Bruce Garrett Cartoon
The Cartoon Gallery

A Coming Out Story
A Coming Out Story

My Photo Galleries
New and Improved!

Past Web Logs
The Story So Far archives

My Amazon.Com Wish List

My Myspace Profile

Bruce Garrett's Profile
Bruce Garrett's Facebook profile

Blogs I Read!

Wayne Besen

Beyond Ex-Gay
(A Survivor's Community)

Box Turtle Bulletin

Chrome Tuna

Daily Kos

Mike Daisy's Blog

The Disney Blog

Envisioning The American Dream


Ex-Gay Watch


Joe. My. God

Peterson Toscano

Progress City USA



Fear the wrath of Sparky!

Wil Wheaton

Gone But Not Forgotten

The Rittenhouse Review

Steve Gilliard's News Blog

Steve Gilliard's Blogspot Site

Great Cartoon Sites!

Howard Cruse Central

Tripping Over You
Tripping Over You


Commando Cody Monthly

Scandinavia And The World

Dope Rider

The World Of Kirk Anderson

Ann Telnaes' Cartoon Site

Bors Blog

John K

Penny Arcade

Other News & Commentary

Lead Stories

Amtrak In The Heartland

Corridor Capital

Railway Age

Maryland Weather Blog

Foot's Forecast

All Facts & Opinions

Baltimore Crime



Page One Q
(GLBT News)

Michelangelo Signorile

The Smirking Chimp

Talking Points Memo

Truth Wins Out

The Raw Story


International News & Views


NIS News Bulletin (Dutch)

Mexico Daily

The Local (Sweden)

News & Views from Germany

Spiegel Online

The Local

Deutsche Welle

Young Germany

Fun Stuff

It's not news. It's FARK

Plan 59

Pleasant Family Shopping

Discount Stores of the 60s


Photos of the Forgotten


Comics With Problems

HMK Mystery Streams

Mercedes Love!

Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz TV

Mercedes-Benz Owners Club of America

MBCA - Greater Washington Section


Mercedes-Benz Blog

BenzWorld Forum

May 5th, 2024

There Is Nothing New In The Human Gutter

Every now and then I drop in on my Twitter account (Oh…did I just deadname X? Sorry…not sorry…) to check out the doings in the hate lounge. Actually by now I have a massive block list, so my Twitter feed is probably a lot less fragrant than what others see.

When I opened my feed, the first thing I saw was Ari Drennen’s post as follows…

Forcing trans kids to pretend that they are somebody else until some arbitrary age when their lives are allowed to start for real is not a neutral act either. There are, in fact, no neutral acts in life. Not one second is reversible.

So of course I did what you’re not supposed to do: I looked at the comments. Certain topics are ripe for finding more morons to block, and this one didn’t disappoint. But some of what I saw was, in a way, stunning. Lots of commenters telling her that transgender kids do not exist. And I mean the exact same verbiage which normally leads you, regarding Twitter, to think you’re seeing the activity of bots. But I remember when it was plain to see not all that long ago, and further back on USENET, how some new proverb would get posted to a right wing blog and it was like the bat signal had been given and suddenly everyone was just mindlessly repeating it. But then again you could say those were bots too. Human bots, but bots nonetheless.

And it reminded me of what is so spooky about the wave of winger harassment transgender folks are experiencing now…that it is almost play by play the same exact script they were using not all that long ago to harass gay people: There are no homosexuals, only broken heterosexuals. It’s like they took the script for online gay bashing and just removed all references to homosexual and replaced them with transgendered. Otherwise it’s the same exact script, page for page, play by play, argle bargle, argle bargle, argle bargle.

Nothing ever changes with them. Nothing. Just the names and faces and where the right wing money is coming from.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 18th, 2023

New Fascism, Pretty Much The Same As The Old Fascism

Roy Edroso has a Substack today you should go read.

And if you’re not already one of his subscribers or reading his blog from time to time you really should.

by Bruce | Link | React!

June 16th, 2023

Who is John Ga…er…Roy…Er…Donald Trump…?

The more I am forced to consider this man due to current events, the more stuff like this keeps bubbling up from memory. 

First…the Sage of Baltimore:

He was, in fact, a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany without sense or dignity. His career brought him into contact with the first men of his time; he preferred the company of rustic ignoramuses. It was hard to believe, watching him in Dayton, that he had traveled, that he had been received in civilized societies, that he had been a high officer of state. He seemed only a poor clod like those around him, deluded by a childish theology, full of an almost pathological hatred of all learning, all human dignity, all beauty, all fine and noble things. He was a peasant come home to the barnyard. Imagine a gentleman, and you have imagined everything that he was not. What animated him from end to end of his grotesque career was simply ambition – the ambition of a common man to get his hand upon the collar of his superiors, or failing that, to get his thumb into their eyes. He was born with a roaring voice, and it had the trick of inflaming half-wits. His whole career was devoted to raising those half-wits against their betters, that he himself might shine.

