Friday, September 23, 2016

If I Were Moderating the Presidential Debate Between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump September 26 2016

If it were me as moderator this coming Monday night, these are the questions I would ask Trump:

1) Why did you use your non-profit Trump Foundation to pay out for things related to your for-profit businesses? Were you aware that you were violating certain laws when you did so?

2) The IRS has informed the media that their audits on your tax returns DO NOT interfere with your obligation to the voting public to reveal said tax returns over at least the previous decade. Other candidates, including Senator Clinton here, have released their tax returns in part or full. Why are you hiding your tax returns from the voters?

3) You’re currently accusing Hillary Clinton of being the one who instigated the entire Birther movement that falsely accused Barack Obama of not being a natural-born citizen of the United States. But Senator Clinton is on official record from her 2008 campaign calling such accusations ludicrous and much of the Birther movement has been tied to Republicans and those on the Far Right, those who openly repudiate Clinton as much as they do Obama. Sir, WHY ARE YOU LYING ABOUT YOUR OWN BIRTHER BULLSHIT?

4) Please justify every bankruptcy filing for your failed businesses.

5) You’ve recently gone public with the belief that the “Stop And Frisk” program by city and county law enforcement should go nationwide, even though studies have proven that Stop and Frisk DOES NOT REDUCE CRIME and even though the courts have ruled that Stop And Frisk is Unconstitutional for its skewed racial bias. Why are you being a total dick about this?

If it were me as moderator this coming Monday night, these are the questions I would ask Hillary:

1) Can you believe the chutzpah on this guy accusing you of shit you didn't do?

2) Why aren't you speaking out more aggressively at the corporate criminals committing banking fraud and insane price hikes on pharmaceuticals?

3) Seriously, this guy? Beat the crap out of him at the polls, Hillary.

If it were me as moderator this coming Monday night, these are the questions I would ask the American voters:



Why I Didn't Come Up With a Drinking Game for the Trump/Clinton Debate September 2016

I created drinking games early on in 2015 for the Republican and Democratic primary debates, but not for the one that's coming up next week.

It's because back then it was funny and caustic and there was a sense of how much of a circus the whole thing was. Especially because Trump was going to - and did - go into the debates with a Scorched Earth tactic that made the debates both painful and malicious to watch.

Today, this shit's not funny.

Trump is honestly one vote away from the White House and the unlimited damage he could do in the Executive branch.

That doesn't require a game for drinking. Not one damn bit.

Stay sober, America. SOBER UP DAMN QUICK and stay that way for November, because it is up to you now. Every voter, sane and sober, needs to show up and stop Trump.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Trump Voters: The Coal Rollers of the 2016 Election

It has been a serious question for over the last year: Just who is a Trump voter?

Well, we've known the answer for almost the same amount of time, but it's only just now - because we're ticking closer to Armageddon Day and Trump isn't floundering in the polls like he should - that we as a nation are able to openly discuss it. Because it's getting to be desperation time and dammit there's still too high a probability that in November this con artist could win.

Let's be blunt. Just who is a Trump voter?

  • A Trump voter is that guy at the drive-through window holding up twenty other cars because he's arguing over the nickels he got back for change instead of dimes.
  • A Trump voter is that guy dumping his lawn cuttings into your yard even after the nine letters from the Homeowners' Association telling him to stop.
  • A Trump voter is that guy you remember from the fifth grade who punched that special needs kid whenever the teachers weren't looking, and then blamed it on the black kid who got suspended for a month.
  • A Trump voter is that guy who puts in "Coal Rollers" into his tank-sized Confederate-flag festooned pickup truck just so he can spew pollutants at everybody he thinks is a wimpy damn dirty librul tree-hugging socialist. This is real, and it's insane: you have to intentionally install one of these things to your diesel vehicle, and you end up wasting fuel and paying more out of your pocket just to do this. IT IS LITERALLY GOING OUT OF YOUR WAY TO BE A DICK.
  • A Trump voter is that guy who's voting for a goddamn ignorant, tiny-fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon just to say "Fuck You" to the entire planet.

