CVille Mall Personality Michael Jones Awaits Hearing?

Charlottesville mall “clapper” Michael Jones had his 15 minutes of fame several years ago – a Google search for this downtown character turns up only a single story in CVille online in August 2014.

The investigative account by reporter Graelyn Brashear provides insight into Jones’s past, his wranglings with the law, and his frequent appearances on the downtown mall loudly practicing freedom of speech.

It also reveals how then-city-council member Bob Fenwick attempted to curb the loud clapping and revelating of Michael Jones walking up and down the mall, and was allegedly threatened by Jones, albeit somewhat indirectly.

Restaurants reportedly complained about Jones’s behavior, and some mall-goers claimed to be frightened of his actions, although the reported outcome of Fenwick’s complaint to a local magistrate suggests the local official was unable to establish threatening or menacing action on Jones’s part, at least any behavior that would rise to the standard of prosecution.

For the most part, that 2014 story is where the public paper trail on Michael Jones ends – but now, Leading the Horse has an exclusive update from our man on the street, Ken West, who was incarcerated along with Michael Jones over the last month in Albemarle County jail.

According to West, Jones has been locked up for four months, facing a drug charge, with a hearing another four months from now.

However, West maintains that the actions of the police in Jones’s case constitute entrapment, and that, given adequate defense or public scrutiny into his case, a number of valid defenses may be possible.

West says Jones told him that the police officer making the arrest report told him that “I can write anything I want on this paper.”

West also contends that Jones lacks legal savvy to protect himself from unfair prosecution, characterizing the clapper as “a simple man” and someone who is not very knowledgeable about the law. As a result, West says, it’s imperative that Jones receive outside assistance and advocacy, to make sure that his pending trial or other outcome is fair.

It would make sense to assume from the background information and reports in hand that Jones is one of many smalltime offenders languishing in prison due to a lack of funds for meeting bail conditions – but West insists that in this case, a judge has set no bail for Jones, because the powers that be “want to keep him off the street.”

Communications with officers at the facility have confirmed that a direct inbound phone call to an inmate is not possible: in our view, inmates routinely lack easy ways to communicate with the outside world. Those who call on the telephone to speak to inmates are asked to write a letter to establish communication, at least in our case. A private company called ICS solutions is responsible for loading money onto inmate’s call accounts – but representatives of ICS solutions told Leading the Horse in February that even with money on their phone accounts, outbound inmate calls are restricted in various ways that can deter them from easily reaching advocates and family members on the outside, without some knowledge of who is paying for their phone access.

To those who study the work of public defenders and advocacy for the many Americans serving unknown sentences with delayed trials, a number of red flags apply here. The question of bail has not been confirmed…overall, the reports that we have received require follow-up and confirmation.

Leading the Horse is encouraging newsroom staff at CVille and other local publications to look into the matter, and verify reports from the street, to shed light on what’s next for a Charlottesville resident with a unique public record.

Trying Their Best to Discredit Parkland Students

Today I did something conventional wisdom says you should never do. I read the comments.

What I found was the usual – the right-wing’s desire to deflect and obfuscate the conversation to suit their aims. Aims that are in many ways antithetical to what this country is founded on, and dangerous in their violent ideology.

I read about the dangers of gun free zones, and how students are just tugging on people’s heartstrings. Some were proud to make slightly tangential arguments about the value of public schooling, and used all kinds of other tangents and diversions to suggest that those who are enthusiastic about student rallies and protests don’t understand what’s happening – that the elites in the mainstream media and the Hollywood liberals are just ginning people up to fight the system in an illogical way.

Then I came to one particular comment and it threw me for a second – it made me think.

A gentleman who had previously aligned himself with all of these other facetious kinds of arguments made a comment to the irony of the situation – that liberals and others are arguing for restricting the Second Amendment, precisely at the time when there’s a president in place that makes the right wing’s guardianship of armed revolt to the federal government the most important of all.

To be honest, part of the reason that it stuck out to me is that the gentleman was willing to conclude that this current administration is thoroughly off the rails. You don’t often get that from the right, because they are wedded to this corrupt and infantile administration because it supports many of their policy positions. But this guy was using that argument, the argument of – “if your government is so bad, (as we agree it is,) why don’t you want to protect the right to fight it?”

