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Category: Election 2016

Tonight At 9pm

Tonight at 9pm, a thing will happen, the absurdity of which cannot be overstated. It is an event without precedent because no such set of circumstances has ever even been imagined, let alone come to pass.

Tonight at 9pm, Hillary Clinton must appear on camera in the same room with Donald Trump and attempt to act as though what ensues is something resembling a serious discussion of important issues between rivals for the highest office in the known universe.

Tonight at 9pm, a former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State who has devoted her life to public service must stand next to a trust fund baby-man who has devoted his life to the crass pursuit of wealth, power, trophy wives and attention and pay passable lip service to the notion that there are actually Americans out there who are not just simple bigots for whom this choice is not clear.

Tonight at 9pm, a woman of unquestionable intelligence and unrivaled qualifications must stand next to Donald Trump on a stage that will too closely resemble the stages across which he paraded young women in bikinis to be ranked on a scale of one to ten based on the subjective deliciousness of their nubile bodies and, to a lesser extent, their ability to utter a combination of words that loosely resembled a sentence or two.

Tonight at 9pm we enter the Kabuki Theater of False Equivalence wherein Hillary Clinton, even now, even when her opponent is a Cheetos-colored caricature of villainy, must delicately thread a needle while walking a tightrope in order to appear confident but not bitchy, knowledgeable but not haughty, forceful but not shrill, tough but not cunty, “human” but not like she’s on the rag or something.

Tonight at 9pm, Hillary Rodham Clinton must appear as the very first contestant on the pilot episode of the most ill-conceived reality television show in the history of civilization—a sort of bizarro world, inside-out version of The Truman Show.

[Well, shit…this post just became something else. Excuse me while I go down this rabbit hole for a minute.]

In the 1998 Jim Carrey film, The Truman Show, an unwanted baby is adopted by a corporation and raised in captivity as the unwitting star of a reality show made hugely popular by the sick and sad voyeurism of a culture with nothing else on its mind; the universe that he knows nothing of revolves around him.

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Almost twenty years later that very same culture has reverse engineered the scenario. We allowed ourselves to be so mindlessly entertained by so much vapid nonsense that a corporate con-man has managed to pour himself into the void that should have been occupied by our powers of discernment and critical thinking to become the knowing center of gravity in our universe.

We have turned all of the cameras on Trump, but Trump is nothing more than a cipher of our own making and so the cameras are immediately refracted back at us, making us sick and sad voyeurs of our own self-abasement and destruction.

And so this is the surreal fucking shitshow that Hillary Clinton must subject herself to at 9pm tonight—less debate than some kind of shitty post-reality meta performance art. Months ago, I started writing a post arguing that she should refuse to participate on these grounds, but what I found was a perfect Catch-22—i.e. the notion of anything resembling a debate with Donald Trump is farcical on its face, but showing up is the only way to demonstrate just how farcical it is.

Hillary Clinton must “debate” Donald Trump because of course. A woman was not going to rise to the presidency without one final, cosmically ultimate indignity. Honestly, it almost feels as though the perceived inevitability of her nomination might have subconsciously contributed to the willingness of Republicans to choose this black hole of a sick joke masquerading as a festering garbage person in a pedophile clown suit.

Anyone who says that anyone “won” the debate tonight is a worthless fucking chowderhead. Hillary will comport herself like the stateswoman she is and come out looking like gold and smelling like roses by comparison in the eyes of anyone with an ounce of intellect and/or self respect, but we’ve all lost just by letting this be a thing that is going to happen tonight at 9pm.

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The Political Revolution Is Dead! Long Live Politics!

So, on your way to the camps, I want you to know that I just couldn’t get myself to vote for that woman because I hated everything about her. I’m sorry you’re going to have to live in a detention center for a while, but her voice, you’ll have to agree, is really irritating. Hopefully they let you out in two to three years when we figure this all out, like he promised.

That’s an excerpt from “On Your Way To The Camps, I Just Want You To Know…,” Aaron Loeb’s stunning modernization and twist on the famous poem that ends “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” You should absolutely read the entire piece.

Loeb said eloquently something that I’d like to now be more direct about.

Yes, I’m an old man. Well, I’ll be 40 in November…so, you know, I’m not a millennial. I’ve striven these last nine months to not spend every waking moment screaming the political equivalent of “Get the fuck off my lawn you stupid fucking douchebag kids!” (Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent some time doing just that, but I’ve tried to restrict myself to select private Facebook arguments.)

