Sunday, February 26, 2017

Over Time with Bill Maher, February 24, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Right Wing World: The Downfall of Milo Yiannopoulos

I know the whole world knows that twerpy alt-right troll, Milo Yiannopoulous has suffered a career setback or three. But since I last wrote about him on Saturday, I just had to comment on how far little Milo has fallen. As I said in the previous post, there is little redeeming value in Milo's oeuvre. He's a self-admitted troll. He played Ann Coulter's game, a game even she has at times come close to setting onfire. And he really got burned.

He went from the start of a book tour, on the heels of a career-boosting liberal protest/riot at Berkeley, to headline the most recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. He succeeded in getting liberals pissed at Maher, just for the appearance. He got a distinguished former spy Malcom Nance to tell him to fuck off! And Milo lives for that kind of thing. And since then, he's:

To borrow a question from BoyCulture.com,
"Why the long face, Milo?"

- Had a lucrative book deal cancelled
- Been announced as keynote speaker of 2017 CPAC and then immediately have the offer withdrawn; and
- Resigned/been fired from Breitbart.com, both his claim-to-fame, and his Visa qualifying job

Conceivably, Milo could get a new publisher, could turn his misfortune into tour fodder, get a new job, and possibly get to stay in the country. Britain probably doesn't really want him back. But it is doubtful that he'll ever be on top of the heap as he surely felt he was. See, he has always been awful. And his awfulness has never been a secret, not even the thing--seemingly endorsing sex between men and boys--that brought him down. It's just that he became instantly more famous, the trashier parts of his escapades were more publicized, and it was conservatives leading the charge. The very ones he was catering to, and those who made him a "star."

Milo, ultimately, is irrelevant to anything that matters much in the world. He's an unfortunate symptom of how politics works right now. He's further evidence that conservatives will elevate anyone to star status in their charisma-starved ranks. And he would seemingly show that there are certain lines you can't cross, even in today's Right Wing World. But not so fast.

Remember the Duggar family? In this era of a reality TV "celebrity" somehow becoming president, even those who decry the genre have a thing for a particular kind of reality show. 19 Kids and Counting was right up there with Duck Dynasty in conservative "culture," such as it is. The "wholesome" Duggars had an absurd number of of kids, and a fuzzily odd religion, but conservatives loved 'em.  And then older son Josh really got any particular treatment for his disturbing issue.
Image from source, Washington Post
was found to have been a repeated sex offender, who preyed upon a couple of his sisters (among others). Worse, Mom and Dad not only didn't turn him in, he never

The public outcry eventually got the show canned. But the conservative wave of support was loud, public, and very disturbing. Clearly, even child sex abuse and incest can be glossed over if you swear that Jesus has cleansed your soul. Or something. So, don't be so quick to congratulate right wingers for any kind of moral aptness.

It was always a matter of time with Milo. No way an effeminate gay man gets to stay a right wing star after a while. His time ran out.

One more thing: I've said it before, and I'll say it again, conservatives, find better heroes!

[Excerpt]

Milo learns the First Amendment isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for foolishness

Speech is free, but not consequence-free. Milo Yiannopoulos managed to skirt this reality for years, but eventually it comes for us all. A quick recap for those who have not been following this sordid tale: MILO, as he’s best known (all-caps his own), is an Internet personality and now-former Breitbart News senior editor best known for his glibly offensive remarks about minority groups, his hatred of “political correctness” and his support of Donald Trump. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Milo Yiannopolous Inadvertently Proves a Point on Real Time with Bill Maher (and Over Time with Bill Maher), February 17, 2017

My favorite picture of Milo. Video capture by me.
Usually, once a week, I like to post Over Time with Bill Maher on the blog. It's the internet only portion of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, and is (or at least used to be) the only portion that was free to post. I realized not everyone seeks it out, and often it's the best part of the "show." So, this week, I'm doing the same, but this time with some commentary.

One of the guests on the program this week was Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing "star" of rather recent vintage. He's some sort of big-wig at Breitbart "News," and considers himself a (at best) provocateur, and (in reality) a troll, something he sort of owns as his "thing." He--like his (allegedly) female counterpart Ann Coulter--lives for controversy. He absolutely thrives on getting a rise out of people, pissing them off, and making news for saying or doing (or causing) something dreadful. He thinks of himself as clever, funny and cute. He has a fraction of the wattage on any of those attributes that he thinks he has.

