Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Fox Not-News War On Saturnalia Accelerates

These goddamn buzzards won't be satisfied until they wipe out every Latin Studies program in the United States.

Just see here about Trump acolyte Corey Lewandowski eagerly claiming that "Merry Christmas" is allowable again. It's maddening.

Even when there's solid evidence that millions of Americans have been saying "Merry Christmas" between 2009 to 2016 with no problem at all!

Meanwhile, I can't even get Hallmark Cards to issue a Saturnalia card for the season. THE FOOLS.

This is what I'm up against.

/cries

Thursday, December 01, 2016

This Is What Happens When Nobody Is Accountable to Facts Anymore

(Update: Good Lord, someone needs to give me a heads up when Crooks and Liars links me to the Mike's Blog Round-Up! I COULD HAVE BAKED A CAKE, but NOOoooooo, now it's too late. Sigh. Anyways, welcome back everybody, and please for the Love of the Roman God Saturn stay safe in this Season of the Trumpshirt)

There is now convincing evidence that the plurality that voted for Donald Trump are idiots gleefully enjoying the lies they tell themselves.

Or to quote Driftglass:

But the thing is, the meatheads never Google it do they?  They're never more than four or five mouse-clicks away from the facts that would put paid to their paranoid little lies, and instead -- over and over again, year after year after year -- they choose to pay people in suits to fill their empty heads with the lies that make them happy and shriek and bellow whenever anyone tried to pry them out of their toxic stupor.

Mark Twain wrote about lies once, in a perfect gem of an essay/speech he wrote called On the Decay of the Art of Lying. He noted a few things such as the fact that lies are unavoidable, they will always exist and there are few who do not practice its art. What Twain lamented was the loss of distinction between the artful lie - the gentle, convincing lie used to promote a positive gain - and the destructive or harmful lie, and that we ought to be more judicious when we do lie:

Lying is universal - we all do it. Therefore, the wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully, judiciously; to lie with a good object, and not an evil one; to lie for others' advantage, and not our own; to lie healingly, charitably, humanely, not cruelly, hurtfully, maliciously; to lie gracefully and graciously, not awkwardly and clumsily; to lie firmly, frankly, squarely, with head erect, not haltingly, tortuously, with pusillanimous mien, as being ashamed of our high calling...

What I lament is the overall pass our media elite give themselves and to the Republicans as a whole but to Trump in particular when it comes to lying. I lament the fact that lies dominate our political discourse to where we can't convince each other of the honest-to-God facts anymore.

We now live in the Age of the Injurious Lie, in the era of a fabricated reality where nothing is believable except your own distorted bias.

Welcome to hell.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ron "Shepherd Book" Glass RIP

Okay, 2016 can officially go fucking die in a fire now.


Book: This should do.
Zoe: Preacher, don't the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killing?
Book: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.


We can't blame this on the hair.

2016 has just basically been an incredibly shitty year for celebrities and important people.

Castro Is Dead. Cuba Can Live On If the Right People Do The Right Thing

One of the things I teach about writing in Microsoft Word class is how publishers work with Font Size. Normal reading text is 11 or 12 point font. Book publishers have chapter titles usually between the 24 to 32 point font sizes. Newspapers and magazines usually go between 24 to 36 point sizes for their minor stories under the fold or inside the pages. Anything over 42 point font size is for major news stories.

Anything Earth-shattering - the start of a war, landing on the moon, Hillary getting a replacement server for her email account - and we're talking 72 point at the least. Sometimes the headline banner will take the entire front page.

So when one of history's more pivotal players on the global stage of the last 60 years passes away - a person who was the target of hatred on a scale comparable to Hitler, Stalin, and that guy cutting you off at the McDonald's drive thru - it's gonna be headline news at the largest possible font you'll ever see. I guarantee you the front page of this morning's Miami Herald had to be printed on extra-sized paper to handle this:

Fidel Castro is dead.

