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TygrBright

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 16,239

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Heads Up, Assignment Editors of America!

Dear Assignment Editor,

(For those uncertain about media entity/journalism structure and titles, the "Assignment Editor" is sometimes a full-time job of its own, sometimes it's lumped in with other editorial duties. Either way, Assignment Editors know who they are: The ones who steer the writers, photogs, fact-gatherers-and-checkers, etc., toward the targets most likely to garner clicks, grab eyes, etc.)

I know some of you have had serious resentments about all the flak you get for being glued to [Redacted]'s sphincters. "We have a responsibility!" "Those are the stories people READ!" and other whines can be taken as read. Suffice to say, America's major media outlets' morbid fascination with every belch, fart, and gesture from [Redacted] has painted you, you personally, as part of the problem, and is that fair? You don't want to obsessively pan the camera over the train wreck, lingering lovingly on the dismembered limb. But you have to. It's "THE" Story. The Story that won't quit.

The story that just keeps on spawning more layers, more stories, and keeping horrified/fascinated Americans riveted to the web page/newspaper/teevee broadcast/podcast that serves up the freshest and most outrageous iteration.

(We Are All Tabloids Now)

Well, I have good news for you.

"THE" Story has just changed.

What, you ask, could rivet the attentions of readers/viewers/listeners more obsessively (and thus, more lucratively for you) than the latest bloviation of [Redacted] and his minions?

They themselves just handed it to you.

The new "THE Story". The one that won't quit, that offers a new, rivetingly appalling facet every few hours between now and November 6th is:

::drumroll::

The Lost Children

Yes, my editorial amigos, the One Story that always leads, is always on the front page, is always clickbait has been dropped into your lap in an endless series of iterations.

Here are some questions to get you started:

Where are the young girls?

Did any of the babies left on those floors survive?

How many ended up in hospital emergency rooms?

What soulless corporate heels enabled this outrage?

What brave, selfless resisters stood up for a helpless child victim?

What grieving photogenic parent hasn't seen their baby for weeks and keeps getting the runaround from the apparatchiks who won't admit they've LOST the kid?

What midnight flit allowed the ICEStasi to spirit these particular kids to some unsuspecting town in the dead of night?

What social service agency is overwhelmed to the point of collapse trying to reunite families?

What heart-rending horror happened in <your town here> when the helpless tots were sent to the wrong facility?

What thirteen-year-old girl ended up trafficked into sex slavery?

What twelve-year-old boy ended up trafficked into sex slavery?

What grieving father has been crisscrossing the US in a futile search for his two daughters?

Oh, yeah, my friends.

Headlines galore.

And they will JUST. KEEP. COMING.

Even if the Child-Torturer-In-Chief and his helots swear off committing atrocities from this hour forth, the atrocities they've already committed are spawning new atrocities even as we speak.

How much are the taxpayers on the hook for, in the attempt to clean up the mess?

Are we going to have to set up Reunification Centers? What will that cost? What will it involve? How many families? How many places? What will the Immigration Courts' roles be? How will their rules change? WILL their rules change?

What other appalling cruelties are being perpetrated under the cover of treating misdemeanors like aggravated felonies combined with bureaucratic indifference?

There's your stories, my friend.

The clicks, the outrage, the letters, the controversy, the discussion, the advertising revenues, the ratings will pile up to INFINITY, if you are smart enough to ride this juggernaut.

And if you're not seeing this as the opportunity of a lifetime, you're not worthy of your Assignment Editor chops.

helpfully,
Bright

Some Things I Want To Know

First, I want to know locations: I want to know the location of every ICE state and local headquarters facility, every federal immigration facility, every (Southern) border crossing checkpoint.

And I want to know the location of every concentration camp, excuse me, "#TrumpHotel" that is being run in my name as an American.

Where are all these places?

Next, I want to know the names, job titles, and office addresses of all of the ICE directors and supervisors. The ones who are "following orders" from above and relaying those orders to the line thugs who are then following them below.

I'd be okay starting with the ones here in New Mexico, but it would probably be good to know the ones in all the (southern) border states, and then in all the major cities, and then ALL of them.

It is summer.

