Monday, January 29, 2018

Soiled Doves of the West

In the 19th century, opportunities for a woman were limited. In the upper class, she was expected to learn needlepoint and marry well. A working class woman could hope for a job as a cook, maid, or servant or find herself in the hellish work of a sweatshop.
These women were paid about 50 cents a day.
Abused wives and daughters and women seeking adventure could run away and choose a different path out West where the opportunities were nearly limitless. But in a society where there were four men to every woman, a popular employment (at least popular for the men) was a career as a sex worker.

The Madams
The pimp is mostly a 20th century invention. From New Orleans to San Francisco and north to the Yukon goldfields, almost every brothel was own and operated by a woman who had grown wealthy plying the trade.

Jennie Rogers (right) was a statuesque beauty who became wealthy running one of the best houses in Denver. Jennie was not above blackmailing her clients to finance her upscale house.

Another madam, Mattie Silks (left), had a famous duel with a woman who had flirted with her lover. Mattie and her opponent, Katie Fulton, stripped to the waist, paced off, turn and fired. The only person shot was the man they were fighting over.

Mattie was a very successful businesswoman, owning brothels in both Denver and Dodge City. Her name was linked to a stylish type of boot and she endorsed a pearl handled dagger for women to carry for protection.

Pearl de Vere (real name unknown) showed up in Colorado as Mrs. Martin and adopted her pseudonym upon opening her upscale brothel in Cripple Creek. Hers was one of the swankiest parlors east of San Francisco, only the wealthiest mine owners could afford her girls.

Ladies with Nicknames
Big-Nose Kate (Mária Katalin Horony) pictured with her notorious lover Doc Holiday. She ran away from her foster home as a young teen and worked in the brothel owned by Bessie Earp, wife of Wyatt's older brother James.

Squirrel Tooth Alice (Libby Haley Thompson) was kidnapped by Comanche raiders at the age of 10. Ransomed three years later, she was ostracized by the good citizens of Bolton, Texas as used goods. At the age of 14, she ran away to Abilene where she worked in dance halls along the Chisholm Trail as a performer and prostitute before establishing her own brothel. She is pictured with one of her pet prairie dogs.
Calamity Jane (Martha Jane Canary) did, occasionally, engage in prostitution for extra cash but she is most noteworthy for showing what work was available to women in the West. She was an army scout during the Indian Wars.

The Working Life
Working women chopping wood in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.
Sex work is never glamorous. The hours are long. The customers in mining camps are numerous and smelly. In the cheap cribs of San Francisco's Barbary Coast or Los Angeles' Hell's Half Acre a woman might have to service 30 men a night for less than a dollar each.

It was a hard life, but all life in the 19th century was hard if your name wasn't Rockefeller or Vanderbilt.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Stop the World, I Want to Get Off

All I want to do right now is write a nice long piece on the soiled doves of the Old West but the news keeps coming at me like an avalanche down a ski slope being hit by a tsunami while the sun is obscured by a massive oncoming asteroid.

That Mueller Firing Thing
Those of us who can remember back to last summer can recall the rumors that Trump wanted to fire the special counsel (see link above). All the New York Times has done is sound journalistic research to confirm what we all had suspected.

Trump Says 'Fake' Three Times
Like a childishly magical incantation, Trump called the Times reporting "fake news" three times. Did you ever notice he always repeats things thrice? If he says the phrase "no obstruction" once he has to say it twice more in the same sentence. It's a blunt tell that he is lying his eyes out.

Five Republicans Tried to Meet With Neo-Fascist
A group of congressmen including Steve King, Dana Rohrabacher, and Louis Gohmert planned to meet the leader of the Czech Republic's SDP party to discuss concerns over "demographic changes." The SDP party wants to address those changes by gassing Jews, gays, and Gypsies. It was canceled at the last minute, probably because people noticed they were meeting with fucking Nazis.

Trump Booed at Davos
When he brought his America First, Fuck Everyone Else tour to the world economic forum.

Let's Party Like It's 1930
Who doesn't want to go back to the good old days - Ten Cents a Dance was playing on the Victrola, Babe Ruth was still knocking the cover off the ball, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, and Republicans passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act that turned the stock market crash from a recession into a global depression.

Trump wants tariffs (see the link already). He wants tariffs more than cheeseburger. Trump wants to put tariffs on pretty much everything because he thinks it will stop the world from laughing at him. And it will, too. Tariffs stop global trade which will cause economies to collapse. The world will stop laughing at Trump then. Starvation does that.

Stop the World, I Want to Get Off
If you didn't get the reference, this is the title of a 1960's Broadway musical about a miserable circus clown who can't even find happiness when elected to public office. It's most famous song was "What Kind of Fool Am I."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The FBI 'Secret Society'

In 1950, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) held up a piece of paper in Wheeling, West Virginia and said it was a list of 205 Communists within the US State Department. The paper was blank, there was no list. McCarthy used that lie to wage a four year reign of terror on America.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) says he has a secret memo disclosing a secret society within the FBI. The memo is so secret that no one except a handful of right-wing media pundits can know the contents.
FBI meeting
From a propaganda perspective, the phrase "secret society" is golden. It conjures images of FBI agents in robes meeting by candlelight to sacrifice goats and children. You can't argue that there is no evidence for any such secret society because the absence of evidence is proof of how profoundly secret it is.

