I wouldn’t normally be telling you this

I want you to watch the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, at 8pm ET tonight.

That ad in the NY Times protesting Trump has pissed Ol’ Bill off enough that he has invited a couple of the signatories on to be abused — unfortunately for him, it’ll be Carl Dix and Cornel West, so it might be an incendiary event, and a good time will be held by all.

I guess even I will watch Fox News tonight, much as it pains me.

There is a disease eating the brains of Americans

It ain’t kuru.

It’s the disease of ignorance, Christianity, conspiracy-theorizing, and the kind of raging right-wing poison that inspires garbage like this.

kuru

Those are the symptoms of kuru — they just copied them off a med site on the internet. They do not apply. Hillary and Bill Clinton do not have kuru. I have a special contempt for assholes who try to assign specific medical diagnoses on the basis of simple prejudice and stupidity.

In case you’re wondering where the hell this lunacy came from, it’s Facebook, obviously, and a group called “Pizzagate”. You don’t want to go there. These are the worst human beings.

Public posturing on porn

It is entirely predictable that a Utah Mormon would lead the charge against online pornography, for a couple of reasons. A) Mormons are legendary for their hypocrisy in privately consuming vice while publicly condemning it, and B) ignorant legislation would be pushed by someone who takes pride in declaring his ignorance of what he’s banning.

Mormons have been in a furor for years over the disclosures about their paid-porn watching habits.

That’s the conclusion of a Harvard economics professor who tracked subscriptions to online porn sites. Utah ranks No. 1 in subscriptions, according to Benjamin Edelman, who reported his findings in the article “Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?,” published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

The most porn-watching ZIP codes in Utah, “with unexpectedly high subscriptions relative to their population and broadband usage,” are 84766 in Sevier County, 84112 in Salt Lake County, 84018 in Morgan County, 84006 in southwest Salt Lake County, and 84536 in San Juan County.

A color-coded map in the journal article shows only two states with subscription rates higher than 3.6 per thousand home broadband users: Utah and Mississippi. Utah topped the list, with 5.47 users per 1,000. (Edelman says he took into account the amount of broadband access available in various regions and adjusted his data accordingly; porn users tend to favor high-speed data transfer that can download lots of the steamy visuals quickly.)

“Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality,” Edelman writes. In the 27 states where “defense of marriage” amendments have been adopted, there were 11 percent more porn subscribers than in other states, he reports. Use is higher also in states where more people agree with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God.”

Let me just say that when I lived in Utah, I was in the 84102 zip code. 84112 is the University of Utah, which is weird — to be fair, there is a higher proportion of non-Mormons there, but there aren’t a lot of people living there, outside of university housing.

Also, it’s a weird metric: there is so much free porn available all over the web, why would people pay for it? Perhaps this isn’t so much a commentary on Mormon porn habits, as it is on Mormon naiveté about online access.

I’m also reminded of the ubiquitous Mormon joke — even Mormons tell each other this one.

Why do ex-mormons always take two Mormons fishing?
If you take only one Mormon he drinks all your beer.

Todd Weiler is posturing in front of his congregation electorate, so of course he’s going to take the most sanctimonious position possible.

It’s simple, we kill the Batman

killthebatman

Why did no one think of it before? You’ve got a problem, a big meanie who enforces the law and holds the crooks up to scrutiny, so the first step before you begin your crime spree should be to exterminate the people who might catch you at it.

This is exactly what the Republicans have done: before they start (OK, accelerate) looting the country, they’ve killed the Office of Congressional Ethics. Never mind that it was an independent office that policed both Democrats and Republicans — when you’re poised for a historic treasure grab, you can’t have an ethics office notifying everyone of what you’re doing.

It still exists, but instead of acting as an independent entity, it is now subservient to the house ethics committee, which is stocked with partisan lawmakers who get to strangle any nosy investigations, and further, get to silence any mention of any probes. This action was also approved by a secret vote of the congressional Republican caucus — there was no discussion with those pesky Democrats, they didn’t even announce that they were considering it, they just did it and presented it as a fait accompli.

I’m impressed. A comic book villain couldn’t have done it better.

Josh Marshall recommends that you contact your representative to find out how they voted, if you live in a Republican district (I’m not; my rep is a blue dog Democrat, who I’ve never voted before until this last election when I simply voted straight DFL on every office). I don’t know what you can do about it, although I suppose it would be nice to know.

Nixon lied. Nixon killed Americans and Vietnamese needlessly.

The Republican party has evolved into the party of disenfranchisement, dishonesty, and outright treachery. One place you might point to as the beginning of this sordid history is the presidency of the primeval ratfucker-in-chief, Richard Nixon. Newly discovered documents show that he intentionally scuttled negotiations to end the Vietnam War for political gain.