The stench of the atrocities our government is perpetrating in our name is getting rank.

Light must be shone upon all of the places and people perpetrating them. Not just the vile policymakers and their sleazy enablers, but all of them, right down the line.

Large numbers of lawsuits need to be filed.

Large numbers of people need to mobilize.

Witness must be borne.

That means, we have to go there.

We have to look them in the eye.

We have to nonviolently confront them, and say "Not in our name."

No one else is going to make it stop.

We are the only ones who can do this.

But we CAN do this.

It starts with collecting and sharing information.

So.

Some things I want to know.

If you have a verified location or a verified person involved in this cheapass wannabe mass torture, post it here, please.

I want to know.

Someday there will be trials. Big, public ones.

Someday we will have to pay the economic and moral costs of this calamitous cruelty.

Data will help.

determinedly,
Bright

I'm asking NM Gubernatorial Candidates to commit to closing down concentration camps in NM.

I'm asking both Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce to make this commitment now:

"If I win, I will use all the resources at my disposal to shut down child detainment facilities operated by the Federal Government within the State of New Mexico. If the Federal Government refuses to shut them down, I will use the New Mexico State National Guard to prohibit access to these facilities, and I will initiate court proceedings to enjoin their operation within our state."

It is already unbearably shameful and humiliating to be an American whose government is abusing fundamental human rights in such an agonizingly horrific fashion.

It would be nice to not be complicit, as a New Mexican, in enabling such vile practices.

determinedly,
Bright

I stand with North America

North America, the great continent. The landmass that runs from the Arctic Circle down to latitude 15 degrees, well below the Tropic of Cancer.

A continent with amazing and agonizing history.

A continent patchworked with so many cultures and peoples-- from those here since their ancestors crossed the land bridge we now call 'Bering' and worked their way south to inhabit nations and communities from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from the Arctic sea to the Caribbean, to those who brought the cultures of virtually the whole rest of the world with them in the last six centuries.

And the continent has shaped and altered those cultures, in conflict and cooperation with one another, in centuries of excitement and tragedy and adventure.

From the hundreds of indigenous nations still claiming ancestral rights and territories, to the three large nation-states of Mexico, USA, and Canada, we are a wondrous tapestry of invention, culture, art, commerce, trade and travel, innovation and preservation.

This fabulous continent contains some of the world's most precious and diverse natural resources.

And its ability to support life, and contribute to the greater web of life of the whole planet, is threatened by greed, hatred, and ignorance.

I believe that only working together --all of us North Americans, the First Peoples who have been here longest, and all the citizens of the three nations who want our grandchildren to thrive on this continent-- can we reverse that threat.

And it's clear we can't rely on leaders and governments to bring us together. Even as some try to bring us together, at any given time a significant proportion of those leaders and governments see their interests advanced by keeping us apart, and promoting more greed, hatred, and ignorance.

So we, the peoples of North America-- First Peoples, Mexicans, Americans, and Canadians-- we MUST find ways of connecting, working together, learning about each other. We must exchange ideas and wisdom, hopes and fears. We must overcome our anxieties about those who are different from ourselves in the languages we speak, the foods we eat, the spiritual communities we share, the morphology of our bodies, faces, skin and hair.

We must build bridges. We must find common concerns, common delights, common ground upon which to meet and connect with one another.

And we must do this in spite of, and in defiance of, those who would keep us apart, isolate us for their own purposes, using fear and avarice.

idealistically,
Bright

Has the GOP Actually Won a Presidential Election Since 1928?

Think about it.

First, stipulate that while Eisenhower may have been in tune with the moderate Republican ideology of his era, he was in no way a GOP apparatchik, had never run for any lesser office under the GOP umbrella, and never served in any appointed position as a Republican. As a senior military officer, like most senior military back then, he largely avoided politics or overt partisan identification until he teamed up with the moderate wing of the GOP to prevent Taft from being elected and undoing NATO and the UN and other post-WWII global alliances.

Now, look again.

What does the GOP have to do, to win a Presidential election?

Since Eisenhower, five GOP candidates have won Presidential elections.

Nixon colluded with a hostile foreign power to nuke the Paris peace accords, contributing to his victory.

