10/22/2018

WSJ Writer Says Liberals Hate Trump Because "He's an Average American" (No, Really)

Wall Street Journal writer and name that seems to have an extra syllable, David Gelernter, writes about "The Real Reason They Hate Trump" in a "column" today (if by "column," you mean, "a straw man argument by a noodle-brained author"). The "they" is me and people like me and probably you, the left, liberals, the Bolsheviks, whatever the fuck they're calling us these days in the WSJ.

Gelernter, "a computer science professor at Yale and chief scientist at Dittach LLC," according to the bio, asserts that "Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is." Apparently, the "average American" is some fake working class rube who is kinda dumb and shoots his mouth off whenever he damn well pleases and likes to spend money (even though, you know, most working-class yokels don't have money). While Gelernter freely admits that Trump is really "a parody of the average American," which means he's performative and inauthentic and distinctly not genuine, he sure thinks liberals are assholes for not loving him. "I believe...that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white," he writes. "Often he hates America, too."

What is most honestly stunning about Gelernter's really fuckin' weird piece is that almost every single thing he cites as a quality in Trump is simply, factually wrong. For instance, he says the left hates Trump for "his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable."

Let's break this down:
"His unwillingness to walk away from a fight" - It's as if Gelernter has never heard of Trump's quisling behavior towards Russia or his abject abandonment of anything like a policy with North Korea or his refusal to even define a fight with Saudi Arabia. He has backed down on family separation, shutting down the government, scrapping NAFTA, Mexico paying for the wall, and multiple other things. He runs away from any fight where he doesn't hold all the cards, and he sure as hell doesn't get into any scuffles when it's with those who are his personal financial benefactors, the nation be damned.

"His mistrust of intellectuals" - Trump doesn't mistrust intellectuals. He only trusts the ones who reaffirm his Manichean world view. Like, you know, David Gelernter, who doesn't believe that climate change is due to human activity and thinks that the left is imposing a hateful doctrine on innocent college students, who is called an "anti-intellectual" despite being a motherfucking computer scientist at Yale, which would seem to make him a fucking intellectual. And Gelernter was considered for science advisor to Trump. You know what that's called? Trusting intellectuals, fucko.

"His love of simple ideas that work" - Gelernter must not have looked at any of the articles about the insane clusterfuck of labyrinthine layers Trump uses in order to cover up where his money comes from. See, "simple" would make it totally fine for him to release his taxes.

"His refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable" - is fucking nonsense that only sexists assholes says in order to try to cover up the fact that they're sexist assholes.

(Note: I'm trying not to talk too much shit about Gelernter on a personal basis because the guy was almost killed by the Unabomber, so, you know, a bit of sympathy is in order. A bit.)

There is this absolutely desperate attempt on the right to make Donald Trump, someone who is at best a fraud, at worst an enabler of terrorism and other crimes, into something honorable. It's kind of pathetic, like the Washington Post's Marc Thiessen's recent piece, "Donald Trump's Balls Taste Like the Sweetest Candy." Oh, wait. No, that was the subtext. The actual title is "Trump could be the most honest president in modern history." And why is that? Because he said he was going to do some shit and he did it. What Thiessen sleazily leaves out of his piece is that each thing Trump promised to do that he's done has not had the effect he swore it would have, like that the tax cut would be great for everyone and tax revenue wouldn't be affected. Well, now Mitch McConnell is talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare to pay for it. That makes Trump a fucking liar.

See, the Left doesn't hate America. Built into the notion of "Make America Great Again" is a hatred of the country as it exists now (or 2 years ago because I guess America is great again because the president is white again). And conservatives and their anti-intellectual intellectuals have to stereotype liberals as having disdain for the working class. Gelernter gelernts, "The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans."

Motherfucker, there are people in every one of those jobs who fucking despise Trump. Do they hate the country, too? Do they count as "average" or is that only available to Trump voters? And it would take a computer scientist attempting political analysis  to write something this ludicrous: "Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches." You mean the same Barack Obama who, unlike a certain current president, regularly attended church with his family? Are you still pissed about his "God and guns" remark? But I thought you liked people who speak their fuckin' mind. You just fuckin' said that about Trump.

Once again, the Trumpian right reveals its deep, abiding disgust with anyone not worshipping their mad orange god. Oh, they can pretend they are willing to dance with the folks down in steerage, but it's almost always some privileged prick writing about how much he (and it's almost always "he") really gets the average American.

