Thursday, October 31, 2019

California is not on fire because of being "woke."

So, I've had to explain to a few geniuses on the Twitter that the California wildfires are actually not a result of California's "progressive" governence.

Surprisingly, it has not gone well.

But holy shit, even the cement-head randos on Twitter couldn't come up with as idiotic a take as Dave Rubin and Tucker Carlson.

So, they can't possibly blame PG&E. PG&E is a private, for-profit corporation and therefore does everything in the best and most efficient way or the invisible hand of the free market wouldn't tolerate them! But clearly the fires are due to PG&E's neglect of maintenance. So somehow - somehow - it must be the evil liberal government who forced PG&E to abandon the perfect principles of the free market and thus caused these fires!
So presumably, Rubin spent a lot of time pondering, wondering and doing every type of mental gymnastics and logical contortionism trying to find a way that California's Governor Newsom could be made to shoulder the blame. Then it hit him. Of course! It's so simple! It must be because of "wokeness!"

So, somehow, and this is a little tricky to follow, but somehow, California requiring public utilities to keep track of minority hiring (which I can't say for sure if they do or don't) somehow that caused PG&E to lose tracvk of the state of their infrastructure because a large multi-billion-dollar corporation is only capable of keeping track of one thing. Obviously. Then somehow, this affects the various fire departments who are battling these blazes. And somehow, because the fire departments care about hiring some black and/or LGBT firefighters, their ability to spray water at a fire is compromised.

Somehow, this also has to do with taxes going up but homelessness continuing to exist. It's all very complex,

And the crowning achievement, the cherry on the top of the jerk-off sundae, is the two dullards laughing about the "absurdity" of not wanting to "put too much pressure on the grid."

Also worth noticing is the way that Tucker nods soberly and quietly murmurs "yes, true" whenever Rubin says something particularly idiotic as if he were honored to be in the presence of such an insightful sage.

And bonus points for the utter preposterousness of white supremacist Tucker Carlson shouting "Who WOULD care?" if the firefighters sent to his home were black. "Who would care about something like that?" Well, you would, Tuck. None of the "woke" "liberal" Californian strawmen you like to pretend to beat up on would care, but you would.

Anywayyyy. . .

I haven't lived in California for a while. But I was there for the last round of "rolling blackouts," during the Enron Arthur Anderson debacle. And every county in the state of California had these blackouts except for one. Care to guess which one?

It was Los Angeles County.
Know why?
Because they have a municipal power company.
The county of Los Angleles - that is, the people of L.A. County - own the utility. And they were the only county to keep the lights on.
Maybe because municipal power companies don't do things like neglect maintenance in order to increase short-term profits. Because there are no profits to consider. PG&E did that, but a socialist/communist/pinko-liberal municipal power company doesn't. And maybe municipal power companies don't have to skimp on infrastructure repairs in order to pay out a few billion dollars to their shareholders. PG&E did that..

You know, it's almost as if the California fires are more the result of capitalist excesses than the desire to hire a few gay firefighters or something.

Speaking of which, here's a little thank you to some of my readers for putting up with my long boring rant.

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Third Annual Halloween Dance Party

I came up with some new spooooooky tunes this year.
Ready? Let's dance!

The Addams Family Dancing GIF

The Addams Family Television GIF

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

A ridiculous article about impeachment from a ridiculous website

Oh, this should be good!

Democrats Are Embarrassed By Schiff’s Impeachment Tactics, And They Should Be
Adam Mill

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All right, I'm all ears. Who are these Democrats who are supposedly "embarrassed" by Adam Schiif?

Criticisms of Rep. Adam Schiff’s impeachment tactics have begun to bite. Fair-minded people have begun to ask why is it necessary to have secret witnesses, secret hearings, and leaks of distorted, out-of-context excerpts from transcripts,

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No. No, that's incorrect. No "fair-minded people" have begun asking that. Because it's bullshit. The witnesses aren't secret, we know who they are. And the hearings aren't secret. Testimony is being taken in a closed-door hearing because that is the way the process works. That's how the Benghazi hearings worked. It's how every grand jury proceeding works. Have you never seen Law & Order?