Reagan colluded with a hostile foreign power to prevent resolution of the Iran hostage crisis, contributing to his victory.

GW Bush gamed the electoral process (cheated) to hand a conservative-dominated Supreme Court the opportunity to hand him the Presidency.

[Redacted] both colluded with a hostile foreign power AND gamed the electoral process (cheated).

It is just conceivably possible that GHW Bush won fairly and squarely. It's possible that his terms as GOP chair, envoy to China, and Director of the CIA, not to mention his family's unsavory history of doing business with international, er, parties, had little or nothing to do with his electoral victory.

It's possible.

So, maybe the GOP has won ONE Presidential election since Herbert Hoover's 1928 victory.

Maybe.

But colluding with hostile foreign powers and outright cheating have been much more reliable for them.

historically,
Bright

I'm Going to Offend a Bunch of NFL Fans (Maybe all of them...)

Also to be offended: Players, players' families, team owners (but who the hell cares about them), team employees like coaches, front office people, etc.

Oh, and probably a good many NCAA Football fans, and the coaches, employees, and alumni of those schools.

But here goes, anyway:

Kill it.

It has morphed into a terrible "sport."

Mind you, my stepfather had season Vikings tickets when I was a kid, and I thought it was fun to go to the games back at the old Met Stadium, tailgating in the snow, bringing along our "stadium bags" to snuggle into, and thermoses full of hot cocoa (coffee laced with booze for the grups), and watch Tark and Alan Page and Foreman and Marinaro and Carl Eller run rings around some poor schmucks whose idea of "bad weather" was a little rain.

Back in those days, though, linemen generally averaged in the 250-260 lb. range (yep, there were some bigger- and a good many smaller, too-) and around 6'3" - 6'4". They were big guys, sure. But nothing like today's behemoths.

Also back in those days, the college athletes were more about getting an education as well as playing their way through. Alan Page graduated Notre Dame, went to law school while he was playing for the Vikings and is now an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. And while head coaches at major college programs have always been well-compensated, in 1981 Michigan's Bo Schembechler (at the time the highest-paid college head coach) took home the equivalent (in 2014 dollars) of $285,771.

In 2017, Alabama's Nick Saban banked $11.1 million in compensation.

People got hurt playing football back then- there were some nasty ones, indeed. But we didn't know about CTE. And mortality studies of players from the 50s, 60s, and 70s show longer post-career lifespans with fewer health complications related to their football careers.

Back then, it was still a sport, more or less. Sure, the league and the owners made a lot of money and the network broadcast contract pretty much kept ABC in business. But in the days before the casino gambling boom, before Fantasy Football and high-stakes betting, the stakes were a lot lower.

Football was a path for young black men who had both intellectual and athletic abilities to break through the walls. They knew damn' well they were being exploited, to an extent (I recall Carl Eller telling a roomful of fans about hearing a (white, of course) UCLA alum tell a (also white, of course) Minnesota alum at the Rose Bowl "You're gonna have to watch our >n-word<s beat the tar right out of your >n-word<s." But the ratio of risk to return was a little better.

What is football now?

It's a high-stakes, big-money form of gladiatorial combat, stoked by media oligarchs, and dependent on the desperation of young athletes willing to risk their health and sanity in a game that's become far more brutal, far more physically debilitating to play. We're seeing signs of CTE in High School football players, now.

Young men willing to put their bodies and brains into a crushing mill, from an early age, to be winnowed through High School and College competition, to make a chance at one of a couple of hundred draftees, to get yet another chance to not be cut and hopefully stay on a roster, get some playing time, get a marginally better contract and a chance at one of those million-dollar salaries.

And while they're doing that- pounding hell out of their bodies and brains, ensuring themselves a future of pain and confusion and an early death, they get the "privilege" of being part of a milieu that enables and encourages brutality, domestic violence, and extreme behaviors of many other damaging kinds.

While the owners and media barons get wealth beyond the dreams of avarice.

And when the players stand up for themselves, when they make a push to be something more than the docile human tanks they're expected to be, they're vilified, fined, and punished.

This is not a game.

This is the bread-and-circuses of a post-democratic authoritarian oligarchy.

