Category: Bullshit explained

AOC policy adviser to put billionaires on public assistance

Apparently America’s billionaire problem is out of control.  It seems like you can’t even walk down the street anymore without tripping over some shady billionaire announcing a new business venture, buying a professional sports team, or giving millions to charitable foundations.  AOC policy adviser Dan Riffle would like to change that. Going by the Twitter title “Every Billionaire is a policy Failure,” Dan has a plan to rid America of its billionaires within our lifetime. In fact, the plan would so thoroughly inoculate the United States from the scourge of billionaires, that most former sufferers would fall helplessly into the massive social safety net created by their absence.

In an interview with Vox, Dan the Policy Man kicks around a federal tax rate that would most effectively relieve a billionaire sufferer of all that needless cash.  His boss, AOC, has floated the idea of a 70 percent top rate. Dan has tweeted that he could talk her up to 90. In the Vox interview, he describes trying to come up with a catchy Twitter name that would succinctly distill his policy position.  He started with, “Tax income over $5 million at 99 percent.” That didn’t roll off the tongue well enough for him. Not because the idea was in any way objectionable, it just wasn’t succinct enough for him. That’s when he came up with the epically memeable “Every Billionaire is a policy Failure.”  You may have caught the EBIAPF Challenge on YouTube, or seen someone wearing the t-shirt. 

Granted, a billion dollars is a lot of money, but Riffle isn’t just talking about taxing the shit out of galactic riches.  When asked to define extreme wealth, he replies, “I don’t know where exactly we can draw the line… But at some point there has to be an upper bound, right?  If you have $5 million, you can live off the interest of that and be a one percenter. There’s nothing in this world that anybody wants or needs to do that you can’t do with, let’s say, $10-$15 million.”  

Riffle has already stated what he’d do to five million, he’d have Uncle Sam take 99 percent.  That leaves the taxpayer with $50,000. Not a bad take home, right? Except that Uncle Sam also withholds for Social Security and Medicare with state and local deducting additional percentage points.  Does it not occur to the policy adviser to U.S Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that, if you take 99% of someone’s income, any additional percent of withholding will leave the taxpayer broke or owing additional taxes for which they have no income remaining?  Even if federal withholding is only 90% – the number he’s going to talk AOC into – that still wipes out the taxpayer’s income for the year, no matter how large that income may be. I guess you have to be a policy adviser in Washington to understand how the math works on that one, because if you’re just seated at your kitchen table, the numbers don’t add up.   

Not content to just tax income, Riffle goes on to suggest forcing owners to divest from their companies, creating “democratic control over society’s resources.”  The idea is to relieve a Bill Gates or a Jeff Bezos of their company’s stock once its value exceeds $10 million. “There’s other ways that you can force the divestiture of an owner of a company once we hit a certain threshold,” Riffle explains.  “Having more democratic control over society’s resources would be helpful, and having more democratic control over a company’s resources would be beneficial for that company as well.” So, in other words, you’ve done really well for yourself here, Jeff, but we’re going to take democratic control of that $100 billion in Amazon stock you own, and we’re going to democratically take over the company you built and control it from here forward.  This sounds a lot like the kind of democracy they used to practice in the German Democratic Republic (the former East Germany), or they currently practice in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). 

If the interviewer can be excused for not pushing back on what seem to be rather extreme policy proposals, it’s because the proposals themselves would almost certainly achieve its stated goal of complete eradication of all American billionaires and multimillionaires within a very short span of time.  They would almost certainly flee for billionaire friendly countries like China, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, India, France, and Canada to name a few nations that seem to be most severely plagued by burdensome billionaires. Once gone we would need to seal our borders against their return, only then could we truly enjoy our riches to rags utopia.

New York Times runs Antifa PR piece

In case anyone has been operating under the misconception that a journalist was violently assaulted by Antifa protesters in Portland on Saturday, the New York Times’ Mike Baker is here to set the record straight.  Or, rather, he’s here to fill your head with enough extraneous nonsense to give those in denial about left-wing extremism and violence any number of paths to continue believing there is no problem here. His piece in Monday’s edition, “In Portland, a Punch and a Milkshake Rumor Feed a Fresh Round of Police Criticism,” reads like a release from Antifa’s public relations department.  In it he essentially asserts that the journalist assaulted basically had it coming, that the incident is only of interest to conservative politicians and media outlets, that the Portland Police are in cahoots with right-wing groups, and left-wing protesters were really only interested in having a milkshake dance party.

