This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Friday Shorts: This Week in News

Welcome to Friday Shorts and this week’s news roundup.

On the menu: (1) Columbus Day nonsense; (2) Sessions’ asylum law freakout; and (3) Las Vegas/Weinstein.


“But so what?  They wear neither breeches nor hosen.”

(~Michel de Montaigne, Of Cannibals)

Bill O’Reilly earlier this week penned another iteration of Political Correctness Run Amok by accusing those who want to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day of literally murdering “Chris”.  (You can picture the rusty cogwheels of BillO’s brain turning: “Let’s humanize Columbus by calling him not just by his Christian name, but by a one-syllable diminutive.”  It’s smart, in a dumb-people way: Lord knows the yokels who admire BillO like their heroes to have names that sound like grunts.)

Other impressions:  Christ, Bill O’Reilly is a shitty writer.  I’m not even talking about his opinions.  His grammar is shoddy, and his style is atrocious.  This is the kind of writing that would get a student in a half-way decent college a D+ and a tsunami of red ink.  That O’Reilly gets paid for this shit is yet another illustration of how far a mediocre white guy can get in America, provided he has no shame whatsoever.

As to the argument itself, the gist is that no one is perfect, therefore we should continue to honor Christopher Columbus; as a corollary, since indigenous people aren’t perfect, we shouldn’t honor them.  Logic!!

First of all, “Indigenous People’s Day” might sound good on the campus of U.C. Berkeley, but it may be troublesome. Yes, some native tribes were enlightened societies but many were not. After inter-indigenous battles, torture and enslavement were often on the menu for the losers.

Let’s be clear:  this is the reason that Bill O’Reilly offers as the basis for not honoring indigenous people with their own holiday.  It is heavily implied, therefore, that we celebrate Europeans because were universally enlightened people who did not engage in internecine battles, torture or enslavement.  Four paragraphs later, BillO concedes that “Chris” did, in fact, practice enslavement and some “bad stuff” (battles?  torture? doesn’t matter, since it “went down on both sides”).  He then adds that slavery was common, anyway.

On the island of Hispaniola, present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Columbus did establish slavery to support various laborious enterprises. Not good. Slave labor was common at the time the world over, but that’s no excuse.

If it’s no excuse, then why mention that it was common?  Anyway, the takeaway is that Native Americans killed and enslaved people, therefore let’s not celebrate them.  Europeans killed and enslaved people, but that was common (though no excuse!), therefore let’s celebrate them regardless.  No, shut up, snowflake, it makes perfect sense.

Perhaps the most jaw-dropping part of this is that O’Reilly lectures those Berkeley libtards for their supposed ignorance of history while citing Indigenous People’s lack of enlightenment as a reason they should not be honored.    Just for the record, Bill O’Reilly is talking about a period of history when Europeans fought non-stop wars over rarified theological matters, conducted daily executions of people suspected of religious heterodoxy or witchcraft, mandated torture by law and festooned their lovely cities with severed and decomposing body parts.

“Vlad and His Forest”, 16th century print.


Honest lawyer Jefferson Beauregard Sessions will see immigration lawyers IN HELL

JBS has found a problem in America, and the problem is that it’s too damned easy to get political asylum.  Tell us, Jefferson Beauregard!

The credible fear process was intended to be a lifeline for persons facing serious persecution. But it has become an easy ticket to illegal entry into the United States,” Sessions said.

“Our asylum laws are meant to protect those who because of characteristics like their race, religion, nationality, or political opinions cannot find protection in their home countries,” Sessions said. “They were never intended to provide asylum to all those who fear generalized violence, crime, personal vendettas, or a lack of job prospects.

You know, he’s not wrong.  Political asylum was never intended to protect anyone.  It’s a tool for using persecuted people to undermine the stability America’s adversaries, embarrass them and, if the stars align, trigger a catastrophic brain drain.  But in the case of adversaries who are already unstable, ruled by regimes that couldn’t care less about their image and don’t value brains, what reason is there to grant their victims political asylum? Women from conservative Muslim countries are more useful to this administration when they get brutalized at home, just as those who would like to flee Venezuela.  Stuck where they are, they serve as fine talking points.  Anyway, all Real Americans know the only real persecution is when Christian fundamentalists get fired for teaching creationism; I don’t expect Sessions’ DOJ to approve asylum applications from atheists fleeing certain death, at any rate.