It’s time to embrace the curmudgeon who lives inside of me.

Look, anyone who has a lot of time on their hands could (privacy settings permitting) go back through my personal Facebook page and see that I’ve been nothing short of a blisteringly loud-and-proud, socialist-atheist, far-left liberal nut for all of my adult life. I’ve been particularly loquacious around the issues of wealth inequality, systemic racism, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. My positions on other issues are every bit as libtardy as Sean Hannity would expect.

I am also a voracious consumer of information. My liberal beliefs were not inculcated in me during my childhood; I came by them honestly—after 13 years of Catholic education—through books and newspapers and periodicals and conversations and speeches. I’m not a genius, but I am very well informed.

I am also, as the title of this blog suggests, exceedingly and virulently rational. It is the rationalist in me that knows the following things:

At the macro level, there are two ways to change the things we don’t like about our society—politics and revolution. Politics and revolution are not compatible; revolution is practically the opposite of politics.

Revolution only happens if and when a critical mass of people in a society determine that things are so bad that they’re ready to sacrifice everything they have to go out in the streets and fight for a better future for those who will come after them. The things they might have to give up include but are not limited to jobs, possessions, time, blood, sweat, tears, money, regular showers, regular meals, family, friends, their lives, and maybe—just maybe—even Netflix.

Not voting is not a revolution.

Voting for a third party candidate is not a revolution.

Saying you’ll reluctantly vote for the “lesser of two evils” is not a revolution.

For reference, anything that might rightfully be called revolution probably involves you breaking a sweat.

Short of revolution, we have politics. Politics is a big, cumbersome, frustrating thing that requires cumulatively more sustained attention and effort over a longer period of time, but far less dramatic and immediate sacrifice. It requires patience and cooperation and compromise. Politics frees us up to pursue our lives while devoting as much or as little extracirricular time and energy as we so choose to the work of shaping our society through activism, speech, volunteerism, donating and voting.

Politics requires a capacity for delayed gratification. Now I get that you want to jizz in this particular sock right this very second, but unless you’re ready for actual revolution you’re going to have to slow your fucking roll and wait a minute.

I know…Bernie didn’t win so you want a third party and/or the Democratic establishment to learn a lesson and/or Hillary to coddle your delicate, fragile fucking ego by pandering to every boutique issue you’ve cared about for the last three minutes and/or whatever it takes to validate your newfound rage against a system you had precious little interest in or knowledge of until a bird landed on a podium and you saw Jesus—but again, unless you’re so angry that you’re ready to get off Facebook and go be an unwashed hippie in the streets, those are ridiculous requests that you can shove.

Politics is fundamentally a struggle between two poles that correspond to the the extent to which we think government should play a role in the lives of its citizens—i.e. liberalism argues for a robust role for government, conservatism for a minimal one—and at any given point in time the question is essentially whether we want to inch to the left or the right. (Please see this fantastic Twitter thread from @SheWhoVotes for more on this subject.)

The question is not whether we want to leap to the left or the right; politics simply doesn’t allow for leaps. In fact, our system was specifically designed to prevent such leaps so that we would not be susceptible to waves of reckless and shortsighted populism. It is called incrementalism and it is what has made our system incredibly stable over time. It’s why you have a tiny computer in your pocket that will find you someone within a one-mile radius who wants to fuck.

There’s just one small but important thing we have to do to keep the system stable: not elect an ignorant psychopath.

If an ignorant psychopath had secured the Democratic nomination (unlikely given the rules governing the Democratic primary process), I would be arguing that it would be better to inch to the right than elect that person to the highest office in the land—and that’s essentially what principled, intelligent Republicans are saying right now. They’ve done the cost-benefit analysis and determined that they’d rather lose a little ground to the left than hand the nuclear codes to a deranged clown with Tiny Penis Overcompensation Syndrome.

More importantly, they’ve determined that they have a better chance of reaching their long-term goals by working to elect someone they have despised for decades and with whom they disagree on just about every issue you can think of. And make no mistake, they’re counting on you to minimize the leftward inching by depressing voter turnout and ensuring that Clinton doesn’t have the mandate or the votes in Congress to get much of anything done.

It’s time for you to do the math and realize that you have an even better chance of reaching your long-term goals by working to elect someone you’ve hated for whatever short span of time you’ve been paying attention to politics but who agrees with you on at least 90% of the issues you care about—and that you have the ability to maximize the leftward inching based on the extent to which you rally support and drive voter turnout in this and every other election.

