Why Comcast sucks, in case you need a reminder

The Swamp Rabbit and I were weatherproofing his new shack in Tinicum Swamp and discussing the repeal of net neutrality rules. There is no end to a plutocrat’s money lust, I said, or to an oligarch’s lust for power.

“What’s the difference between a pluto-cat and an oligarch?” Swamp Rabbit said.

I had to think about that. “A plutocrat is a rich businessperson who is obsessed with becoming even richer,” I said. “An oligarch is one of a small gang of people who control the government. You can be a oligarch without being a plutocrat, but oligarchs these days are almost always plutocrats.”

Swamp Rabbit drove a nail into a crossbeam and said, “You mean like Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast? How much you think him and his pluto-cat friends spent on killing net neutrality?”

Good question. Comcast runs an empire of media outlets and has spent multi-millions on lobbyists. Verizon and AT&T other mega-corporations have also spent huge amounts. I said, “I’m not sure, but you can bet your scrawny rabbit ass that a lot of their lobbying money came from overcharging cable customers.”

You have to be persistent to become an oligarch, I explained. Comcast lobbied extra-hard to deep-six net neutrality rules installed in 2015, when Obama was president. Their efforts paid off bigly after Trump got elected and appointed Republican and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai to chair the FCC.

“Damn!” Swamp Rabbit said. “Now the pluto-cats can make us pay more for faster internet connections, and they can block websites they don’t like.”

He drank from a bottle of Wild Turkey and coughed for a minute. Then he said, “I get it that a gang of corporate scumbags owns the media. But shouldn’t the gov’mint be worried that scumbags have all that power?”

“That’s just it,” I replied. “The scumbags are the gov’mint. They’re oligarchs, remember? Pass me that bottle.”

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If vile goes out of style, Trump is toast

The question for Roy Moore was “When was the last time America was great?” He replied:

I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.

A neo-nazi pining for the good old days of the Third Reich might have said something similar:

I think it was great at the time when families were united – even though we had the Holocaust – they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.

But hey, who cared that the would-be senator preferred the antebellum South to the present? Or was a plausibly accused child molester and an ex-chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was thrown off the bench in 2003 and again in 2016?

The bottom line was that Moore’s election would help Republicans maintain their slim majority in the Senate. They thought he was a shoo-in. An honest Republican would have put it this way: “Moore may be a bigot and pedophile, but he’s our bigot and pedophile. At least he’s not a Democrat.”

But Moore lost to the Democrat, Doug Jones. It’s too bad a guy so vile came so close to becoming a U.S. senator, but it’s amazing a Democrat won a Senate race in a state like Alabama, which Donald Trump won in a landslide last year.

Old-guard Senate Republicans don’t like over-the-top vile. They like guys who are vile but discreet. If they start thinking vile is out of style this election cycle, they will rethink their allegiances and turn on Trump faster than you can say Roy Moore.

Posted in God Squad, gun nuts, mainstream media, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Another day, another new low for Trump

Let’s say you’re one of the Navajo veterans of WW II who used your native language to create coded messages that the Japanese military couldn’t possibly figure out. You survived battles in the South Pacific, where Japanese soldiers usually fought to the death rather than surrender. You’re 90-some years old now and at a White House ceremony in which the President of the U.S. is supposed to be commending you for your military service.

But this is no ordinary president; this is Donald Trump, a thin-skinned blowhard who turns every speech he makes into an opportunity to promote himself while defaming real and imagined foes. This time the target is Elizabeth Warren, who years ago invented the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and has criticized Trump recently for trying to appoint Mick Mulvaney as interim head of that agency. Mulvaney, a Trump toady, is on record as wanting to close down the CFPB.

But you don’t know any of this, so you listen to Trump’s speech and are amazed to hear him turn his tribute to you into an attack on someone he refers to as “Pocahontas.” You look at this bloated old white man with the orange skin and freaky yellowish hair, your president, and you wonder what the fuck he is talking about.

Afterwards, if you’re still lucid at your advanced age, you’ll find out Trump was ridiculing your heritage as part of a crude attempt to ridicule Warren, who asserted long ago that she is part Native American. You’ll find out he has a long history of putting down minorities, because that’s the sort of talk that appeals to his base.

You might hear of a press release from Debra Haaland, a Native American candidate for Congress in New Mexico: “I can’t begin to express how angered I am by the display of ignorance in our White House today. The president’s actions disgrace the history of Pocahontas, Native Americans, Navajo code talkers and all Native American veterans who served and died for this country.”

She got it half-right. Trump is as ignorant as a fence post, but his defining trait is malice toward anyone who ever criticized him or resisted his power grabs. He can’t disgrace you or any other Native American. He can only disgrace himself and all the white people who voted for him despite ample evidence he was a buffoon and a would-be dictator.

In the end you might ask yourself, hey, how did a sack of garbage like Trump make it all the way to the White House? Is this the country I fought for?