The evil secret society trope is shopworn but effective. In the first decade of the 20th century, Jew haters wrote the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" that purported to be an evil plan for taking over the world. Henry Ford and Hitler published and disseminated these "protocols" to justify their violent antisemitism.

There is the fictional secret cabal of New World Order globalists funded by one man, George Soros (conveniently Jewish), plotting world domination that Steve Bannon used to build Breitbart.

It is silly and would be funny if our government's controlling political party wasn't pushing this absurdity.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Trump's War on the Sun

All the inhabitants of the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, and that none is worthy the name of king. ~ King Canute
According to legend, Canute of England and Denmark had his throne placed on the North Sea shore where he ordered the tide to halt and not rise upon his kingdom or get his royal person wet. Of course, Nature ignores the petty commands of kings and presidents.

Trump has slapped a 30% tariff on solar panels. Knowing American business practices, domestic producers will decided to maximize their profits by increasing their US prices by the same 30% rather then developing an internationally competitive pricing structure.

Happily, I had my solar panels (made in Finland) installed five months ago (so, fuck you, Trump) and in that time I've generated over two megawatt-hours of electricity. I am now a net producer of electricity and because I also own a fully electric car I consume as little fossil fuel as possible (fuck you Rick Perry, too).

The world is adopting solar power while Trump is standing on the shore commanding the Sun to stop shining.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Then Comes the Betrayal

Now that a "deal" has been struck to reopen government we can start the clock counting down the days until Mitch McConnell stabs Chuck Schumer and the Dreamers in the back. You know it's coming, it's what he does.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Their Fatal Flaw of Patiotism

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good, and the very gentle, and the very brave, impartially. ~ Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Democrats have a problem in their confrontation with Trump. Democrats care about the country while Trump couldn't give a damn. The philosophy of Trump's base is to burn down democracy so they can replace it with their dreams of Hell.

I won't predict the future, but this dynamic will be part of it.

Trump Shutdown Quote

When they talk about the government shutdown, they’re going to be talking about the president of the United States, who the president was at that time. ~ Donald Trump
Of course, that was in 2013. Today, he believes the president has nothing to do with shutdowns and it's not fair to blame him for all the inaction; blame anybody else.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dr. Propaganda

Here's how to recognize propaganda.

Stalinist propaganda poster
Unnecessary Superlatives
When you hear words like "excellent," "exceedingly," and "incredible" you need to question the credibility of the statements.

Bizarre Statements
The poster above says Stalin is father to all Russian children.
he might live to be 200 years old. ~ Dr. Ronny Jackson
Propaganda pretends that the leader is godlike, implying he is omnipotent or immortal.

Manipulated Numbers
In 1995, Saddam Hussein claimed he won an election with 99.96% of the vote. Dr. Jackson claims Donald Trump is in excellent health because he is one pound short of being obese and one inch taller than he every was before. When numbers seem rigged, they probably are.

When you recognize propaganda it is best to simply dismiss as a lie everything the source says.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Nuclear Missile Warnings

When I was a wee lad my mother would take us to the Oscar's Drive-In for a hamburger treat.
In hindsight, it was a ridiculously long way to drive for a simple burger but it was a primitive time when fast food joints weren't on every street corner.

Anyway, a short distance away was an air raid siren.
If the Russians sent nuclear missiles to destroy the navy base in our city, the siren would wail a warning that in a few minutes everything we knew and loved would be obliterated. The siren would go off periodically to test if the rats living in the speakers had gnawed through the wires.

If I was in school when the test happened, we students would duck-and-cover.

We would duck under our flimsy wooden desks, put our heads between our legs to kiss our butts goodbye while the teacher closed the window blinds so we wouldn't be cut by broken glass. Yeah, like that was the worst that could happen.

Adults were supposed to remember where the too few public fallout shelters were.
They would remember their strategy to ruthlessly stampede over their friends and neighbors to find shelter in a drab, filthy basement bunker with too little food and water and inadequate sanitation before the blinding flash and melting flesh happened.

Hawaii got a taste of that history over the weekend. They learned how utterly useless are such warnings and how totally insane the world is.

Rod Serling's Twilight Zone showed what would really happen in the episode, The Shelter.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Of Course He Said It

Today marks the beginning of Republicans pitching the fallacy that Trump didn't say what the entire world knows with certainty that he did say.
Staffers in the meeting know he said it. That's why their initial reaction was to exalt that Trump's base would embrace his words.

The quarter of the country that worship Trump as a god know he said it. They spent yesterday on the internet thrilling over the phrase.

Everyone who watched Trump through the campaign urging his supporters to beat any black protester knows he said it.

He said it. It fits with everything we have learn about his vile, base, and contemptuous personality. 

And yet today come the denials.
The very same people on Breitbart who were celebrating Trump for "speaking the truth" yesterday are today lockstep that Trump would never say such a thing and it is all a racist Democratic lie. In coming days every Republican, even Mia Love, will embrace the lie that Trump didn't say what he said and didn't mean what he most clearly meant.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Congressmen Who Were Sick Sexual Deviants

Politics attracts a wide variety of people. Some are dedicated and patriotic public servants (a distinct minority these days), some are greedy fucks just in it for what they can steal, while others enter politics to pursue lascivious lifestyles unacceptable elsewhere.

The story of Missouri governor Eric Greitens blackmailing a former lover with compromising pictures got me remembering some of the more disgusting political sex freaks.

Wilbur Mills (D-AR)
One of those pre-Civil Rights Southern Democrats, Mills used his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee to become one of the most powerful men in Washington. In the 1970's he started hanging out with a stripper named Fanne Foxe going so far as to appearing on stage with her while she was preforming and holding a press conference in the stripper's dressing room. After leaving Congress he joined a prestigious law firm.

Donald Lukens (R-OH)
"Buz" Lukens, as he called himself, was a three-fer. In 1989, he was caught have sex with a 16 year-old girl that had started when the girl was just 13. He managed to get it reduced to misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor and ended up spending just nine days in jail for it. The next year, Buz was charged with groping a girl in the Capitol elevator. He resigned ahead of being expelled from Congress. In 1995, he was convicted of taking bribes while a congressman and got 30 months in prison for that one.

Robert Packwood (R-OR)
Sen. Packwood tried to live up to his surname by sexually harassing staffers and lobbyists, keeping score of his conquests in a diary. Nineteen women came forward with charges and certainly dozens of other stayed quiet to avoid further humiliation. Packwood resigned ahead of expulsion and founded an extremely lucrative lobbying firm where he is, probably, still harassing female employees.

Monday, January 08, 2018

What Is 'Executive Time?'

Trump's schedule is mostly filled with something they are calling "executive time." This was a new phrase for me so I went back to see how it was used before the appearance of our toddler-in-chief.

"Executive time" is CEO-speak for free time, those times in a chief executive's schedule where he has nothing planned. No meetings, no important phone calls, and no golf, just nothing specific to do. A truly busy executive has little such free time making what little they have a rare treat.

For many executives, free time is really play time when they browse the internet or schmooze with buddies. Since Trump doesn't read, he is not using his free time productively. Trump is known to spend much of his play time watching television, even watching TV during meetings. He is also known for calling up old friends so they can tell him how wonderful he is.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Roy Cohn and Other Stories

Who Was Roy Cohn?
I was going to write a whole thing about Roy Cohn but this Daily Beast article does a better job of it.

Cohn is most famous as the oily little weasel at Sen. Joseph McCarthy side during the McCarthyite hearings. Devoid of either ethics or common decency, Roy Cohn was a self loathing Jew who associated with anti-Semites. He was a self loathing gay who persecuted other homosexuals. He was a renown mob fixer for the likes of John Gotti and Carmine Galante. He was mentor to Donald Trump, teaching him the virtue of soulless ruthlessness.

'Like, Really Smart'

Truly smart people don't feel the need to call themselves "smart." If they did they'd do so in a simple declarative sentence, "I am smart." Trump habitually inserts "like" into the phrase, a verbal tick associated with tween girls and an unconscious hedge suggesting he knows, instinctively, that he isn't actually smart.

Stay Off the Grass
Republicans have finally found a place to take a courageous stand against Trump's authoritarianism.

They are okay with the neo-Nazis. Constant threats to start a thermonuclear war don't bother them. They love double taxing people living in blue states. They think the only criminal conduct is to expose Trump's criminal conduct. They can accept child molesters and dismiss sexual assault as boys being boys.

But Don't Touch Their Pot.

I guess I should be happy they finally found their balls but, really, is that all the fortitude they have?

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Nazification of the USA

Police State
Acting ICE director Thomas Homan is auditioning to turn the Immigration and Customs office into Trump's Gestapo. Yesterday, Homan announced his desire to arrest opposition (i.e. Democratic) politicians (I said that would happen). ICE agents have already adopted brutal tactics like shooting unarmed people, beating and terrorizing both citizen and non-citizen Hispanics.

Revoke Freedom of Speech, Press
Trump's lawyer has written threatening letters to both Bannon and the publisher of Michael Wolff's book. Trump is seeking to ban the book and stifle any discussions that might disparage Trump, his family, or his business. In the language of the letter, Trump's "business" is the presidency.

Röhming Bannon
In the past I've compared Bannon to the leader of the Nazi Brownshirts, Ernst Röhm. Both led the grassroots rabble of their movement, both were anarchists, they were both reviled by their party establishments, both thought they were better than their Fuhrer and would eventually replace him, in both the vile corruption of their souls was reflected in the disfigurement of their faces.
The difference, and this may turn out to be a big difference, after Hitler turned on him he had Röhm murdered in his prison cell while Bannon is free and still lives.

Assuming Bannon isn't found dead or mysteriously goes missing in the coming weeks, he will be a constant threat to inflame the radical, anarchistic wing of the Republican Party against the leadership now fully subservient to Trump.