Tuesday, March 01, 2016

March Madness



And no, I'm not referring to the NCAA Basketball Championships.

Today is Super Tuesday, the opening salvo in a month-long barrage of primaries and caucuses (caucusi?) that will help determine who gets the Great Green Weenie of Nomination for the Democratic and Republican Parties.

And, of course, who will have to bow to reality, bend over, and display the Goatse of Concession.

There are fourteen contests today, stretching across the continent from Massachusetts to Alaska, with another five on March 5th, two on March 6th, four on March 8th, three on March 12th, six on March 15 (including Florida), one on March 19 (the all-important Virgin Islands), four on March 22nd and three to wrap up the month on March 26th. And that's just the month of March, dear readers.

There's a reason for this hideous shitstorm - the two parties' national committees decided to do this in order to make it a bit easier for a clear front-runner to gain an advantage going into the convention. The Democrats set this up after the long and brutal primary contest between Clinton and Obama in 2008, and the GOP set theirs up following the debacle of 2012, when Mittens suffered all the way to Havana (or, in this case, Tampa).

So let's look at the choices we have, shall we? I'll start with the Democrats.

Hilary Clinton's got the most delegates going into the month, and I'm not counting the superdelegates in this. However, many of the contests for the Dems are not winner-take-all; they're proportional, so even if she wins, she won't get all of the state's delegates. However, she's hit the airwaves in eleven of the Super Tuesday states and, as South Carolina's polling indicated, she has a bit of an impact.

Bernie Sanders is only airing ads in five states, but he thinks he's in with a chance there, and might be able to leech delegates away from Clinton in the other races. Sanders has a lot of money from small contributors, so expect him to stay in it for at least this month.

The Republican national chairman, Pubic Rinse - er, Reince Priebus - is faced with a no-win scenario: None of the candidates are much good, all of them espouse radical ideas that most Americans wouldn't support, and the current front-runner is a demagogue who disturbs a lot of the GOP.

Ben Carson doubled down on his grift with an op-ed where he again stated that as long as people keep sending him money he'll stay in. Right now, with him polling behind ear mites, it doesn't matter if he stays in or not - he's just putting himself in a good position for a Fox News contributor's spot (the eventual Happy Hunting Ground of all failed GOP candidates).

Rafael Cruz continues to blather on about God and Jesus have anointed him the President already, even though the evangelicals in South Carolina voted for Trump.

John Kasich has said that he "might consider" bailing out of the race if he fails to carry his home state of Ohio on March 15th. This marks the first time he's said something rational. Trying to position himself as a 'moderate' and 'reasonable' candidate sort of limps when you defund Planned Parenthood in your state, you douche.

Speaking of douches, Marco Rubio has elevated the GOP contest to Middle School Boy's Locker Room (from shit-flinging howler monkeys - hey, it's a step up) by implying that Trump's small hands mean that he has a small penis. It's either a mark of desperation, or an insight into Rubio's actual level of maturity. News flash, Marco - you aren't expected to win shit today, and are polling behind Trump in your home state (Florida; pray for her redemption).

Which leaves me with Donald Trump. Yeah. Unholy Cthulhu, take me now. Where do I start? Trump's a carnival barker, and Cruz might have a point when he hints that Trump might have ties to The Mob. He blusters, swears, advocates violence at his rallies, talks blithely about having the military commit war crimes ("taking out ISIS' families"), thinks torture's a good idea, and when you can finally pin him down on a specific policy proposal, it's 100% pure shit and he changes it within fifteen minutes anyway. Having him in charge of the armed might of the United States should terrify everyone, because he's already hinted that the Congress won't dare tell him what to do. He has proposed doing away with the shield law that protects journalistic sources and taking other steps that would effectively muzzle the press.

I vote in the Florida primary as a registered Republican, so I have to choose one of these assholes - a wimp, a hypocrite, a messianic asshole, and the reincarnation of Buzz Windrip. Decisions, decisions . . .

Now do you see why I call this "March Madness?"

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jeb! Bush: The Towel Boy at the Orgy



The Deal Goes Down . . . High Stakes in the Silver State . . . South Carolina: The Lost Cause Revixit . . . And Then There Were . . .

Sure Iowa and New Hampshire were fun, dear readers, but one must recall that demographically they were not a good cross-section of the American population. 

Nevada and South Carolina, on the other hand, are more representative, so they're an important proving ground before we stumble into the March Madness. 

