irony

Your Tweet of the Day: Cul-de-Sac

Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates): social media is the cul-de-sac where "nuance" & "irony" crawl to die. [via Twitter, 20 September 2018]

“social media is the cul-de-sac where ‘nuance’ & ‘irony’ crawl to die.”

Joyce Carol Oates

A Reflection on an Echo of a Cartoon

Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos Comics, 3 January 2017.

To the one, winter is as winter does, and we should probably leave it at that. Nonetheless, a month later, Jen Sorensen’s point still echoes:

Hillary has certainly frustrated me at times over the years, but I came to admire her intelligence and poise over the course of this election cycle. Her performance at the debates with Trump was nothing short of heroic. She also ran on the most progressive Democratic platform ever, but since policy has become almost completely divorced from politics, she gets little credit for that. I could go on, but as my husband says, this was not so much an election as an exorcism, the culmination of a decades-long smear campaign by the right.

The term “political correctness” has been the cornerstone of conservative efforts to transform the ideas of civil rights and equality into something frivolous and stupid. The right loves plucking silly examples from obscure, powerless people and blowing them up into huge “culture war” issues that supposedly threaten the nation. “PC” is an insult that plays into their hands.

Along these same lines, “liberal elites”―long a Fox News favorite―is designed to shift attention away from the actual economic elites hoovering up the world’s wealth and resources, such as the Koch Brothers or Trump, and instead make one think of poodle-owning urbanites supposedly looking down their noses at everyone (while in reality voting to raise the minimum wage). It’s a frame, not a fact, and hides a deep anti-intellectual agenda.

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President Trump at War (Dead SEAL Club Mix)

A woman in Sana, Yemen, on Sunday walking past a graffiti protesting United States military operations in the war-torn country. (Detail of undated photo by Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency)

There are a couple of ways of looking at President Donald Trump’s first military action: It’s a disaster, or, It’s not quite a disaster. Mohammed Ghobari and Phil Stewart explain, for Reuters:

A U.S. commando died and three others were wounded carrying out a deadly dawn raid on the al Qaeda militant group in southern Yemen on Sunday, in the first military operation authorized by President Donald Trump.

The U.S. military said it killed 14 militants in a raid on a powerful al Qaeda branch that has been a frequent target of U.S. drone strikes. Medics at the scene, however, said around 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed.

Two more U.S. servicemen were injured when an American military aircraft was sent to evacuate the wounded commandos but came under fire and had to be “intentionally destroyed in place,” the Pentagon said.

The new U.S. president called the operation a success and said intelligence gathered during the operation would help the United States fight terrorism.

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#DimensionSteve

#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Donald Trump awaits inauguration, 20 January 2017, at the White House, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A day in the life―a.k.a., #DimensionTrump―quotably courtesy Steve Benen of msnbc:

#AlternativeFacts: “If only that made sense, it might be easier to take the White House press secretary seriously.”

#Priorities: “It’s worth pausing to appreciate the fact that Trump can apparently be baited into doing almost anything.”

#Spicy: “I have no idea if Spicer was lying or simply ignorant, but either, his defense is completely at odds with the facts.”

#Ironicish: “Given the circumstances, it seems the obvious Democratic response is simple: They should promise to be every bit as constructive and cooperative as McConnell was when there was a member of the opposing party in the White House.”

#Prerogative: “As a rule, people who are eager to dismiss specific, quantifiable economic measurements tend to believe the ‘stats’ will be unflattering for them.”

#AlternativeFactsRedux: “Smith’s bizarre speech from the floor of the House serves as a reminder: for much of the country, the fact that Trump has been caught telling ridiculous lies isn’t a fact at all.”

#AlternativeFactsReduxSequel: “Maybe everything will be fine.”

#AnotherBrickInTheWall: “Or put another way, the president now plans to have a plan to someday have a wall that Mexico will someday pay for.”

#WhatTheyVotedFor: “I remember when Trump ran against Goldman Sachs”.

It is possible to let the game show host take up too much of one’s time, except it’s President Trump, these days, so … yeah, y’know … make the adjustment, get used to it, whatever. Or perhaps it’s worth taking a moment to recall, if we can, the number of unbelievable escalations we witnessed during the Obama presidency. That is to say, if Republicans were willing to take it that far over the last eight years, maybe we should consider ourselves lucky if these are the days for the next four.

