Saturday, September 21, 2019

Gotham City Digest

(Where we vow never to be a horse's ass on a horse's ass.)

     Do you too ever get the feeling that the most efficacious purpose of politics is to serve as a vehicle for irony? Because it looks as if a zombie memo written by Hillary 45 years ago when she was 26 may actually help take down Trump.

     Thank you for your service, ladies. Those of us who have lived the life know you're not there to just wound the poachers.

     Yak bound for the butcher jumps trailer, heads for the hills. Good for you, big fella. Now stay in those mountains.

     Don't believe this bullshit you hear about Biden winning big among black people. Maybe he can fool the older ones but not their kids and grandkids.

     Yeah, you wish, you crook. Tell that to Nixon's ghost.

     "Dating Stephen Miller" sounds like a new Netflix serial killer documentary, doesn't it?

   Letting slaughterhouses police themselves? You can't possibly convince me this sham administration isn't out to kill us all.

     Donnie Dumbo's screaming about this now, the sure sign of an innocent man.

     Here are my takeaways about Antonio Brown-
     Brown got fired for doing the same thing as Robert Kraft in that Florida massage parlor.
     The guy who DIDN'T get fired by Nike, Colin Kaepernick, never got the opportunities Brown got these last six months.

      Trump pressured Ukrainian president at least EIGHT TIMES IN A SINGLE PHONE CALL to work with Giuliani to help him get reelected.If this doesn't make the gutless Democrats impeach him, nothing will.

      Quote o' the day: "Our nuclear was getting very tired..Now we have it in, as we would say, tippy-top shape. Tippy top. We have new and we have renovated and it's incredible. We all should pray we never have to use it."
      Just as a friendly reminder: This short-fingered vulgarian is the one with his tiny, adorable little fingers on the big red button.

       Here's a suggestion: Trump needs to have a walking laugh track wherever he goes and that laugh track should be provided by the MSM.

     Yes, Candace Owens told Congress yesterday that "white supremacists and white nationalists" are not a problem for black America. I suppose she also believes the Nazis' antisemitism wasn't harmful to Jews, either. Or KFC never once harmed a single chicken.
    Candace Owens has it wrong. The Left doesn't use "racism" and "white supremacy" to win elections. Trump & the rest of the GOP use racists and white supremacists to win elections.

      Trump's Friday:
      1) Said "our nuclear was tired" but that they were in "tippy top shape."
     2) Claimed not to read the #whistleblower report then said seconds later everyone read it & laughed at it, still refuses to release it to Congress.
     3) Lambasted the media
     4) Expressed fear of getting rained on again
     5) The right wing WSJ said he bribed Ukrainian president
     All before dinnertime.

     Well, that settles THAT question. A Ukrainian government official just admitted that Trump broke the law in asking for their help in the 2020 election.

     Why the fuck are we defending Saudi Arabia's oil fields instead of our own? Especially after all the shit they bought from our war profiteers?

     Sewer Rat Barbie's husband strikes again.

     What a difference a year makes. This is what they mean when they say one person can change the world.

     A judge just ordered Trump to give a videotaped deposition about a case in which his thugs roughed up some protesters. Color me biased but I don't recall Obama being in so much legal hot water.

       Nothing quite says, "I am here to protect America’s Workers!” like a greedy billionaire chastising a greedy multimillionaire.

     Salon shreds Stallone's new Rambo movie. Somehow I manage to enjoy the series and ignore the right wing politics behind them but this time, in the age of Trump, it might not be possible.

     If the Democrats fell 100 seats short of a majority on impeachment, it's not because it was a bad idea. It's still a very necessary idea. It was the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy engineered from the start. And, as the Speaker, Pelosi must accept the lion's share of the blame. And finally...

     At last, an explanation as to why people get into public service.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Circling the Wagons

