MENSA

Girl fight!!! Girl Fight!!!!!

The latest from The Onion er…The Hill:

Bring on the IQ test — Mensa says it’s willing to host President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Wayne Tillerson in a battle of the brains.

In an interview with Forbes published Tuesday, Trump suggested he and Tillerson — who allegedly once called the commander in chief a “moron” — go head-to-head in an intelligence quotient showdown. The State Department has denied Tillerson ever made the comments. 1

“I think it’s fake news,” Trump told the magazine of Tillerson’s “moron” remark, “but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

Golly gee! We’re guessing it won’t be the American people, n’est-ce pas?

“American Mensa would be happy to hold a testing session for President Trump and Secretary Tillerson,” said Charles Brown, the group’s communications director.

You betcha. That’d be something – mano a mano. tête-à-tête, tiny fingers v. normal fingers! The Hill could even stream the actual test taking LIVE! We’d be all for it; it would at least postpone WWIII  for a while longer.

Jebus H. Ke-rist on a Fucking Pogo Stick – this is what America has devolved to; a dick-wagging contest initiated by a President so immature, so juvenile, so fucking imbecilic as to be nearly unbelievable. Thank you, Deplorables. Thank you very fucking much.

The time for such a contest would be before the primaries, and the format should “Jeopardy”. The categories would be Names of Countries, The Constitution , Recent Presidents, Which Car Do I Get In After Deboarding Air Force One, What is Air Force One, Secret Service or My Praetorian Guard?

You get the idea. Sure would save us this bullshit down the road.

In any event, since the MENSA-off will never happen (Trump KNOWS he would lose), Stephen Colbert has kindly predicted the putative winner:

MENSA

Show 1 footnote

  1. That’s true: What Tillersone actually said was “a fucking moron.” Lot of difference there.

The White House: Like Being in Prison

Many view Lopez as a political prisoner sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison in 2015 on trumped-up charges related to a period of deadly antigovernment protests in 2014.

During the visit with Tintori, the president seemed unfamiliar with her and her experiences, The Post reported, though he reportedly knew enough to have “praised her past as a reality television star in Venezuela’s version of ‘Survivor.'”

The president and the first lady also reportedly tried to commiserate with Tintori through a source of their own discomfort: the White House.

Melania Trump said she sympathized with what Lopez had gone through in jail in Caracas, Venezuela, adding that the White House felt as confining as prison, two people familiar with the meeting told The Post. Donald Trump reportedly agreed.

There’s really only one way to find out; C’mon, Mueller!

The White House: Like Being in Prison

American Apartheid

No less an authority than SCOTUS long ago ruled no one can be forced to cite the following:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.”

That’s the original phrase, as penned in 1892 by James B. Upham, one of the editors of something called The Youth’s Companion. The words “the flag of the United States of America” were substituted for “my Flag” in 1924; SCOTUS ruled in 1934.

The pledge was officially recognized by the U.S. government in 1942. In 1954 Eisenhower poked and prodded and Congress finally legislated that “under God” be added, for Thor knows what reasons. 1 2

That ’54 piece of legislation noted that men ‘should stand upright, hand over heart’, but did not mandate same.

The same goes for the Anthem: According to Title 36 (section 171) of the United States Code, “During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in (military) uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.”

So we are clear: No one is legally mandated to stand for either the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem. That includes me and thee. That includes Colin Kaepernick and any other black athlete.

American Apartheid

The whole National Anthem at sporting event thang has its origins so rooted in advertorial need 3 that it’s ludicrous to seriously ascribe any serious patriotism to the spectacle. In any event today what is more usually displayed is the lackluster faux patriotism that ends up with a stadium of red ringing out “and the home of…THE CHIEFS!!!!!!”

Ironically enough this is tacitly (and one has to believe unconsciously) at odds with the troublesome military color guards that steadfastly march out the red, white, and blue at nearly all public events; knee-jerk patriotism in this day and age is de rigueur, yes,  yet Pavlovian for all of that.

Kaepernick first sat during the anthem back in 2016 to protest a nation allowing its police to murder black citizens. Only later did he bend the knee, in respect toward those serving who think of their service as a selfless sacrifice to their countrymen. 4

But after a divisive year that has seen even the Generalissimo weigh in, the difference between Kaepernick et al sitting or kneeling has changed neither America’s unique form of apartheid or those ruling it: Regardless Kaepernick et al‘s intent in protest,  the ruling class insists on obeisance being paid to the flag, to the anthem, to exactly that American apartheid. 5

Short of even more violence and bloodshed, that situation is unlikely to change.

