the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-07-13 05:50 pm
Entry tags:

Now reading

Only Child by Andrew Vachss.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-07-13 05:42 pm
Entry tags:

Was reading

Pain Management by Andew Vachss. And yeah, I did finish it before I updated this thing.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-06-12 05:20 pm
Entry tags:

Now reading

Dead and Gone by Andrew Vachss.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-06-08 04:53 pm

Like father, like... (The sequel)

Eric Trump continues to be himself, which is hardly pleasant for the rest of us.

Then again, this is a guy whose brother decided to help get Dear Old Dad elected by (at least graphically) allying himself with quite a few equally unpleasant people, so I guess we shouldn't be shocked at the phrase "not even people" being used by Eric.

I feel that Eric Trump is definitely a person, however.

He's also a complete idiot.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-06-08 04:29 pm
Entry tags:

Not much else to tell, actually

There weren't nearly as many surprises as some people might have been expecting in James Comey's Senate testimony, but this passage makes me wonder how much Team Unintelligible was damaged by it:

After Comey's testimony, Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz said Comey "admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President."

As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, the lawyer also accused Comey of misstating the timing of the leak.

"Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York
Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet."

In fact, Comey's timeline appears to be correct.

Trump tweeted on Friday, May 12, that "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversation before he starts leaking to the press."

Comey said it was that tweet that prompted him to ask a friend to reveal the contents of the memo to a reporter the following Tuesday, May 16. The
Times ran a story about the memo contents later that day. Although the Times also reported on May 11 — before Trump's tweet — about Comey's private dinner with the president, that story made no reference to Comey's contemporaneous memos. New York Times reporters corroborated Comey's timeline on Thursday after Kasowitz's statement.

So that's it? The biggest weapon in Kasowitz's arsenal for discrediting Comey's testimony is an assertion about its timing that isn't even correct?

This is going to be a long, hot summer.

Just not for Comey, IMO.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-06-07 04:55 pm
Entry tags:

Like father, like...

Of course, if you're Eric Trump you just might be like your old man in a lot of respects - none of them apparently good:

Eric Trump, Mr. Trump's second-oldest son, told Forbes all the money from the annual golf tournaments at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York benefited children with cancer, and he did not pay to use his family's golf course.

"We get to use our assets 100 percent free of charge," he told Forbes' Dan Alexander.

But IRS tax forms Forbes obtained show use of the course wasn't free after all. The for-profit Trump Organization received payments from the not-for-profit Eric Trump Foundation for use of the golf course, part of the $1.2 million that has no documented receipts beyond the Trump Organization, according to Forbes.

More than $500,000 in donations raised from the tournaments was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, according to Forbes. Four such groups held their own charity tournaments at Trump golf courses at later dates. The nonprofit Donald J. Trump Foundation also donated $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation to cover tournament costs, money that was then redirected to Trump businesses, Forbes claims.

According to Forbes, it was now-President Trump himself who demanded that the Eric Trump Foundation be charged for the use of the golf course.

Seriously, if Team Unintelligible keeps going this way it's not like they'll need a Democratic landslide in the 2018 congressional elections to sink their administration - they're doing an incredible job of that all by themselves.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-06-07 04:31 pm

I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

It's not much of a surprise that President Unintelligible may have, oh, openly attempted to get his former FBI director to drop a case or two because an old buddy of his was feeling the pressure, but then again nothing that narcissistic idiot does these days surprises me much.

Now, Trump acting like an adult during Comey's testimony, that would be surprising.

Then again, perhaps not.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-05-24 04:54 pm

Signal Boost: "White House’s 2018 Budget Plan Would 'Devastate' R&D, Says AAAS CEO Holt"

If you really needed any more explanation from a source outside President Unintelligible Central about why his budget would be especially hard on scientific and medical research, look no further than the following post from the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

The double-digit percentage cuts President Donald Trump is proposing in his fiscal 2018 budget plan for science and technology programs would “devastate America’s science and technology enterprise” and weaken the nation’s economic growth, Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said Tuesday.