Why is it necessary to block the president from sending representatives to attend these hearings so he can have equal access to any evidence?  Why was it necessary for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff to “parody” the transcript of the president’s call to the Ukrainian president? Aren’t parodies supposed to be funny? Shouldn’t the chairman be proceeding with sober deliberation and fairness instead of romping about with gleeful shtick?

Yes. should he not give this proceeding the sober deliberation it deserves? Have some goddamm respect for the gravitas of the situation. . .

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. . . sorry, you were saying? something about sober deliberation?

If Schiff cannot take the proceedings seriously, what of the 218 representatives who voted against the resolution condemning Schiff?

Well, I'm pretty sure that Schiff is taking the proceedings seriously. despite one moment of levity and that the 218 reps who voted not to condemn him were exercising something known as "common sense."

And why are Democrats shutting out Republicans from the process?

Because they fucking aren't, you lying, mendacious little rodent dropping!
There are three comittees involved in the impeachment inquiry. All Three Of These Committees Have Republican Members. You know this. I mean, I assume you know this. You can't be stupid enough to not know this. You're just lying. You're just repeating the official Republican party lie. Everyone knows that there are Republicans who are in the hearing room. About a dozen of these Republican shitweasels decided that, instead of attending the hearing, they would rather join the circle jerk outside, claiming that they have been denied entry. It's bullshit. They know it's bullshit, and so do you.

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Listening to the Democratic presidential primary debate last week, I heard something that made my ears prick up. The criticisms of the fairness of the impeachment inquiry have begun to resonate.

Oh, this should be good!

The evidence: Some of the candidates and their fawning CNN enablers felt compelled at least to pay lip service to the importance of a fair process. I had to review the transcript to confirm that my ears were not playing tricks on me.

Yeah,  you heard right. That's Democrats in a nutshell. Always insisting on respecting rules and norms no matter how shamelessly the opposition party flouts them.

CNN moderator Anderson Cooper asked candidate Cory Booker, “Sen. Booker, you have said that President Trump’s, quote, ‘moral vandalism’ disqualifies him from being president. Can you be fair in an impeachment trial?”

Booker responded, “So, first of all, we must be fair. We are talking about ongoing proceedings to remove a sitting president for office. This has got to be about patriotism and not partisanship. Look, I share the same sense of urgency of everybody on this stage. I understand the outrage that we all feel. But we have to conduct this process in a way that is honorable, that brings our country together, doesn’t rip us apart.”

And you'll notice that at no time did he intimate that that was not what was being done. He was just stressing the importance of proceeding fairly even though it's blatantly obvious to anyone with two good eyes that Trump in guilty. Of the Ukraine business and so many other things.

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Also, that is such a centrist Dem response. Still holding out hope that, if they act honorably enough, they can get the drooling knuckle-draggers to see that they are virtuous and the country can all come together as one as if that were still possible.

Another 2020 presidential contender, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, said, “If impeachment is driven by these hyperpartisan interests, it will only further divide an already terribly divided country. Unfortunately, this is what we’re already seen play out as calls for impeachment really began shortly after Trump won his election.”

Okay I'll give you Tulsi. But Tulsi's kind of a nut. You want to know how nutty?

 This ad   

is right there next to this article.
Yeah, she's advertising on the goddamm Federalist. Quite possibly the most laughably ridiculous of the far-right websites. Why? Who the hell knows? I guess she has that Democratic Party idea that if a candidate stresses their military service enough, they will win the respect of Republicans who loooove the troops so much! Remember how well that worked for John Kerry?

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Sen. Bernie Sanders added, “Mitch McConnell has got to do the right thing and allow a free and fair trial in the Senate.”

Aaaaand, you're somehow casting this as a criticism of Adam Schiff and the House? Sanders said something about Mitch McConnel and the Senate, and you think this is indicative of a feeling of embarrassment about a completely different person and a different chamber of Congress?

