Pox Americana

"Politics is a disease for dirty little animals." – HST

Archive for the category “Rants”

My Hate Muse

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It’s happening. It’s actually happening. Barring intervention by the Hand of God, Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee. When he announced his candidacy last June to a room full of paid actors, I happily joined the sneering choir of elites, scoffing and haw-hawing The Donald off as a schmucky bag of gas; but here we are, less than a week away from Super Tuesday, and Trump is slaying it. He’s won his last three straight. His bitch slapping of Cruz and Rubio in Nevada today  just cements his position as the GOP’s Anointed One, to the horror of the party’s kingmakers. His trajectory must be a slow-motion nightmare in their eyes, like looped footage of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. He’s hijacked their plane and is dead set on rocketing it straight into the Twin Towers of the Republican establishment.

BOOM.

Anyone who has talked to me or reads my screeds knows that I despise Donald Trump. He’s a vile entity, perhaps the worst person in America. He was born loaded and has shat upon and fingerfucked  everyone in the room in his frenzied quest for billions. He looks like a bloated orangutan’s tumor-filled scrotum. His hair is radioactive cotton candy spun out of cat piss. His mouth is a spasmodic sphincter that threatens to birth glistening turds at any moment. I never get tired of inventing new ways to express my disgust for the man. I’ve repeatedly hissed and spat on Facebook about him and his supporters. Once, in the throes of a 4am Stella-induced delirium, I even penned a venemous poem.  He is my Hate Muse.

As detestable as he is, I have to give The Donald some credit for making this year’s primary season one for the annuls. He is, of course, the consummate showman, and like so many others, I have cooked up and mainlined every Trump-related story dealt my way. Sometimes I’ve fumed and sometimes I’ve guffawed, but like Depeche Mode’s big 80’s hit, I just can’t get enough. The fact that he’s actually a viable candidate fascinates me: I am forced to pinch myself every time I  take in his sneering, megalomaniac mug. Moreover, the fact that some of the dumbest people in America not only cheerlead his demagogic hokum, but trample over each other just to get a chance to  grovel and fawn in glow of his egonova, has been nothing but fishhooks to my eyeballs. Who are these people? Can’t they see through the obvious peddling of hate-pablum, snake oil, and naked self-promotion? His insincerity is elementally obvious to me and anyone else with a brain thicker than their tongue, yet he now has a fevered army of supporters. Surely they can’t all be weapons-grade morons. I am told that otherwise reasonable people are putting their (most likely considerable) weight behind him. Belief is very much begged. Is there hypnotism afoot? Black magic?

Okay. Let’s give His Orangeness some credit where credit is due: he has played both the media and the Drooler Brigade with the deftness of a master. Every move he makes is a headline. Every  utterance out of his epileptic side mouth is shot around the net and amplified ad infinitum and guess what? Sane people scratch their heads in wonderment, dread, and despair, while  Goobernation gobbles it up like a load of bulimic crocodiles. And lest you think think that such a simile is a rhetorical stretch, consider the fact that Trump really is appealing to the reptilian brain.

As legions of others have pointed out, Trump is of course playing straight to the dark emotions and insecurities of a white America that sees the tide of its supremacy ebbing. They’re scared, because now they actually have to compete with whole segments of the population that were previously shut out of the gig, not just nationally, but on a global scale. Trump fingers that sweet spot in the amygdala that gets the adrenaline coursing, and the more he presses, the harder they foam. How many times has Trump puked forth some outrageous bile, only to see his poll numbers soar? Pundits across the spectrum (including me) have repeatedly declared him toast, while the hoopleheads clapped and clamored and extolled him for his lack of “political correctness.” The more rancid meat he chucks forth, the more roaches crawl to the feed.

Most anyone watching the show has long since ceased to predict Trump’s implosion. What was thought was his self-destructive destiny has proven to be quite evitable. He has outlived the prognostications of any political soothsayers, and there are reasons for it.