American Apartheid

There seems to be in America just as many casually bigoted police willing to kill black men as suppressed KKK police eager to “thin the herd.” This is the natural extension of a nation (Murika!) built on apartheid; while illegal, it’s certainly an accepted practice. And that’s because the nation (Murika!!!) believes itself a moral authority 6, since we delinked these actions from their original, racist laws.

It has been acceptable practice in this country for over 100 years to casually murder black men, women and children.

And that’s unlikely to change without first a ton more bloodshed and violence.

None of which will have anything to do with The Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem except in the most peripheral way.

American Apartheid

Show 6 footnotes

  1. “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war,” Eisenhower explained. Yep, that’s right – Eisenhower was a god-bother of the fist rank: Raised a Mennonite, Eisenhower was baptized as a Presbyterian in 1953, barely a year into his first term as president. Shortly after editing The Pledge, just a couple years later in ’56, “In God We Trust” became the official motto of the United States and has since been imprinted on all our paper currency. All this because of the superstitious beliefs of one man.
  2. However…to put this is perspective, the real reason was to differentiate America from the “Godless Communisis”; beat was already a thang, coffee-houses swarming with potential ‘traitors’ and fellow travelors. Again, it is useful to remember that religion is almost always used to prop up whatever political regime is in power.
  3. That fuckin’ Wriggly again.
  4. Which may or may not include Kaepernick; we’ve talked about this – there are easily as many political opinions among servicemen as there are enlistees.
  5. Want to see the ruling class lose their shit? Wait and see what happens if the NBA players start taking the knee…
  6. Collectively. Or did up until the Generalissimo besmirched the Oval Office.

Thoughts and Prayers

The following is a list of Congress Critters who took at least $3K (that we know of) from the NRA in the last election cycle and then tweeted ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Las Vegas victims.

  • Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • Barbara Comstock (R-VA)
  • Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Mike Coffman (R-CO)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Will Hurd (R-TX)
  • John Katko (R-NY)
  • Rand Paul (R-KY)
  • Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)
  • Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  • Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
  • John Hoeven (R-ND)
  • Rod Blum (R-IA)
  • Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Ron Johnson (R-WI)
  • Don Young (R-AK)
  • Martha McSally (R-AZ)
  • John Boozeman (R-AR)
  • John Culberson (R-TX)
  • John Faso (R-NY)
  • Paul Ryan (R-WI)
  • Bill Shuster (R-PA)
  • Lloyd Smucker (R-PA)
  • Claudia Tenney (R-NY)
  • Tom Cole (R-OK)
  • James Lankford (R-OK)
  • John Thune (R-SD)
  • Don Bacon (R-NE)
  • Jack Bergman (R-MI)
  • Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  • Mike Gallagher (R-WI)
  • Richard Hudson (R-NC)
  • John Kennedy (R-LA)
  • Brian Mast (R-FL)
  • Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
  • Steve Scalise (R-LA)
  • Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • Lamar Smith (R-TX)
  • David Young (R-IA)
  • Ken Calvert (R-CA)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Pete Olson (R-TX)
  • Tim Scott (R-SC)
  • Charlie Dent (R-PA)
  • Barry Loudermilk (R-GA)
  • Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
  • Tim Walberg (R-MI)
  • Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Dave Joyce (R-OH)
  • Jason Lewis (R-MN)
  • Michael McCaul (R-TX)
  • Scott Taylor (R-VA)
  • Scott Tipton (R-CO)
  • David Valadao (R-CA)

Data via OpenSecrets.org.

Thoughts and Prayers

Au Courant

This week’s au courant links:

And finally, gun control and the cowardly GOP:

re Puerto Rico

Show 1 footnote

  1. Add a sextant to that and they’ll forever avoid hacked GPS satellites.

American Slave Labor

This would make a great Jackie Gleason & Paul Newman movie. 1

The worst day of Brad McGahey’s life was the day a judge decided to spare him from prison.

McGahey was 23 with dreams of making it big in rodeo, maybe starring in his own reality TV show. With a 1.5 GPA, he’d barely graduated from high school. He had two kids and mounting child support debt. Then he got busted for buying a stolen horse trailer, fell behind on court fines and blew off his probation officer.