Its time is over. Its real value to everyone but the media oligarchs and league owners is gone.

And it should die.

sadly,
Bright


I Call It "Leetsplaining". And I'm Done With It.

A discussion began on a blog I follow: Reader Request Week 2018 #6: The Fall(?!?!?) of Heinlein

(Capsule summary for those who missed the last 20 years of posthumous literary dissection of RAH --aka "Robert A. Heinlein"-- and his ouevre: He started writing Sci-Fi stories in the 30s and 40s, became something of a phenomenon in the 50s with popular YA-oriented Sci-Fi novels, hit the Cultural Fooforaw jackpot in the 1960s with "Stranger In A Strange Land" and kept on writing a buttload of novels.

Many of his novels were controversial in their depictions of alternate histories, societies, etc., based on ideologies and concepts that ranged from hippie-lefty-libertarianism to anarcho-libertarianism to rightwing neo-fascist authoritarianism with a libertarian cherry on top. His depictions of women have been widely criticized as misogynistic in the extreme, and much discussion has focused on evidence of racism and white supremacy in his framing of cultures and characters. But even many of his most passionate detractors grant his storytelling expertise and his influence on speculative fiction and storytelling. He remains popular, his books still sell.)


I put in my two cents' worth on the discussion. I'd read and enjoyed some of RAH's oeuvre, then I ran across "Farnham's Freehold" which slammed every "squick" button I had, even at a much younger and less-philisophically-developed age. And that was more or less the end of my enjoyment of the RAH oeuvre, with one or two exceptions.

But people started talking about "Farnham's Freehold" ("FF" ) and it was pointed out that no, no, people who thought it was racist, misogynist dreck were all wrong, it was SATIRE (or maybe "zany madcap humor" or something.) And how RAH, in spite of his quite freely expressed embrace of white supremacy, was actually making a courageous stand on behalf of civil rights in a time before the great victories of the Movement.

Thing is, none of the folks carefully providing their highly enlightened literary interpretation of RAH and his underlying motivations, themes, and accomplishments in "FF" mentioned being African American, and, I strongly suspect, none of them were.

Which meant they were Leetsplaining.

Leetsplaining happens when guys tell women about how some misogynist fuckery isn't really all that reprehensible because (insert pseudo-concerned/reasonable/intellectual WHARRRGLLLE here.) Or when white people analyze for black people why "all lives matter" can't be racist because (insert pseudo-concerned/reasonable/intellectual WHARRRGLLLE here.) Or when straight people provide copious philosophical and ideological glosses on why opposing gay marriage isn't an expression of actual homophobia because (insert pseudo-concerned/reasonable/intellectual WHARRRGLLLE here.)

Or when people without any kind of physiological or cognitive impairment or challenge present the case for why making public facilities accessible just isn't reasonable because (insert pseudo-concerned/reasonable/intellectual WHARRRGLLLE here.) Or when cisgendered individuals defend other cisgendered individuals' (rarely their own-- isn't that peculiar?) "right" to be squicked out by trans people because (insert pseudo-concerned/reasonable/intellectual WHARRRGLLLE here.)

Let me be very clear, here: I'm not saying that white readers and fans of RAH have no right to have, or express, an opinion of "FF" that differs from mine. Had such a reader responded with, "Well, I didn't read it that way, it felt like satire to me," well, fine. Your experience, your opinion. We can happily discuss why we think each other are deluded without ever hitting leetsplaining territory.

But when that reader presumes, from their place of omniscience and, very likely, shared privilege with RAH (who was, well, yeah... caucasian, duh) to analyze and explain why "FF" isn't actually racist, it's kind of a classic example of leetsplaining.

And I have to say, I'm done with that shit. In all its forms. I expect to be called on it if I do it.

To be ultra-ultra-ultra clear: As someone who's been negatively affected by misogyny, I will identify misogyny, describe it, and call it out. I may even take it upon myself to dismiss something others who do not share the experience of being negatively affected by misogyny claim to be offensively misogynistic as not offensive. Ditto on other kinds of shit that's negatively affected me because I don't enjoy the privilege of an exclusively heterosexual orientation or the privilege of never experiencing mental illness and its stigma and consequences. None of that is leetsplaining.