It’s time for you to quit the pathetic fucking pity party over Bernie and act like a grown ass person who understands that sometimes we have to make choices that don’t boil down to a) the best thing ever and b) the worst thing ever.

If you actually care about the things you say you care about, it’s time to start acting like it.

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Deplorables In Disguise

14237511_10154455047669804_6064811346713249621_nAmong the basket of interesting things I encountered on Day One of my drive along I-90 from Spokane, Washington to Milwaukee, Wisconsin were: the continental divide, a sign for the 33rd Annual Testicle Festival in Clinton, Montana, and the fun fact that a 26-foot Penske rental truck packed with all of one’s earthly belongings and towing a car can’t do much better than 30 miles per hour on an incline of any degree greater than 0%.

I also encountered Linda the Cashier.

I pulled my rig up to a diesel pump at the The Town Pump truck stop in Three Forks, Montana and discovered that there was a confusing array of fuel choices at this establishment—diesel #1, diesel #2, 50/50 diesel, diesel exhaust fluid. Unsure how to proceed, amateur truck driver that I am, I went inside to seek guidance from the friendly staff.

And the staff was friendly—especially Linda the Cashier. When the first attendant I spoke with couldn’t answer my stupid question, she referred me to Linda. Linda was happy to explain, “You want diesel #1 because it’s not winter yet, honey.”

Seeing that this process was new to me, Linda forewarned me that I wouldn’t be able to pay at the pump and asked me how much fuel I’d like. Not yet sure how much the truck would take, I asked if I could just prepay $100 and have the balance refunded. “Sure,” Linda offered, “but just so you know, honey, depending on your bank it can take a little while to put the money back on your card.”

Then my card was declined. It turns out that my bank had grown suspicious of my debit card’s travels and needed me to verify some transactions to prevent fraud. All the while, Linda was exceedingly patient with me. I stepped to the side and let another customer step up to transact with the lovely Linda.

That’s when the following interaction occurred:

Customer: [out of the clear fucking blue] Well, it’s just like Obama says – none of us should even have jobs, we should all just sit around like bums and take government checks.
Linda the Cashier: [full throated and matter-of-factly] He’s not even a citizen.
Customer: Like he’s ever held a real job in his life.
Cashier Linda: [Looking around to make sure she’s being heard.] He’s not even a citizen. He’s not even a citizen.

I steeled myself, realizing that I was in the wrong place to get into a debate about the President’s provenance. It’s not that I don’t know these people exist—I do—but it’s always a shock to the system to hear these things uttered aloud. My blood boiled and I honestly had to take a few deep breaths before stepping back up to complete my fuel purchase.

Yes, I thought about leaving. Instead, I calmly and politely told Linda “I doubt that it will matter, but I want you to know that I’ll be contacting Town Pump to let them know that they have an employee who actively and repeatedly questioned the citizenship of the president of the United States in front of customers. Have a nice day.”

But here’s the point I really want to make about this experience: Linda the Cashier is exactly the sort of person the Trump campaign is defending in their manufactured furor over Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment. They say that Clinton is “viciously demonizing hard working people like you.”

You know…people like hard working, sweet-as-honey, corn-fed, church-going charmers like Linda.

Feel the phony indignation:

NEW Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton

NEW Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton NEW Trump TV ad Trump TV Ad Deplorables Deplorable Attack Ad Hillary Clinton Basket of Deplorables Donald Trump 2016 General Election Television Ads Campaign Racist Sexist Homphobic Racism Sexism Pepe Alt Right 4chan AntiMuslim Syrian

Here’s the conundrum. Yes, in her everyday life, Linda is a real slice of home-cooked apple pie in the eyes of those who encounter her (just as she would have remained in my eyes had I not overheard this idiotic exchange). And in that extremely limited sphere, they’re 100% right.

But Linda the Cashier is also a deplorably ignorant fucking bigot who is actively making America a more hateful, less functional, more dangerous, less prosperous place. I suppose we could argue about whether it’s Linda herself who is deplorable or Linda’s ideas that are deplorable—but that strikes me as a distinction without a difference.

On the surface, the deplorables are paragons of American virtue. Beneath the surface, they believe very stupid, very noxious things:

  • Two-thirds of Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim
  • 59 percent of Trump supporters believe Obama was not born in the United States
  • 40% of Trump supporters believed that blacks were more “lazy” than whites and nearly 50% believed blacks were more “violent” than whites
  • A substantial portion supported banning LGBT people from the United States

The deplorables are out there—and they look and act like Linda the Cashier. Pointing to however many characteristics they possess that are not inherently deplorable is not a valid defense against their ghastly views. Their positive traits do not outweigh their hatred of non-white people. Their work ethic does not cancel out their support for hateful, discriminatory policies. Linda’s folksy smile does not mitigate the harm done by her execrable worldview.