Standing in a tiny wood-paneled courtroom in rural Oklahoma in 2010, he faced one year in state prison. The judge had another plan.

“You need to learn a work ethic,” the judge told him. “I’m sending you to CAAIR.”

McGahey had heard of Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery. People called it “the Chicken Farm,” a rural retreat where defendants stayed for a year, got addiction treatment and learned to live more productive lives. Most were sent there by courts from across Oklahoma and neighboring states, part of the nationwide push to keep nonviolent offenders out of prison…

…There wasn’t much substance abuse treatment at CAAIR. It was mostly factory work for one of America’s top poultry companies. If McGahey got hurt or worked too slowly, his bosses threatened him with prison.

And he worked for free. CAAIR pocketed the pay.

“It was a slave camp,” McGahey said. “I can’t believe the court sent me there.”…

…But in the rush to spare people from prison, some judges are steering defendants into rehabs that are little more than lucrative work camps for private industry, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

The programs promise freedom from addiction. Instead, they’ve turned thousands of men and women into indentured servants.

The beneficiaries of these programs span the country, from Fortune 500 companies to factories and local businesses. The defendants work at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Oklahoma, a construction firm in Alabama, a nursing home in North Carolina.

Perhaps no rehab better exemplifies this allegiance to big business than CAAIR. It was started in 2007 by chicken company executives struggling to find workers. By forming a Christian rehab, they could supply plants with a cheap and captive labor force while helping men overcome their addictions…

…Chicken processing plants are notoriously dangerous and understaffed. The hours are long, the pay is low and the conditions are brutal…

…Those who were hurt and could no longer work often were kicked out of CAAIR and sent to prison, court records show. Most men worked through the pain, fearing the same fate.

So, we’re back to the days of the company store? To suggest this practice is illegal 2 is like suggesting the Generalissimo is an incompetent buffoon; both suggestions are the epitome of understatement.

And fucking evil. But there’s certainly plenty of historical precedent for that in this country…

American Slave Labor

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Yeah yeah yeah, I know they’re dead. And, sadly, the closest we got to Gleason is Billy Gardell, who’s fine and all. But…you know, he lacks Gleason’s madness. And as for Newman, well, I got nothing. And then there’s Kennedy and Martin, both ‘types’ that don’t really exist today. Le sigh…
  2. Not to mention unconstitutional; forcing defendants to work for free might violate their constitutional rights. The 13th Amendment bans slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States, except as punishment for convicts. The problem here is most of the defendants sent to programs such as CAAIR have not yet been convicted of crimes, and some later have their cases dismissed.

FEMA at the Park

While the Generalissimo was batting roles of paper towels around in Puerto Rico yesterday, FEMA was also busy…ovenighting $3 million to Cheyenne, WY, to convert a parking lot into a public park.

’cause white people have their own, unique emergencies.

Hurricane Harvey battered Texas, Hurricane Irma cut through Florida, and Hurricane
Maria absolutely bashed Puerto Rico. Anyone unlucky enough to be in the path of those
storms will spend months, if not years, piecing their lives together again – fixing homes,
rebuilding businesses, and burying drowned family.

But the good people of Cheyenne, Wyo., they will be just fine.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency just approved the city’s request for a $3 million grant to build the Civic Center Commons park. As 3.4 million Puerto Ricans struggle to find safe drinking water, FEMA announced that they’d help turn a parking lot in downtown Cheyenne into a drainage pond.

The project was always controversial. The city council branded it downtown revitalization while Mayor Marian Orr said it was a waste and fought for months to shut it down…

A wonderful park? Maybe. An emergency requiring federal funding? Not al all. The FEMA grant literally gives the city until Sept. 2018 to build a new drainage system…

FEMA has already come to Congress hat in hand for cash. …House Speaker Ryan assured reporters that the agency will receive a $6.7 billion check for approved hurricane relief. And while oversized spending is needed to address these …biblically proportioned catastrophes, one wonders if FEMA would have more money for flood victims if they hadn’t wasted it on pork projects.

To add insult to injury the city engineer has been trying to halt the project; by his lights the project used false information when applying for the FEMA grant, deliberately overstating the amount of flood damage that regularly occurs (to any number of white people) in downtown Cheyenne.

Priorities, people. Priorities.

FEMA at the Park