What are we to make of protesters who show up for a demonstration clad in makeshift riot gear?  That these are individuals who were just sitting at home one Saturday and decided to head downtown to protest the fascists.  They’re not an organized group itching for a fight or anything. Everybody has black helmets and body armor hanging in their closet.  Give credit to the NYT for running the photo of the anti-fascist fascists, but their caption reads “Multiple groups demonstrated in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday.”  Not only does the NYT not identify these demonstrators as Antifa, but not once does Baker mention the group’s name in the entire piece. The only time they are identified is in a quote of Andy Ngo’s attorney. 

Baker does concede that Ngo was struck by a black-clad activist, going beyond what a lot of mainstream outlets reported.  Many MSM reports preferred to let it seem like the journalist was just heavily milkshaked. Amazing that the word “milkshake” is now a verb and accepted by many on the mainstream left as a perfectly acceptable thing to do to someone.  Baker, however, avoids using “milkshake” as a verb in his article and instead writes that Ngo was “slimed” with “vegan coconut milkshakes”. Very considerate of him to point out that the milkshakes were vegan, in case Ngo happens to be vegan himself.  It takes a little bit of the sting out of being milkshaked when you know that the projectile doesn’t contain any animal products. Although, one wonders how Baker knew that the specific milkshakes that struck Ngo were vegan coconut. Did the New York Times thoroughly fact check all those milkshakes?

Baker does seem pretty confident, however, in claiming that the milkshakes did not contain quick drying concrete.  He describes as “questionable” the Portland Police warning that the milkshakes contained cement, and that this claim fueled “conservative alarm” and “dramatically fueled the furor”.  Nothing to see here folks, Baker seems to be reassuring NYT readers. This is just a bunch of conservatives getting their panties all in a bunch.  

Baker goes on to question Ngo’s work as a journalist, dropping hints that he and the publications he works for produce racist content.  Also, he spends a couple paragraphs making the case that the Portland Police have a history of colluding with right-wing extremists. At this point, if I’m a leftist frequent reader of the New York Times even the slightest bit concerned about groups and elements at the extreme of my political ideology, I’m beginning to drift back into my comfort zone.  I’m thinking, okay, this is all a manufactured crisis and Ngo is just getting what’s coming to him. After all, as Baker writes, “He (Ngo) has a history of battling with anti-fascist groups” and “has built a prominent presence in part by going into situations where there may be conflict and then publicizing the results.”  

Okay, so he’s not really a journalist, he’s a right wing provocateur.  Well, that explains it. Because that’s what they said about Jamal Kashoggi, right?  He had a history of battling with the Saudi Royal family. And that’s what they say about correspondents in conflict zones.  They’re just publicity hounds, right?

After trashing a journalist and totally discrediting the police, Mr. Baker would like Times readers to know that anti-fascist activists are just a bunch of fun-loving, peaceful party people who want to drink milkshakes and dance.  While reserving a healthy amount of skepticism for the police account of the incident, Baker seems to accept on faith information gathered from the Rose City Antifa affiliated group, PopMob.  According to one member of the group, they were simply “having an entertaining counterprotest building off Pride month.”  And those milkshakes: “they were vegan milkshakes made not of cement, but of coconut ice cream, cashew milk and some sprinkles.”  A credulous Baker barely even addresses the glaring reality that milkshakes are currently the preferred method of humiliating conservatives and right-wingers. They were clearly dispensed with the intent of hurling them at their opponents, including Mr. Ngo who was targeted with a barrage of them.

It is one thing to write a piece that avoids leaping to conclusions and reporting unverified facts.  It is quite another to omit facts, engage in irrelevant personal and professional attacks, and deliberately mislead.  Is Baker really so beholden to ideology and obligated to protect the left and readers of the NYT that it extends all the way to doing public relations for a group of violent thugs?  Perhaps, or maybe he just wants to stay on Antifa’s good side. Hmm, wonder why?

SF Board of Re-Education sees mural and wants to paint it black

The third installment in our series, A World Awash in Bullshit. 

