it’s all fish. wait…archery, maybe.

I’m something of a low intensity news junkie. I spend a couple of hours every morning reading the news from a variety of sources–one of which is the Washington Post. That’s the ‘junkie’ part. The ‘low intensity’ part is that I don’t read ALL the news. I almost always skip the business/financial news (which I realize is important, but lawdy that shit is dull). I usually skip most of the sports news (which in recent years seems to be a mash-up of business news and scandal-mongering). And I generally just scan the entertainment news.

All of which is to say that while I read a lot of news, I rarely wade all the way through any single news source. But for some reason, this morning I found myself scrolling through the entire digital edition of the Washington Post. And I discovered they still publish horoscopes.

I don’t know why that surprised me. Wait…yes, I do know why it surprised me. Because WaPo is a newspaper. The operative term being ‘news’ and ‘news’ being ‘information about recent, current, or ongoing events’. Now, I understand that newspapers also include stuff that’s not news, stuff that’s just there to entertain the reader. Like comics. And yes, folks can be entertained by horoscopes.

But the thing about horoscopes is that they claim to be a method of divination–a tool for predicting or foretelling the future. There’s nothing inherently wrong with predicting what might take place in the future; speculative fiction does that all the time. And trend analysts are always suggesting what might be coming in stocks or fashion or sports or politics or just about any human endeavor. The difference, though, is trend analysts base their future scenarios on observations of a wide variety of current and recent events. Horoscopes, on the other hand, base their predictions on a single moment in time–the hour a person was born.

Eternally optimistic, that’s me. I’m a goddamn gift to the world.

It’s right there in the name: horoscope. It’s from the Greek ‘hōra‘ meaning ‘hour’ and ‘skopos‘ meaning ‘watcher’ or ‘observer’. The concept is grounded in the belief that a person’s characteristics and personality are shaped or influenced by 1) the placement relative to Earth of 2) the major celestial bodies that are gravitationally bound to our Sun 3) at the moment of that person’s birth. It’s not clear exactly HOW those celestial bodies shape or influences a person. Is it through magnetism? Gravitation? Some combination of weak and strong nuclear forces? Who the hell knows?

Of course, the daily horoscopes presented in WaPo are generic. They couldn’t possibly include an individualized horoscope for every reader. Instead they opt for the most generic type of horoscope, based solely on a wide range of days on which a person was born. The actual day, or even the year, in which you were born is somehow irrelevant. It’s like offering ‘fish’ for lunch, without telling you whether it’s trout or salmon or fugu. It’s all just fish.

Daily horoscopes are all just fish. They’re all different, while still having some basic stuff in common. At least that’s my impression. So I decided to check out my horoscope for today on a few different sites. You know, so I’d know how to prepare for my day.

I get two (2) eclipses this year! How many do YOU get?

According to my WaPo horoscope for today, ‘authority figures will be especially helpful to you now — but it won’t seem that way at first.‘ Fucking authority figures. However, if I ‘force them to go over the situation with you, they’ll be able to see the problems.’ So that’s not so bad. It doesn’t offer suggestions regarding HOW I force authority figures to go over the situation with me. I figure high explosives would demonstrate my sincerity and commitment to resolve the problem…whatever it is.

According to Astrology.com, ‘Pleasure before productivity is key today.’ Also, the ‘enthusiastic Aries moon encourages you to find a stage of your own and shine up on it unabashedly.’ Who doesn’t love an enthusiastic moon? The reference to Aries (the god of war and combat) seems to support the use of high explosives in my interactions with authority figures. Although it does seem somewhat at odds with ‘the moon’s sweet link with happy-go-lucky Jupiter‘ which is supposed to ‘uplift‘ my mood and bring ‘mental equilibrium before moving into grounded Taurus.’ I’m not sure how to interpret that. Maybe that Taurus business means my interaction with authorities will involve bullshit…and nothing cuts through bullshit faster than high explosives.

