Monday, May 22, 2017

Blast in Manchester England at Ariana Grande Concert

Terrorism strikes again, though as of this writing, there was no clear affiliation to a terrorist group, that's still what it is. Be it a crazy guy, or connected to ISIS, the result is the same. And it stinks, that it was at a venue sure to be teeming with underage kids.

The story has overtaken the news, as these stories often do, which can be frustrating. Two things we know (and that was articulated by Rachel Maddow on her program, which was entirely devoted to the story), facts are constantly shifting in  the newness of this kind of story--so, it's unreliable information--and there isn't much to do but speculate. Which creates a dilemma for happening now news: they have to cover it, but there really isn't much to say. I wish they'd get a handle on the way to segue in and out of these major stories, instead of dwelling on them exclusively.

But sadly, no. We see the same looped, shaky, usually vertically* framed cell phone video, interspersed with almost as shaky location footage of the building, with not much going on. It's not riveting television, even though what they're covering is both important and dire. No easy way to do it I suppose.

And on a purely superficial note: if you ever find yourself in the middle of a breaking news event, and have the presence of mind to start recording video, turn the phone sideways. Thank you.

[Excerpt]

Explosion, Panic and Death at Ariana Grande Concert in England

An explosion that may have been a suicide bombing killed at least 19 people on Monday night and wounded dozens at an Ariana Grande concert filled with adoring adolescent fans in what the police were treating as a terrorist attack. . .

Read more (with video) at: New York Times

MSNBC #1, FOX "News" #3: Role Reversal!

Rachel Maddow, from source, Variety
I know I hardly blog anymore, but I knew when I saw this headline, I had to post it. In what has seemed inevitable for months, MSNBC has finally overtaken FOX "News" as the number one cable news station. I say "cable news" as a category, because FOX has of course never really been news, having practically invented "fake news" twenty years ago.

Now, I know, there are several factors here that make this possibly a temporary--and maybe even hollow--victory. The channel that used to call itself "The Place for Politics," and said "Lean Forward," has been seemingly morphing slowly into sort of a FOX lite, at least in certain areas. The guy pulling all the wheels and pullies behind the scenes, Andy Lack, seems hell-bent on tipping the focus to a blend of "straight news," and a tip rightward. He's been thwarted by Rachel Maddow's dynamo ratings, and also to the surges by the rest of the prime time lineup. He couldn't very well fire his new ratings champions.

Or could he? The channel's second highest rated host, Lawrence O'Donnell, has a contract renewal looming, and nobody seems to know if it's going to go through. His fans are planning a march, but as often happens in these sorts of things, we don't get to hear the details. Even tonight, as the world is dealing with another terrorist act in Manchester, England (as I write this, responsible parties unknown), Lawrence is not hosting his program, and is being pre-empted by Brian Williams.

It would be foolhardy for Lack to terminate O'Donnell--who has made it clear that he wants to stay--in the midst of a ratings bonanza. It would almost instantly damage the ratings they have just started to really reap, because a huge segment of the their audience would abandon MSNBC. But I've seen this happen before. Radio channels running Randi Rhodes or Stephanie Miller when they're performing well, and replacing them with radio formats that get microscopic ratings. Sometimes ideology trumps money. Strange but true.

Of course the ratings wave also came amidst a crash at FOX, where they've been rocked by scandal, schedule shakeups, and a complete lack of focus after the departure (and now death) of Roger Ailes. I'd like nothing better than to see one of two things happen: a) FOX "News" slides to irrelevancy, with FOX Business Channel-level ratings; or b) FOX itself morphs into a more straight-news channel, free of rightward slant. But what we don't need is MSNBC basically taking their place as the new leader in "fake news."

Meanwhile, congratulations to Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Hayes and the roster of regulars that has performed a mighty feat, seemingly in the face of their own leadership.

[Excerpt]

MSNBC Reaches No. 1 for First Time in Weekly Primetime Ratings, Fox News Drops to Third

For the first time in its history, MSNBC ranked number one in both total viewers and the key adults 25-54 demographic during primetime for a full week among the big three cable news networks, according to Nielsen data. . .

Read more at: Variety

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Comey Firing: Key Day in History?

I remember how Right Wing World used to pick on
Hillary Clinton's looks. Now they ignore Donnie's.
Funny that.
The firing by (shudder) President Donald Trump of FBI Director James Comey could be a key day in history.