It threw me for a few seconds, until I really thought about it again and realized I had the answer. The reason why these liberals and college students and Hollywood elites and mainstream media people don’t want to enshrine armed revolt against the government, even under this administration, is that they are fundamentally opposed to this kind of violence.

Now, as all kinds of people point out, restricting assault weapons doesn’t mean you take away someone’s right to defend themselves. If you’re a big man and you think you can fight the feds with an AR 15, then you should be able to be a big man and fight them with a shotgun instead. But at the core of it, people toward the center or further away from the right wing don’t have a desire to compose militias to fight the government. They see that is inherently destabilizing and dangerous – and you don’t have to look any further than the American Civil War to buttress this argument. However, again to be clear, those on the center-to-left are not taking away the right of people in the right wing to defend themselves against the government or anyone else. Common sense gun law would not take away a person’s core arsenal of firearms. It would, however, seek to remedy the situations where people are massacring each other in broad daylight.

To get back to the main point, though, let’s talk about resistance to the federal government. When you cut through the layers of the onion – kind of like I did when I was trying to parse this gentleman’s argument – you can see that there is a simplistic way to view this. There are two sides, left and right. The right-wing side wants to preserve armed revolt against the federal government but, ironically, does not want to regulate or monitor or oversee that government to make sure they’re not, for example, trashing the Interior Department, hollowing out the State Department, running the EPA as a business lobby, or running amok and destroying all sorts of other institutions or picking a fight with the judiciary. None of that interests these people, who want to instead arm citizens to go to war with the government if they don’t like it.

On the other side, you have people who do not want to have any kind of armed conflict with federal government, state government, individual law enforcement officers or anyone else. Instead, they’re trying to engage with the democracy and make laws that keep government honest and responsive to the people.

Now – if I’m on the other side of this argument, does this sound like propaganda? Probably. But as I’ve been saying for a while now, it all comes down to values. Either you want to reform a government by participating and putting in place checks and balances and reforms that put a check on civil servants (or in the words of the right wing you’re a hippie with no job) or, you don’t care about any of that and you want to stockpile weapons to at some future point to engage some corrupt government militarily (in which case you’re a real patriot and one of the good guys with a gun?)

I for one think that a reasonable person can see the flaws and contradictions in the latter idea, but if not, you have to do is look at the Clinton years when we had a kind of laboratory test case for the stuff that the Second Amendment protectors like to talk about – you had a government that right-wingers really didn’t like. As a result, they led several small armed revolts (think Waco and Ruby Ridge) and were quickly contained and incarcerated by law enforcement officers operating on behalf of federal, state and local government.

Let me say this another way – to the thorough disappointment and chagrin of these right-wing warriors, we are actually all in this together. We are one country of people and we have one law enforcement and public safety infrastructure. We can argue about how it’s run from the top – we can argue about how it’s run at a local level – but aside from a few really nutty people, nobody really wants to engage with each other with guns instead of words. But that’s what you’re getting from a right-wing married to the gun lobby – that’s their perspective. They want this theoretical capability and they’re lobbying for it strongly and they’re suggesting that this other side is restricting their ability to do so. That’s why they feel the need to discredit students who have seen their young colleagues gunned down. Am I tearing at your heartstrings yet?

They’re wrong on all counts. Nobody’s going to take their guns. They’re not going to war with any government. The students aren’t controlled by Hollywood elites or mainstream media or anybody else. They represent the people, and that’s not just a liberal opinion.

Why I Changed My Mind about Nunberg

Yesterday morning, I watched the entire half-hour video of Sam Nunberg’s interview with Erin Burnett on live television, which may have been a questionable use of my time.

However, I learned a lot — about the effects of being honest and unscripted on live television.
At first, it seemed like totally self-defeating, out of control blather – Nunberg’s repeated assertion that he wasn’t going to sit for 80 hours had me in stitches. He’s going to sit for however many hours they want him to sit for — thinking he was above the legal system, I thought, was really ignorant.

However, in the aftermath, Nunberg clarified to reporters later today that he would spend a couple of days in jail just to sweat everybody, and then produce the material that he’s been asked for.

