Rise of the Contrarians

Spent a few days online, arguing with some guy who is convinced that masks don’t work.

As usual—and if you’re a progressive I’m sure you’ve done this before—I posted link after link to qualified, respected health care institutions from around the world, each illustrating and supporting the efficacy of masks.

He supported his claim, primarily, with a single article written by some Libertarian guy (not a virologist) on RealClearPolitics.com.

The pointlessness of the task eventually wore me down, and I just gave up.

Kind of mad at myself for even trying.

The rightwing is so bereft of ideas that they’ve been reduced to a party of contrarians, people who will disagree with Democrats and progressives just for the sake of disagreeing.

It’s not impossible to imagine a new and more deadly threat emerging sometime in our near future, a danger so imposing and ominous that refusing to recognize it may well alter our reality forevermore.

A couple of obvious examples crossed my mind just as I finished that last paragraph.

Someday we’re going to need the conservatives to recognize the nature of an imminent threat and get on board with us in order to defeat it.

And they just won’t do it, simply because we’re for it…

…so they have to be against it.

That’s what we’re up against, and it ain’t pretty.

Damn Right He’s My President

Joe Biden ended the twenty-year war in Afghanistan. That’s a historical fact now. It wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t pretty, but it had to be done, and by God he did it.

His first year in office, too!

When Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld invaded Afghanistan in October of 2001, Americans were lead to believe it would be a quick, decisive battle similar to what we saw in Desert Storm, Iraq, in 1991.

Boom boom, bang bang, in and out, done.

Obviously we were lied to, because the Bush administration had no intention of leaving Afghanistan from the start. And they made damned certain that leaving the country would be somebody else’s problem.

Republicans excel at making messes that somebody else has to clean up.

The GOP whipped up popularity for the war by pandering to their base’s bigotry (gonna teach them ragheads a lesson!) while simulatneously accusing anybody who disagreed with them of being unpatriotic and belonging to the “Hate America First” crowd.

Seriously. That’s basically what happened.

While diversity is a progressive strength, it can at times be our most vulnerable weakness. Because often times, in order to win any conflict, you have to stick together despite the imperfection of the alliance.

Progressives don’t like to march in lock step.

Conservatives can’t seem to walk in any other way.

With an uncanny instinctiveness, a hybrid herd mentality, Republicans can easily do one thing that progressives find difficult: they know how to stay on message. Mainly because Republicans on the whole don’t like to think. Truly. And their leaders are only too happy to think for them.

Conservatives will rarely voice any opinion unless they know that most conservatives already agree…because the bottom line is they don’t know right from wrong. Somebody else has to create those parameters for them. Once they’ve reduced a broad, complex, sweeping concept to a pithy talking point, then and only then will they they lock into that standpoint with a religious ferocity.

Rank and file, Main Street Republicans are gawd-awful at debate, but they are experts at regurgitating the talking points of the day. I don’t know why that is, but that’s why they appear to win so many arguments. They stick to the message. They already have the answers.

But progressives have often been compared to a herd of cats. You can’t stampede them over a cliff, because they aren’t prone to stampeding. You can’t round them up in a corral because they are fundamentally resistant to being corralled.

Believe me, people have tried. Didn’t work.

So the thing is, when all of us clever, fickle, leonine progressives hear the GOP predictably blaming the failure of the Afghanistan withdrawal on President Joe Biden…we have to be careful not to get tangled in their logical fallacy.

Sure, we can admit to ourselves that it was par to disaster, and we can admit to ourselves that ultimately Biden was responsible…but we all know perfectly well that it’s just not as simple as that.

You can’t spend twenty fucking years and well over a trillion dollars “nation building” only to watch it evaporate in eleven days and blame it on the new guy.

Because the bottom line is this: Joe Biden didn’t screw up the twenty-year war of Afghanistan. That had already been done twenty times over, starting in October of 2001.

Joe Biden ended the Afghanistan war.

And for that, I am proud.

*****

Worth a Watch: How Biden Ruined a Perfectly Good 20-year War.

Conservative “Freedom”

Here we see your typical conservative stud berating an old woman for wearing a mask.

Tough guy. Wish I was there and tequila drunk.

Whenever you hear a conservative talking about freedom, this is the essence of their debate: freedom for me to do whatever the hell I want, and freedom for you to like it or lump it.

They talk about corporate “freedom” — deregulation — the “right to work” and so forth. That just means they want to let big corporations do whatever the fuck they want, and everybody else has the freedom to clean up the mess and pick up the bill.

Hog resources. Pollute the environment. Underpay their workers and force them to labor in unsafe surroundings. That’s corporate freedom. That’s deregulation.