But if I, who enjoy the privilege of a melanin deficiency, decide to explain why something isn't really racist, I am leetsplaining. Call me on that shit.

And if someone who does not have a melanin deficiency but who DOES have a Y chromosome decides to expound on the whys and wherefores of how something makes it okay to treat someone without a Y chromosome as less than fully human, and I call them on that leetsplaining, I am not speaking from my privilege as melanin-deficient, but from my lack thereof in respect to not having a Y chromosome.

This shit gets complicated fast, I know. But the essentials are fairly clear: If you enjoy some type of privilege, then analyzing, dissecting, and/or deconstructing oppression against others who do not enjoy that privilege in any way that contradicts or invalidates their experience with that lack of privilege becomes leetsplaining. And it makes you look like an ass.

Expressing an opinion based on your privilege may make you look a bit ignorant and unenlightened. I have done this, and learned from it. I think everyone does. But asserting some kind of Higher Knowledge of What Really Is and bloviating thereupon with an assertive assumption that You Have The Real Answer? That's leetsplaining and it puts you squarely in "asshole" territory.

And all of the foregoing is, of course, my opinion.

See what I did there?

exasperatedly,
Bright

House GOP conservatives kicking off an Evangelical vs. Catholic cage match?

Conservative leader: Next House chaplain should have a family

“I’m probably looking for somebody more of a non-denominational background, that has a multicultural congregation,” said Walker, who is leading the search for a new chaplain with Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), a pastor, and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), an Air Force Reserve chaplain.

Some Catholic Democrats erupted upon hearing Walker’s comments. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said some lawmakers had surmised that Ryan’s move was designed to appease anti-Catholic sentiments in the GOP conference. Walker, Connolly said, “is now confirming our fears.”


I have to wonder how much the current Pope's vocal concern for social issues, the poor, refugees, responsible stewardship of the environment, and other stuff the GOP would like out of sight and out of mind is affecting this.

There are certainly plenty of hardcore troglodyte American Catholics, in Holy Orders and in the congregations, who are also unhappy with the shift in emphasis. But my Catholic friends and family report that there is a very definite propagation of a more "Red-Letter Gospel" approach. And there are plenty of very liberal clergy in the various Orders who are invigorated and encouraged.

If this kind of stupidity pries apart the religious conservative coalition, it may actually be a positive development for Democrats. But it will put many in a tough position, because with all the will in the world to embrace the more liberal social agenda, the hardline anti-choice agenda will not be going away.

conflictedly,
Bright

An Escape Hatch for [Redacted]?

A couple of things I never forget:

Mueller, Rosenstein, and virtually everyone involved in the "main" investigation have been Republicans or substantially aligned with, appointed by, supported by, and generally supportive of Republicans, all their careers.

The Intell services and DOJ have never been liberal or progressive bastions-- their stake is in the Established Order of things. This includes consideration for the rule of law insofar as it supports a capitalist small-r republican democracy. It's about How Things Are Supposed To Be Done, both within their own sphere and in the larger geopolitical dance.

And their most fundamental value is SECRECY. Control of information is the bedrock of power.

With these realities in mind, I am getting what might be a wild-hair idea of how the Endgame is being shaped.

No question, the Old Establishment wants [Redacted] gone. He's far and away too uncontrollable, too unpredictable, and above all, too flappy-mouthed and loose-fingered on the Twitter Machine.

So they're doing their jobs very thoroughly and accumulating a motherfucking TSUNAMI of information about a borderless, multilayered web of financial and political skullduggery. It will tie in a cast of hundreds or even thousands of sleazy oligarchs and their tools. They are, indeed, "getting the goods" on the toxic, suppurating carbuncle that is the [Redacted] campaign and Administration.

But what I can't get past is this: These folks live and breath in the rarefied Cone of Silence that is predicated on We Know But We're Not Telling.

Using the information they're compiling in the Mueller investigation as the lever to dislodge [Redacted] would create way too many channels for that information to escape, leak, expose things they DON'T want exposed, etc.

