Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The problem with Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick has recently begun protesting by refusing to stand during the pre-game performance of the national anthem. Because he's protesting racism and police brutality, conservatives would like him to know that American soldiers are dying and killing mooslims in foreign countries every day to protect his freedom to protest, and therefore he should shut the fuck up. Statistically speaking, 99% of them have done just as much as Kaepernick and should take their own advice. Well, actually I'm sure they put some lovely bumper stickers on their cars, so, you know, way to one up him, Tinkerbells.

The thing that strikes me is that he simultaneously picked such an intentionally inflammatory symbol which basically indicts the whole system - he dishonors the flag which represents the entire country, all of its flaws, but also all of its virtues, which are significant -  to use for his protest while not actually doing much else about it. There's been a great deal made of how wealthy he is and whether or not that should somehow preclude him from protesting (it shouldn't). On the other hand, if he finds reality in this country so terrible, it's incumbent upon him to do a little more to bring about systemic change than warming the bench for an extra couple minutes. In short, its fucking lazy. This, coming from a guy who said of his own protest,"To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

People have compared his protest to Muhammad  Ali, in both a positive and negative light (as well as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr). Muhammad Ali went to jail for his beliefs at the height of his career. Kaepernick is getting a second chance at maybe being a starter on a team in the dumpster with a new coach into whose system he may or may not fit well. All he seems to be sacrificing is the potential for endorsement deals and to pile more cash on top of however much he's already stashed away. When other athletes wanted to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement or police violence against the black community, they entered with their arms raised to evoke the chant "Hands up, don't shoot!" or wore t-shirts with names or slogans printed on them. Their gesture was commensurate with how important the issue was to them and how much they were willing to risk of themselves.

But Kaepernick actually said he held off any sort of protest so he could do research and become fully informed. So he emerges from his moral slumber and...decides that he'd like to change the moral fabric of the country by sitting down when he shouldn't, for a couple minutes, for maybe a couple dozen times a year. This is even less impressive than the South Carolina protester who took down the Confederate flag after it was pretty much already decided it was going to come down anyway, and then claimed she feared for her life for extra drama points (for which she was compared to, I shit you not, Rosa Parks). At least she had to put in physical effort. He seems to basically want the easy rush of righteously condemning all of America without any of the sacrifice of trying to fix it (I wonder if he #FeelsTheBern). I'm sure, however, that much like his career, his activism will stall after this early impact it's had before regressing below the mean and he returns to being a moody, sub-par asshole with shitty headphones.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The AP is still complete dogshit.

Well the Associated Press wasn't content enough wallow in its own shit this week, so it popped into it's fucking time machine to travel back to wallow in the bullshit of yesteryear. Basically, this is a text book example of both-sides-do-it centrist (but not objective) bullshit. It's what you do when you want to pretend to be a journalist, but either don't know or care how to actually be one. Props to HuffPost's Jason Linkins for already doing a thorough take down of the individual story. It's worth spending a little more time on how shit the AP is though.

See Donald Trump is like a half step above that moron Sarah Palin on the IQ charts. He can actually speak English, but he doesn't know that many words, the words he does know are about as big as his hands, and he can't hold a coherent thought for longer than 15 seconds. So he routinely spews whatever bullshit is tweeted at him by the alt-right or whatever other racist should-be fringe shitbags online tweet his way.

On any given day, he'll take a dive in the deep end with crap like the racist Obama birther conspiracy, that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese (a two-for-one: endorse big energy's lies to pad their bottom line while also dipping into some fear of Asians destroying our economy), or the one he made up himself about Muslims cheering at Ground Zero on 9/11. There's plenty more to chose from, but you get the idea.

To balance this out, because the AP is full of craven dogshit "reporters," they cite Hillary Clinton's statement in the late 90's regarding a vast right wing conspiracy (aka the Arkansas Project, which has since been confirmed by David Brock, who did a lot of the heavy lifting for that project), the fact that she recently pointed out that Trump is a champion of the extremely racist Alt-Right, which is basically just the KKK + Neo-Nazis and also loves him some Putin. Since all of that is true, well,  the AP is probably definitely full of shit.