He’s not scripted. He’s often funny–a master troll–as proven in the last GOP debate where he reduced Jeb Bush to a seething, laughable nub. I never thought I’d see the day where I’d feel SORRY for a member of the Bush clan, but hey, it happened. And like Bernie, he’s not beholden any big moneyed interests (other than his own). People recognize just how corrupt our system is, though I doubt a President Trump would do a thing to change that, since corruption has undoubtedly enabled him to ascend the ladder of wealth and power.

Let us also not forget that Trump has taken some positions that have previously been anathema to the GOP, such as raising the tax on the uber-rich, and publicly repudiating George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. The latter nearly made me LIKE him, if only for the fact that it took serious balls, especially on the debate dais just days before the primary in South Carolina, arguably the most hawkish state in the Union.

That said, Donald Trump would be a catastrophe for America and the world. He is an obvious narcissist who could start lobbing missiles on the grounds of a perceived personal slight. He has nearly zero grasp of the issues and only seems to be running to make his pencil eraser of a dick semi-hard.

Despite the howling fervor of his supporters, more Republican primary voters are punching the ballot against him than for him. Whether it’s Hillary or Bernie come the fall (and it looks like Hillary), Trump will get buried Goldwater style. You can’t win an American election by writing off 90 percent of the nonwhite vote, and as awful and dumbed-downed as our country may be, I still believe there are more sane people than not. They just need to vote.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch with glee as he crashes the GOP presidential plane into the side of their building. For the past several decades the power brokers of the party have won elections by stoking the coals of bigotry. They have continually poured poison into the septic tank of their base and percolated it accordingly. This fetid brew has finally boiled over. The mob is  armed with pitchforks and has a leader who relishes in lathering them up for his own self-congratulatory stroke sessions. Good luck with that, ye mountain of fucks.

The rest of us will just enjoy the movie while inhaling  pure hits of Shadenfreude. You got the fire? We got the marshmallows.

 

She Ain’t No Friend of Yours

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Oh, all the dears. The backlash is upon us. Bernie Sanders ties Hillary Clinton in Iowa and the narrative has changed. She’s no longer the above-it-all anointed front runner. The nomination isn’t hers for the languid waltz and plucking. Now, suddenly, she’s assumed the role of the victim. And Bernie’s supernova can only be described through the lens of patriarchy. After all, he IS an old white guy. His supporters are “bros.” He is allowed to get away with every idiosyncrasy under sun, while poor, fettered Hillary is glued to a crushing double standard. She can do no right. She’s constantly judged and re-judged–boiled down and coal-raked for every action and every word–while Bernie gets a free pass. Too cool and she’s an ice queen; too passionate and she’s a shrill bitch. How can she ever win with the MAN constantly on her back?

What a fetid load of horseshit. And convenient. Does Hillary face a daily wall of sexism? Of course. Every woman on earth does, but I sincerely doubt that this is the dominant force holding her back at this point in her career. Sure there are some online skidmarks throwing misogynist meat to the wolves (welcome to the internet), but don’t blast a single synapse by thinking that most us on the American left (penis people and others) wouldn’t throw every pound of our bro bods behind the vagina-possessing Elizabeth Warren if she was in this race. We adore her. We would chorus her name on high. We BEGGED her to run going into this, and, wanting no part of this inevitable knife fight, she demurred. Just because Hillary Clinton remains standing with female tackle isn’t reason enough for us to support her.

Sure she’s paid her dues. And yes, she’s brilliant and beyond competent. That’s not why our skin rebels at that very thought of backing her.

As others have pointed out with great detail and aplomb, Hillary Clinton has taken odious positions on occasions too often to count. I’m not going to list them all here as others have made an art form of it, but it’s safe to say that she’s been on the wrong side of history more than not. She’s soaked to the marrow with Wall Street cash. When it came to voting time, she’s always chosen the billionaires over the rest of us. She backed and cheerled the biggest mass incarceration in U.S. history. She only supported gay rights when the polls were safe. And she’s never met a war she didn’t like. Let me articulate this (like a currently viral pro-Hillary post) in SCREAMING ALL CAPS.

