't it? At turns self-pitying, self-loathing, and self-promoting, Milo expresses delusions of grandeur and persecution, all while putting on a clinic of pitiful whining prevarication, as the whole thing soaks in the flop sweat of rank hypocrisy.

I could literally go line by line through his statement and, at each line, point out where Milo was lying, or being hypocritical, or being insufferable. For now, however, I will spare you that tedium. This blog post is already too long. Suffice it to say that the irony of Milo petulantly demanding that his words be given the kind of nuanced, sympathetic parsing, and that he be granted a level of compassion, empathy, and basic human decency that he has continuously proven unwilling to grant to anyone he deems--by dint of ideology, identity, and sometimes just ethnicity--to be somehow lesser than... well, it's rich enough to give an Iron Man Triathlete instant diabetes.

Unfortunately, irony isn’t merely another factor in this debacle; it’s the prevailing paradigm. Because it's ultimately irrelevant whether or not Milo was a victim of predatory pederasts. The same could be said of the vast majority of pedophiles currently stalking playgrounds, or rotting in jail cells. The nature of evil is that it conducts through flesh, down through generations, like electricity through wires. A victim becomes a villain who creates new victims, who in their turn become new villains.

These cycles are difficult to shake. It's why it's important to have compassion. It's also why it's important that our compassion have limits. And it's why Milo’s so-called apology is so obviously bogus. Because it’s totally in keeping with his previous, "shitlord" behavior. There's no contrition there. Shame? A little bit, perhaps discernible in his downcast gaze. Embarrassment? Maybe that's what all that bobbing and weaving was about. Annoyance? Oh yes. A ton. But otherwise, he's got nothing to give but justifications and rationalizations, with a ready-made excuse for everything. 

Consider the bolts in Milo's traditional quiver of rhetoric:

“I can say homosexuals and transexuals are defective, broken perverts because I’m a gay man!”
“I can make up crazy, hateful shit about Black Lives Matter because I love slurping on black dong!”
“I can say Jews are the root cause of civilization’s decay because my mum’s got a Jewish grandmother!”

Now, post #MiloGate, the game has changed somewhat. Originally, he felt fully entitled to gleefully declare: “It’s okay for 13-year-olds to have sex with adults because I had sex with adults when I was 13 years old, and it didn’t do me any harm!” 

Post-scandal, however, he has to declare: “I can say that it’s okay for 13-year-olds to have sex with adults, and also claim that I don’t really mean it, because I’m a victim of pedophilia, and HOW DARE YOU try to police how I navigate my trauma?!”

It gets worse. 

In defending himself and donning the mantle of victimhood, Milo has the temerity to bring up, as a point in his favor, the relentless mass harassment campaign he helped to wage against prominent GamerGate critic Sarah Nyberg. First he mis-genders Nyberg, who is trans, before going on to list her as one of the three “pedophiles” he's “outed” in his “journalistic” career. 

I urge everyone--including those of you who think you know the full story behind all this--to read Nyberg’s account of what Milo and his troll army put her through, just because she voiced an opinion that ran counter to theirs, putting a torch to the delusion that the alt.right has anything whatsoever to do with "free speech". As you read Nyberg's account, keep in mind that, in his "apology", Milo was using this as an example of the good that he's done in the world.

The irony here is that even her fiercest critics tacitly acknowledge Nyberg’s youth was steeped in real trauma, even if only because they use the details of that trauma to viciously troll, humiliate, and harass her. And yet, despite this, every indication points to her worst transgressions being confined to an online fantasy world of role play. Milo's self-confessed antics--which include attending parties where underage “twinks” serviced sugar daddies while he looked on, presumably laughing and snorting fat rails of cocaine all the while--are an order of magnitude worse.

As for the notion that being gay automatically precludes you from being a fascist, a Nazi, or a sympathizer/enabler of those ideologies, that's a dangerous and naive delusion. In this age of #Pizzagate and "OMGIlluminati!!!" panic over every Super Bowl halftime show, it’s easy to forget that there is a long tradition of masculinist gay fascism, and that a sadistic contempt for sexual consent, regardless of gender, has largely been a phenomenon of the political right, to which the endless stream of Republican and conservative Christian sex criminals attests.