But what really caught my eye was this:

We also have dirty immigration lawyers who are encouraging their otherwise unlawfully present clients to make false claims of asylum, providing them with the magic words needed to trigger the credible-fear process

Asylum seekers hire lawyers to help build their case and prepare them for testifying?  Naww!!  The Justice Department, having only thousands of lawyers at its disposal, including our dear friend JeffBeau, is completely helpless here.  Sure, Trump’s goons get to hire stables of $500/hour lawyers to advise them on how to best lie to Congress on matters of national security, but That’s Different ™.  Obviously, asylum applicants using lawyers is a major threat to America, that can only be averted by pissing on the  Fourteenth Amendment.  I mean, why would an honest person need a lawyer, anyway?  Amirite?  Amirite?


“No, YOU are Don Francisco’s sister!”

Donald+Trump+Harvey+Weinstein+New+York+Premiere+cb8oOG4XzZUlThe aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting and the revelations about Harvey Weinstein saw an explosion of hypocrisy from the Right – breathtaking in scope, but predictable in content.  No, I don’t want to give any more traffic to those assholes, so I’m not linking to them – but Roy Edroso keeps a catalogue.


With regard to Las Vegas, the righties are attributing it, like they attribute every social ill in existence, to a lack of God in people’s lives, especially a lack of Jesus. At the risk of being accused of historical ignorance (being a liberal and all), I’d like to point out that historically Christian societies were not exactly peaceful prior to the 1960s, nor even before Universal Suffrage.  In fact, some of history’s most spectacularly destructive wars have been fought in Jesus’ name (or his mom’s).  In addition to wars, there have been endless lesser acts of violence, like persecution of heretics and members of other faiths.  The mass shooting looms large in today’s people’s minds as the avatar of senseless carnage targeting innocent life.  A hundred years ago, it was the pogrom.  The idea that Christianity curbs such violence, rather than inspires it, would surely come as a big surprise to these people:

Victims of the Bialystok pogrom, 1906


Or these:

Exhumations in Srebrenica, 1996


Or these:

Jacques Callot, "The Hanging" ("Les Grandes Misères de la guerre," 1633)

And that’s just stuff that’s inspired by religion.  I trust we don’t have to go into how orthodox Christianity has consistently failed to prevent violence motivated by other factors.

As for Harvey Weinstein, in addition to accusing Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosy, the Obamas and all other Democrats of personally orchestrating Weinstein’s long-running riot of sexual harassment and assault, holding his dick and giving him directions, the Trumpers are now blaming women’s lib, of course.  This, from the people who knowingly put an unapologetic sexual predator in the White House, who made excuses for him, and who didn’t even know last week who the hell Harvey Weinstein was.  Their argument essentially boils down to that men are deranged beasts who are completely unable to stop themselves from assaulting women, and so the obvious solution is to lock women away in a seraglio.  Yes, yes, it’s hyperbole – but reducing women to the status of secondary citizens is invariably offered as the right-wing solution to sexual violence.  Men can’t help being monsters, so it’s women who must be inconvenienced.  Men brutalize women (according to the Right) because that’s just their nature, and so the thing to do is to deprive women of professional and educational opportunities and to relegate them to the status of support staff.   Curiously enough, conservative Islamic regimes offer the same justification for their discrimination against women. This is where the whole conservative philosophy of Not My Problem goes completely out the window.  They believe no one should be “forced” to pay for someone else’s mammogram, but forcing women to pay for men’s violent sexual incontinence is Just Fine.  But that’s okay.  As we all know, in the halcyon days when women couldn’t vote, own property, work outside the home except as seamstresses and prostitutes, or have legal recourse against abusive husbands, there was no such thing as sexual harassment, exploitation or assault.

Mostly because men then didn’t think those were bad things.

Happy Friday the Thirteenth.

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