HILLARY CLINTON VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE IRAQ WAR, WHICH WAS THE BIGGEST, BED-SHITTING, BLOOD-SOAKED CLUSTERFUCK IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY. EVERYONE CLOSE TO ME AT THE TIME WAS HORRIFIED. I DIDN’T HAVE ONE FRIEND (EVEN CONSERVATIVES) IN SUPPORT. WE RAGED AND MARCHED AGAINST IT. BUT HILLARY TOOK HER TIME AND SAID, “HEY, I CAN GET BEHIND THIS.”

AND WHAT HAPPENED? THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS DIED. A MILLION IRAQIS WERE KILLED BY OUR TAX DOLLARS. A MILLION: MEN, WOMEN. KIDS. BABIES. COUNT THAT SHIT MOTHERFUCKERS. THEN BUSH AND CHENEY PRINTED CASH. ISIS TOOK OVER AND HEADS ROLL TO THIS DAY.

ANYONE WHO VOTED FOR THIS GANGBANG SHOULD BE BARRED FROM OFFICE FOR LIFE.

Hillary Clinton supported this obscenity and everything else since then. Libya? ATTACK! Syria? ATTACK! Israel? FUND WITHOUT QUESTION. ATTACK!

She’s a warmonger. Is her blood lust fueled by sexism? Does she have something to prove? Perhaps. Or does she just get a massive rush every time an American bomb drops on foreign soil?

Bernie Sanders wants none of this. His record proves it. The difference between the two is stark. Just look at the votes.

Hillary Clinton is not on your side. She is bought and paid for by the mega-rich and nothing will change that. A vote for her is a vote for them. Hillary supporters are either getting played like a load of chumps or are so comfortable with their current position that change frightens them. She’s awful and would sell any of you out for personal gain. And you know it.

That said, she’s going to win the nomination. And I’ll vote for her over any of those Republican fucks. And then drink myself into black.

The Most Punchable Face in America

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Ted Cruz. Ugh. He’s just the worst. He’s so bad that he makes Donald Trump appear to have traces of human DNA. Just look at that smarmy, rubber scrotum of a face. He always looks like he just took a big bite of a chimichanga filled with Rottweiler shit, yet he chokes it all down and feigns a smile, like he’s just about to sell you an old Ford Pinto that hasn’t been driven since its gas tank exploded and killed a family of four.

Ted Cruz. His ambition is fathomless. Nothing will stand in his way on his frenzied sprint to more power and notoriety. He will torch every bridge behind him; he will stab every exposed back with rusty fondue forks and throw quadriplegics under careening buses to get ahead. He would kick his own mother in the teeth and do the butterfly stroke through a swimming pool filled with horse come if he thought it would gain him five extra points in next week’s Zogby poll. Fucks are not given; shame is not had.

Unlike others in the GOP clown car, Ted Cruz cannot be accused of being a dullard. His intelligence is beyond question. He just chooses to use it for evil. Sure, he panders to every gullible, Jesus-loving thicko in the spangly leather strip of the Bible Belt, but I don’t believe for a minute that he dines on the same dumbed-down pablum that he tosses out for them. Ted Cruz is only interested in one thing, and that’s Ted Cruz. His objectives are neither complicated nor lofty. His screaming, fevered ego must be nurtured at all costs. It’s insatiable, and keeping it fed is a full time job.

Don’t just take my word for it. The man is reviled by most everyone who has had the misfortune to work with him, including his fellow Republicans in the Senate. He has left a mangled, scorched trail in his wake, with those left behind spitting venom at his name. He was so insufferable in law school that he refused to study with anyone who hadn’t graduated from Yale, Harvard, or Princeton. He attended two of those three and is a sitting United States senator. On top of that, his wife is an investment banker for Goldman Sachs, yet he constantly positions himself as ‘an outsider.’ Anyone who buys such a laughable conceit has to be high on spray paint.