No, I'm not talking about the NCAA Basketball Champeenships.  There are a huge ("YOOGE!") number of primaries and caucuses next month, with a massive, swollen nut of delegates just waiting to spew out to the gratification of the candidate who rubs them the right way.

To quote Deadpool, "Time to make the chimi-fucking-changas."

We start out in Nevada, where the Democrats had a caucus to determine who got the most delegates.  The idea here is that whoever wins gets the lion's share, but the loser also gets a few.  Being the state that features Reno, Las Vegas and legal prostitution, a lot of weirdness happened.  That included the appearance of a group calling themselves Hookers for Hillary, which is kind of amusing when you think about it.

When the dust settled, Clinton had received a majority of the vote, and thus a majority of the delegates.  Sanders was gracious in defeat, although some of supporters were so gauche as to shout "English Only!" when someone tried to give a Spanish translation of Clinton's speech.  Stay classy, kids.

The Democrats now take their show to South Carolina, where the Republicans had their primary yesterday.  The GOP will caucus in Nevada next week.

Hoo boy, South Carolina.  The state that started the Civil War has a number of really Interesting People living in it; polls indicated that a number of GOP voters wanted the Treason Flag back up, while others thought that being a bunch of losing losers who lost 151 years ago merited a mulligan.

A lot of overheated rhetoric was thrown about, Pope Francis was yelled at, and various ethnic minorities were denigrated in an effort to advance one agenda or another.

Six little candidates, all quite alive,
South Carolina, and then there were five.


With about one percent (one percent!) of the precincts reporting after the polls closed, the major press outlets called the race for Trump, which was a surprise.  The Conventional Wisdom said that Trump would have trouble in the Palmetto State, because the religious population would be harder to appeal to.

However, Reality told the Conventional Wisdom to go pound sand, as even the religious population (what one GOP staffer helpfully called 'whackos' back in 2008) loved The Donald's anti-immigration stance and his blunt, vulgar style.  Not even Rafael Cruz could match up to him, and Rafael was campaigning as the one candidate who had been anointed by God and chosen personally by Jesus Christ to be President.

But the nut got cut, and it was Trump getting the gold medal, with Marco Rubio coming in at the silver (one hopes they've fixed that glitch he had).  Cruz managed the bronze medal, with only about 0.2% separating him from Rubio; so close, in fact, that you couldn't get a melon between them.

That leaves the guys who missed a podium finish.

John Kasich tried to position himself as the Sane Alternative, but the voters didn't want sane this cycle, they wanted bullshit, lies, and cheap demagoguery, and got it in spades.  Kasich came in at fifth place, with Dr. Ben Carson (who's admitted that it's all about the grift; as long as people send him money, he'll keep running) at sixth.

Which brings me to the most pathetic Loser McLoserton of the 2016 Presidential Campaign, John Ellis Bush.

The GOP Establishment had such high hopes for Bush, but he started to bumble even before the Iowa contest.  By the time he staggered into South Carolina, blood dripping from the thousand cuts inflicted on him by Donald Trump, not even a tweet showing a personalized firearm could help him - in fact, his press office had to tell people that no, Bush was NOT planning on shooting himself if he lost.

Bush came in a sick fourth behind the three tossers who made it to the winner's podium, and finally did what a lot of people thought he'd do before the primary (and I thought he'd do after losing Florida), 'suspending' his campaign.  The signs of rot were there before the voting started, with senior staff sending out resumes and major donors no longer taking his calls. 

He finally learned when to pull the plug, and somewhere Michael Schiavo must have said, "About time, asshole."

So now the GOP go to Nevada, and the Dems to South Carolina. 

The Long March continues.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Hampshire: Withering Heights



Okay, the first actual primary (as opposed to the Iowa caucus, which was composed mainly of people sitting in auditoria and arguing) in the 2016 Presidential election is in the can, and let’s take a look at what the hell happened, shall we?  

Don’t look at me like that.  It’s Ash Wednesday, penance is required.  So there.

We’ll go all alphabetical up in this bitch, so we’ll start with the Democrats.

Hilary Clinton had her ass handed to her by Bernie Sanders last night, which wasn’t a really big surprise.  If anything, her showing in the Granite State has exposed weak points in her campaign structure and strategy, and it appears early enough to make adjustments.