Sound familiar? That was from H. L. Mencken’s killer obituary of William Jennings Bryan. But then, and annoyingly because it really embarrasses me at this age to have to admit that I once enthusiastically read Ayn Rand (Ronald Reagan cured me of this), and even kept my hard bound copy of Atlas Shrugged, this passage from said novel (thousand plus page political tract-rant…) came poking into my thoughts this morning. It’s about one of the villains in her story, Wesley Mouch (“mouch”…mooch…Get it? Get it? No Charles Dickens this lady…), who eventually becomes the nation’s economic dictator by way of trading favors and betraying every benefactor he ever had for the better deal he could get from someone else…

From then on, people helped Wesley Mouch to advance, for the same reason as that which had prompted Uncle Julius: they were people who believed that mediocrity was safe. The men who now sat in front of his desk had been taught that the law of causality was a superstition and that one had to deal with the situation of the moment without considering its cause. By the situation of the moment, they had concluded that Wesley Mouch was a man of superlative skill and cunning, since millions aspired to power, but he was the one who had achieved it. It was not within their method of thinking to know that Wesley Mouch was the zero at the meeting point of forces unleashed in destruction against one another.

One small benefit I retain from my dalliance with Rand is that whenever she comes up in a discussion about the degradation of American politics I can easily tell who is and is not talking out of their ass. Paul Ryan for example, when he said some years ago he was both a Christian and a follower of Ayn Rand. Really? REALLY?

But I’ll give the lady this: she had some really good lines (but then so did Reagan). That “zero at the meeting point” of powerful forces warring against each other metaphor has kept tapping me on the shoulder ever since Donald Trump sat down in the oval office.

Ever since that day people, pundits, and political junkies have been trying to suss out what the hell is going on inside that man. I think it’s somewhere there in the paragraphs above. A cup W.J. Bryant, a tablespoon of Wesley Mouch…and a pinch of Roy Cohn (just a pinch because that spice is Intense…).

From Tony Kushner’s Angels In America:

ROY: Your problem, Henry, is that you are hung up on words, on labels, that you believe they mean what the seem to mean. AIDS. Homosexual. Gay. Lesbian. You think there are names that tell you who someone sleeps with, but they don’t tell you that.


ROY: No. Like all labels they tell you one thing and one thing only: where does an individual so identified fit in the food chain, in the pecking order? Not ideology or sexual taste, but something much simpler: clout. Not who I fuck or who fucks me, but who will pick up the phone when I call, who owes me favors. This is what a label refers to. Now to someone who does not understand this, homosexual is what I am because I have sex with men. But really this is wrong. Homosexuals are not men who sleep with other men. Homosexuals are men who in fifteen years of trying cannot get a pissant antidiscrimination bill through City Council. Homosexuals are men who know nobody and who nobody knows. Who have zero clout. Does this sound like me Henry?


ROY: No. I have clout. A lot. I can pick up this phone, punch fifteen numbers, and you know who will be on the other end in under five minutes, Henry?

HENRY: The President.

ROY: Even better, Henry. His wife.

HENRY: I’m impressed.

ROY: I don’t want you to be impressed. I want you to understand. This is not sophistry. And this is not hypocrisy. This is reality. I have sex with men. But unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true, I bring the guy I”m screwing to the White House and President Reagan smiles at us and shakes his hand. Because what I am is defined entirely by who I am. Roy Cohn is not a homosexual. Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man, Henry, who fucks around with guys.


ROY: And what is my diagnosis, Henry?

HENRY: You have AIDS Roy.

ROY: No, Henry, no. AIDS is what homosexuals have. I have liver cancer.


HENRY: Well, whatever the fuck you have Roy, it’s very serious, and I haven’t got a damn thing for you. The NIH in Bethesda has a new drug called AZT with a two year waiting list that not even I can get you onto. So get on the phone, Roy, and dial the fifteen numbers, and tell the First Lady you need in on an experimental treatment for liver cancer. Because you can call it any damn thing you want, Roy, but what it boils down to to is very bad news.

There’s the man. Clout. It’s all about clout. And pecking order. And favors. Who owes me favors? What can I get from them? What animated him from end to end of his grotesque career was simply ambition. You could almost rewrite that scene as between Donald and some fictional last man standing political advisor and it’s about the latest current indictment over this nation’s nuclear secrets and get on the phone and tell Vladimir you need help with some witnesses in a very unfair witch hunt, because you can call it any damn thing you want, Donald, but what it boils down to is very bad news.

by Bruce | Link | React!