Why am I, runner of a half-abandoned hobbyist blog, qualified to say such a thing? I'm not. But call it a hunch. It simply feels momentous, this day. The left sees it as the move of a desperate man, but with the horrifying possibility of actually working. The right is overjoyed, seemingly unable to see Trump in anything but the most forgiving light. I mistakenly thought this was a very temporary effect of both winning an unexpected win, and of making liberals unhappy.

But Trump is very, very good at making liberals unhappy. And, if you haven't figured it out by now, conservatives like little more than "liberal tears." It's becoming very clear, that is largely what the whole Trump thing is about. He can hire people wholly unqualified for their jobs, to the point of opposing the very agencies they're put in charge of. He can use worse English than Sarah Palin hopped up on goofers. He can embarrass us on a world stage, show the most rudimentary of knowledge on civics. Doesn't matter how oafish, cartoonish, buffoonish and asinine he displays himself to be, they love him, because he pisses off the correct people.

For everyone not under that thrall, the experience is quite different. This is a presidency off the rails. An absolute train wreck that just gets worse as the days go by. And the suspicion of corruption, and even collusion with the Russians seems far more plausible. It's feeling more and more like an unfolding Watergate-type scandal, and the Comey firing feels like a key moment.

Depending on how much focus this story holds on the news cycle, and whether it grows, or peters out, it's still key. Because if Trump survives it, and we move on to the next outrage. If nothing comes of the Russia investigations, and in two months the story is on Trump insulting another ally, then that key moment will be, he got away with it.

And that will make a lot of people wonder, what on earth would or could be his undoing, if he can skate by after probably colluding with a hostile foreign government (not to mention the many and varied conflicts of interest, nepotism and the rest).

But, if this is the moment when some of the saner conservatives (they are out there, they've gotta be. . .right?) begin to peel off, and get on board the anti-Trump train. Or at least start demanding some real answers. I guess we'll see which way it unfolds together. Maybe I'll try to poke my head in here a bit more often as we find out.

[Excerpt]

Trump's love-hate relationship with James Comey

The same day FBI Director James Comey announced he was recommending that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not be charged in connection with her use of a private email server, then-candidate Donald Trump walked onto a stage in Raleigh, North Carolina, and proclaimed: "Our system is absolutely, totally rigged. . ."

Read more at: CNN

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Erin Moran, Joanie from Happy Days, Dead at 56

Image from source, Washington Post
Poor Erin Moran. She was undersung and overlooked on Happy Days. When the "big dogs" of the show left for greener pastures, it was "Joanie's" turn to shine. But, they shunted her off to the terrible Joanie Loves Chachi, and brought in Ted McGinley to replace her? The show crashed and burned, she was able to return, and then they ended the show, and made her marry Chachi (Scott Baio) as the last episode. It wasn't much of an ending. Then the roles dried up, producers ripped her off, her life took a sad turn, and she died way too young. To top it all off, she's being referred to as "Scott Baio's love interest on Happy Days," in her obituary.

The truth is, after a rather nondescript start on the show, she developed rapidly into a scene stealer, and a fairly good sense of comic timing. Being just a few years younger, I really liked her as an actress, particularly in those few episodes where Joanie was essentially the central figure. I always thought she resembled and ought to be paired with Adrianne Barbeau, but no producer ever seemed to see that possibility. So, it's a sad, slow ending for Erin Moran. And it's not one that likely surprised very many. But it's really too bad. RIP, Ms. Moran.

From a "Separated at Birth" post
from the early days of this blog.

[Excerpt]

Erin Moran, actress from ‘Happy Days’ TV show, dies at 56

Erin Moran, a former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi,” was found dead April 22 in Harrison County, Ind. She was 56.

Emergency responders found her unresponsive at a trailer park after the sheriff’s department received a 911 call, the department said. An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of death. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Behind the Blogger: More Blogging Excuses, From that Twilighty Zone

I know. I've been gone a while. I'm a bit surprised HOW long, to be honest, but time flies in Trump's America, doesn't it? And simultaneously crawls. It's like that twilighty show about that zone. Nothing feels real. I'm still not utterly convinced that we haven't sidestepped into the wrong reality somehow.

