fractally awful

In a few short days, Republicans will assume control of the House of Representatives. That guarantees the next two years are going to be a colossal shit-show.

It’s going to be fucking awful. Worse, it’s going to be fractally awful. I mean it’s going to be awful in the same way on every scale. Individual GOP members of Congress will be awful, Congressional committees will be awful, the GOP majority in the House itself will be awful, and they’ll all be awful in a self-similar way.

Individual Republican members of Congress will lie. They’ll lie in committee meetings. The GOP led committees will build investigations around those lies. They’ll amplify the lies on GOP-friendly ‘news’ channels. They’ll use the existence of those investigations based on lies as evidence that the lies must be legit (if Congress is investigating it, there MUST be a reason for that investigation). They’ll use those lies and investigations as a mask to distract the public from their policies, many of which actively harm the US and our allies. Traditional news media will report those lies and lie-based investigations as if they’re legitimate Congressional inquiries. When it comes time for the next election, they’ll use those investigations as evidence that they were doing the will of the people.

We know they’ll do this because they’ve said they’ll do it. We know they’ll do it because they’ve done it before. When Republicans controlled the House during the Obama administration, they spent two years investigating the terrorist attack on the State Department’s unfinished diplomatic compound in Benghazi. There were eleven Congressional investigations which held as least thirty-three Congressional hearings, most of which were public.

Each of those investigations published a report. Each report concluded that nobody in the Obama administration officials had acted improperly. Each report concluded that the State Department’s security at the unfinished Benghazi compound was ‘inadequate’. None of the reports acknowledged that the security was inadequate because for two years prior to the attack, House Republicans had reduced the Obama administration’s budget request for improved diplomatic security.

The two-year-long Benghazi investigation was a political stunt. We know it was a political stunt because they basically admitted it. Kevin McCarthy, who was running to be named the Speaker of the House (just as he is now–stupid history repeats itself stupidly) basically admitted it on a Fox News interview. He said:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

By the way, three months after the attack on Benghazi left four members of the State Department dead, an attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School killed six adults and twenty children (six and seven-year-old children). How many special committees did the GOP create? None. How many Congressional hearings did they hold? None. How many investigations did they launch? None.

Congress, the next two years.

That was almost exactly a decade ago, when radical Republicans in Congress were just a fringe element of the GOP. A decade later, that element is no longer the fringe; now they control the entire Republican Party. Ten years ago they ignored the murder of school kids and focused on a political stunt grounded in a legitimate tragedy. Now they’re planning to do the same, but instead of an actual tragedy, they have–and this is so fucking stupid and shameful I’m almost too embarrassed to say it–they have Hunter Biden’s laptop.

I said it was going to be a colossal shit-show. I probably understated the reality. It will almost certainly be a shit-show of Biblical proportions.

don’t shit in the swimming pool

Okay, here’s an analogy. Twitter is a swimming pool. A large pool, an Olympic-sized pool. It’s privately owned, but open to the public.

People come. Some just want to splash around, some want to swim laps, some just want to hang out poolside, some want to train for a swim meet, some want to cannonball into the pool and make a big splash, some want to practice diving. It’s a big pool, so even if some jackass is playing Nickleback on a bluetooth speaker instead of using headphones, you can move to the other end where it’s less annoying. It’s far from perfect, but you still come because it’s the biggest pool around and all your friends hang out there.

The pool has a few loose rules. You break the rules, you can get your ass booted out of the pool. One of the fundamental rules: Keep Litter Out of the Pool. Nobody wants to swim in a pool that has old candy wrappers and cigarette butts floating around in it.

That’s Old Twitter. New Twitter is different.

New Twitter is owned by a rich, arrogant, bone-ignorant narcissist who thought it would be fun to own his own swimming pool. To save money, he’s fired the concession stand workers, the maintenance workers, and the lifeguards. He also feels some folks who’ve been evicted for littering were treated unfairly. He feels they contribute to the swimming pool community, that perhaps the litter makes swimming more challenging and immediately vital.

So he’s re-invited them back.

Now, feeling vindicated for littering, they’re gleefully shitting in the pool.