May 2nd, 2023

It Was Never About Free Markets

Here’s something to think about next time you read a news article about DeSantis feuding with Disney, and trying to take its Reedy Creek Improvement District away. You hear a lot from the republican side about how everything would be so much better for all Americans if only the free market could be released from the chains of Big Government. Government is not the solution, government is the problem. The more government intrudes on the marketplace, the worse it makes everything. If only businesses were allowed to managed their own affairs without government interference, the invisible hand of the marketplace would reward the most efficient, the best able to meet customer needs, and everyone would prosper. Actually, Reedy Creek is a good example of how that might actually work.

You notice it right away the moment you drive into the parks. Everything is immaculately maintained. The roads are all in good condition. The lawns are perfectly manicured. There is no litter, trash is picked up and there are handy trash cans everywhere that are seldom full, let alone overflowing. The power grid is stable, as are the water and sewage services. I did a backstage tour once and the guides told us about how trash and sewage were managed and they were visibly proud of the fact that not a single piece of trash or drop of raw sewage ever left the park despite the yearly torrent of visitors. Everything was reused or recycled. Reclaimed water was used in the park wide sprinkler system. Solids were sterilized and remanufactured into fertilizer the company packaged and sold. Recyclables were sorted, packaged, and handed off to local recycling companies (every room in a Disney hotel has separate trash cans for recycling). The rest was burned in clean incinerators to power the electric grid.

The rhetoric coming from DeSantis about Disney not paying its fair share of taxes due to its special district is tactical bullshit. Disney doesn’t pay taxes to the state of Florida to maintain its infrastructure, it pays for its own roads, its own water, sewer and electrical grid, it’s own fire department and EMTs, its own security forces, all of it, via Reedy Creek. The state of Florida pays for none of it, and it gets all the sales tax from that hundreds of thousands of yearly visitors, which amounts to billions in yearly income for the state of Florida. Reedy Creek is a way for Disney to essentially tax itself for all its infrastructure, which it is continually making improvements to. 

Improvements like this…

That’s a solar farm they built a few years ago, nearby to Epcot. Disney does all this through Reedy Creek, which, prior to DeSantis trying to fuck with it, would manage improvements and bill (tax) Disney Corp for the costs. This is Disney basically taxing itself for the infrastructure maintenance, which it could then do with a mostly free hand. That is, without the state of Florida always butting in. And it was Walt Disney’s original plans for Epcot that prompted him ask for, and get from the state of Florida, that special improvement district.

Originally it was supposed to be E.P.C.O.T.: the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow…

This article from How Stuff Works describes it in a nutshell:

Among the remarkable components of Disney’s EPCOT would be a community of 20,000 residents living in neighborhoods that would double as a showcase of industrial and civic ingenuity — a running experiment in planning, building design, management and governance. There would be a 1,000-acre office park for developing new technologies, and when, say, an innovation in refrigerator design would be developed, every household in EPCOT would be the first to receive and test the product before it was released for the rest of the world.

An airport would enable anyone to fly directly to Disney World, while a “vacation land” would provide resort accommodations for visitors. A central arrival complex included a 30-story hotel and convention center, with the downtown featuring a weather-protected zone of themed shops.

EPCOT’s more modest wage-earners would be able to live nearby in a ring of high-rise apartment buildings. And there would be a park belt and recreational zone surrounding this downtown area, separating the low-density, cul-de-sac neighborhoods beyond that would house the majority of residents. There would be no unemployment, and it was not to be a retirement community.

“I don’t believe there is a challenge anywhere in the world that’s more important to people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities,” Disney said.

The promotional film Walt Disney made to sell his visionary living experiment in emerging technologies is there at the link above. Go read the whole thing, it places Disney’s experiment in the context of other planned communities then springing up all over the country, but also explains how Disney’s vision was completely different from the others. His E.P.C.O.T. was to be a living thing, always changing to test and prove new technologies for city and suburban living before they were deployed into the wild. The people living in it would be buying into becoming part of a living experiment and proving ground. They wouldn’t own their own property because it would be changing constantly. You might go to work one morning, and come back home to find your kitchen had been completely updated with the latest appliances and technologies. This was not to be a static vision of urban utopia. Walt Disney was an always moving forward kinda guy. E.P.C.O.T. would be a statement against such utopias. There is no utopia there is only progress gained through experiment and test.

And for that, he needed complete control over the maintenance of its infrastructure. That is what Reedy Creek was initially for. Then cigarettes killed him and it passed to his brother Roy to do what he could with what was left of Walt’s vision. He got Magic Kingdom finished and then he passed away. After that, E.P.C.O.T. became Epcot…another theme park, but at least one dedicated to Walt Disney’s vision. One half of Epcot is that perpetual world’s fair that was to be a centerpiece of E.P.C.O.T.. The other, Future World, is theme park rides, and exhibits, most until recently centered around Walt Disney’s vision of what emerging technologies could do to benefit our lives.