See, this is the sort of thing that makes the Federalist so goddamm funny. I mean, if there really are people out there taking this site seriously, then that would be a bit scary, but I have to assume that no one is reading the Federalist for any reason other than its comedic value and you're just being propped up with wads of Koch money.

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Like a Nicolas Cage movie!

Cooper challenged Sen. Kamala Harris’ apparent pre-judgment of any potential trial of Trump, saying, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that members of Congress have to be, in her words, fair to the president and give him a chance to exonerate himself. You’ve already said that based on everything you’ve seen, you would vote to remove him from office. Is that being fair to the president?” Harris must not have received the memo, because her answer dismissed any possibility of voting to acquit the yet-uncharged president.

Which clearly shows how embarrassed she is by Schiff's impeachment hearings?
Have you already forgotten the thesis of your article?

Also, you have Anderson Cooper challenging Kamala Harris which kind of undercuts your whole "the candidates and their fawning CNN enablers " premise.

Schiff’s Tactics Have No Defenders
Yeah, that's not true. That's not even close to true.That has no basis in fact. It's like saying the sky is green or giraffes are short.

Indeed, my survey of articles from left-leaning writers revealed no defense of the Schiff process. Nobody, and I mean nobody, seems willing to argue in favor of Schiff’s nakedly political process. The best the authors can muster is a half-hearted mumbling about fairness not being required.

Oh, your survey? Your survey? Well, why didn't you say so? Oh, I'm sure you did an exhaustive reading of "left-leaning" writers and their articles about the impeachment. You wouldn't just make up some bullshit like that, would you?

Writing for Reuters, Jan Wolfe recently tackled the question, “Does the impeachment probe violate Trump’s civil rights?” Her short answer is “no,” but the way Schiff is running roughshod over the opposition is undermining the process. She notes, “Legal experts say because impeachment is a political, and not legal, process, the House has broad authority to set the ground rules for an inquiry. Allowing Trump’s lawyers to participate anyway could build public support and make it appear more fair, however, they said.”

Well, I think that the painstaking nature of your survey of left-leaning writers can be best illustrated by the fact that you refer to Jan Wolfe as "she" and Her," when in fact, THIS 

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is Jan Wolfe, the writer for Reuters.

Now, I wasn't familiar with Wolfe either, but it took me about 10 seconds on Google to find out that he is a man and that he doesn't really seem all that lefty-loosey.

Anyway, the quote that you cited definitely does not indicate that he thinks that there is any unfairness in the procedures, just that "some legal experts" feel that allowing one of Trump's chimpanzee clownn lawyers to be involved would make it appear more fair.

The normally left-leaning Keith E. Whittington posted to the a prescient article in 2017 warning that “An Impeachment Should not be a Partisan Affair.” 

Oh my God. Well, if someone wrote an article two years ago, that surely proves that he is uncomfortable with something that is going on now in the present day!

Honest to God, you couldn't make this shit up. The Federalist would give the Oniuon a run for their money if they weren't trying to be taken seriously.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The bullshit never ends.

Oh my God, there is just no end to the bullshit. There is a bottomless supply of whacko billionaire money to fund a never-ending production of bullshit. Here's a new one. Or at least one I hadn't heard about until just now. They're called "AllSides" Which, honestly, is probably enough for you to judge the level of bullshittiness they put out.

They produce, among other things, this handy-dandy bias chart for schools and libraries to teach kids about the leanings of various news sources. Which would be great. If it weren't bullshit.

Look at the below chart:

AllSides Media Bias Chart 2019

I mean, I don't know where to begin,
I guess I could start with the fact that the New York Times op-ed section, the home of David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss is listed as "LEFT." So right away, you're being lied to. It's not even a plausible lie. Does the Times have a single columnist who could accurately be described as "left?" "Liberal, maybe.. But I can't think of anyone I would consider a real lefty. And even if they did, they are more than balanced out by the far-right hacks the Times sees fit to keep publishing. At best, I would rate the Times editorial section as "Center," but if I'm being honest, I gotta go with "leans right."