They only love regular folks when they enable Trump's greedy, ignorant, piggish agenda.

10/19/2018

Jamal Khashoggi, Drone Missiles, and Us

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi, from what we know so far, is a goddamned nightmare. Lured to the Saudi embassy in Turkey, he was captured and tortured, brutally, by psychopaths under the direction of the leader of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince (and, you know, fuck you if in this day and age you're still getting to lead a country because some inbred jizzed you out) Mohammed bin Salman.

His fingers were cut off with a bone saw while he was awake. Think about that for a second or two. Put aside that he was a writer and that the message was clear that his ability to type was being taken away. Think for a moment about knowing your fingers are being removed. Think about that pain and the awareness that, even if you live, everything in your life just got fucked up. And then they injected him with something, perhaps sedating him, perhaps just paralyzing him, before beheading him and slicing him to pieces with the bone saw for easy transportation.

The idea that we would want to sell weapons to a country led by someone who could order such a thing on anyone, let alone someone who was a permanent resident of the United States, is abominable beyond comprehension (as are most of weapons sales). The idea that anyone would justify not condemning the murder and the murderers because they don't want to miss out on the chance to sell those murderers weapons is unspeakable. Yet here we are.

But what if Khashoggi hadn't been butchered by savages with a bone saw? What if, instead, Saudi Arabia had used missiles fired by drone aircraft to destroy a building that held Khashoggi? The use of drone missile and other airstrikes has rained death upon civilians for years. Both the Saudis and the United States have done and continue to do this in Syria, in Yemen, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. And let's not be naive that it was always unintentional.

While civilian deaths are called "mistakes" and occasionally (if rarely)  apologized for, any outrage over them is quickly forgotten as casualties of war. Presidential adviser and the guy you totally pictured when you read "Bartleby the Scrivener" in college,  Jared Kushner, has told Trump that he thinks the outcry now will blow over, just like it did when the Saudis bombed a schoolbus in Yemen. And he's right in one respect. Most people don't think twice when someone is killed by drone missile because we're told the dead are evil or adjacent to evil. Or "oops, our bad."

I'm not trying to take away from the horror of this killing. And I'm not merely trying to say the pedantic, if true, "Well, the United States does some brutal shit, too." What I'm trying to say is that it's not that big a leap from the United States using a missile attack to take out a propagandist for ISIS or al-Qaeda to sending men to dissect a writer a prince doesn't like.

Of course, another way to see this is that bin Salman didn't give a shit about anything other than punishing a heretic as a message to anyone who might dare criticize him and his "progressive" regime. It's not even outside the realm of possibility that Kushner or Trump just winked at this as a plan. Jesus, just last night our goddamn miserable son of a bitch of a president praised Rep. Greg Gianforte for body slamming a journalist, a crime for which he pleaded guilty.

And, as part of a cover-up to defend bin Salman, who is getting ready to pin this on a rogue intelligence official who let an interrogation go bad, Republicans are starting to discredit Khashoggi by intimating that he had ties to terrorist groups (or groups that some see as terrorist). That assertion has already made its way into conservative asshole media, and if this trial balloon floats, Trump will go whole hog and his idiot hordes will accept it as gospel.

If that happens, then any opponents of Trump and his owners (the Russians, the Saudis, the screaming ghost of Roy Cohn, who knows who else anymore) are absolutely in danger. They will concoct a story that appeases any qualms of those who are on Trump's side.

It'd be so simple: "That CNN reporter in Iraq was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when our drone missile was taking out a cell of 10...no, 20...no, 30 terrorists. And what was she doing there at the time anyways?"

10/18/2018

Rude Storytelling Tonight in NYC

Hey, NYCers and NJites, I'm doing some storytelling tonight at the Red Room at KGB Bar with some great comedians and tellers of tales.

Come on out. We'll drink, we'll bitch, we may even laugh and cry.

10/16/2018

Trump Goes to See Hurricane Michael's Wreckage, Deny Climate Change

Our goddamn president, a highway garbage bag filled with live rats, took his hostage-wife down to Florida and Georgia to survey the catastrophic damage left behind by Hurricane Michael, a storm that moved incredibly quickly and grew in strength incredibly quickly before slamming into the Florida panhandle like a runaway dump truck.

