Monday, November 30, 2015

This GIF Of A College Bro Incinerating His Genitals Is The Story Of America

This terrible and funny GIF of a young man's crotch firework accident contains every important element of the story of the United States of America. I'm serious. We should show this in schools on the last day of history class, right where we get to the Korean War and the teacher runs out of time.

It explains our debacle in Iraq, sure, but also the broader disaster of our imperialist policies all over the world, and how they've allowed us to project power without guaranteeing basic safety for our own people. In addition it gives a succinct and stunningly accurate account of how we became the kind of people who'd see Donald Trump as the solution to the problems in our society. What it shows is the result of the democratic experiment itself, launched on this continent centuries ago. It is the answer to the great test Abraham Lincoln described in the Gettysburg Address, a reply to the deepest critics of our economic and political system. It is, simply put, who we are and why we are here. Consider:

1. It is a man doing this.
2. He is young, of college or military age. He is a "type."
3. He is white, and he is almost certainly middle-class or wealthier. He has what theorists starting with Aristotle would describe as "leisure."
4. He has access to dangerous weapons. He is proud of this. They are obviously his very manhood.
5. The spectacle of fire has lured him to do something stupid.
6. No one is there to stop him. No one. This is a failure in the widest possible sense. It dates to Columbus. It ought to be our national motto. "America: No one was there to stop us."
7. His jackass friends decided to video all this. These are the people whose worst wars have become their greatest films. They are addicts.
8. He's genuinely surprised by the obvious results of his actions. Obvious and predictable. He really didn't see that one coming. This half-second of imbecile shock is what we have for a culture.

And finally, and most importantly...

9. He got hurt badly enough to make it entertaining, but not enough to prevent him from doing this again.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Republicans Can Beat Donald Trump If They Just Admit Their Entire Philosophy Is Wrong Already

The pollster John Zogby has an excellent article in Forbes about how Republicans can easily prevent Donald Trump from destroying their party if they coordinate their efforts.Trump, he argues, does not have anything close to a majority. Sixty-nine percent of likely voters in the primaries reject him, but they're divided among a large field of candidates. If candidates started leaving those who remained would get increased support, and suddenly Trump wouldn't be the frontrunner.

Coordination. That's what's needed. Weird, huh?

The ones who don't stand a chance, or who are obviously unqualified, should put the needs of their party and their country ahead of their own immediate ambitions. Because if they don't they'll help produce a catastrophic result, and they probably won't get the top job anyway. Nothing good will happen. Nothing.

See how that works? Theoretically when we all selfishly compete the result is that everyone benefits. But that doesn't always happen. Sometimes when people compete against each other without little or no restrictions the winner takes everything and poisons the system for everybody else. Like now, for example, when a dozen squabbling hacks fighting over 69 percent of the vote allow an ignorant racist to dominate media coverage and win primaries even though he's not the majority's choice. And then he'll either self-immolate on live TV or produce the most racist and incompetent administration in modern history, and Republicans will be trying to scrub off the legacy for decades.

Some fat, hideous rich man figures out how to rig the game, and it makes life miserable for everyone around him. Yeah, that's what unrestricted competition looks like sometimes. And Republicans might have to live with it. Because the only way to stop it would be to admit that maybe you have to regulate that competition occasionally. But admitting that means you stop being a Republican. The rest of us admitted all this a long time ago.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Donald Trump's Secret

They say I only fell about five feet. I don't remember the details, but I know I went over the banister of the stairs at the school when I was 15. We looked at the medical report afterward. We're both interested in the event, probably for different reasons.

Yes. I said "we."

I remember waking up that night. First there was the sharp smell of antiseptic, and then the sound of the respirator, and then I knew I was soaked in sweat and chilled straight through, and I was staring at my mother. I didn't open my eyes. They were already open, and I just... I just began to see through them. Mother had been crying for hours, and I tried to tell her it was all right - that I was all right. But I discovered I couldn't move - not even those eyes of mine. They say that's uncommon. Usually, when you get this way you can communicate through blinking. But I was totally locked in. Trapped in my body, completely aware, but paralyzed. And then soon I realized I wasn't alone in there.

My parents told me - told us - that our recovery was "miraculous." People don't usually get out of bed and go back home a week after what happened to me. They almost always show some signs of lingering impairment. Something. But I was - like father said - "good as new." My mother occasionally asked me if I felt okay in the months that followed. Sometimes I'd catch her staring at me with a question in her head, something she didn't want to put into words. But eventually she stopped. The family kept the incident out of the press. You won't find out about it.