Also, it's one thing to say that Democracy Now! and the Nation are as lefty as National Review and Breitbart are to the right, but they're ignoring a very important distinction, which is that National review, Breitbart, and the others listed on the right make shit up. Yes, there are outlets like the Nation or Alternet who have a left-leaning bias. But they don't lie. They don't smear. They don't traffic in wild conspiracy theories the way every one of the right outlets do. Also, if you are lumping in milquetoast liberal outlets like HuffPo with the Jacobin, you clearly need more categories. And if you're listing the Daily Beast, an outlet that features Meghan McCain, on the "Left," you either have no idea what you're taking about, or you're just being extremely dishonest. Ten seconds on Wikipedia will tell you all you need to know about the Daily Beast.

Editor-in-Chief John Avlon began pairing reporters from both the right and left sides of the political spectrum to cover stories on the White House. In particular, they are using both Asawin Suebsaeng (formerly of Mother Jones) and Lachlan Markay (formerly of the Heritage Foundation) to file stories on the Trump Administration. Avlon commented about the approach saying, "We're nonpartisan, but not neutral. And so bringing these two perspectives together, I think, helps us stand out from the pack."[14]

So it's bullshit. And I'm sure they know it's bullshit. It's typical right-wing bullshit. When you can't deny your own malignancy, simply pretend that the other side does the same thing and everyone else is just as bad. But they're feeding this bullshit to kids. Look:

So, who is "All Sides?" Well, here's how they describe themselves:

AllSides has done the seemingly impossible. We’ve found something both sides of the political aisle agree on: that respectfully listening to understand all perspectives is a solution to navigating our modern world, and that it’s worth investing in that outcome — for the good of democracy.

No. Not really.
I mean, if one side is Elizabeth Warren and the other is Bernie Sanders? Yeah. We should listen to each other's points of view. But when one side is Warren and Sanders and the other side is Breitbart, Bannon, Trump and the "very fine people" who favor white nationalism? Hell no!
There is nothing to be gained by humoring or entertaining the racist, misogynist, xenophobic and anti-LGBT denizens of the right. They bring nothing to the table but hatred. These are not the "conservatives" of previous generations. There are not Eisenhower conservatives, or Bob Dole concervatives or even Nixon conservatives. These are the people that previous generations of conservatives were afraid of. Not so afraid that they didn't court their votes and rely on their support, but still. There's an expression I heard somewhere that you shouldn't give the devil a ride, because the devil will end up driving. The Laura Ingrahams and Tucker Carlsons of today's right are the devils who have seized the wheel. We do not owe these people a listen. We have no obligation to hear them out. They are poison.

That also means that at AllSides, you are sure to find someone involved who you don’t like or agree with. Our readers are pretty evenly split among left, right and mixed political leanings – about one third each.

Yeah. . . I don't believe you. I notice there's no link to any kind of audience research data. I mean, you just toss out this statistic with nothing to back it up. I would bet more money than I can afford to lose that you're bullshitting again.

So, where does a bullshit production company get its funding? Well, the answer just may surprise you not at all if you've been paying attention to politics for the last few decades.

AllSides has also worked with organizations and received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation. 

I know. Shocking, right?

Oh, but of course, it's not just Koch money. They get funding from other sources too.

For example, we have partnered and received some funding from some organizations that are dedicated to bridging divides, and many of these are run mostly by people from the left. Some have received money from people like Tom Steyer, billionaire donor and leader of progressive causes.

So, I see we've expanded the definition of "progressive" to mean "anything to the left of Mussolini?"

Tom Steyer is no progressive.
He is a centrist at best, running on a platform of appeasing the 99% just enough that we don't start building guillotines.

Look at his website:

Tom on Health Care

Tom believes health care is a basic human right. As president, he will:
  • Fight for universal health care coverage as a right
  • Create a strong public option to compete with the private insurance marketplace and give the people a choice in their care
We want single payer. We want what they have in Canada. Or something similar, manybe what they have in France or Sweden or the Netherlands, whatever. We want Medicare for All.

