Friday, December 29, 2017

Gauntlet Thrown

 Donald J. (Jaybird) Trump told the New York Times on December 28, 2017 many clever things, including that he's rooting for Robert Mueller's investigation to be fair, because the disappointment in finding out he's not would be immediate cause for dismissal, or words to that effect.

He also gave up an even more prime nugget when he addressed the entertainment aspects of the news-like product nobody should have allowed to metastasize.

“I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win.”
“And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.’ O.K.”

To which I will add: Katy Tur, line one, someone named Clue.

Update: Charlie Pierce addressed this very quote more profoundly (as is his wont) after this post was up. It can be found here and I recommend it to the savvy reader.

Monday, December 25, 2017

On Joan Walsh

News spread rapidly in my circles that MSNBC had decided not to renew Joan Walsh's contract as an in-house commentator. There had never been any question of her biases when it comes to progressive v. libertarian stances and her presence was more than offset by recent corporate decisions to give airtime to intellectually dishonest spokespersons of the other side. Such is the climate in board rooms everywhere that reactions to their activities can cancel plans, coax overreactions of apology and lead to the dismissal of perfectly qualified personnel.

Jumping to any conclusion with "j'accuse!" certainty is not the intent here. Not like how 'the president with an asterisk lies for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the spaces in between,' or 'the current administration is calculated to break representative democracy as we have known it' which get said here with far fewer hedges, so the accidental reader from Derptown should consider not wasting time seeing if that email address even works.

The savvy reader knows full well the where from which I am coming.

Television is a business and many things are at play - especially that thing called 'Q' which is the 'it' one either has or doesn't and a concept so ephemeral as to defy analysis beyond educated guesswork. That having been said, there have been few presences on that network more accepting that hers is opinion worthy of defense and retraction if need be. The kind of person you might want to be your editor, and in fact that is one role she has played over the years.

There was a time when I considered her to be mine, which speaks more to egocentricity than accuracy. You see, I had been a reader of Salon for several years when a call went out for participation in an experiment in social networking called Open Salon.

Just by accident, The Paxton Pundit was wrapping up 9 years of weekly essays hosted by the ISP which had brought modem technology to the near wilderness of New Mexico which we called home, then the Wildblue satellite service which stopped hosting web pages altogether; we were all directed to cloud based sites such as Blogger.

I latched on to Open Salon as my choice to call home in 2008 and shortly thereafter used my real name interchangeably. I referred to Joan Walsh as "my editor" nowhere but around the house, but it served to rein in the now-typical social networking traits of deceit and conceit. Opinions were clearly labelled and facts referenced. I was account number in the low 200's among a group which expanded to possibly the upper 400's during this "beta" phase and though not much more than pen pals, it became a treasure trove of feedback from folks who had earned my respect.

Thanks to them, not only could I continue my work as an essayist but post photographs and home recordings and return to read a dozen comments on a good day. The same fellow who claqued on and on about the lack of peer-reviewed science on climate change (quaint now, I know) could also effuse about that tree or cat and be welcomed for either. Beta days ended with Salon's decision to make this experiment a feature for one and all and it soon gave beta-salonistas a taste of what many find so worthless about currently popular, nay addictive web pursuits. The site itself lost Joan's regular input as Open Salon duties were handed off and she rose to editorship of Big Salon, as we called it.

I shudder to think if I ever coaxed her to respond "right on, Stacey" to a post about that fat phony who currently haunts the White House. I'm told nothing you ever have written for the Internet ever goes away and heard rumors lately of some 10 year old web activity of hers which somebody with a rod up his or her butt had found simply despicable.

Who knows what lack of "Q" leads a profitable media outlet to release what I and many others have come to look for in Joan's learned and well reasoned round table behavior. CNN has snapped her up in a heartbeat and that made Christmas a little less like the eve of destruction for her, I will safely conjecture. Still, business is business, and though for now she is welcome to make unpaid appearances on MSNBC, one just never knows about corporate management.

If she is one of the twelve or so accidental readers who finds this post, THANK YOU JOAN. (#not-for-nothing all-caps.) Best wishes for a happy new year to you and yours.

