Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"...the fun is having lots to do and not doing it."

I did promise I'd write no more about the 2016 election, and, technically, this post isn't about the 2016 election but my fears of what that election represents.

As I said below, it is blindingly obvious to anyone that hasn't drunk the wingnut Koolade that the GOP in it's present incarnation offers only two things:

1. Stooging for open oligarchy, and
2. Comfort for white nationalism, Christian theocracy, and fear of the "others" (whether those others are gay, or brown, or Muslim)

And that's really it. There's no "hope" there. There's nothing aspirational. There's no vision of a future United States that isn't a polluted, plutocratic, conservative-Christian feudality. That's it; if you white (male, Christian) you right. If you brown...well, fuck off. And you lib'ruls, homos, uppity wimmens, nigras, beaners, immigrants of all stripes, Muslims, atheists...aaaaand I might as well stop here because I'm just depressing myself.

But this toxic stew of corporate-fondling, hate, narrowmindedness, bigotry, and weath-whoring is embraced by damn near four out of ten Americans.

Now...don't get me wrong. I'm not in love with the mainstream corporate-whoring Democratic Party. The Dems' neglect of the horrible effects of capital flight, economic inequality, and crony corporatism are a huge part of why we're in this mess right now.


The Sanders movement shows that the Democrats CAN be pulled to the left.

Not only can the GOP not go there...it's obvious that it won't even let the corporatist centerist Democrats go there - it won't let them be corporate centerist Democrats because they're insufficiently fucking nutzoid for smacking homos, luuurving Jesus and snowflake babies, hugging rich people and big corporations, and bombing the shit out of darkies and fuzzy-wuzzies.

The parallel that jumps to my mind (and I’m not the only one, given the spate of articles about this…) is the rise of Jacksonism in the 1820s.

And the reason that scares me is the damage Jacksonism did; the next thirty years of American politics were dominated by Jacksonians and Jacksonian policies like internal minority genocide and external aggressive war. Plus the malign neglect of slavery (or the outright approval of and expansion-encouragement of it). A whole bunch of our worst Administrations were Jacksonian, culminating in Buchanan. Basically Jacksonism was the bedrock on which the Civil War was founded. The worst feature of the politics of Jacksonism was that they made it impossible for the United States to simply outlaw slavery as Great Britain did between 1830 and 1845.

The upside of Trumpism versus Jacksonism is that we no longer have a franchise limited to white males. The downside is that the GOP’s propaganda machine has done a helluva a great job pulling in the “white male allies”; Christian theocrats, people fearful of imaginary jihadis under the bed, and the plutocracy into a coalition that looks like it represents about 40% of the public.

And the downside of that is that this basket of deplorables is dead-set against allowing the United States any government but the one they desire.

Do I think that we will see “another Jackson Administration” anytime soon? Probably – and hopefully – not.

But I think that the GOP has become a self-licking icecream cone; I think that regardless of whether the media comes down hard on the Trumpeters after November that this hard core of Jacksonians will not dissipate, and the United States will be, in effect, dealing with the same situation that broke the nation in 1860; there will be a large, indigestible, irredentist minority that will never, NEVER accept the legitimacy of their opponents. No non-Jacksonian/Trumpter will be allowed to govern. Obstruction will be the order, not just of the day but of the week, the year, the decade.

Eventually the American public will look for a “savior”, and a Man on Horseback seems all the more likely to be that "savior".

Hopefully I will bide safe in a ditch when that happens.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Barefoot in the rain

Speaking of fun things to do in Portland...

I often tell this to visitors and they refuse to believe it, but a genuine Portland woman is nearly immune to the cold from the ankles down.

The Timbers match Sunday was chilly and cold, but I saw at least three women who planned to sit or stand for an hour and a half in the cold rain in their flip-flops, like this gal:

Or this one:

My absolute favorite of the day, though, was the twenty-ish woman I bumped into in the Dutch Bros coffee-stand like who was wearing the Most Portland Things Ever - flip-flops on her feet but fuzzy warm gloves on her hand.

I laughed openly and asked her if I could take her picture because she was just so perfect. She agreed and admitted that she knew it seemed strange but that her hands got cold and her feet really didn't. And that she doubted that anyone else had come to the game in their sandals, at which point I assured her that others had, indeed - at least two others and probably more.

I should note that this is 1) typically a woman thing - though I'm seeing more men walking around in sandals in the winter recently - probably because their sandals are nicer and they take better care of their feet so they're prettier to see, and 2) only for the Rainy Season. When the snow arrives even a true Puddletowner finds the cold a little too biting. But...often the retreat is only tactical; it's not uncommon to see sandals-over-socks in the deep Winter months. Even then.