Pointing to the budget blueprint the White House delivered to Congress Tuesday, Holt said, the plan, if enacted, would make steep cuts to science and technology programs and “negatively affect our nation’s economy and public well-being.” He cited several agencies and programs facing particularly “severe” cuts.

For instance, the proposal calls for sharp reductions in science and technology programs, including 11% from the National Science Foundation, which champions basic scientific research across all fields except medical topics; 22% from the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest biomedical research agency; and 44% from the Environmental Protection Agency’s science and technology programs.

“Slashing funding of critically important federal agencies threatens our nation’s ability to advance cures for disease, develop new energy technologies, improve public health, train the next generation of scientists and engineers and grow the American economy,” said Holt.

The Energy Department’s scientific research efforts also face deep cuts. Its Office of Science, the government’s central energy research agency, largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences and the home of a renowned network of national research laboratories, would be cut by 17% and its Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy would face a 69% reduction. The budget proposal also calls for the department’s Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy program to be eliminated altogether by fiscal 2019.

The Agriculture Department’s research programs were not immune to proposed reductions. Funding for the Agriculture Research Service, for instance, would shrink by 38%; the National Institute for Food Agriculture would face an 8% decrease; and the Forest Service research programs would be cut by 10%. The Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey, which maps the Earth’s systems to help officials monitor natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides, is slated to be cut by 15%.

At the Commerce Department, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a scientific agency, which uses satellite data to forecast and track severe weather and conducts research on oceans, fisheries and climate, would see funding fall by 9%, while the National Institute of Standards and Technology that leverages measurement science to advance innovation would see a 23% decrease.

Holt stressed that the budget proposal in now in the hands of Congress where it is up to lawmakers to accept, reject or shape, a reality that was on full display when the Republican-controlled Congress restored many of the cuts Trump outlined in his fiscal 2017 budget plan.

During an afternoon press conference, Holt noted that the administration’s budget proposal deviates from how the scientific enterprise has long been viewed. “It has been regarded as an investment that leads to economic growth and human welfare,” said Holt, noting that the fiscal 2018 plan “is completely contrary to the idea of investment.”

Holt applauded Congress for “prioritizing federal research and development” when lawmakers finalized spending on May 4 for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends after Sept. 30.

He called on Congress to continue to make research and development investments a priority and “to once again act in the nation’s best interest and support funding for R&D in a bipartisan fashion – including both defense and non-defense programs – in FY 2018 and beyond.”
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-05-24 04:29 pm
Entry tags:

Signal Boost: "We’re Seth Rich’s parents. Stop politicizing our son’s murder."

Although the following Washington Post editorial co-authored by Mary and Joel Rich - the parents of murder victim and current conspiracy theory target Seth Rich - was intended to stop the nonsense being spouted about the circumstances of his murder, I'm under the sad impression that it'll fall on mainly deaf ears (for one thing,opportunistic ghoul Sean Hannity didn't give up repeating it even after Fox News did, so why should he stop now?) considering who it was intended for.

Regardless of that, the editorial bears repeating - especially since this is becoming more and more like Vince Foster all over again, and for no good reason other than what only a hardened cynic might be able to dredge up in their worst imagination.

Imagine living in a nightmare that you can never wake up from. Imagine having to face every single day knowing that your son was murdered. Imagine you have no answers — that no one has been brought to justice and there are few clues leading to the killer or killers. Imagine that every single day, with every phone call you hope that it’s the police, calling to tell you that there has been a break in the case.

Imagine that instead, every call that comes in is a reporter asking what you think of a series of lies or conspiracies about the death. That nightmare is what our family goes through every day.

Our beloved son Seth Rich was gunned down in the early hours of July 10, 2016, in his Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Bloomingdale. On the day he was murdered, Seth was excited about a new job he had been offered on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Seth had dedicated his life to public service, and he told us that he wanted to work on the campaign’s effort to expand voter participation because he loved our country dearly and believed deeply in the promise of democratic engagement. Seth had been walking around, calling friends, family and his girlfriend, pondering the broader picture of what the job change would mean. He wondered how he would pick up and move to New York City for four months, the strain that might put on his relationships, and how it would all affect the life he had built for himself in Washington.