Eventually all the land Disney bought there in Florida, much of it Florida swamp, became Walt Disney World. But Reedy Creek remained Disney’s special improvement district. And if it’s not a living experiment in new technologies, it is if you look at it through the lens of American politics, an experiment in letting business manage its own land resources. A pretty successful one actually.

Usually taking the regulations off big business results in a race to the bottom. Everything goes to hell in the pursuit of stock market value. But in this one stunning case, it actually works. Spectacularly. You could argue that this is a special case because Walt Disney World is a tourist destination and of course they want everything working and looking nice or else the tourists won’t come. But that was always what the invisible hand of the marketplace was supposed to do; reward good product, penalize bad product. How often can we really say it’s worked that way?

Here’s what I think: it depends on the character of the people in charge. And really that’s how it goes with every one of us. Do you take pride in your work, your neighborhood, your country, or do you just want the money and to hell with the customer, let alone the neighborhood, let alone the country. Yes, yes, Disney Corp has its dark side too…but just imagine what it would look like if Trump was running it. Or DeSantis. Or any republican you can think of babbling all the time about Freedom and Free Markets and Deregulation.

Why is that? Where’s the disconnect there? Look back up at the top of this blog post, at that sign in the window. There’s the disconnect. There’s the deception. Free Markets and Capitalism are euphemisms, delicate little fig leaves over the prerogative of their hate, like State’s Rights and War Of Yankee Aggression are for old time and modern Confederates alike. Their Peculiar Institution. It’s not about freeing business from onerous government meddling. Onerous government meddling is just dandy with them so long as it’s punishment for treating all their customers equally. They like free markets to the degree that’s about freeing business to discriminate against minorities, keep them out of neighborhoods, deny them jobs and opportunities to grow and prosper.

To the degree that business can and does do that, they’re all for deregulation. The instant companies start acting “woke” it’s another story. Then come the new laws and regulations telling businesses what they can and cannot do, and especially that they cannot do business with the hated Other without even more government regulation. All that free market capitalism rhetoric ever amounted to was a thin veneer over bitter, venomous resentment that everyone they hate was getting their place in the American dream too. Can’t be having that!

And if you think that’s overly dramatic, reflect for a moment how DeSantis and the republicans exploded when Disney merely voiced…voiced mind you…objections to DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay law, and then immediately began doing their best to destroy not only the biggest generator of tax revenue in the state, it’s biggest single employer, it’s biggest draw of tourism, but also one very good example of how letting business mind its own business could actually work. Why would they do that if they really believed in free enterprise? Because they don’t.

Sticking it to the hated Other doesn’t just matter more then economic freedom, it’s the only thing animating them. Don’t believe it? Look at what is happening in Florida. Then take a step back and look at, really look at, the economic damage they’re busy trying to inflict on American to get their way in the culture war. This country is about to default on paying its bills because republicans are using the debt ceiling as a weapon in their political and culture wars. It will cause wholesale economic chaos when the rest of the world realizes that the United States cannot be trusted to pay its bills. And with our default, comes many other defaults, all countries and businesses depending on the United States to pay its bills, so they can in turn pay theirs. Dominos will fall, taking down the entire world economy with it. And the republicans? They think they can just blame it all on democrats, and through that harvest votes for the next election. They Just Don’t Care About The Economy. They don’t care about free markets What do they care about? It’s in the picture at the top of this post. That’s what they care about.

Looking at all this, can you still tell yourself that republicans are the party of big business? What sort of businessman doesn’t pay their bills? 

Well…okay…he’s a crook not a businessman. But he freed the republicans from that loathsome pretense of believing in deregulation. And in a sense, they’re all crooks. They benefit from our labor, our productivity, our creativity and our imagination, and in return they spit in our faces. Free enterprise? Free markets? It was never about any of that. What you’re seeing isn’t hypocrisy. It’s the mask dropping. 


by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

November 18th, 2022

Silence Equals. . .

So I let myself get dragged into a Twitter thread about same sex marriage. It started with a friendly post by a religious guy who said “Imagine thinking that allowing gay people to get married somehow diminishes heterosexual marriage.”

He gets instantly swarmed by right wing religious nutcases telling him he’s leading people to hell and so on and so forth. Okay…so much so as usual. But the yapping takes a turn I’m familiar with from the USENET days: that marriage is and can only be about procreation and children. I wait for the obvious rebuttal to that from the other gay friendly posters and it never comes. Instead the arguments swirl around secular society versus theocracy and how same sex couples have families and can raise children too, with one poster in particular doggedly sticking to the premise that only procreation matters to marriage, not any of that love stuff, because that’s how god ordained it.

And…unable to sit on my hands anymore, I jump in like it’s 1995.

But there’s a couple things I think the rest of you need to know about all this.