Don't get me wrong; the boots and sneakers and shoes far outnumbered the bare feet. But it warms my heart (if not my feet) that our Oregon gals are out there repping.

Cold feet and warm hearts? Yeah, that's how we roll here in the Rose City.

Let the gray goose fly!

We have an outfit here in Portland called Trackers, and one thing we love about them is that they have an indoor archery range. Here's Artemis and Diana putting clothyard shafts in French men-at-arms (or the hanging cardboard box, close enough).

The fun part of last Saturday was the range safety officer (that's her on the left in the shot above) added a plastic Gatorade bottle to the box. It made a ridiculously satisfying "WHOCK!" when you hit it. Mind you, if you hit it at just the wrong angle it split your arrow:
Little Miss is quite the sniper (or whatever you call someone who is a dead shot with a bow. Robin Hood?) and regularly outshoots her mom.

I am all over the place. Last Saturday my eye was in and I was knocking the hell out of the targets. But as often as not my shot group looks like one of the Merry Men has been a little too merry. I just don't shoot enough to get the mechanics down solid, so whenever I'm not physically tops my aim suffers.

No real point other than a fun thing to do in Portland, and my Bride as Amazon.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Quo Vadis II: Desperation Boogaloo

So yesterday I posted my thoughts on the GOP. Trump or no Trump, that sonofabitch is trouble and the short answer is, simply; needs to be taken out behind the barn and shot in the head.


Here's my concern.

The problems inherent in a post-industrial economy are genuine. Forget that the idiot Trumpeters are responding with the Wrong Rage, baying for a moronic pussy-grabbing caudillo whose very stupidity will ensure that he will be a tethered balloon for the oligarch-pandering wealth-whores that run the rest of the GOP and, thus, end up doing nothing or worse for the poor meatheads who pine for him. Concentrate on the economic cause of that rage.

The last time the United States was run as an open oligarchy it was a complete shitshow for everyone else, and it was turbulent in a way we've completely forgotten in our cushy era of labor-management peace and relatively level inequity. Outside the people who didn't count - the wommens and the darkies of whatever complexion (the red, yellow, and brown were included in the outcastes) - the period between the 1870s and the 1930s were distinguished by a welter of riots and strikes and the every-present threat of "anarchy" in the form of scary bearded anarchists (definitely foreign, probably Jewish, suspiciously dirty in some vaguely Slavic or Latin sort of way...) lurking under the tablecloth with smouldering bomb in hand.

And this didn't even count the ACTUAL scary foreigners in places like Communist Russia and Fascist Italy or Germany. Until the recent mania for "Islamic terror" we've seen nothing like the sort of social panic that "anarchy" caused and the resulting Red scares and things like bloody strikebreaking and police spying and ethnic hatreds and lynchings and...well, you get the idea. It was a bad time not to be a Rockefeller or a Carmody and let's not return there.

It seems to me that there needs to be some sort of political alternative for the sort of people who broke for Trump this election, one with less open racism and xenophobia.
And there is, by the way; Sanders Progressiveism, featuring all the nutritious populism and economic egalitarianism without the toxic racism, sexism, and xenophobia! But the Trumpenproletariat won't take it because, well, eeeeew, Dhimmicrats and Defeatocrats and Feminazis, oh my!
So even if the Sanders progressives were to capture the Democratic Party as the teabaggers captured the GOP there's no way forward there.

What else?

Libertarians are, frankly, nuts. Anyone whose party platform calls for abolition of both the income tax AND all federal firearms regulations shouldn't be allowed to play with cutlery, much less the national debt. The simple notion of these libertarian idiots (but I repeat myself) trying to fund enough law enforcement to round up the sorts of people who would go out and buy an M240 Bravo to put behind the razor wire next to the fucking mailbox makes my head hurt.

Greens? Perhaps when they cut their ties with antivaccination goofballs.

And there the realistic political options end, at least for now.

I find all of this very depressing. I can see the problems, and I can see solutions...but not a viable way to get the U.S. public from here to there.


Fortunately it's almost 5:00pm, so I can begin to start drinking heavily.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Quo Vadis?

John Scalzi has a fun post up at his site talking about the Tangerine-hued Shitgibbon. It's pure schadenfreudelich entertainment, except for this:
"I feel sorry for many of my individual friends who are Republicans and/or conservatives, who have to deal with the damage Trump is doing to their party and to their movement, even if I belong to neither."
Because 1) if you're a "Republican" or a "conservative" you made this golem (as Scalzi points out), and 2) without Trumpism there are neither "Republicans" nor "conservatives".


Think about it. Because if you’re still a Republican at this point you’re either one of the deplorables or…what? Still in it for the tax cuts in perhaps the least-taxed of the industrial democracies? Hoping for a juicy piece of privatizing the Bonneville Power Administration? Wishing on a “deregulation” star that your chemical company can return to the fucking pre-Love-Canal Era of Dump Yer Shit Where Ya Wannit?