I was definitely good as new.

Someone had crawled into my brain, the parts I could no longer use, slipping into my hands and my legs like putting on a suit. Slipping into the space behind my face, wearing me like a mask. And now that person walks around, talking to people, doing things, and making decisions for both of us. I can't control it. I can't tell anyone. And at the moment, we're the Republican front-runner in the 2016 presidential primary.

Yes, we are Donald Trump. Both of us. Until that day it was just me. And I was quiet and shy, I loved reading, and I wanted to be a painter. I had this idea that I was going to be different than what my family expected of me. I was going to be good.

Now, every day I do awful things. I have no choice. I see people react - I see them flinch in surprise and disgust whenever I insult them, or when I look at women like... it's disgusting what I do. I say something mean-spirited and stupid, and they're glaring at me like I did it, and I want to scream at them that I'm innocent, but I can't. And the Other Guy here in the dark with me, the guy at the controls... Somehow I can tell he's chuckling. He laughs at what we do. He's always laughing inside.

Whenever we walk near heavy traffic, I concentrate as hard as I can to throw ourselves in front of the cars. When we stand close to a balcony, I find myself studying our hands, trying to get them to vault us over the edge. It does nothing.

I'm sorry everybody.

You know how you wish you could be rid of Donald Trump? You know how he seems to get away with hideous behavior, how it seems like his bloated face - pockmarked and sallow from a lifetime of bad decisions - is on all the screens around you, looking at you, and yelling at you from everywhere, and no matter what sick prank or vicious lie he experiments with next, you feel as though no one will ever stop him, and he'll be with you forever?

You have no idea what that's really like. But if he wins next November... I don't want to tell you everything he's got planned, but believe me, you'll get a taste.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Donald Trump Once Declared His Love For A Preacher Who Said 9/11 Was God's Judgment

First, it's no secret which Americans actually cheered 9/11, and whose side they are on. The Arabs Donald Trump's thinking of were Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They said that horror was the judgment of God:

"[T]he pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America," Falwell continued, "I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

"Well, I totally concur," responded Robertson.

Both of those men were powerful organizers in the GOP. And continuing that proud tradition is a friend of Donald Trump's. Pastor Robert Jeffress said 9/11 was holy retribution over the issue of abortion:

"People ask me all the time," Jeffress continued, "'Well, I just don't understand why God wouldn't protect our nation and he would allow these radical Muslims in 2001 to kill 3,000 of our citizens and why God doesn't protect us. Surely, God doesn't use pagans to bring judgment upon his own people, does he?'"

"Just read the Bible," he said. "God will not allow sin to go unpunished and he certainly won't allow the sacrifice of children to go unpunished."

And here is an article about Robert Jeffress giving Donald Trump a blessing at a rally, with a photo of the two of them embracing. Trump praised Jeffress at the event:

“Where is Pastor Jeffress?” Trump asked, looking around. “He’s around here someplace. What a good guy. Where is he? Come here.” Joined onstage by Jeffress, Trump exclaimed: “I love this guy!”

Trump has no business talking about people gloating over 9/11. The people who have gone on the record on the subject are in the Christian right, and they're supporters of him and his party.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Trump Campaign Is A Sophisticated Tracking System For Dangerous Racists

As you know Donald Trump wants to close mosques and force Muslim citizens to register with a creepy, Nazi-style tracking system. And as you also know - as we're all discovering here in America - Donald Trump can say or do any sick, fascist thing that pops into his mind, and his numbers will only improve. He has a solid chance to win the nomination, and people are beginning to admit the guy really might be president.

The reason is clear: There are many stupid and dangerous racists in America.

We knew that already. It's just been awhile since they've had a national candidate who's been this willing to openly pander to them.

So we need to beat the son of a bitch. That ought to be a given for anyone who loves this country. Make America great again... by crushing Donald Trump and seeing him driven before us, so we can hear the lamentation of his trophy wives. He needs to lose in such a way that he doesn't come back from this. Democrats, stop gloating about him as a spoiler, because he might not actually spoil anything but the whole damn country. Republicans, face up to the problems that allowed this variety of orange crud to develop on the belly-side of your party.