The more I thought about it, the more Nunberg’s outrage that took over the media cycle resembled my own rant later in the morning to a rep from the extended warranty company that robocalls me every other day — a fierce, sometimes profane protection of one’s productive capabilities and resentment for intrusions that seem labor-intensive and unfair.

“I have work to do,” Nunberg kept saying. “I’m not going to sit for 80 hours.” I feel your pain, fella.
When he talked about the labor-intensive process of going through introducing his past e-mails to the Mueller investigation, he was right about the labor-intensive part of it.

Maybe I’ll just give them my password,” Nunberg said at one point, echoing, perhaps, legions of those audited by the IRS in the past who came up with this kind of passive acquiescence that puts the labor burden on someone else. You want my records? Go get them.

I’ve come to a different perspective about a lot of the rest of it, too.

My first thought on Nunberg admitting blatantly that Donald Trump “probably knew” about the Trump Tower meeting Russians and his assertion that Trump “probably did something” also seemed reckless, erratic and self-defeating. Isn’t Trump going to hit him back? I thought.

In the light of day, though, it seems like maybe he’ll get away with it, and maybe it wasn’t such a bad call after all.

Think about all of these shady personalities who are getting targeted by the federal investigation. One of the commonalities between them is that they’re not talking. Manafort or Kushner or any of those guys wouldn’t come out and start blabbing on live TV about what they think about Donald Trump – and maybe if they did, we would respect them a little more.

They wouldn’t do that partly because any continued defense against the special product prosecutor hinges on taking the fifth in a lot of very specific ways. Of course Trump himself is all about blurting, but even he has some limits and some filters that work in the sense of self-preservation to keep him from spilling his own beans in ways that reporters and law enforcement would jump on.

As I continued to think about what Nunberg read into the public record today, I started seeing the spate of news articles coming out around this problematic daily news cycle — calling Nunberg things like bizarre and erratic and disturbed.

I even saw some journalists politely wringing their hands about the airing of Nunberg’s statements — questions around whether or not he was being exploited or whether there is a sense of decorum that should exist in the press.

This seems particularly disingenuous to me and furthers my interest in promoting the kind of transparency that Nunberg brought to the table.

No, there shouldn’t be decorum, and there shouldn’t be any kind of curtailing of this kind of public testimony. If a person is willing to say those things on the record — you should let them — actually, that’s part of your responsibility to let them, to get those words out there – because that’s really what’s up, not the whitewashed spin coming from White House press flacks. Why do you think everybody read Wolff’s book?

Another thing that the Nunberg case brought to mind is how damnably reticent our print and broadcast media are about reporting anything that’s sensational at all. So much of our news is rigidly curated — drained of all cadence and color, scripted to a T. A quote that makes somebody look bad will be pulled out — because it’s bad for business. Acrimonious exchanges are edited in the interest of not inflaming the readership.

Meanwhile, the civic fabric of our country is in flames. Everybody’s messing with everybody else, and chaos is the order of the day. But you won’t really get that from TV, and you definitely will not get it from most local newspapers. Oh, you’ll get headlines with a two second sound bite – but you won’t get the kinds of backbiting, huckstering and all-out melee that are the hallmark of this administration. They’re usually behind the curtain.

Maybe Nunberg, the political trickster, was onto something. He just doesn’t want to hurt his friend Roger who, as he points out, he’s been through a lot with. He doesn’t feel like being bothered with a bullshit subpoena. He decided to put it all out there – even though it makes him look kind of like a moron. In the jaded halls of Washington, there are worse ways to go.

Just the Tip of the Spear

(Note — with the unanticipated incarceration of our man Ken West in Charlottesville, Leading the Horse has been forced to go further afield in search of prophecy. What we’ve found may surprise you!)

A new report from Jonathan Kleck makes some startling revelations about the supernatural reality of our world.

“Okay, guys, here we go.” Kleck starts, sitting in a living room wearing a knit cap and headset and matching turquoise shirt. “This video is — they have announced the coming of the Antichrist. They announced it publicly three times already — right in front of your face.”

