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The Velveteen Ocelot

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Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2003, 12:54 AM
Number of posts: 85,381

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That's because the lies are so outrageous that nobody who has a cerebral cortex

with more functioning synapses than a squirrel's could believe any of them, but that's been true of Trump's press secretaries' lies from the beginning. At least Sean Spicer occasionally looked uncomfortable - the magnitude of the lie could be gauged by how angry he seemed while telling it. Outraged halibut SHS was perpetually belligerent, but that affect seemed to arise from indignation that reporters had the nerve to doubt and question her. In the case of soul-deprived spokesBarbie McEnemy, however, the most outrageous lies flow trippingly on her forked tongue while her dead eyes never blink at all.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Wed Jun 10, 2020, 10:10 AM (0 replies)

An excellent choice - or Sally Yates.

Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Fri Jun 5, 2020, 11:23 PM (0 replies)

The weird thing is that after the Spanish Flu epidemic was over

hardly anybody except the medical researchers talked or wrote about it. You'd think there would be a whole lot of literature that addressed it, considering that it was much worse than this epidemic (at least so far), but the major authors who were active at the time barely mentioned it, if at all. A letter supposedly written by F. Scott Fitzgerald while quarantined in France turned out to be a parody that was created this year. In fact, authors like Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway pretty much ignored it in their writings. In 1939 Katherine Anne Porter wrote the novel Pale Horse, Pale Rider, which described her own experience with the illness - but there wasn't much else. The only other authors of note who wrote about the epidemic - years later - were John O’Hara (The Doctor’s Son, 1935) and William Maxwell (They Came Like Swallows, 1937). I wonder why? Was the experience so horrific that people decided they just didn't want to think about it? PTSD had to have been rampant then, too, considering that the carnage of WWI was part of the mix (and a significant cause as well). Will we react the same way?
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Thu May 7, 2020, 09:11 PM (1 replies)

People who object to the lockdown aren't just objecting to the lockdown.

They are carrying a whole lot of other right-wing baggage having nothing to do with quarantines and wearing masks in public. Have you ever wondered why we don't see PoC participating in these demonstrations? Why aren't they complaining about being out of work or having to wear masks? When restaurants shut down who loses their jobs? Waiters, waitresses, cooks, busboys and cleaners, that's who. Why are the protesters complaining that they can't get their nails done or eat at restaurants, while the people who do nails and work in restaurants - many of whom are PoC - are not also demonstrating? Just apart from the fact that a black man who showed up with an AR-15 would be promptly arrested if not shot, it's obvious that these protests are about a lot more than they claim to be, and none of it is good.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Mon May 4, 2020, 09:39 PM (0 replies)

Bernie's "revolution" is the fever dream of privileged young people,

mostly men and mostly white, and, like so many movements that can exist only in theory, it relies on the absolute certainty of its proponents that they, and only they, are correct. There can be no other way to repair the failures of society than their way. No compromise is permitted; any compromise is incontrovertible evidence that the alleged compromiser has sold out to The Establishment. And The Establishment is anyone other than the revolutionaries themselves. This position has not changed since the '60s, when the Socialist Workers' Party recruited small groups of privileged white boys on college campuses who mostly engaged in pleasuring themselves, ideologically speaking, with Trotskyist slogans. Women were allowed to participate, too, by making coffee and running the mimeograph machine - as long as they stayed quiet and allowed groping. Most of these proto-bros grew up and figured out the bullshit, but Bernie just soldiered on for the ensuing forty years, banging his New Left drum and naming post offices in Vermont. At last a new crop of idealistic, rigid, bubble-dwelling young ideologues has made him their cult leader, and neither can give up the other even though The Revolution still isn't going anywhere.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Thu Apr 2, 2020, 10:39 AM (0 replies)

The ghost of James Buchanan is celebrating.

