my satire compass done broke

The ‘patriots’ of FreeRepublic are unhappy, and they want folks to know about it. Those spoiled, obnoxious kids with their weird hair and their African boogie-woogie music and their total lack of good manners marched yesterday, demanding that politicians pay attention to them. Kids these days, I declare.

“This is all too organized. I have little doubt that the recent school shooting and possibly the Vegas shooting were false flag operations. You don’t put these events together on short notice.” —  bk1000 (I stand with Trump)

Well, now I’m confused. Apparently the people who successfully implemented two false flag mass murders, resulting in 75 deaths and 438 wounded aren’t organized enough to put together a march in support of their false flag operations. Man, this false flag stuff is hard.

“Many of those killed were 14 or 15 years old. How many freshmen and sophomores would a junior or senior even have met in a large high school?” — Bob

Sure, Bob, that makes perfect sense. These kids must be frauds, because most of them probably weren’t close friends to the ones who were killed. Probably. And c’mon, why would anybody grieve over the deaths of folks they don’t know that well? Unless, of course, those folks are pre-embryonic blastocysts. Why won’t anybody speak for the pre-embryonic blastocysts?

“I attended the great 9/10/09 Tea Party march in DC against Obola and all he stood for. We had 1,700,000 attendees and, by pure, polite numbers alone, shut down the DC Metro. Then, afterwards, we cleaned up our own mess.” — Libstripper

Yeah, okay. The great 9/10/09 Tea Party march was held on 9/12/09, but let’s not pick nits. And that 1.700,000 people who attended? The two main event organizers — the National Taxpayers Union and FreedomWorks — estimated the crowd size to be between 200,000 (FreedomWorks) and 800,000 (NTU). The public information officer for the DC Fire Department acknowledged the crowd was “in excess of 75,000.” But hey, nits for the picking, right? On the other hand, it’s been reported that there was far less trash left behind than you’d expect from 1,700,000 protesters. So there’s that. Thanks, Obola.

“It does have the look of being manufactured all the way back to the shooting itself. How many opportunities for law enforcement were there to stop that nut? This looks media generated.” — virgil

Well, virgil is clearly on to something here. Law enforcement must be in on the false flag operation because they had too many chances to stop the shooter but didn’t. Also? If law enforcement hadn’t been so distracted by the fake news Russia-Trump-Russia investigation, they’d have seen the shooter was dangerous. Also too plus? The school resource officer was a coward who could/should have stopped the shooter but didn’t because…because…wait…oh, because it was a false flag operation to distract people from the Russian investig…wait…okay, it was because…you know, maybe I’ll come back to this after I’ve had my meds.

George Soros overseeing a false flag operation to destabilize Trump just like Pol Pot, probably.

“A little too convenient that Hoggboy was an aspiring cub reporter and Baldy was the schools resident LGBTQWERTY activist.” — digger48

Seriously. The only thing more convenient would have been if this entire event was a Soros-funded attempt to disarm citizens and eventually create a dystopian state and eventually commit genocide on the middle class using malcontents like Pol Pot used the peasants in the Khmer Rouge.

“A Soros-funded attempt to disarm citizens and eventually create a dystopian state and eventually commit genocide on the middle class using malcontents like Pol Pot used the peasants in the Khmer Rouge.” — sumuam

Fuck me.

Okay, maybe it was actually a setup from the gitgo by Democrat Party Congresswomen, Debbi Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson and Congressman, Ted Deutch, in cahoots with the Broward County Public Servants & Police Sheriff, Scott Israel, etc. to make POTUS, Trump look horrible while killing the Second Amendment.

“I have believed this was a setup from the gitgo by Democrat Party Congresswomen, Debbi Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson and Congressman, Ted Deutch, in cahoots with the Broward County Public Servants & Police Sheriff, Scott Israel, etc. to make POTUS, Trump look horrible while killing the Second Amendment. It failed, but, the murders did not.” — JLAGRAYFOX

Damn it! These fuckers make satire impossible.