Directly after this startling announcement, Kleck shows a short video of the 2016 Super Bowl performance by Prince, referencing “the Twins,” two “beautiful dancers” who are on stage with the now-departed superstar, and pointing out the hive or hexagonal patterns created by stage lights in the video.
Having dispensed with this bit of knowledge, Kleck moves on to another video by youtube user Dave Shadow showing that what he calls a “tip of the spear” seems to be superimposed over the down markers in the game.

Kleck notes several times that his friend ‘Billy Skywalker,’ who is seen as Billy Montoya on the youtube channel shown on screen, has a tip of the spear on his desk, and apparently served in Okinawa.
The general message, obfuscated by Kleck’s repeated recitation of simple facts and names, seems to be that a mysterious spear has been injected into the televised rout of the New England Patriots this past February by the underdog Philadelphia Eagles.

(see background below)
In his own tip of the spear narrative, Kleck repeats the words “tip of the spear” several dozen times, to rather annoying effect.

“The Lord told me to do separate tip of the spear videos,” Kleck said. “Don’t do them all at once — do repetitive.”

Kleck narrated an incident in which he called Billy, who told him he had not called, even though the number was in red on his phone, and said Billy had a tip of the spear sitting on his desk at the time.
“Let’s just talk — what are the odds?” Kleck asked, noting that as he drove, he saw the words “spear spear spear spear” on a set of political posters.

In an interesting heightening of Kleck’s verbal repetition, the picture shown of a tip of the spear from Okinawa actually has the words “tip of the spear” written on it, engraved in its forged surface.
“Three times — they have announced the arrival of the Antichrist,” Kleck said. “I will prove it — I’ll use absolute empirical, irrefutable data to prove it.”

Telling his audience to ‘sit tight’, Kleck said it’s important not to hurry but to be ‘slow and steady’ in the deliberate revealing of the prophecy.

“To the people who are going hey, why do you keep going over the same material?” Kleck said, “I do it because … has anybody else on planet earth been able to show everybody what Original Sin was?”
He then answers his own question with a muted shake of the head and a soft “no.”
“It’s because the Lord is delivering it,” Kleck continues. “I’m just a conduit…so when you question it … why do you keep sharing it? … well, I guess it’s because the Lord keeps using me to show it … that’s the answer.”

TO BE CONTINUED….

Background — the ‘spear of Longinus’ or ‘spear of destiny’ is a name for the historical spear that was said to end the life of the Messiah Jesus Christ at his crucifixion at Golgotha. Historians believe that the use of the spear by Cassius Gaius, the tenured centurion, angered the authorities in Rome, as it was done without prior authorization. Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea secreted the spear away, and that it was subsequently used by various world powers, starting with Constantine, to acquire broad territories in battle.
In more recent history, it is claimed that a young Adolf Hitler was much enamored with the spear as it was displayed in the Hofbrau Museum in Austria. During the ‘Anschluss’ or annexation of Austria by the Germans, Hitler allegedly liberated the spear of destiny and brought it to his headquarters, the ‘wolf’s lair.’
It is said that whoever wields the spear of destiny will take over the world.
Hitler didn’t take over the world — but he came pretty damn close.
More of the history of the spear of destiny can be found in an obscure book by Trevor Ravenscroft, which we have acquired.

The Memo

When I finally got to lay eyes on the Nunes memo, one of my first thoughts was “Oh no, these people are going to have to read (or pretend to read) — a lot!”

Disclaimer — this is not a post about the illiteracy of pig farmers in Alabama, although as a dirty libtard, you might think that I would be inclined toward those. This is an honest look at the mental struggle that it will take to present the memo as anything other than a ridiculous and desperate power play. In the immortal words of Alec Baldwin as the Grim Reaper in Glen Garry Glen Ross: “You think I’m f—king with you? — I’m not f–king you. I’m here from downtown and I’m here on a mission of mercy…”

Getting back to the original point — anyone who wants to suggest that the largely Republican leadership of the FBI and DOJ are corrupt or in a tank or anything else like that will have to memorize key words and catch phrases like “Fusion GPS” and “Christopher Steele” and, well hell, “Devin Nunes” – none of those trip easily off the tongue — but beyond that, they’ll have to read a document that, to our amazement, has been entirely de-classified from top secret — but reads more like a Verizon contract than a spy novel. If you like Tom Clancy, you’re still going to hate the memo.