You can't begin to imagine, even if you've lived in South Florida for nine or more years, just how hated Fidel was down in Miami-Dade. It was a passion, more fiery than a thousand suns and more dark than a thousand nights. I met anti-Castro Cubans from time to time back when I was a registered Republican at some of the party gatherings - most memorably at a rally for John McCain's Presidential campaign in 2000 - and those guys were rabid about Commies and Fidel.

To quote the Herald:

Millions cheered Fidel Castro on the day he entered Havana. Millions more fled the communist dictator’s repressive police state, leaving behind their possessions, their families, the island they loved and often their very lives. It’s part of the paradox of Castro that many people belonged to both groups.
Few national leaders have inspired such intense loyalty — or such a wrenching feeling of betrayal. Few fired the hearts of the world’s restless youth as Castro did when he was young, and few seemed so irrelevant as Castro when he was old — the last Communist, railing on the empty, decrepit street corner that Cuba became under his rule.
He held a unique place among the world’s leaders of the past century. Others had greater impact or won more respect. But none combined his dynamic personality, his decades in power, his profound effect on his own country and his provocative role in international affairs...

Castro rose to control Cuba by wrenching power from a corrupt regime, promising major reforms and an end to that corruption. But he also delved whole-hearted into Communism and alienated Cuba from their closest neighbors, above all a United States that did not enjoy the idea of a Commie nation just ninety miles away from Key West.

Whatever benefits Castro brought to Cuba, he also brought major civil liberties violations - his record of homophobia in particular was deplorable - and essentially quashed dissent or differing views. He held onto his Communist ideals even after the fall of the Soviet Union by 1991, unable to find enough allies to share that ideology to keep his nation fiscally afloat. By the time he retired in 2011, all he had left was pretty much Venezuela, and that nation is in worse shape (that nation is one bad day away from food riots that could topple everything).

The only thing that kept Castro and his party in power was his open defiance of a United States government that could never abide his Communist ways. To a Latin American culture that never enjoyed the dominant - sometimes arrogant - behavior of the United States, Castro was a quaint middle finger aimed at Washington DC.

What happens next with Cuba, and with the United States, is anyone's guess. But the last four/eight years had seen encouraging signs that relations between the neighboring nations were finally opening.

Trapped in the reality that the global economy can no longer let nations isolate themselves, Cuba under Raul Castro began undergoing various economic reforms aimed at lifting US sanctions. Obama, sensing the opportunity of being the President who ended 50-60 years of Cold War hostilities with Cuba, did lift enough sanctions to signal approval. Both sides made outreach efforts to open up Cuba to travel, which is supposed to allow air travel with regular flights to Cuba and back (there are still some restrictions on who goes and why, but the rules have so many loopholes involved that if you can give the State Dept. a decent excuse they'll let you go). And as of last March, Obama promised that the whole embargo on Cuba will end (although arrangements haven't actually finalized yet).

This could be a huge coup for Obama if he could, within the last two months of his Presidency, work out a final deal with Cuba that would see an end to this sorry and painful split between two neighboring nations. He doesn't have much time, because with Trump entering the Oval Office in January there's no telling how this could go FUBAR. The Republicans, left to their own agenda of petty grievance and bullying habits, could easily refuse sensible compromises and push for even harsher sanctions to try and break the Communists still in control in Cuba.

If Raul cares for his brother's legacy - that some semblance of an independent Cuba still stands apart from the United States even as they reconcile into a partnership that could benefit both nations - he should deal with Obama as soon as possible. If they can get something figured out by Christmas, that would help.

Any deal with Trump would likely involve terrible Trump-owned casinos and massive corruption on a scale even Batista never signed off on. And waiting on a wingnut-led Republican Congress to do anything sane or legal is a bad idea no matter what.

It's turning out 2016 is a historic year all right. Sliding into outright horror if the right people in charge of things don't do what makes the most sense. Just saying, Raul, you'll get a better deal from Obama than anybody else. And Obama wants to get this deal made, he wants to leave office on a high note. Whatever the sticking point is, take a step back and recognize what can be done to fix it, and get the deal done.