Same to you, savvy reader.

On the Twelth Day of Christmas


Friday, October 13, 2017

Why I Am Not on Facebook/Twitter

For the same reason states which don't have the death penalty have never wrongfully executed anybody.

I have never been targeted by a malevolent troll-bot. Family and friends know how to reach me without pushing Christmas letter style content out there and assuming it has been read by anyone who 'cares.'

I have enjoyed dinner table company and never felt the need to know if my latest whatever has gone viral or acquired 'likes.'

I enjoy writing things other than "and another thing."

Because anyone who would have me first sign into Facebook to read their menu, schedule a servicing or what have you is unaware that the platform they think is helping them is actually hurting them. A read-only Facebook page, conventional web page, phone number and email address are as 'interactive' as I care to get. 

I choose not to compete with ignoramuses who belittle election day (to the point of skipping voting in some cases) and focus on political blathering for sport. When commonweal gets another fair shake, arguing with automatons might just no longer 'trend.'

I can do with a little less up-to-the-minute knowledge of what our president with an asterisk thinks I need to hear. He 'tweets' the way he 'grabs.'

I hear your jealousin' savvy reader.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


 reprinted from

MITT ROMNEY Former governor, two-time presidential candidate, predatory businessman, author of "Apologize for What?" Well ensconced among the one tenth of one percenters. Two words: roof rack.

JEB BUSH Former governor, champion of privatized everything, engineered the 2000 Florida result, author of "Not My Wars: Forging an American Identity." Dubbya stink.

DR. BEN CARSON Accomplished neurosurgeon, weekly opinion columnist, FoxNews fave, author of "We Made This: One Nation Starved of Honesty and Common Sense." Had me at Michael Brown caused his own murder.

CHRIS CHRISTIE Current governor, former prosecutor, unindicted so far, flagrant lap band cheat, author of New Jersey's steep decline. Forging tomorrow's passive aggression from today's aggression, pal.

MIKE HUCKABEE Former governor, Christianist, author of "God, Guns, Grift & Gravy." The caricature by Charlie Pierce of says it all: a "de-bloated god-bothering whackaloon who is occasionally mistaken for a nice guy."
(ed note: recently appears re-bloated)

RAND PAUL Senator, eye doctor, libertarianish author of "Aqua Buddha Goes to Washington." The sandwich board reads: all you can drink snake oil.

TED CRUZ Senator, ardent McCarthy reenactor, aural irritant, author of "I've Already Spent My Advance - DONATE NOW!" Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition.

SCOTT WALKER Governor, also unindicted so far, poisoner of the public trust and the state's full faith, author of "Unmitigated: an Armed Fact-Checker's Fish Barrel." He's the most likely to benefit if not running on your record remains a viable tactic.

MARCO RUBIO US Senator, former speaker of the Florida house, veteran (no comma) Obama basher, one time savior of his party's demographic difficulties, author of “American Fantasy: Economic Opportunity Cake for Everyone.” Proof the clowns will need a limousine this time.

RICK PERRY Longest serving governor of Texas, indicted for abuse of power (case pending), author of "Feed Up!: Parceling Out America from Washington." More rehearsed with more departments of government he'd axe.

JOHN KASICH Governor, former congressperson, former paid FoxNews personality, author of "Something Something: The Looming Battle for Something Something." Unequivocally he'd be something.

RICK SANTORUM Former Senator, prude, vouchsafer of all things clean and not dirty, author of "Blue Collar Conservatives, Narcoleptic Goats: Some Things Just Don't Make Sense." Despite a line of bull so long that a "santorum" could readily have been made the internationally accepted unit for at least 10 parsecs, his name suffices as go-to slang for buckets of anal goo.

BOBBY JINDAL Governor, non-displaying Rhodes Scholar, first responder to the annual Obama address, author of "Crises After Crises: Our Leadership." The night he was born, "Joy to the World" was number one, say no more, wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean?