This is on par with the time the New York Times had to ask its readers if fact checking was good, or if it should just print Republican bullshit as though it were fact. Seriously. That happened. In the paper of record. In the New York Fucking Times. Why is this centrist bullshit so delicious to these craven assholes? Why is it so hard to point out when asshat conservative economists cry wolf about inflation that never happens or how trickle down economics will make us all billionaires, it gets treated as some sort of crystal ball musing that's equally as plausible as the predictions that come from economists who actually get shit right sometimes? Why is Trump's racist, bigoted, misogynistic bullshit somehow on par with or even not quite as bad as HRC's freedom-destroying private email server? Or why is the fact that some morons on some campus somewhere freak out over merely seeing Trump's name in chalk somehow evidence that the Left is just as moronic as the Right, which can barely deal with reality on any level, whether it be on global warming, healthcare reform, magic tax numbers, or any other number of things where the are at odds with basic math, science, and reasoning?

Christ the AP is fucking horrible. Someone needs to explain to them the difference between their ass and a hole in the ground.

The AP lies. And they lie about their lies.

First of all, honestly, the AP generally has shitty journalists. A lot of their pieces are the Real News equivalent of sports game recaps: instead of just giving you the information you want plainly directly (e.g. the score and any standout players), it pads that shit out in the most mundane fashion, using some of the most tired, mindless tropes possible. "Politician X held a press conference today and said Y," and then probably some bullshit about pivoting or whatever. A good glorified, uncritical mouthpiece.

The worst part is because their writing is so typically awful that no one actually wants to read the shit, it allows the AP to be used across the ideological spectrum, but also sort of perversely allows their headlines to serve as the actual content. It's so bad it rarely even gets singled out by Republicans, who are hostile to things like facts and reality, as being part of the Lame Stream Media.

But apparently the AP, like the GOP, would like to explore just how far it can sink into it's own pile of shit, so we have this story about how "[a]t least 84 of of 154 people who met or had phone conversations with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state donated or pledged commitments to her family or charity." Now, your first thought when you read that should be that a secretary of state would probably meet with thousands of people across several years. And you'd be right. So the AP is just flat out lying here. And they actually got called out on it, which compelled them to offer a lie about defense of their lie, which was this:

"AP has been transparent in how it has reported this story. It focused on Mrs. Clinton's meetings and calls involving people outside government who were not federal employees or foreign diplomats, because meeting with U.S. or foreign government officials would inherently have been part of her job as secretary of state. We focused on Mrs. Clinton's meetings and calls involving those people outside her duties as secretary of state whom she chose to include in her busy schedule."

First, you're lying again. That's not what you said. You didn't say "84 of 154 people outside government who were not federal employees or foreign diplomats, because we don't feel like any of the other thousands of people that she met with could possibly be implied to be part of a corrupt money-for-play scheme that we have no evidence of." What you said was "84 of of 154 people who met or had phone conversations with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state." Quit fucking lying. As a young child I was taught the first rule of digging holes: when you're in one, stop digging. Or in this case, stop lying. The correct answer isn't a journalistic non-apology: I'm sorry of anyone took our reporting for actual facts. It's to admit you lied, apologize, and then shut the fuck up for a while.

Second, the problem with that defense is that it's still bullshit. The only reason this whole story would actually be news is if these meetings took place as part of her "duties of secretary of state." It's the quo of the alleged(?) quid pro quo. The entire point of lying about the fraction of people she met with is to imply that there's some outsized list of people she had no business meeting with except that they gave money to the Clinton Foundation and so she cravenly peddled her influence in exchange for that cash to grant them favors they weren't otherwise entitled to. But none of the people the AP singled out as examples of this "corruption" were obscure people who wouldn't have been able to talk to the State Department, nor could the AP find any who were granted undue favors. At all. Not a one. So there's not even an alleged quo. The whole story is "these people paid money to the Clinton Foundation and then received nothing special for that money." Congratulations shitbags.

So what exactly does the Clinton Foundation actually do that warrants the AP lying about it? It helps kids with AIDS in Africa and helps feed starving people. Shit that normally we'd be applauding. If, for example, that racist dumbass Donald Trump actually gave money to his own foundation and used it to help innocent, impoverished people who were truly suffering, the AP would be slobbering all over it as evidence of how generous he is and how he Truly Cares About The Poors. But because it's Hillary Clinton? Well, she doesn't do press conferences, so fuck her I guess. Those kids in Africa can just suck on the AP's self-righteous bullshit.