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
 “We’re not meddling in an election; we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do.” - Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to the NY Times, May 9, 2019
On July 25th 2019, a failed and terrible comedian called a somewhat more successful comedian on the phone. Hilarity did not ensue. Hysterics did.
     That call was between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political neophyte. The exact nature and specifics of that call have been kept hush-hush but they were alarming enough for an unnamed whistleblower to report them on August 12th to the Acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire. Those concerns were, in turn, turned over to the Inspector General of Intelligence, Michael Atkinson. Everyone, including Congress, is being stonewalled.
     The initial complaint from the whistleblower occurred two and a half weeks after Trump had spoken with Zelensky. 16 days after the whistleblower's complaint, Trump suspended aid to Ukraine that was allocated by Congress that was earmarked to defend itself against pro-Russian separatist forces. Eight days ago, Trump reinstated that Congressionally-allocated quarter billion dollars of military aid to Ukraine with no explanation given.
     Those are the facts as we know them. Here's why this confluence of events is so important- There are allegations that Donald Trump called Ukraine's President Zelensky to warn him he was withholding that aid until Ukraine helped him get reelected. That would mean that not only would Donald Trump illegally demand aid from a foreign government in the interests of getting reelected, he was willing to go as far as to threaten extortion. In other words, Trump is so astoundingly corrupt, he was willing to break a law in order to break a law.
     This morning, Aaron Blake of the Washington Post reported that this veiled revelation about Trump and Ukraine is ominous for this already flaming dumpster fire of an administration because we have a timeline involving none other than Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani, it was reported last spring, was planning on flying to Ukraine to essentially meddle in our 2020 election to solicit the new Ukrainian government's help in investigating Joe Biden's son Hunter's involvement in a Ukrainian gas company.
     Last May, the trip was abruptly canceled and Giuliani blamed the Democrats for blowing it up and, ironically, the Ukrainian's government's corruption (Zelensky was surrounded by anti-Trump meanies). 
     This is just one of the allegations circling around that directly involves Trump. There are several more involving others within the administration. This is proof positive that, if these allegations are proven, not only is the Oval Office rotten to the core and viciously trying to break the law forbidding foreign assistance in a US election, much of the White House itself is in on it.

Is There an Impeachment in the House?
The entire government that's run by right wing psychopaths who are just as viciously defending their mob boss is already circling the wagons, especially after IG Atkinson's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday. If one outside that latter-day Republican Party harbors any pretensions to humanity, then one must feel at least a pang of sympathy for Mr. Atkinson.
     As he sat at that table in the hearing room yesterday morning, the Intelligence Inspector General must have felt on the back of his neck the collective breath of AG Bill Barr, Acting DNI Joseph Maguire and Donald Trump. Because this is what Atkinson was caught between- The rock of Chairman Adam Schiff's powerful Intelligence Committee and the hard places of the Department of Justice, the Directorate of National Intelligence and the White House. 
     Those last three entities essentially ordered Atkinson not to reveal, even behind closed doors, the contents of the whistleblower's complaints. About the closest that Atkinson came to showing any cooperation was when he'd admitted the White House's position that "details in the whistleblower complaint should be withheld from Congress" were without merit.
     Last week on September 9th, it was announced on the House's Foreign Affairs website that no less than three House national security committees were going to investigate Giuliani's aborted trip to Ukraine to determine if he was attempting to solicit their help in Trump's reelection campaign. While Trump may sneer like a seven year-old schoolyard bully about "Sleepy Joe", Trump is privately very concerned about the Vice President's presidential campaign and it's plainly no coincidence that Rudy was planning to go to Ukraine to sniff out some dirt on Biden's son Hunter.
     In Trump's diseased mind, it would have been a win-win situation- If he could count on Ukraine's help in hobbling Biden's campaign by doing opposition research on him, he stands a better chance of winning election next November. If Zelensky didn't play ball, Putin's stooges in Ukraine wouldn't have to worry about fighting against a quarter billion dollars in American aid.
     In politics, sometimes that blow that fells the corrupt come from the least likely sources. For 22 months, we thought the Mueller Report was going to bring down Trump. It resulted in a raft of nasty tweets from Trump's bedrooms in the West Wing and his golf clubs. But this series of quasi-revelations now stands as the likeliest method by which Trump may at last be toppled and even before the 2020 election.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Gotham City Digest

(Where we promise to never go out in public like this,)

     ABC anchor & NPR co-founder Cokie Roberts has died. A true giant in TV journalism. Of course, Michelle Malkin didn't think so and had this to say before Cokie's corpse was even cold. And she's still taking pot shots at John McCain. Who else thinks this little troll should go back to the Philippines hustling drinks where Jesse found her? (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader CC.)

     One week ago, the world's worst standup comedian took his act on the road again and addressed his fellow right wing nut jobs, pointedly during the Democratic debate. In short order, he attacked:
     Hillary Clinton.
     Light bulbs ("They make me look orange.")
     Undocumented immigrants.
     Democrats in general and Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Mayor Pete in particular.
     The media.
     John McCain.
     The Clean Water Act ("25 years ago, nobody lived here.")
     House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
     Called his own Vice President "Mike Pounce."
    That was just part of it. And Republicans laughed with and applauded this evolutionary dropout. Long after this flaming dumpster fire of an administration gets shoved into the River Styx, they will be forced to remember every guffaw and every clap.