Its strength and speed boggled and amazed Donald Trump, something he felt compelled to mention at every fucking stop on his little disaster tour. "You know, this hurricane happened very quickly," he said at a briefing in Macon, Georgia.  "In fact, it was a storm.  Nobody thought it was a big deal, and then all of a sudden, it started and then became a Category 4.  It happened very quickly."

Yes, imagine. What could make it develop so fast? If only there were, I don't know, science-type persons who searched for cause thingies. Oh, wait, we totally have scientists who can explain this because that's what the fuck scientists do. See, the water was warmer than usual for this time of year due to climate change and that caused the rapid intensification of the storm. The good news? "A warmer climate makes rapid intensification more likely." Nah. There's no good news unless "Oh, thank god, we'll all be dead soon" is good news to you.

Of course, for our goddamn president, climate change is merely part of the ephemeral circle of life, man. When he was asked if he thought climate change was a hoax, he bebopped, "No, there’s something there.  There’s no question.  There is something there — man-made or not.  I mean, there’s something there.  And it’s going to go, and it’s going to go back and forth.  But there is something there." Seriously, that's some "This is the way the world ends" shit right there.

And then Trump had to reveal that someone had told him something that he now will repeat on an endless loop: "They say the worst hurricanes were 50 years ago, if you can believe it.  In fact, the one that they say was worse — so two or three worse — one was in 1890s, and one was exactly 50 years ago.  The winds were 200 miles an hour.  So who knows?  But that’s what the — that’s what the numbers are."

Three things:
1. Exactly 50 years ago was 1968, one of the mildest hurricane seasons ever. Yes, Hurricane Gladys did some damage, but nothing massive and mostly in Cuba.
2. No hurricane with 200 mph winds ever hit the United States.
3. Yes, there were some bad storms in the 1890s. And the damage was worse because it was the fucking 1890s. But Trump mentioned the Naughty Nineties a couple more times, and I promise you it will be repeated like a record skipping in his brain for the rest of time. (Look up "records skipping," kids.)

Several reporters referred to his 60 Minutes interview where Bumblefuck the Clown President blamed reports about human activities contributing to the warming of the earth on sinister-ass scientists. He said to Lesley Stahl, "You'd have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda." Climate change deniers use this line all the time: scientists have agendas, they're greedy for that sweet, sweet grant money, and more. Putting aside the outrageous bullshittery there, who has more money on the line here? A couple hundred professors and researchers? Or the entire fucking fossil fuel industry? It's not that Trump doesn't know this. It's that his yahoo brigade doesn't seem to understand it.

(Side note: Any time Trump says you need to prove something to him, the immediate follow-up should be, "Fine, show me your fuckin' taxes and prove you're a billionaire and not a liar and criminal, Thievin' Donald.")

Look, as usual, Trump said a bunch of stupid shit while staring dumbly at everything in Florida and Georgia. "Nobody has seen anything like this," he claimed, when a lot of people have seen things like this. When the governor of Georgia mentioned the damage to the peanut crop there, some combination of neurons and jabbering hamsters in Trump's idiot skull clicked and he said, really, "Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer, and a nice man.  He is a nice man.  Met him on numerous occasions.  And if you think about it, that’s what he did, right?  Peanuts.  So it’s great." No one had fucking brought up Jimmy Carter.

That's all painful and hilarious and hilariously painful and painfully hilarious. But the real issue here is for people who plan on living past the next couple of decades. One of the key issues for the midterm election is if we're going to stop Trump from degrading the environment further. Nothing can be done to reverse things unless Democrats have far more power than just the House. But the House can stop funding for all kinds of shit, like coal subsidies and the like.

This is your choice, young voters and millennials. There are things that are never gonna go back to the way they were. We've fucked it up permanently. But it doesn't have to get more fucked.

Right now, think of the earth as a man who has lost a few fingers doing stupid shit to himself, like, I dunno, skateboarding over a crocodile pit or something. If that man stops skateboarding over a crocodile pit, he'll get to keep the rest of his fingers and not risk losing a limb or his head. Your vote will decide his fate.

And if you don't vote, President Thunderdumb will cheer on that skater until the crocs tear him apart.

(Note: Please don't skateboard over a crocodile pit. A snake pit, fine.)