Posted in history, mainstream media, Nativism, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

I do not recall, y’all

My hard drive died last week, just like that, as if my laptop had had a heart attack. It’s the ideal way to go if you’re old — boom, lights out, that wasn’t so bad, was it?

Except that the last two chapters of my novel-in-progress were on the hard drive and I hadn’t made a back-up file, so everything I’d written was gone. A computer repair guy referred me to a forensics specialist, who told me how much he’d charge to recover the data. He might as well have quoted me a price for brain surgery, it was so far beyond my budget.

I tried to piece together the lost chapters from memory but came up with nothing but fragments of sentences and only a faint recollection of how I’d tied up the plot’s loose ends.

I kept thinking of U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions being asked under oath to help explain why he and many others in Donald Trump’s posse crossed paths with Vladimir Putin’s posse during the presidential campaign.

Sessions told House members “I do not recall,” over and over. He had “no recollection of the details” of his discussions about Russia with former Trump aide and convicted perjuror George Papadopoulos. Or of much else.

I thought damn, is my memory as bad as this dude’s? I have no recollection of the details of my lost chapters, only the memory that they once existed. I do not recall why I made the stupid mistake of not backing up my text.

But things could be worse.

I don’t look and act like the Ku Klux Klan’s elfin mascot.

I’m not an old Confederate masquerading as someone morally qualified to head the Department of Justice.

I know the difference between defective and selective memory.

Most important, I can dispense with my previous version of events and create a new one without having to worry about going to jail for it.

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Mass shootings don’t faze gun freaks

From a New York Times editorial published in 2015, soon after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA:

…Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens…

It’s a lot like the editorial the Times published just after the latest mass shooting, in Sutherland Springs, TX, and the editorials they published after mass shootings that took place between those in San Bernardino and Sutherland Springs.

Hurray for the Times advocating gun control. The problem is, it would take a grassroots effort to vote out the politicians who are anti-gun control, and grassroots voters on this issue are usually white middle-aged Trump supporters who think they need firearms to protect themselves from blacks, Muslims and the gov’mint.

They are the sort of peeps who get a hard-on by going to gun shows in godforsaken places like Oaks, PA.

They don’t like gun control advocates, and they are no more likely to give up their gun fetish than they are to read an editorial in The New York Times.

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Kelly should have kept his mouth shut

Remember when John Kelly was chosen to restore order in the White House? It was only a few months ago. The talking heads on TV effusively praised the new chief of staff. He was, after all, a former Marine general, and the media in this country think more highly of generals than saints.

For a while, Kelly was seen but rarely heard, and it was sketchily reported that he was making progress on the job, blocking the door against corrupt bozos who previously had easy access to the Oval Office. A widely seen photo showed him backstage hanging his head as Donald Trump told reporters that both sides were to blame for violence at a protest by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. I think we were supposed to believe Kelly was a man of principle, measured and careful, embarrassed by the remarks of his clownish, bigoted boss.

But there’s something wrong with this picture. Why would an upstanding old soldier like Kelly sign on with a draft-dodging, fraudulent sociopath like Donald Trump? Was he a high-minded public servant trying rescue Trump from his own stupidity and nastiness, or just a rigid right-winger who liked being close to the center of power?

We might still be guessing if Kelly hadn’t spoken out against the mother of a slain black soldier who said Trump disrespected her. If he hadn’t compared the present to the good old days when religion and women were “sacred.” If he hadn’t said the Civil War could have been avoided through compromise on slavery. If he hadn’t said he’d only take questions from reporters who were “gold Star parents or siblings.” (Kelly’s son was killed in action in Afghanistan.)

Turns out Kelly has a lot in common with his boss, who brings out the worst in all who get close to him. Lie down with Trump and you get up smelling like shit, even if you’re a general and a Gold Star dad.

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(Not so) special delivery from UPS/Swift


When the music’s over, turn out the lights. 
— The Doors

Yo Taylor, I’m curious as to why your handlers are using UPS trucks to help sell your new album, and how many edgy but lesser known artists could have benefited from a portion of the millions spent to market all your awesome whitebread hits.

OK, I’m not that curious.

Marketing is what it always was — a tool for convincing shoppers that a silk purse and a sow’s ear are the same. And edgy is out. Those bold, innovative rockers who were as commercially successful as you and Justin Bieber and your buddy Kanye West are fading or gone. They only make news when their obits appear.

Nowadays, sugar pop and hip-hop rule. Rock ‘n’ roll, once a force for change, survives mostly as background noise for beer commercials and video games. Good music is being made but most young rockers can’t get past Square One, where they earn pennies playing dive bars and streaming on Spotify.

I know, I’m a dinosaur. I can’t warm up to simpering divas or songs with weak hooks and dumb lyrics. Haters gonna hate hate hate. Look what you made me do. I guess this means we are never ever getting back together.

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