There are so many people in this world more deserving of our sympathy, our empathy, and our assistance than Milo Yiannopoulos. If he had shown one ounce of contrition--just a smidgen--I would be far more sympathetic. But he hasn't even begun to atone, to make things right with all the people he's attacked so viciously over the years. 

Milo is going to have to earn his healing. I have a feeling a "fearless moral inventory" lies somewhere in his near future. Will he be up to the task? He's off to an awfully bad start, so personally, I doubt it. Odds are he'll fake his way through and, in time, fool just enough people to win back his crown as the Right's favorite "dangerous faggot" (patpend). 

But who knows? Allow me to be more generous to Milo than he has ever been to any of the targets of his hateful bloodsport rhetoric by admitting there's a tiny, microscopic ghost of a chance that he may end up surprising us all. 

But I won't be holding my breath.

***

At the beginning of this blog post is an unsigned epigram. It is the first paragraph of an essay entitled "The Internet is Turning Us All into Sociopaths", written in 2012... by Milo Yiannopoulos. I leave you now with the last part of that same essay:
"So perhaps what’s needed now is a bolder form of censure after all, because the internet is not a universal human right. If people cannot be trusted to treat one another with respect, dignity and consideration, perhaps they deserve to have their online freedoms curtailed. For sure, the best we could ever hope for is a smattering of unpopular show trials. But if the internet, ubiquitous as it now is, proves too dangerous in the hands of the psychologically fragile, perhaps access to it ought to be restricted. We ban drunks from driving because they’re a danger to others. Isn’t it time we did the same to trolls?"

Sunday, February 26, 2017

BILL PAXTON, DEAD AT 61

Bill Paxton was always a personal favorite of mine, ever since the first time I saw him in the original theatrical run of Weird Science. I've only ever seen it a handful of times, and not for well over a decade, but I will never forget laughing uproariously at this classic line. Rest easy, Mr. Paxton. You were one of the good ones.


Friday, February 24, 2017

DDD EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ~ FEB 24, 2017


A WHOLE LOTTA CRAZY
  • In a Facebook post that reached millions of readers in a matter of days, Pastor Joel Tooley describes what he saw when he and his family attended Trump's early campaign 2020 rally in Melbourne, Florida last week. Among the many choice words Tooley used to describe the scene there, yer old pal Jerky's favorite is probably "demonic". 
  • An online fund drive begun by the oft-slandered Muslim American activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi raised tens of thousands of dollars to repair a St Louis Jewish cemetery that had been vandalized by thugs earlier in the week. 
  • Are anti-Democratic political purges coming to Iowa Universities? They are if Mark Chelgren has his way. The Iowa state senator has proposed an "ideological litmus test" in order to create a "partisan balance" based on how Iowa has voted in past elections. In case you're wondering why someone would want party affiliation to supersede actual talent, knowledge, ability, and peer review to get a university job... just look at this fucker, and it all becomes crystal clear.
  • Speaking of impeachment (and if we weren't, we probably should have been), did y'all know that an official petition calling for Trump to be impeached has crossed the one MILLION signatures threshold? Maybe this is why noted author/historian Ronald L. Feinman is betting that Trump's presidency will be the second shortest in history (he's already surpassed the 31 days of William Henry Harrison), and that he's unlikely to reach the 199 day mark reached by James A. Garfield, and definitely not the 16 months and five days of Zachary Taylor. Hell, even former Ohio Republican judges are now getting in on the "Impeach Trump" bandwagon, pointing out his "dazzling illegalities"! 
  • If you need a reminder as to why all this impeachment talk is not only happening, but absolutely necessary (regardless of what this fucking idiot says), read Rolling Stone's rundown of 18 WTF Moments From Trump's Unhinged Press Conference from a week ago. It's a great outrage refresher. 
  • In particular, insofar as Trump's claim that his White House is running like a "fine-tuned machine", how many of you knew that of 549 key positions that require Senate confirmation, Trump has yet to nominate people for 515 of those positions?
***

SUGGESTED READINGS

1. Hey! You think there might be something wrong with our old pal Alex Jones? Maybe he's not getting enough Tasty TangerineTM? or being sufficiently liberal whilst applying his Androcreme Testosterone GelTM? Who knows? All I know is, the footage collected together to make up this video has got me worried about him.