And they may finally have realized that while such information might horrify and motivate an ordinary GOP elected official who wants to maintain the public illusion that they're in office for higher motives, it will all go straight over [Redacted]'s pasted-on skullmerkin. He won't believe anyone could care about him and his cronies selling out our democracy to establish an authoritarian kleptocracy, so long as he and the propaganda machine aligned with him can keep pandering to the hate and fear of the deplorables supporting them.

IOW, they're starting to see that the evidence they're collecting and documenting will elicit the equivalent of a "so fucking what?" from the wannabe Dictator for Life and his enablers. He doesn't have either the intellect OR the political nous to see how damning it is.

And that's where the Cohen raid comes in. Tabloid sleaze, [Redacted] gets. The kind of PR swamp he thrives in has rules, and the lines between "locker room talk" and a gathering weight of unassailable and click-baity sex scandal, cheapass payoff hustle, etc.-- those he DOES understand.

So my wild-hair notion is, they're working on amping that stuff up hard enough, and assembling a team of hardasses to meet quietly with [Redacted] and offer him an ultimatum:

Resign over the tabloid sleaze, and escape prosecution that would be required by the exposure of the Mueller investigation data. He loses some reputation, gets embarassed, but it's to some extent mitigated by the whole "too much of a horndog for the stuffy Washington Establishment" narrative he can spin post-resignation.

And they never have to expose all the dots they're connecting with the special investigation. They can go right on pulling strings from behind the scenes with it all.

They'll hold a Sword of Damocles over Pence's head to keep him from upsetting the applecarts they care about, and do little or nothing to interfere with two years of deadlock between him and a split Congress with Dems in control of the House.

Everybody happy with that?

'Cause to me, that looks like what they're planning to have go down.

Oddly enough, if this is their plan, I don't think it'll succeed. [Redacted] won't play.

So they're in as much of a cleft stick as they think they have him pinned in.

We live in fucking interesting times, and I for one could use a little more tedium.

wearily,
Bright

Parsing the Ryan Retirement

Short summary: The GOP has largely conceded the House in the 2018 election cycle. They'll still throw effort and money into some key races, but by and large they're reorganizing as the prospective Minority Party in the Senate. The bulk of Koch money and what's left of Russian hacktools will be diverted into expanding their control of the Senate.

In a little more detail:

GOPpies have always been more comfortable monkey-wrenching government than actually running government, for which they lack all the essential qualifications. Their qualifications in the area of "nuisance value", on the other hand, continue to accrue and expand. They're still (essentially) the party of "Oh, hell no!" and they're damn' good at that.

Ryan's pretense of being able to actually govern will be no longer needed as a Minority Leader. Believe it or not (I know it's hard!) they have WAY more effective bomb-throwers than Ryan, many from districts that will remain safe no matter what.

Ryan can now retire and take up his lucrative "consulting" practice, selling influence, promoting sleazy treason from behind the scenes, and providing media cover for the ongoing genocide of poor and disadvantaged Americans. His government pension and retirement benefits are safe, the consulting cash will be lagniappe.

The role of the GOP House Minority will morph into feeding red meat to the base via Sinclair and Faux, with leadership chosen for its rhetorical skills and extremist "policy" ideas.

However, look for them to throw money into, and work hard to defend, some relatively low-profile, pseudo-moderate "establishment" Congresscritters whose long experience and backroom infighting skills will still be necessary to stall committees, waste time with specious amendments, and employ every trick the House Rules allow to keep responsible legislative action from ever happening.

In the mean time, watch the targeting on key Senate races, looking for large influxes of money and a huge media slime machine to focus on vulnerable incumbent Dems. The Kochs have earmarked $300 million, I'm guessing more than two-thirds of that will be expended, one way or another, to defeat four or five Democratic incumbents.

They are also counting on the Democratic base to "write off" some Dem incumbents, including Donnelly, McCaskill, Heitkamp, and Manchin, who have all done things to piss off the most-progressive wing of the Party, making it hard to mobilize the grassroots fervor that will protect some of the others up for re-election.

It's a viable strategy, when you're increasingly vulnerable, to shrink your defensive perimeter and make strategic offensive selections.

Ryan's "retirement" is just the beginning.

grimly,
Bright

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