If you really want to get to the bottom of this, listen to Jacob Weisberg and Dahlia Lithwick on Trumpcast as they discuss what all of this really is — Lithwick says the memo reads like a Fox news report — to me, at first reading, it reads like a bunch of what will be incomprehensible legalese to the majority of the Trump base. Unlike the words of our great fearless leader, the memo doesn’t have a lot of simple action verbs and four or five letter words. It’s quite a dense chronicling of a very bureaucratic procedure that’s really not very exciting, and at the heart of it, not very straightforward.

One of the points that I would most like to make is that we’ve spent years talking about how all FISA court orders are rubber-stamped. We’ve spent years talking about how the Patriot Act lets the government spy on us. Even Rand Paul, that perennial Paul Revere of the Republican arena, routinely tells his followers how intrusive government surveillance is wrong — but we don’t go cherry-picking some random FISA warrant to make our case. Instead, we rely upon that stoic cynicism that has always characterized many red-blooded Americans on the right and the left. We just don’t like being spied on, but we know that we’re being spied on, and we know that the bureaucratic spooks are doing their work behind the scenes. We don’t demand to lift the curtain, and certainly the central question is: why the hell would we lift the curtain in this specific individual case? The answer is not because somebody like Andrew McCabe, who is as white bread middle of the road as it gets, is somehow embarking on some Machiavellian conspiracy to deny a good man his due. The answer is because so many of us have bought into the clownish lies of this fool president that we’re willing to go down this garden path with him. At least some people are. I’m not.

Lithwick and Weisberg also talk about what I feel is the textbook example of how this is going to play “in the heartland” — how people like to use simple phrases and names out of context to try to support opinions that are pure bullshit. They intimate how the name ‘Rod Rosenstein’ sounds vaguely Jewish, and how an uninformed base (really the uninformed base par excellance) might try to paint Rosenstein as a Democrat. All of this also gets into the strange fusion of the traditional right and neo-Nazis by someone who, oddly enough, has Jews in his family, which is also part of his cabinet (see Michael Wolff’s book.) But that’s beside the point. The point is that in the heartland, Rod Rosenstein is going to become shorthand for a pointy-headed Jew, and not known for the actual bureaucratic record that the bureaucrat possesses.

And to get back to the process — the process is going to, in this particular instance, be seen as “corrupt,” (gasp) although anybody with two brain cells to rub together knows that the FISA process is always sketchy, and that when it comes to trying to parse the ways that our government surveills us, it goes no further than something our grandpas always said — you can’t fight City Hall.

Mr. Trump went bravely out to fight City Hall, and his team is marching behind him with pitchforks, but they really don’t want to read the memo. Many of them will not read it — they will parrot phrases that their pastors or somebody told them in some kind of warped or declined context, phrases like Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele and Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein. They will speak these names and events and places as if they were some liturgical sacrum of the medieval age, without knowing what they mean, but with all the passion of a 13th century chorister. I’m getting really tired of this bullshit — how about you?

Two Waterworlds

Ken West is excited about a new idea that he has added to his plan for “the best science fiction movie ever.”
In order to guard his secrets from anyone who has not signed a non-disclosure agreement, West is “being coy” but it has something to do with the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, in which, he says, he has identified “two waterworlds.”

West has also been suggesting that North Korea is due to develop nuclear weapons, and that the United States will attack the peninsula on the morning of Feb. 4 – so if that happens, well, it’s been nice to know y’all.

Someone’s in the Kitchen with Joanie Part II

24 hours after his initial dire report of shady goings-on within his household, Ken West reconnected to provide an update, finding himself “back with his woman” and only a few feet from an “evil humanoid” in the next room.

“He rants and raves,” West said of the interloper, who his girlfriend has been renting to for several weeks. “He is of the dark matter.”

West, who has been trying to evict the third party from the house, noted in quiet tones that he is “being coy” to avoid further conflict.

“He’s a door away,” West said. “I’m a few heartbeats away from him – he’s absolutely evil. He killed a man’s bull.”