     Meanwhile, Babushka Barbie had this to say to GOP donors. This explains a lot.

     In case you were looking for another reason to loathe and revile corporate scum, here's one:
    Meet the Sacklers, true sacks o' shit. The Sacklers are the 19th richest family in the US. This is because the Sacklers o' shit own Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the same corporation that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans just over the last dozen years by lying that their Oxycontin was non-addictive. The Sacklers have just been caught by NY AG Letitia James to have offshored a billion dollars overseas, forcing their corporation to file for bankruptcy so they can get out of paying fair settlements to their victims. Nice people, huh?

     While I've from the very start taken issue with many of Obama's policies, I've never faulted the man for his compassion to his fellow Americans in times of crisis and tragedy. Obama loves children and he never had to fake it and put on airs when he met children. And when he privately met with Sandy Hook families, he didn't meet them as their president, he met them as the parent of two children.
      I couldn't possibly imagine Trump doing any of this. Just yesterday, he said Melania "had a son", as if someone else fathered him. And if Trump did make the effort to meet them, he would've brought along a phalanx of photographers so they could snap him with his little thumb stuck in the air and an evil smile on his jiggling puss and bragging about the size of the crowd at the hospital. Just like he did in Ohio after the Dayton-El Paso mass shootings.

     Question: When has ICE ever been fired upon by undocumented immigrants during their countless fascist raids?
      This is the mindset of Nazis. They always imagine they're under siege even when they're not.

     Collins also cast one of the deciding votes that shoehorned Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court. She also cast the deciding vote to let Trump steal money from the military for his medieval wall. Bye, Susan.

     In case it wasn't already, Trump's four year-old standup routine is now officially old.

     Still ragging on black women, eh, Klansman in Chief? You know what America would love to see just for the entertainment value? You losing to Michelle Obama, with her husband as her running mate.

      A hand-drawn swastika found in FatherlandHomeland Security's HQ? Shocking, I know.

     Future Florida men attack black boy, school district covers it up for 10 days.

    Only a right wing asshole like Trump thinks he can make water cleaner just by changing semantics.

     In case you're curious about what Dacha Donald was caught promising Putin, wonder no more. It was in one of these dachas that Trump wants to give back to Putin that they cracked the FBI's code. One more time: Trump is a Russian asset.

     A year after Judge I Like Beer was jammed into the SOTUS like a square peg into a star-shaped hole, this story regarding Deborah Ramirez is getting told again because it should.
     Remember, Republican scum in the Senate told the FBI not to deeply investigate the allegations, including Ramirez's. Because they knew what they'd find if they did.

     More than 2000 years before #Metoo, there was this rape case.

     Nice to see that Pompous Maximus is doing his best to destroy the planet's lungs.

     Speaking of the Sacklers o' shit: Corporation that made tens of billions over the last 12 years addicting and killing hundreds of thousands now claims poverty.

     This bloated cunt's a real profile in courage, eh? Churchill would be proud.

     Finally, an explanation for how a loathsome turd like Ted Cruz got elected then reelected to the US Senate. Just imagine what Molly Ivins would've said about him.

     Oh please. Like Republicans never cashed in after leaving the White House? Trump can't stand the idea of a black man making lots of money. This is just another of Donnie Dumbo's Deflect and Distract tactics.

     Easley's right. Trump doesn't give a fuck about the auto workers or even GM. He just cares about how this would make his doomed re-election campaign look in Michigan.

     Trump's organ donor speaks about the Constitution yet again.

     Good. Maybe they'll also look into why her father's ship was caught smuggling 90 pounds of cocaine.

     It totally figures that two corrupt assholes like Falwell and Trump would develop a bromance.

     Tip to Ed Snowden- If you have to negotiate with sociopaths who are comfortable with starving and raping caged children to get a fair trial, guess what? You're never getting a fair trial.

     "Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?" He said this in New Mexico. Which has gone Democratic in the last seven presidential elections. Of Steve Cortes, Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council: “He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out, because he looks more like a WASP than I do.”
     In other words, "Hey, look at my spic, over there!"

     Trump's base is inspired by bin Laden. I suppose this was inevitable.

     Nothing illegal? What law school did you go to, genius?

     Sewer Rat Barbie claims mass shootings are not a reason to ban AR15s. Australia disagreed in 1996. They haven't had a mass shooting since.