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Image note: Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The Donald Trump Show (Ironic Return)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Everett, Washington, 30 August 2016. (Detail of frame via YouTube)

“Kellyanne Conway continues to stress the importance of ‘disclosure’ and ‘transparency’ in the election, unaware of the irony.”

Steve Benen

Kellyanne Conway speaks at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, 4 March 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)If we started counting up the various assertions by which customs, rules, and even laws just aren’t supposed to apply to Republicans, would it be fair to call the mountain we’ve watched pile up the whole time “shocking”?

Probably not. Then again, I do wonder if, like “locker room talk”, we will try to reckon with such behavior while pretending it isn’t or wasn’t widespread. After this is over, watch and listen as Republicans and journalists alike try to minimize just how deeply they dove down the Trump hole.

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Image note: Top ― Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Everett, Washington, 30 August 2016. (Detail of frame via YouTube) Right ― Kellyanne Conway speaks at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, 4 March 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Benen, Steve. “Team Trump admits, public won’t see candidate’s tax returns”. msnbc. 31 October 2016.

The Conservative Lesson

David Daleiden, of Center for Medical Progress.  Detail of photo by Charles Ommanney, ca. 2015.

A question arises: Is self-harm ever funny?

Certes, there are complications to the question; obviously, it is harder to justify self-harm if one also hurts others along the way, but here we’re not talking about going on a slashing spree amid a cutting habit. This one falls more under inspiring terrorists while wrecking your life for the sake of your own stupid masculinity.

Never mind.

Yesterday morning, via USA Today:

The videos show Planned Parenthood’s senior leadership partaking in a widespread and organized violation of state and federal laws forbidding partial-birth abortions and profiteering from the sale of fetal organs and tissues, which is why multiple state and federal investigations, including a select committee in Congress, continue to investigate Planned Parenthood’s abortion practice and financial interests in harvesting body parts. Contrary to the liberal shibboleth that the videos were “edited” (by which they mean to insinuate, “doctored”), the Center for Medical Progress has been far more transparent than any major news network in making the unedited conversations available to the public, and forensic analysis verifies their utility as evidence.

David Daleiden penned an op-ed in defense of his Center for Medical Progress, which is perhaps more familiar as the right-wing operation that doctored up some videos that succeeded in causing a ruckus. Congress held hearings, then slated some more because the first round was such a disaster. A terrorist murdered three people, wounded several more. Eleven states have investigated the infamous claims against Planned Parenthood, and all eleven have cleared the organization. In Texas, officials even convened a grand jury.

So Daleiden decided to … what? Pitch his case one last time? Rub it in? Set up for his victory lap?

That was Monday morning. A few hours later, Daleiden and co-conspirator Sandra Merritt got the news:

A Houston jury investigating alleged misconduct by Planned Parenthood declined to charge the women’s health provider, announcing instead felony charges for the leaders of the anti-abortion organization that targeted Planned Parenthood with it’s widely debunked series of “sting” videos in 2015.

The grand jury said they did not find evidence of illegal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood after reviewing the covert videos meant to misleadingly implicate the women’s health provider in the illegal trafficking of fetal tissue ....

.... David Daleiden, the 26-year old president of The Center for Medical Progress, and Sandra Merritt, founder and CEO of the fake tissue procurement company created to misleadingly gain entry into abortion clinics, were indicted for “tampering with a governmental record,” while Daleiden received an additional indictment for “the purchase and sale of human organs.” The first charge is a second degree felony and the second is a Class A misdemeanor. As the Houston Chronicle notes, a second-degree felony carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

(Tesfaye)

They did this to themselves.

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How We Do It (Freedom Forfeit Fried)

United States Department of Justice

So, you know, irony doesn’t really do any good for the people who have been hurt―

The Department of Justice announced this week that it’s suspending a controversial program that allows local police departments to keep a large portion of assets seized from citizens under federal law and funnel it into their own coffers.

The “equitable-sharing” program gives police the option of prosecuting asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize―even if the people they took from are never charged with a crime.

The DOJ is suspending payments under this program due to budget cuts included in the recent spending bill.

(Ingraham)

―but for the rest of us, that’s gotta be worth something. There are some days when we take what we can get, and if budget constraints will accomplish what justice cannot, well, what else do we expect? This is your federal government. These are your United States of America.

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Ingraham, Christopher. “The Justice Department just shut down a huge asset forfeiture program”. The Washington Post. 23 December 2015.