[Story continues below]



The fact that Milo is flamboyantly gay, and yet has a fan base (and preferred political alignment with) people who would otherwise hate him, is also likely an irony that delights him. This write-up of him, for instance wouldn't ruffle his feathers at all, in fact it's probably too kind to even rise to his attention if he saw it. And this week, he was a guest on Bill Maher's show, which led to the public disassociation of prospective guest, writer Jeremy Scahill. Milo digs that as well. And while I applaud Scahill's effort, it's also counter-productive. The way to go was how both Larry Wilmore and Malcom Nance responded to Milo on this clip. Though Milo himself said he'd be literally masturbating to the attention later. Seriously.

But Milo also kind of inadvertently proved a point. And it was backed up by Bill's final New Rule, which was basically that anything is OKIYAR (okay if you are Republican). ANYTHING. In Milo's case, it's fine to be, as Wilmore said, "a douchey little ass," if it's in the service of conservatism. He pisses off the right people. He makes the right people complain and cause a shitstorm. And though it may just be a side effect, it distracts people from the serious stuff. The exact same thing is happening with Donald Trump, and it may be equally inadvertent.

It may be by their very nature that both just crave any attention, and in many cases, negative attention is easier. And again, pisses off all the "right" people. But while left-wing ire is boiling over on their antics, serious shit is either happening, or being ignored. And, we're also "proving a point," at least to the skewed perspective of Trump, Yiannopolous, and their twisted fans. See, if you watched Milo on Bill's show, he actually said that Democrats/liberals are the "party of Lena Dunham." In reality, most liberals and Democrats have little or only tangential notions of who Dunham is. The right, per usual, takes their exaggerated imagery of what it means to be a liberal, paints all liberals as that, and then tailors their rhetoric around it. Ever wonder why conservatives often seem like they're operating from a completely different reality? It's because they've created one. One where we all bow in allegiance to some obscure HBO actress, where we all have "safe spaces," and "triggers," and are all delicate "snowflakes" and "buttercups."

[Story continues below]



Reality is quite different. And if Malcolm Nance is right, and this whole Russia thing is the biggest scandal in American history? Trump may find himself a pariah, and Milo and his fans and ilk just about as bad. Here's hoping. Oh, and by the way, I concur with both Nance and Wilmore: Milo can go fuck himself. But I'm sure he'd both love the sentiment, and the literal act.

He's an asshole. And not in a good way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BREAKING: Trump Campaign's Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence Revealed

Trump looking (not terribly) presidential, while everyone else
apparently colludes with Russia? Or is he part of it?
Image from source, New York Times
When drip, drip, drip becomes "kerplunk, SPLASH!" Y'think?

[Excerpt]

Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Trump Gives Press Credentials to "Fake News" Purveyor, Gateway Pundit

Image from source, Joe.My.God.
Proving that even the stupidest thing you think the Trump Administration could do can be topped, apparently they've given press credentials to a man known variously as The Stupidest or The Dumbest Man on the Internet. Yes, recently-outed-as-homocon Jim Hoft, of the ridiculous Gateway Pundit is apparently the Trumpian antidote to "fake news," even though he fulfills the very definition of it. Hoft's site traffics in stuff that would make Breitbart blush (though they're not above using him as a source), and is basically the UFOs and Bat Boy variant to other right-wing blogs' National Enquirer. He is about as trustworthy and accurate as Kellyanne Conway. Which is to say, not at all. I would be a better example of a journalist. And I don't even purport to be.

[Excerpt]

Erick Erickson Blasts Trump For Giving Press Credentials To Homocon “Fake News Cesspool” Blogger Jim Hoft

Right wing commentator Erick Erickson writes: I think the White House does the American people a great disservice by inviting Gateway Pundit in to the press briefings. . .

Read more at: Joe.My.God.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Michael Flynn, Trump's National Security Advisor, Resigns Amid Russian Controversy

Earlier today, we were told by Kellyanne Conway that
Michael Flynn had the complete confiedence of the Trump White House
It's week three, folks. Week three.


[Excerpt]


Senior Trump adviser Flynn 'quits role'

White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has resigned over his contacts with Russia, US media are reporting. Mr Flynn is alleged to have discussed US sanctions with the Russian ambassador before Mr Trump took office. He is said to have misled officials about the conversation. . .

Read more at: BBC News

SNL Casts Kellyanne Conway in Glenn Close Fatal Attraction Role

Wonderfully inventive, weaving bits of Fatal Attraction and Death Becomes Her, maybe even a taste of The Thing. Appropriate for Trump flack, Kellyanne Conway.

Over Time with Bill Maher, February 10, 2017

Bill and his Real Time panelists –  John Waters, Karine Jean-Pierre, Piers Morgan and Jim Jefferies – answer viewer questions after the show.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Donald Trump a Prisoner in the White House?