We know that Seth was abruptly confronted on the street, that he had been on the phone and quickly ended the call. We also know that there were signs of a struggle, including a watchband torn when the assailants attempted to rip it off his wrist. Law-enforcement officials told us that Seth’s murder looked like a botched robbery attempt in which the assailants — after shooting our son — panicked, immediately ran and abandoned Seth’s personal belongings. We have seen no evidence, by any person at any time, that Seth’s murder had any connection to his job at the Democratic National Committee or his life in politics. Anyone who claims to have such evidence is either concealing it from us or lying.

Still, conservative news outlets and commentators continue, day after painful day, to peddle discredited conspiracy theories that Seth was killed after having provided WikiLeaks with emails from the DNC. Those theories, which some reporters have since retracted, are baseless, and they are unspeakably cruel.

We know that Seth’s personal email and his personal computer were both inspected by detectives early in the investigation and that the inspection revealed no evidence of any communications with anyone at WikiLeaks or anyone associated with WikiLeaks. Nor did that inspection reveal any evidence that Seth had leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks or to anyone else. Indeed, those who have suggested that Seth’s role as a data analyst at the DNC gave him access to a wide trove of emails are simply incorrect — Seth’s job was to develop analytical models to encourage voters to turn out to vote. He didn’t have access to DNC emails, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee emails, John Podesta’s emails or Hillary Clinton’s emails. That simply wasn’t his job.

Despite these facts, our family’s nightmare persists. Seth’s death has been turned into a political football. Every day we wake up to new headlines, new lies, new factual errors, new people approaching us to take advantage of us and Seth’s legacy. It just won’t stop. The amount of pain and anguish this has caused us is unbearable. With every conspiratorial flare-up, we are forced to relive Seth’s murder and a small piece of us dies as more of Seth’s memory is torn away from us.

To those who sincerely want to get to the bottom of Seth’s murder, we don’t hold this against you. We don’t think you are monsters, and we don’t think you are terrible people. We know that so many people out there really do care, don’t know what to think and are angry at the lack of answers.

We also know that many people are angry at our government and want to see justice done in some way, somehow. We are asking you to please consider our feelings and words. There are people who are using our beloved Seth’s memory and legacy for their own political goals, and they are using your outrage to perpetuate our nightmare. We ask those purveying falsehoods to give us peace, and to give law enforcement the time and space to do the investigation they need to solve our son’s murder.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-05-18 04:56 pm
Entry tags:

In Memoriam: Chris Cornell, 1964-2017

I still have a hard time believing this.

I'm having an even harder one accepting it.

the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-05-18 04:35 pm
Entry tags:

Schadenfreude: Roger Ailes

Again, I don't wish death on people I can't stand. However, I also refuse to fete the memory of assholes in a hypocritical manner after their passing, and I won't do it for Ailes, either.

It wasn't merely that Ailes made it possible for lunatics like Louis Gohmert or Michelle Bachmann viable forces in national politics via Fox News, but he also succeeded in making it possible - or even mandatory - for people to act like petulant 8-year-old bullies raging away on an uncontrollable sugar high in order to get elected to office. That also means that he made Donald Trump possible as well - and just look where that's gotten us all.

Oh, and then there's the entire sexual harassment thing as well, on top of all that other happy horseshit.

So if you want to see a eulogy, go look at Charles P. Pierce's. Or maybe the one from Deadspin is brutal enough.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2017-04-20 05:06 pm

Oh noes!

I now haz a Dreamwidth account.

As to why, here it is in a nutshell from The Mary Sue:

LiveJournal was bought by the Russian company SUP Media in 2007, but the servers themselves weren’t relocated to Russia until December of 2016. The new Terms of Service (TOS) agreement bans “political solicitation” and requires that any content which is considered “inappropriate for children according to Russian law” be marked as adult/18+ content. Given Russia’s attitudes toward LGBTQIA content, this likely means any queer content must be marked as 18+. Some users have argued that the new terms could even constitute an outright ban on LGBTQIA content.