So every time you hear a Republican howling about freedom, remember that dickless wonder in the photo above, towering over a defenseless little old lady and screaming in her face.

Because that is the heart of their argument.

GOP Cheers their Own Failure

I have never hated Republicans more than I do today.

They’re practically cheering the chaos we’re seeing in Kabul, elated to blame it all on President Biden–because that’s all they really care about.

We spent twenty years and over a trillion dollars bombing the shit out of that country and doing very little else.

What did they expect would happen? They all saw to it that nothing else could happen. All they wanted was that big fat defense budget and more money for the weapons cartels.

Swear to God, if you were stuck on a sinking ship with the average Republican, kiss your ass goodbye, because they just don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves.

This is…simply…all too predictable.

And it hurts.

Things I Love to Hate: Bikers

Obama was out of office for over three years before Covid hit the USA. But he’s not racist….

Bikers. Can’t fucking stand them. A few bikers walk into the bar, and I generally walk out, especially if they sit their fat asses anywhere near me.

It’s the same way every time. They’ll walk in all quiet and humble, looking like “Hey, man, we just want to have a few beers. We don’t want no trouble.” And fifteen fucking minutes later, they’re stirring up trouble. Their specialty is occupying any given section of the bar, then acting as if they own it. They like corners by the pool tables, but if they get a chance, they’ll take over a patio instead. And, yes, they will literally tell people that it’s their patio and tell them to leave.

But I confess a dark fascination with the brood, amazed at how anybody could be so damned stupid and still retain the heroic allure of an iconoclast.

How, I ask you, how can so many people dress the same, act the same, and think the same…and still call everybody else “sheeple?”

Wonders never end.

Biker girls really turn me on. I think “Wow, that white trash and proud of it attitude is really hot.” Until I have to interact with them in any way, shape, or form, and then they make my skin crawl. Biker bitches are even dumber than the dudes. And meaner.

Biker bitches will threaten you. They get off on it. Never directly, always in the passive tense. Italian mobster chicks are the same way. They’ll start talking about some guy who got his ass kicked…it’s not you, but it sure sounds an awful lot like you.

Not all bikers are bad, I have to remind myself. There are a few exceptions, of course, as there are with everything.

I remember “Mars” from my days spent bartending at the Screwball Inn–smart guy, funny, weird, but mostly good. And “Wrench,” the big skinny guy with two teardrops tattooed on his face…surprisingly good natured…self deprecating…always cracking a dry joke. His wife was a rich kid from Florida, and their little boy looked like an angelic cherub, something out of parochial school, always scrubbed clean and polite.

But there are so many other bikers I’ve met in my life who just…seemed to make a point of making me miserable. No idea why. Too blond, I guess. Too educated. Too liberal. Too something.

Back in Roswell, one group tracked me down from one bar to another, and their muscle man grabbed me by the back of the neck…I can’t remember why. I think I dared to argue with their leader at another bar about GW Bush. This was around the time when Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were all blatantly lying about WMDs in Iraq. Basically provable lies, since no WMDs were ever found and every intelligence agency on earth disagreed with Rumsfeld’s assessment.

Then, in Denver, a “1%” biker gang drew a bead on me and had their fun. One of their bros bellied up to the bar and smirked and said something like “Every fucking liberal sitting at this bar is a traitor to the United States.” Well, like an idiot, I couldn’t let that slide and challenged him on it. This was during the second year of Obama’s first term, when all of the “I’m not a racist” racists were still screaming about his birth certificate.

They figured out where I lived. I had to move out of my apartment. I was pretty rattled. To them, it was a game. I wasn’t afraid they’d kill me, but I was afraid of getting stomped. It was my shit luck that year to move into a neighborhood where they were trying to establish a club and take over the corner bar. Again, all I did was argued with some shithead about politics, and I paid a heavy price.

Bikers are weird that way. According to their mythos, they can basically say and do whatever the hell they want. But you better watch what you say. And you better watch what you do. Because when a biker can’t win the argument, he’s determined to win the fight. And they can fight. That’s one thing they do well. Especially when it’s four or five to one. Then it’s a fight and a bonding experience.

Ah, live and learn.

I know that if, for some reason, there were ever a big barroom soaked in gasoline and a hundred 1% bikers trapped inside…and I had a match…I’m not sure I could resist a certain diabolical urge, if you know what I mean.

So now it’s the middle of August, and all the biker assholes are in Sturgis again, doing what they do best: acting like a bunch of chuckleheads, quite amused by their own idiocy.

Considering their lifestyle, you’d think that bikers would be as liberal as hell, politically. But it’s just the opposite. They’re so conservative that they usually blast past being reactionary and dive head first into what can only be described as populist fascism.