CARLY FIORINA Former CEO whose removal saved Hewlett-Packard, failed California senate candidate, McCain for President advisor, born Cara Carleton Sneed, author of "My Side of My Own Damn Story: a bitch-faced memoir." Some people who might just need to put some bona fides into their new CNN contracts (just sayin') are (what's the word?) confident (no, that's not the word), despite currently polling at a statistical zero percent, losing support even from benefit of the doubt.

(ed note: these were supposed to be the also ran entries)

PAUL RYAN Congressperson, Hill brat since college, Empower America (Freedom Works) speechwriter, Romney running mate, author of "From Now On, It's Like the New Deal Never Happened." Still conflates capitalism and morality but he'll confine it to the House for now, he says.

SARAH PALIN Former governor, 2008 vice-presidential candidate, FoxNews personality, expert grifter, author of "Goyim Rouge." They say you shouldn't punch down and Palin has turned her syntactically challenged, period eschewing, buzzword rich, semantically void schtick up to a disturbing eleven plus, so I'll lay off the fantasy presidential bid of this poor tortured soul unless and until she rents (wink) another bus.

DONALD TRUMP Undisguised grifter, publicity whore, failed casino owner, author of "TRUMP: Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump." Quadrennial poop in the bassinet whose candidacy would be a YUGE mistake to consider serious.

  • This was 7 months before the first Republican debate
  • You can provide educational opportunities but you can't make people learn
  • Trump remains poop in the bassinet

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Alex Witt Proves Peter Principle

Engaging millions, well hundreds of thousands, well tens of thousands, well hundreds of MSNBC viewers who may have told themselves they were watching a "news" broadcast, Alex Witt declared about our Manhattan Mussolini: “He’s being far more tactile than he was in his first visit, and just getting right there up with folks who have been displaced by Harvey. Again, this is a recovery center. And, you know, so there he is perhaps now showing a little bit more to his critics that he’s got an empathetic side. ... I’ve got to tell you, we’re seeing a remarkably different President than we have seen in the past. I mean, we have seen him with his grandchildren, and he walks hand in hand with them, deplaning Air Force One, or seeing them perhaps on the balcony at the White House, and we know that he is a doting grandfather in that regard.”
This, savvy reader, is unadulterated Stockholm Syndrome.

Also Q.E.D. to the Peter Principle. She has been promoted from reading the copy which scrolled along the teleprompter to one of those personalities who feel the public is drawn to them rather than the information they are paid to bring to our attention. To wit (pun intended) “I’ve got to tell you, we’re seeing a remarkably different President than we have seen ever in our history. One who is given second chances up the wazoo to deliver words and tone in what will eventually arrive at a seeming presidential job performance. I mean, we have seen him with his golf clubs, and his abject hypocrisy by surpassing Obama's time on the course, deplaning Air Force One posing with chin thrust out like Mussolini, or seeing him perhaps at a state dinner, and you just know he's thinking 'there should have been missiles at the inauguration, which by the way was huge' and so now he's traipsing around Texas again having been told his performance just a few days ago was unconvincing in the compassion department, and because I have to cover this crap and have so heavily invested my name in this newscast, I hereby will be retiring from MSNBC, effective immediately.”

Then, savvy reader, we could admire both her competence, and her self-awareness. She is skilled at reading copy from others' reporting but, like the president, when she goes off script she takes MSNBC Live to a network with Fox News envy.

Isn't that where Van Jones works?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bits from the Dustbin: Part 2

3/24/13 Postcard from that uncle.
Conveniently Close to the Trumpaquog Casino & Resort

 9/24/13 Raising the debt ceiling is paying the bills you already racked up.
So Gangsta

6/26/15 An earlier go-'round with tax 'reform'.
Frank Luntz: Cunning Linguist

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Election Postmortem Turns Crapfest, Again

There are so many left-leaners self-immolating right now, all this talk of an indivisible resistance is heading straight for that tired old sack of "yeah right" I fear.  

Occupy; enough said.

The right are grabbing media attention for their sometimes hilarious internecine struggles, but fuck those guys. They don't want us and reciprocity dictates not wasting one drop of energy right back at them.

We on the left have a dilemma. It's not as simple as if it were just Bernie/Hillary and the two supposed factions they have left to drag in the wake of 2016. (That has to cease or neither will get a shot in 2018/20.) No, it's that it's Bernie/Hillary and the two factions they have left dragging on and on in the wake of 2016.