It took me a while to see it, but the head nutcase in the right wing infotainment cocoon, Matt Walsh, had just post election pivoted from demonizing transgender folk to demonizing same sex marriage. So that’s the topic de jour in the howling monkey tree now. But there is also this…

A new book making the case for “Christian Nationalism” has hit the streets, and it isn’t saying the quiet parts out loud, it’s writing them in neon lights. I guess they’re all done with that finally.

It’s “The Case for Christian Nationalism” by Stephen Wolfe, and it is not exactly fringe material, having been in the top 2000 books on Amazon for weeks, and charting in the top 500 ever since it’s November 1 publication. It argues for ethnic purity as a necessary condition for our, or any other nation’s survival. It argues that imprisoning, and perhaps even executing heretics, is a good and necessary thing. The book presents itself as a theological justification for White ethnonationalism. Or in other words, white supremacy…at least here in the United States.

But more fundamentally than that, Wolfe argues that even if Adam and Eve had not sinned and been cast out of Eden, humans would have congregated in separate communities on the planet and developed their distinct ways of life. This he says, is why there are nations.  And so following that, Christians have the right to do everything in their power to institutionalize Christianity, make government structured according to God’s vision for human life, creating a national government in which civil authorities direct the citizens to the “true religion” to the “fullest extent of their power.” 

Including executing heretics. But only if that becomes necessary. If you don’t know where that leaves sexual minorities message me, I’ll fill you in.

I Repeat…This Is Not Some Odd Little Fringe Tract. It is now a best seller and it has energized the howling monkey tree. The usual response to criticism of it is oh you just hate Christians.

I hate every moment of having to fight this fight. But I’m a gay man and I remember the first time I fell in love, and for the honor and the dignity of that moment, and every moment of love I ever felt for another man, I will not remain silent. Furthermore…I am an American. The flag waving doesn’t run very deep in me, but the belief in that American dream of liberty and justice for all does and I will not remain silent.

We are living in very dangerous times, and as was once said, and is still true today, Silence = Death.

by Bruce | Link | React!

October 22nd, 2022

Where They Burn Art. . .

This has been making the rounds on social media…

A high school student’s mural angers parents over what they say are hidden messages

School district officials and a high school student in Michigan have drawn the ire of parents who allege that a painted mural contains LGBTQ propaganda, a depiction of Satan and a message of witchcraft…

Here’s a portion of it…

You can see right away what they were bellyaching about. No…not the rainbows. All the happy children. Hearts. Smiles. Friendship. Love. It was too much.

So it goes. And goes. And goes. And goes. Whenever these fights over art occur I think back to that Martin Niemöller quote (First they came for…) because it’s missing a few. Homosexuals, yes, but what I’m thinking of when I read this article are the artists. They came for the artists too. Oh you bet your life they came for the artists.

I was watching a documentary recently on the Nazi takeover of the arts. Something I didn’t appreciate previously was for a brief moment it amounted to a mini civil war within the party that Goebbels himself Lost, believe it or not. Goebbels liked modernist and expressionist art (yes…it sure surprised me). But the other major player in the propaganda war was Wilhelm Frick who wanted everything that wasn’t classical and pure German stock burned. Hitler, also hating modernist art, supported Frick and Goebbels was forced to backtrack and eventually organized an exhibit, separate from Hitler’s new Führermuseum, for the display and mockery of “degenerate art”.

You have to wonder how many wonderful artworks met the fire back then, never to be seen.

Thereafter, artists in Germany had to obtain a license to produce art, even if it was only for advertising. Of course you could not be Jewish. But just as importantly, you had to have had no association with “degenerate” art or artists. An artist if they didn’t toe the line could lose their license. Without a license an artist could not even make art in their own homes for their own private use. You could be denounced, and disappeared, just like that. Many artists, if they could, fled.

Wilhelm Frick, who won the culture war over Goebbels, was eventually tried after the war and hung for crimes against humanity. He had also been instrumental, in his role as Minister of the Interior, for formulating the Enabling Act and the Nuremberg Laws, and also for being one of the most senior people responsible for the existence of the concentration camps. Where they burn books, they also burn people. Also where they burn art.


by Bruce | Link | React!

September 7th, 2022

Sound Familiar?

Found on social media…

by Bruce | Link | React!

July 17th, 2022

What Is An Asshole?

Well, if we’re only talking about our physical bodies, then it’s obviously the part known medically as the anus…the opening at the end of the alimentary canal through which solid waste matter leaves the body. But context is important here. Our dictionaries also define the word as, a stupid, irritating, or contemptible person. You know…the kind of stupid, irritating or contemptible person who asks What is a woman while trash talking transgendered folk.

They’ll tell you it’s a simple question, but no, it’s merely a short one. Just four words. What is a woman? But it’s also an ambiguous question, and you can see the ambiguity clearly when you turn it around and ask What is a man? Especially when arguing it with one of those toxically masculine pea brained homophobic nitwits, because to them being a Real Man is more than just having the Y chromosome and dangly bits.