It's long past the time to discuss the insanity of Trump supporters in any civil, polite way. We're at the point where Drew Magery - he of the very vocal, very insulting Deadspin articles on the evils of Pro Football Teams (while openly admitting to the hypocrisy of being a Vikes fan) - can write a commentary for a major publication like GQ like this:

Regardless, in the end, people are still gonna vote for this man. Maybe not enough to get him elected, but still: it’ll be in the tens of millions... Nothing that Trump says, no damning piece of Trump reportage, and certainly no opinion piece like this one will stop his voters from pulling the lever. Nor will anything stop Trump from being the officious, brain-dead goon that he is. He will never answer for his crimes, and there’s a frighteningly large portion of the electorate that will always love him for that.
And so I’d just like to say to that portion of the electorate: Fuck you. No, seriously. Go fuck yourselves. I’m not gonna waste any more time trying to convince you that you’re about to do something you’ll regret forever. I’m not gonna show you old clips of Trump saying rotten things. I’m not gonna try to ANNIHILATE Trump by showing you records of his hypocrisy and greed. I’m not gonna link to a John Oliver clip and be like, “THIS. So much this.” Nothing’s gonna take down Trump at this point, so I’m not gonna bother. No no, this post is for ME. I am preaching to the sad little choir in my soul here.
Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit. YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

There are those Republicans fully aware of the damage Trump will do to the nation and the world and still vote for him because they're too hardwired in to vote Republican no matter what. Those I have some sympathy for, because they're like those Borg infectees who're still free-thinking enough to understand the fate dooming them, and there's still that part of them begging for mercy as they uncontrollably pencil in the ballot with what they know is death for everyone.

Then there are those who are jumping into this with eyes opened and minds closed. They've been given every warning that Trump is a failed businessman with more bankruptcies and bad deals to his brand name (tm) than most people have had hot dinners. They still cheer him. These are the people who go to his rallies and cry out "Jail the bitch!" as loud as possible.

Trump voters are those super-sized pick-ups with the expensive polluting exhausts. They are coal rollers. And they revel in it.

They are not driven by economic anxiety. They are driven by their hate and by their eagerness to make everybody else as miserable as they are.

Trump voters know. They know exactly who and what they are voting for this 2016.

And they don't care.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Breaking Radio Silence (For Now)

Okay, so I taught the "How to E-Publish" class even with the unfinished novel, and left it in DRAFT mode since I didn't need to complete the upload process, so the ebook isn't really on the market (yet).

But I might as well finish the damn thing because I got a book cover for it.

One of the things I teach is the importance of having a book cover: it has to be eye-catching and it has to fit the format that the epublish site requires (pixel size and what-not). Creating your own cover is a fool's mission if you're not a professional graphic designer, so I demonstrated in class some of the ebook cover design sites that sell pre-formatted covers you can buy.

There is one site in particular called and it's an incredibly decent deal. Ranging as low as $5 a cover, you can order one up from a graphic designer - some of them able to do it within a DAY - and pre-order any number of revisions  - you'll need more than one to make sure you and the artist are in sync - and get a decent cover for an ebook well within your own personal deadline.

Throw in a $5 tip and I got a book cover for $17. Not shabby.

I ordered a cover from this person leahdesign and for anybody else needing book covers you can start with her.

Meantime, back to bl... WHAT THE F-CK DID TRUMP DO NOW?! /headdesk

Skittles me baby all night long.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Trump Meets Anvil

Today was a Red Trump day, ere the sun rises...

I had to look back to earlier articles from 2009 to remind myself how crazy the Birther movement had been for the Far Right, and yes it was the Far Right who shilled it and ate it up. Like this tidbit:

And so, this isn't about the birth certificate. This is about the Far Right refusing to accept the 2008 election results. This is about the Far Right refusing to wake up from their fantasy-based world (where Bush and Cheney and Rush are GODS, where terrorists possess nukes and the French are cheese-eating surrender monkeys, where there's an endless supply of loans to pay for massive war expenses and unending tax cuts) and re-enter the Reality-Based community (where everything's been broken by 8 years of Bush/Cheney self-serving incompetence and the whole world hates us for warmongering and neocon arrogance). This is about the Far Right thinking it's 1993 all over again and they can attack Clinton for every half-baked rumor coming out of Arkansas, only now it's 2009 and they think they can attack Obama for every fully-baked rumor about him. Facts don't matter. Truth don't matter. Even having the courts throw their cases out for sheer stupidity don't matter. All that matters is ATTACK AND WIN.