In addition, any LiveJournal blog which receives more than 3,000 viewers in a 24-hour period must register as a media outlet; this places that blog’s content under even further content restrictions. Critics of the new policy further worry that LiveJournal’s compliance efforts will expose users to the Russian police force’s invasive web monitoring.

Uh, no. Afraid not. Thanks, but I'll pass.
the_archfiend: (Default)
2016-11-09 05:45 pm

Why pretending this shit didn't happen won't help

"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

-Hunter S. Thompson, about 44 years too early and 100 million Americans off, from
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

I'm not going to pretend to take the high road on this one, dear readers.

To say that a very large portion of my fellow American citizens have made a gigantic mistake - one that will stink to high heaven like a turd dropped unexpectedly by some Baleen whale that's mysteriously learned how to fly for years, if not decades - is an understatement. Well, some of them did. Actually, not even a majority: Hillary Clinton got something like 200,000 more votes but still lost in the Electoral College, which is precisely why that institution is looking more and more archaic and even downright dangerous since it's the second time in five Presidential elections that that's happened.

But even worse is what got elected as a result.

I could've lived with a McCain presidency or a Romney presidency. No, really. I might not have liked it, but neither one of those gentlemen was as much a toxic lump of egomania, misogyny, xenophobia and a whole lot of other various types of rotting garbage as Trump is. In my opinion, he is simply the single worst candidate for President ever put forth by a major party in the last one hundred years and may be one of the worst ever, up to and including Aaron Burr and Ulysses S. Grant. And his supporters are no prize, either. Especially these supporters.

So what do you do when you wake up and find out that someone like this is President-elect?

You could do any number of things, including crawling into a deep depression, planning on immigrating to Canada in as short a span of time as possible, or even - with some of the more despair-racked people, unfortunately - consider suicide. That last choice is an especially horrid one, especially considering the sort of worthless asshole who's inspiring such an act.

Care to guess what my answer is to all of those "solutions" is, though?

Would a sound "Fuck, no" suffice?

If Trump goes out of his way to put forth the worst parts of his nebulous - but still destructive - agenda in motion, the only solution is to fight back. Through peaceful means, of course, but if it turns out that some long, long years down the line we're looking at political mobs hired by President for Life Trump to beat down anyone who dares look at him funny at a public appearance, then some other alternatives that aren't as peaceful might have to occur instead. I don't think it'll ever come to that - the Orange Monstrosity is nothing if not adept at self-destructive outbursts that could even alienate veteran Republicans (as he did with Gordon Humphrey), but this is a very odd world we live in at the moment. It's liable to get even more uncomfortably strange as time goes on.

But I'm only being just a little alarmist about this, right?


the_archfiend: (Default)
2016-11-08 05:17 pm
Entry tags:

Signal boost: The Election That Almost Ate Our Souls

(Note: the first section is a slighted re-edited version of what I posted on Facebook about this odd little election of ours. The second part, however, is a repost of Jeb Lund's essay from Deadspin on the subject, because it sums up in (albeit somewhat gonzo journalism) terms what this thing was like, and why it's a sign that we need to change the political system in some way that makes cases of historical nausea like this a thing of the past. Unfortunately, I don't think we will.)

Like 1992, this was a faceoff between a Democratic candidate I didn't vote for in the primaries and someone else. That "someone else" is someone I could've lived with in 1992, though. Now the wife of the 1992 primary non-preference is running against someone who comes off as a pompous, loudmouthed, unthinking, egomaniacal and just plain unpleasant sack of shit even at the *best* of times, and I'm expected to somehow... sit here and believe this was a "choice". Sure it was. Just like you have a "choice" of drinking Tab or hydrochloric acid, or a "choice" between a Big Mac and maggot-ridden, listeria-riddled ex-meat. If this "choice" is anything like what we might have to sit through in 2020, the only thing I can think of *then* is moving to a different country where election reform laws and decades of "just because you can doesn't mean you should" experiences have shit-hammered the politicians there into something resembling civility.