 

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hell, i’d chip in to help buy them a cape

This could be an excellent time to be a Republican in Congress. No, really, I mean that. Right now, today, there’s a powerful need for a Republican hero. Somebody to step up and say something like this:

“I voted for President Trump, but his firing of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation — at this particular time, under these particular circumstances, during this particular investigation — unfortunately demands the appointment of a special investigator.”

So simple. And no matter what happens, the Republican who said something like this would come out of it with that new hero smell. If Trump ended up being impeached and convicted (sorry…had to pause a moment to relish that thought), that Republican would be lauded for doing his or her duty, for standing up for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. And if Comrade Trump somehow skated, that Republican could always say he was confident the truth would come out and the president would be vindicated. It’s a win-win situation for any Republican, regardless of whether it was done out of a sincere belief in the integrity of the government or from a completely cynical desire to manipulate the system.

But what are we getting from Republicans instead?

— Ds were against Comey before they were for him. — John Cornyn, TX
— I am thankful for his service to our country and am hopeful our President will select an independent-minded person to serve as the head of our nation’s premier law enforcement agency. Our justice system is the foundation of our republic. It must be both respected and fully worthy of our respect. Trey Gowdy, SC
— The FBI Director serves at the pleasure of the president. Under these circumstances, President Trump accepted the recommendation of the Justice Department that the Director lacked the confidence needed to carry out his important duties. — Chuck Grassley, Iowa
— I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination. I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee. — Richard Burr, NC
— President Trump made the right decision to relieve FBI Director James B. Comey of his duties. — Ron DeSantis, FL
— The president did not fire the entire FBI. He fired the director of the FBI. And any suggestion that this is somehow going to stop the FBI’s investigation of the attempts by the Russians to influence the elections last fall is really patently absurd. — Susan Collins, ME
— Regardless of how you think Director Comey handled the unprecedented complexities of the 2016 election cycle, the timing of this firing is very troubling. Ben Sasse, NE
— I’ve spent the last several hours trying to find an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey’s firing. I just can’t do it. — Jeff Flake, AZ
— We wish him the best. … It’s a decision the president’s made and we’ll go from here. — Marco Rubio, FL

Granted, a few Republicans are ‘troubled’, which is…precious. But c’mon, Jello has more backbone than most of these people. However, if just one or two stand up, they’ll become heroes to moderate Republicans, who might just come out of hiding and try to cast off the chains of their oppressors make the Republican Party safe for folks who aren’t totally bughouse rational people.

It could happen. It worked for our guy.

 

hmmmm dammit

You were warned. Don’t say you weren’t.

When martial law is imposed in These United States, after the government has destroyed all communication systems through an electromagnetic pulse generated by detonating a nuclear weapon in orbit, and the gay-raped corpses of disarmed Christian patriots are stacked liked cord wood in freezers in the basements of Wal-Mart stores, and the Obama Muslim Extremist Army seizes control of the American Southwest (with the assistance of Chinese Marxist troops) in order to prevent those states from exercising their right to engage in treason by seceding from the Union — when that happens, don’t you come crying to me.

Jade Helm taking over the goddam streets!

Jade Helm — assault on goddam American streets!

You had your chance to do something about it. But now it’s too late. Jade Helm has begun. America as we knew it (and we knew it as white, Christian, Republican, totally fucking hetero, with pick-ups from sea to shining sea, did I already say white, and steaks the size of the passenger door off a ’63 Ford, with none of that homo pussy vegan shit) is dead and gone. Or soon will be.

Jade Helm -- assault on goddam all-beef patties!!

Jade Helm — assault on goddam all-beef patties!!

Sure, they say it’s just an ‘exercise’ and they say the ‘exercise’ isn’t scheduled to begin until 15 July, but a patriot on FreeRepublic has reported the invasion has already begun.

Three unmarked military helicopters just flew at tree top level over our house. We live north of Dallas in the burbs. hmmmm

Hmmmm, indeed.

Jade Helm -- assault on American goddam highways!!!

Jade Helm — assault on American goddam highways!!!

In fact, it appears the Obamanistas began softening up targets in Texas a few weeks ago, using the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program to initiate severe weather, disrupting the daily lives of innocent God-fearing heteroTexans. Intellihub (also known in the patriot community as the ‘Civilian Intelligence Agency’) has reported:

Speculation and actual evidence has been released in the last two days that has many believing that Texas is under attack with weather manipulation technology.

