Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bird Is the Word

Let everyone else talk about 100 days, I want to explore the word "bird."

A Bird In the Hand
"Bird" is one of those old, old English words that predates Germanic (Vogel), Latin (Avem), or French (oiseau) influences. A long time ago some English bloke picked up a little feathered creature, said "I shall call you bird," and the name stuck. There was another Old English word, fowl, that came to be used for farmyard birds.

Pretty Bird
The use of the word "bird" to describe a young woman dates back to the 13th century, although etymologists suspect that was a misspelling of a similar word "burde" meaning a well bred young lady. This usage would be used periodically but really caught on in the 20th century.

Flipping the Bird
Showing the middle finger has long been a way to show disrespect. An early example is Diogenes flipping off Athenians in the 4th century BCE. The Greek name for this action (katapygon) means "given to unnatural lust."

The bird connection comes from hissing bad performances, also dating back to the ancient Greeks, which sounds like an angry goose. In the late 19th century hissing had come to be called "giving the bird." No one knows just how these two signs of contempt merged except it happened in the early 20th century.

Charlie Parker
The nickname for the great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker is "Bird." There are many story as to how he got his name. My favorite is while touring with Jay McShann in the late 1930's Parker's car struck a chicken, also known as a yardbird. Charlie stopped the car so he could pick up the chicken for his landlady to cook.

Friday, April 28, 2017

'I Loved My Previous Life'

Poor baby. Donnie complained to Reuters recently how much he misses the old days - you know, four months ago - and that there is just so much work to do.
Working hard or hardly working
Let's take a look at a typical Trump work week.
  • First, it is only four days long. He leave early each Friday for his weekend vacations in Florida where he golfs with his millionaire buddies.
  • Every workday, he is channel surfing the various AM chat shows on the cable news networks. He also watches the evening chat shows. The reports of five hours of TV a day are probably low.
  • He also obsessively watches the Sean Spicer pressers which he describes as a soap opera.
  • His daily briefings must be condensed to one page with bullet points instead of complete sentences or even, gasp, whole paragraphs.
  • Rather than studying the fine details of all of the available options on a decision he must be presented with just one option focused mostly on how it will play with the media. All the work of actual deciding is left to others.
  • And don't forget all the time he devotes daily to Twitter.
Trump's tax plan is just one page long and a short page at that. It is only 230 words of sentence fragments arranged in bullet points. It would take me ten minutes to write and just one minute to read. There is no analysis of anything. No effort went into studying the potential impacts on the economy, the deficit, individuals, or how it might be paid for.

Little reading, even less thinking, but plenty of golfing and TV. Before the election he got to sit around in a luxury penthouse doing nothing. Now he has to sit behind a musty old desk doing nothing and the stress of all that extra work is getting to him.

British bookmakers are laying even money odds that Trump will quit before his first term is up. Whether it is a force resignation ahead of impeachment or the more likely quitting out of boredom and frustration, I am tempted to take that bet. This manchild has found himself, at the age of 70, with the first real job of his life and he hates it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Official Trump Bribery Receptacle (and Kayfabe)

A couple of disconnected items.

Bribes R Us
Ivanka Trump has announced the official mailbox for all corporate and governmental bribes to her and her husband. She plans to create a private fund to receive "donations" from governments and multi-national corporations. Ostensibly to help female entrepreneurs (i.e. rich women friends of Ivanka) a lot of the money will certainly go to "overhead," in other words the pockets of Ivanka, Jared, and the rest of the Trump clan.

Fake Faith
Tom Sullivan has a fascinating article in the link above. The word he mentions, kayfabe, appears to be old carny slang to remind their fellows to stay in character because a rube is present. It is part of professional wrestling lingo meaning maintaining the illusion of reality in their fake performances. The contract between pro wrestling and its fans is that they will fake reality and their fans will believe its real.

That relationship explains Trumpism better than anything else I've read. Trumpists want to believe so badly they unquestionably accept the charade. They realize it is fake but  maintain the illusion of reality as they call truth "fake news."

Take the border wall. There is no interest in funding it in Congress or Mexico, now or ever. Yet with each setback Trump floats a new funding scheme which his acolytes swallow blindly, condemning any statement of reality as "fake."

The delusion of illusion is so thick they accepting bizarre funding proposals like corporate sponsorship ("this mile of wall is brought to you by Coca-Cola"), have drug smugglers pay for it (like their money isn't stashed away safely), or just pretend that Mexico will magically pay for it eventually.

Somewhere in there Trumpists know it is all fake but they want to believe so badly that they do believe and in believing they have to declare any hint of truth as "fake" lest it shake their beliefs.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Trump Interview: By the Num...
Oh, Look, There's a Puppy

I wish I could say I was interested in the incoherent gas flowing out of Donald's pie hole that was his interview with the Associated Press. The most interesting part, to me, was the various outlets contesting to list the crazy.
For me, the interview revealed nothing new. It showed a rambling, undisciplined mind still obsessed with the election result. It showed a man believing fanciful imagined "facts." It showed an egomaniac who truly believes the entire universe revolves around him. And it showed a man drowning in his own ignorance.