Naturally, I'm hoping I don't have to do that. I don't speak Danish or Finnish, and New Zealand is one hell of a plane ride away.

People hated the 2012 presidential election, too. They publicly prayed for its end. It was irritating and stupid; the discourse was cheap and disappointing. Like every other election of our lifetimes, it was, all agreed, the most important, yet somehow comprised a handful of seemingly randomly-chosen and insipid points of contention.

This one, though—this one was a real soulfucker all the way down. This was one not just to be endured but also feared, dragging in its wake anyone unlucky enough to own a television or computer or know someone in real life who did. This was “binders full of women” replaced with people in crowds chanting “Execute her!” This was the first time in a long time that essayists using Nazi analogies weren’t just lazy bastards fumbling for nouns more evocative than their own ideas.

This one had everything: nativism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, sexual assault allegations aplenty, and a final annihilation of all sense of shared history and foundational fact. And, on the other side, a compromised candidate whose organization trammeled the most economically promising working-class campaign in generations to deliver what is by now the Democratic Party’s sweetest platform: sheer, uncompromising terror at the alternative.

If you still enjoyed this election at the end, there was nothing left inside you to break before it started. And maybe, at its close, there’s a reason to keep going.

It took a long time to realize that people had replaced their 2012 complaints of “This is so annoying, I wish it was over,” with a far simpler and more frequent confession: “This is making me so depressed.”

Going by social media, it seemed the happiest people were those who went camping or did something to take them off the grid for days. When they returned, they all had the same feeling, voiced different ways: That a weight was gone—some imperceptible yoke around their necks lifted for just a while—before the immediacy of the campaign slammed it back down again, each day adding the burden of some new disposable atrocity.

It was that transience, the way what should have been horrifying managed to simply disappear, that felt most shattering. Donald Trump finally hacked the system in the most brutal way possible. He and his brace of vampire ministers understood the virtues of the George W. Bush meat grinder better than Dubya and company did: If you speed it up fast enough, you can throw anything in there and turn it to an unrecognizable mash of blood and bone. You just cannot reflect, cannot apologize and cannot ever pause long enough for anyone to digest it. Horror normalizes if it never stops.

Of course, Trump had help.

By any civil criteria, the first day of Trump’s campaign should have been disqualifying. His slander of immigrants as rapists and murderers should have immediately taken him out of contention for the Republican nomination, if only because he’d just jettisoned an entire potential demographic. But even that sets the critical moment too late. Years of unapologetic birtherism should have made his candidacy unviable before he glided down the Trump Tower escalator.

None of this stood out, however, among the Republican primary field. The exact people who should have encircled Trump and put him down had already been profiting for years by fostering a climate of nativism and opportunistically othering Barack Obama. To have declared Trump anathema would have disqualified the entire field of dimwitted mountebanks who had either blown the same tunes on a dog whistle themselves or already hugged, endorsed and tongue-bathed any number of more overtly malicious thugs in their midst. Besides, that stuff works.

This was the only fun part of the campaign—watching career predators tangled up and then hacked down on the same ground on which they’d seeded a dozen different prejudices for over a generation. By the time they realized they had both supplied and sanctified every odious weapon in Trump’s arsenal, it was too late. They could not turn to the media for rescue, because they had delegitimized the entirety of the mainstream media in their followers’ eyes, while praising and cultivating conservative pseudo-media reaffirming everything their voters wanted to believe.

By the time Trump cleared the Republican field, the machine was already spinning out of control, and there was nothing left to stop it. This campaign demonstrated the near extinction of journalism as a function vital to the creation of a commonwealth built on a mutually recognized past.

Journalism—especially conservative journalism—is a curated experience now; readers block extraneous and unwanted data from social-media feeds and choose outlets based on how they reflect their identities and decisions made before they’ve engaged with facts. What happened yesterday and what it could cause tomorrow become entirely extraneous to the process of dividing the world into a protective binary: that which is validating, and that which it is valid to destroy.

