Archive for the ‘Deep political thought’ Category

FreeDumb® Friday

January 6, 2023

“‘Stop the Steal?’ I’m just getting started.”

Here’s a Fun Friday Factoid for all the Jan. 6 insurrection re-enactors in the audience: The attempt to overturn the 2020 election was King Donald the Short-fingered’s most successful business venture in 40 years, according to Timothy Noah at The New Republic.

Writes Noah:

As a political maneuver, trying to overturn the 2020 election was a miserable failure. It failed on its own terms—Joe Biden became and remains president—and it created all sorts of legal problems for Trump. … But as a business enterprise, January 6 was and remains an unqualified success.

It seems that the bulk of the $250 million raised to “Stop the Steal” went for no such purpose. Rather, according to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol, it was used “to fund the former president’s other endeavors and to enrich his associates.” (See the committee’s report, Appendix Three, “The Big Rip-Off: Follow the Money.”)

Follow along with Noah as he takes a tour of the Trump Treasure Trail. No wonder the election deniers hobbling the House of Reprehensibles enjoy sniffing his farts. They smell like money, son!

Wrapping up, Noah observes:

Trump may be losing his real estate acumen, but he’s found a new market in grifting would-be political insurrectionists. Another late-December revelation from the select committee (this from the testimony of Jared Kushner) was that the Donald wanted to trademark the phrase “rigged election.” Now you know why. From the start, Trump’s insane election claims were a highly profitable business venture for a man whose other businesses have lately, for the most part, been anything but.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

January 5, 2023

“Gimme a minute, that Squeaker’s gavel has to be up here somewhere.”

The House of Reprehensibles is fixin’ to gavel itself on the noggin again starting at noon Swamp time, and you’ll want to have the popcorn and soda within easy reach.

From the sound of things Charlie McCarthy is prepared to give away everything that makes the Squeaker’s gig even halfway meaningful in order to get his pampered paws on the gavel.

Then the Freedumb Fighters will grab said gavel and run away, giggling. “Psych! Now we want a blood oath to the Constitution, mandatory open carry in the House Chamber, and the Squeaker has to do a daily dance on TikTok. In his tighty-whities.”

This is why it’s a bad idea to negotiate with terrorists. Their planning stops at the hostage-taking stage. From that point on it gets Western real quick, all horseshit and gunfire.

Puppet show

January 4, 2023

More puffery to the east.

Look! Up in the sky! Is that the white smoke signaling that a new Poop has been elected by the House of Reprehensibles?

Nope. Just morning clouds over the Sandias. But Charlie McCarthy has been dancing on his many, many strings overnight, trying to attract an audience that is more of a fan base and less of a lynch mob, and the show resumes at noon Swamp time.

I see he has Orange Julius Caesar in his corner now, which may be like having Dracula as your cut man.

And they’re off!

January 3, 2023

The checkered flag for one year doubles as the starter’s pistol for the next.

Brand-new year, same old feeling:

What now?

I’ve been doing laps on this circuit since March 1954, and I suppose I should be happy that I haven’t been black-flagged yet.

2022 was the first time I’ve been off the clock for an entire calendar year since I signed on with the Gazette Telegraph back in 1977. That’s what I call an extended pit stop (props to the mechanics at Social Security for the fuel and new rubber all the way around).

You’d think that after such a lengthy pause for the cause I’d have decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. Nope. Pissed it away cycling, running, hiking, grocery shopping, cooking, playing with the cat, reading, watching TV, and dicking around on the Innertubes. When I wasn’t asking “How high?” whenever Herself barked “Jump,” that is.

The old man took up real-estate sales when he retired from the U.S. Air Force, but that’s not for me. The only thing I ever sold successfully (other than free-range rumormongery to publishers) was weed to hippies. It was loads easier for a prospective buyer to commit to a $12 lid and there was less paperwork involved.

“Need any papers with that?”

“Naw, man, I got a pipe.”

And unlike publishers, the hippies paid up front.

Hey, maybe I should run for Squeaker of the House? Looks like Kevin McCarthy isn’t getting the trade-in value he’d expected for that scratched-and-dented soul of his with its four bald retreads, the weird stains in the back seat, and the air freshener that ain’t quite gettin’ ’er done.