70 percent of Americans support 'Medicare for all' proposal

Steyer proposes "options" and "choices," ensuring that the leeches of the for-profit healthcare system can remain in business.

Tom on the Economy

Unchecked capitalism has allowed corporations to hijack our democracy. Tom’s economic agenda puts people over profits by:
  • Breaking the corporate stranglehold on government
  • Investing in the American people
  • Harnessing innovation and competition

Ooh, harnessing innovation and competition? You left out "the invisible hand of the free market!"
it's all vague, blandly pleasant-sounding pablum. Nothing I would call "progressive." Certainly he's no counterweight to the god damned Koch brothers!

So I have not been able to find out how many schools have been infected with the AllSides strain of bullshit. There are testimonials from teachers in several states, but  who knows? Also, I don't know if these arer public schools or weirdo private ones. But this bullshit is out there and it's pretty much guaranteed to spread.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019

More reasons why Blue Bloods is the worst show on television

I guess now would be a good time to answer the question that, so far, you all have been too polite to ask. "If you know these shows are so terrible, why do you watch them?" Well, I don't. See, ny wife suffers from insomnia and the way she is able to get to sleep is to have the tv on in the background while she drifts off. And she isn't going to watch anything good while going to sleep. She needs shows that have enough story to occupy her mind just a bit, but are bad enough that she doesn't feel like she wants to stay awake to see what happens. And boring enough to help her drift off to dreamland. So I see bits and pieces of these bad shows. It's the price you pay for being married to a superheroine whose super power is that her brain never shuts off.

So, now that that's settled, let's talk some more about Blue Bloods.

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If you have Netflix, it's worth watching the first like 6 minutes of Season One Episode One just to witness the incredibly ham-handed exposition. Because this show absolutely does not trust its audience to figure anything out on their own or to have the patience to wait to find out.

So, to begin - for some reason, it is very important for viewers to know that the show takes place in New York City. So the cold open begins with a montage of New York City sights like the Statue of Liberty. And in case anyone out there doesn't get it, the montage shows over the sound of Sinatra's "New York, New York." Just to be sure everyone is on the same page.

The opening scene takes place at Will Estes' character's graduation from the police academy which is treated like he's graduating from West Point or something. Like, is graduating from the police academy that big a deal? Is anyone impressed by this? It's trade school. Have you seen some of the lunkheads that are cops in New York? They all graduated from the academy. No one should be impressed by this accomplishment.

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After the ceremony, featuring Tom Selleck's fawning, unctuous, self-congratulatory speech, the family meets outside. And here comes the exposition. Donnie Wahlberg tells Will Estes "Mom is probably spinning in her grave, knowing you dropped out of law school to become a cop."(Paraphrasing) Because how else would you know that Tom Selleck is a widower, and that his youngest son is super smart? Wahlberg contiues "now you're just a cop like every other member of the family." Just so you get that this is a family made up entirely of cops. His sister says something like "except me," and Wahlberg puts his arm around her (so there's no doubt to whom he is referring) ans says "oh, that's right. We got a district attorney in the family!" Because it's not like you're going to wait until there's a scene where she's prosecuting a case to figure out what she does for a living.
Oh, and the family? The family of heroes at the heart of this drama? Their surname is Reagan. In case you had any doubts about the show's political p.o.v.

Familientradition       Blue Bloods

Oh, and family is super important to this show.

They make a big deal about how the whole family gets together for Sunday dinner every week. "Most families don't do that anymore," says Tom Selleck. "But I'm glad we do. Because family is what makes us strong."

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So ever week, they gather around the table where Tom Selleck holds court dressed in, for some reason, a ridiculous looking cardigan.

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God, just turn up the heat, Tom! 

And they make a big production of saying grace before eating.

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Why grandpa wears his uniform to dinner long after retirement is a mystery.