10/15/2018

A Survivor of Sexual Violence Talks About Why She's Voting This November

Shortly after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed for the Supreme Court, I got a tweet from a young woman I know personally but hadn't heard from in a while. She shared with me that she had been a victim of rape and assault (something I didn't know about her before) and that the Kavanaugh hearings, and especially the treatment of Christine Blasey Ford, had stirred up all the trauma she still dealt with. I asked if she would be willing to write something about what she's been feeling. That's the piece below. Just a heads up: it is a long read, but it's well worth it.

She wants to remain anonymous (and some details are changed or obscured to keep it that way), but she is very real. And her very real perspective is that Republicans screwed up big time in pushing Kavanaugh. The writer here wants to put the GOP on notice that women are done with this shit, and she wants November to be a reckoning on what men, especially conservative men, have put women through these last couple of years.

I'll shut up now and turn it over to her
:

A few years ago, I found myself walking into a fancy gala thrown by my college. Most of my peers would be there; I walked in, seemingly feeling confident in a pretty dress, anticipating seeing my boss and my coworkers. Truthfully, the only reason I went was because I had never gotten an invite to this gala, and I wanted to experience it just once (I’d heard that the food is pretty amazing). I found my coworkers and greeted them, but my eyes would wander around the room and around the balcony with an intensity I had never had. I had a classic case of denial, which I had gone back and forth with for months. I found my eventual seat, but then I wandered into the bathroom, crying and hoping I wouldn’t be noticed, or that this would just end soon. I knew just leaving would seem odd, so I decided to stay, despite the fact the person who sexually assaulted me was attending this gala.

Later that evening, I had composed myself, but I still watched the room with the same intensity. I had casual conversations, and I felt like I was permanently set on “flight” mode; finally, someone noticed my unease and offered to talk to me. I started crying. But I didn't reveal why I was watching or looking or even specifically what was wrong. My boss came over and said she wanted all of my coworkers and me to take a photo together. If there was ever a time I wanted to run out the door, it was that moment.

And then, there he was, upon my boss’s request for us to all take a photo together; I found myself within feet of the person who violated me. I was close to just telling her our coworker had emotionally abused me and sexually assaulted me just a few months ago. But there were too many people, and he was within earshot.

I told my boss I didn't want to be in the photo and tried to quietly escape, but she was insistent: she loved all of us, and I had to be in the photo. I found the very opposite side of the crowd, as far from him as I could be, and forced a half-assed smile across my face.

 While this photo was being taken, I thought to myself, “If I ever came forward with this assault, this picture would be used against me.” People would wonder what kind of stupid woman takes a photo with her sexual assailant in it. Why didn't she just, as they say, say, "no" and stick to it? Immediately after the photo, I found myself feeling violated.

Nobody, at that point, knew I had been sexually assaulted.

I am a little bit of a veteran on this topic; that is not something I find easy to deal with and I'm not remotely over any of this. I've gone as far to say to people I have a trauma resume.

At age 13-14, I was stalked online by a boy who told me he would hunt me down, marry me, and beat me on the weekends. That is only some of the fucked up shit he told me. I had to entirely cut myself off from the world. I had to cut off my emails, any and all accounts, because he would find me and pretend he was somebody else. He would find my email and send me pornographic images, and he repeatedly threatened me.

 For a year and a half, I had limited access to the outside world aside from going to school, a place he was absent from because it was cyber-stalking and I had figured out he was from a different state. I had been connected with him from an internet forum a friend of mine made. My parents found out about this because they noticed I was acting oddly. They saw the messages and called the police. The police said it "wasn't a big deal.” They hadn't even really looked at the evidence I gave them, which was numerous emails and chat messages showing what he was saying and doing. I know this because I gave them these materials where he said his supposed name, and I told them his name was in those messages. But they said they didn't know if it was his real name, so they couldn't act upon it. As a kid, I let this go quietly into the night; I hadn’t realized the gravity of their words and their inaction.

I was graceful. I didn't talk about it for probably five years because how the fuck do you talk about that? Who the fuck do you talk about that to? I mean, yes, a therapist, but, I mean real people. At 14, maybe 15 (this went on for over a year, almost two years), how many people your age are there who can possibly understand what it is to be stalked?

Statistically, after one victimization (such as stalking or sexual assault), you are more likely to experience a victimization or sexual crime in the future. I have experienced sexual violence twice. Once raped, once assaulted. Both times were clear-cut situations that could not be misconstrued.