And the new owner suggests folks who are reluctant to swim in the pool now aren’t really committed to swimming.

motive is a mystery

News Media: Bizarre hammer assault on Speaker Pelosi’s husband.
Suspect: I was after Nancy.
News Media: Law enforcement has offered no motive for the attack.
Suspect: I wanted to kill Nancy.
News Media: Police silent on Pelosi attacker’s intentions.
Suspect: Really, I just wanted to kill Nancy. I guess she wasn’t there.
News Media: Did divisive political rhetoric play a part in attack?
Suspect: Everybody on FOX says Nancy is a monster, so I wanted to kill her. You know…with a hammer.
News Media: Pelosi needed brain surgery after hammer attack.
GOP: CA should relax gun laws so Pelosi could have defended himself from hammer-wielding attacker. Dems not tough on crime.
Suspect: I would have used a gun, but this is California and I can’t buy one.
FOX News: Lots of people injured in hammer attacks in CA. Why lib media focused on this one minor assault? Pelosi didn’t even die.
News Media: Unconfirmed report: Pelosi attacker said to be dressed in his underwear.
Suspect: I’m a hammer killer, not a pervert. Fully dressed. In camo.
Elon Musk: An obscure news source that once claimed Hilary Clinton was dead and replaced by a body double says the attack MAY have some kinky gay thing going on.
GOP: After recent DUI arrest, Paul Pelosi engaged in extramarital gay hammer sex party.
News Media: Uh, well, okay, maybe?
Suspect: Look, all I wanted to do was kill Nancy then go monitor voting drop boxes like any other normal patriotic American. I’m a victim of cancel culture.

News Media: Sources say Pelosi lured hammer suspect with offers of twisted gay sex.
Suspect: Wait, what? No.
News Media: GOP claims prosecution of Pelosi hammer attacker is politically motivated.
Suspect: I’m announcing my candidacy for Gov. of Cali, which I’ll win unless the votes are tampered with.
GOP: Vote for us, we’ll hammer Biden and his gay socialist agenda!

EDITORIAL NOTE: Today, 10-31-22, the FBI released an eight page affidavit “for the limited purpose of securing a criminal complaint and arrest warrant” for the asshole who assaulted Paul Pelosi with a hammer. It includes statements made by David DePape outlining his motives for breaking into the Pelosi hom. You can read the affidavit here.

Will this end the wild speculation by Republicans and other conspiracy theory fuckwits?

Nope.

a horrible experience of unbearable length

A month ago I made the argument that Comrade Trump doesn’t have many actual supporters; instead, he has fans. I wrote:

Trump fans aren’t supporters of Trump’s beliefs (if he has any) or his political or religious ideology (if he has any) or his policies (if he has any); they’re fans of Trump his ownself. They want Trump to win, of course, but the thing about fan loyalty is that it doesn’t require winning.

It’s just a coincidence that I recently stumbled upon a 2009 article by Roger Ebert, the late and much-missed film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. Ebert had written a scathing review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which apparently upset Transformer fans (or maybe Transformer movie fans or fans of somebody in the movie–I don’t know and can’t bring myself to care enough to check). The thing about fans, of course, is that they will immediately go to war with anybody who questions their fandom. And they went to war with Ebert.

The thing about Ebert, on the other hand, is he was always rational, analytical, and really fucking smart. He starting rationally analyzing fandom. He wrote this:

A lot of fans are basically fans of fandom itself. It’s all about them. They have mastered the ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’ universes or whatever, but their objects of veneration are useful mainly as a backdrop to their own devotion. Anyone who would camp out in a tent on the sidewalk in order to be the first in line for a movie is more into camping on the sidewalk than movies.

Extreme fandom may serve as a security blanket for the socially inept, who use its extreme structure as a substitute for social skills. If you are Luke Skywalker and she is Princess Leia, you already know what to say to each other, which is so much safer than having to ad-lib it. Your fannish obsession is your beard. If you know absolutely all the triviea about your cubbyhole of pop culture, it save you from having to know anything about anything else. That’s why it’s excruciatingly boring to talk to such people: They’re always asking you questions they know the answer to.

And yeah, that’s spot on. It applies perfectly to Trump fans (who, come to think of it, aren’t that different from Transformer fans — they’re both devoted to something fundamentally ridiculous and tacky). Trump’s fans tend to be not just socially inept, but aggressively and proudly so. Believing in Trump saves them from having to know anything about anything, or from having to retain internally consistent views. If Trump, on a Monday, says Candidate A is a genius but on Wednesday describes him as an idiot, then Candidate A is a genius until, through the power of Trump, he becomes an idiot. It’s that simple.

The difference, of course, between Transformer fans and Trump fans is Trump fans are more willing — even eager, at times — to turn violent against critics of their fandom. I’m talking about violence ranging in scale from a recent incident in which a Trump fan hurled a can of beer at a comedian because she voted for Biden to a few thousand people violently assaulting the Capitol Building in an effort to overturn a legit election.