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Cleveland Steamer

Cleveland Steamer \ˈklēv-lənd\ \ˈstē-mər\ — colloquial term for a form of coprophilia, wherein someone defecates on someone else’s chest.

We hope you enjoyed Hyperationalist’s first commissioned piece of art. We’re very happy with the the work of the artist, a gentleman who prefers not to be named because…well, because we asked him to draw a picture of an elephant shitting on Uncle Sam’s corpse.

We think the image speaks for itself.

Now please follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook for more of this shit.

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Statement On The Failure Of Our Petition To Allow Open Carry At The GOP Convention

Remember that one time when Hyperationalist launched a satirical petition to allow guns at the Quicken Loans Arena during the Republican National Committee’s convention and it kind of turned into a whole thing? Here’s a little refresher:

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Anyway, the convention is upon us and while there are guns all over Cleveland, there are none in the hands of the civilians in the main convention hall. We failed. Sad!

If you’ve arrived here by any means other than the email we sent out via Change.org, here’s the official update we sent regarding the “failure” of that petition:

In spite of tremendous support from over 55,000 concerned patriots across the nation, our petition to spread freedom to Cleveland and beyond has failed.

Apparently in Crooked Hitlary Clinton’s “politically correct” libtard America, some people would rather not be surrounded by high-powered semi-automatic assault weapons with high-capacity cartridges—and so the oppressive policies of Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s regime remain in place.

We at Hyperationalist will continue to fight the good fight until all Americans are free to exercise their God-given Constitutional right to carry any kind of firearm, anywhere they want, at anytime of day or night.

All snark aside, there was no change in the policy because any idiot knows that would it would be monumentally fucking stupid to let people to carry guns into the Quicken Loans Arena under normal circumstances, like during a basketball game or a Maroon 5 concert, let alone during the 2016 Republican National Committee convention at which Donald Trump will be noinated.

But also, because the Secret Service said so.

A note regarding the Secret Service’s policy regarding guns in the convention hall: We at Hyperationalist obviously agree 100% that guns should not be allowed into the Quicken Loans Arena next week. Or the week after that. Or the week after that. Or at any time or place where people gather to shop, be entertained, eat, work, learn, play, protest, etc.

The fine public servants at the Secret Service are simply enforcing a rule that makes absolute sense in all places, at all times, because it is their job to keep people certain people safe—and banishing guns from the places where those people will be is the very best way to ensure their safety.

We think this rule is perfectly reasonable and would very much like to see such a prohibition extended to include any and all public spaces where half-cocked assholes probably shouldn’t be carrying their penis substitutes/extensions deadly weaponry in and around our friends and families and fellow citizens (the ones who are not presidential candidates and political dignitaries).

But let’s be crystal clear about one thing: for the GOP to have used the Secret Service’s prohibition as a cop out in response to the petition is utterly laughable. How many times have congressional Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare now? Fifty times? Sixty times? Isn’t it logical that if they truly disagreed with this policy, if they genuinely held the Second Amendment so dear, they would have taken at least one shot at repealing the government tyranny represented by U.S.C. Title 18 § 3056, 1752.

If “gun-free zones” really are the unconstitutional kill zones Republicans tell us they are, this would have been a perfect time to walk the walk and show us all just how committed they are to the cause of eradicating them. Instead, on this one issue, they punted. “Aw shucks, we really would like to have guns at the convention but they said we couldn’t! Nothing we can do! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”

Let the record show that the one time they didn’t have the gumption to fight for the Second Amendment was coincidentally the one time it involved their own safety.

So obviously the petition wasn’t a failure. It sparked a brief national conversation around the hypocrisy of the NRAGOP’s position on guns—a hypocrisy that will be on full display next week as tens of thousands of anti-gunsense Republicans pack themselves into a convention hall without the metal machines of mayhem they insist the rest of us should have around us at all times.