And they toss around some of the worst-written dialogue you're likely to hear on any show. It goes something like this.
Kid: "Hey, who made these rolls? They're great!"
Grandpa : 'I did."
Other kid: "So buying something at the bakery counts as 'making something' now?"

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All the dialogue on this show is bad. It's just badly written. It's corny. It's cliche'. It's heavy-handed.

Like, how many times does Tom Selleck have to make a big point about how he can not abuse his position as police commissioner to give his sons any special treatment. When Donnie Wahlberg finds out he's being investigated by some agency, Tom Selleck refuses to tell him who is looking into him or what they're looking at. Inexplicably, Donnie Wahlberg assumes that Tom Selleck must be the one investigating him and storms out of Sunday dinner which, as you might expect, is the worst thing anyone in the family has ever had happen to them. At one point, Selleck worries aloud that his "no special treatment" is so well known in the department that it may be preventing anyone from poromoting his son, because they would be afraid that Selleck might think they were giving his son special treatment and then, boy, they'd be in trouble. Because, as we all know, nepotism is simply not allowed in big city police forces. Why, that would be unethical! And as we know, there are no unethical cops among New York's finest!

Okay, I know we're all sick of talking about Blue Bloods, but I just want to talk about one story line. In one episode, a white cop shoots a young black man. The cop swears he saw a gun in the man's hand, but no gun is found at the scene and the only eyewitness says the kid was unarmed. Naturally, here come the protesters who just can't forgive a cop for an honest mistake! Well, eventually, the eyewitness ends up recanting, said that the kid did have a gun, and that she had scooped up the gun off the sidewalk and hidden it because. . . reasons? Because this lady just wanted to hurt cops for some reason. Because of course the cop wasn't in the wrong. Of course not. How could he be? Cops never shoot unarmed black men, and people who claim that they do are obviously lying for some nefarious reason of their own. So the protesters are made to look like fools and the dead kid is revealed to have been a "thug" all along and no innocent person is ever harmed by a cop, case closed.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Why "Blue Bloods" is the worst show on Television.

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Before we get into what makes Blue Bloods so gawd-awful, let me just say this. This is a good cast. Donnie Wahlberg is terrific. I would really like to see him in something good. I would like to go back in time and have him play the Casey Affleck character in Gone Baby Gone., because that was a really good movie, but Casey Affleck was sadly mis-cast. There are a couple times in that movie when his character has to be intimidating and Casey Affleck just can not pull off intimidating. Wahlberg can.

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But the cast overall is quite good. There's former child star Will Estes, Bridget Moynihan who I know from somewhere but can't place her, there's Oz's Robert Clohessy and the Sopranos' Steve Schirripa, NYPD Blue's Nicholas Turturro, and Third Watch's Amy Carlson.
Plus, there's this guy:

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Calm down, ladies!

So, a good cast all around. Wasted on this horrible show.

Cop shows in general tend to have the problem that they portray cops as always unambiguously the good guys. The heroes. Other than The Shield, that seems fairly universal. But no cop show I've ever seen has the level of worship for cops than Blue Bloods.

I get it, the main characters are all cops, you want your main characters to be the good guys, but holy fucking hell, this show feels like it was written by the police union or something. These cops never miss a chance to pat themselves on the back for having the courage and strength of character to have chosen this most noble of professions. Oh, and heavy indeed lies the head which wears the policeman's cap! But the gallant men and women of the NYPD take on this daunting sacrifice selflessly, the pursuit of justice their only reward!

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Which, of course, means that any character who has a problem with the way the cops do their jobs, anyone who protests against police violence or insists that black lives should matter is automatically a villain. Anyone who objects to any aspect of modern policing is either an attention-seeking troublemaker, or is out for some kind of payday, or has some other ulterior motive. No one who complains about the tactics of the NYPD is ever sincere or has any sort of legitimate complaint.