CafeAstrology seems to agree, because ‘Fiery, energetic Mars is now enlivening your sector of career and reputation.’ Nothing enlivens your reputation like high explosives. However, ‘Complicated energies are with you today. Fears or insecurities can surface, and you may need to tame the tendency to expect negative responses from others.’ Well, negative responses are sort of expected when you employ high explosives. But what’s really concerning is this: ‘Timing could be off temporarily. You might end up deliberating over a response for far longer than is good for you.’ Obviously, you don’t introduce high explosives into a negotiation unless you’re serious…but timing can be tricky. Clearly I should rig some sort of hair-trigger or a dead man’s switch when I deal with…wait.

Careless? WTF? Childish? Fuck you. C’mon.

I don’t have anything scheduled for today that will involve authority figures. I mean, there’s a good chance I’ll get a phone call about my extended warranty at some point, but…shit. Now what am I supposed to do with all those high explosives?

You know, I probably wouldn’t have this problem if I wasn’t a Sagitarrius Saggitarious born in early December. I suspect folks born under…uh, my sign…are known for being impulsive and sometimes acting without thinking things through. I’ll google my zodiac sign to see what sort of person I am while I have lunch (ooh, I bet Sagittarrians people like me are multi-taskers!). I’m having fish.

a polite society

JaDerek Gray, 19 years old, he’s got himself a motorcycle and a gun. Unnamed motorist, got himself a car with kids and a gun. I mean, this is Texas, right? So yeah, everybody got himself a gun. They both cruising down I-35 on a Friday afternoon, long Fourth of July weekend, right? The guy in the car starts to change lanes, doesn’t see Gray tooling along on his motorcycle, almost pulls in front of him. Gray swerves, the car driver corrects himself, everybody is alarmed but okay.

At this point, all we’ve got is a near accident. A failure of road courtesy. A momentary lapse of situational awareness that could have been ugly–but wasn’t. Happens all the time. Everybody who’s ever ridden a motorcycle or a bicycle on a public road has had this moment. Everybody who’s driven a car on a public road has had it too. It happens, you check yourself as a driver and as a rider, you maybe shout an obscenity, you remind yourself to be more careful and cautious, and you go on. Right?

Except JaDerek Gray is 19 years old and he’s got himself a gun. Except the car driver has a gun too, along with his car full of kids. So what happens? Gray speeds up, passes the guy in the car, slows down, then stops. Stops. Right there on I-35, on a Friday afternoon at the beginning of a long holiday weekend, he stops. He draws his gun. So the driver, he pulls his gun too.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner said Gray died from multiple gunshot wounds.

So now Gray is totally dead. 19 years old, and he’s dead. That’s got to fuck up his family and friends. Instead of celebrating the Fourth of July, instead of grilling burgers and eating potato salad, they’ve got to start planning a funeral. And the driver of the car and those kids, you know they’re fucked up too. Isel Valenzuela, the passer-by who witnessed the shooting, who stopped and turned off Gray’s motorcycle, who applied pressure to Gray’s wounds until paramedics arrived, who watched Gray bleed out and die–his holiday has been ruined as well.

A distinct absence of road courtesy

An armed society is a polite society. You hear gun nuts and Second Amendment jihadists say that all the time. They say it like it’s some sort of holy writ, as if it’s something that might have been said by the Founding Fathers or Charlton Heston. But it’s from a novel by Robert Heinlein, the iconoclastic libertarian science fiction writer.

Heinlein wrote Beyond This Horizon in the early 1940s. It’s one of those Utopian society stories–there’s no poverty, no nationalism, no hunger, no war; genetic engineering has eliminated disease, aging is treatable, and medical technology has made most injuries reparable. So basically everybody is incredibly smart, incredibly healthy, incredibly beautiful. In effect, it’s a society of perfect people, a society of saints.

I suspect Heinlein had studied Emile Durkheim, the Daddy of Sociology. Fifty years before Heinlein wrote his novel, Durkheim wrote this:

Imagine a society of saints, a perfect cloister of exemplary individuals. Crimes, properly so called, will there be unknown; but faults which appear venial to the layman will create there the same scandal that the ordinary offense does in ordinary consciousness.