Or this piece that came soon after:

I admit to having interests in conspiratorial stuff: huge X-Files fan here, got a copy of the Big Book of Conspiracies on my shelf somewhere. I've even got my own thoughts on who killed JFK (and why a cover-up was necessary). But even I know the difference between slightly titillating nonsense that tweaks my reading habits and this crap about Obama's birth status that extremists are using to stir up talk of coup d'etats and actual military misconduct. Too many crazy people are taking this sh-t seriously. And that's not good for the rest of us. It'd be nice if I could stop talking about it, but it's either this or the pre-planned Republican Riots at Congressional town halls this month for discussion.
Sigh. The crazy is not gonna end anytime soon.

The sad thing about what I wrote back then? I never really brought up the other underlying part of those Birther attacks: the racism behind denying Obama his very IDENTITY as a person. I felt uncomfortable then bringing it up, because it's hard to make that kind of accusation in public - even on a minor traffic site like this - and not walk away scarred by it. But nowadays, given how blatant the Far Right has gotten in their attacks on ANYONE not "Ignorant White Male", the racism HAS to be pointed out for what it was and what it is today.

And as I noted, the crazy DID NOT end in 2009. It didn't even - despite Trump's lying about it now - end in 2011 when Trump really pushed this fake narrative for all it was worth (in a likely attempt in 2012 to make a Presidential bid).

Lemme re-link this article from Christian Science Monitor... which was published in 2011 when Trump went full-tilt bullshitter selling this con:

“The cynicism of the purveyors of these fantasies is that they know very well what they are playing at, the prejudices they are fanning,” Remnick wrote. “Let’s say what is plainly true … these rumors, this industry of fantasy, are designed to arouse a fear of the Other, of an African-American man with a white American mother and a black Kenyan father.”

And now Trump, likely getting told he HAS to pander outside of his Alt-Right (hint: KKK Neo-Nazi mofos) fanbase to get over the 40 percent hump, is trying to flip-flop his way out of a racket he'd been selling for five years (at least). He's not doing this to win over Blacks or other minority groups who are well aware how racist this "Birth Certificate" crap has been, he's trying to woo back the middle-of-the-road White voters who normally won't vote for Hillary but aren't keen on voting for well-known racists like TRUMP.

If there's any good out of this, it's that the Birther crowd has lost their greatest standard bearer. Remember Orly Taitz? Better yet, let's forget her again.

If there's any other good out of this, it's that Trump is getting hammered in the press for his bouncing between one lie and another about his Birther involvement. It'd be pretty to think that this is the weekend the major media outlets - save for Fox Not-News, which has tied its fate to this particular wagon - finally switches the Narrative over to the "Trump is a Con Artist Lying His Way Out of Everything" track.

What's insulting now is that Trump is trying to pass the blame onto Hillary, making the argument that it was Clinton back in 2008 during the rough Democratic primaries who smeared Obama with the birtherism attack. Problem with that, the fact-checkers know damn well it wasn't Hillary. Obama knows it wasn't Hillary - after all, Obama picked her for Secretary of State and you don't do that for someone who insults you - and I would love to see what happens the moment Obama comes out and hammers Trump on the Anvil of History about who OBAMA really blames for the Birther crap.

Because Obama beat the shit out of Trump on this before:

It was the same night Obama was making the judgment call to take out Osama Bin Laden. The entire weekend was a humiliation for Trump, and it's burned him ever since.

I pray to the Old Gods and the New that Obama slaps the taste out of Donald's mouth.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Radio Silence For This Week (Plus a Request)

I seriously need to not blog for the next week or so.

It has to do with a writing project I need presentable for an e-publishing class at the library next Monday.

I won't be able to get it edited / beta-read before publishing it, I know, but if I'm putting something to market I might as well have it finished as a story (as not as messy).

So if you noticed I'm not blogging as often, I've kind of "gone fishin" for plot threads.

In the meantime, this is where my request comes in.

I'd kind of like to get my writing hobby/career off on a good footing, and if I can convince some of the blog viewers to take the time - and if they've got a good budget to work with - to purchase some/any/all of the ebooks or print books I've got on market.