Ted Cruz is nothing if not persistent, so much so that he’s used his talons to claw his way into second place in the GOP polls. His pandering to the evangelical “the Earth is 6,000 years old” crowd has worked, but there appears to be chinks in his suit of pig fat and pomade armor. Just two days back a law scholar penned an editorial in the Washington Post detailing why he is ineligible for the presidency (not a ‘natural born’ citizen). And today we see more damning revelations: Apparently Teddy boy failed to disclose up to 1 million dollars in loans he took out from Goldman Sachs (surprise, surprise) to finance his 2012 Senate campaign. This could land the King of Smirk into some hot water, though I’m sure he’ll use his malevolent powers of law to wriggle his way out like the diseased eel that he is.

Ted Cruz in cuffs would be a splendid vision to behold, but even if he walks, I’d still pay a hundred bucks to see someone cold cock that face.

Happiness is a Warm Gun

President Obama just announced his new executive orders on gun control, and though I haven’t looked at the fine print, they seem like logical, level-head steps, as tepid as they may be. I give the man the nod for at least trying to address the problem. It seems no one else in American government will.

I was going to pen a new rant on the subject, but have instead elected to reprint a piece I published on my old blog a couple of years back; I think any new piece would just repeat many of the same old points, so without any further ado, here it is:

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It’s been a bad year for gun massacres in America.  A lot of crazies have been melting down, raiding the nearest arsenal, and randomly killing innocent folks. Three in particular have grabbed my attention: The Cafe Racer shooting in Seattle a few months back (which touched some people close to me); the Aurora, Colorado “Batman” blast up; and last Saturday’s awful bloodbath at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which tops all others in its mind-numbing savagery.

Each of these terrible events has sickened me and fanned my fire of rage. Like most of us, I shake my head, sigh, shout, and wonder how such things can happen. I question aloud what drives these broken people commit such acts and how we can spot them before they explode. For a short time I try to understand their madness, but soon realize such a thing is futile. Sometimes crazy is just crazy. And then I think about guns.

Though I’ve felt tempted to rant on America’s gun culture after each of these travesties, I’ve bit my tongue and held my fingers away from the keyboard. Sure, I threw up a few anti-gun memes on Facebook and practiced some sloganeering via my status updates, but I have refrained from ranting here. Why? Because the gun debate in America is much like the controversy over abortion: It consists of two entrenched sides who just scream and chant worn-out mantras at each other that lost their meaning a long time ago. This is especially true for the pro-gun side, but this is a debate where people stopped have just stopped listening to each other. It’s really hard to add anything new to the dung heap. But I’ve thought hard on this and here it goes, as messy and repetitive it as it may be.

I grew up in the American sticks around a lot of guns.  Near my house were the hinterlands of a sprawling military base where the sound of artillery and machine-gun fire served as the soundtrack to my childhood. Many of my friends had fathers who hunted or kept guns for target shooting and self-defense. My father wasn’t a gun guy, but my grandfather kept a few firearms, as did my older brother.  I learned to shoot at a young age and even did a bit of pheasant and grouse hunting (with the aforementioned grandpa), along with recreational blasting with a couple of buddies. Even today, when I visit home, I sometimes go shooting with some friends. I enjoy the hell out of it and have no personal aversion to guns.  I think I understand their place in American culture as well as anybody, because I’ve lived it.

However, we Americans are insular people, and often have absolutely no clue as to how the rest of the world views us.  As an American, in America, I never really questioned our gun culture, because I grew up in it and it was really all I knew.  Sure, sometimes people cracked a nut and took out some bystanders, but that was just normal, I thought.  Like many Americans, I cherished the right to bear arms and considered rampant gun violence an unfortunate but necessary side effect.

I’ve lived abroad for over eight years now, and one thing I can tell you is that it’s given me some perspective on my home country.  Over this time I’ve traveled to over twelve different countries and talked to people of all nationalities, and guess what? Most all of them are absolutely perplexed by American gun culture.  They ask me all the time:

“Is it true so many of your countrymen are armed?” “Why do people need so many guns?” and most importantly, “Why do Americans put up with so much gun killing?”