Not just speculation, you guys! Actual evidence! And it has ‘many’ believing in weather warfare. What…you’re skeptical? Intellihub can refute your skepticism:

[W]e know that weather warfare is an absolute, 100% proven fact

There you go. Absolute 100% proven fact. You can’t argue against that. As the patriots of FreeRepublic would say, hmmmm. Right?

Jade Helm -- assault on decent Americans by goddam ObamaDrone!!!!

Jade Helm — assault on some decent Americans (and a negro) by goddam ObamaDrone weather-fucking machine!!!!

You were warned. But no, you were too busy watching girls play some foreign game with a ball using only their feet. C’mon, America! Balls are meant to be thrown and caught using the goddam hands God gave you. Now it’s too late. There’s only one thing left to do.

Jade Helm -- America's only hope: God, groceries, and guns.

Jade Helm — America’s only hope: God, groceries, and guns.

Go see Dan.

 

neither shall he eat

Seriously, just what the hell is wrong with conservative Christian Republicans? Why are they so hostile and angry and mean-spirited?

It’s not because they’re conservative; I know people who are politically conservative, but who are also rational and thoughtful. It’s not because they’re Christian; I know a lot of Christians who are caring and loving and compassionate. And it’s not because they’re Republicans; I know many Republicans who understand that governing a nation as complex and diverse as the United States requires a certain amount of compromise.

But it seems when you combine conservatism, Christianity, and Republican ideology, some sort of toxic reaction occurs. It’s like Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk — if the Hulk was capable of hypocrisy.

Stephen Fincher - conservative Christian Republican

Stephen Fincher – conservative Christian Republican

This is Stephen Fincher, a conservative Christian Republican from Tennessee. In a speech arguing against providing the poor with food assistance, he recently recited the following from 2 Thessalonians:

He who does not work, neither shall he eat.

When Fincher refers to ‘He who does not work’ he’s talking about the poor. He’s apparently under the impression that if the poor are necessarily lazy. If they had more incentive to work — say, starvation, for example — then Fincher apparently feels they’d get off their indolent asses and get a job. If he’d taken the time to study the situation — if he’d done his own fucking job — Fincher might have understood that most of the people in the U.S. who receive food assistance do work. But because so many of those jobs are low-wage jobs (thanks to members of Congress like Fincher who fight against raising the minimum wage), and because so many of those low-wage jobs don’t include health care (thanks to members of Congress like Fincher who oppose universal health care), and because so many of those workers are single mothers who need affordable day care in order to work those low-wage jobs (and thanks to members of Congress like Fincher, affordable day care isn’t so affordable any more), because of all that, food assistance is necessary for a lot of people.

Vladimir Ilych Lenin - not a conservative Christian Republican

Vladimir Ilych Lenin – not a conservative Christian Republican

Fincher, by the way, isn’t the only politician to have used 2 Thessalonians to support his political ideology. So did Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. During the Russian famine of 1918 Lenin also recited that same Biblical verse. Lenin, however, was referring to the capitalists and the wealthy who live off of the labor of others. He argued that the early stages of a communist revolution required ‘He who does not work’ to shed his expensive suit and tie and pick up a shovel, and labor alongside the workers who made him rich.

To be fair to Stephen Fincher, he isn’t entirely against government assistance. He owns a farm (on which, by the way, other people do the work while he’s in DC doing the heavy lifting for Congress). Last year Fincher received more than US$70,000 in direct government subsidies. This is money given directly and automatically to farm owners, regardless of need, even if the farm isn’t producing crops that year. The subsidies go predominantly to the largest and most profitable farm operations, rather than to small family farms. Since 1999, Fincher has received about $3.5 million dollars in direct government subsidies.

Conservative Christian Republican

Conservative Christian Republican

Let me put that in perspective. The $70,500 that conservative Christian Republican Stephen Fincher received in 2012 is nearly double the median income of Tennessee households. The average annual food assistance grant to poor Tennesseans is just under $1,600. The government gave Fincher about 43 times that much money just for owning a fucking farm. And yet he feels $1,600 is too generous for the working poor.