And that’s what happens in Beyond This Horizon. People get offended over increasingly trivial issues, pissy little shit like slights of etiquette and protocol. They resolve these issues by dueling. Almost everybody wears a sidearm of some sort. A person who doesn’t want to risk getting shot over stupid shit (like a bit of crabshell catapulted onto a neighboring table in a restaurant, which happens in the novel), they had to wear clothing that identifies them as noncombatants (basically dweebs who have lower social status). The actual quote in the novel is:

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

It’s NOT meant to be a principle on which to base society; it’s a goddamn plot device. It’s meant to show that even a Utopian society isn’t a Utopian society because people are fucked up beings. It’s not an argument that guns are good; it’s actually an argument against that. It’s an argument that killing each other over trivial stuff is just fucking stupid. It’s an argument that says courtesy enforced by the fear of getting killed isn’t courtesy at all. It’s just fear.

It’s an argument everybody on that Texas interstate highway lost. An armed society isn’t a polite society; it’s a scared and stupid society.

something you hope never happens

This is something you hope never happens in your own community, in the place that you call home.” That’s from Vince Niski, the Chief of Police in Colorado Springs, following the mass murder of six people (and the suicide of the shooter) in the early hours of Mother’s Day.

Something you hope never happens in your own community. As if this was the first mass murder in Colorado Springs in Vince Niski’s experience. As if Matthew John Murray hadn’t killed five and wounded five others in a pair of church shootings (one in Colorado Springs, one in Arvada) in 2007 when Niski was just a lieutenant in the Colorado Springs PD. As if Noah Harpham hadn’t killed three random people in the streets of Colorado Springs in October of 2015, when Niski was the Deputy Chief of Operations. As if only a month later, in November of 2015, Robert Lewis Dear hadn’t killed three and wounded ten at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. I’m sure each time Vince Niski hoped it was something that would never happen again in his community.

Colorado Springs Chief of Police Vince Niski

At this point, they police aren’t releasing the name of Colorado Springs’ newest mass murderer. The Colorado Springs police describe him as ‘the boyfriend of one of the female victims.” Former boyfriend is more likely. Or a boyfriend in the process of becoming a former boyfriend. Or just another angry man who doesn’t feel he’s getting the respect he deserves as a man. Regardless, he drove to the party, walked inside, and began shooting people–including his supposed girlfriend. Then, as happens routinely in these man-angry-at-a-woman mass murders, he killed himself.

As Chief Niski says, this is something you hope never happens in your community. Except it does, all the damned time. Maybe not with such a high butcher’s bill, but it happens all the time in every state in the US. You can hope your fucking heart out, but angry men with access to firearms are going to continue to make it happen. If your community is Colorado Springs–if your community is in a state that doesn’t require a permit to purchase a firearm, it’s more likely that this will happen. If your community is in a state that doesn’t require firearm registration, it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community is in a “shall issue” state–meaning local sheriffs MUST issue a concealed weapons permit if an applicant meets certain criteria**–it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community allows people to openly carry weapons without a permit, it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community allows you to make, possess, or own a ghost gun–a handmade firearm without a serial number–it’s more likely it’ll happen. If you live in a state that has actually banned local communities (with the exception of Denver) from enacting their own stricter firearm safety laws, then it’s more likely it’ll happen.

It’s not Chief Vince Niski’s fault that Matthew John Murray was able to assemble a small arsenal in preparation for his angry man murders–a Bushmaster XM-15 semi-automatic rifle and three semi-auto pistols (a Beretta .22-caliber, a Beretta .40-caliber, and a Springfield Armory 9mm). Or that Noah Harpham was able to buy a DPMS Classic 16 semi-automatic rifle and two handguns (a Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum revolver and a Springfield Armory XD-M 9mm pistol). Or that Robert Lewis Dear bought an SKS semi-automatic rifle (and the multiple propane tanks he’d brought to the Planned Parenthood clinic with the intent to turn them into explosives). Niski had nothing to do with it. But he’s been around the block long enough to know that if those three angry men could find the means to kill sixteen people and wound about that same number, it’s no surprise another angry man could find the means to murder half a dozen people at a birthday party. Which, according to Chief Niski, is something you hope never happens in your community.