Trump fans (god knows how or why they exist) can pretend that all of this is normal, somehow. They can insist that, hey, they made it through eight years of Obama. We'll make it through this. Which is a) a bad comparison for reasons I will articulate and b) not even a foregone conclusion. Given the insanity that goes on with our toddler president, we might not make it through this.

But let's get back to the bad comparison. Barack Obama was, to my way of thinking, an exceptional man and a fine president. I'm quite clear that other people didn't think so. That's fine. What can't be argued is that he was in some way unusual, or atypical from any other mainstream politician. He was black, and say what you will, I'm never going to believe that his race wasn't responsible for a large chunk of the outright hatred directed at him. But he was a smart, educated, contemplative, capable man. He understood the scope of the job, more than basic civics, how government works. Whether you liked him or not, it's hard to conclude that he wasn't capable of doing the job.

Donald Trump is different. Not just a little different. He's not different in the way he's most often presented, as in "not a politician." Even the most fervent Trumpster has to admit the man is uniquely and profoundly odd. For a while longer, perhaps, they can tout this oddness as a virtue. But more and more, the wheels seem to be coming off, lug nuts shooting willy nilly. It is very clear that Trump is at best winging it. The whole thing. He clearly has no "doctrine," no core belief system beyond "winning," something he's actually done very little of since the election. And even that very well may have been rigged after all. For him.

I want to write about this stuff. In years gone by, I very certainly would have, and very prolifically. I may actually revive that part of myself. But I'm at a bit of a crossroads here. More engagement in social media, more of a workload both at my official job and at my home business, and other factors have conspired to change the way I use my time. Couple this with the difficulty in concisely putting into words the insanity that's swirling around us, and blogging is just a different beast to me than it once was.


Still not ready to give the blog up though! I'm still here. And I'll keep coming back. Just hopefully more often than every two weeks.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Keith Olbermann: Could Trump Pass a Sanity Test?

I personally doubt it. I really do. I think he has multiple personality disorders, possibly coupled with some sort of pathology.



In Case You Missed It:Over Time with Bill Maher, March 24, 2017



Bridgegate Claims Two: Chris Christie Allies Sentenced

Image from source, Huffington Post
Wow, has it been two weeks since I've posted anything? Scandal! Where have I been? I know, I know, excuses, excuses, by bother, let's move on.

If you are one of those people who wish Rachel Maddow would just move on already from the whole Russian/Trump stuff, you should make note of this. The whole Chris Christie Bridgegate scandal was Maddow's baby. Sure, there were beat reporters, and other people who kept the story alive, moved it along, and were invaluable to this resolution. But Maddow was tenacious on this, and kept the story in the public eye. Often against some fairly withering criticism.  She kept at it, and kept at it. And, I'm sure you've noticed, there is no President or Vice President Christie today.

That's not to say that we might not be in a better world if he won over the current President Crazypants we have right now. But in point of fact, his administration was a criminal enterprise, and in the long run, having him as President would've also been, you can pretty much count on it. I just wonder how long Christie--even with his White House connections--will manage to stay removed from this. Meanwhile, keep at it Rachel, keep doing what you do!

[Excerpt]
Former Chris Christie Aides Sentenced In Bridgegate As Governor Meets With Trump At White House

A judge sentenced two of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) former aides Wednesday for their role in the Bridgegate scandal in 2013.

In November, a federal jury found Bill Baroni, who served as Christie’s top official at the Port Authority of New York, and Bridget Anne Kelly, who was the governor’s deputy chief of staff, guilty on charges of conspiracy and fraud.. .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Monday, March 13, 2017

SNL: Trump vs. Aliens

This weekend's edition of Saturday Night Live had some great moments, and Scarlett Johansson is awesome, as always. But I can't help being a little disappointed by this and last weeks' episodes. With so very much material to choose from, they just came up a little light, in my opinion. And by giving us Melissa McCarthy not once but twice as Press Secretary Sean Spicer, they set our hopes too high.

Still, there were choice bits. Such as this fairly spot-on critique of Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin), if he had to face a real crisis. It would go pretty much exactly like this.


Breaking: Trump White House Trolls for "Obamacare Disaster Stories"

I've gotten a lot of emails from The White House. The Obama White House, mostly. But apparently, Cheetolini must've inherited the mailing list. And just minutes ago, he used it to push out the most hyper-partisan, push-poll-feeling email I've ever gotten from that source.