Late at night, in the bowels of the White House, a spectral meeting is taking place. It's the weekly poker game of the ghosts of James Buchanan, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, Warren Harding and Richard Nixon. The Worst Presidents Ever.

"What do you think, gentlemen?" said Buchanan as he cut the cards. "Do you think this Trump will be joining us soon...? You know, I'm no longer the worst president ever. All the historians think he's the worst and he's not even dead yet."

"I expect he might be, what with this bug that's going around," said Harding. "You know, I've been getting grief now for almost a hundred years for my corrupt administration but we were a bunch of Boy Scouts compared to him. It'll be nice to finally move down a couple notches on the Worst Presidents list."

Nixon lit an ectoplasmic cigar. "When I lived here I did have a few problems. It's nice to come back and haunt the place but I hate to see it occupied by such a bunch of low-life grifters. Shit, I never made a nickel off Watergate."

Buchanan dealt the cards. Pierce looked at his hand and shook his head. "Crap, I never had much luck with this game when I was alive, either."

"I got impeached," Johnson said. "I didn't deserve it and I was acquitted. Trump got impeached and acquitted, too, but he committed more impeachable offenses than I ever even thought of. He's damn lucky this Senate had even less balls than mine did. Hell, all I did was try to fire Edwin Stanton. I kind of fucked up Reconstruction, too, but..."

"You were a terrible bigot," said Nixon.

"You should talk," Johnson replied. "I heard those tapes of yours. I wish I'd had tapes in my day."

Fillmore sipped his spectral whiskey and remarked, "Harry Truman once said I was a 'weak, trivial thumb-twaddler who would do nothing to offend anyone.' I'm still not speaking to him. But at least I was never a fucking Russian spy."

Nixon said, "We were all shitty presidents. But when Trump arrives I don't think I want him in this game. He'll cheat, for one thing. And he's an asshole."

Buchanan said, "Not only that, but he'll bluster and brag. The man has no class. I don't mind if that little Bush fella joins us someday; he's dumb and he's probably a terrible poker player but he knows some good jokes. By the way, Dick, you were an asshole, too."

"When Bush comes maybe I'll get to win once in awhile," said Pierce.

"Let's have a toast to me. I'm no longer considered the worst president in American history. Trump's got me beat by a country mile. I look like fucking Abe Lincoln next to him," said Buchanan. At that moment Abraham Lincoln briefly materialized and said, "No, Jim, you really don't," and vanished just as quickly. Buchanan sighed and muttered under his breath, "Damn, Abe still thinks he's all that..."

"I fold," said Pierce. "Trump. What a dick. He's already turned out to be way worse than any of us ever were. We merely sucked. He's....."

Nixon said, "That fat fucker is a disgrace even to us, the worst presidents ever. I don't want to wait until he's dead to tell him what's what, since none of the Republicans are gonna do it. Honestly, even the ratfuckers who worked for me aren't as bad as these guys. Too bad about my old pal Roger Stone, though. You know, I don't even want to play poker with Trump when he croaks. We should haunt him now."

Harding replied, "Brilliant! Let's do it!" He tried to fist-bump Nixon, but because he was made of ectoplasm the gesture was futile.

And so the ghosts of the Worst American Presidents started appearing to Trump in various places in the White House. Pierce tried to moon him but because he was transparent the gesture was not very effective. Although they enjoyed slipping through walls and making obscene gestures, after awhile the ghosts gave up and went back to their poker game because Trump was going batshit crazy without their help.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sat Mar 28, 2020, 10:50 PM (17 replies)

While we're talking about the Bible, let me recommend Psalms 109:8-11:

"Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour."
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sat Mar 14, 2020, 11:19 PM (0 replies)

To which I would add that when you elect a president you elect a whole bunch of people.

