He was “the good one”?

Guess who is a predatory slumlord, who owns huge numbers of lower middle class properties, fails to maintain them, and who hounds the residents with persistent lawyers, demanding often invented fees and penalties that the people cannot pay? It’s that quiet young man who has been given an exalted position in our government.

Very few of the complex residents I met, even ones who had been pursued at length in court by JK2 Westminster, had any idea that their rent and late fees were going to the family company of the president’s son-in-law. “That Jared Kushner?” Danny Jackson, a plumber in his 15th year living at Harbor Point Estates, exclaimed. “Oh, my God. And I thought he was the good one.”

Read the whole thing. The whole family is a skeevy assortment of nasty ratfuckers and villains, poisoning everything they touch.

We can’t handle the truth, I guess

Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans made a powerful speech on the removal of Confederate monuments from the city — read the whole thing. What was most notable about it is how strongly he exposes the lie behind the defense of these statues honoring traitors as a part of Southern history. Yeah, the Civil War was real history, but the stories of a genteel Antebellum South and noble Southern aristocrats fighting for their liberty was all propaganda, a lie promoted by regressive monied interests that attempted to romanticize slavery with a set of myths. Tear down the lies, expose the truth.

The historic record is clear, the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal – through monuments and through other means – to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity. First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy. It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots. These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city. Should you have further doubt about the true goals of the Confederacy, in the very weeks before the war broke out, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy. He said in his now famous ‘corner-stone speech’ that the Confederacy’s “cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

America is well practiced at lying about our history. The Pilgrims were virtuous people looking for religious freedom, rather than admitting that they were puritanical religious bigots who wanted to impose their freakish religious beliefs without question. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution are stuffed full of high-minded language about freedom, but also were awash in hypocrisy, since they avoided the fact that our economy was built on the forced enslavement of black people. The US Cavalry was heroic in fighting off savages and advancing the cause of civilization, when they were actually murdering people of a culture that was reeling from the onslaught of European diseases, and sequestering the survivors in barren reservations to live for generations in poverty. The Civil War was about States’ Rights…yeah, fuck it, that’s all bullshit.

Good nations and good people are not built on a history of lies. It’s about time we started waking up. I’m just afraid our media will not be helping, but will instead be constructing new myths. Witness the newspaper of record, the NY Times, busily papering over the first decade of the 21st century.

Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama flexed their executive muscles. Mr. Bush enhanced the president’s control over national security after the Sept. 11 attacks by opening Guantánamo, trying terrorism suspects before military tribunals, and authorizing warrantless wiretapping. Mr. Obama took unilateral aggressive actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reform immigration.

They left the office stronger than when they arrived. Although their policies were controversial, both presidents were given deference because they made their judgments conscientiously and led the government professionally.

Hey, look, Bush and Obama were just the same: let’s sweep the fact that Bush started an unjustified war that drained the treasury and killed hundreds of thousands of people under the rug, and compare lawlessness and the erosion of privacy to efforts to protect the environment from out-of-control capitalism and to opening the doors to refugees…some of them from the regions Bush devastated. But they’re just the same, don’t you know.

And look at that: Bush must be gratified that now, suddenly, “history” of the sort peddled by propaganda organs, is deciding that he was “conscientious” and “professional”. Dear god. Maybe New Orleans needs to replace a statue of Robert E. Lee with one of George W. Bush, so that some later generation can recover their sanity and tear it down.

Why aren’t the fireable incompetents being fired?

David Brooks is criticizing Donald Trump in the New York Times. The world is being led by a child, he says. We’re supposed to give a damn what David Fucking Brooks is saying, because finally he’s becoming aware of a problem.

By Trump’s own account, he knows more about aircraft carrier technology than the Navy. According to his interview with The Economist, he invented the phrase “priming the pump” (even though it was famous by 1933). Trump is not only trying to deceive others. His falsehoods are attempts to build a world in which he can feel good for an instant and comfortably deceive himself.

He is thus the all-time record-holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence. Trump thought he’d be celebrated for firing James Comey. He thought his press coverage would grow wildly positive once he won the nomination. He is perpetually surprised because reality does not comport with his fantasies.

Jesus. David Brooks. David Brooks pointing out the Dunning-Kruger effect. David Brooks, an enduring picture postcard of the effect.

Driftglass is as appalled as I am, and puts it well.

What Mr. Brooks is describing — a toxic fantasy world built on “falsehoods” which permit the inhabitants to “comfortably deceive” themselves, but which is also perpetually under threat of collapse “because reality does not comport with [their] fantasies” — not only perfectly describes Mr. Brooks’ Republican Party as it has existed for most of my adult life, but also perfectly describes the reams of Whig Fan Fiction bullshit that The New York Times has paid Mr. Brooks a princely sum to extrude over the past 13 years.

Whig Fan Fiction in which the Republican Party as it has existed for most of my adult life — the Party of Trump and Palin and Bannon and Rove and Lee Atwater and Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter and Ralph Reed and Roger Ailes and Newt Gingrich … and … and … — simply does not exist at all.