You’d think journalists wouldn’t care. Everyone already hates us anyway, and career scribblers are a hardy lot; you have to be to get past the sense that asking strangers about themselves is intrusive. But it is profoundly unnerving to wake up midway through a campaign and realize that your profession has in many respects epistemologically ceased to exist. It’s like being a mathematician and showing up to work one day and finding out numbers have been discontinued, except for, say, 7 (for use by Frank Black), 69 (the sex number) and 420 (Hitler’s birthday).

Nobody wants to admit it—because, between Wednesday morning and January, nearly every mainstream media outlet will start firing people to offset the plunge in traffic that follows an election, and nobody wants to give a boss an excuse to single them out—but somewhere along this 22-month slog, everyone felt the relentless futility set in.

(Anyone who didn’t feel it at some point was probably a dead-souled hack who made the election journey from behind a computer to in front of a camera and probably can’t reply to Chris Matthews when John Podesta or Robby Mook are drinking glasses of water. They know who they are, and now no one with a job outside a campaign staff will ever trust them again to even give directions.)

Why rail against the latest Donald Trump atrocity when simply waiting a day or two would see two or three more spatter across the collective consciousness like a goose shitting off a balcony? Donald Trump lies every other breath, with the mechanical dependency of a barfly sucking a Doral to offset the flavor of $2 well drinks. What, really, would it mean to unpack the most recent comment from a man liable to suddenly tell a crowd of Iowans, “We can’t let the Mexicans in, because they do donkey shows there. The women, they give them to the donkeys. It’s terrible. It’s really very disgusting, because we used to have much better donkeys, but now the Chinese fuck them”?

That sense of futility didn’t ultimately redound just on people in khakis sitting at laptops. It eventually fell on the heads of the sorts of citizens most easily and historically most often victimized. What undermined a profession also deepened and spread to undermine the sense of safety of millions of people.

Take another disqualifying moment. In any other election, naming Steve Bannon the CEO of a campaign would send it off to the turd graveyard with the swift aplomb of a toilet-flushed fish funeral. Bannon was not only executive chairman of Breitbart News—a website that made its bones on race-baiting and fraud—but he was also accused of domestic battery and of telling his wife he didn’t want their daughters going to school with Jews.

That might have been just a he-said/she-said thing, but then there’s the pesky matter of the Trump campaign’s repeated flirtation with anti-Semitism and invocation of rootless global financial interests preying on hardworkin’ white folk. A closing campaign ad dripped with enough anti-Semitic tropes that it almost echoed the sort of vivid prose regularly found in Der Stürmer and which the Breitbart Klavern of The Untalented so regularly fails to achieve, despite its best efforts.

The outrage lasted the lifespan of a mayfly; the Trump campaign did not suffer, and it did not change. But we had, in that short duration, signaled to every citizen with Jewish heritage that—here, in the 21st century, between our two parties—they could be leverage, and they could be targets, but they could not feel safe.

Or take another disqualifying moment, only slightly less evanescent, memorialized in Clinton campaign ads but normalized all the same. The tape of Trump confessing to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush that he can get away with just grabbing women “by the pussy” should have seen him packed inside a cannon atop grapeshot and fired into iron spikes. The stream of women who emerged to confirm Trump’s account of his own violative hands should have been enough for us to salt and burn his bones.

Instead, he denied it. Then he threatened to sue. And then he brought out women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and what should have been apocalyptic outrage descended into “both sides did it” pantomime before everyone was distracted by yet another Trump claim or tweet or luxurious asininity. Even flatly granting that every Clinton accuser was telling the truth would not have been exculpatory for Trump. All it could have proved was the moral repugnance of Bill Clinton running for president today, a condition that would not have spared Trump the same judgment.