History is waiting. The year isn't over yet.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Things I am thankful for:

My parents.
My siblings, older sister and older brother and slightly annoying twin brother.
My kittehs.
My closest friends, though few and on many days so far from where I am. I miss them, often. Facebook barely helps.
My professional career as a librarian. I get to help people, I get to solve problems, I get to do research and find out new things that I forget five minutes later.
My personal efforts at a writing career. Getting some of my stories out there for others to read. Getting a few decent reviews (would love, of course, to have more...) here and there. I am thankful I got another NaNoWriMo year of getting past 50,000 words on a novel project (that I know I NEED TO FINISH ONE DAY, DAMN ME).
I am thankful we got eight years of an Obama Presidency, as a measuring stick for our nation to see how a President should behave and lead.

Things I am not thankful for:

Watching my country get taken over by Nazis and Klansmen and total bastards, as the number of assaults both verbal and physical go up while the goddamn wingnuts openly give the Nazi salute. I thought we fought a f-cking world war to get rid of these Nazis. I thought we were growing past the race hatreds of the Jim Crow era. I thought we were going to listen to the better angels of our nature. Apparently, I was wrong. Apparently, there are still millions of total bastards among us eager to prove themselves bastards towards Blacks, Latinos, women, gays and transgender, and pretty much people Not Of THEIR Tribe.
And I am sure as hell not thankful the Presidency is going to get taken over by a known con artist, liar, and bankrupt thief like Donald Goddamn Trump. What the hell, America, what the hell.

Even kamikaze turkeys cannot brighten my mood.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

To the Spammers Hitting My Comment Fields

Piss Off.

Addendum: I should clarify. This blog is getting hit with unusual traffic, every four hours around 34 views like clockwork, and I've started getting Comments popping up for Moderation that are clearly spam (I may be lonely, but even I know a Russian Dating service is a trap).

My librarian blog has the same problem. It's just this is the first time my political blog is getting it.

Putin's army of hackers are getting bolder by the day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It IS Happening Here

I THOUGHT WE FOUGHT A WORLD WAR TO GET RID OF THESE GODDAMN NAZIS.

From the Atlantic:

“Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”
That’s how Richard B. Spencer saluted more than 200 attendees on Saturday, gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., for the annual conference of the National Policy Institute, which describes itself as “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of  people of European descent in the United States, and around the world...”

In short: Angry White Folk.

...For most of the day, a parade of speakers discussed their ideology in relatively anodyne terms, putting a presentable face on their agenda. But after dinner, when most journalists had already departed, Spencer rose and delivered a speech to his followers dripping with anti-Semitism, and leaving no doubt as to what he actually seeks. He referred to the mainstream media as “L├╝genpresse,” a term he said he was borrowing from “the original German”; the Nazis used the word to attack their critics in the press.

GOD HELP US. This isn't "Alt-Right," like some offshoot of punk rock or something. THIS IS OPEN IN-YOUR-FACE NAZISM.



Trump's election has brought the nation's rot out in public.

And the political party that's now in charge won't do a goddamn thing to stop it. BECAUSE IT'S COMING FROM THEIR SIDE.

The Republican War On Everybody Else just went to DefCon Holy Shit.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Damage Already Done, Post-Election Issue

If anybody thought that somehow Trump would improve with the demands of the office, that the requirements and qualifications needed to sit in key Cabinet posts would force Trump to select respectable and effective candidates for those posts, that somehow the debacle of having 60 million Americans vote for an openly known con artist can't get any worse...