In other words, the same Republicans who have helped the NRA and the gun manufacturers flood our country with guns, thus contributing directly to the resulting tens of thousands of gun deaths every year, will be hiding next week behind a “gun-free zone” policy that they claim to oppose, while the rest of us get to live in fear that our child will get shot in crossfire at the playground, that a drunk and abusive husband or boyfriend will get access to a gun, that a downstairs neighbor will be playing with a gun beneath a child’s bedroom, that we’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time when an argument escalates at the grocery store, that a suicidal teenager will get his or her hands on a gun, that a heroic police officer will find himself targeted by a lunatic with a long gun, that a three-year old will find a gun and shoot himself in the face, and so on…

To this end, Hyperationalist will be monitoring the number and circumstances of gun deaths that occur all across the country between the opening and closing gavels of the convention. We will post a running tally, updated daily, of the roughly 400 Americans who are likely to die by gun while The Grand Old Party is safely tucked away in the gun-free Quicken Loans Arena

Of course, the rest of Cleveland is not a “gun-free zone,” leaving city officials concerned about the various individuals and activist groups who have promised to be loud and proud, carrying their viagra alternatives stupid fucking murder toys in and around the convention zone, blatantly ignoring the pleas of law enforcement officials even in the wake of Dallas.

Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said he strongly supported citizens’ rights to bear arms, but he is urging people not to take their guns anywhere near Cleveland’s downtown during the convention.

“The last thing in the world we need is anybody walking around here with AR-15s strapped to their back,” he said. “And the absolute tragedy in Dallas is proof positive that we just cannot allow that to happen. I would really just beg these folks, just leave your guns at home. Come, say whatever it is that you want to say, make whatever point it is that you want to make, but it’s going to be very, very difficult to deal with the R.N.C. as it is.”

The gobsmacking contradiction the petition sought to highlight is fully captured in Mr. Loomis’s brief statement. “Sure, everyone should be able to carry guns around, but just not here, please.”

Why, Mr. Loomis? Why not there specifically? And if not there, why anywhere else? Could it be that open carry is just a bad idea everywhere? Could it be that the same advice you’re offering to save the lives of cops might, if applied at all times and everywhere, help save the lives of cops, teachers, kids, firewo/men, pizza delivery guys, doctors, janitors, lawyers, churchgoers, etc.?

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What I Love About Donald Trump

I know the exact moment I started to find Donald Trump more charming than revolting—sort of like a honey badger: adorable as fuck but not to be trusted. It was during the interview with Chris Matthews in which he said that women who have abortions should be punished. It was a despicable sentiment to be sure, but bear with me a second and take a closer look at what happened.

I recommend watching the entire clip (which I linked to above), but if you don’t have 1:40 to spare all you need to know before watching the short one below is that Chris Matthews has been pressing Trump on the issue. Trump tries to dodge for like about a second, but then this happens:

That is my favorite thing about Donald Trump. That moment or two when he just does the math and spits out the answer with perfect self-assurance. It’s a thing of beauty. He is so convinced of his own brilliance that he can’t see what could go wrong with simply running the logical calculation in his head and spitting out the answer. And he runs the equation like a perfect machine:

Abortion is bad ———> abortion should be illegal ———> women who have abortions would then be criminals ———> criminals must be punished ———> women should be punished for abortion

He is 100% straightforward about what he thinks he is supposed to believe as a Republican candidate for President of the United States. I’m not saying he believes them—I’m saying he casually adopted the basic talking points and then, when pressed, started following them to their logical end points without realizing or caring that those end points are fucking insane.

Donald Trump represents everything that is bad in humankind and he should never be President of the United States or president of anything. Obviously. I know that. But if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I can’t bring myself to loathe him with the sort of visceral anger that I felt toward, say, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz or Carly Fiorina.

Don’t get me wrong…I stand against everything he stands for and I will do everything I can to aid the cause of defeating him in November, but I just don’t feel the hate deep down in my cockles—and it’s a relief to have figured out why that is.

Much has been said about his psychological and emotional development that I won’t rehash here, except to say that his child-like nature is part of what prevents me from truly hating the shit out of him. He really is like a big orange baby man. He just happens to be a big orange baby man who has too much power by virtue of his wealth and is dangerously close to getting even more power by virtue of the inexhaustible supply of ignorance among the American electorate.

It happened again on Sunday when John Dickerson asked whether Trump’s complaints about the Mexican heritage of Judge Alfonso Curiel could be reasonably applied to people of other backgrounds:

I mean, look…you have to respect this more than the kind of artful hackery employed by the vast majority of Republican politicians and pundits. If pathetic phony Paul Ryan, for example, had employed this sort of simple, straightforward logic in deciding whether or not to endorse Trump, he might not have had to call Trump a bad boy the very next day and a textbook racist shortly thereafter.