   The money-grubbing Trump administration wants to charge immigrants $1000 to appeal deportation orders. Then we should charge him a billion dollars to appeal his upcoming impeachment.

     Please tell me this genocidal war criminal got voted out. If he loses, watch Trump get on Twitter and scream 3-5 million Palestinians illegally voted for the center right party.

     Right now, I'm laughing myself sick not just because it looks as if Netanyahu's right wing Likud lost their majority in the Knesset and that he may not be PM for much longer but also because he was stupid enough to think he could count on Trump for support. Silly, silly little man

     Funny stuff. But have an eagle shit on Trump's & McConnell's heads, THEN you'll have a story.

     No shit. Look at who's in the Oval Office.

     Well, well, look at what my girl's been up to.

     Trump obstructs Congressional probe into Trump obstructing justice.

     So, this is what what happened when Greta Thunberg testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday. It didn't go too well for the Republican. It never does.

     The internet slammed CNN for booking this mendacious fascist but this is the reason why, so they could make him look like a mendacious fascist.

     News flash: The 4th amendment doesn't exist, anymore.

     Oh, this is good news. Looks as if THE WALKING DEAD is about to become a documentary series. No wonder Snowden wants out.

     Fear not, the Klansman in Chief will save us from this series of hurricanes. We know how much he hates chain migrations.

     Another Republican child molester bites the dust. Somehow, I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind when he said, "Bring the children unto me." And finally...

     This September 26th, think about what Stanislav Petrov did for us all 36 years ago.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

"I Hate Myself For Voting Blue"

(With grave apologies to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)
Election Night, gettin' uptight, where am I?
You said you'd build the wall, was it a lie?
I know I'm hangin' but I'm still wantin' white.
Hey Don, it's a con, they're talkin' 'bout you.
I turn my back and you're with Kim Jong Un.
I'm not really racist, don't like lookin' like a lib.
I think of you toward election day
You took my vote then you took my land away.

I hate myself for voting blue.
Don't want to vote for the Socialist Jew.
You shouldn't have deported my Mexican wife, too.
That's why I hate myself for voting blue
Ow! Uh.

No wall, Mexico says it's not payin'.
Then you took my land through eminent domain
I'm over being frightened 'bout the caravan's blight.
Hey, man, bet you can burn a cross.
You just don't know about your upcoming loss.
I wanna see you begging, then vote Democrat for spite.
I think of you toward election day
You took my vote then you took my land away.

I hate myself for voting blue.
Don't want to vote for the Socialist Jew.
You shouldn't have deported my Mexican wife, too.
That's why I hate myself for voting blue.

I think of you toward election day
You took my vote then you took my land away.

I hate myself for voting blue.
Don't want to vote for the Socialist Jew.
You shouldn't have deported my Mexican wife, too..
That's why I hate myself for voting blue
Ow! Uh.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