"Share Your Obamacare Disaster Story"


That's the subject line. Isn't that nice? It assumes that you have such a story. Or, that if you have an Obamacare story, it must be a disaster. Or, more likely, that they only want stories from people who consider it a disaster. And here, ladies and germs, is a primo example of how the Trump White House differs from Obama's.

Firstly, the Obama version wouldn't have been so ham-handed and obvious about the desire to get only one sort of response. But secondly, the Obama team would have wanted examples of all types. They'd want to know if you have had good experiences or bad experiences. They did so. They helped people who were having difficulties and obstacles with that plan, and other issues. Not Trump! Tell me how awful it is!

In truth, clearly, this is about bolstering the need for (Please Don't Call It) TrumpCare. Trump's claims that it would cover everyone regardless of income, and that it would be cheaper and better are. Not. True. But in Trumpland, that's a minor detail. His followers have been remarkably willing to give him massive latitude on the exact wording of his promises. They will on this as well. And if you give them a few juicy stories to repeat ad nauseam for the next 8 years? Even better.

The letter:



https://click.mail.whitehouse.gov/?qs=b05db1f0b53272ca852fedc87ffdc49a688a37d66be6ba304b49a6ba3b3409761159d0baaef5cc94d82b60bdf2758f7853fd784debf8d2b9

Obamacare has been a complete failure since the beginning, and things are only getting worse.

Today, President Donald J. Trump held a listening session to hear directly from Americans who have experienced significant hardship as a result of Obamacare's poor coverage and rising prices.

President Trump wants to hear from hard-working Americans like you. How has Obamacare affected you? Share your Obamacare disaster story.

https://click.mail.whitehouse.gov/?qs=b05db1f0b53272ca852fedc87ffdc49a688a37d66be6ba304b49a6ba3b3409761159d0baaef5cc94d82b60bdf2758f7853fd784debf8d2b9

During the meeting, one woman revealed that she had her health insurance cancelled three times since Obamacare became law. Another attendee had her insurance jump from $17,000 a year to a devastating $52,500 a year for her struggling family, while yet another said her health insurance now costs more than her mortgage.

Obamacare came packaged as the healthcare solution for all Americans. Instead, the country was given hundreds of pages of broken promises.

Millions of hard-working Americans have been impaired by soaring costs, cancelled plans, and overbearing mandates. As one of those innocent Americans, President Trump wants to hear your story about how this disastrous law has affected you and your family.

Share Your Story



So, I propose we share all kinds of stories! Who's with me?


Monday, March 6, 2017

Rachel Maddow: Trump's Real Potential Scandal is Azerbaijan and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard

I don't care if you are a hard-right Republican who thinks Rachel Maddow is "our" version of Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity (tip: she's not), or if it's your knee-jerk reaction to a) call her MadCow, and/or b) make fun of her sexuality or gender, watch this clip. For one thing, it's fascinating as an instruction on how to tell a story, and make it interesting. It's also fascinating to see the connections between things you'd never considered (and I'm not even yet talking about the political stuff). But it's stunning to see where she's going with this one. [Story continues below]



The Rachel Maddow Show is currently experiencing an upsurge in popularity, vying for and sometimes surpassing actual network prime time television. Part of the reason is that she's elected not to focus on Trump's latest tweets, and the incendiary things 45 says. She's been reporting what they're up to; in some cases what they seem to be up to, sure, but that's part of investigative reporting. Connecting the dots. And not in the boring (and crazy) Beck chalkboard way, but by linking actual, real events.

This story does involve Donald Trump, in a rather grave way. and it's worth your full attention, if you are an American, I don't care what party you are.

And if you won't watch that, at least read the article from The New Yorker that inspired it.


Image from The New Yorker
[Excerpt]

Donald Trump's Worst Deal

Heydar Aliyev Prospekti, a broad avenue in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, connects the airport to the city. The road is meant to highlight Baku’s recent modernization, and it is lined with sleek new buildings. The Heydar Aliyev Center, an undulating wave of concrete and glass, was designed by Zaha Hadid. The state oil company is housed in a twisting glass tower, and the headquarters of the state water company looks like a giant water droplet. “It’s like Potemkin,” my translator told me. “It’s only the buildings right next to the road.” Behind the gleaming structures stand decaying Soviet-era apartment blocks, with clothes hanging out of windows and wallboards exposed by fallen brickwork. . .