Tell me, what’s conservative about that? What’s Christian about that? What’s Republican about that? I’d really like an answer to that question.

in which i answer a question about photo projects

Because I’m the Managing Editor of Utata.org, I get a hefty chunk of photography-related email. Most of it has to do with photography exhibitions, or photography books, or questions about Utata photo projects. Relatively little of my email deals with my own views on photography. But a few days ago I got an email that included the following questions:

I guess what I’m asking is how do you develop a personal photography project? Do you just pick a thing and start taking picture of it? Do you make up rules or guidelines before you start? How do you start a photography project?

I started to write back and basically say ‘Dude, I don’t have a clue how to start a project.’ But that sounded pretty stupid. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I must have some vague notion of how to go about it. I mean, I’ve done a number of photo projects. They couldn’t have all happened by accident. Could they?

So over the last few days I’ve found myself sporadically thinking about projects. This is what I discovered: each of the three projects I’ve included on this site (I have other photo projects; I just haven’t published them here) began in a different way. And since I do not want to write another post about guns, I’ve decided to write something about each of those three projects.

later i saw a red-haired woman in a blue sundress

later i saw a red-haired woman in a blue sundress

I’m going to begin with the Traffic Signals series, because it’s the simplest. Well, that’s not true — the Larking About in Alleys series is actually the simplest. But Traffic Signals is the oldest of the three projects. And, of course, I just checked and found that Faux Life is older by a year. But fuck it, I’m going to talk about Traffic Signals anyway.

The project as it exists now actually began with a different project. The Utata Storytellers Project of 2009 required us to make up to six photographs in which we would relate a story. We were only allowed a maximum of 35 words per photo. I kicked around a number of ideas for the gig, but came across my final project idea rather by accident.

the unquiet sky, shy as an alligator

the unquiet sky, shy as an alligator

I was standing at a crosswalk with some other pedestrians. There was a buzzing sound coming from the traffic signal. That buzzing ceased (or at least reduced in volume) when the light changed and we were allowed to cross the street. It struck me as odd and more than a little funny. It was as if the traffic signal was also sending out audible cues.

So I concocted a little talein which a person believed he was being given messages through the traffic lights and pedestrian signals. It’s called After the Bombs Dropped. For the photographs, I used an app called Poladroid, which mimics Polaroid photography. I thought it added a more authentic feel to the story.

angry birdsWhen the project was finished, I found I was still intrigued by traffic signals. I was fascinated by the fact that so many people — both drivers and pedestrians — obeyed them, even when there wasn’t any traffic on the streets. And yet even though they obeyed the signals, people never really looked at them. And they were everywhere. Everywhere.

So I kept photographing them. On the set in my flickr photostream, I continue to use the Poladroid app for the images. That aesthetic still appeals to me. But for my personal files (and here on this site) I use the app but dispense with the faux Polaroid border — primarily because the border looks goofy here. (It may look goofy on flickr as well, but hey — that’s flickr.)

restless

restless

I like to think the series is deceptively simple. As I said, traffic signals are everywhere. But while they’re ubiquitous, they’re not necessarily visually interesting. Most aren’t.

I’ve come to appreciate how difficult it is to photograph traffic signals in a way that creates a sense of drama. It’s not about documenting traffic signals; it’s about imparting a sense of tension within the frame.

it was a mistake to call her

it was a mistake to call her

I’m not always successful. But the challenge keeps me interested in the project. It also, I have to confess, annoys anybody I’m in a car with when I insist they either stop the vehicle or let me out and drive around the block until I get the photo.

It’s not quite an obsession, but it has an obsessive component to it. And happily the world is full of traffic signals, so it’s unlikely I’ll run out of material.

sacrifices

I took the 9AM bus to the downtown farmer’s market this Saturday morning. It’s a short trip, but circuitous, traveling mostly through working class neighborhoods. By the time we reached downtown the bus was about three-quarters full. There were maybe five white folks, all of us with empty ‘green’ bags, heading to the farmer’s market to buy fresh vegetables, artisan cheeses, fresh-baked pastries and breads, local jams and jellies, ethnic delicacies, locally grown eggs, wines from small regional wineries.