I mean…take the fantasy economics, the theocracy, the bigotry, and a vague yearning for imperialism (a new American Century) out of the GOP platform and what’s left? The Cuba Embargo?

First, I have absolutely zero “sympathy” for anyone who votes to foist that vile pottage of stupidity and used food on me.

Second - since I swore not to write about this election this isn't about this election - my point is that there is no way for "Republicans" or "conservatives" to "deal with the damage Trump is doing to their party and to their movement" since fucking Trump IS their fucking party and their fucking movement. “Conservative” in the US has come to mean a credo-like faith in many things that are objectively vile. Trump has not made them more vile – he’s simply stripped off the pretense of civility that made them seem less vile.

For example; think about the Republican and “conservative” position about women. "Women" as in "what role do women play in American life?"

You know what the GOP/conservative version of that role is. Kinder, kirche, kuche. From marital subservience to forced reproduction to forbidden lesbianism to workplace harassment and underpayment to day-care to...well, to pretty much everything the GOP default position is; grab ’em by the pussy. Make ’em do what Daddy knows is best. Patriarchy, beeyotches!!!!

What is Trump doing...other than saying that out loud?
The Big Problem of the GOP, though, is that if you dump Trumping...what is left?

What other than DLC-style New Deal Democratic policies, that is..?

Without Trumpism all the GOP really has left is stooging for open plutocracy, and I can’t imagine even at this point that the Trumpenproletariat will be willing to openly go all D.B. Norton Motor Corps on 9 NOV.

I wonder, though...anybody willing to wager all the money in their pocket against all the money in mine that sometime over the next four years we see a mashup of the “alt-right” Stormfronters and the teabilly Trumpeters going full-on Blackshirt? The GOP becoming a genuine neofascist/white nationalist Fronte National?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Apology and Explanation

I've been a bad, bad blogger.
The First Rule of Blogging is, after all, Thou Must Above All Have New Content and I've done two things here in September and October; diddly and squat.

Oh, don't get me wrong; I - as in the real I, the IRL I, the person who lives behind this page - have done a pantsload; worked (a lot!), parented and husbanded, watersealed the deck, painted the front steps and the front fence, realized that I suck massively as a gutter-and-downspout contractor...watched, and written a gajillion words about, soccer, played games, shot at the Trackers' archery range, read to my daughter, wrestled with my son over videogames, tried to figure out what the fuck is wrong with the Ranger pickup...talked with my sister about our mother, now frail and fading in her lonely post-Master Chief old folks home...

But I haven't been here. And there's a couple of reasons for that.

One is that I've just been crazy busy in real life.

The other is that my laptop at home died.
It died hard, I gotta say. First the screen started to go, then the hard drive, finally the whole thing just wouldn't start. It was an ex-laptop, it had ceased to be, it had kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible.

But that means I have to blog on the machine at work.

Which kinda sucks.

Because either I have to do this on work time - which my boss disapproves of - or I have to stay late at work, which I disapprove of.

And, frankly, given the state of financial play at the Fire Direction Center...it's unlikely that I will be getting a new machine anytime soon.

I promise to be better at blogging. I wish I could say I had a backlog of posts in me; I don't. The only thing I had this week that I thought of posting was a comment regarding a female friend that watched the second Clinton-Trump debate. I asked her if she'd learned anything she didn't already know or hadn't guessed, and she replied that she was tremendously impressed with Clinton's poise and intelligence and now felt like she could vote FOR her instead of against the tangerine-hued shitgibbon.

I commented that it seemed like Hillary had grabbed her by the pussy, then.

She stuck out her tongue at me.
Anyway...I'll try and get something new up this week. I think it's time for another "The Army I Knew", wherein a certain young lady doesn't get her diamond earrings...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ten Years After...

I completely forgot to mark it, but this past July was the tenth anniversary of Graphic Firing Table; July 17, 2006 was the very first post up at this joint.

Reminds me; I gotta start trying to figure out what the hell to say.

It's not going to be about this election, oh no. You ain't draggin' me into that.

Maybe a nice cat video?


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Our Kind

Our mother knew our worth---
not much. To her, success
was not being noticed at all.
"If we can stay out of jail,"
she said, "God will be proud of us."

"Not worth a row of pins,"
she said, when we looked at the album:
Her hearing was bad, and that
was good: "None of us ever says much."

She sent us forth equipped
for our kind of world, a world of
our betters, in a nation so strong
its greatest claim is no boast,
its leaders telling us all, "Be proud"---

But over their shoulders, God and
our mother, signaling: "Ridiculous."

~ William Stafford

(huge h/t to Lance Mannion, who posted this...)