The funny thing, to me, the really funny thing is that bikers hate cops, and cops hate bikers.

Which is hilarious and truly ironic since when it comes to politics, the bikers and the cops are basically the same.

Let’s call it the circle of life.

“What’s in it For Us?”

That’s the heart and soul of “free market” capitalism.

“Government is the problem and can’t save the world. Only we can do that,” says Wall Street.

“Okay,” says Main Street. “Then do it.”

“Sure. Easy. But first…what’s in it for us?” is the constant Wall Street refrain. “How much ya got?”

We need healthcare for all.

“What’s in it for us?”

We need to make the Covid vaccine free and available on a global scale.

“What’s in it for us?”

We need to do something pronto about climate change.

“What’s in it for us?”

We need to stop people from being evicted from their homes.

“What’s in it for us?”

Again and again, the constant spittle-laced mantra from the right is that government can’t do anything, yet when you ask them for ideas, it always revolves around their ability to make money off of any situation first, or they won’t lift a finger.

Covid has made it crystal clear that something about that model has to change.

We simply cannot depend on Wall Street and the “free market” to help us or save us in our time of need.

You see…that’s not their job.

The Time is Now

Proto-Trumpie, Germany, 1933

Republicans have always been on the dim side of the scale, but what they lacked in smarts, they made up for in avarice. This goes back to at least the Nixon days, maybe not so much to Eisenhower.

One can almost scan the headlines and trace the slow decline into madness with their finger.

“If the president does it, it’s not illegal.”

“Government is the enemy, and trickle-down economics leads to prosperity.”

“Iraq has WMDs.”

Etcetera….

But through all of that, at no point in time could someone have told me that Republicans were so stupid that they would refuse to wear masks or seek vaccinations in the midst of a global pandemic.

Nope. I could believe a lot of things, but I could never believe that anyone on earth could be that stupid and mean.

But, by God, they showed me didn’t they? The Republicans.

Or the Trumpies, as they should more accurately be called now.

While I’m happy we have a Biden/Harris presidential administration, I’m afraid it looks as if President Biden is going to fall far short of his calling.

The times call for a man (or a woman) of foresight and action, and thus far Biden has proven to be neither.

Between his paper-shuffling regarding the millions of people facing evictions, to the even more unforgivable sin of not eliminating or modifying the filibuster so that we can enact a federal standard of voting rights—something that, if done with forthrightness and fairness—would doom the Trumpies to obscurity.

Fair and square.

But no…instead, Biden’s standing aside as the Trumpies lay the groundwork for stealing future elections in plain sight, at the state level, and when and if that happens (it probably will happen, and we won’t believe it), we may not get another chance to knock the bastards on the ropes and deliver a KO punch.

I can see that clearly, as can dozens of journalists, as can millions of other progressives who are cognizant and paying attention.

We don’t have to cheat to beat the Trumpies.

All we have to do is make the elections fair.

And there’s nothing nefarious or untoward about that, President Biden.

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. — John F. Kennedy

Mondair Jones, Congressman NY-17
John Sipher, former CIA Serviceman


There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction. — John F. Kennedy

Faces of Conservatism

The face of denial: Governor Ron DeSantis.

Florida has the highest new infection rates in the country.

Yet, instead of making an effort to contain the virus and limit the spread, what has he done? He banned businesses from requiring vaccination, ignored health officials, and banned schools from requiring masks.

Apparently he thinks the virus knows to stay away from schools.

The guy declared victory over Covid last year, around April I think, and made sure to pat himself on the back.

The face of cruelty: Fox News Host, Tucker Carlson.

Berates the 150 Capitol Hill officers who defended against 9,000 insurrectionists on January Sixth.

Essentially calls them a bunch of babies.

The face of mockery: Fox News Host, Laura Ingraham.

Actually invented “Best Performance” awards mocking the four Capitol police officers who testified before congress.

During “The Ingraham Angle,” she declared that Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn gave the “best political performance” and Officer Michael Fanone gave the “best action performance.” Her show’s team even mocked up some trophy graphics.

I guess her next step down into the pit of depravity is to fashion little voodoo dolls of the officers and stick pins and needles into them on live air.

The face of fascism: the rich.

Yes, this is something I’ve thought about but could never prove.

Yes, it is not Trump alone keeping this modern-day fascist movement alive and well: it is America’s richest people who are determined to stay in power at all costs.

Buckle up, kids.

It’s just gonna get worse.

For now, though, conservative groups seem to be doubling down on their investments in election-fraud alarmism. In the next two years, Heritage Action plans to spend twenty-four million dollars mobilizing supporters and lobbyists who will promote “election integrity,” starting in eight battleground states, including Arizona. The New Yorker