Instead, events played out like a nightmare scenario in which every watchword of women’s rights and leftist activism was put into action and on display; assuming the brainpower, it couldn’t have been assembled more nauseatingly in a Breitbart Bangbus. Flat denial, gaslighting, slut-shaming and the mob targeting of each accuser followed in rapid succession. Every woman victim of sexual violence in America got to watch as some rancid avatar of her own worst experience played out again and again and again and again on every airport TV and Facebook feed in this country—mainstreamed and unpunished, just another byproduct of our adversarial and most venerated secular tradition. This is what this nation can be: a toleration of vileness if it belongs to the other side, a frightened and constant 50% gamble that the next person you see acquiesces to the pitiless commodification and appropriation of your body.

And then there are the Latinos, demonized so early that it was easy to stomp their fears for their own safety into the ground in the mad stampede to report on the next novel Trump offense against decency.

It didn’t start with him, of course.

For years, Republicans toured desert sweat tents or nodded approvingly about nighttime city raids for “illegals,” then praised and stood for photo ops with birther/eliminationist Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America’s answer to the fat sweating Sturmabteilung meathead in every Nazi movie who hopes to one day move up the ranks to fat sweating Gauleiter.

For years, off-brand militia shitheads did weekend-warrior duty in their own White National Guard, patrolling the southwest in American “technicals”—armed yahoos in truck tailgates hunting the desert like a pack of hyenas ready to interdict “illegals” by whatever means occurred to them. And conservative think-tanker after conservative elected official after conservative media personality praised their initiative.

For years, the forces of conservatism ramped up gradually toward support of a kind of passive eliminationist cleansing, bursting into mainstream, clean-hands acceptance when Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney endorsed so totally immiserating, harassing and isolating undocumented immigrants that they “self-deported.”

After decades of this, Donald Trump might be the tallest toadstool, but the white, conservative revanchism that helped him grow until he broke free into daylight is the two-mile wide honey mushroom growing under the Malheur National Forest, last home to the exonerated Ammon Bundy and the gang. Donald Trump might be novel in severity, but in every other respect he was fucking inevitable. If people sow the earth with that much hatred, eventually it bears twisted fruit.

Trump’s Islamophobia was so cartoonish and so unrelenting that there isn’t a scintilla of reason or decency to mention. His treatment of the Khan family appears in Clinton attack ads. Yesterday, he spent time in Minnesota lamenting the presence of Somali refugees, pitying their state, then convincing himself and that they had fled warlords and tried to integrate in the United States only to then join ISIS. That’s efficiency.

Arrayed against all of the above were Hillary Clinton and the sex-positive and diversity-promoting Democratic oligarchy. They wanted Trump for an opponent the first moment it seemed possible, and it’s not hard to see why. Trump obviated the need for anything beyond his opposite.

Trump means never having to say you’re sorry for Libya or Iraq. Trump keeps you from parsing how an unlivable $12/hour wage is any less unjust than the current unlivable minimum. Trump allows you to sidestep potentially ratfucking Bernie Sanders after using pet incompetent Debbie Wasserman Schultz to schedule every debate at 3:20 a.m. on Leap Day at the same time as a mandatory civil-defense drill. Trump only cares that your Goldman Sachs speeches were secret and not that they were anything other than a denunciation. Trump doesn’t know what the words “carceral state” mean, and is too busy trying to expand it to ask why you helped build so much of it. Trump never leans over from the debate podium and asks you how it is that you’re the Democratic Party nominee and only started supporting marriage equality the day before yesterday.

Trump is the truest, purest dream for a party that spent the last decade and change borrowing its healthcare ideas from the Heritage Foundation and only got dragged back to a grudging recognition of its own history by a 70-year-old socialist. He is the perfect answer because none other is needed.

Beneath the aegis of every Trump atrocity is a political geography that requires no excuses other than pointing a finger forebodingly at him. He is The One. And for whatever optimism Sanders shone briefly into this shadowland, there is no unbinding the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party from their most beloved scenario—where it does not matter that we do not believe what we say, where it does not matter that we will not try to achieve a tenth of what we pledge, where it does not matter that our dreams of economic justice are so marginal and parsimonious that they would have seemed retrograde at the start of our grandparents’ generation: for there, on the other side, is the monster.