It seems like only a few years ago when many conservatives objected to what they called “revisionist history”.  This was the practice by some scholars to portray historical figures and events “warts and all”. Many objected to a depiction of the founding fathers as anything less than god-like figures soaring above the fruited plain on the backs of giant bald eagles, or relations with indigenous people as anything other than mutually beneficial free trade and congenial Thanksgiving dinners.  

My how times have changed.  On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Education voted to paint down a mural series of George Washington painted in 1936 by Victor Arnautoff, a Russian-American artist.  Commissioned by Roosevelt’s WPA, the mural depicted Washington as a slave owner and architect of military campaigns against the indigenous people of America. In other words, it told the uncomfortable truth at a time when most depictions of the father of our country exhibited a towering, heroic figure nobly crossing the Delaware.  Unfortunately, this progressive minded group of San Francisco educators and artists find history too offensive to the delicate sensibilities of today’s students and members of the community, and want to see it erased all together.  

Strange because the history of destroying art for ideological purposes is not pretty.  The groups and movements that go around erasing history and culture they find offensive are not ones with which rational individuals would want to associate themselves.  In the last century, the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Cultural Revolution and German National Socialists all engaged in widespread art destruction for ideological reasons.  In more recent years, the Taliban and ISIS have destroyed countless religious and cultural artifacts. I guess you can’t argue that there isn’t plenty of historical precedent behind the actions of the SF BOE. 

Supporters of the plan argue that the mural “traumatizes students” because it “glorifies slavery, genocide, colonization, manifest destiny, white supremacy, oppression.”  That it “glorifies” none of these but instead draws attention to the ugly history of America’s founding has been well established by the artist, critics and historians. That the school board would level such a dishonest interpretation at the work to justify destroying it says that some public educators in our country exist in a state of willful self-delusion.  How can we expect our children to learn the skills of critical thinking when they’re being instructed by educators for which political ideology is primary and rationality and reason must bow to it? Of course, maybe that’s the idea – critical thinking, independent reasoning, and skepticism aren’t valued by some educators. 

SF school board members had the opportunity to preserve the work and simply cover it with a curtain, but instead chose to destroy it, citing their actions as “reparations”.  As recently as 2010, the then principal of the school expressed pride in the murals and happiness at they’re being preserved. Apparently we’ve come a long way since the bad old days of 2010.  Moral sensitivities have evolved exponentially and the pure of heart are now deciding that not only must we shield the timid souls of today from “dangerous” art, but future generations must also not be allowed to make up their own minds or formulate their own ideas about America’s problematic past.

Vox spends walkout suppressing free speech, burning content and torching YouTube

Vox journalists went into their walkout Thursday riding and endorphin induced euphoria, stemming from their successful campaign to reduce the amount of free speech millions of Americans enjoy.  How better to celebrate their victory than with a content burning bonfire and a strategy session to build on the momentum gained from their latest successful endeavor to suppress free expression?

As the bonfire blazed, Vox journalists patted themselves on the back and felt even more emboldened to demand higher than market wages of Vox management for their successful efforts at internet censorship.  After all, censoring YouTube doesn’t just benefit Vox writers, it has the potential to enhance the company’s bottom line as well.

Vox journalists could barely contain their elation from seeing content creator after content creator on the YouTube platform go up in flames from the fire they had lit. Among the victims were history teachers and academic videos, as well as the work of prominent journalists that sought to educate about hate, not promote it.

Unrepentant and sensing they had their opponents bloodied but not beaten, Vox journalists penned “An open letter to YouTube’s CEO” where they demanded the platform update it’s standards to censor even more speech:

“Without a serious change to YouTube’s interpretation of its standards, Crowder is free to continue to make videos where he hurls slurs at journalists and creators, who will then keep getting hit with the same sort of harassment, invective, and dangerous leaking of personal information that Carlos has continued to experience from Crowder’s fans.”

Apparently, Vox’s bonfire brainstorming session worked, as they hit upon resurrecting the old argument of blaming the content creators for the actions of the consumers of said content.  A stroke of brilliance on the part of Vox journalists, the tactic was once successfully deployed when John Hinckley blamed Jodie Foster and the movie Taxi Driver for his assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.  (Warning: Vox Millennials, don’t try watching Taxi Driver at home alone, it will trigger the shit out of you.) More importantly, Vox has successfully rallied much of the mainstream media to join it’s effort to torch independent journalists, educators, and content creators.