There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the fact that the next president will be another old white guy no matter what happens. This is true, but we also have to consider who else will be working with that old white guy. We already know about the assortment of grifters, lickspittles, incompetents and misfit toys Trump (technically an old orange guy, but I digress) collects around him (and throws away when they displease him). But who will Biden appoint? We can be sure most, if any, of them won't be old white guys. I think we can expect that many of the very diverse group of original candidates will find jobs in his administration. I'm betting on Klobuchar and Harris and possibly Warren; most likely Buttigieg; possibly Castro and Booker - and there will be folks from Obama's administration too, plus others we don't know about. Very few, if any, of Biden's appointees will be old white guys, but we know they'll be qualified and competent. I'm not so sure about Bernie, though. His appointees are also not likely to be old white guys, but I fear there will be a serious lack of ideological diversity. I'd rather have any number of old white guys than Nina Turner, for example.

Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sat Mar 7, 2020, 01:08 PM (1 replies)

If Bernie is the nominee, this is what I'll do.

I don't like Bernie. I like him less and less every day, and his latest tweet about fighting the "Democratic establishment" (you know, the people who gave him the chance to run for President and who will be supporting him if he gets the nomination) was the final straw. Nevertheless, if - God help us - he is the nominee, I will fight like a rabid wolverine to get him elected, because Trump.

But the attitude I will have is of a lawyer representing a client, and most definitely not that of a fanatically-devoted Bernie cultist. I practiced law for almost 20 years before going into a different line of work, and during that time I learned how to argue on behalf of clients I didn't like and whose behavior I disapproved of. I usually didn't have the luxury of picking and choosing my clients, so from time to time I represented insurance companies, sexual harassers, age discriminators, drunk drivers, embezzlers and drug dealers. I didn't like them or what they did but I was obligated by the rules of my profession to present the strongest argument possible on their behalf within the limits of the law and legal ethics. I couldn't lie - but I could spin. I learned how to slant the facts without misrepresenting them, and how to argue the law to the client's best advantage.

That's pretty much what I'll have to do with Bernie, because I don't like him, I don't like his attitude, I don't like the people who work for him, and I fear that he'll cost us the election. But as a lawyer I learned how to pull all manner of disingenuous and just barely truthful nonsense out of my own butt and I'll do it again. I'll pretend to believe that Bernie will give us all free health care and free college the minute he walks into the Oval Office and I'll spin it hard enough to generate enough electricity to power all of Vermont.

I will be like the lawyer who defends a convicted murderer on Death Row - not because she thinks the client is innocent but because she fervently opposes the death penalty. The re-election of Trump is the death penalty. Therefore I will defend Bernie with all the zeal I can muster to try to prevent the death penalty from being imposed on the Democratic Party and the American people, even though I know I will probably fail. (Angry Sandernistas: I'm not equating Bernie with a convicted murderer; I am merely equating his candidacy with that level of desperation).

But I hope I can campaign as an ordinary citizen for a candidate I believe in instead of as a cynical defense lawyer for one I don't.

Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sat Feb 22, 2020, 12:45 PM (166 replies)

One issue with M4A that I don't think I've seen addressed,

is that its proponents often compare it to the health care arrangements in the Nordic countries - that their systems are the ideal, or close to it, and that we should adopt their kind of system. Ideally, maybe we should. But here's the catch: Those countries have never had for-profit, privately-owned primary health care. In Norway, for example, the oldest hospital still in existence was built in 1277 and was operated by the church; later on, other charities ran the hospitals. After WWII the government took over the entire health care system, with the actual provision of services being managed by local governments. https://www.lifeinnorway.net/healthcare/ In contrast, the United States has never had government-provided health care, with the exception of the VA. Even Medicare isn't really government health care because it is provided by privately-owned and in many cases for-profit providers, and we and our employers, not the government, paid for it (and you still pay premiums). So the transition to a government-managed single-payer system would require massive restructuring of almost everything, that would take years to implement. Candidates flogging M4A aren't being honest if they're trying to convince voters that it's going to happen like flipping a switch as soon as there's a new administration.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Fri Feb 14, 2020, 08:35 PM (0 replies)
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