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For exaample. there is a character who is a minister. A blcak minister, a stand-in for a Jesse Jackson or ans Al Sharpton, who is a frequent critic of police brutality. He is depicted as, at best, a nuisance and a troublemaker. On one episode, the minister's son is murdered. The minister and a member of the minister's "security detail" bring a suspect into the station. The man is bleeding from his nose and mouth, the minister's security guy says he "fell" on the way to the station. Because, of course the Reverend and his security guy are complete hypocrites. Of course, when they apprehend a suspect, they immediately do what they complain about the cops doing. And Donnie Wahlberg, straight-arrow that he is, says thet now he can not interrogate the man because he's been "tuned up" by the pastor's goon and now anything he says will be "tainted." Because no cop ever EVER breaks any rule or code of ethics or cuts any corners. That would violate the policeman's code of honor! Why they'd rather die than do that.

Strangely, in one of the first episodes of which I saw a bit, Donnie Wahlberg chases a man across the rooftops until he has him cornered. The bad guy asks something like "what are you gonna do now?" which is already weird, becausae he's asking very smugly as though he has the upper hand, but that's not the point. The point is, when he asks that, Donnie kicks him in the crotch and then pistol-whips him. And Donnie is the "good guy!"

Donnie's father (Tom Selleck) and grandfather are both NYPS veterans (Get it? Blue Bloods? 'cuz being police is in their blood?" Eh? Get it?) They reminisce about the good old days when cops were allowed to just beat the shit out of people and we're just supposed to play along with this notion that they aren't able to do that today. One time the grandfather sees a protester on TV and says something like "I'd like to kick his ass." Tom Selleck replies wistfully "These days, that would be considered 'excessive force.'"

This is another problem that is endemic to cop shows, this ridiculous notion that cops are in constant danger of losing their careers because of various elements of society, especially Internal Affairs, are just looking for any opportunity to take a good cop down. That any time a cop neglects to cross a T or dot an I, the "rat squad" will come down on him with a vengeance looking to exact punishment. It's completely absurd, of course, but you watch enough of these shows and it starts to seem like it's true. You know, there's a lot of things that I think I know about the legal system that, if I really thionk about, I only know from Law & Order. And they're probably not true. But that is a subject for another time.

Oh, and we're just getting started on Blue Bloods.

This is going to be a two-parter. At least.

It seriously is the worst show on television.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Limousine Liberals

Conservatives and their media would have us believe that Hollywood liberals are irredeemably leftist. Those of us who actually are irredeemably lefty know that no, they are not.

Today's Twitter feed was as good an example as any.

Jesus Christ, Rosie!
Look, I get it. I hate Cheeto Mussolini as much as the next guy, but George W. Bush? He's a monster. Il Douche may seem more noxious, but he will likely never have the kind of body count that Dubya has on his karmic record. You're nostalgic for Dubya? The man who got 5,000 American troops killed when he invaded the wrong country after being asleep at the switch on 9/11? The man who authorized torture? The man who decided that habeus corpus was an option to dismissed at his discretion? The man who gave us the DHS, ICE and the PATRIOT ACT? Nothing that tRump has done so far comes close to the damage that GW Bush did to the nation and the world.

Then there was this.

You can watch the video if you want, but I'll save you some time. It's the usual centrist pablum about how we can be friends with people even when we disagree on things or have different opinions and blah, blah, blah. . .
(And yes, she specifically says that she is "friends" with George W. Bush. Ugh!)

Of course, one of the things on which Ellen ans W disagree is the notion that she and Portia should have the same right to marry as Dubya and Laura. Or the right to serve in the military. Or to be treated as regular, not second-class, citizens.

I mean, for God's sake Ellen and Rosie are both LGBT! (Or, I guess they're both "L," but whatever.) Do you ladies not remember how Dubya and his Republican party used gay marriage as a wedge issue to drive homophobes to the polls? Do you not remember his support for "traditional marriage?" Or his call for a Constitutional Amendment to permanently restrict marriage rigfhts to only hetero couples?

I get that you can be friends with people you disagree with. I could be friends with someone who thinks single-payer healthcare is not a good idea, or that rich people are already taxed enough, but I don't see how I could possibly be friends with someone who thought that I was not deserving of the same civil rights as everyone else.