All the other bus passengers were African-American or Hispanic. Most, if not all, of them were going to work. Several of them were wearing restaurant garb — smocks from fast-food restaurants or polo shirts with the names of restaurants embroidered on them. A couple of guys were wearing steel-toed boots and carrying their own tool belts.

[T]here are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax…[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

Those folks going to work, they’re the people Gov. Romney counts in his 47%. I suspect most of them pay little or no federal income tax — not because they don’t work, but because they don’t earn enough money. Some of them probably get food stamps, several of them almost certainly receive the Earned Income tax credit, some of them may get some sort of government subsidy for heating in the winter, a fair number of them probably had done military service (or had a relative in military service). They still probably pay state income tax, of course, and sales taxes, and a host of other taxes.

These people are most definitely not victims, and don’t see themselves that way. Not one of them, I’m sure, has ever attended a US$50,000 a plate fund-raiser dinner to complain about how unfair life has been to them. And I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that not one of them has ever filed a 379 page income tax return.

Despite what Gov. Romney says, these folks do take responsibility for their lives. In fact, the working poor have to take more responsibility for their lives. They can’t hire somebody else to raise their kids, or cook their meals, or mow their lawns, or do their laundry. Poor city dwellers are less likely to own a vehicle, so when going to work or appointments they have to take into account bus or subway schedules (and consider the possible disruptions in service); that usually means leaving earlier and traveling longer in order to be sure they’re not late. Poor folks have to shop more carefully — for food, for clothing, for just about every goddamn thing. Being poor means making daily money decisions: do you buy fresh vegetables and the makings for a proper meal that you’ll likely be too tired to cook, or do you pay a bit more and buy a couple frozen pizzas that are filling and quick and easy? Do you buy the kids cheap shoes which will only get them through the summer or more expensive shoes that might last a year?

Poor folks are up to their necks in personal responsibility. They have less time and money to spend at weekend farmer’s markets.

The bus was nearly empty on the way back. Mostly just us white folks returning from the farmer’s market. Two women were cheerfully sorting through bags full of hand-spun yarns. Me, I picked up a nice garlic focaccia and an absolutely delicious loaf of raspberry streusel bread. I tasted an exceedingly fine locally-made Chipotle-Jack cheese (aged six months) and intended to buy it last thing before leaving, but it was clear at the other end of the market — three or four blocks away — and I might have had to hurry to catch the bus. These are the sacrifices we make.

wave the white flag

We’ve given up. Surrendered. Oh, we make a big fuss about the mass murder in Aurora. The news is full of ‘human interest’ stories about the victims — this one saved that one’s life, that one just got married, this other one worked with disabled kids, and that one had a promising career. So very sad, so very tragic — and yet we don’t really care enough about these poor people to even have a serious discussion about gun control. The simple fact is, we’ve capitulated. To this guy.

James Holmes

We say we need to have a discussion about gun control, but we openly concede we won’t. Why? Because at this point in the history of our culture we just acknowledge the fact that mass murder is acceptable. We’re basically okay with the fact that every so often somebody will buy a butt-load of firearms, then armor up and walk into a place of business, a shopping mall, a fast food restaurant, a school and shoot the living shit out of as many people as possible. We’re not only okay with it, we’ll pass laws that make it more possible. Hell, we’ll even pass laws that allow folks to buy extra capacity magazines so we can keep the body count up.

Here’s a true thing: according to data published by the FBI, single-victim gun killings have dropped more than 40 percent in the last 30 years. Here’s another true thing: mass murder — the killing of four or more victims in a single related incident — has increased in that same period. In the last three decades there have been around a thousand mass murders, with close to 5000 deaths. That’s another four or five people killed in another mass murder every what, nine days? Those are just the fatalities; who knows how many are wounded? Who know how many end up permanently disabled or emotionally fucked up.

Still, it’s no big deal. We have something over 300 million people in the U.S. We can lose a couple hundred a year to mass murder and not even blink.

Could we do something about it? Sure. If we wanted to. But we don’t. Instead, we’ll continue to make it possible for kids to dye their hair red and dress up in ballistic armor and do their part to provide the media with all those great human interest stories.