Realizing that, you'd think the Democrats could arrive at a wider consensus without incentivizing third or splinter parties. And you'd be wrong. Four wheel low range might not be enough for that hill.

Speaking of fours, I've been thinking about how well our two party system has lived up to the framers' disdain for political parties. Republicans and Democrats agree only to keep the fight between them, and the rest is pretty much up for grabs each contest.

I drew a little diagram to help me make a point about fours having to get political as twos. I used Cartesian coordinates with an "x" and a "y" axis and will admit up front that choosing suitable opposites to juxtapose, without relying on the words Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative was a project unto itself. The savvy reader could no doubt find better.
The conservative/liberal dichotomy is hackneyed times infinity. I chose libertarian/progressive to run the gamut from limited government to a commonweal with subsistence and good health an entry-level birth right. 

The "y" axis is meant to strip the financing of government from the confusion which years of co-option of language has left muddy at best. The free-spending end refers to willingness to increase the debt; it would be a matter of such importance. The penny-pinching end budgets to pay down the national debt while adding nothing in deficits.

Democrats picked a bad time to be thrashing about for a consistent principled identity. Ben Ray Lujan of my former state (the Bill Richardson seat) sent shock waves through the keepers of the flame by suggesting pro-life candidates might find shekels in the party's coffers. I say let there be those zones of the Venn diagram we'll just stipulate. We don't want them. 

Which is why every time a perceived slight is voiced by one of the two drags in the wake I scream. 

The roman numeral quadrants are populated by points, placed by each registered party member from progressive free-spending to progressive penny-pinching in the Democrats camp. For me, the two quadrants of a libertarian bent, I think we can do without. I'd put Rand Paul and his daddy in III and the Kochs and their ilk in IV.  Because, boy howdy, they will gladly not tax nor spend on the one hand, or free-spend your taxes right straight into their gluttonous maws. How much of a Democrat is bedfellows with either of those?

Who's at the origin? 

A guy who votes every time, has withholding cover any surprises, pays taxes like everyone, reluctantly but for the greater good, likes the Interstate to the lake, thinks CNN is for the airport lounge, juggles an amazing portfolio of debt but has a decent job, lets people be and wants to be let be, likes football and pie. 

If you're a strategist who wants to poach that for your whiteboard, substitute freely: skin pigmentation, ethnicity, gender and the rest; but essentially the area around the cross-hairs are by definition reachable to any political party with shiny objects.

The Democrats, if there's to be an outreach or an embracing, might consider putting the emphasis on shared progressiveness. As if the arc of America hadn't lost its mind starting in 80's. 

The cleft left by the culture wars is stronger than any disagreement over "tax and spend" which is the other side's framing. So fuck that. Yes, we tax. Yes, we spend. The Republicans are doing it right now. And the culture wars were often smoke and cover for plutocracy, so double fuck that.

Are Democrats going to patiently and without snark make the case to the purists within that given an infinity of revenue such and such? It ain't happening, with all due respect. And to the "your father's Democrats" a word of caution. These kids who are no longer kids really have something. They can find the north star from inside the tent. And those who are Bernie's age, you know, 39, it's gotta seem like it's about fucking time to them. They can probably say "government without sausage making" in Latin.

You don't get your own facts but you do get your own reality. Mine says we're on the same team, though I voted for she who must never make a speaking fee. 

I'll put myself to the outer margins of progressive but I have to confess to hugging the axis. Another great band name.

A guy who votes every time, has estimated payments cover any surprises, pays taxes like everyone, reluctantly but for the greater good, standard deductions, thinks news media sell soap - journalists report on the day's events, juggles an amazing portfolio of cats and meal planning, lets people be and wants to be let be (although vive la resistance hawh hawh), likes Premier League football and Serrano peppers.

I've thought for a while that those voices of re-hash, from both drags in the wake, might just be troll-bot-pranksters from a parallel reality, but judging by the screaming and yelling it's probably genuine animosity.

And that's why I'm putting Descartes before the hoarse.