What incredible luck that this time it wasn’t an exaggeration.

Donald Trump is going to get his shit stomped, driven frantically up into his tower redoubt by a woman crowdsurfing a mob of other women, non-whites, and gay people. He is one on-air pantsing away from living out every jock-bully’s apex high school anxiety dream. The only questions now are whether he tries to inflame a white-supremacist terror and when the help will find him slumped in a plated-gold shower after a late-night snack on the contents of his medicine cabinet. His aides can burn the body so Barack Obama doesn’t take it back to the Black Kremlin.

For the rest of us—after the longest, lowest descent into the least of us, led by a meringue-haired shit-for-brains Virgil into his phantasmic subterranean Mall of America—there is something like a haze of light at the top corner of the chamber.

To borrow a bit from Brooklyn College political science professor Corey Robin, Trump is what happens when a party defined by opposition and negation has expended its enemies and not found new ones around which to reify itself. Labor is hobbled. Busing and integration halted. The social safety net shattered and is now riven with market-forces and private-charity solutions. There are fewer dragons left to slay and, for now, only greater severity in loathing those few things that cannot be eradicated.

You can go broke betting on the dissolution of the Republican Party, and many bright establishment minds did just so in 1964, only to watch conservatism remake and unmake this country for the next 40 years. It will not happen now either.

But we are on the verge of a greater realignment, for both parties. At least for a time, one will be spun out into disaggregated vortices of well-nurtured hatreds, each overseen by different opportunistic frauds promoting various competing bigotries and fears, until enough years pass that it all can coalesce into a more traditionally Republican and focused loathing: Ted Cruz devouring the religious protections of the First Amendment like a goat gnawing discarded soup cans, Marco Rubio weeping simpering salt tears while sucking the blood out of a public school, each eyeing the other suspiciously until slammed together into some mutant DNA of a more perfect subhuman.

And, on the left, even if we do not see a “reconstitution of organized labor as a multiracial and intersectional movement of men and women,” even if years of organizing among Latino voters for get-out-the-vote does not translate into real solidarity with those on the ground, and even if we do not immediately withdraw from the “serious” political brinksmanship with conservatism that defines cowardice as only drone-bombing on odd-numbered days, there are two things from which to take heart.

First, Hillary Clinton will very likely prove to be the most conservative Democratic candidate for a generation.

Second, everything everyone has endured this campaign, every degradation of the human spirit, every sneer at women and blacks and Latinos and Jews and Muslims—all that used to win presidential elections. Very easily. And now, if someone wants to march across the bodies stretched across the nation’s breadth all the way to the White House, they will have to walk very long, and hard, uphill.

Jeb Lund was a political columnist at The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and Gawker Media. You can follow him on Twitter and anti-downsize him from there.

the_archfiend: (Default)
2016-11-03 04:31 pm
Entry tags:

And in other baseball news, Hell freezes over...again

Yes, this finally happened. Although I'd be remiss if I didn't point out earlier endings to an 88 year-long drought in 2005, much less an 86 year-long one back in 2004.

Although to be perfectly honest, I think Deadspin's take is a bit more appropriately visceral.

the_archfiend: (Default)
2016-10-29 04:08 pm
Entry tags:

Now reading

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, since it is, after all, convention homework of a sort.

the_archfiend: (Default)
2016-10-29 03:38 pm
Entry tags:

A baker's dozen for the Samhain offerings

Pretty much what the subject line says.

Triptykon, "Tree of Suffocating Souls"

The Cramps, "TV Set"

Valediction, "Above the Horizon"

Samhain, "Descent"

Skinny Puppy, "Convulsion"

Carcass, "Unfit for Human Consumption"

Type O Negative, "I Don't Wanna Be Me"

Metallica, "All Nightmare Long"

Dead Kennedys, "Halloween"

The Witch Trials, "Humanoids from the Deep"

Motorhead, "In The Year of the Wolf"

Vader, "The Eye of the Abyss"

And last, but not least...a fairly obvious one.