As the fires subside and the Vox Adpocalypse gives way to a new dawning Voxtopia, the media company has positioned itself nicely to be one of the “authoritative sources” YouTube will now begin directing its traffic toward.  Having successfully punched down on the independent voices of both the marginalised and non-marginalised alike, the required reading of white liberal elites, Vox, can now resume it’s authoritative role as explainer of news and protector of the historically marginalised, who are now free to just shut up and listen.  

Media flew too close to Bullshit Mountain…again

The distress call went out back in March when a tough talking, street fighting litigator from Los Angeles, the unlikely hero of the resistance media, found himself cross-examining a pair of handcuffs.  Thousands of media stories and pundit prognostications that had previously soared on the wings of this champion of the resistance, suddenly crashed and burned in the dense jungles of Bullshit Mountain. The distress call went unheeded, though.  The stories of bravery and heroism in the face of a maniacal king, the tales of a young prince with a law degree defending the besmirched honor of more than one fair maiden, and the adventures of a crusader for truth and justice lay forgotten, swallowed up by the canopy of dense excrement that envelopes Bullshit Mountain.

At the entrance to every cable news studio, there must exist a scanner of some sort, lined with precision quantum magnets, that can detect the remnants of stories that crashed on Bullshit Mountain and extract them from the brains of the show’s hosts and commentators.  Like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel, the Spotless Mind 3000 erases a reality they’ve spent months cultivating and promoting, and allows the commentator to move seamlessly onto another topic without acknowledging their culpability in crafting a stunning work of monumental bullshit.  What else could explain this sort of nonchalance in the face of what should be a realization that the previous several months of the journalist’s professional life has been a complete waste?

It’s creepy the way they shift gears.  How do you watch a narrative you’ve been spinning for months be reduced to ashes and not think to yourself, man, I really suck at my job? For many toiling in the real world, to have failed so miserably would have produced an existential reckoning accompanied by months of depression, and most likely loss of one’s occupation.  Granted, when the Mueller Report dropped, some cable news hosts and commentators were either visibly shaken, or mad as hell and unable to take it anymore. (Mueller really should have given them a trigger warning.)  However, after having their minds sanitized, many in the resistance media and its broadcast affiliates, CNN and MSNBC, without a moment of self-reflection, moved on from conspiracy and began to focus tremendous brain power on obstruction.    

Here is one journalist ruminating admiringly about the then resistance hero back in July of 2018.  No need to reveal the journalist’s identity. Let’s just say he’s a very prominent writer for an outfit with a name that starts with a V and ends with an X.  “Alternatively, if you’re a smart, young, hard-working lawyer with progressive political convictions, and you also like money going out and winning large verdicts against rich companies that broke the rules, this line of work suggests itself as one of the most ethical ways to get rich.”  So our resistance hero, prior to being charged with attempted extortion, bank and wire fraud, and stealing money from his clients, was engaged in one of the most ethical ways to get rich. Really?

Perhaps no one in the media could have known back in July of 2018 that Captain Resistance was nothing less than an honorable crusader for truth, justice, and the American way.  But, most likely, they didn’t want to know. Because this was the guy who was going to take down Trump and possibly steal his job. Once again, scores of media hacks bought into a wildly improbable narrative and proceeded to recklessly guide it to it’s inevitable conclusion: that of a steaming forgotten heap, smoldering on the slopes of Bullshit Mountain.

Vox writer triggered by Bret Easton Ellis’s White

Millennials can be a hard bunch to impress, and Vox writer, Constance Grady, is not going to be impressed by much acclaimed and occasionally maligned author Bret Easton Ellis.  When Ellis asserts in his book that Millennials often display an inability to view things in their context, he hadn’t accounted for Constance Grady, who last summer wrote a piece for Vox using the movie Sixteen Candles to provide “important context for the Brett Kavanaugh accusations.”  When Grady is looking for some background on eighties rape culture, she knows to go straight to the source for everything eighties: John Hughes movies.