Last night, West said, an undercover cop showed up at the 7/11 to “parlay” after which West himself retired to a hill above chicken alley, where it subsequently rained.

“All my shit got wet,” West said.

At 2:00 am, he said, he was on the hill behind KFC drinking a beer when his girlfriend, who has a restraining order against him, showed up.

“We connected again,” West said, speaking of a serendipitous happening just after their reunion.

The woman, he said, lost her glasses in the ivy.

“Her glasses fell into my hands out of the sky – as I was praying for her glasses,” West said.

West took the coincidence as a good omen for the plan to oust the “white supremacist” and tauricidal maniac.

“When she does (evict,) we’ll get the Internet back on, and turn this back into a peaceful house.” West said.

Someone’s in the Kitchen with Joanie

Someone is “breaking bad” in Ken West’s house.

Appalachia’s premiere itinerant carpenter is “roughing it” tonight to avoid a legal dragnet or other unpleasant circumstances, as a career criminal and alleged white supremacist mixes up a batch of one of Virginia’s biggest exports, hanging plastic over the windows to mask the smell of the caustic chemicals that produce methamphetamine.

That’s according to the latest third-party word on the street, delivered with a dose of West’s usual savoir-faire.

“It’s pretty twisted,” West said Jan. 27.

Providing a tangential history of the chef’s relationship with an unnamed woman, West seemed to imply that as both paramour and careerist, the man currently practicing enterpreneurial dark arts in the home West previously shared with a woman he used to call “the female Jesus” has leaned toward chaos for many years.

“He killed a bull and spent 20 years in prison for it,” West said, describing the value of this type of livestock relative to its genitalia. “That’s a prize project on the farm – the one that produces more, more, more.”

In somewhat Lebowskian fashion, West assured this reporter that the aggression will not stand.

“I’m having this shit shut down,” West said.

Having delivered this news, West moved back into an appeal to national disarmament of a kind, reminding his audience that in many parts of Europe, as well as Great Britain, police carry batons instead of guns. Citing tasers and pepper spray as non-lethal alternatives, West slammed Americans for clinging to their guns in an age of mass shootings, mass hysteria and ultimate tragedy that is all around us nearly every day. Mixing up news of a single Kentucky homicide of past days with a larger school shooting emerging in today’s national media, West implored the people of America to think more carefully about gun culture, and the possibility of preserving the right to bear traditional shotguns and .22 rifles rather than AR-15s. Cautioning the youth of America on the danger of treating guns like toys, West recalled the sad story of a boy in the neighborhood of his youth known as “Bobbie Beard” who, after improperly testing a pellet gun, suffered some loss of vision and “became a recluse.” West invited the public to look up the incident in “the history of Lexington Virginia.”

Ending his report with a story from his days of being “shang-haied” into the conflict in Vietnam, in which he got no further than basic training stateside, West described a man with indisputably simian features who he chose to call “Neanderthal-man,” who he said acted out of a mysterious hostility towards him during drills where the “platoon” of 48 men were practicing hand to hand combat with sticks, preparing to fight “chinamen, vietnamese or whatever.”

Some of the grunts, West said, were taking bets as he and the Neanderthal-man fought to an eventual draw where both sustained significant injuries.

At “graduation time,” West said, his opponent came at him for a rematch, and was rewarded with a hard right to the face.

West declined to confirm whether his platoon dropped acid or listened to Credence Clearwater Revival in the barracks.

Returning to news of the present day, West refered to himself as a “master snitch,” indicated he has been an informant for many years, and said he has a number of friends in the local police department who know him by his first name. Repeating that he is “very popular with the police” and “very popular in the neighborhood” West said he is always on the lookout for methamphetamine abuse.

“When I see these bad dogs that ruin their teeth,” he said, “I take them out. This dog is going down.”

West said the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement team is coming on Monday.

One of those individuals in collusion with the lab runners, West said, has a restraining order against him after a religious argument in which he tried unsuccessfully to convince her that Muslims have the same religious rights as Christians.

“I told her specifically: we’re all right with God,” West said, claiming he got a court judgement for his trouble.

West also said the female of the group was aggressively pursuing him to use his food stamp card, and that the whole gang wasted a refrigerator of good food because “it wasn’t potato chips.”