I Love Myself For Hating You

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
In the 11 plus years since I'd expanded my byline to include this venerable blog, I've tried to present my commentary on news items with an even-tempered approach more befitting a respected member of the 4th Estate rather than a ridiculed bloviator of the 5th Estate. Or, as the proprietor of this blog once told me over a decade ago, "Mikey, you're me on a good day." Which I take as pretty high praise, since JP is no mean blogger, himself.
     However, two separate news items from yesterday made me blow my top and 9/11's 18th anniversary barely had anything to do with one of them. They transpired at roughly the same time in both the North Carolina state capital and the US Capitol Building in Washington. As stated, 9/11 had little to do with the former and nothing whatsoever to do with the latter. Yet yesterday on 9/11, Republicans in North Carolina and the US Congress let the mask slip on what ought to be arguably the second most patriotic day on the calendar, the day when Republicans should at least for the day switch out their Israel, Russia and NRA flag lapel pins for ones with Old Glory on them so they can shove their patriotism down our throats like a bear thrusting their manhood down a twink's throat.
     Instead, all they did was to remind me of how much I hate them and how much I love myself for hating on the most reprehensible scum that ever slithered across the face of this planet: The latter-day Republican Party. Let's start with North Carolina.
     The day started in Raleigh when Tim Moore, the General Assembly's House Speaker, called for a vote on the budget vetoed by Roy Cooper, the newly-elected Democratic governor. Most of the Democrats weren't even in the chamber because they'd left to attend various 9/11 commemorative ceremonies (apparently not wondering why their Republican colleagues had chosen to stay behind in the chamber). Moore and other Republicans had assured in unctious terms that in no way would votes be taken that morning in their absence. Why, that would be downright undemocratic, y'all! No, no, y'all take your time. We'll hold down the ole fort here and somehow try to keep ourselves amused until y'all get back.
     The minute most of the Democrats left, amazingly believing North Carolina Republicans, of all people, Moore called for a vote on the vetoed state budget in a moment that can only be described as a blitzkrieg. The veto was overridden 55-9. Deb Butler, one of the few Democrats in attendance, was literally screaming at the top of her lungs. As she wasn't officially recognized by the buffoon posing as a chairman, he called the cops on his fellow legislator (actually forcing her male colleagues to surround her so she couldn't be arrested) and, in a move that is becoming increasingly familiar with white Republican men, even cut off her microphone.
     Governor Cooper had vetoed the spending bill because he wanted to build some political consensus and support in order to expand Medicaid for North Carolina's residents. The fascist stunt pulled by the state GOP essentially deprived health care for 500,000 North Carolinians. If all the Democrats were present, they would not have had the 60% they would've needed to override Gov. Cooper's veto.
     It's unfathomable that a political party that had lost 10 seats and the Governor's mansion in last year's midterms in a deeply crimson state would be so brazen as to do an end run, take advantage of Democrats leaving for 9/11 ceremonies with the intention of stealing health care from a half a million residents. Then again, considering North Carolina's gerrymandering debacle and the even bigger debacle in NC-9 that revealed Republican scumbaggery on an epic level, perhaps they're all clued in that they didn't need the will of those uninsured people in order to legitimately remain in power.
     The fact remains that if the Democrats had used 9/11 to do the same thing to Republicans, the right wing would be shaking the pigeon shit from the rafters with their screaming and porcine squealing.

The Master Class in Scumbaggery From the Master Race
Meanwhile, 278.5 miles to the north up I-95, disgraced former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had to be the nation's conscience. This came about when Schultz asked the subcommittee chairman Jamie Raskin for five minutes so she could then blast the GOP's guest of dishonor, former Trump hatchet man Tom Homan (R-Reichstag) for his "jingoistic and bigoted" testimony. You may remember Homan's previous Sieg Heil moment on Capitol Hill just last July when the ICE Man had another contentious exchange with Democrats, especially Ocasio-Cortez for whom he barely manages to contain a gallon of right wing bile.
     Homan, a former NYPD dick, is exactly the kind of guy Trump would elevate as one of his endless succcession of acting placeholders and would have been perfectly at home at Gestapo HQ or touring the death camps with Himmler. At one point, he began to whine to Ocasio-Cortez about how she and other Democrats were hating on law enforcement and one half-expected him to light up a cigarette and pinch it upside down between his thumb and forefinger and say, "Ve haf vays of making you not talk."
     Instead of answering questions put to him, he kept insisting, as had the Republicans who'd invited him back for an encore performance in his one man Springtime for Hitler show, that the name for the subcommittee hearing was all wrong, that instead of "the Administration's Apparent Revocation of Medical Deferred Action for Critically Ill Children", the hearing should have been entitled, "It's 10 in the Morning- Do You Know if Any of These Filthy Spics Are Raping Your Wives and Daughters?"
     Because, according to the Ho Man and Jim Jordan, there's just been a big misunderstanding. No one is trying to kill you by deporting you and ripping you from your life-saving medical care. So, who're you gonna believe? Me or those letters you, your parents, the mainstream media and a Congressional subcommittee read from USCIS ordering you to self-deport in 33 days with all your lying eyes?
     The problem was, Homan's whining about us hating on law enforcement and Jordan's oleaginous assurances that no one's getting deported would've gotten some traction and a more sympathetic hearing were it not for the sick kids sitting just a couple of feet to Homan's right. One of them, a 16 year-old boy from Honduras with cystic fibrosis, began to uncontrollably cough during his testimony while Homan casually stared at him.
     The sad clown show came to a farting end when Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts began to grill David Renaud, yesterday's tethered goat, to answer basic questions such as, "What office had ordered the end to the deferred program?" Renaud kept hiding behind a nonexistent barrier known as, "On advice of counsel, ongoing litigation prevents me from..." which, as AOC helpfully reminded him, the Supreme Court had ruled is not legal grounds to refuse to answer questions. Nonetheless, he clung to that like grim death. By the end of Ayanna Pressley's line of questions, Renaud couldn't or wouldn't confirm whether or not he couldn't or wouldn't reveal which office ended the deferred medical program, although everyone with two brain cells to rub together knew it was the office with the Oval Shape.
     On a day when Republicans could've played nice for a few hours and at least pretended to love America and democracy and solemnly observing 9/11, they chose to embrace fascism, the kind of mind-bending shit we would've seen in Nazi Germany in the 30's. We saw Republicans nakedly subverting democracy and we saw Republicans on the national stage showing the worst of their Otherism just as Hitler and Nazi enablers had done as they were unwittingly writing the Republican Party's playbook.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