Now then, assuming people of goodwill stomp him, Donald Trump will leave us something useful. He'll leave behind a tracking system - kind of like he promised - of some of the most dangerous citizens in the nation. We will have a record of the names and locations of the bigoted and ignorant jackasses who would support a guy like Donald Trump. And we will need to keep tabs on those bastards for the rest of their lives.

Why is America hated around the world? Why do we have racial strife? Why does our political system founder and our infrastructure crumble? I think it's because we have these gilled monstrosities walking amongst us, and because they vote. But now we have hashtags and Facebook posts to flag them. All we need to do as a people is remember what the hell happened here, how close we came to the brink, and which of us wanted to give the whole system a shove just to see what happened.

Frankly, I want to swap them out for Syrian refugees. Did you know Steve Jobs had a dad who was a Syrian immigrant? Man, I could sure use some decent, motivated, non-racist people just looking for a better life in place of the horde of paranoid, angry white folks launching wars and guzzling corn syrup we've got right now. Donald Trump objected when a debate moderator called him a comic book candidate, but people are supporting him because a comic book candidate is what they want. They have a comic book view of this country - violent, two-dimensional, and utterly childlike.

They want this country to do bad things. And after we're done here, we shouldn't take them seriously ever again. They're the undesirables. Obviously we can't just eject them or put them in prison cities. And I'm not calling for the government to crack down - we can't stoop to Donald Trump's level. But individually, let's all take note.

THE BLACK BOOK OF CHILDREN'S BIBLE STORIES is about faith and loss, and a haunted house hidden so well you didn't notice you'd been living there your whole life. BUY IT HERE.

The Book Of Revelation: 2016 Election Edition

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant Paul, a blogger:

Blessed is he that readeth the words of this prophecy: for the time is at hand and the year of our choosing draws nigh.

Paul to the seven churches which are in America: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, the prince of Jewish socialists (#FeeltheBern), and the judge and reckoner of kings of the earth, of liars and operatives, of bundlers and handlers, the source of all funding, restricted and unrestricted. Unto him that loved us without exception, in spite of the false words of the Child Actor and the Tyrant of Chicken, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, without exception. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, even those who receive only the sights picked for them by the old dog from the island continent under the world. And all kindreds shall know the truth. I am Alpha and Omega, the primary and the general, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, and is recounted, and is decided in the courts, and is questioned ever after, the Almighty.

I Paul who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the tidal land that is called Virginia, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and since my wife's job brought us here to where the economy is pretty good because of that Navy base.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, though I am more or less an agnostic (It's complicated) and heard behind me a great voice, as of a brightly-colored trumpet in the Square of the Great City, like unto those one would hear on the eve of Drunkenness and of Griffin's bitchery, which is coming close.

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write on your blog, and possibly in an ebook, and send it unto the seven churches which are in America; unto Queens, and unto Des Moines, and unto Houston, and unto Palo Alto, and unto Concord, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Washington.

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden Target franchises;

And in the midst of the seven Target franchises one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a single-breasted blazer of moderate blue. He was drinking righteousness from a bare red cup and checking 538 on his phone.

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven Starbuckses: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death, and of defeat, and of getting your own show on one of those internet channels no one cares about. You who believe shall see a great victory, and soon.

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

The mystery of the seven Starbuckses which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden franchises. The seven Starbuckses are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven franchises which thou sawest are the seven churches, because retail business concerns us all with a soft middle-class job market.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal...

They drove West, burning the ground clean,
(so no one would see
so no one would remember)
and empty now, emptied out, it was perfect
to film movies of what (they said) had happened on the way.
The wave of violence bouncing back like a signal
echoing off the pacific Pacific,
(ghost cowboys fighting spectral natives
over unmarked graves
turned to studio lots)
on a thousand easternward screens
in a thousand dark theaters.
The money returned
over lines tracing the pioneers' wheels,
and the signal bounced off again,
off again,
off the edge of the frontier's end again.
It went over the wireless world
and echoed Audie Murphy playing himself,
echoed Act of Valor actors
acting valor,
echoed presidents playing
all the roles we'd grown up watching
and matching
real wars
to fake stories
of all those skulls
lost in the plain ground.
It is echoing still,
and will
until the last syllable of recorded time.

And someday,
after we're gone
after we've ended ourselves
that signal will slide


and only ghosts and aliens
will watch it go

the indifferent audience
we deserve.

(Note: Something like this has appeared before in a story I wrote, yes.)
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