Bernie Sanders – well, what can I say?  A self-identified ‘Democratic Socialist’ won the primary and it marks a milestone, which I’ll get to soon.  Based on polling, two out of every three of New Hampshire’s notoriously independent voters plumped for Sanders, with the rest going to Trump.  Sanders was also a next-door neighbor to the voters, and they could identify with him.

Looking ahead, it must be recalled that neither Iowa nor New Hampshire represent a true cross-section of the American electorate, and the campaigns are now headed west to Nevada and south to South Carolina (the next contests before Super Tuesday).  Clinton may have a broader appeal among Hispanics and African-Americans, and that may counter Sanders’ grip on younger white voters. 

By the way, Sanders is the first Jew to win a Presidential primary election.  If you think you heard a lot of racist shit from 2008 to now regarding Obama, you haven’t heard anything yet.  And if you haven’t heard it, you need to unblock your ears.

Now we check on the Republican field, and once again we shall get all alphabetic up in here.

John Ellis Bush came in . . . fourth, which isn’t even worthy of a bronze medal.  One pundit suggested that Bush was taking the karmic hits meant for his brother.  I disagree; I think that Bush felt that he was the Great Hope of the GOP and that voters would flock to the idea of a third Bush Presidency.  The rise of Trump and Cruz has confused him, that much is obvious.  He’s staggering now, limping painfully on two broken kneecaps to South Carolina.  He’ll feel a bit more comfortable there, and his brother is taping ads for him.  We’ll see how that works for him.

Ben Carson admitted yesterday that his campaign’s all about the Benjamins, saying that as long as people keep sending him money he’ll keep running.  Grifters gotta grift, am I right?

Chris Christie went back to New Jersey, saying that he needed to “take a deep breath” and determine what to do about his race.  Here’s a tip, Governor – things are going to get worse the longer you stay in the race, so it might be better for all concerned if you just sit on the beach near Barnegat Lighthouse and watch the waves for a while.  He hasn’t dropped out of the race yet, but the clock’s counting down fast.

Rafael Cruz came in third in New Hampshire, and is moving forward to the upcoming races.  He’s got a lot of money, and his rantings draw large crowds of people.  There are still allegations that his campaign tried to skew the Iowa vote by bruiting it about that Carson had dropped out of the race.  He and Carson are supposed to meet up in New Jersey to bury the hatchet.  Better watch it, Rafael – Ben’s good with a scalpel, and ask any number of gangsters about what happens in Jersey.  Expect his ravings to become even more mean-spirited and messianic the further south he gets.

Carly Fiorina has dropped out of the race after garnering zero delegates in two races, and having the general cachet as a lump of cold vomit.  She can’t understand how running a campaign on her destruction of Hewlett-Packard could fail to attract more votes – job destruction is a conservative meme, after all.

Jim Gilmore continues to run.  No one knows why.

John Kasich, Governor of Ohio.  He came in second in New Hampshire, where Trump beat him by a two to one margin.  That qualifies as “being beaten like a rented mule,” by the way.  Kasich has said many unhinged and stupid things so far in the campaign, notably his idea to form a Cabinet-level Department of Judeo-Christian Values to spread said values among the godless heathens of the world (read: Islam), but he comes across as low-key and generally more polite than Cruz and Trump.  So, by contrast, he was ‘better.’

Marco Rubio, Boy Wonder, Apple of David Brooks’ Eye, Savior of the GOP Establishment.  Came in fifth, and really didn’t do himself any favors by repeating the same talking point four times in the last debate before the primary vote.  Apart from giving comedians, Christie, and protesters much material to make merry with, Rubio came across as a flailing neophyte.  Allies of his have stated that he tends to panic under stress – just the kind of guy you want with his finger on The Button, right?  Right?  Bueller?

And that leaves me with Donald Trump.  Trump knocked it out of the park last night, and is now in the race to stay.  A loss in NH would have had him seriously considering his options, but now he senses weakness and he’ll have the big knives out when he gets to South Carolina.  His racist xenophobia will find a ready and receptive audience in the South, trust me on this one.  The day after his win, he opened his gaping piehole to spew a few ‘policy’ ideas, notably somehow inducing China to make Kim Jong Un “disappear” (no idea what he means by that, but usual usage implies murder).

So there you have it, dear readers.  The orgy of Downers and Treachery known as the 2016 Campaign continues, and it won’t stop until November.  Better buckle up, strap down, and keep that lube handy – we’re all going to need it.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Signs and Portents

Since the beginning of the month, I have been confronted by several things that I feel can presage greater events.