Read more at: The New Yorker

EDITED TO NOTE: In an epic Freudian slip, my original headline said "Republican," rather than "Revolutionary" Guard. I do not regret the error.

President Crazypants Loses His Shit, Fans Stick With Him

This hasn't gotten any less surreal. And I'm still baffled at how
anyone can look up to this buffoon. Image from source.
What can even be said anymore, about what's actually going on in the country?

Traditional news outlets have been deemed "Fake News" by no less than the president himself, and the phrase is repeated by his cult of personality acolytes. Likewise, they refuse to believe anything that doesn't either conform to their already preconceived notions, or to the narrative the president wishes to be true.

Meanwhile, absolutely untrustworthy outlets like right wing talk radio and FOX "News" are now considered to be real news. This would be an awesome time to be a nutbag radio talker. They've got the president's ear! Anything they think might light his fire will be played up, and he's likely to believe it, hook, line and sinker, no evidence necessary.

Always bad at analogies and false equivalencies, conservatives are now apt to make wild comparisons that make apples and oranges seem like an inapt cliche. Maybe apples and Buicks? They're usually that far off. For instance, the comparison now being drawn between the Russia/Trump story--a story with many tangents, and lots of meat on the bone--to Trump's post-midnight Tweet-storm about President Obama having wire-tapped him illegally. There's literally nothing to the latter, and tons of info on the former. Yet, they're comparable as topics to conservatives.

People who were saying there should be no investigation into the Russia charges, because there "is no evidence" are now demanding an investigation into Trump's bizarre Twitter accusations! It's preposterously inconsistent. But, let's circle back to that lame argument, that you can't have an investigation if you don't have hard evidence. Really? Nearly the entire CBS prime time lineup is devoted to police procedurals on the eternal quest for evidence where none had existed. And I know these people watch TV!

[Excerpt]

Congress will investigate Trump's wiretap claims

Key members of Congress say they will honor President Donald Trump's request to investigate his unsubstantiated claim that Barack Obama overstepped his authority as president and had Trump's telephones tapped during the election campaign. A US official said the FBI had asked the Justice Department to dispute Trump's allegation, though no such statement has been issued. . .

Read more at: Business Insider

Over Time with Bill Maher: March 3, 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017

So, The Whole Trump/Russia Thing is Raining Shoes

Image from source, Politico
There are quite a few times during the breakings of scandals when you just wonder when the other shoe will drop. Well, it sort of seems to be raining shoes right now. Every day, sometimes a couple of times a day, we have further parts of the puzzle that seem to be falling into place, more people are revealed to have connections, more officials have to resign, recuse, re-explain. There's something here all right, the question is, how far does it go, how deeply?

The only way to get to the bottom of that is investigations, both by journalists and by elected officials. Time and again, we hear, "no evidence has been presented." Well then, investigate. Find out. If this was a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton administration with identical circumstances, there would be no question. It would be THE. ONLY. STORY. FOX "News" would be on fire. So would talk radio. Is there anyone who doubts this?

Yet, if you go dip a toe into Right Wing World, you'd barely know there was anything to look at in the first place. "Nothingburger" is a favorite phrase. You will find people who simultaneously will say that there was no collusion, and that it doesn't matter if there was. People who will, "yeah, but..." and throw a false analogy about something Clinton or Obama is alleged to have done. You get people like Trump himself, who will say it's all "fake news," but that "the leaks are real." What?

These are people who would still ask for more investigations of Benghazi, who would still say "lock her up," about Hillary Clinton, with no charges. And let's ponder her alleged "crime." Possibly--maybe--having shared classified documents unwittingly. Compared to possibly colluding with a hostile government to subvert an United States election, and who knows what else? Sorry, no. This isn't going away, this isn't a nothingburger, and it must be investigated.

[Excerpt] 

Sessions recuses himself from Trump-Russia probe

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he will recuse himself from any investigations related to campaigns for president, including any probe into contacts between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. “I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign,” Sessions told reporters Thursday at a news conference at the Justice Department. . .

Read more (with video) at: Politico

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
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