Donald Trump is giving us an opportunity to hold a more honest election than we’ve had in decades, wherein the rotting, maggot-infested insides of the Republican Party are finally splayed out in all their glory for everyone to see and consider and vote accordingly. This is infinitely better than the normal charade, where some allegedly respectable old white guy pretends not to be the greedy, racist, chauvinistic asshole his policy positions suggest that he is. This year we’ve got a the real deal—a greedy, racist, chauvinistic, old white asshole who is loud and proud about who he is.

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Paul Ryan Has Always Been A Pathetic Phony

The moment I knew that Paul Ryan was a sad fucking loser was back in 2012, when he had just been thrust into the national spotlight as Mitt Romney’s pick for Vice-President and we were treated to endless fawning accolades portraying him as the anti-Sarah Palin.

He’s serious! He’s studious! He’s wonky!

We were told that Paul Ryan was something of a philosopher. He used to give out copies of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to his staff for Christmas. He once said this in a speech to the Atlas Society:

[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.

And then there’s this:

Paul Ryan on Ayn Rand

2009 Paul Ryan campaign video

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a dilettante looks like. Let me tell you the origin story of this silly little limp penis lookalike: Paul Ryan was your typical Young Republican douchebag when some typical older Republican douchebag told him to read Ayn Rand’s very long and very shitty novel because it would philosophically justify everything Republicans of all ages were fighting for. Paul Ryan read that novel and had an almost religious experience because he was stupid enough to think it actually said something meaningful, which it does not.

He didn’t think critically about this so-called philosophy called Objectivism or about whether Rand’s novels actually made a compelling case for that “philosophy.” He just picked up some key smart-sounding words and phrases that he could apply to just about any political situation and come off looking like the genius in a room full of chowderheads who can barely shit their pants without fucking it up.

But then, of course, he had to distance himself from Rand in 2012 because Ayn Rand was an atheist and that just wouldn’t do as a nominee for the Republican Party. So he threw her under the bus:

I reject her philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas.

But you see, Ayn Rand’s atheism was the only thing that justified her being such a stone-cold fucking cunt from the shit-crusted taint of the seventh circle of hell. It was Ayn Rand’s atheism that allowed her to hold the kind of political views that Ryan so admired. (To be clear, I am an atheist and I do not hold those views—nor do even a tiny fraction of a single percent of the atheists I know. But only a person who believes nothing could prescribe the sorts of policies advocated by Rand and the Republicans who love her.)

Ryan had apparently never been asked to reconcile his professed Christianity with the other big book he held so dear—and when confronted with the contradiction, he just punted. He didn’t soul search or admit error or even let go of any small piece of either belief system. Instead, he just rejected Ayn Rand the person and continued to pursue policies that would make her proud while still professing to be a Christian.

And so it is no surprise that Paul Ryan put his little cock and balls in a jar and handed them to Donald Trump today while expecting us to still think of him as a man. (Don’t worry Paul, we’ll let you use whichever restroom you want.) He was never going to feel compelled to square past statements on Trump with his endorsement because he’s never seen a need to square any of his mind-bogglingly contradictory beliefs with each other. Also, because they can’t be squared.

Paul Ryan is not serious. Paul Ryan is not intelligent. Paul Ryan is not virtuous—he just thinks he’s those things, which is what makes the whole thing extra pitiful.

Paul Ryan is now the political equivalent of Ted Haggard. He’ll continue to pretend (and maybe even believe) that he’s straight smart and drug-free principled, but after getting caught doing crystal meth with a gay prostitute endorsing Donald Trump, no one will ever believe him again.

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Dear Lazy Idiots: Stop Blaming the Media for Trump

Stop. Seriously, just…just stop.

Imagine for a moment what you’d be saying right now if the media had not relentlessly covered the spectacle of a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States saying batshit crazy things, picking up endorsements from batshit crazy people, and otherwise demonstrating his manifest unfitness for the job with every breath, shrug, insult, dodged question and tweet.

You’d be saying “WHY WASN’T ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION TO THIS BATSHIT CRAZINESS BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE?!” You’d be blaming the media, alleging dereliction of duty, wondering how they let a dangerous crypto-fascist go uncovered when all it would have taken to crush him would have been to turn a camera and a microphone on him and let him speak. “Surely that would have been his undoing with Republican primary voters!” you’d chastise.