White, according to Vox’s rating system, receives only one V out of a possible five.  Expressed as Roman numerals that would be I/V Vs. I guess if you hit a home run with the Vox crew, you score a V/V Vs.  That Vox is a sort of Millenial Home Companion, the low rating is not surprising as this book is highly critical of the demographic group.  True to Millennial form, Grady has to get the obligatory “racist” and “misogynist” accusations out of the way before the review even begins.

White is not a book about politics.  Ellis expresses few political views in the book beyond stating that he didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton.  It is a book that contrasts the American culture the author grew up in with our current one. Ellis bemoans the reality that our current culture is so obsessed with politics, at least among the entertainment and media elites on the coasts, and Ellis takes dead aim at the anti-Trump hysteria gripping much of the nation.  

In the second paragraph of her review, Grady highlights an Ellis exchange in a New Yorker interview by Isaac Chotiner as a ‘gotcha moment’.  It doesn’t need to be quoted here. The whole interview is an embarrassment… for Chotiner. Outrage cranked up to eleven, Chotiner drops all pretense of professionalism and runs down the list of Trump’s most deplorable moments, trying to get Ellis to admit that Trump is the worst scoundrel history has ever manufactured, but fails to get Ellis’s outrage to register above a three.  The behavior of the interviewer only serves to illustrate Ellis’s point that many on the left lose all rationality when it comes to talking about Trump.

Grady admonishes Ellis for writing a book about politics when he claims to find politics ridiculous.  Curiously, however, several paragraphs later, she claims as a fact “that there is no such thing as non-political art”.  According to this line of reasoning, the simple act of a writer putting pen to paper is political. In Grady’s world, how can Ellis write anything that isn’t political?

Ellis’s complaint is that he can’t go out for dinner or drinks without his companions bringing up how Trump stole the election or that he’s a stooge of the Russians; and even in Ellis’s own home, his Millennial partner, distraught over a Trump presidency, has shut himself in, relapsed into addiction and essentially put his life on hold.  Ellis’s lament is not political, it’s an argument against permitting politics to rule one’s life and sap all the enjoyment out of it. It is a call to take a deep breath, calm the fuck down, and preserve your sanity. Predictably, Grady’s comeback is to hit the outrage switch by reminding everyone of the “children who are being kept in cages”.  This is the inevitable retort whenever anyone calls for rationality, or a more restrained response to Trump’s provocations. Why do Grady and Chotiner think that the appropriate response to Ellis’s criticism of years of anxious liberal hand-wringing over Trump is to try to elicit more of it by rehashing all the outrage inducing talking points? Have they ever considered that maybe Trump is playing them, or that maybe it gives his supporters a boner to watch the so-called liberal elites lose their shit?   

Ultimately, Grady concludes that White is simply boring.  The Millennial Grady is not impressed with stories of what it’s like to become a famous, best-selling novelist at the age of 23, shortly after graduating college.  Stories of cocaine snorting and running with celebrities dull her to death, and she can’t engage with the author’s thoughts on movies or life growing up in the seventies.  In other words, she can’t empathize with the experiences of a white, gay middle-aged man. Big surprise.

Millennials like Grady think they’re inventing civilization after generations of human struggle through a primitive dark ages.  In her Sixteen Candles piece, she asserts, “In the 1980s, “rape” meant an attack from a stranger in a dark alley, not something that acquaintances did to each other at house parties where everyone knows each other.”  This statement is absurd, untrue and reveals an appalling ignorance of the culture she’s attempting to write about, leaving little wonder why she can’t engage with a writer like Ellis. But that’s okay.  If you’re ignorant and incurious, just make shit up. Vox will print it anyway.

MAGA hats under attack

The following is the second installment in our A World Awash in Bullshit series.  I didn’t publish the first installment because the subject is such a powder keg of explosive bullshit that it’s not worth the trouble of posting.

From the “live but don’t let other people live, but instead fuck with them hard” file, comes a recent spate of attacks involving MAGA hat wearers.  No, it isn’t MAGA hatters run amuck, perpetrating hate crimes and leaving behind a trail of murder and mayhem. It’s folks going about their daily lives wearing MAGA gear and getting harassed and assaulted by so-called tolerant, anti-racism, anti-hate individuals for whom the first amendment apparently means, “freedom of speech, just watch what you say.”