The risk posed by Transformer fans is that they increase the odds that more shitty movies will get made and inflicted on the public. The risk posed by Trump fans is sporadic irrational large scale violence, the occasional attack on FBI buildings, possible assassination of Trump ‘enemies’, and the potential destruction of representative democracy.

Ebert described Transformers as “a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine.” The four years of the Trump administration could be described in much the same way, only with Trump humping the leg of Vlad Putin.

news cycle

Herschel Walker: Abortion is bad, wicked, evil and I am against it totally.
Press: Didn’t you pay for your girlfriend to have an abortion?
Walker: That’s a lie. I did NOT pay for that woman’s abortion.
Press: Your ex-girlfriend says you did.
Walker: She’s a liar.
Press: We have the get well card you sent her.
Walker: Okay, I sent her a get well card. She was…you know, sick and all.
Press: We have a copy of the check you sent her to pay for the abortion.
Walker: That check was for medical supplies. Aspirin, hot water bottle, stuff like that.
Press: The memo line on the check says, ‘This is to pay for your abortion’.
Walker: It’s a forgery.
Press: We have video of you dropping her off at the abortion clinic.
Walker: I thought that was a Target. Anybody can make a mistake.
Press: In the audio of the video we can hear you saying, “Bye now, have a nice abortion!”
Walker: Fake news! Women lie!
GOP: We completely support Herschel Walker and are outraged by these scurrilous accusations. It just proves Democrats can’t be trusted.
Press: GOP says Dems can’t be trusted.

GOP: It’s possible Mr. Walker at one point in his otherwise exemplary life thought abortion might be okay under certain circumstances, but now he realizes he was wrong and all abortion is murder, so leave him alone.
Press: Exemplary life? He put a gun to his wife’s head and threatened to kill her.
GOP: A candidate’s domestic life isn’t the issue. The issue is pedophiles teaching CRT to grade school students.
Press: Walker used to play Russian roulette.
GOP: The Republican party cares about mental health rehabilitation. The past is the past.
Press: We’ve just received video of Herschel Walker paying to abort endangered baby eagles.
GOP: There’s no law against aborting baby eagles. Stick to the real issues that are important to American families. Inflation, the price of gas, trans girls winning medals in high school sports, Democrat crossdressers in girls bathrooms selling fetanyl.
Press: GOP says Dems killing teen girls.
Tucker Carlson: Are there are videos of Hunter Biden dressed in a frilly Lolita skirt taking bribes and cocaine from Chinese agents in the girl’s bathroom of a Catholic grade school? I’m just asking questions. Next up, Herschel Walker discusses how to arm yourself to protect your family from baby eagles.

blood in the streets

“If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information…there’ll be riots in the street.”

That was Senator Lindsey Olin Graham of South Carolina. But I’ve been seeing and hearing that sort of idiotic bullshit a lot lately–on the news and in real life. There was a guy at the gym last week–a living caricature of a Trump supporter; overweight and angry, loud and obnoxious–saying much the same thing. He said he was so angry he was “about ready to take up arms.” About ready. Not actually ready to take up arms, but just about ready.

Putting aside the fact that this guy would have probably collapsed in a puddle of his own urine if he’d had to run across the street, there’s the question of whom he’d take up arms against. In his rant, he mentioned Uncle Joe Biden, Antifa, the DeepStateFBI (yes, it was all one word) and communists. Maybe he meant to take up arms against all of them? Or maybe he thinks they’re all the same group? I don’t know. It was an unhinged, unfocused, unorganized rant.

Is this blood-in-the-streets scenario something we really need to fret about? Well, yes and no. I mean, the 1/6 insurrection is evidence that there are a lot of angry Trumpistas who are willing to use violence to get their way. So yeah, that’s a real concern.

But that anger had focus. Misdirected focus built on lies, true–but there was a focal point. The Capitol Building. Comrade Trump pointed them at the Capitol. It’s entirely possible (assuming Trump gets indicted–and I think he will–and goes to trial–and I’m not so sure about that) that a Trumpista mob would assault the courthouse.

He could riot for maybe half a street.