You might, of course, argue that he would never have been the frontrunner if not for the media coverage, but a) we can’t know what would have happened/not happened if the media had somehow conspired and colluded to ignore a Republican presidential candidate calling Mexican rapists, calling for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., mocking the capture of a former PoW/sitting Senator, etc. and b) well, this just doesn’t pass the smell test. Trump jumped out to an early lead within six weeks of having launched his campaign:

Once Trump was the clear leader of the pack, it was incumbent upon the media to cover him as such—and, frankly, even more so with every ludicrous, hateful, ignorant, and/or bigoted bit of bile he uttered. The very same thought process that led to the repeated humiliation of a thousand pundits—i.e. “Surely this statement will end his campaign,” “Clearly he will suffer from his performance in that debate”—would lead any rational person to conclude that they should let the camera roll every minute of every day in the interest of allowing the public to see what a fucking lunatic he is.

It’s much, much simpler than any attempt to blame the media: as Jonathan Chait pointed out yesterday, “The Republican Party turns out to be filled with idiots.” The voters chose this man despite having been given ample opportunity to watch and listen to his deranged, reality-TV circus act…by the media.

The Republican electorate is full of greedy, racist, ignorant fucking slobs who think Trump is awesome and who voted for him in overwhelming numbers in primaries and caucuses all over this great nation in spite of having been presented, by the media, with a mountain of evidence suggesting that he might very well be the worst possible man for the job.

And let’s not forget: Republican politicians, officials, pundits and candidates stayed basically silent while Trump rocketed to the top and stayed there. The same media people would now like to blame for his rise would have been more than happy, I am quite sure, to have given unlimited airtime to Republican statesmen and women who wanted to denounce Trump. And they did give them this airtime when a handful of cowards finally started limping out of the woodwork at the 11th hour to meekly proclaim that they maybe probably wouldn’t like to see Trump become President of the United States but must beat Hillary and so help us please what have we done #neverHillary #neverTrump help us god forgive us. Help.

So don’t blame the media, lazy idiots. It’s not that I think they need to be defended or that they covered Trump for high-minded reasons, it’s just that scapegoating them is the worst kind of moral and intellectual laziness at this point. Yes, wall-to-wall coverage of Trump is what the worst imaginable media landscape would look like, but it’s also what the best imaginable media landscape would look like.

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A Golden Ticket From Trumpaloompa

[This post originally appeared one week ago, but bears re-sharing tonight. My apologies if you’ve been dragged here for a second time.]

Wherever you fall on the left-hand side of the aisle, whether you’re happy about Hillary or blue over Bernie, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of something that we might have lost sight of as we allowed intramural squabbling to temporarily distract us from the prize. It is something glorious that should fill us with the purest form of joy and hope for the future. It is better than puppies and rainbows and yes, it is even better than baby sloths. Here it is:

The Republican Party is collapsing like a prolapsed asshole into a noxious cesspool of its own diseased fecal matter.

You guys…Donald Trump is almost certainly going to be the Republican nominee for President of the United States. I know a contested convention would have been fun times and all, but at the end of the day there is simply nothing more apocalyptically humiliating than finding that you spent the last fifty years building a party whose voters went to primaries and caucuses all over the nation in 2016 and chose Donald J. Trump as their nominee.

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Donald Trump has emerged, apparently to everyone’s immense surprise, from a decades-long ratcheting up of anti-intellectualism in America—instigated and promulgated almost entirely through the conduit of talk radio and Fox “News” and then steeped in an increasingly segmented social media environment where this antipathy has been amplified and weaponized. The congenitally stupid were expertly exploited while those who should have known better were either successfully dumbed down or asked to turn a blind eye in the name of economic gain.

It all began the moment it became clear that, politically speaking, increasing knowledge was inextricably linked with increasing tolerance, increasing civility, and (most horrifyingly) increasing equality. It is tempting and intuitive to conclude that some unseen cadre of evil, cigar smoking, men that look and sound like Max von Sydow decided that something had to be done to fight this death march toward a faggoty multicultural nightmare, but that is not what happened. What happened is that craven political opportunists subconsciously saw a market to be exploited: the fatally insecure psyche of the straight, aging white man.

No greater market has ever been drilled, tapped, and milked with such efficiency, save perhaps for the American slave trade two hundred years earlier. The angry, old white man’s prostate was expertly finessed by the long, indignation-lubricated finger of right-wing demagoguery until it ejaculated an ocean of selfishness, bigotry, jingoism, and all other manner of bile that inseminated an open wound in the Republican party which subsequently gave birth to the dumpster baby that is Donald J. Trump.