If you go to my Writings tab up top, you'll see a list of current and past publications I've got on the market. There's a couple of humor/horror anthologies that have published my stories - I've gotten good reviews for "I Must Be Your First" in the original Strangely Funny anthology - and there's a couple of ebook titles that should be available in Kindle and EPUB formats if you look in the right retail sites.

I'd really appreciate it if you went to your local public - or college - library and make a request for the library to purchase any of the books on that list. If you give them the title and ISBN number, the library ought to be able to find the record in their acquisitions services (not always, sadly), order it, and place it on hold for you to check out. They will not do it for the early works - Last of the Grapefruit Wars will likely be too old for the market - nor the ebook ones, but the anthologies and Surviving the Age of Obstruction should be fresh enough for consideration. Granted, many libraries will be on strict budgets, hopefully they will fulfill a library user request.

For that, I will thank you.

Now, turning off all communications. Running silent in 5... 4... 3... Byleven... dammit, restart the countdown.  5... 4... 3... 2... 1... ZEMO.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Wake Me Up When The Wingnut Nightmare Ends

Today is September 11.

It has been fifteen years since 2001. Since that clear-sky day that Tuesday turned so shockingly wrong.

And here we are, fifteen years later in the midst of an election cycle where one of the candidates - Trump - is an unabashed Islamophobe, eager to defame Muslims with accusations and lies that make it easier for his followers to attack innocent people on our streets.

Here we are fifteen years into a War on Terror where the crimes our own nation committed - a torture regime, unjustified invasion and occupation of Iraq that was based on lies - remain unanswered. Worse, the likes of Trump wants to bring that torture regime AND a re-occupation of Iraq (this time to blatantly take all the oil) back.

It has been fifteen years for my people, for our nation, for the United States sitting in the shadow of our own demons, driven into the shade by our fears and our rage. Kept there by a political faction among the Far Right who profits from keeping their fanbase fearful and mad. Any sane policy on keeping our nation safe gets ignored. Any hopeful expression of our nation's diversity and openness of culture gets mocked and insulted and beaten. Any attempt at justice - ending a prolonged and possibly illegal detention of prisoners at Gitmo, for starters - gets denied.

And the United States stumbles on, still bearing the scars of that Tuesday. We won't heal. There are those among us who can't.

And we're still stuck in a nightmare doomed to get worse if the biggest fear-monger of them all gets his orange-colored ass into the Oval Office.

This will not end well, if at all, in my lifetime, will it?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

So Who Really Makes Up the Voting Base For Trump? (w/ Update)

So Hillary got the Far Right in a snit this weekend by calling out "half" the Trump supporters for their racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and sexism:

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the 'basket of deplorables'. Right?” Clinton said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”
“And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up,” she added.

As Ta-Nehisi Coates puts it:

...One way of reporting on Clinton’s statement is to weigh its political cost, ask what it means for her campaign, or attempt to predict how it might affect her performance among certain groups. This path is in line with the current imperatives of political reporting and, at least for the moment, seems to be the direction of coverage. But there is another line of reporting that could be pursued—Was Hillary Clinton being truthful or not?
Much like Trump’s alleged opposition to the Iraq War, this not an impossible claim to investigate. We know, for instance, some nearly 60 percent of Trump’s supporters hold “unfavorable views” of Islam, and 76 percent support a ban on Muslims entering the United States. We know that some 40 percent of Trump’s supporters believe blacks are more violent, more criminal, lazier, and ruder than whites. Two-thirds of Trump’s supporters believe the first black president in this country’s history is not American. These claim are not ancillary to Donald Trump’s candidacy, they are a driving force behind it.
When Hillary Clinton claims that half of Trump’s supporters qualify as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,” data is on her side...

If I had to break it down, the Republican voting base - the biggest part of Trump's support - goes like this:

You have the traditional Republican voter, the ones who were raised since birth - or at least since their mid-life crisis - to vote habitually for the GOP regardless of who the candidate on the ticket is. These are the voters that Rude Pundit noted before would vote Republican even when it was their best interest to vote Democrat based on the issues. These are the ones who aren't really fully racist, they're merely prejudiced (there is a distinction, at least among themselves) and are genuinely nice to other ethnicities and would probably vote for reasonable social aid programs and keep public schools funded and stuff, they'd just rather everyone stay on their sides of the lines and not make a fuss about it. These are the ones who can't vote for Hillary Clinton even if Hillary guaranteed full-time jobs at $90,000 minimum across the board and non-fattening ice cream for life. I'd have to say these were the ones who didn't vote for Trump in the primaries but likely for the "Establishment" type candidates like Jeb, Kasich, or Rubio. That would be about 25 percent of the primary voter turnout (and a good number of business leaders who financially support the party).