White Privilege is More Common Than We Think

      We like to throw the phrase "white privilege" around like the toy grenades we used to make for our little boys back in the day before calling out toy companies for glorifying war was even thinkable. We toss those verbal fragmentation devices because, while it's ultimately harmless, it gives the appearance that we care enough to say something.
     We charge white privilege every time we hear or read about a white mass shooter getting taken into custody alive or a white boy from a wealthy family getting a break when a lawyer mentions the made-up word "affluenza" or whines about the opportunities that would be lost if we applied the law that should bind all of us to a talented (white) college swimmer.
      And we'd be entitled to make that charge of "white privilege" without ever, or rarely thinking of how we benefit from it even as we decry others from doing the same thing.
      This is the Glorious Age of Trump, in which tens of millions of us are quite comfortable with the idea of fascists marching and goosestepping down our streets, with the collusion and protection of the police, as well as anti Semites and white supremacists, especially as the "man" they voted for in 2016 just can't resist calling them "very fine people."
      And save for a few vocal activists both in and out of Congress, those same tens of millions of us are just as if not even more comfortable with us herding brown, Spanish-speaking people like livestock into detention areas smaller than most of our bedrooms. We're quite comfortable seeing children in cages even when lawmakers such as AOC calls them "concentration camps." Were it not for the horror of it all, it would be comical to listen to MAGAts at turns defend the practice of jailing children in for-profit detention centers while openly showing disdain for the practice by claiming "Obama did it."
      When Lindsey Graham in the legislative body formerly known as the US Senate (since renamed "Mitch's Graveyard") introduced an amendment that would've struck the Flores Rule (that limits migrant detentions to 72 hours) off the books so we could indefinitely detain immigrant children then illegally and with impunity shut down the Democrats' objections, it barely made a blip in one news cycle before dropping down the ravenous Memory Hole.
     And we were extremely comfortable in blaming these children for being stuck in our for-profit concentration camps simply for being with their criminal parents who should've known better than to legally seek asylum at legal points of entry.

     Meanwhile, summer continued. We had barbecues, family reunions, went where ever we could afford to go on our vacations and, whether or not they wanted to go with the 'rents, we took our kids with us. Later in the summer, many of those kids prepared for another year of elementary school, middle school, high school or college. We went to Walmart and obligingly bought the notebooks and pens that school districts stopped supplying many decades ago (Unless you were at a certain El Paso Walmart at the same time as one of Trump's fans).
     When we weren't on vacation by a poolside or on the beach, we sat at night in our mostly climate-controlled homes on more or less comfortable furniture, our families surrounding us or our children in their well-appointed rooms happily tooling around the internet on their cell phones, iPads or laptops and worried about losing a few shingles off our expensive roofs when hurricane season started in a month.
     What we didn't have to worry about was ICE agents bursting through our front doors with No Knock warrants or raiding our places of work on the first day of school. What we liberals, conservatives and others in between never had to worry about was being cramped together so tightly, there was no room to sit down, much less lie down, where (despite daily expenses ranging from $200 to $700 a day) food insecurity became a daily reality, in which shower facilities were denied week after week, our medicine being stolen from us and our children living in equally horrendous conditions, sleeping on concrete under Mylar blankets hardly any thicker than holograms.
     We didn't have to worry about our children dying under the cold uncaring eyes of fascists who absolutely quiver to work in administrations such as this one posing as an actual. functioning government. We didn't have to worry about them getting taunted, tortured, beaten, forcibly drugged and even raped.
     That's because we all of the Caucasian persuasion benefit from white privilege, knowing that, even in the only industrialized country on the planet that arrests and imprisons people who have committed no crimes because of the color of their skin and the language they speak, they will not come after us because our skin is the right hue and we speak the right language and have the right-sounding names.
     Trump said he would not let the US become a "nation of migrant camps" but that same "president" apparently is much more comfortable in letting America become a nation of concentration camps.
     I reject those gloomy prognosticators who sourly say that we're not better than this because we've overthrown democratically-elected governments, displaced Native Americans, enslaved black people and committed virtually every atrocity on the planet. But those were governments past and present that had done all that and slavery ended over 150 years ago.
     Privilege is actually a two-edged sword. It is a gift, one that doesn't have to be earned. We think of it as a gift and not as a weapon that we can use to help others who weren't similarly gifted as a birthright. We need to use that white privilege that insulates us from the horror happening all around us and to stop thinking of it as something that should benefit only us and not others.
     And that starts with all of us acknowledging that we benefit from white privilege and to help those innocent people we're imprisoning for no other reason aside from that it was all brought about on the whims of one clearly insane, racist old man.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Open Letter to Fuckbook

