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Commentary Funny and/or Strange

Am I The Only Person Who Reads My “Spam” Comments and Believes Them?

I looked at my filtered comments today, just to make sure I wasn’t missing any interactions–unlikely since I’ve been occupied elsewhere of late, and spamthe Old Road Apples have turned spoiled and squishy. I did not expect to find a wonderfully supportive and sustaining environment in and amongst the Spam, and I recommend that all of your when you’re feeling worried and down, forget going downtown or crossing a bridge over troubled water. Read your spam!  Here is a just a selection from the first few….

1. “Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is simply nice and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.” This and the others below are all in reference to a post called “Bonus Picture: Bikini Ski Girl”

2. “This post could not be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this.” In reference to a post called “Organic Roadkill.”

3. “I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already”

4. “Whoa this blog is magnificent i really like studying your posts. Keep up the good work!”

etc.

When I was a a kid my mom told me I was handsome quite a bit, and I never doubted that. When girls I liked didn’t like me, I thought: I don’t get it, I’m so handsome. When they were mean, I thought: I can can learn to be cooler, at least I’m so damned handsome. You can see where this was going–until one day, I was about 15, and I’m staring in the mirror, and it hits me. “Mom!” I shouted. “What the fucking fuck?” Turns out I’m not the leading man, I’m the overweight partner in the Sears Roebuck sportcoat, due to retire in a week who gets gunned down in the first act. But those spammers, they think I’m goddamn F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love spammers.

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Commentary Uncategorized

At Least Choose Better Lies

For a guy whose obsession with “the best” and “the greatest,” President Donald Trump demonstrates a shockingly poor sense of selectivity when it comes to bald-faced lies. It would be easy to dismiss his behavior as compulsive or reactionary, off-the-cuff denials and distractions wrought by an egocentric blowhard, but this latest in a long line of flamboyant humdingers is no spontaneous misrepresentation, no middle-of-the-night twitter ejaculation.

When White House Spokesman Sean Spicer strutted to the podium and proceeded to not only angrily insist on a string of easily debunked untruths, but to lash at the media for fairly and accurately reporting facts, we witnessed a step towards Orwellian newspeak which, frankly, surprised even a cynical old bastard like me for its venom as well as its brazenness. I’d be impressed, if it wasn’t so insulting.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/21/media/sean-spicer-press-secretary-statement/index.html?sr=twCNN012117ean-spicer-press-secretary-statement%2Findex.html1126PMStoryLink&linkId=33646406

The question of the moment is: why lie about this?  Of all things, why, with so many witnesses, and so much documented video, so many images, choose this issue to squander the Trump  adopt the angry defense of a blatantly and easily debunked untruth? It is troubling to consider what else they might lie about, when they cling so tenaciously to something so small and petty.

A few pundits have speculated that these responses–doubling down on obvious lies–is part of a calculated strategy to systematically undermine non-partisan journalism in America, so that when Trump and his band of flying monkeys wreak truly horrible and heinous acts upon our nation the seed of skepticism has been thickly sewn, at least among his unquestioning followers. My college-age daughter observed that her twitter feed was aflame with accusations of media duplicity regarding the inaugural crowds, not to mention a throbbing anger at the audacity of the Women’s March on Washington. Her followers, a notoriously non-selective cross section of former classmates, athletic competitors, acquaintances and friends of friends collection that, by definition, amounts to a pretty broad cross-section of America, with a slightly Trumpish tilt (we live in The Thunderdome, after all), but the gullibility and/or headstrong denial in those voices is chilling. By extension, the “undermine the media” motive must be considered.

Perhaps I’m naive? I don’t believe in vast conspiracies. Small secrets on a broad scale are common enough, but the idea that a group as broad, independent, and accomplishment-driven as “the mainstream media” could perpetuate a vast conspiracy against any public figure is just absurd. These people, after all, are driven by the goal of out-truthing each other. It is an industry defined by “scoops” and it would take just a single reporter to blow the entire deal. The greater point of this argument is that Trump is so incapable of introspection that he cannot see how his own behavior is rallying the media against him, and so paranoid that he thinks conspiracy lurks around every corner. And we won’t mention the old maxim my grandmother taught me about pots calling kettles black–Trump sees duplicity because he bathes in the stuff.

Ultimately, I suspect that what is truly at work here is nothing more than externally-enabled full-blown narcissism. It is so important to Trump that he be the biggest and the greatest and best-est and the most-est that he has no reservations about sending his mouthpieces into the glare of the spotlights with simple instructions: lie! He wouldn’t be the first. The Neo-Conservative movement at its heyday was famous for the mantra of eschewing “reality-based politics,” a stratagem that advocates should talk about the world as they want it to be, not as it actually was. In short, tell the lie and deny the truth long enough and eventually the lie becomes the truth.

It is a powerful and effective tool. Minds are malleable, and Trump knows this. What will matter, in the end, is whether or not the frustration of those who are opposed to Trump becomes stronger than the dogged determination of his supporters, enablers, and lackeys to swallow whatever buffalo patties he drops in our way. And what of his credibility, and that of our nation as a whole. Allies and adversaries alike are watching and will judge him accordingly. His behavior–whether today’s senseless and petty lies, or his history of broken contracts, bullying, and strategic manipulation demonstrated as an unscrupulous real estate developer, will color treaties and deals and all comers fully understand that this is a man whose word means nothing.