2. How many of the 50 Best Movies of 2016 (as chosen by Paste Magazine) have you managed to see this past year? Personally, I've only seen six of them, and furthermore, I only plan on watching another fourteen, as the others don't interest me. The list also missed a bunch of great flicks, by the way, so I feel like I have no choice but to put out my own Best of 2016 list, preferably before the Academy Awards (but probably not, seeing as they're only two days away). Keep watching this space! 

3. If you're a comics fan (guilty) and a superhero fan (guilty), then Kerry Callen's Imagur series "Super Antics" is sure to titillate and delight you. These Silver Age shenanigans had yer old pal Jerky chuckling, and he doesn't even much care for DC!


***
QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Physicians like me have also taken notice of Trump’s bizarre, volatile behavior. Given our experience, we can’t help but wonder if there’s a medical diagnosis to be made. After all, many medical conditions exhibit their first symptoms in the form of psychiatric issues and personality changes. One condition in particular is notable for doing so: Neurosyphilis.”

- Infectious disease specialist Steven Beutler penned a New Republic essay to warn the world that a good explanation for Donald Trump's insane behavior might very well be that his brain is swimming with syphilis spirochetes.

DDD EXTRAS
  • If you want to learn about some cool and/or weird things that happened on whatever day of history that it happens to be when you're reading this, why not check out our sister-site, Useless Eater Blog? You're sure to find something of interest, guaranteed!
  • Over at Kubrick U, I've added a bunch of new materials, including a jam-packed edition of Kubrick News In Brief, including interviews and videos and crazy Kubrick-related ephemera and whatnot. Also, I bring you a couple of recent Kubrick-related book reviews, including one for Kubrick Red (by a French Canadian author) and a sample chapter from Mark Fisher's The Weird and the Eerie!

THE TAKEAWAY

All my ritual magick practicing peeps, don't forget that at Midnight tonight, Friday Feb. 24th, we're all coming together to perform a mass ritual working in order to bind Donald J. Trump and all those who abet him. Here are the details. Tonight's will be only the first of many such workings. Be sure to get all the necessary components for the spell before stores close. You'll want to get in on the ground floor on this history-making magick so that, when the inevitable happens, you'll be able to say that you were a part of it all. Plus... involve all your simpatico friends and family, and it should prove to be a real hoot!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

PREDICTION: GORGKA SOON GO BYE-BYE

You may remember in my rant from a couple days back, when I brought up in passing Trump "policy" "expert" (and former Breitbart editor) Sebastian Gorka--he of the fascistic Hungarian haberdashery fetish--in a not so flattering light. At the time, all I knew about him was that he was an alt-right sack of shit Breitbart veteran who probably doesn't belong anywhere near the levers of national power in ANY nation, much less that of the most powerful nation in the world. 

Sadly, it turns out Gorka is even worse than yer old pal Jerky could have dreamed, with even his fellow right wingers finding him to be an unworthy, embarrassing dimwit

On the plus side though... once you've seen his hideously malformed watermelon of a noggin and heard his effete cartoon supervillain's voice, it turns out he's really fun and easy to mock! Check out our old pals at The Majority Report having a blast doing just that...


A MESS...


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

THE MISTAKE TRUMP CAN'T TAKE BACK


SO ABOUT THIS FELIX SATER CHARACTER...

Susan Simpson is on FIRE over on the Twitter Machine! Here's her very revealing Tweetstorm on Felix Sater, which was followed up by a number of clarifications and elaborations, but you'll have to check out her Twitter Feed to dig those out. One thing's for sure, though... shit's getting serious in a big fat hurry. - YOPJ
The Felix Sater saga is so complex that I don't know where to begin, but here's some background info that may come in handy soon. 
Sater's backstory: immigrated to US from USSR, worked on Wall Street, stabbed someone in the face with a broken-off stem of a martini glass, 
lost his job because as a felon he couldn't work on Wall Street, went back to the mob, and engaged in penny stock scams for a few years. 
He then fled to Russia for undisclosed reasons, but due to a failure to properly dispose of a yacht, his guns and docs were found by FBI. 
The FBI found Sater "working for a telecom" in Russia. And for some reason, the nature of that work must always be redacted. Hmmm, how odd.
Sater became a cooperator. A good one. His services went "above & beyond the call of duty." That included being a 'traditional' cooperator,
but also seems to have included some distinctly 'untraditional' cooperation, allegedly with serious national security implications.
Sater was an informant for 10 years, and helped, inter alia, NY FBI bust all kinds of baddies. But he also resumed his business activities.