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Thief in Chief
Fuckbook HQ
1 Hacker Way 1601 Willow Road,
Menlo Park, California

Dear Corporate Cunt Zero:

            I am obliged to write to you on account of being unable to share my grievances to Fuckbook online on account of yet another week-long suspension with which I was hit yesterday. Apparently, Fuckbook loves to commit sadism on a daily basis and when I try to do something, anything on my account other than merely gawk, I get this box saying I’ve been suspended for x number of days but if I think this decision is in error, you “helpfully” provide a link with the words, “Let us Know.”
            The problem is, when I attempt to let you know what my thoughts are on your neverending fascism, I get another box telling me “Your request couldn’t be processed. Please try again.” Because, you know, I’ve been blocked from doing anything on your Nazi site other than impotently look at my monitor, including appealing your brainless algorithm’s decision and letting you know why I think it’s in error despite your giving me the illusion that I still have this minimal amount of power, after all. So you sadistic corporate cunts think nothing of leading us around in circles.


           This came about because some right wing troll named Joseph David Chadwick keeps reporting me for virtually every anti Trump meme I put up, memes that others put up with seeming impunity (although many of my friends have gotten suspended for the most specious of reasons). Chadwick has been stalking me for well over five years and at this point, you’re merely enabling him.
            He’s also been known to set up fake accounts under alternate names, send friend requests to my friends and me and once, in a writer’s group to which he’d belonged, even harassed a young woman so much that she had a nervous breakdown and was obliged to unpublish all her books then republish them with new titles and cover art just to get away from Chadwick and his one star reviews (which he’d done to me countless times).
            Chadwick is your typical right wing troll who in the reptilian recesses of his brain that is no larger than the meat of a walnut is just barely smart enough to know how easily your mindless algorithms can be gamed. The idea that you blatantly stole from Harvard University, this grand experiment in social media, has turned into something more closely resembling anti-social media. Now, any right wing troll with an agenda (and they, like you, always have an agenda) has the power to anonymously and with complete impunity report someone for “offensive content” that runs counter to your so-called “community guidelines” and that if they do it enough times to the same person, that account is automatically red-flagged so that virtually any post that person makes is given a disproportionate amount of attention from said mindless algorithm.    
            As with every single behemoth on the internet, your experiment in Artificial Intelligence has been a dismal, shambling, Kafkaesque, Orwellian nightmare. People who depend upon Fuckbook to make book sales or sell services now find themselves suspended on a regular basis due to getting reported by right wing assholes such as yourself for reasons that are so specious it completely eludes reason. It is now virtually impossible for such people who are being stalked and cyber harassed to put anything on your site. One of my friends was recently suspended for putting up a quote by Saint Augustine because it was flagged as hate speech.
            Yes, St. fucking Augustine.
            You may think AI is a wonderful cost-cutting and job-killing measure that capably takes the place of real human beings who have real cognitive abilities but you are so very, very wrong. Historically, in the brief history of the implementation of artificial intelligence, we’ve learned in spades that AI learns and evolves just enough to be dangerous yet not nearly enough to be of any appreciable benefit. It is, to say the very least, an extremely poor replacement for actual human cognition.
            Remember that experiment that Twitter tried a few years ago? They set up a chatbot account that was intended to learn from the people with whom it conversed. Within hours, the chatbot was responding to people with extreme right wing, Neo Nazi talking points and when Twitter’s engineering department learned what was happening, they were obliged to immediately terminate the account.
            How do we know the algorithm you use isn’t learning how to do the same thing, that the more it’s used by right wing accounts to report people innocent of hate speech or any other infraction, it isn’t adopting a more right wing outlook on those who are victimized by it? AI does not work, plain and simple. In the times I was suspended for “offensive content”, I’d appealed it and, more often than not, when reviewed by an actual human being, the algorithm’s draconian decision was reversed. (This latest time, I never got a notification that would’ve given me the ability to request an appeal, thereby violating my right for a redress of my grievances.)
            Just recently, my alternate Facebook account was shut down for a month for something I put on my wall weeks before. I appealed the decision, the post was reinstated within a day, yet my account remained suspended for the full month. Again, the post in question was reinstated. I was not. You stole a month out of my life that I cannot possibly get back.