The Marco Rubio Show (Elephant Gore Pioneer)

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), talks to CNBC correspondent John Harwood during an interview at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Monday, 5 October 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

This is the Marco Rubio Show:

Speaking before dozens of influential Jewish Republicans here last week, Marco Rubio lashed out at President Obama’s foreign policy and vowed, “When I am Commander-in-Chief, I will fortify our alliance with Israel.”

Applause filled the room and Rubio sought a deeper connection. “As speaker of the Florida House,” he said, “I pioneered what became a national effort by requiring the Florida pension program to divest from companies linked to Iran’s terrorist regime.”

It was groundbreaking, but Rubio had nothing to do with creation of the legislation.

(Leary)

We have before noted that the junior U.S. Senator from Florida has shown himself something of a dim bulb in the foreign policy pack; everything from his campaign slogan to his understanding of history to his comprehension of nation-building is borrowed failure―he is a walking rehash of bad ideas and, apparently, empty bluster and braggadocio.

Here is a fun irony: With Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) palling around with terrorists, did Marco Rubio just have an “Al Gore moment”? Hindsight suggests they might actually be trying to do this; the only rational argument otherwise is the reasonable―even otherwise convincing―proposition that such endeavors require way too much effort for the payoff. But, really, can Republicans be any more ironic right now?

You know, don’t answer. Something about the elephant in the room goes here.

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Way Too Much Effort for a Cheap Joke

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 30 November 2015.“That the words uttered by the brave Tazendra are not as grandiose and full of pomp as Kieron the Conqueror’s, ‘The sea has brought our salvation’, or Undauntra the First’s, ‘Let him who doubts the victory wrest the banner from my hand’, or Sethra Lavode’s, ‘I speak for the Mountain and the Mountain speaks for the Orb’, or Lord Kuinu’s, ‘By all the Lords of Judgment, it is proved at last’, or expressive of the elegant understatement of Tigarre’s famous, ‘Turn around, my lord; I am behind you’, or Deo’s, ‘Welcome, my lady, to my home’; still, they are what was said, and so our duty as historian places before us the necessity of laying them before the reader.”

―Paarfi of Roundwood

See what I did there?

Never mind. Paarfi does.

Adam doesn’t, but that’s not important. In fact, Adam is only important on this occasion because it’s his fault I thought of Tigarre at all; and maybe I should be at least somewhat distressed about the proposition that I have yet to figure if Tigarre is the historical figure or historian.

And, yes, I would feel really stupid if someone has done that bit before, but I would still blame Adam because it was either the Tigarre joke or Facebooking my sister-in-law.

Oh, and we can safely ignore Steven; he’s just a set piece and occasional washing-machine leveler.

You know. Ironic counterpoint. Subtext. Dark side of the moon flashing like a drive indicator.

A tangent to the contextual orbit ’round my head.

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Image note: Tigarre the Turtle? ― Detail of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 30 November 2015.

Brust, Steven. “Official Biography”. The Dream Café. 5 November 2015.

Paarfi of Roundwood. “The Lord of Castle Black: Describing Certain Events Which Occurred Between the 247th Year of the Interregnum and the 1st Year of the Reign of Empress Zerika the Fourth”. The Viscount of Adrilankha, vol. 2. Adrilankha: Glorious Mountain, 179 NOR2.

Counterproductive

Anonymity is not without its value.

And it is also true that vandalism really does suck, and is a poor method for political communication in the industrialized world.

Illustration by Steven Weissman, 8 April 2015, for The Stranger.Those two businesses are owned by some really nice people (one of whom I see busting his ass every morning at 5:30 a.m., trying to make a living) who had to spend a ton of money to hire the graffiti squad to come clean up your spray-paint vomit. If you’d seen the disappointment in their faces, I’d like to think you’d be ashamed of yourself. Here’s the good news: Guess who has really stepped up patrols in the neighborhood? That’s right, the fuzz! They took a keen interest in your most recent act of stupidity. I hope they arrest you and make you drink your own paint.

(Anonymous)

But we have a problem in Seattle; the police department is a brutal, murderous gang. People really are pissed off about this. And while it is true that vandalism really sucks, it makes exactly no sense whatsoever to hope “the fuzz” go out of their way to make things worse. Advocating further police brutality gains nobody anything. Well, that’s not exactly true. The advocate can feel empowered by calling for other people to commit criminal violence. Then again, this only further harms a community already reeling under the burden of a police racket.

You, Anonymous, are part of the problem.

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Anonymous. “I, Anonymous”. The Stranger. 8 April 2015.