In the meantime, West, who likes to cook when he has access to a kitchen, has found a place in what he calls “chicken alley” where a KFC, a Popeye’s and a Bojangles serve adjacent customers, where he can get sustenance. Earlier this evening, he said, he was offered some children’s leftovers, and then received a large meal free of charge from some other patrons. “I ate what I could,” West said. “I wanted to give the rest away.” Eventually, he said, he found a man outside who has hungry, and “paid forward” the good deed.

“I’m so popular in the neighborhood,” West said. “I want to be popular in the world. I want to see the children of the world fed.”

Your Neighbor, What a Guy

“Modern globalization
Coupled with condemnations
Unnecessary death
Matador corporations
Puppeting your frustrations with a blinded flag
Manufacturing consent is the name of the game
The bottom line is money …
Boom, Boom, Boom,
Every time you drop a bomb
You kill the god your child has born
Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom …BOOM”

– SOAD

***
After a lengthy hiatus in honor of a very special woman, Leading the Horse has returned to chronicle the life and times of Ken West, America’s Premier Itinerant Carpenter, to find our intrepid source preparing to take on the Virginia chill.
“I’m sleeping outside tonight,” West said, while wearing four layers of clothing and wrapping leaves around his legs. “I’ve made arrangements – I got a cardboard house. Cardboard is good – it’s only 32 degrees. It’s only gonna snow 3 inches. I’m gonna get my ass up tomorrow and go do something exceptional.”
Going “back to square one,” West began with the usual screed on North Korea and its legacy of constructing underground tunnels.
“They’ve got all their military underground,” West said before contrasting the Hermit Kingdom with its neighbor to the south.
“South Korea is a christian nation,” West said. “They live in apartment buildings, they all eat the same rice … South Korea is like a super-organism.”
West renewed his often-repeated calls for peace on the Korean peninsula in the form of food aid.
“We don’t need to be starving humanoids,” West said. “They’re militarily prepared to not be threatened anymore – let them be unified – that’s the solution. Rice – we got plenty of it, don’t we? Send them a barge of rice – and olive oil – and some vegetables … they’d probably like to eat roast beef – they wouldn’t be puny people no more.”
West called for disarmament of a radical kind and dismantling the nuclear stockpiles, turning today’s swords to plowshares.
“The only thing the bomb is good for is destroying the flesh,” West said.

Just hours later, in a follow up interview, West reported from the interior of a Best Buy, while watching the seven wonders of the world displayed on many large screens.
“Do they know that there are so many souls buried under that wall?” West said, describing a scene depicting the Great Wall of China. “You died while you were building that wall – they put your bones under the wall – you became part of the wall.”
While explaining to a salesman on the floor that he was contemplating a purchase, West made several disjointed analogies between the Chinese wall and the new border wall promoted by former WWF personality turned president Donald Trump.
West then turned his thoughts toward home, reporting on “the latest from Charlottesville” and quoting an unnamed former Virginia governor.
“He said that Charlottesville made a bad boo-boo,” West said. “Everybody’s busting on Charlottesville right now. They busted on me. They broke my teeth out.”
West described his plans for reparations.
“I’ve started the process,” he said. “I’ve got names and numbers.”

In addition, West plans to market a “snap on” product for car windshields, and a set of instructional videos for DIY house painters.
Before signing off, West mentioned his need to confide “a peculiar thing” to the people of the world, describing a theoretical spiritual process.
“What if Jesus asked the Creator to do it all again?” West said. “But not to die – just to experience life in this crazy world we live in?”

After several asides, West ended with another stab at autobiography.
“Who am I? I used to skateboard in Hollywood … Guess who I am? I will not brag. I’ll just be.”