But a woman is just a body. 

And there’s the problem with this ostensibly simple question. It is neither simple nor a question. It’s what comes out of assholes. 

You can appreciate that the male of this particular species regard women as bodies that exist simply to serve men, with no inner lives, feelings or desires of their own, especially since the end of Roe. From that perspective the only thing you need to know about a women would be is she fuckable. So to them it is a simple question. What is a woman? A woman is what a real man fucks. End of story.

As for TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists), well, you may have assumed all these years that feminist equals liberal, but sadly no. No more than liberal equals gay or trans friendly. No more than gay equals liberal or trans friendly…alas. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that a bigot’s mind is like an eye: the more light you shine on it the tighter it closes. Never mind the political labels…watch for the closing eye.

Usually followed by the opening sphincter…


by Bruce | Link | React!

January 2nd, 2022

It’s Morning In America…Again…

Who is “Lead America” I ask myself.

I’m insomnia flipping through the Facebook posts and for the third or fourth time this ad comes up again, for what appears to be a new political action committee. They say they want to bring the country back together. They say they want to reinvigorate the American Dream. Sounds vaguely familiar…

LEAD is a new initiative born out of a time-tested idea: that America is good and that the pursuit of the American Dream is as essential today as it has been at each critical juncture in the development of our nation. Oh really? I take note of the carefully curated images of middle class black families. See how inclusive we are? A flag waves on the banner. I dig a little deeper…

“Why am I seeing this ad”? is a function you can get to by clicking on the dots next to a Facebook ad. Occasionally it’s useful. This time it tells me that the advertiser was looking for viewers who had expressed an interest in the CIA and the FBI. Huh? When did I do that? Somewhere deep in my posts over the years and Facebook’s algorithm I suppose. But that’s interesting. I dig a little deeper…

A Google search turns up only their website. That in itself is significant. My browser protectors tell me it’s safe, but with the caveat that there are tracking cookies and I should proceed with caution. Fine. I take a look. I have two questions. Who are these people, and where is their money coming from.

The CIA/FBI links quickly become clear. The leads on this group are Mike Rogers, republican, a former FBI Agent based in Chicago, then a congressman and chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. So there’s that. He’s the chairman of the board. His wife is president of the group. “Kristi Rogers finds those homegrown values driving her work. Family, faith, and freedom are her cornerstones, and they have driven her to spend her life in the service of others and of her country.” Family, faith, and freedom. Yes, the checkboxes are all being ticked.

So I browse the rest of the cast of characters. Board member Laurie Michel “…is retired from a career as a senior government relations professional and advocate. She most recently worked as Director of Federal Affairs for The Port Authority of NY & NJ…” The port authority link tweaks a memory somewhere but I can’t place it now. A Google search turns up thousands in political contributions to republicans in Virginia. So that’s another checkbox checked. The Virginia republican party went off the deep end years ago.

Also on board is Allan Filip, who once served as Roger’s chief of staff. This seems to be a Mike Rogers house party.

It’s the Secretary of the board who is the Most interesting. “Thomas DiNanno is currently an adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington…” Oooohhh The Hudson Institute! Hudson was founded by Herman Kahn and other Rand Corp disaffected when Kahn’s book “On Thermonuclear War” caused some…controversy. Controversy? Think Dr. Strangelove…

Hudson Institute was founded in 1961 by Herman Kahn, Max Singer, and Oscar M. Ruebhausen. In 1960, while employed at the RAND Corporation, Kahn had given a series of lectures at Princeton University on scenarios related to nuclear war. In 1960, Princeton University Press published On Thermonuclear War, a book-length expansion of Kahn’s lecture notes. Major controversies ensued, and in the end, Kahn and RAND had a parting of ways. (From Wikipedia)

Seriously…so I’m told, some of Kahn’s book on nuclear war made it into the dialogue of Dr. Strangelove.

Hudson is like a whos who of presentable establishment rightwing nutcases (as opposed to the MAGA variety). And they make big money contributions to the cause. So now both my questions are answered, at least enough that I can see what’s going on here.