But if it’s happened four times in the last decade and a half, it’ll probably happen again. It’ll probably happen again because the people of Colorado LET IT HAPPEN. Because they’ve elected people who have refused to take any step to reduce the likelihood that it’ll happen again. Chief Niski’s hope is fucking worthless unless somebody takes action to implement actual reasons for hope.

What happened on Mother’s Day is NOT Chief Niski’s fault. He’s only guilty of voicing the stupid platitudes that chiefs of police are expected to repeat every time something you hope never happens in your own community happens in your own community.


** What are the criteria for being automatically issued a concealed weapon carry permit in Colorado? You have to be a Colorado resident, age 21 or older. You have to attest that you’re not a felon or mentally incompetent. You have to attest that you don’t chronically or habitually abuse alcohol, and that you don’t use (or are addicted to) controlled substances. You have to be free of a civil or criminal restraining order. You have demonstrate ‘competence’ with a handgun. How do you do that? By 1) having an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces within past three years, 2) having proof of pistol qualification in Armed Forces within past ten years, 3) being a retired law enforcement officer with pistol qualification within past ten years, OR 4) completing four-hour handgun training class within the past ten years.

liz cheney? really? fuck.

See, I assumed that when Comrade Trump lost the election, a lot of Republicans in Congress would be secretly relieved to be rid of him. I thought they’d be glad to see the back of an ignorant, petulant, vindictive, corrupt, serial liar who was completely lacking in self-discipline, decency, and honesty, and who had absolutely no sense of loyalty to others.

That was before the January 6 insurrection. After Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, eager to disrupt the Electoral College vote, and apparently willing to assassinate Trump’s vice president, I believed a lot of Republicans would be openly relieved to be rid of him.

Lawdy, was I ever wrong. I mean, sure, I knew there’d be some weasels–unprincipled hacks like Gym Jordan and Matt Gaetz and…what’s the name of that Republican weasel from California? (Okay, I google ‘Republican weasel from California and Devin Nunes was the third result.) But I guess I believed that even the worst Republicans would still support the concept of the peaceful transition of power.

And hey, I was right about that. Sorta kinda. I mean, Liz Cheney IS one of the worst Republicans. She’s awful on just about any political metric you could name. Despite the fact that her sister Mary is a married lesbian, Liz opposed marriage equality. Like her daddy, the former vice president, Liz DOES support torture (yeah, okay, she calls it ‘enhanced interrogation’ but that shit is torture). She’s opposed to expanding voting rights, and supports most of the new state GOP anti-voting legislation. She voted to end the protection of grey wolves in the Endangered Species Act. She suggested the texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page were evidence of a coup and they should be investigated for treason. She voted WITH Trump 93% of the time. She is completely fucking awful.

And yet, Liz Cheney is being hailed as something of a hero. Why? Because she’s one of the few principled conservatives left in public office. Yes, her principles are appalling and backward and short-sighted–but she’s consistent with them. She did, after all, publicly condemn Trump when he abandoned our Kurdish allies when it was politically convenient for him (and for Russia). But at the same time, she suggested Trump’s decision was possible influenced by the Democrat’s attempt to impeach Trump (you know…that first time he was impeached).

This is the state of the modern Republican Party. One of the most horrible GOP politicians is also one of the few who holds consistent principles, and is the only real hope they have of remaining a viable (if selfish and amoral) political party rather than a loosely-affiliated collective of white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, religious bigots, and rabid fucking whackos (or is it ‘whackoes’?).

Next week the House Republicans will likely vote Liz Cheney out of any position of power. The week after that, there’s a better than average chance they’ll toss her in a stream to see if she floats (while chanting ‘Burn the witch!’). In the meantime, Republicans in Arizona are re-re-recounting presidential ballots, only this time they’re looking for evidence of bamboo, because somebody somewhere said it was possible that forty thousand fraudulent ballots were flown into Arizona from China, and that’s where bamboo grows. Jesus suffering fuck I am NOT MAKING THAT UP.