            And now you’re stealing yet another week out of my life on my main account, which I use to moderate a book and writing group and sell my books. All Fuckbook does is steal, steal, steal, even when there’s no financial or economic benefit to it.
            And still constantly, despite all the bullshit suspensions, you keep shoving those little blue “boost” buttons in our faces as if, after enduring countless indignities, we’re still receptive to the idea of shoving our hard-earned money down your bulging, bottomless pockets for ads that rarely, if ever, prove to be efficacious. Those getting hit most often with the suspensions report that they’re least likely to pay for “boosted” posts or at the very least, have their posts artificially suppressed so no one sees them on their feeds. In essence, you are stealing eyeballs.
            Let’s be perfectly frank, Markie Mark: No one “earns” $26 billion by the time they’re 26- You steal it. You stole the entire idea of Fuckbook from Harvard University’s own social network, ran your misogynistic bastard version of it out of your dorm room and perverted the original idea of Harvard’s social network to rate how hot girls looked. 13 years later, you got a fascist elected President of the United States. By April of this year when you got called on the plush carpet of the United States Congress, you looked like Lt. Commander Data caught in the headlights.
            And your risible community standards to keep Fuckbook a “safe and friendly environment” for its users apparently involves accepting money (100,000 rubles) from smalltime Russian bad actors propagating propaganda on Fuckbook, not using basic password protection, ergo letting 413,000,000 phone numbers of your users to get blown into the wind, you allowed Cambridge Analytica to use our contact information for their purposes and sell more of our information to corporations than you’d let on. You use algorithms to make snap decisions on the viability of certain posts to save on human resource overhead expenses yet think nothing of hiring up to 1,000,000 people to creepily listen in on our Facebook Messenger conversations, another violation of your own TOS.
            If this is what you consider a “safe and friendly” environment, I’d hate to consider what your definition of dangerous and hostile is.
            Yet you irresponsible corporate cunts, you executive douchebags still bitterly resist tooth and nail any government regulation whatsoever from either the US or Canadian governments or any government.       
You artificially suppress peoples’ visibility, especially when they post content linking to their own blogs or Amazon product pages (How Fuckbook knows that is creepy enough but we know you've been in bed with Amazon for years), you arbitrarily suspend or terminate the accounts of those who are blameless of any wrongdoing and are left with no means of redress, you allow Nazi hate groups to grow and thrive and profit from hosting auctions selling child brides in Africa and take a month to do anything about it, if you do. You violate your own TOS by violating the rights of innocent people in the acts of not safeguarding our security and allow highly personal contact information to get freely disseminated on the internet.
And you do this with a typically corporate arrogant expectation of impunity and, like the typical executive cunts you are, you keep expecting to get unlimited free passes from our Congress and other governments to continue making the same mistakes and thefts from the planet’s population.
Explain to me again why every nation on the planet earth shouldn’t regulate the fucking shit out of Fuckbook?
Essentially, if Fuckbook was the United States government you would’ve violated virtually every single amendment in the bill of rights, starting with free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to petition (1st amendment), the illegal search and seizure of papers and effects (4th amendment) and so forth. If Fuckbook ever, God forbid, supplanted the United States government (Which is dysfunctional enough these days, thanks in large part to you personally), you’d be in court so often for violating the United States Constitution you’d hardly be able to function on a day to day basis.
Ergo, I fervently hope that your bloated corporation eventually goes the way of Friendster, Google+ and Myspace and that I live long enough to see it. Fuckbook is an Orwellian palimpsest of something that actually worked to the benefit of innocent people: The student body of Harvard University. If not from Harvard, you’ve graduated from fucking over the Winklevoss twins who helped you steal Harvard’s social network and now you’re fucking over many of your 2.5 billion users and making a pile of money in the process.
And now you're getting involved with online dating? God fucking help us all.
How the fuck do you sleep at night, Zuckerberg?
Don’t even bother responding to this. I’ve heard enough of your corporate cunt boilerplate bullshit to last me 100 lifetimes.

Robert Crawford

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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