Naw. That’d be worse than dealing weed or words. Imagine having to listen to Marjorie Taylor Greene while pretending to care what she’s going on and on and on about. I’d have to start smoking that shit again.

Papal bull

December 3, 2022

If you live long enough, despite the flu’s best efforts, you’re bound to learn something.

Knights in white satin.

For instance, in my ignorance, I always thought that the phrase “Kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out” was of comparatively recent coinage. It sounds like something U.S. Col. John “Nits Make Lice” Chivington might have said at the Sand Creek Massacre. Or maybe Lt. Col. Allen “Islam is Not a Religion” West while torturing a captive in Iraq.

But according to Charles P. Pierce, who recently took note of a New Republic piece on a fondness among the right-wing intelligentsia for the good old days of medieval Catholicism and other European niceties — “Constitutionalism, Enlightenment rationality, religious freedom, and republicanism are out. European aristocracy, crusading holy orders, and mysticism are in,” — writes Graham Gallagher — the phrase has its roots in the 13th-century papal crusade against the Cathars in southern France.

Here’s Charlie:

Back in those days, of course, Roman Catholicism had armies and its temporal power was unsurpassed. Theological disputes were conducted at the point of a sword. The crusade against the Cathars in the south of France killed more than a million people, many of whom died simply because of where they lived. It was this latter sanctified savagery that gave us the infamous battle plan explained by Arnaud Amalric, a Cistercian monk and the official ambassador from Rome to the armies arrayed against the Cathars. Before the crusaders massacred almost everyone in the town of Beziers, Amalric is reputed to have said, “Kill them all. God will know his own.”

And you thought it was an inconvenience when the Jehovah’s Witnesses came calling, brandishing their Watchtowers. Just wait until a flying squad of these new warrior monks rings your bell. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that the intellectual heirs of these ring-kissing brigands might not be fans of Tom Lehrer.

A friendly gesture

November 24, 2022

We’re taking out the garbage, but we’ll be back later for some observations and a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat (if Officer Obie doesn’t get us en route).

While you wait, walk into the shrink, wherever you are, and sing a bar of “Alice’s Restaurant.”

Leaf me alone

November 15, 2022

The autumn took the rest, but they won’t take me.

No, it’s not the last leaf on the tree. But it doesn’t have a lot of company.

A cold snap this week brought us a soupçon of snow and temps in the 20s, a superfluous reminder that mid-November is not always shorts weather, even in The Duck! City.

Speaking of truths that should be self-evident, The New York Times has a piece this morning explaining that calling elections rigged and their results fake probably isn’t the best way to drive your base to the polling place.

Casting doubt on the legitimacy of elections might be an effective tool for galvanizing true believers to participate in a primary — or, at its origins, to storm the U.S. Capitol in order to overturn a losing result. But it can be a lousy strategy when it comes to the paramount mission of any political campaign: to get the most votes.

“If you tell people that voting is hard, or voter fraud is rampant, or elections are rigged, it doesn’t make people more likely to participate,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, a nonpartisan group that works with election officials to bolster trust and efficiency in voting. “Why would you want to play a game you thought was rigged?”

Plenty of people already think that their vote carries no weight, makes no difference. Maybe they’re blue voters in a red state — hey, been there, done that — or vice versa.

But when you make voting more difficult than it needs to be, tell the electorate that their ballots might get shitcanned to Area 51 by the Illuminati, and just generally waffle-stomp your own dingus into a thin paste, well … this doesn’t exactly encourage folks to take a seat at the table and ante up.

And if you don’t play, you can’t win.

On a related note, turnout might trend upward if some parties fielded candidates long on defensible policy and work ethic rather than screeching psycho knucklefuckers, pistol-packing “Red Dawn” wanna-bes, and vengeful bored man-babies.

Some movies you only need to watch once. Sequel not required.

Food for thought

November 10, 2022

“Only a bonehead would try to predict what happens next. So, yeah — ‘Reply hazy, try again later.'”

“What do you think about the election?” the waitress asked.

“I’m glad it’s over,” I replied.