Help us, Cheney-wan Kenobi, you’re the GOP’s only hope.

the latest news is not the last

Bah, the latest news, the latest news is not the last.”

I wake up and before I finish making the bed, I hear there’s “a mass murder incident” in Indianapolis. A mass murder incident. You know how the meaning of some terms change over time? Like ‘cheater’ used to refer to an officer appointed to look after the king’s escheats — property that reverted to the State or the King when somebody died without a legal heir — and now means a person who cheats? Well, in terms of mass murder, the original definition of ‘incident’ still applies. An incident is ‘something which occurs casually in connection with something else.’

There was a mass murder incident in Indianapolis this morning — the murder of at least eight people occurring casually in connection with…well, with going to work in a nation that has a small but powerful minority who worship firearms. The incident was described as “the country’s deadliest shooting since ten people were killed on March 22.” That was less than a month ago.

Last night in Indianapolis more people were murdered while casually going to work than were murdered three and a half weeks ago while casually shopping for groceries at a supermarket in Colorado. This is how we measure mass murder incidents now.

The authorities have said the mass murder “wasn’t precipitated by any kind of a disturbance or an argument.” As if ‘a disturbance or an argument’ would actually explain in any way why eight people were shot and killed. The authorities are also trying to “understand the motives” of the shooter. Because if we understood the murderer’s motives, we’d be able to…to what? Do something about it? Nobody, it seems, is bothering to understand the motives of legislators who continue to weaken and erode firearm safety legislation. That might be something we could actually do something about.

It could be anyplace. It could be everyplace.

This is just the latest news, and as Samuel Beckett says, it’s not the last. We’ll make the effort to pretend what happened is explainable, that it’s understandable — but it’s not. It never really is. People call it a tragedy — and it is, and it isn’t. It’s an incidental tragedy, a casual tragedy, a temporary tragedy that will eventually become a passing reference in a news story — ‘the country’s deadliest shooting since eight people were killed at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis.’

“I know my eyes are open,” Beckett wrote, “because of the tears that pour from them unceasingly.” But the problem with unceasing tears is that after a while, they no longer indicate grief. It’s just crying. Some families and friends in Indianapolis will be grieving, but as a nation we’ll go on today and tomorrow as if this is all normal. Which it is. Our boy Beckett understood too.

To go on means going from here, means finding me, losing me, vanishing and beginning again, a stranger first, then little by little the same as always, in another place, where I shall say I have always been, of which I shall know nothing, being incapable of seeing, moving, thinking, speaking, but of which little by little, in spite of these handicaps, I shall begin to know something, just enough for it to turn out to be the same place as always, the same which seems made for me and does not want me, which I seem to want and do not want, take your choice, which spews me out or swallows me up, I’ll never know, which is perhaps merely the inside of my distant skull where once I wandered, now am fixed, lost for tininess, or straining against the walls, with my head, my hands, my feet, my back, and ever murmuring my old stories, my old story, as if it were the first time.

I shall begin to know something, just enough for it to turn out to be the same place as always. A FedEx facility in Indianapolis, a supermarket in Boulder, Asian spas in Atlanta, a brewery in Milwaukee — the same place as always. Murmuring the same stories as if it were the first time. The latest news is not the last.

covid on the floor

February 12, 2021 — HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s statewide mask mandate that had been in place since July was lifted Friday by Gov. Greg Gianforte. Gianforte, a Republican, promised the day after assuming office in January that he would lift the state’s mask mandate once there were liability protections in place for businesses and health care providers. The state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Gregory Holzman, resigned from his post Thursday, the day after Gianforte announced he would lift the mask mandate.

April 6, 2021 — BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has tested positive for COVID-19. The Republican governor’s office released a statement Monday evening saying that after experiencing mild symptoms a day earlier, Gianforte was tested “out of an abundance of caution.” All of the governor’s in-person events have been canceled, and he plans to work from his home in Bozeman. His staff will be be tested for the virus Tuesday.