You have the hardcore Far Right voter who obsess fully over the dogmatic positions for cutting taxes, slashing government regulations, shutting down Planned Parenthood, bringing back the standard neocon foreign policy stances but not exactly anything that would alienate our allies. These are the Republicans who have no problem with government shutdowns, or blocking anything to the Left of Barry Goldwater. They're relatively racist and sexist but are more subtle about how they sell themselves to the public knowing full well there are some lines you can't cross. At least not until they've got solid control of all three branches of government. These are the types who voted for the more radical candidates like Santorum, Huckabee, and the second place guy Cruz. I'd put them about 27 percent of the primary voter turnout (and with the other business leaders who are more wingnut, such as the Koch brothers).

And then you have the Real Trump supporters. The ones who... well...

The ones who display open rage at Latinos. Who can't wait for that Trump Wall to go up between the US and Mexico. Who can't wait for another Operation Wetback to drive out 11 million people. Who fully buy into Trump's accusations of Mexicans being rapists and thugs.

The ones who attack Muslims in public. Who buy into the fear-mongering that EVERY Muslim is a knife-wielding bomb-wearing killer driven by a hateful religion to kill "true" Christians.

The ones who express utter disdain - and violence - towards women. Who tend to be the ones on social media using it as an outlet for some pretty vulgar stuff. And who threaten to get worse.

These are the ones who went all in for Trump during the primaries around 45 percent.

Granted, these are just based on uneven - actually minor - primary turnout results, that do not cover the Independent voters who couldn't participate in any of the closed primaries. This is just a rough guess estimate, but it has the virtue of filling the polling numbers and support that the Far Right and Right-leaning voters are giving Trump right about now.

The scary thing is how the hater faction backing Trump is so large compared to the other Republican factions still struggling to stay afloat this election cycle.

Hillary may have apologized for saying "deplorable" stuff about Trump supporters but I'm with Coates on this. Hillary didn't lie.

And Hillary was more polite about it that I would have been. I've had called those half of Trump supporters - the neo-Nazis, the Klan, the Islamophobes, the Roger Aileses of their tribe - a bunch of assholes. And then I'd ask the saner members of the Republican Party forced to back Trump something along the lines of "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT YOUR OWN PARTY TURNING INTO A BUNCH OF MONSTERS?"

Update: PM Carpenter has less sympathy for the enablers of the "Deplorable", especially Ron Fouriner. To wit:

It is shocking, at long last it is still shocking, that Fournier (& Co.) could be so blind as to not see that only populist baskets of virtually undifferentiated deplorables could have elevated Mussolini and Hitler to the ultimate authority they sought. The latter deliberately distorted the origins of the national ills they addressed, while the latter of the latter pursued assorted scapegoats with unprecedented verve. And this — all of it — would have gone nowhere had it not been for the authoritarians' popular support; less than a majority, but popular enough. The lazy, the easily beguiled, the human detritus of pluralistic societies grabbed at the quick, brutal fixes of fascist appeals — and the indifferent or less enthusiastic supporters were really no better than the vigorously enthusiastic. They — all of them — were essentially one of a kind: deplorable...
...One may support an unbigoted, non-sexist, intellectually deep and quite curious if rather conventional pol, or one may support her point-by-point opposite with no blanket deplorability attached. Just how in God's name is that possible? Hillary's "gross" generalization was, is, incontestable: Roughly half (probably more) of Trumpeteers are "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it." At least those are principles, of sorts. They may be contemptible principles, but they're principles as "philosophically" rooted as was National Socialism's anti-Semitism. Far less principled are the other half who support a megalomaniacal thug merely because he plays into the extravagances of Hillary-hatred. And Trump "has lifted them up" — all of 'em.

We can only hope the result of this election cycle is a decisive Trump and Republican loss across the board. And then the entire GOP - the party elected, their media pundit allies, their deep-pocket funders, their voters - needs to sit down in a room and figure out just how WRONG they all got this cycle.