While establishment Republicans are melodramatically scratching their heads and either pretending to be serious or genuinely self-deluded enough to actually be serious when they ask “How did this happen?!” I find myself slack jawed at just how fucking predictable this all was. It’s almost banal. Of course Donald Trump is who Republican voters have chosen. The only surprise is that it took this long for him to (almost) lock it up.

And so here we are. We have been presented with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hit the reset button. All we have to do is seize this moment and start to paint the map blue again. Anyone who wants to someday elect someone in the mold of Bernie Sanders must play an active role in starting to reverse the following trends:Image

This is it, folks. We will not see another moment like this in our lifetimes. The GOP chickens have come home to shit all over the dining room table during Sunday dinner. I am no longer concerned that Donald Trump will win. He won’t. But it would be nearly as tragic if we failed to take full advantage of this opportunity to…well, to make America great again.

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Curb Your Ideological Enthusiasm

[I’m catching my breath now that my 15 minutes are up. As you may have noticed, the whole thing caught me a little off-guard. I’ll definitely have more to say in the coming weeks about issues directly related to the petition, but for now I need to just get back to writing whatever the hell I want on any given day. To that end, here is my first post-petition post.]

First, a little background…

Despite what has been written about me in recent days, I have striven, not always successfully, to remain more-or-less neutral in the matter of Hillary vs. Bernie. I donated $25/month to Sanders last July thru December out of a sincere fondness for the direction in which he seemed to be nudging the Democratic Party.

As 2016 rolled around, I became concerned about the tone emanating from some segments of the Bernie fan club—concerned enough that I was uncomfortable being associated with it. His odds of securing the nomination were roughly as remote then as they are today and it felt important to support the likely nominee. Fortunately, this involved no real compromise on my part.

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Even then I harbored no particular ambivalence toward Bernie Sanders himself. I like what he stands for. I like the political-demographic shift he appears to be a harbinger of. I would like to live in a country that might someday elect a candidate like Bernie Sanders. I just don’t think we’re there yet, in part because of voters whose attitude toward our sort of-Democratic process amounts to “give me what I want or I’m taking my toys and going home.”

Politics is incremental and if you don’t or won’t understand that you’re probably part of the problems you’re railing against.

The chief complaint lodged by Sanders’ most annoying supporters against Hillary Clinton is one that I am superficially sympathetic to, namely that she gets lots of cash from lots of corporate backers. Believe me, I get it. I am no great fan of our capitalist overlords and the stench of their grimy money is as foul to me as that of Chris Christie’s underboob sweat. Here’s the problem: I live in the real world and do not have the luxury of indulging in dilettantish ideological purity just because I saw a shiny thing and maybe can get laid at a rally if I tattoo “Feel the Bern” on my dick.

Pragmatism aside, what we’re really talking about when we talk about political donations is, first and foremost, the political speech being exercised by donors. Sure, we can talk about the deliverables they expect to receive in return from the beneficiaries of those donations, but that is ultimately a secondary issue that cannot be turned into an attack without impugning unknowable motives (beyond the motivation to win an election—an essential motive for all would-be officeholders). I don’t see how we fix the problem by focusing on candidates who are locked in a financial arms race wherein unilateral disarmament would spell electoral doom.

But here’s the crucial bit of nuance I really wanted to get at: without being naive about it, I don’t think it’s a stretch to presume that the majority of corporate donors have ROI expectations that diverge drastically depending upon which party they donate to. Overgeneralizing and idealizing only slightly, I would argue that corporate givers likely donate to Republicans specifically to get them elected, knowing they’ll have a firm ally, while they donate to Democrats to soften the blow and ensure they have a seat at the table.

In other words, if Wall Street could write a check and make it so, Republicans would likely hold every elected office in the land. Recognizing that they can’t quite accomplish this, the money men endeavor to cultivate positive working relationships with Democrats.

Yes, even a generous reading of this analysis implies that Democrats have an incentive to take their foot off the gas on any number of economic issues, but if given the choice between a) taking too long to get somewhere I want to be, b) not getting there at all, or c) driving in reverse, i’ll take eventually getting there every time.

Painting Clinton as just another puppet of the oligarchs ignores this distinction. It also pretends that Sanders would not have had corporate backers if he had wanted/accepted them. And that is the real problem. Only regulating the supply will curb this particular behavior.

I would like nothing more than to see the money driven out of politics, but as things stand, the money is very much all up in the politics and the candidate who handicaps him or herself by being overly particular about where it’s coming from is likely to find him or herself fighting an uphill battle against the delegate and/or electoral college math.

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