Including becoming a partner of the notorious Bayrock Group. Sater's activities at Bayrock were…. complex, to say the least.


During this time, Bayrock and Sater also did extensive deals with the Trump Org. Note: Trump claims he's not sure he knows who Sater is.
Which is strange, given how Sater was flying to Russia on Trump's behalf like every other week.

Sater pled guilty in 1998 and in 2009 he was finally sentenced. The DOJ sung his praises; the judge gave him no prison time, no restitution. 
John "Felix Sater" Doe's conviction was sealed. Lots of litigation ensued, etc., owing to the fact Sater had stolen a butt-load of money.

Fast forward to recent days. The Steele Dossier is released. It says interesting things, for example, about a Russian émigré close to Trump:
Interesting things that sound a *lot* like Sater. His mob connections and hawking of Trump condo means he had exactly the info Putin wanted. 
Then today NYT drops a story: Trump was presented with plan to lift Russian sanctions by leaking damaging intel on the Ukrainian president.

Through a mysterious "mutual friend," Sater is hooked up with a guy that can give him this kompromat, with instructions to pass on to Trump.
Who has spent two years hacking Ukrainian politicians? Who wants Russian sanctions removed? Reader, I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

But someone is using a mobster/former CIA asset/Trump associate to provide Trump with damaging info he can use against a rival politician.

The rival politician in this case is a foreign one, from a state Russia wants to break apart. But there are certain domestic parallels.

And all of this covers maybe a 1/10th of how wild the Felix Sater story truly is. We live in interesting times. /end
***

For those of you who prefer your information presented in a more, shall we say, narrative fashion, Josh Marshall's superlative overview of what is currently known about Sater, as well as his links to American intelligence agencies, the Russian criminal underworld, and a variety of business swindles with intimate links to the Trump organization is a must read.

For an indication of how this is all going to turn out for Trump and his administration, we have to follow the trail of crumbs up to the point where it turns into a trail of ankle-deep pools of Russian operatives' blood.

Allow me to explain.

With every passing day, yer old pal Jerky can't help but be reminded of something that happened in his own adoptive city of Toronto, Canada, just a few short years ago... a series of events that could be seen as a preview in miniature of what the United States is going through today.

I refer, of course, to the many scandals of Mayor Robert Ford.


In these times of supremely heightened tensions, of "alternative facts", and a great world power's rapid slide into the twin catastrophes of unchecked demagoguery and narcissistic score-settling, it's easy to forget that Canada's most populous city had to endure the rise and rule of its own pig-eyed populist incompetent, to the great delight of its own basket of under-contributing sub-and-ex-urban deplorables, in the not so distant past.

The constant bizarre public behavior, the ranting and raving, the non-stop lies about the city's finances, the constant bragging about his non-existent achievements, the petulant whining about the media being out to get him, and then, the purported existence of an incriminating video... are you starting to feel it yet? That tingle of deja vu?

Looking back on it now, one could easily get the impression that it was all giggles and schadenfreude, the stuff of late night TV jokes and juvenile alternative weekly tabloid covers. What people seem to have forgotten is that mayor Ford's scandals had a body count, with one of the three men photographed with him in this infamous image ending up dead. Another was shot, and both survivors ended up in jail. Another person allegedly involved with the sale of the video to Gawker ended up barely surviving a still unexplained five story fall from an Edmonton apartment building window.

Back to the present day, in the USofA, it already appears as though the similarly infamous Steele Dossier (and the "golden shower party" video discussed therein) has already cost the lives of seven Russian operatives.

If we're scaling the Trump scandals up from the Ford scandals using relative populations and political power levels... I'd say upwards of a few hundred thousand more will have to die before this all ends with a pale and groggy Trump giving a double thumbs up from a hospital bed, wearing a smock and a shower cap, before the world can finally breath a sorrow-filled sigh of post-apocalyptic relief.