 

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Commentary

Dumb Ass Hall of Fame: Sheriff Craig Rowland

This far into an election year, it is more than past time to revive the old “Dumb Ass Hall of Fame” feature. Why have I waited so long?  I’ve been busy with a lot of non-blog related work, for one thing. Then, given that the early election cycle was clogged up by foaming mouth idiots like Rick Santorum and the other 15 or so candidates that were jammed into the Republican Clown Car, followed by a month of “douchebags on the range” out at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (I’ve been there, by the way–it’s nice, you should go once all the piles of shit those guys left around are cleaned up), I was quite literally overwhelmed by idiocy. Time to get back on the horse–indeed, there is actually, at present, a backlog of of Dumb Asses waiting for enshrinement.

sheriff-craig-rowlandOur newest inductee is Bingham County (Idaho) County Sheriff Craig Rowland who, in response to a new piece of state legislation that creates a “a statewide system for collecting and tracking DNA evidence of sexual assault,” ranted that it was unnecessary for a statewide system because most rapes are false reports.

“I really believe the Legislature needs to take a strong look at allowing law enforcement to do their job and not try to dictate what we need to do. I think they’re trying to help, I really do,” Rowland said, in a televised interview, adding, “They need to let us decide if we’re going to send the kit and when we send the kits in. Because the majority of our rapes— not to say that we don’t have rapes, we do—but the majority of our rapes that are called in, are actually consensual sex. “

Where the hell do I start with this one?  Oh, how about the absolutely chilling effect this must have on victims of sexual assault not just in Bingham County, but anywhere? Victims of sexual assault stay quiet for numerous reasons, among them fear of their attacker coming after them again, in retribution, and fear of not being believed–and Rowland has just shown that those outcomes are entirely possible. A woman has to be thinking, “if I go and make a statement, and they don’t believe me, will the attacker be waiting for me when I go home?”

The new law mandates that all alleged rapes will be tested, and all kits will be submitted, while under the current system law enforcement agencies have the right to determine the necessity for a kit and, by extension, the validity of the assusations–without actually processing any evidence.  It’s simple to imagine all the stereotypes of powerful and/or connected alleged perpetrators benefiting from their status at the expense of less influential victims. And these hypothetical attackers wouldn’t necessarily be big shots. If I’m a cop, it is quite likely I’d give a benefit of a doubt to my cousin’s step son, or maybe the guy from my bowling team, or my preacher, or another cop.  Under the current system, I don’t have to do a rape kit–I can just say, “this allegation isn’t believable,” mark the sexual encounter (if I even accept that it happened) as consensual, and send everyone on their way. If the bill passes, the cops will be required to send the process and sent the kit.

Now, forget for just a moment about the effects on the victim, or about the fact that potential attackers who hear his words are likely to be emboldened by them, and think for a minute about a Sheriff who, in these days of police video scandals, is actually stupid enough to look into a camera and say, “most rape victims are lying about it.” He’s not exactly winning the self-awareness competition, is he? Even if he had data on his side, the guy has to be an utter idiot to not consider the attention he would get.  And yet he is The Law. Go figure.

Of course, after a world of media attention rained down on Rowland, he went back to television, briefly blamed the station for misrepresenting his words, then offered up a boilerplate apology in which he admits that his words were misinterpreted–note the passive voice–then complains that since the initial interview he and his family have been threatened and cyber-bullied.  Or so he says. In my opinion, most incidents of Dumb Ass Sheriffs alleging bullying are not true.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/state/idaho/article66150892.html#storylink=cpy

 

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Commentary

Only An Idiot Thinks They’ll Take Your Guns

12004069_10153223071075197_1663245164728479242_nThese posts keep showing up in my timeline, and here’s the disclaimer: I wish I had the reserve to keep my mouth shut, because I’m passionately indifferent about gun control. It is politically untenable and pragmatically impossible. The “war on drugs” has cost us billions, with billions more to be spent, and for what: we give up (and rightly so) on demonizing marijuana and face growing problems with both methamphetamine and a buffet of misused gourmet narcotics, not to mention a shocking and disgusting epidemic of heroin use. Yeh, heroin–the drug that, when I was a kid, was identified with back alley junkies half a step removed from the walking dead, is cool.

And we want to repeat this with guns? Piffle. It is fairy tale idealism like this that makes me cringe when folks mistake me for being a liberal because I like trees better than people, and schools better than corporations. Still, the question I must ask is this: just who the hell do you think is “making us give up our guns?”

The answer is NO ONE. Oh, there are people out there who loudly express their desire for a gun free society, who desperately want harsh gun control, but it’s like I tell me kids: I want a pony, but nobody is lining up to give me one, not even for my birthday.

Now, some folks want to make it a more discerning process to get more guns, but never once has anyone with any authority or influence made any attempt to legally, systematically take away weapons from honest people. The hysteric paranoia in this regard verges on the absurd. People defend invasive government infringements on personal liberties such as “stop and frisk” by saying “if you don’t have anything to hide, you shouldn’t mind” but when someone says “maybe a longer waiting period and more exhaustive and comprehensive background checks to find out if you’re a felon or a loony” is akin to the Germans rolling on into Poland. The only people talking about taking guns away from citizens are the NRA which, it is good to remember, is legally incorporated not as a grass roots advocacy group, but as an industrial marketing and lobbying organization.