But as for widespread rioting in the streets? Naw, probably not. Sure, there’ll be pro-Trump protests and some of those will likely turn violent. But the problem with the sort of conspiratorial free-floating rage we see from so many Trumpistas is that it’s undirected. Like the fuckwit at the gym, they’re intensely angry at some vague, nebulous Biden/Antifa/DeepState/commie Bogeyman that doesn’t exist. It’s easy to sustain that sort of anger, but hard to sustain any sort of direct action against vapor. You can’t punch smoke.

But you can punch fascists. If holding Trump accountable for his crimes leads to violence in the streets, then so be it. I’d much rather it didn’t happen, but if it does then it does. It’s a price we may have to pay to resist fascism.

EDITORIAL NOTES: 1) I don’t advocate punching anybody, even if they’re fascists. But if you find yourself on the street and there’s a fascist in front of you doing or saying fascist stuff, DO NOT punch him (it’ll almost certainly be a guy) in the head; heads are mostly bone and you could hurt your hand. Punch him someplace soft. 2) When I described the Trumpista at the gym as being “overweight and angry” and said he’d likely collapse “in a puddle of his own urine if he’d had to run across the street,” it wasn’t to denigrate fat people. There are fat people who are in really good shape. I’m just describing those armchair warriors who sit around drinking cheap-ass beer and eating bags of Doritos and fantasize about being tough. I probably am denigrating cheap-ass beer, though. Sue me.

it’s not rocket science

It’s been a while since I’ve dipped my toes in the fetid fever swamp of FreeRepublic. I was curious to see how they were responding to the FBI executing a search warrant on Comrade Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort/home while Trump his ownself was up in Communist NYC taking the Fifth Amendment in a civil fraud suit.

There were a few surprises. For example, I expected to see a lot of posts claiming the FBI had ‘planted’ incriminating documents in Mar-a-Lago. That’s been a common theme on FOX News, after all. But there was very little of that. I was also surprised to see a small but persistent group of Freepers who were seriously concerned about the gravity of the situation. They supported Trump, of course, but were disturbed by the accusations that he’d taken and kept classified documents in his golf club. They felt it was irresponsible. The Freepers in this group were always accused by the majority of being ‘woke leftists’ who were, deliberately or not, undermining Trump.

Many Freepers simply dismissed the entire matter, either as ‘fake news’ or political theater by Democrats meant to disrupt the mid-term elections.

“Given the FISA fraud, 2 nonsense impeachments, and the blind eye given leftists, I consider any charge against Trump to be baseless and solely politically motivated.”
by fruser1

Other Freepers found the matter confusing–not the claims made by the FBI and the DOJ, but the motivations of Trump opponents. They could NOT understand why anybody would deliberately want to oppose President Donald J. Trump. It just didn’t make sense to them.

“At least they unsealed the warrant so Trump knows what he’s up against. It’s still weird that they’re coming after Trump before he’s even announced his 2024 run, before he’s any kind of threat to their agenda. Generally law enforcement only spends this kind of effort on career criminals. That obviously isn’t the case with Trump so I don’t know what they’re playing at.”
by FormerFRLurker

Who can possibly understand why the FBI would even consider searching Trump’s home for classified documents? It’s ridiculous. It’s crazyworld.

It’s just the FBI; it’s not rocket science.

But most Freepers clearly believed the ‘raid’ on Mar-a-Lago was an attack directed at Trump his ownself. Why? Because 1) the work left hates him and/or 2) they’re terrified he’s about to expose them for what they ‘really’ are. (SPOILER: what they are, apparently, is evil pedophile god-hating communists.)

“It doesn’t make sense why they are so obsessed with destroying him unless he himself presented a huge threat to them BEYOND being elected POTUS again.
Think about it, when he was in office he didn’t go after them, he even let Hillary walk after the collusion hoax. So why are they still after him? Because they are terrified of something he has! A list, and I think it involves kids, pedophilia.”
by GrandJediMasterYoda (As long as Hillary Clinton remains free, the USA will never have equal justice under the law).

“Gore, Biden, Garland, Obama, both Clintons – they’re all in this together. The thought of targeting a political opponent with imprisonment is pure evil.”
by Observator

“The Left MUST STOP him BEFORE he announces….there must be an INDICTMENT…..they KNOW he’s totally innocent, but they DESPISE him because they are EVIL, VILE, LYING DESTROYERS of GOOD PEOPLE and GOOD THINGS!”
by Ann Archy (Abortion……. The HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)

Evil, vile, lying destroyers of good people and things always go after innocent people like D.J. Trump. It’s not clear to me why, if Trump has information proving so many woke leftists are evil pedophile god-hating communists, he hasn’t published it, but apparently he’s waiting for the right moment. (Tangent: another Freeper explained that the hate of these wicked Leftists is exactly why there hasn’t been anything good on television since Gunsmoke was canceled in 1975.)