Moron

Dr. Gregory Holzman: There are multiple reports across the nation of people stepping on Legos and hurting their bare feet.
Gov. Gianforte: Fake news. I’ve never stepped on a Lego. I’ve never seen a Lego.
Dr. H: Legos are real. People are dropping them on both coasts. It’s only a matter of time before Legos get dropped here in Montana. We should consider a boot mandate until we can isolate the people who are dropping Legos.
Gov. G: A boot mandate? That would be an infringement on the freedom of Montanans. Besides, only a few people in Montana have stepped on Legos.
Dr. H: Until we can identify who is dropping Legos, a boot mandate will prevent widespread foot injuries. We need to stay ahead of the problem.
Gov. G: I’m not going to issue a boot mandate when only a hundred or so Montanans have stepped on a Lego.
Dr. H: But the number of instances of people stepping on Legos is increasing. Happily, recent research indicates boots may not be necessary; shoes will be equally effective.
Gov. G: First you say boots, now you say shoes. Maybe you’re wrong about shoes too. Besides, most people who step on Legos recover.
Dr. H: Thousands of Legos…probably tens of thousands…are on the floor in Montana now. People are stepping on them at an unprecedented rate. A shoe mandate is vital.
Gov. G: Okay, I’ll suggest people should start wearing shoes, but I’m not going to make it mandatory.
Dr. H: The hospitals are being overwhelmed with foot injuries from people stepping on Legos.
Gov. G: Okay, I’ll issue a shoe mandate. Happy now?
Dr. H: Foot injuries are leveling off. There are fewer reports of Legos being dropped on the floor.
Gov. G: I’ll remove the shoe mandate.
Dr. H: No, it’s too early. Some of your own staff may have stepped on a Lego. We need to keep the shoe mandate in place a little bit…
Gov. G: I’ve removed the shoe mandate.
Dr. H: I quit.
Gov. G: Ouch. What the hell did I just step on?
Dr. H (muttering): Moron.

And that’s today’s lesson.

two quick thoughts on repeachment

The article of impeachment against former Comrade President Trump will go to the Senate today. Predictably, most Republicans are being assholes about it, making a couple of bullshit arguments against conviction.

Bullshit Argument #1: Impeaching Trump a second time will only further inflame the deep divisions between decent folks and fascist terrorists the two political parties and lead to further violence. Basically, this argument acknowledges that Trump, at the very least, encouraged the insurrection at the Capitol Building, but suggests that if he’s held accountable for his part in the insurrection, it could lead to another insurrection. In other words, “Yes, Daddy hit you, he’s sorry he lost his temper, it won’t happen again, unless you make Daddy very angry, then he’ll have to hit you again.”

At the heart of this bullshit argument is the notion that inciting a physical assault on the Capitol in an attempt to overturn an election is certainly to be frowned upon, but Trump failed to overturn the election, and surely that humiliating failure is punishment enough. This bit of fuckwittery leads us directly to the next bullshit argument.

Bullshit Argument #2: Impeaching a president after he leaves office sets a bad precedent. Unpopular presidents could be punished for being unpopular. This is a spectacularly stupid argument. Failing to impeach and try a former president essentially indemnifies a president against doing all sorts of awful shit in his last few months in office. Like, for example, installing a bunch of stooges in the Justice Department and the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community to help overturn an election. This argument says a president is free to commit crime during the lame duck period because there won’t be any consequences once the corrupt motherfucker is out of office.

Comrade Trump has fucked the GOP and they’re about to give birth to a monster.

Senate Republicans have only themselves to blame. They’ve dropped themselves into a situation where their choices are either 1) to convict the corrupt motherfucker they should have convicted a year ago OR 2) go on the record saying they support the corrupt motherfucker who a) incited an attack on the Capitol that led to half a dozen deaths, b) spent a couple of months trying to strong-arm a handful of states into falsifying their election results, and c) placed a cadre of equally corrupt motherfuckers in key federal positions to help overturn the will of the voters.

Neither option is attractive. They’ll try to pretend they’re doing the right thing. They’ll claim they’re taking a principled stand in defense of…I don’t know what. Unity maybe? The Constitution? It’ll be bullshit, whatever it is. And whatever the result, the GOP’s romance with Trump has produced an angry, resentful, hate-fueled mob of white supremacists who will continue to plague the US for some time.