***

The Sign:

The US military decided to hold its annual summer maneuvers in the American Southwest. It's been doing this for years, and it's a good venue for it (lots of open space to let the tanks roam free). However, certain people who are Out There on the lunatic fringe, if not completely brain dead, have concocted a bizarre conspiracy theory that 'Jade Helm 15' is actually a cover for the military takeover of the United States, followed by a roundup of 'patriots' and confiscation of firearms. A couple months ago, Wal-Mart closed about a dozen stores throughout the southern half of the country, and the dingbats even tie this in - the empty stores are being retrofitted as prison camps for the 'patriots' who'll be rounded up, and the camps are all linked together by tunnels.

Now, that's an interesting set of conspiracy theories when you consider them, but not to worry! The Governor of Texas will allay peoples' fears - er, no, he isn't. Governor Abbott (and US Representative Louie Gohmert) are warning about a military takeover, and Abbott's unleashed the might of the Texas Guard to watch the military to make sure that they don't do anything funny.

What I think it portends:

I think that this proves that the Mantle of Weird Shit has finally and irrevocably been removed from California's shoulders (way back in the day, if something Odd arose, it was always in California) and settled over Texas like a rank locker room towel. Even Florida, with its naked men running around trying to have sex with trees while claiming to be Thor, is going to have trouble beating this Triple-Scoop Sundae of Stupid.

***

The Sign:

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the destruction of LZ-129, the Hindenburg, which exploded in midair as it was being moored at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. It is also my 15th wedding anniversary.

What I think it portends:

Considering that my marriage lasted only three years, one month and six days, I really should have paid more attention to what was happening in history.

***

The Sign:

The Canadian prairie province of Alberta had been under Conservative Party rule for the past 40 years. That ended last night as the center-left New Democrats won a majority in the provincial legislature and its party leader will become the new Premier. The Conservatives ended up third, after the NDP and a rightist party (think a much nicer Tea Party that likes Molson).

The outgoing Premier, a Conservative, won his constituency, but withdrew from it and his party leadership position. I guess the call of the lobbyist is an irresistible one.

What I think it portends:

Canadian PM Harper must be viewing this with a certain amount of alarm. Alberta was always considered a safe province, both locally and federally. To have it flip so dramatically can be a signal that the country is ready for a change.

***

The Sign:

Current polling in the United Kingdom shows no clear favorite in the upcoming general election this month.

What I think it portends:

All holy hell's going to break loose, as an object lesson in the pitfalls of multiparty government for those over here who think it'd be a great idea to shatter the two-party system. Regardless if the Tories or Labour win the election, they won't have enough seats in the Commons to rule outright. The current coalition partner with the Tories, the Liberal Democrats, are likely going to be savagely beaten, and the other two minority parties large enough to make prospective partners are - wait for it - the anti-immigrant, anti-Europe, right wing UK Independence Party, and the Scottish Nationalists. Of the two, I can see both Labour and the Conservatives doing everything but kissing the SNP leader's ass at high noon in Holyrood to get her on side.

***

What do you, the viewer at home, think?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ТАСС уполномочен заявить . . .

In a move that could gladden the heart of any conservative supporter of Eternal War (until he learned the source), President Obama is going to ask the Congress for authorization under the War Powers Act to send troops to Syria and Iraq. 

Apparently this is to fight the Daesh troublemakers in that part of the world, but I do wonder what the final outcome of it will be.  We already gave the region to Iran by knocking Iraq down; what's next?

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Fresh from the Asylum

(SFX:  Teletype chattering)

And now, the latest from the asylum that is Modern American Politics.  Poekhali!

The new GOP majorities in both houses of the Congress anticipated doing Great Things.

Things like repealing Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, and the President's executive action on immigration.

Things like declaring war in all directions.  Bang!

(Hmm, not a sausage.  Hardly worth the journey.)

So far, what have they done?

Well, they passed a bill denying Federal funding for abortion (which has been illegal since the 1980s, but they have no sense of history).

They voted to repeal Obamacare - for the 56th time.  So far, the effort to destroy Obama's signature domestic legislation has cost about $70 million in OUR money, to no result at all.  They're now relying on their hirelings in the Supreme Court to defeat key portions of it, but the legal position is rather shaky despite the horde of lawyers who have been unleashed.

Social Security requires just a tiny tweak to remain solvent until I'm old(er) and gray(er), but the GOP's been trying to kill it with fire since it was passed back in the Thirties.  Way to be humane about the elderly.