My perfect dream casting (were she not dead): Rue McClanahan
for Donald J. Trump. Photo from source, Raw Story
It would seem by all outward indications that President Donald Trump (a phrase that still sounds like it comes out apocalyptic fiction) is not having a good time. He wanted the praise, the accolades, the title, the crown. I don't believe, and never believed for a minute, that he wanted the actual job. Oh sure, he'd take the bows, he'd love for "TRUMP" to be emblazoned upon monuments and memorials, and no doubt he'd like to leave a mark in the history books via Make America Great Again™ policy and appointments to courts.

But you can't guarantee a good legacy, and make good policy as a bull in a china shop. This is, I should note, what his followers wanted, partly. They claimed they wanted to shake things up, some went so far as "blow it up." And by his behavior, Trump certainly seems to be doing that. He is absolutely heedless of protocols, traditions, decorum, diplomacy. . .he is no different a sitting President than he was a brash candidate. He tweets and says things no other president (or upwardly mobile elected official) would say or do. He stomps all over regulations, policies and even laws, and that will probably be his undoing. Whether he quits, gets bounced, or croaks in office, it's going to be interesting (and horrifying) to see just how much damage he does on purpose versus how much he stumble-bums his way through, crashing like the Kool-Aid Man through every American institution.

And the worst part for him, is that he's apparently hating it bigly. Good. Stew, you ignorant man-baby, stew.

[Excerpt]

He doesn’t like this sh*t’: Trump reportedly hates his job and his staff after less than a month

After just three weeks on the job, President Donald Trump is reportedly frustrated with the realities of trying to run the U.S. government the way he manages his family-owned business.

Politico interviewed nearly two dozen people who have spent time with the former real estate developer and reality TV star since his inauguration — and they said Trump’s “mood has careened between surprise and anger as he’s faced the predictable realities of governing,” according to the report. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"Intolerant Liberals" and Other Alternate Realities

Examples of anti-liberal conservative memes with little sting to actual liberals. Source: Medium
Writing this blog has taken a backseat to a lot of things lately, but part of my problem is I feel like I've been hit by some kind of reality prism, something that makes it impossible to focus on just one thing. My mind shoots in a hundred different tangents on any subject. Succinct debate on just about anything lately is impossible. There is so much askew, so much off-track, linear arguments are next to impossible to make. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on our new President for having parentheticals inside parentheticals in virtually each and every utterance? No, not going there.

Another strange meme in a world where the president
and his followers are hyper-sensitive to virtually
any criticism or slur.
But part of what I'm getting at is the absolute gaping divide between right and left. People pretend we were divided by Obama in some Machiavellian plan to destroy America. Nope. He had nothing to do with the vastly different way conservatives and liberals see the world, see each other, see virtually everything. And I know I'm biased, but I think--I'm pretty sure--the left (not the uber-left, just the left) is more securely moored to objective facts, to reality as it is. Conservatives (of most flavors) tend to see the world as a) they want it to be, b) they feel it to be or c) how they perceive it to be despite all evidence. Oh, and d) elements of all of the above.

I'm not trying to slander here, I'm talking about a group of people who look at something that happened, and either believe it to have happened differently, or even more bizarrely, have remembrance of it that is almost a complete invention. It happens with things big and small. An obvious example, is hearing and seeing Donald Trump say something completely untrue, easily disprovable, and then call him a "truth teller," a straight-shooter who "tells it like it is," and "says what I'm thinking." Further, they can look to Trump as "one of us," while seeing, say, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as "elites."

Another common one, that starts with the non-"fact"
that liberals want to take away all guns.
I think this very strange dichotomy is responsible for why conservative humor (or rather Conservative with a capital C, politically-motivated attempts at humor) fails so badly. It starts with misconceptions about liberals, exaggerates them, and then adds a layer of meanness. The result is rarely funny because it has so little truth to it. On the other hand, conservatives themselves--who believe the misconception to start with--roar with laughter. Oddly, even if it's the ten thousandth time they've seen "Rachel MadCow." You see more evidence of this in memes, like those featured here from the excerpted article. And even more in the current short-list of alt-right insults (cuck, beta, snowflake, buttercup, safe space, etc.). It takes a perceived notion of "how liberals are," exaggerates it, and then paints every contrary opinion with the same brush.

Anyway, all of that is a convoluted way of me saying: the twain will never meet between right and left, until something unifies them enough to see the same basic thing as the same thing. So long as Trump looks like an absurd, buffoonish clown to one side, and a strong dynamic leader to the other, we're not going to understand each other. Frankly, seeing Trump the liberal way used to be fairly standard for him, even part of the way through 2016. Seeing him the conservative way is actually a fairly recent invention. Dare I say,
artificial. It's a conservative prism, I can't think of anything else to explain it.