One last thing. When President Uncle Joe spoke about unity, he wasn’t saying we should all agree on what’s important and how stuff should get done. He was just saying we’re all caught in the same fucked up situation and if we want to get out of it, we should try to work together rather than kicking each other in the balls out of spite. Jeebus on toast, it’s not that complicated.

ADDENDUM: I just learned SCOTUS has chucked all of Trump’s emoluments cases as moot, since he’s no longer POTUS. Basically, that clears future presidents to turn the White House into a for-profit enterprise, allowing them to accept money (including from foreign governments) so long as they can delay any legal proceedings and run out the clock until they’re out of office. Thanks, Republicans.

it’s unclear

I used to wade in the icky waters of FreeRepublic on a fairly regular basis. I did that because I thought it was important to have some notion of what radical right-wing gun owners were thinking. That last bit — the gun owning bit — was the motivating force for me. I may disagree with right-wing extremists, but so long as all they do is shout hateful stuff, I’m okay with it. People shouting hateful stuff who are also armed, well that’s an entirely different kettle of fish. [Tangent Alert — if you’re wondering about the expression ‘kettle of fish’ see below.]

A couple of years into the Trump administration, I lost my willingness to visit FreeRepublic. I did it on occasion, but it was just too fucking ugly and stupid and discouraging to visit regularly. However, after Uncle Joe became POTUS-elect, I’ve started peeking in through the FreeRepublic window again, to see how they’re reacting.

Not well, is how they’re reacting. Poorly. Angrily. Fearfully, is how they’re reacting. Delusional, is how they’re reacting. A large chunk of them continue to believe Covid is a hoax. One of dozens of overlapping, continuous hoaxes — including the hoax that Uncle Joe beat Comrade Trump in the election. They act like they’re completely convinced Trump won, that there was a massive conspiracy to deny him the election, and that Trump will still somehow overturn the result of the election and emerge victorious (to the sound of trumpets, hymns of great praise, an orchestra of angels, a flight of bluebirds, and the continental United States will smell like cinnamon rolls in the morning). Maybe they honestly believe that. It’s not clear.

“Call out the military and hold a new election free of FRAUD and the CCP! CCP interfering was an act of WAR!” — by doc maverick

CCP — that’s the Chinese Communist Party. Yeah, that’s right, they’re involved. NOT the Russians, the Chinese. They’re working with other Globalists (always capitalized) and the Deep State in the US to undermine Trump and destroy the government. The Deep State wants the government to collapse in order for them to…to do something that will give them the power to become…the Deeper State? It’s unclear. But obviously, Trump won the election.

“Stolen. As have been many elections in AmeriKa. O’Bunghole was installed as potus similarly. He has no right living in this country, much less, holding public office. He was potus because of voter fraud, just like creepy joe and crazy ho. We’re so hosed.” — by LouAvul

The FBI tentacle of the Deep State is conspiring with the Fake News Media to impose socialism on the US. This will allow them to…to…I think it’s to take away the guns of honest Americans? Probably. Take their existing guns and make it harder to buy still more guns, which is why there’s been an increase in gun sales these last few months before the Deep State can act. The problem, see, is that there are Republicans IN NAME ONLY who cooperate with…wait, maybe it’s the ATF? I mean, since they’re the ones who deal with firearms. I don’t know, it’s unclear. Anyway, there are Republicans who are part of the fraud they’re helping to steal the election from Trump.

“It’s sickening that most of these states that are in question with a plethora of fraud that is killing the country had majorities of REPUBLICANS at various levels within the states.” — by shanover

These same RINOs are also part of the Great Covid Hoax being perpetrated by the Deep State and the Democrats and China (obviously China). They want America weak and scared (which, by the way, is another reason to buy more guns) and distracted so they can steal the election while Decent Law-abiding Americans are too busy wearing masks and buying toilet paper (and guns) to notice that Hunter Biden’s pals in China inserted code into the voting machines which turned votes for Trump into votes for Biden. The illegal code was illegally inserted through illegal means, specifically by…by means of…well, it’s unclear. But the so-called pandemic was part of the plan, because of…of the economy, I think. Again, it’s unclear. But c’mon, seriously Trump won, it’s obvious and he should stay in office by any means necessary.