Most recently, a Mexican-American woman was attacked in a California post office for wearing a MAGA hat.  The perpetrator, a woke white woman, taught this brown lady a lesson in racism by hurling insults at her and smacking her around.  We know this because the MAGA hat lady got it all on video.

This incident is just one of a number of attacks that have taken place just in the last few months.  In Massachusetts, a woman was arrested in February for battery and disorderly conduct after harassing a man and grabbing his MAGA hat.  In Oklahoma, a high school boy is confronted by another high schooler who takes his MAGA hat and his Trump 2020 sign and throws them on the floor.  This incident took place in the high school hall and was captured by cell phone video. In New Jersey, a 19 year old male threw an 81 year old man to the ground for the offense of wearing a MAGA hat.  The teenager faces assault and harassment charges.

Wearing MAGA hats while shopping resulted in one Kentucky couple being given the finger and having a .40 caliber Glock stuck in their face.  The perpetrator allegedly threatened, “It’s a good day for you to die.” He’s been charged with first-degree wanton endangerment. Even a sword wielding MAGA hatter who slashed another man’s hand in San Francisco was provoked when the man knocked his MAGA hat to the ground.  As he drew his sword, the MAGA hatter was heard to mutter, “You have besmirched my honor, rogue. Now you shall have a taste of my steel,” – not really.

These are just the incidents where charges were filed and/or the attacks were caught on video, and all happened within the last two months.  There are many other reported episodes of harassment. Try googling “MAGA hat attack”. Almost every result involves a MAGA hat wearer coming under harassment and assault by someone who’s going to teach them why Trump is so terrible.

Of course the feather in the MAGA cap event that preceded the ones described above involved a group of MAGA hat wearing teenage boys from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky.  One member of this group became the target of widespread media hostility and public antagonism from the left for allegedly smirking at a Native American. We now know the narrative the media originally spun was almost entirely false and that it was the MAGA teens who were the victims of racial and homophobic insults.  But what if the media’s original accusations had turned out to be accurate? Would the MAGA hatted teens really have deserved the media and public pile-on they received from folks on the left? Is it really okay to dox and advocate violence against a smirking teen who’s wearing a MAGA hat, or to call for their lives to be ruined?  Isn’t a high school kid, of all people, deserving of a break for an ill-advised smirk? I mean, he didn’t physically assault the man or even verbally assault him. Where is this MAGA hat derangement coming from? Personally, I can’t help but cringe every time I encounter someone wearing it. But there is simply no equivalence between the MAGA hat and a KKK hood or a swastika, so this is a call for people on the left to quit acting like a bunch of frightened lunatics when you see it.   

At this point, I wanted to launch into an impassioned plea for a more “live and let live” attitude by folks on the left.  I was going to hearken back to days gone by when the left was the place where tolerance and free thought found a welcoming home.  Where freedom of speech was sacred and people weren’t so convinced of their rightness and the other guy’s wrongness, or at least we could respect each other’s ideological differences.  

But then, like a song you can’t get out of your head, my thoughts were invaded by the shrill voices of scores of SJWs, LWIs, and woke activists shouting at me that I’m wrong.  Well they must be right, I thought, because they’re so damn loud and irritating. It’s a new day, there’s too much at stake. “There is no other side.” When you’re right, you know you’re right and the other guy probably knows in his heart he’s wrong.  So it’s not the time for “live and let live” anymore. It is the time for doubling down. It’s the time for total outrage and getting up in each other’s shit. Don’t just knock that MAGA hat off that guy’s head, defecate on it while it’s on the ground. That will probably convince them of their wrongness, and they’ll probably thank you for it.  “Dude, I didn’t realize I’d become such a white supremacist asshole. Thanks for shitting in my hat and waking me up.” And maybe he’ll turn around and shit in some other person’s MAGA hat and, in that manner, everyone will come together and all racism and inequality will be eradicated. And next time some heteronormative jerk starts saying something you don’t agree with, maybe you can just stick your fingers in your ears and yell “la, la, la, la, la, la” over and over until they stop talking.  You can even do it as a group at your university when they invite a bad person to speak who you don’t want to listen to.

Oh wait, you already do that.  My bad.