Richard M. Nixon always denied it: to David Frost, to historians and to Lyndon B. Johnson, who had the strongest suspicions and the most cause for outrage at his successor’s rumored treachery. To them all, Nixon insisted that he had not sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion. “My God. I would never do anything to encourage” South Vietnam “not to come to the table,” Nixon told Johnson, in a conversation captured on the White House taping system.

Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.

John Kerry once said, How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?. He should have said, “How do you ask a man to die in order to elect Richard Nixon?” Then later we get Reagan and Iran-Contra, and George W. Bush and the mega-cluster-fuck in Iraq.

Of course, the problem goes even deeper than that, to a winner-takes-all two party system that fosters insane levels of partisanship. I think we need to burn it all down and start over.

Oh, and there’s even more.

Time has yielded Nixon’s secrets. Haldeman’s notes were opened quietly at the presidential library in 2007, where I came upon them in my research for a biography of the former president. They contain other gems, like Haldeman’s notations of a promise, made by Nixon to Southern Republicans, that he would retreat on civil rights and “lay off pro-Negro crap” if elected president. There are notes from Nixon’s 1962 California gubernatorial campaign, in which he and his aides discuss the need to wiretap political foes.

Also the party of racism.

California has not legalized child prostitution

I knew a child prostitute once. She was 14 or 15 years old, and hung out near a bus stop in Seattle — I used to work late at the university while I was an undergraduate, and it would often happen that I’d have to wait a half hour or so at the stop before transferring, and I kept bumping into this scantily dressed girl shivering on the street. I bought her donuts. We’d talk, briefly. She was miserable and hungry, and there wasn’t much I could do other than a cruller and a little distracting conversation while she was warming up in the donut shop.

I guess I was handling the situation all wrong. I should have had her arrested.

The Tea Party is outraged because California legalized child prostitution…only they didn’t. California passed a law that changes the status of children in the sex trade from criminals to victims.

Does SB 1129 actually legalize child prostitution? No. No, it does not, and that’s an incredibly unfair reading of the law. What the law does is to actually transform a child prostitute — who is not legally capable of providing consent — from a criminal into a victim. The law is designed to aid child prostitutes pimped into the system by sex traffickers.

Sex traffickers and pimps will still be prosecuted. Men and women who sleep with child prostitutes will still be prosecuted. However, rather than arrest child prostitutes and put them in the juvenile detention system, the law provides money to pay for social services so that these children are protected. Police will continue to temporarily detain underage prostitutes, but rather than lock them up in jail, they are diverted into the dependency system, which centers on caring for abused and neglected children.

But you should see the online shrieking of the Trumpkins. All they see is that the damned liberals are trying to sell children into sex slavery, which is exactly the opposite of what’s going on. They are unable to see a young girl in a desperate situation as someone who needs help, rather than further abuse and shaming.

I sometimes wonder what happened to that kid at the bus stop. I graduated and left Seattle; I heard later that the donut shop got closed down because the owner was arrested for being the local fence. That area around 3rd & Pike (I think it was) wasn’t exactly a safe place back in the 1970s.

Finally! Someone I agree with on the Russian interference

I believe Russia did meddle in American politics, at least in the sense of assisting Republican propaganda. I could easily accept that their tinkering, and partisan influence from what should be non-partisan bureaucracies (like the FBI) shifted the vote margins by a percentage point or two. You can even argue with me by how much of a percentage and I’d just shrug and go along with it.

But what made an even bigger difference, what really made Trump possible, was an incompetent, smug, conservative Democratic party that bumbled the election at every point. It looks like Matt Taibbi shares my opinion.

Did the Russians do it? Very possibly, in which case it should be reported to the max. But the press right now is flying blind. Plowing ahead with credulous accounts is problematic because so many different feasible scenarios are in play.

On one end of the spectrum, America could have just been the victim of a virtual coup d’etat engineered by a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, which would be among the most serious things to ever happen to our democracy.

But this could also just be a cynical ass-covering campaign, by a Democratic Party that has seemed keen to deflect attention from its own electoral failures.

The outgoing Democrats could just be using an over-interpreted intelligence “assessment” to delegitimize the incoming Trump administration and force Trump into an embarrassing political situation: Does he ease up on Russia and look like a patsy, or escalate even further with a nuclear-armed power?

Emphasis is mine. All the news about Russian interference is just playing to the media and giving the DNC an excuse, all while distracting the party from actually confronting their deep internal problems and doing something about it.

Because, I fear, they don’t want to do anything about it.