In his work The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Karl Marx first intoned that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Although finding documentary evidence is difficult, Mark Twain is reputed to have disagreed, arguing that history doesn't repeat, but that often, "it rhymes."

In any case, we obviously pissed off some Chinese people somewhere along the way, because friends, we are living in some damned interesting times.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

SHOES DROPPING, HANDS SHAKING!


48 HOURS' WORTH OF SHOE-DROPS

Our old pal Eric Garland has rat-tat-tatted out yet another epic Tweetstorm over on his Twitter Machine, and I gotta tell ya, it's enough to give a tragically obese former Internet pornographer-cum-hobby blogging waste of skin, time, and breath a bit of HOPE for the future that he most likely won't be alive to see. I reproduce it here, for my older and less technologically inclined readers, so that they can share in the joy, as well. Enjoy!
  • Starting at Feb 17: - Mark Sanford of South Carolina goes full anti-Trump - Trump preferred a Fox pundit to a Navy SEAL for NSA
  • Trump White House avoiding Presidential Records Act by using "secure" texting app on *personal* phones that aren't really secure
  • White House shedding staffers who can't pass their background checks for security clearance because, who knows, zoophilia or something
  • Trump has reformatted the Presidential Daily Brief to the length and depth of a Hallmark card, without all the complexity
  • Australia's Malcolm Turnbull, the most Trump-like politician on Earth, called him a nancy for not being able to deal with the media
  • Pope basically instructed all Catholics to be nothing like the Trump administration
  • They almost made the National Guard the Waffen SS
  • Jason Chaffetz joined OJ Simpson to, at long last, look for the real killers. - Jim Comey scared the crap out of Senators in a SCIF
  • Trump dropped to under 38% approval, which is close to my rating - Haaretz revealed emoluments between Israel and Jared Kushner
  • It was revealed that a Venezuelan narco-trafficker who had his assets frozen by Treasury was a member of Trump's golf club
  • Germany said that US threats against the EU were tantamount to an act of war - Trump called the media "enemies of the people"
  • Marco Rubio (!) came out and said, Senate Intel can do this job - Politico said Kushner is really SecState, not Tillerson
  • Senate Dems asked DHS IG to investigate Trump - Pence stood up for NATO and everything Trump hates while over in Europe
  • It was revealed Trump staffers asked economic advisors to cook the books for 3% growth - Petraeus told the Trump people to pound sand
  • The New Yorker reported that Mike Flynn took $40,000 for appearing at a gala with Putin, which he did not report to the government
  • POLITICO dropped tapes of Trump SELLING OFF ACCESS TO SIT IN ON INTERVIEWS WITH POTENTIAL CABINET SECRETARIES
  • Potential Navy Sec'y Bilden said "thanks, but no thanks" - Pence in Europe got SUPER BUTCH about taking on Russia
  • FBI revealed that it has three inquiries into Trump and Russia, especially regarding shell companies that funneled him money from Putin
  • Trump had an online fundraiser to get him some money to fight the free press guaranteed under the First Amendment
  • NYTimes published a story where Eric Trump thinks we're freaking out because they're "only" gonna make $8 million for selling access
  • Trump had a straight-up fascist rally - McCain used the term "dictator" with regards to Trump
  • Trump, who lied, about a terrorist attack, pissed off SWEDEN, which is nigh on impossible - Trump was banned from IKEA for life
  • Actually Trump was not banned from IKEA, but that would obviously be amazing so RT to ask IKEA to ban Trump for life starting tonight
  • About nine other news agencies dropped 19 stories it's almost over I'm gonna eat some pizza love you all this was ONLY 48 HOURS
Thank you, Eric, for gathering all this intel (and as for my adding links to your work - you're welcome!). Hope you don't mind my cribbing your stuff, so long as I keep giving you credit! 

Cheers! 
YOPJ

***

Some helpful martial artists have developed a way to defend yourself against the unexpected physical assault that is a Donald J. Trump Power Handshake. So if there's any chance at all that you might be chosen to fill one of the increasing number of job vacancies in the White House--or hell, maybe even a cabinet position!--then you should probably click, clip, and save the information at the above link, for later.

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!

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.