And so we have once again arrived at exactly the same place we were back in 2006-07. Back when the comfortable, toxic deceit of BushWorld — in which these very same pundits and this very same Republican base lived together under one roof, happily chugging Cheney-brand Kool Aid and slandering people like you and me — began to collapse under the weight of relentless Reality. And just as happened back then, we now see exactly the same, frantic ideological plea bargaining from the same paid professional Conservative/Both Siderist Beltway creatures. That the problem is somehow just Trump (David Brooks.) Or it’s because Trump is not really a Republican (Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC every fucking day.) Or it’s The Extremes on Both Sides (all the usual suspects).

This is the problem. We believe that the entire Trump administration ought to be sealed up in a box and buried in a landfill somewhere because they are incompetent and evil, but at the same time we respect the rule of law and see the Constitution as a good reason to hold back and work through responsible institutions to restore reason to government. And what if we ignored the US Constitution and did what was right? We already know the answer.

The New York Times, as one example of our media, is not bound by our constitution to respect the will of the people and the law. They have on their masthead a large number of people who were criminally irresponsible in cheerleading our way into a bloody futile war. You would think that after that debacle, the management would have looked at their staff and said, “My god, you’re a gang of fucking incompetents who got everything wrong, and wrecked the reputation of our newspaper. You’re fired! Let’s hire instead more of the people who got it right.”

That did not happen, obviously.

Those same people, David Fucking Brooks among them, are still there, and were happily churning out “tut-tuts” and “Hillary’s emails” and “both parties are the same” throughout the last election, and have helped sink us into yet another disastrous mire of bad policy that will kill people. Poor people, mostly, not the kind who’d subscribe to the NY Times, so I guess it’s OK. The pundits’ jobs are not at risk at all, ever. Those cretins can be wrong over and over, and never pay a price.

It’s the rest of us who pay.

It’s not just the NY Times. CNN is criminally incompetent, too — Wolf Blitzer is a caricature of a television presenter. MSNBC, the so-called “liberal” news channel, just hired George Goddamn Will, whose greatest claim to fame is that he can describe horrors with the same bland lack of affect he uses when picking his bow tie in the morning. These are people who, if their performance was judged on merit, would be laughed off the air and out of print — who might, at best, be reduced to writing for World Net Daily, Breitbart, or Weekly World News, but would most definitely not be on the payroll of the ‘prestigious’ news media. But there they are.

Once again, the frauds who ought to be superannuated ragpickers are rewarded with another sinecure.

The Republic is doomed, because if we can’t get rid of those losers, how are we going to get rid of parasites now roosting in the secure shelter of the Constitution?

We don’t need conspiracy theories to explain Trump

I don’t believe there is a conspiracy, or that our president is a Russian mole. Instead, I accept the “he’s a stupid man” theory. It explains everything without demanding remarkable planning and conscientious effort, which I don’t think the guy at the top is capable of. Trump can’t tell fact from fiction, and neither can the Republicans in congress, or a big chunk of the electorate.

Our Modern Media at Work

Chris Cillizza of CNN thinks it is awesome that Donald Trump won the dirt vote.

Someone needs to tell Cillizza, and the demented graphic designer who put all the effort into making a constellation of 50 irrelevant pie charts, that dirt doesn’t vote. Also that pie charts suck.

I would like to see Cillizza try and articulate why he thought that noise was awesome, though.

Life is too easy for comic artists

They don’t even have to write their own jokes any more!

Doonesbury: Well, I want to just start by saying hopefully they’re going to have to fear nothing, ultimately. Right now there is a fear and there are problems, certainly problems, but ultimately I hope there won’t be a fear and won’t be problems and the world can get along. That would be the ideal situation. It’s crazy what’s going on, whether it’s the Middle East or you look at no matter where, the Ukraine, you look at — whatever you look at, it’s got problems. So many problems. And ultimately, I believe that we are going to get rid of most of those problems and there won’t be fear of anybody. That’s the way it should be.

Those word balloons contain obvious bullshit from a bullshit artist — they sound exactly how a kid who hasn’t done their homework sounds when called on in class. It’s ridiculous. It’s meaningless noise. It’s not even good or entertaining bullshit.

But there’s that little note in the third panel: “verbatim from press conf., 4/12/17”. I know, it’s Trump, so of course it’s possible that such crap dribbled out of his mouth, but I had to check. Here’s a partial transcript of his answer, and if that’s not good enough, there’s video of the press conference — skip ahead to about 25:50 to hear the reporter’s question and his ludicrously stupid reply.

I think Garry Trudeau would agree that his ease and comfort in generating text for his cartoons is not adequate compensation for having to live with that boob in charge of the government.

The Trump voter

And here we have the perfect apotheosis of the Trump voter, a small resentful man finding satisfaction by berating a Muslim family and thinking himself bigger because of his religion and his president.

In the viral video, Downing is seen with a clear plastic cup while shouting Donald Trump is my president! and You can try to act like you’re innocent. You can try to fuck with me, but guess what? You will never, ever, ever stop me. My Christianity will rise above your Sharia law. Your Sharia law … don’t mean shit to me!

And here is the next stage in the development of the Trump voter: crying in jail.

You know, since Jeff Sessions wants to keep those for-profit prisons full, maybe he should start jailing more Republicans.