At first I’d try to engaged these people, explaining our history as a frontier nation with man-eating bears, hostile Indians and big game; I’d tell them about the revolution and how American citizens consider an armed populace some kind of check against an abusive government; I’d attempt to enlighten them about the role guns have played in the making of the country–how they’ve become an institution–a religion almost. But these lame sputterings only served to further confuse. After a while, I realize that had I had no good answer.  I couldn’t adequately explain any of it, because after living in a gun-free country for many years and looking back at my own culture from the outside, I realized that there was no good answer. Yes, there are historical reasons for American gun culture, but what it had metastasized into could only be described as a kind of collective insanity.

So now, when confronted with the same questions, I just throw up my hands and tell these perplexed foreigners, “Look, I don’t know.” Just as I can’t explain what goes on in the head of the guys who commit these massacres, I can’t explain why so many millions of Americans are obsessed with guns, and why they refuse to do anything to limit their proliferation. Sure, there’s the gun lobby and the NRA, which basically pay off the politicians, but why do so many people, in the face of massacre after massacre, dig in their heals and refuse to take any action? Sure, some measures may not work, but are they content to do nothing in the face of continual slaughter? Didn’t Einstein say that doing the same thing again and again yet expecting different results is the very definition of insanity?

What is frustrating is that the gun lobby has boiled their interests down to a collection of weak-ass talking points that every yahoo and bozo spouts at you when you deign to argue for greater regulation of guns.

“Guns don’t kill people! People kill people!”

This is gas-huffingly retarded. Pro-gun folks have been babbling this one for years and at this point it’s like a piece of bubble gum that has been chewed on for forty years. Anyone who doesn’t see that guns make it exponentially easier for anyone to kill is either blind, deaf, or  so stupid that they shouldn’t breed, yet alone own firearms. Sometimes these guys say, “You could kill people with spoons if ya wanted!” or but out  the old “How about knife control!” argument.

Well, if you compare a spoon to a gun during a debate, I’ll unfriend you on Facebook and avoid you at bars, restaurants, and shopping malls for the rest of your sad days. And there actually is a thing called “knife control”. There are laws governing which kinds of knives are legal and illegal to own. Look ’em up.

A few real boneheads linked the knife attack in a Chinese school that happened on the same day as the Sandy Point killing spree.“See?” They said, with dopey grins and vacant stares. “Take away guns and people will just use knives.” That may be, but let’s look at the scorecard from both events. Sandy Point had 26 dead with ZERO survivors. The Chinese attack had 22 stabbed with 22 survivors. If I’m a six year old faced off against a murderous schizo, I’ll take the one armed with a knife, m’kay? And thanks for totally undermining your non-argument.

“Cars kill people. Why don’t we just ban cars?”

Now that’s a good idea!  I don’t own a car and I think they pretty much ruin everything and make people fat selfish assholes, so I may agree with you on this one… but cars are NOT guns, and to say so is tired, old hat shit. People use guns to kill other people. That is the only reason they exist.  People use cars for transportation and are sadly sometimes killed in accidental collisions. So what do we do?  We have car control.

Yes, cars are held to rigorous safety standards.  There are also traffic laws.  Most importantly, you must be licensed to legally drive a car. Last time I checked, no license was needed to purchase most guns in the USA.  Still the same?  And don’t bring up swimming pools either, you NRA hoopleheads.  Swimming pools, like cars, are also subject to intense and detailed regulation.

“But we NEED guns! They are our only line of defense against a repressive government!  A government will think twice about taking liberties against an armed populace?”

Oh, will they? It hasn’t really stopped them up to now…

Okay,  I will confess to the allure of this argument.  After all, who doesn’t want to bravely take up arms against tyranny? It all sounds so romantic!  To the barricades, comrades!

Unfortunately, armed uprisings in the United States have a worse track record than the Washington Generals. Every single one has been brutally and violently put down by a much, much better-armed federal government: Shays, Bacons, Harper’s Ferry, the secession of the Confederacy, Pine Ridge, Ruby Ridge, The Branch Davidians…. and these are just the appetizers.  I’m sorry, but as stirring as it sounds, armed civilians will never be a match against federal military power. Horde all the guns you want, but in the face of machine guns, fighter jets, and Blackhawk helicopters, you don’t stand a chance and never will.