[Excerpt]
Intolerant Liberals

. . .I have some difficult news for everyone: Progressives aren’t interested in diversity. We aren’t interested in inclusion. We aren’t interested in tolerance. The progressives I know give exactly zero shits about those things. We have no interest in everyone getting treated the same. We have no interest in giving all ideas equal airtime. We have no interest in “tolerating” all beliefs. I don’t know where this fairy tale comes from, but it’s completely disconnected from every experience I’ve had with progressive liberal folks in my lifetime. . .

Read more at: Medium

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Over Time with Bill Maher, February 3, 2017

Bill and his guests, Sam Harris, Jason Kander, Tomi Lahren, Rick Wilson and Michael Eric Dyson answer viewer questions after the show.

In Case You Missed It: The Absolute Gold That Was Saturday Night Live This Weekend

Emmy worthy.
So, yeah. I'm so mouth agape at the endless parade of bizarre and freakish happenings emanating from our nation's capital, I've completely neglected the blog since the end of January! Sorry, I've been sitting slack jawed, disbelieving, unable to focus even on The Rachel Maddow Show, reading my Twitter feed, bouncing between devices and screens, trying to keep up, commenting in little bursts on social media.

It's nuts. Quite simply nuts. Evidence abounds, but this past weekend's Kristen Stewart-hosted Saturday Night Live stands as a testament to the treasure trove of material they have to work with. Top of the list, of course, is Melissa McCarthy's surprise turn as Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Enjoy.




Saturday, January 28, 2017

More Reports on the Dishonesty of the Trump White House, and Calling a Lie a Lie

Watch out, girl, your face might just freeze like that. . .
Image from source, NYT.
It can't be said often enough. For a candidate and campaign that tried to use "liar" as the main criticism of their opponent, and "truth teller" as a description of their own candidate, Donald Trump and Company continue to show themselves as the gang who can't go a day without lying. It's endless and blatant. They lie about things that don't matter. They lie about hugely important things. They lie about things that are easily and instantly disproven. They even lie about things that have already been admitted to be untrue. That's actually a hallmark of the far right, the resurrection of lies that have been long debunked. It was one of the biggest tools used against Hillary Clinton in the campaign, the Zombie Lie, as Bill Maher has called it.

But this many lies don't come without consequence. I mean just look at Kellyanne Conway's face, if you don't believe the toll it can take. And only a week in, we already have the press being more and more willing to call lies for what they are. Here's a story that goes into how these things are talked about and why. I've got to think that the more heat that Trump puts into demonizing "the media," the more willing they're going to be to say, "screw access," and just start calling his lies lies.

[Excerpt]
In a Swirl of ‘Untruths’ and ‘Falsehoods,’ Calling a Lie a Lie

Words matter.

And from the moment he became president, Donald J. Trump has unleashed so many of consequence that the public has barely had time to parse their full implication. Words about the dishonest media, the end of Obamacare, the construction of that border wall with Mexico — this is an abbreviated list, and he hasn’t even completed his first week in office. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Donald Trump's Lies in His First Week As President

Surreality, thy name is Trump. Image from source, Boston Globe.
Before we get to the meat of this story, I want yo to look at this picture. This is the picture that would accompany a news report in a sci-fi story about time travel gone horribly wrong. Or about a parallel Earth "over there," where things are not quite as they are "over here." It's an image you might expect if a crucial historical figure died (or lived) when they weren't supposed to, causing a ripple-effect in the time stream, resulting in bizarre news reports where the Nazis won World War II or New York City was bombed in the Cuban Missile Crisis. You could even expect it in a self-contained fictional universe, like Marvel's Cinematic Universe, or the DC Comics "Arrowverse." But we somehow ended up here, and I'm frankly still a bit outside myself wondering how.

How indeed. The man is clearly--especially now, having witnessed his first complete week--unfit to be President of the United States. He's still "candidate Trump," still bleating asinine statements on Twitter, still floating ridiculous policy statements and retracting them. Still making enemies of other countries and world leaders. Still lying his ass off on a daily basis. But now, it matters.  It's horrific, it's alarming, and it's basically unsustainable at this rate. I quite simply can't imagine this going on unabated for four years without huge damage to our country and to the world. And we thought Barack Obama had a lot to mop up. Who is going to want to come in after Donnie, and squeegee up the mess?