Yeah. It's getting worse (via Jamelle Bouie at Slate):

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump said he would hire “the best people” to staff his administration. If “best people” means experienced politicians, dedicated experts, or even skilled businesspeople, then he’s stretching the truth. Few people with those qualifications are on board for an appointment to the Trump White House. But if “best people” means the hangers-on of the Trump campaign—the white nationalists, petty authoritarians, and conspiracy-mongers—then we’re on target...
...Thus far, to staff his administration, Trump has chosen a white nationalist provocateur; an anti-Muslim conspiracy-monger; and an apologist for a regressive, anti-black politics (and this is before we get to potential appointee Rudy Giuliani, who embodies many of Flynn’s and Sessions’ worst qualities). These are “the worst people,” yes. But they also represent a coherent ideology and perspective: white nationalism.
The thread that ties Bannon’s alt-right advocacy to Flynn’s clash-of-civilizations worldview to Sessions’ skeptical eye toward civil rights enforcement is a belief in the political and cultural dominance of white Americans. Their America isn’t a tapestry or a melting pot; it is simply white. Judging from the presence of men such as Bannon and Sessions, we should expect a Trump administration to roll back any progress this country has made toward inclusion and participation. We should also expect it to empower states to pursue discriminatory policy on voting, to empower local police departments to operate with impunity against communities of color, and to empower those who see Muslims—citizens or otherwise—as threats to contain or eliminate.
As we step into this world—as we enter the age of kakistocracy (note: yeah, someone must have showed him that word too)—we should remember one thing. This isn’t a departure from Trump’s populism. It’s the foundation of it. This is what Trump campaigned on. It’s what he promised. And millions of Americans either wanted it or were willing to look past it. For the targets and victims of Trump’s administration, there’s not much of a difference there...

We're basically going to get a rehash of the George W. Bush years... only worse because Trump is bringing in honest-to-God haters to fill the positions most likely to inflict direct pain on minorities, women, and non-Christian faithful. This is not "The Best and the Brightest", folks. This is not a question of professional expertise. This doesn't have anything to do with "economic anxiety" or the problem of White workers wanting their manufacturing and construction jobs back. This has everything to do with White resentment and outright vindictiveness towards those Not of THEIR Tribe.

And we're getting all of this because the Republicans never owned up to how f-cked the Dubya tenure was. And I'm not the only one saying this (via Sophia McClennen at Salon.com):

Let’s start with the obvious — there is no reason why Trump needs to stay in the White House or do much, if any, of the job. He can take a play right out of George W.’s book and go on endless vacation while outsourcing the job. Don’t forget that during his eight-year presidency, Bush took 879 days of vacation, including 77 trips to his Texas ranch.
And before you celebrate the idea of the orange-faced goon staying away from Washington, remember who Bush left behind to do the work. As Trump assembles his transition team and floats ideas for cabinet members, there is an uncanny resemblance to the Bush administration. Many think that it was the absolutely horrific team that Bush assembled that fueled the disaster of his presidency. Trump shows sign of doing him one better...
...If you really want to feel sick, recall that Bush campaigned as a centrist and was considered a very similar candidate to John Kasich when they were both in the 1999 primaries. Bush campaigned on bringing “integrity and honor” back into the White House. Compare that to Trump, who campaigned on banning Muslim immigrants, building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and repealing Roe v. Wade. On Bush’s second day in office he reinstated a policy that required any non-governmental organization receiving U.S. government funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services in other countries. On Trump’s second day in office he could well nominate a Supreme Court Justice.
There is really no end to the various ways we can look at all that was bad under Bush and imagine how it can be worse with Trump. The Bush administration decimated our founding values, led us into permanent war, destabilized global politics, destroyed our economy and divided our nation. And Bush looks “low energy” when compared to what Trump can do...

It's as though a third of the nation - and nearly every person in the Beltway Media Elite Bubble of Self-Preservation - completely forgot what the hell happened between 2001 to 2008. Especially the years between 2003 and 2006 when the Republicans - with Bush the Lesser in the White House and the GOP in full control of both houses of Congress - were in charge and pretty much generated the Great Recession through mismanagement, obsessions with tax cuts and expensive wars, and mass deregulation that helped the banks destroy the global economy.

And now we're about to get the same shit from 2003 through 2006, with the notable inclusion of our leadership in Trump and his cohorts being goddamn racist sexist assholes. Pardon my Klingon.

This train wreck is unavoidable. And sixty million Americans are the ones who bought the tickets to ride for everyone else to scream in terror as our nation goes off the rails. Again.