In the meanwhile, we've been treated to a wonderful smorgasbord of Stupid, garnished with Hurt Fee-fees.

The Stupid is twofold - the ignorant ravings of criminal lunatics about vaccination against childhood diseases, and the willful ignorance regarding the actual history of Christianity's dealings with people they don't like.

The anti-vaccination yahoos found aid and comfort from such Republican luminaries as Rand Paul and Chris Christie.  See what I meant about criminal lunatics?  With Aqua Buddha and The Zeppelin on their side, they must feel really secure in their frankly insane position.

And sorry Fox 'news' and all the other fatheaded legions of Dumb out there - yes, Christians have, in fact, perpetrated atrocities over their long history.  The Crusades (in the Fourth, a Christian town was sacked, as was the capital of Christian Byzantine Empire), the Inquisition, anti-Semitic pogroms, Southern US lynchings, Christian justifications for slavery, Jim Crow and the KKK, Christians blowing up Christians in Northern Ireland, and the modern US 'Christian Identity' movement.  I won't go on, as I'll get bored and run out of room.

Hurt fee-fees?  Oh, the butt-hurt was thick on the ground when Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) called Texas "crazy" at a Congressional hearing.  Now, I live in Flori-DUH, and any Flori-DUH politician who calls another state crazy deserves a hearty helping of Pot-calling-Kettle-black. 

However, you have to give Hastings some credit for spine - when the Texans demanded he apologize, Hastings brought up an old Texas regulating dildo possession as an example the Crazy in the Lone Star State.  The present Governor in Austin, in fact, defended that law back when he was Attorney General.

Texans believe in little or no regulation of deadly weapons, but believe in regulating friendly weapons, it seems.

And that's the latest from The Asylum.

(SFX:  Teletype chattering eclipsed by shotgun blast; explosion; bits of metal raining down)


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Way to Stake Out a Position, Lads

Measles, or rubeola if you're pedantic, is not the kind of thing you want to get. It's a nasty, easily communicable and contagious virus that killed - yes, killed - 96,000 people worldwide in 2013.

It killed about 545,000 people worldwide in 1990, and still flares up from time to time.

There's a vaccine for measles (known as MMR) that is extremely effective at combating the virus. Once enough people in a given area get the shot, the population develops what's known as herd immunity - outbreaks are small, limited in duration, and result in few deaths with proper care.

(Yes, I'm oversimplifying this, but I'll get to the point.)

There are populations in certain countries that have what's called low vaccine coverage, and there you get endemic measles, meaning that it's entrenched. There are also individuals who, out of fear or rank ignorance, don't get vaccinated or refuse to get their kids vaccinated. Much of their argument against vaccination is based on a discredited study in the British medical journal The Lancet, which was revealed to be based on bad data and faulty methodology. Still people cling to it as one of Skinner's monkeys clung to the terrycloth 'mother,' with very depressingly predictable results.

A Texas megachurch decided to stop vaccinating, and there was a large outbreak of measles. Whooping cough, another really nasty disease, has also broken out despite there being a very effective shot for it, and unless you've been hiding in a doomsday bunker for the past few months you will have heard about the measles outbreak traced to a bunch of unvaccinated kids who visited Disneyland.

So, when appealed to, you would think that our stalwart politicians would chide these parents for being dumb and insensitive to their children's need to avoid these diseases, right?

Right?

Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, said that parents should have a right to choose whether or not their kids get their shots. He immediately backed away from the position, which basically reinforced a similar stand against common sense he took back in 2009.

Rand Paul, Senator of Kentucky, basically parroted the discredited Lancet study.

Thom Tillis, Senator of North Carolina, went a step further in a recent conference by saying that it might be nice if restaurants could 'opt out' of requiring their employees to wash their hands after using the restroom. Isn't that nice?

Mo Brooks, Representative of Alabama, has chosen to stake out a position that should be all too familiar to certain people: He's decided to find a scapegoat for the recent Disneyland outbreak. He's an anti-immigrant hawk, so you get three guesses who he's decided to finger. No prize for guessing right.

Now, coming as this does after staking out anti-science positions on such things as evolution, it really shouldn't be surprising. It will become tragic if the kids or adults who contract measles because of stupid or ignorant actions get secondary infections and die. If any do die, there'll be a massive screech of "Why didn't the Government tell us to get our kids vaccinated?"

And so it goes.