“The lockdowns must end ! By force if necessary ! TYrranical out of control demoncraps need controls ! Fire them !” by Truthoverpower

Seriously, how could Biden possibly have won the election (which, of course, was stolen from Trump) given that, at the order of the Deep State and Hunter’s friends in the CCP, he stayed in his basement? For months! Who ever heard of a candidate winning an election from his own basement? Or anybody’s basement? Or any subterranean facility? It’s impossible. UNLESS there’s fraud involved, perpetrated by the FBI and George Soros and other cannibalistic communist sex perverts! There are rooms full of affidavits and videos of Democrats cheating at the polls and bringing in fake Biden ballots disguised as pepperoni pizzas and takeout Chinese (China AGAIN!), and did you know Mitch McConnell’s wife was Chinese? Do you need any more proof that…that something unwholesome and fraudulent is taking place? I don’t think so. McConnell is in on…that thing everybody is in on. It’s not entirely clear what they hope to…well, you know, the cheating and all. Because it was a rigged election.

Trump was holding 3 to 4 rallies PER DAY for weeks on end with hardly a day off. Spontaneous “Trump Train” car rallies and boat rallies were all over the place with thousands and tens of thousands of people turning out, even without a star being there to draw people in. Biden, his execrable “doctor” wife, and Harris couldn’t draw flies. The number of times Biden spoke gibberish and slurred his speech was immense. He never once talked about his policies and vision for America. The press lobbed him softball questions about his favorite ice cream.

A liberty-loving, true-blue American patriot who gave up his retirement to save the USA versus a communist life-long political hack who is one of the meanest people in American politics. And the people voted for the communist? This whole thing is just preposterous beyond belief. — by ProtectOurFreedom

Anyway, there it is. Trump had ALL the boats and trucks, because he’s a friend of the working man. Once Sidney Powell gets a chance (as a special prosecutor) to finally present her unbiased evidence in a REAL court of REAL law, it’s all over for Biden and then Nancy Pelosi will get what she deserves in GITMO. And Michelle Obama too. And all the loud-mouthed girls, they’ll all get what they deserve, which is…well, it’s unclear. Well, it’s clear, but it doesn’t do to say so out loud. But when Trump is inaugurated for his second term, they’ll be able to take care of troublemakers and burn the Deep State and disband the FBI unless the FBI comes around and Democrats will have to eat bugs in prison. That much is clear.

“Once Powell has the information, Biden is screwed.” — by rdcbn1

Anyway, that’s life in FreeRepublic. Trump won. Biden cheated. Covid’s a hoax. China is bad. Russia is our friend. Democrats should be imprisoned, if not shot. (Disclaimer: I made up that bit about the bugs. I never actually saw anybody who wrote that Democrats should be forced to eat bugs. Sorry.)

Tangent: Okay, you’re probably thinking ‘Greg, old sock, what is this whole kettle of fish business? Doesn’t seem to make any sense, don’t you know.’ This is why I get paid the big bucks (or would, if I got paid at all). There’s an explanation. Two explanations, actually. The most common explanation is that years ago in the UK a poaching pan was called a ‘kettle’, and it was apparently a common practice to feed large gatherings by bringing a kettle to boil and then — and I’m not making this up — they’d toss live salmon into the kettle and I don’t like to think about it after that.

A different kiddle of fish.

The explanation I prefer, though, is that the kettle in question is actually a kiddle, which is another term for a fishing weir. And now you’re thinking, ‘Greg, old sock, what is this weir of which you speak?’ A weir (which is also known in some places as a ‘fishgarth’ if that helps, but I suspect it won’t) is a sort of trap placed in rivers or streams which fish can easily swim into but can’t easily swim out of. At the end of the day, a weir/kiddle may have a lot of different sorts of fish swimming around in a muddle. So the expression ‘a different kiddle/kettle of fish’ refers to a separate and distinct muddled mess.

Aren’t you glad you asked?