It’s not, of course. And it won’t be for a while yet, maybe not until just before the 188th Congress gets sworn in on Jan. 3, 2023.

When we finally get there, more than a few of the noobs — and plenty of the holdovers — will kick off the session by lying through their artificially brightened teefers as they take the oath of office.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

But before we cross that crumbling bridge over the Styx we have many a long, hard mile to walk, through a wall of sound that even Phil Spector would deem overwrought. Enduring the media’s dissection of the 2022 midterms will be like trudging through an animal shelter that takes in only werewolves, banshees, and howler monkeys, and whose keeper is La Llorona.

The National Kindergarten for the Criminally Insane may change hands after Jan. 3, but you probably won’t get bitten if you keep your hands away from the cage.

If the inmates do wind up in charge of the asylum, Sleepy Joe will get carpal tunnel from ripping their frantically scribbled Crayola fever dreams off the Capitol refrigerator. But he has a generous medical plan. And once he’s past the first few impeachments the rest of his shift shouldn’t be any worse than a casual lunch with Hannibal Lecter.

Speaking of lunch, the green chile chicken enchiladas at El Patio were delicious and the service cheery and superb, all as per usual. I paid my tab, left a preposterous tip, and took the scenic route home through the North Valley, with a brisk autumn wind robbing the trees of their gold.

Here comes the night

November 7, 2022

Trumpkin.

When did The New York Times add a Dire Portents section?

This morning, Mother Times hit me with this:

“During the early hours on Tuesday, darkness will slip across the face of the moon before it turns a deep blood red. No, it isn’t an Election Day omen — it’s one of the most eye-catching sights in the night sky.”

Not an omen. Ho ho ho, etc. As if. Fake news!

Then why was the moon a decadent orange during the early hours of this morning as it slipped behind a neighbor’s house?

And why were there Trumpkins scattered along my hiking route this afternoon? I saw at least three, among them the one leering at you from the top of this post.

And finally, why is KUNM bitch-slapping me with “Here Comes the Night?” right this minute? And not the good one, by Them, but some two-bit tosser’s take on the 1964 classic (featuring Van Morrison).

“Well, here it comes … here comes the night.”

So soon? I’m not ready for the night. What else you got, Ma?

“How to Follow the News Without Spiraling into Despair?”

How quintessentially capitalistic of you, Ma. Sell me the disease with one hand and the treatment with the other. A mindfulness methadone clinic for the hopeless news addict. This morning’s shaman is this afternoon’s snake-oil salesman.

Here comes the night? Got a news flash for ya, Ma. It’s already here.

Just chillin’

November 4, 2022

Weather, outside, frightful, etc.

Sorel, God of Cold Feet, paid us a surprise visit last night.

Hard to believe the glider boyos were cruising the friendly skies just the other day.

The day before Halloween Herself and I saw three gliders working the thermals near the Menaul trailhead.

But Halloween has come and gone. We “fall back” on Sunday, and then slide at high speed into Thanksgiving, winter solstice, and Christmas. It ain’t always sandals-and-shorts weather, even in The Duck! City.

I’m not ready. I never am. I used to race in this shit? When? Was I still on drugs?

Herself is made of sterner stuff. She bundled up and sallied forth with a fellow Democrat to distribute campaign literature.

Comrade Eeyore is likewise on the hustings, telling The Guardian that Democrats “have not done a good enough job of reaching out to young people and working-class people and motivating them to come out and vote in this election.”

Hey, comrade, Herself is no passenger in this garbage scow. Ain’t her fault the officers are all rumdums.

Being of the Vanguard, I was needed here at Headquarters to propagandize over hot tea and a Taos Bakes bar. Arise, ye prisoners of starvation, and fetch me another mug of tea.

While I await the Revolution I’m also baking a loaf of bread so I don’t have to stand in line for it like the proles.

Here in a bit I’ll go for a run, if only because I never know when I might have to. It’s all this weather is good for. You can’t ski in it, or make snowballs with it, so you might as well pound ground, keep the muscle memory sharp.

The forecast for the day after Election Day is not encouraging. We may be feeling the heat, but not in a good way. I’m thinking of feet held to the fire.