The backlash against the overflowing human cesspool that is Trump and company is worrying the establishment right. It’s turning off all the wrong voters. The well educated middle class white suburbia voters they depend on to keep their gerrymandered districts safely republican. So this is the soft sell response. It’s Reagan’s “Morning In America” all over again. We are good people, who just want the best for our country…

I told Facebook I didn’t want to see any of their ads. But this is instructive. This is an election year and they really want their congress back, especially to keep hold of the Supreme Court while a democrat is in the White House. They can’t control the MAGA, they know those babbling kooks will be out there all year long waving hysterical paranoid fantasies at everyone in earshot. They know that too much of that and they’ll lose congress again. So the right wing establishment will drug us with Morning In America. In Virginia Glen Youngkin showed them it can still work. One of the posts on their website referenced that election. It is very slick…

In the Virginia gubernatorial race, for example, we saw traditional kitchen table issues trump the D.C. narrative, which is becoming increasingly more important to voters. Terry McAuliffe leaned heavily on national messaging, largely reminiscent of the negative contrasts employed during the 2020 presidential election. The campaign focused more on drawing on hate on the other party than it did on what real changes will happen upon their victory. Glenn Youngkin’s message, on the other hand, centered largely on middle-of-the-road issues, which both political parties have often attempted to own for themselves. His voters and supporters were in search of a full and balanced education for their kids, a strong and stable economy, safe communities, and protections for their individual freedoms and choices. Rather than pushing trending topics and federal issues, Youngkin discussed problems that every Virginian family was dealing with, reinforcing his platform and campaign as the solution.

And just never you mind all that stuff about Critical Race Theory. See how neatly Youngkin’s racist appeal to white fright is tucked under a soft blanket of “…a full and balanced education for their kids, a strong and stable economy, safe communities“? It’s not racist to just want a Balanced education for your kids and Safe communities. Voting for the republican doesn’t make you a bad person… 

This is how the game is played. Ask those of us who fought them on Proposition 8.



by Bruce | Link | React!

November 24th, 2021

“No Stream Rises Higher Than Its Source…”

The title of this post is a quote of Frank Lloyd Wright’s that I particularly like. You find it really applies to a lot of political and religious movements. The Southern Baptists being one I’m most familiar with, having grown up in a Baptist (Yankee) household. But once upon a time I had one of those adolescent flings with something I’d become convinced held the answer to, well, Everything.

You hear the word spoken a lot in certain circles: Libertarian. This Salon article is worth a read about that…

Here’s why economist Brad DeLong believes libertarianism is essentially a form of white supremacy

Libertarianism “is a Frankenstein’s monster” that got its power from resistance to the Civil Rights Movement…

From the article…

In 2014 poll, Pew Research found that 14 percent of Americans said they identified as libertarians, but only 11 percent identified as libertarians and correctly identified what the term means, that is, “someone whose political views emphasize individual freedom by limiting the role of government.”

Even among this group, though, “true” libertarians seem hard to find…

Like looking for genuine collectible coins in a Franklin Mint store. 

I considered myself a libertarian back in the late ‘70s. I worked the petition drives to get candidates on the ballot. I went to meetings. I subscribed to all the periodicals…Inquiry…Reason…Libertarian Review. And I can tell you that the number of people who say they’re libertarian is much Much larger than the number of people who actually are. Also, that a lot of John Birchers glommed onto it as a way to advocate the dismantling of minority rights without looking like a bunch of angry old racists.

It was Reagan giving me a taste of what a libertarian society would really look like, and seeing how many of my fellow libertarians were more about states rights than individual rights (there was much joy in the ranks when the Supreme Court upheld the sodomy laws) that opened my eyes to what the party was really about, and that idealistic kids like me were just their useful tools, that drove me out. DeLong has it absolutely right here. I was there. I saw it.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 9th, 2021

The End Game

Atrios this morning:

Lots of talk about white guy confidence and entitlement these days, but the amazing thing, to me, is the kind of entitlement that leads people to believe that when they throw out democracy and institute their preferred theocratic fascist dictatorship (Rod Dreher’s vision, which he will admit, Ross Douthat’s, which he won’t), that the illiberal forces they’ve unleashed won’t quickly bayonet them in the gut.

A reasonable thing for the billionaires to believe. Not their lickspittles who will have to keep pleasing their fickle insane masters.

Lots of talk about theocratic fascist dictatorships these days too which, yes, Dreher especially would dearly love to see happen here. But the genuine fascists among us are making the same mistake the fascists of the 1930s made about American white supremacists. Hitler’s people, so I’m told, tried to cultivated them, and were surprised at how rapidly they turned on the Nazis once the war actually broke out.

The American far right definitely approved of Hitler’s social policies naturally, but they had zero interest in living in a fascist dictatorship. Especially one obliged to a foreign dictator. What they wanted was a white democracy.

There are models for them in other countries, but the absolute dictatorships aren’t it. Viktor Orban’s Hungary, a democracy in name only, is closest. Which is what makes Tucker Carlson and Fox News sucking up to Orban so troubling. But remember how enthusiastically they used to love South African apartheid? It was a police state for everyone but elite and middle class white people. That’s the model they want here.

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 31st, 2021

The Trick Is Not To Mind That You’re Dead


From The Washington Post: Mr. Liddy’s combination of can-do ruthlessness, loyalty to Nixon and ends-justify-the-means philosophy made him a natural fit in a White House determined to get even with its political enemies.