Hmmm

This morning I had an epiphany.
Much has been made of the far right’s destructive power in national politics — for example Thomas Frank’s “The Wrecking Crew” and other tomes, pamphlets and essays that remind us of how a party out of control has taken a monkey wrench to the levers of power in American politics.
There’s a simple solution that many of us have been overlooking — people who don’t like politics, and don’t like politicians, and don’t really believe in civic micromanagement, maybe shouldn’t be involved in evaluating politics at all.
The Republican Party at this point is like a child who’s been asked to come to the board and do a math problem, and he does it badly, because he doesn’t want to.
Johnny and Susie went up to the board to figure out 2+2. Susie went primly up to the board and neatly wrote a well-contoured “four” under the chalk line. Johnny swaggered up, ripped a loud fart, and angrily scrawled a five.
The tragedy of the situation is that enough students voted for Johnny’s “2+2=5” mostly to spite the teacher, who in this metaphor is either Lady iberty or the individual holds the scales of justice. Sorry folks – Susie’s a suck-up.
The evidence is all around us — incompetent and mean-spirited individuals being promoted to posts which they have in the past wanted to eliminate entirely; the rampant defunding and mismanagement of various federal agencies, etc.
There is a very easy fix to this — people who don’t like the job of providing for others and finding a way to steer the ship of democracy in the right direction should simply go do something else instead of voting and giving money to candidates and all that stuff.
In other words, as a country we been trying to desperately meld the values of the far right with the idea of civic good. The problem is that these two things are not inherently mixable — an ideology that alienates millions of people and up to half of the entire electorate isn’t going to be oriented towards working toward that civic good. It’s going to be inherently oriented towards a divisive and radically disruptive goal that has nothing to do with the civic good, and is extremely toxic to its intentions. This has been played out instructively in the “states rights” civil rights battles of the last century. The federal government’s job was to protect all citizens – and the state houses didn’t like it.
To put it yet another way — many of the individual constituents of the far right base do have values and ways of life that are worth preserving. They are abundantly steeped in the ways of traditional America — which is probably not a bad thing in many, many ways, but again, may be somewhat toxic to the job of federal statesmanship.
Many of these individuals take pride in being hard-working people of the land and people who do not choose to spend their time scribbling in pages or squinting at a computer screen, or dealing with the inherent bureaucracy of the federal system. Let these individuals do what they do best, whether it’s farming or ranching or blacksmithing or whatever gets their hands dirty and provides needed services for a population. Do not force them to, like recalcitrant students, go up to the chalkboard and try to participate in the evaluation of civic and public administration.
Many of them have no interest, and frankly very little aptitude, and have not practiced the inherent skills needed to do this in any meaningful way. Let’s be very clear that this is not to state that these individuals are inferior in any way, or that they lack the intellectual stamina in general to govern — instead, my view is that they lack the will and the sensitivity and the general disciplines needed to participate in these civic exercises – simply because they have not invested in them. Aas exhibit one, look at the marginalization of any realistic voices in the Republican party – the marginalization of “mavericks” like McCain and deficit hawks like Ron and Rand Paul. The base has chosen “apolitical” operatives whose platforms don’t make sense – partly because they dislike government so much that they don’t care if it makes sense or not.
As a result, they can simply give to God what is God’s, and to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and cease to try to steer the ship directly into the iceberg. We will be left with a set of technocrats and statespeople who will calmly and cleverly run the American ship as it has run for many years, largely as a system acquiescent to big business, but which has at least a veneer of normalcy.
Will they be the best people? No. They may not be entirely responsive to the needs of the population, but they will at least apply that responsiveness or unresponsiveness fairly broadly and universally, because having been trained in the sensibilities of civic administration, they understand how not to alienate. They understand how not to divide.
This doesn’t suggest, again, that they have in general superior moral or ethical premises when it comes to wealth redistribution, family values or anything else — although the case can be made that their social sensibilities fit better with the needs of today’s electorate.
The point is that they can bring a basic level of organization and brinksmanship to the job — which they will need, because the efforts of the right can be again focused on simply hating the federal government and everything that it stands for. The only remaining job will be to keep the peace between the federal government and the states, as we have done these many years since 1865.
The above is one of those ideas that might yet have its day — it seems simple, but stated out loud, just scratches the surface of the roiling morass of political turmoil that has now seeped into every aspect of our lives. We owe it to ourselves to explore these ideas, and to try to explore them, not with the bias inherent to each of us in this polarized society, but instead more conceptually, as individual scholars and again — those of us who don’t want to do this can simply leave the whole dirty issue of politics alone, instead of trying to struggle with something they hate.