[Excerpt]

Fact checking Trump’s inaccurate statements

Regular readers know that candidate Donald Trump had difficulty with facts. Now that Trump is president, he continues to make misleading statements, based on incomplete information, inaccurate statistics or flights of fancy. Here’s an accounting of his public statements in the first seven days as president, not counting his error-plagued inauguration speech (which had eight problematic claims). . .


Read more at: Boston Globe

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore Dead at 80

It's a good bet that a huge majority of Americans
think of this when they think of Mary Tyler Moore.
Image from source, MSN
Sniff. I mean, seriously, sniff. Yes, she was 80. No, we can't blame it on the 2016 Grim Reaper on Steroids. Yes, she'd been in ill health for some time, in fact living with juvenile diabetes for most of her life. But dammit, for some people, there's no such thing as a timely death.

Mary Tyler Moore is of course most well-known for her eponymous TV show in the 70s, a truly ground-breaking television show in or outside of the sitcom genre. She was a single gal in the city, never married and (gasp) past 30. She was a gay icon before the world (or even some gays) new what that meant. I read today somewhere, that Mary Richards, her character--like many gays trying to fit in--was absurdly nice and kind to a fault, had an awkward and weird dating life, had an assortment of oddballs as a "family" in the big city, away from family. Hello, that's "single gay male" for a whole lot us. And I'll be honest, even though I was just a touch too young to be a real Mary Tyler Moore Show fan, I did identify, though maybe more with sidekick Rhoda.

Moore was of course already well known as Laura Petrie, perky housewife on The Dick Van Dyke Show, by the time of MTM. And, with ex-husband Grant Tinker, formed a sizable and influential television production studio (also MTM), which aired one of my favorites of all time, WKRP in Cincinnati. She was also an an Emmy and Acadamy Award winning actress. And though she got her greatest acclaim in the 1960s and 70s, she was never too far out of the limelight, or our pop culture. She'll be missed. And will continue to turn the world on with her smile. RIP, Mare.

[Excerpt]

Legendary Actress Mary Tyler Moore Dies at 80

Mary Tyler Moore, who played TV’s first sexy housewife and then a single, career woman who could turn the world on with her smile and toss her hat in the air like no other, died on Wednesday. She was 80. . .

Read more at: MSN


the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW INTRO by jcbsebrigh

Monday, January 23, 2017

Chilling! (#FreeMelania)

I'm slowly moving from anti-Trump to pro-Melania. She's easy to make fun of, what with her plagiarism, her Zsa Zsa (or Eva) Gabor accent, the icy stare through too-tightly-pulled eyes. . .but I'm being won over. I'm starting to feel sorry for her plight (sort of feeling worried about Barron too).

Source: VoenixRising.com (Sometimes NSFW)



Over Time with Bill Maher: January 20, 2017



Bill and his guests, Keith Olbermann, Heather McGhee, Tom Perez, and Jon Meacham, answer viewer questions after the show.

The Resistance with Keith Olbermann #25: This Man is Dangerous (Conservatives Should Watch This)

It might behoove conservative thinkers--that is, those Trump voters who are more than just knee-jerk, blind faith supporters--to actually watch a few of these videos, starting with this one. That goes for watching Rachel Maddow too, by the way. It's okay, take small doses. But you might just find, especially with Olbermann's new, more level-headed vibe, that while you won't agree 100% (or maybe even 50%), that there is something to what is being said. At the very least, you might get some understanding where liberal thinkers are coming from.

Now, before you revert to calling me a snowflake in search of a safe space, hear me out. A lot of conservatives have complained about the "divisiveness" of the Obama years. We very likely disagree on the reasons for that. But you know what? It is the willingness of extreme partisans on both sides to believe the worst about the other side as the default that keeps that divisiveness alive.

So, do me a favor. Watch this, at least the first 60 seconds. You're going to hear things here that you didn't expect. You're going to hear an argument that comes from actual reasoned thought, not bleating, shouting, crying or whining. As I said, it may not sway you (for sure, I've listened to tons of alt-right programming, and never been swayed an inch), but it might give you some insight to how the other side really ticks, rather than the easy, silly "libtard" insults.


SNL: Vladimir Putin Addresses America, Kellyanne Conway, and More

I haven't posted a lot since the Trumpenfurher's inauspicious inauguration, but thought I'd better get these very funny Saturday Night Live posts up for Monday. More to say later. I'll be back!

Entire episode below, choice bits are the opening, the monologue,Conway! and Weekend Update.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Miss Me Yet? --Barack Obama

At last, a meme around this subject that can be answered with an affirmative YES!

Some may say "too soon" (in fact The Other Half did). Not me. Missed the moment I knew he was being replaced by an unqualified, sociopathic narcissist.
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