People love to trumpet the 2nd Amendment as some kind of firewall against tyranny, but in giving birth to this awful, violent gun culture, hasn’t the 2nd Amendment created a “tyranny” of its own? It makes people live in fear.  And some of us rightly ask:

“What about my right to walk down the street without getting caught in a gang crossfire?”

“What about MY right to drink a coffee or watch a movie without having my brains spattered on the ceiling by some crackpot with a grudge against society!”

The 2nd Amendment was written well over 200 years ago, and guess what? Things have changed. It was penned during the age of muskets, and I know that this argument is repeated time and time again, but it’s correct: The Founders had no idea of where technology would take us. Knowledge of modern handguns and semi-automatic, military-grade rifles would have made them seriously reconsider the vague wording. And let’s face it: The 2nd Amendment is just badly written. It seems to mainly endorse the idea of the right to form a “well-regulated militia” while also hinting at unrestricted private ownership of “arms”.

But “arms” are never defined, are they?

Again. Currently it’s acceptable to own shotguns, handguns, and rifles–both single-shot and semi-automatic. But automatics are verboten. (Oh noes! Gun control!) So are grenades and grenade launchers. But aren’t these “arms” as well? What about mortars and cannons? Tanks? Missiles? Nerve gas?  Atomic bombs? If the 2nd Amendment really allows us a right to bear arms that “shall not be infringed,” shouldn’t we be allowed to own these? Yes, this argument is stock among the gun control crowd, but I have yet to hear one person on the pro-gun side give a reasonable response.

It’s clear that we have made some kind of “arms control” totally acceptable. So why is the line of general legal ownership so firmly drawn between semi-automatic and automatic weapons?

“Well go ahead and restrict guns, but if you ban certain types, then only criminals will own them!”

Okay, Bubba… but isn’t that the definition of a criminal? Anyone who breaks that law?  After all, C-4 plastic explosives are illegal to own, but some people choose to circumvent that law? And guess what, it they get caught, they are arrested and imprisoned. Why? Because they’re criminals. Is the reality that some people will break a law reason enough not to enact it? That’s why we have enforcement.

But… don’t get me wrong. Despite this lengthy screed, I am not calling for an end to gun ownership in America. This just ain’t gonna happen.  We must be realistic. There are over 270 million guns in our country and they’re not just going to disappear by federal or state decree.  A lot of people would straight up refuse to surrender their firearms even if hell froze over and a law banning them was enacted. From my cold, dead fingers!

But is it unreasonable to suggest that guns can be, as the 2nd Amendment itself clearly states, “well-regulated?” Shouldn’t we at least require licensing and training like we do with people who wish to fly planes, drive cars, or professionally cut hair? And what about banning certain military style rifles? Or even handguns? At least ban further sales… the old ones will eventually break down, over time.  Surely there must be SOME steps we can take to reign ’em in.

And yes, gun laws are not a one country/one fit deal. A few countries have heavily armed populations yet low gun crime (Switzerland, Israel). These are the exceptions to the rule, though. Generally speaking, more guns = more gun crime, and the countries with few guns have drastically fewer deaths by bullets. This is a fact and can be backed up with hard data. I’m sure anyone who has read this has seen the U.S. compared to other industrialized nations as far as gun crime goes. The numbers speak for themselves.

But at the end of the day, it’s the American people who will have to make the decision. If we choose to just endure a massacre every few weeks and do nothing to address the availability of guns in our nation, then we get the country we deserve. That’s just the premium we pay for tyranny insurance. Many on the pro-gun side say that the answer is MORE GUNS, that more armed people would create a more peaceful nation, where there exists a kind of mutually-assured destruction. In such a society, an armed barista would have taken out the maniac at Cafe Racer; several audience members would have blown out the back of James Holmes cackling, flame-haired head; and the teacher at Sandy Hook who saved those little kids with her body would have done so with a Glock instead.  But these are just visions of fantasy. Yes, carrying citizens do, from time to time, stop murderers before they can cut down innocents, but this will never be the norm. To believe so is simply folly and self-delusion. And if you don’t believe me, just ask the rest of the world. But when have we, as Americans, ever tried listening to them?

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