There was also a large contingent of Freepers with a vast knowledge of the nuances and subtleties involved in of the process of classifying and declassifying sensitive documents, knowledge they’d gained through intensive study over the last day or so. Having familiarized themselves with these nuances and subtleties, they universally agreed the nuances and subtleties weren’t that important, and could just fuck right off.

“The president doesn’t have to write up anything. He can wave his hands over the documents and say, ‘Presto! Declassified.’ Why is that so hard to grasp? The president is the ultimate consumer of all the classified information, and as the head of the executive answers to no one else within the executive. This is not rocket science.”
by curious7

It’s hard to argue with that. Waving presidential hands over documents is deffo NOT rocket science. I mean, you know, there might be some top secret, compartmentalized documents that involve science–and maybe even rockets–but overall, it’s not even remotely rocket science. So the opinions of FBI rocket scientists can be dismissed out of hand.

Rocket science has no place in FreeRepublic.

more about assholes and libraries

In my last post, I wrote about assholes and Carnegie libraries. I didn’t expect this to be a theme. But this is the United States in 2022, and Comrade Trump has turned the Republican Party into a smug nationwide collective of aggressively stupid, hate-fueled, authoritarian bullies.

So, there’s a Carnegie library in the small Iowa town of Vinton, population of about 5000. Dedicated in 1908, it’s one of the smallest Carnegie libraries in the US. It operated to the benefit of the community for over a century.

That pretty much ended last week, when the library was closed. Why?

Because of assholes.

It began in May of 2020 when, Virginia Holsten, the Director of the Vinton Public Library for 35 years, resigned. She was replaced by Janette McMahon, who’d been a librarian in both Iowa and Wyoming.

You may remember that 2020 was an election year. Some library patrons complained about books written by Kamala Harris (who, by the way, had visited the Vinton Library and read from her children’s book) and Dr. Jill Biden being on display. They also complained that there weren’t enough books about Comrade Donald Trump. McMahon explained the rigorous process by which books are selected for the library. She said, “I can’t buy what doesn’t exist, and there weren’t quality books about Trump. We pay attention to reviews and publishers and our collection needs as a whole. We don’t just say what looks good on Amazon.”

Library patrons who objected to the Biden and Harris books began checking them out, then refusing to return them. In effect, they stole the books.

Eventually the attacks against the library became personal attacks against McMahon. She resigned.

In November 2021, Renee Greenlee was hired as Director. She had a long, respected career as a librarian in Iowa. She was one of the librarians given the 2022 I Love My Librarian award, which is bestowed by the American Library Association. Only ten librarians in the country win the award each year.

Vinton library patrons objected to the fact that she hired some LGBTQ staff and that there were book dealing with LGBTQ topics on display in the library. At a library board meeting, one of the patrons read a statement, saying:

It appears that there is a slow, quiet agenda moving into our local library culture through the staff hiring decisions and the books that have crept in our children’s section of the library. I don’t believe the library is representing our town well with hiring a majority of staff who are openly a part of the LGBTQ community.

Another said,

We would like to see more balance in the offerings of books for children. For each book promoting the LGBTQ lifestyle, there should be a book on display that discusses how God created and designed people as either male or female from birth, for life.

Greenlee reported that of the 5,779 children’s materials the library holds, only three books had a subject heading of ‘LGBT’, only two books had a heading of ‘Gay’ and only two books referenced ‘transgender’ issues. In addition, there were 173 books in the library collection that were based on Christian life.

Following the next library board meeting, which was apparently a repetition of the previous one, Greenlee resigned. The interim Director, a gay man, resigned shortly afterward, leaving the Vinton Public Library without any full-time staff.

This is NOT to say that Vinton, Iowa is a town full of assholes. It’s to say that the people of Vinton allowed their local assholes to disrupt a public service that’s been supporting their community for over a century. They’ve turned a lovely gift–a Carnegie library–into an open, festering wound of resentment and hate.

This is happening all over the United States. It happens because the assholes show up while decent people stay home and watch television. In small towns throughout the nation, a minority of bitter, ignorant, self-righteous religious bigots terrified of imaginary enemies have begun to impose their mean-spirited agenda on the rest of us.

And we’ve let them do it. We can’t expect them to be better. We have to DO better ourselves.