At the same time, he was viewed by his superiors as “a little nuts,” in Nixon’s phrase. “I mean, he just isn’t well screwed on, is he?”

On Twitter, David Rothkopf tweets: The juxtaposition of the Matt Gaetz story with the death of G. Gordon Liddy story reminds us yet again that the lunatic, criminal loyalists around Donald Trump are of a much lower caliber than were the lunatic, criminal loyalists around Richard Nixon. A coworker replied to my comment on this, that it was strange to think of Nixon’s reputation being redeemed. But the fact is that no matter how far you’ve fallen, even hitting rock bottom, give it time and eventually someone else will dig the abyss a bit deeper.

You see? There’s hope for everyone!

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 13th, 2021

You Have No Poetry In Your Soul Is The Problem

A friend linked me to this today…

Parler’s amateur coding could come back to haunt Capitol Hill rioters

By now, you may have heard of the hacker who says she scraped 99 percent of posts from Parler, the Twitter-wannabe site used by Trump supporters to help organize last Wednesday’s violent insurrection on Capitol Hill. What you may not know yet is the abysmal coding and security that made the scraping so easy…

People who know how to code are not all that difficult to find, though it is a specialized skill set. People who can do it well, as it turns out, are. And the problem for managers is you almost have to be as good at it as they are to know which from which when you’re hiring. But then these people would probably not have hired mostly on the basis of IT skills, but political affinity.

Call the above an example of Sturgeon’s Law. But also, if the last four years have taught us anything, it’s the kind of logical, clear headed thinking that makes a good coder is not a skill set very many right wingers have.

My personal experience working on code others have left behind tells me it’s not a matter of education…some of the most brick brained idiotic code I’ve ever seen came from people with their BS in Computer Science. It’s how well you can think logically and above all, clearly. There’s a limit to how well schools can teach that. It’s in a way, an art. And to paraphrase Marx (Groucho) right wing art is to art, as military music is to music.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 20th, 2020



There is not an honest person among them. But we knew this. Because racism takes that from you. It has to. If you can take the black man’s humanity from him, then taking someone’s, anyone’s money, regardless of race, becomes trivial. The Rubicon has already been crossed. You became a thief the moment you refused to see a human, a neighbor, in the Other.

by Bruce | Link | React!

May 5th, 2020

Jesus Died For Our Sins, Now You Must Die For Mine

This came across my Facebook news stream this morning. Of course Maryland couldn’t avoid being targeted by the right wing death cult…

Maryland governor sued by state lawmakers, pastors and businesses over stay-at-home orders

In the complaint (there’s a PDF link to it in the article) are two actual businesses, both recreational: Antietam Battlefield KOA and Adventure Park LLC. They have at least a plausible claim to economic damage. The others are preachers, one church member, a couple delegates, and one of those shadowy astroturfing groups that’s probably behind it all. The right wing billionaires behind it could probably afford to pay the preachers for missing their tithing plate money but would rather attack the idea that government has anything to do with securing the safety and welfare of the common man and woman. Government is for securing their prerogative to use the rest of us as they see fit.

The preachers have zero concern for their flocks and don’t seem to care at all if a percentage of them, particularly the older sicker ones die horribly.  That really says it all for their ersatz Christianity. Perhaps they need their collection plate money. But more likely it really is just simple tribal hatred of science and knowledge and those of us able to cope with this pandemic by using our brains. That is after all, the unforgivable sin.

I never really started paying attention to this reflex in the kook pews until I was older and more invested in the gay civil rights struggle. The science that said we were as normal as anyone else was the enemy. They built entire massive artifices of junk science to wave back at us. It took me a while to realize that providing a counter argument, even if it was completely nuts, wasn’t the point. Propaganda doesn’t merely serve to make people question what the facts really are, it exists to make people stop believing in facts altogether. The point was to erase the notion that any of us in the pews let alone the outside world could decide for ourselves what is and is not factual and true. It wasn’t just about Teh Gay, it was everything that challenged their authority over the hearts and minds of the people. This is appalling in any religious denomination, but especially so when it’s coming from a Baptist pulpit. But I suppose, not a Southern Baptist pulpit. If I saw this when I was a teenage boy I’d have turned atheist a lot quicker than I did.

by Bruce | Link | React!

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories,

What I'm Currently Reading...

What I'm Currently Watching...

What I'm Currently Listening To...

Comic Book I've Read Recently...


This page and all original content copyright © 2022 by Bruce Garrett. All rights reserved. Send questions, comments and hysterical outbursts to:

This blog is powered by WordPress and is hosted at Winters Web Works, who also did some custom design work (Thanks!). Some embedded content was created with the help of The Gimp. I proof with Google Chrome on either Windows, Linux or MacOS depending on which machine I happen to be running at the time.