Or, to put it another way,

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Christians Hypocrisy: the Ten Commandments

Lots of smart people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have taken clean shots at the Ten Commandments.

1. Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me
The text of the Bible accepts the existence of other gods who are more exciting or sexy than He is, hence His public jealousy which would be off putting in a clingy girlfriend. But Christians worship many things above God like guns and money.

2. Thou Shalt Not Make Unto thee Any Graven Image
Graven Image (noun): an object (such as a statue) that is worshiped as a god or in place of a god.
Christianity is all about worshiping the graven image of their dying Jesus or his mom. That is not even getting into the snuff porn that is the Passion of the Christ.

Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord thy God in Vain
Watch any sporting event in the United States and you'll see some athlete thanking God for interceding in the contest and throwing the game in his favor. You'll see politicians calling for divine intervention to rig elections or declaring he'd been talking with God and God told him to run for office.  Oddly, God's handpicked candidates seldom win.

Remember the Sabbath Day, to Keep it Holy
The Sabbath is Saturday, a remembrance Christians ignore. The blame for this falls on the rabidly anti-Semitic Council of Laodicea in the 4th century CE. "Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath," they wrote, declaring it illegal for Christians to share a Sabbath meal with Jews.

Honor thy Father and thy Mother
Anyone organizing a cult, be he L. Ron Hubbard or Charles Manson, understands what Jesus is saying here. "Leave behind everything you ever knew and everyone you ever loved to follow me." Biblical scholars have spend millennia trying to explain away this very clear statement of a cult brainwasher.

Thou Shalt Not Kill
Spanish Inquisition burning prisoners.
This one was broken by Moses before the print had cooled on those stone tablets. Moses came down from Mount Sinai and found the Israelites getting rowdy, gathered his priests, and ordered them to kill 3000 of his own people. Later he committed genocide against the Midianites, ordering the killing of all the men, women, and children except the virgin girls who were kept as slaves.

Christians have kept up the bloodlust through the centuries with their pogroms, crusade wars, and slaughter of heretics. In recent years, pastors have called for the murder of doctors and urged their followers to kill gays for Christmas. Killing has become a Christian sacrament.

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery
For many Christians, adultery is only a sin if I don't like your politics. The number of pastors who have committed adultery is so large it might be easier to list those who have remained chaste. Then there is the story of the Missouri pastor who committed adultery with his best friend's wife and murdered the poor cuckold. He then had the balls to delivery the eulogy for the man he killed.

Thou Shalt Not Lie, Steal, Covet
The other "shalt nots." Interesting is the Wahhabist Christians like Mike Pence who refuse to eat lunch with a woman lest he be tempted to covet her french fries.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Lost Armada

Last week, Trump bragged that an American battle fleet was steaming towards North Korea as either a display of power or a prelude to war. Actually, the carrier USS Carl Vinson was headed to the Indian Ocean to play a game of hide-and-seek with the Australian navy.
Spain misplaced an armada once too.
We are being told now that the carrier has been turned around and will eventually get to the Sea of Japan for a brief visit.

I like to think that our admirals and generals have concluded that the safest course of action is to ignore Trump's many psychotic rants. ("Did you see what Der Spiegel said about me? I want you to bomb Germany right now!") The slow, roundabout way the Carl Vinson is getting to the Korean coast is a subtle statement by the Pentagon that, no matter what Donald may say, the American military will do nothing rash.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ivanka, China, and How to Buy Trump

China figured it out how to tame the American paper tiger.
For years, Trump has been threatening a devastating (for the US) trade war with China and maybe, just for fun, a real war too. China, being dedicated capitalists, wanted to avoid a conflict that might damage their bottom line. They knew Trump was the most purchasable White House resident since Warren Harding they just had to find the cheapest way to buy his compliance.

Enter Ivanka. She wanted monopoly trademarks for the overly priced garbage she sells. China granted them. This costs the Chinese government nothing. If their bourgeoisie want to waste their money on such nonsense they will make money taxing the transaction.

In return, Donald granted China ownership of Taiwan, declared that China was not the master currency manipulator he had been saying for so long, and accepted that China will do very little about North Korea.

This begs the question, what concessions might Bashar al-Assad get if he opens a boutique mall in Damascus to sell Ivanka's jewelry? Would Trump cancel the battle of Mosul if ISIS started selling Ivanka handbags there? Can immigrants cross the border with impunity if the carry their passports in Ivanka wallets?
I don't know what to do or where to turn in this taxation matter. Somewhere there must be a book that tells all about it, where I could go to straighten it out in my mind. But I don't know where the book is, and maybe I couldn't read it if I found it.
Read more at:
I don't know what to do or where to turn in this taxation matter. Somewhere there must be a book that tells all about it, where I could go to straighten it out in my mind. But I don't know where the book is, and maybe I couldn't read it if I found it.
Read more at: