The self-crucifixion of Kathy Griffin has nothing to do with political correctness. It has to do with a Hollywood egomaniac who went way over the line (when it was Obama in a sniper target you all flipped out), and then had the pathetic audacity to claim that she was some sort of victim, trying to make herself the martyr of the resistance, knowing how much money that might mean. She dominated the news for a day or three, burying whole news cycles of genuine tales of horrors that Trump is inflicting upon the Constitution, working people, women, children and the poor. Her publicist must have been thrilled to death. But real blood on London sidewalks popped that balloon real quick. Nothing makes stage blood look sillier than real blood. Her publicist must have despaired. Damn that ISIS anyway, stepping on Kathy’s big finish. It’s too bad reality isn’t happening on a Hollywood set. Too bad reality ain’t reality TV. But maybe Hollywood should stop trying to score ratings and higher ticket prices by loudly announcing themselves as our consciences. We don’t need celebrities to tell us how to think. We don’t need comics to feel our pain. You have to be goddamned fool to think that Jim Carrey proclaiming that comedians are the last line of resistance against Trump is anything more than celebrity ego inflated to the size of the Hindenburg. Oh the humanity.
His approval rating is down to 35%, while 43% want impeachment proceedings to begin. He responds by turning more and more to his base, that 35%. I suspect he believes that the reason the 43% is bigger than his 35% is because it’s composed in large part of Californians and illegal aliens, seriously, he probably thinks that, and that there are more voters and real Americans in his base than not. These polls are MSM lies, fake news, he says, or FAKE NEWS!!!! It’s obvious following his tweets that he gets nearly all of his news from Drudge and Breitbart and their ilk, and that is his reality, and these poll numbers mean nothing. His tweets and policies and appointments will get more and more strident and offensive, and he’ll do more of his Trump Country rallies before crowds of fanatical supporters who perceive things exactly as he does. One third of the country and our president live in an internet reality where facts are only what they care to believe, no one is there to counter them in their beliefs, and Trump is winning victory after resounding victory, the most successful president ever. Sad.
Unless you actually wander through the bizarre social media world of Trump supporters, you will really have no idea just how out there and paranoid their perception of reality is. I was amazed to see that they are becoming increasingly convinced that the London mayor Sadiq Khan has ties to ISIS, the implication being that he was somehow behind the terror attacks. There’s no proof of this whatsoever, of course, but it was a story in Breitbart, which means it must be true. Furthermore, as Trump, like his core followers, gets most of his news from Breitbart, does he think that the mayor of London is affiliated with ISIS? Only tweets will tell.
Went offline for a few hours and come back and Twitter has gone berserk and Trump has fucked up more than anyone thought possible. Giving away classified information to the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador, in front of Russian reporters no less. Imagine being that stupid AND being president. And imagine there were enough people that stupid to vote for him. It’s not like no one knew just how stupid he was. He proved it every single day of the campaign. Most people realized how stupid he was, too, and there were millions more people not stupid enough to vote for him than there were people stupid enough to vote for him. But the dumbfuck gets elected anyway. That is some system we have. The brightest constitutional minds of their time somehow built a device that ensured that eventually the stupidest man ever to run for president would win even if most people didn’t vote for him precisely because they knew he was too stupid to be president. And to think they designed the system to avoid people as stupid as Donald Trump from ever being elected president. Because the brightest constitutional minds of their time knew damn well how disastrous a really stupid head of state could be. Europe was littered with the memories of countries ruined by unbelievably stupid kings. They were determined that would never happen to their new republic. It’s too bad they’ve been dead now for so many hundred years. I’d just love to see the look on their 18th century faces when they saw that the Enlightenment made possible the least enlightened president imaginable. To them it would be inconceivable that a free people could bring forth someone as loutish and thick and ill tempered as the most inbred simpleton ever to sit his fat decadent ass on a throne. Which is how bad a president Donald Trump is. We once rebelled against a king as obnoxiously incompetent as our president is now. Mad King George, they called him. We call ours Mr. President.
Ya know, the Roman Empire did not decline and fall. It did not rot away. It was not even close to rotting away. Indeed, in the fifth century it was doing pretty damn good, its economy thriving, and it was more stable socially and politically than it had been in quite a while. But then the people in charge of its western half made a whole series of really stupid impulsive decisions and suddenly, with little warning, the western Roman Empire was no more. The Eastern Roman Empire lived on another thousand years. They didn’t make the same stupid decisions. There’s a price to paid, sometimes, for putting incredibly stupid people in charge. They fuck shit up.
Mad King Donald is fucking shit up. Impeach him.
Black Americans living longer, but racial gap remains, CDC says. To quote the key line of the CNN piece:
“Although blacks are living longer, a racial disparity remains: The life expectancy of blacks is still four years less than that of whites.”
So you can find fateful political implications even in something as dry as an actuarial table. Because Trump’s margin of victory in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania was so narrow–about 80,000 votes between the three states–that the disparity in life expectancies between white males and black males might have been enough all by itself to give Trump the edge. Basically a white male will statistically vote in one more presidential election than a black male over a lifetime, meaning that of all the 75 year old men who voted in 2012, there was a higher percentage of white 79 year olds voting in 2016 than there were black 79 year olds. When you factor in the fact that older voters have by far the highest voting rate (upwards of 70% among those over 60), losing those departed voters is like losing about two or even three times that number of the youngest voters. They represented a significant loss to Hillary, compounded by the higher turnout that Trump was generating among his own rural white supporters. I’d have to do the math, but I suspect the numbers would show a far more than 80,000 vote spread. More than enough to tip the three states’ electoral votes to Trump. And though I’d have to work the numbers, lots and lots of numbers, I think it’s a distinct possibility that the Trump campaign benefitted from something so dry and obscure as data off an actuarial table. Not the most exciting bit of political analysis, sure, but by such absurdly arcane little demographic blips the course of civilization is changed. Sad.
Admittedly, mix tapes is way cooler than compilation tapes. Then again, pot wasn’t as strong then and we could say compilation without falling down. Four syllables, that is definitely a two hitter word. Though after the second drag off the Nixon bong (Nixon and tapes, it’s a natural) you’ll forget what the next two syllables were. Stuck at compil. French. Qu’est-ce que c’est? How do you tell a Parisian supermodel you got lost half way through the word compilation? So mix works. Mix tapes. Harsh, sure, without the mellow stoned sibilant halfway through the ashun in compilation, that whispered shhhhh, though you could go faux french and call mix tapes mees tapes. As in Ed Meese. Shhhhh I say again, and a supermodel thinks I mean her. She puts a long delicate finger to her lips and says shhhhh. Of course, back in the day cassette was too long to type if you were stoned so we used to type K7. Two key strokes. Just a one hitter, that. And French again. Ka sept, with a silent p. Ka set. Cassette. First time I saw that I thought it was kay seven. Luckily I didn’t say it out loud, and the Parisian supermodels I was hanging with never knew. They were too busy vogueing anyway. Just about then Lee Atwater showed up with a bag of blues 8 tracks, some Freedom Fries and a shitload of cocaine. What’s with all the Pink Floyd, he bitched. I hit on the Nixon bong again. You don’t like Floyd? It was my Pink Floyd meese tape. I exhaled a blue cloud and a single note repeated, over and over. That same single note. Ninety minutes of Echoes. I must have been high.
North Korean military doctrine is essentially that of the Soviets of World War 2. The Red Army in that war used artillery like no one else…they’d quietly mass batteries and mobile rocket launchers in numbers not seen anywhere else in WW2 and unleash sudden and astonishingly violent barrages that would stun those under them and pretty much annihilate anything left in the open. They could do this along fronts hundreds of miles wide. There was a German general named Heinrici who became brilliant at guessing just when one of the barrages was imminent and would withdraw his army to a secondary line so that all of the barrage’s violence would fall on empty trenches. But that is not an option the South Koreans have at the moment, since the North Koreans have all their artillery trained on Seoul.
It’s a lot of artillery, too, hundreds if not thousands of very large caliber guns, dug into deeply fortified batteries–a Japanese specialty in WW2, that one, and probably also studied by the North Koreans–and each fortified battery would probably require bunker busting bombs to destroy them. My concern is that if North Korea were to respond to any US attack by opening up on Seoul as they have been promising for decades–it’s their variety of Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.), you attack us, we destroy Seoul–that the bombardment will be massive and incredibly violent in a way that only those who have been subjected to one would appreciate. Which limits those who have subjected to one to Germans and their Eastern Front allies, or the Japanese in Manchuria in 1945, and all them are long dead and not being interviewed on the news.
Which means that the Mutually Assured Destruction value of having hundreds or very large cannon and rocket launchers trained on the city of Seoul doesn’t really hold if people in charge on the other side cannot fathom just how incredibly destructive an old fashioned WW2 style Red Army artillery bombardment could be. We don’t have those in war anymore. For one thing, armies are much smaller now, and battlefields ar smaller, and wars much smaller. Wars aren’t even as big as they were a generation ago. In fact what makes the Syria War so destructive despite the relatively small numbers of combatants involved (maybe half a million of all sorts from regulars to occasional militia; the Iran-Iraq War involved two million full time soldiers) is the combination of a Syrian military completely steeped in classic Soviet military doctrine–hence the destructive overkill–assisted by the Russians themselves, doing to Aleppo what they did to Grozny. Not that this should have been unexpected. Back in the 1980’s the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian city of Hama rebelled, and Assad’s dictator father Hafez Assad (imagine a meaner Bashar Assad) ringed the city with hundreds of the heavy artillery batteries the Soviets has given him to fight Israel and pounded it into submission for a solid month with a violence that surpassed even Aleppo, which, after all, took years to obtain the same result. (They also leveled buildings with tanks, and filled the sewers with diesel and set them aflame.) Even quashing a rebellion was sometimes done in much bigger ways a generation ago.
But we think smaller now. The US drops a non-nuclear bomb a zillionth the size of the bomb that flattened Hiroshima and social media is in hysterics thinking the end of the world is upon us. This was one big scary bomb, but not an atomic bomb. A hundred years ago they dug mines under the opposing trenches and filled them with TNT and blew enormous holes in the ground with vastly more explosive power than in Mother of All Bombs. And Britain’s giant Grand Slam bomb in WW2 might have been even heavier than the MOAB (they used it to punch holes in the twenty foot thick concrete ceilings of u-boat pens, and the explosions were so powerful it would disturb the ground underneath as well, weakening the foundations. And this was in 1945.) When we obsess and fantasize about a not exactly high tech bomb–it’s not a smart bomb, even, and the Russians have a bomb that is technologically simpler (using the air itself as explosive fuel, a technology invented by the Luftwaffe) and yet four times as powerful–we forget just how destructive an old fashioned massed artillery barrage can be. Just a bunch of big cannons that can fire a shell thirty or forty miles, and have it land within the city of Seoul, population ten million. Add in short range rocket launchers that can be fired from further distances. Admittedly Seoul’s distance from the DMZ is about the limit for heavy artillery and rocket launchers (so the north end of the city will take much more of a beating than the southern end) and we can assume that North Korea has to have their batteries closely packed together within range. So it’s not like they have all of their estimated 8,500 cannons and 5,000 mobile rocket launchers aimed on the South Korean capital. But they have a lot of them there. Yet even if the North Koreans have only 500 guns within range and they only manage twenty rounds each–an hour’s work–before being blown up themselves, that is ten thousand very large high explosive artillery shells landing on Seoul. Which is about the equivalent of a good sized bombing raid in WW2. Or a bombing raid on Pyongyang in the Korean War, for that matter, bombing raids we’ve forgotten about, but the North Koreans haven’t.
The most optimistic estimates, the ones who believe North Korea’s vaunted artillery potential is mostly bluff, say the number of shells landing on Seoul would only be in the high hundreds. Apparently that’s a good thing, only several hundred. The North Koreans themselves promise a rain of fire and brimstone (Kim Il Sung invented brimstone) and the most paranoid of disinterested estimations see hundreds of thousand of shells falling. We can safely say it will be somewhere between several hundred and several thousand shells falling on Seoul, possibly as early as this weekend if Trump is as mad as he likes to pretend he is. I say that given that the North Koreans learned the art of war, as they used to call it, from the military academy in Moscow (Kim Il Sung, like Ho Chi Minh and many of Mao’s generals, was trained there) I think it might be on the safe side to assume that the North Koreans could potentially lay down one hell of an old fashioned long distance heavy artillery barrage on Seoul, like the one the Russians unleashed on Berlin in 1945. And it’s also safe to say that there is nothing the South Koreans can do about it, if Trump really wants to nail Kim Jong-un. Because right now the fate of Seoul is in the hands of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. And you think you are having a bad day.