This is the problem with "mainstream" or "moderate" or "centrist" Democrats. They are obsessed with this idea that we can find common ground with the right, that we can work out compromises or whatever. Which may have been a legitimate approach pre-Gingrich, but this is a vastly different political landscape we inhabit now. Not that it was ever really a great idea to play buddy-buddy with Republicans. That usually ends up with Republicans getting the policy that they want and Democrats going along in the spirit of bi-partisanship.

You can not compromise with monsters. If someone wants to institute a policy of torture, how do you compromise with that person? How do you find common ground with that person? Do you agree on waterboarding is okay, but no bamboo under the fingernails? Do you settle on you can only torture some of the prisoners you are holding without charge in Gitmo?  And how do you compromise with someone who thinks LGBT people should not have the full rights of citizens? Actually, we know how, because a lot of centrist Dems were okay with "civil unions" for gay couples, but not actual marriage. When you try to compromise on a civil rights issue, you bargain away people's rights, their status as fellow human beings, their dignity. It's wrong. It was wrong when they told black civil rights activists to "go slow" * It was wrong when they told women's rights activists to accept incremental change, and it was wrong when they told LGBT people to accept the "compromise" of civil unions. It will always be wrong.

Someone asked me recently what the difference is between liberals and progressives. I had to think for a minute, but what I came up with is this: Liberals want to address the symptoms, Progressives want to cure the disease. For example, we have a problem in this country that private for-profit health insurance companies have proven that they are either unable or unwilling to cover everyone sufficiently. The progressive response to that problem is to say "Fine. They can't or won't do it. We'll do it for them. We should just do what Canada does. (Or France, or the UK, etc.) The liberal "solution" is something like Obamacare. Is Obamacare better than what we had before? Undoubtably. No question.
Is it good enough? Hell no. Not when people are still having to ration their insulin. Not when people are not going to the doctor because they still can't afford the co-pays and deductibles. The ACA was a compromise with the ghouls of the right who wanted things to remain the way they were so that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and for-profit hospitals and clinics could continue maximizing profits at the cost of human lives. Instead of just eliminating these bloodsucking middlemen, we took the liberal compromise approach. We tinkered around the edges. We eliminated annual and lifetime limits. We allowed parents to keep their kids on their health plans until age 26 or so. Which were both good things to do. But since one of our priorities was making sure that Aetna and Blue Shield were able  to remain profitable, we left some people out in the cold. It's great that people with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance now, but if they can't afford the co-pays and deductibles, it's really not much of an improvement.

Anyway, I got sidetracked a bit.
The point is that no one should be rehabilitating the public image of the man responsible for a half million dead Iraqis, two million refugees, and some 30,000 American GIs wounded in a war for NOTHING which his administration lied us into.

And I know it's tempting to blame Dick Cheney for all this. Cheney looks the part of the villain, and he is pure seething evil, while Dubya seems affable and goofy, but Dubya had the final say on every one of these policies. And he's not as stupid as he seems. Oh, sure, he's stupid. But he is a college graduate. It's not like they were propping Lenny from Of Mice and Men up there while Cheney and Rumsfeld made all the decisions. Even if none of this was his idea (which is unlikely) he could have, at any moment said "No, Dick. We are not going to send prisoners off to blck sites to be tortured." "No, Dick, we are NOT going to subject people, including US citizens, to indefinite detention without charges." And "No, Dick, We all know that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, so we are absolutely not going to bomb, invade, or occupy them." But he didn't. He never would. Because he was absolutely on board with every single bit of it.

So no one should be rehabilitating Dubya. Especially not people who portray themselves as "liberals."

* Me and my people just about due
I've been there so I know
They keep on saying 'Go slow!'
But that's just the trouble
'Do it slow'
Washing the windows
'Do it slow'
Picking the cotton
'Do it slow'
You're just plain rotten
'Do it slow'
You're too damn lazy
'Do it slow'
The thinking's crazy
'Do it slow'

-- Nina Simone, "Mississippi, Goddam."