When I was 14, I thought that was the worst of men I would see. I thought it couldn't get any worse. I thought my stalker was something special, some kind of special demon hell-spawn that was limited to his mother's basement and his dial-up internet connection as he traumatized girls (I knew another girl who he had done this to). I really thought maybe I’d seen the worst of men. Apparently not.

My first assailant, the man I tried to avoid at the gala, was a successful college student who did cutting-edge research in a field of science, who had seen a Title IX presentation on sexual harassment a combined 40 times at this job where I was his co-worker. This is where we met and subsequently dated.

He invited me to an empty house when his parents and siblings went away to an amusement park. He began wanting to do things I had seen in pornographic images. I said no. I cried. I begged. I explained I was stalked and had issues with these things; he told me I was letting him take the fall for what someone else had done. I was gaslighted, manipulated, and pressured in an unfamiliar house with all the lights off and cornered on a bed. He continued anyway. I feared this would escalate to rape since he began bringing up sex and kept putting his arms around me against my will. I left that house feeling as violated as I had felt the day I talked to the police. I decided to wash away my evidence. His father is a cop who would use his power against me. He would not idly stand by as a crazy woman accused his son of sexual assault.

A few months after the gala, I told the co-workers who had been there, asking them for advice. There was a terrifying proposition I had learned about: the school was running a campaign against littering, and several students’ faces would be plastered on posters throughout the school. My assailant volunteered, and his photo was taken. I wanted to know what school employee I should approach if his picture was about to be hung all over my campus’s walls. I had planned on countering this by posting sexual assault awareness stickers on his face on all of the posters if I came forward and I was ignored, but luckily the campaign never printed the posters.

My assailant is now a high school teacher.

There is a reason I am telling these stories. I’ll get there.

I recovered from the assault, only to be raped by a different man a couple years later. Much like before, I was manipulated, gaslighted, and pressured while dating this man. He cried because I wouldn't have sex with him. He threatened me, too. He told me I was abnormal because we hadn’t had sex. Still, I said to stop. I whined in pain and quite literally felt myself separating from reality after I had told him to stop enough times that I soon realized it was useless.

I won’t be going into any more details.

This man-child was a well-liked student at my college. I had met him through an extracurricular event I volunteered for at my school. Everyone I spoke to seemed to genuinely enjoy his presence. I asked everyone I knew if they knew who he was and what they thought of him. One person went as far as to call him a "sweetheart.” I won’t name him, as I am hoping he becomes irrelevant to the world for the rest of his life, and he is a person I genuinely fear.

The things these stories have in common is that they act as a rebuttal for every idiotic suggestion made in the last week about or toward Christine Blasey Ford.

Why didn't she report it?

Well, I did once. The cops couldn't be bothered to actually look through evidence in detail because it wasn't a "big deal,” and they didn’t think he should have to register as a sex offender because he was a “young dumb kid.” They thought I should just talk to him and tell him to stop. Yes, these are things I was really told. Because of their inaction, he continued to harass me long after their “investigation,” fully knowing the police had investigated him. (I had informed him in an attempt to get him to stop.)

Why didn't she say no?

Well, I did. It didn't matter. In any situation.

Why didn’t she tell anyone?

It was five years before I spoke about being stalked to anyone. I spoke about the latter experiences much sooner because, you know, experience and all with sexual crimes, and after I was stalked I learned more about them.

Why didn't she tell her parents?

My parents only know I was stalked, and that’s only because they saw something and the cops were called. I would have otherwise not told them. Nobody in my immediate family knows about the other two experiences, at least in detail, and I have never admitted something occurred even as they have tried to unravel my sudden sexual assault activism.

Why doesn't she remember the date?

I don't remember the dates of any of these events. I figured out the approximate date, but I didn't exactly mark "Sexual Assault Anniversary" on my calendar. I also cannot remember anything that happened the rest of the day.

Why are you so scared of them if it was so long ago?

It doesn’t matter it happened 20 years ago or 5 years ago. I still fear the last assailant the most. I always will.

We can sit here and comb through every horrible statement made by Republican senators until I die at my computer (or, I guess, maybe get assaulted again). As I watched Brett Kavanaugh cry and blither at his hearing, I saw my rapist crying and I saw his same manipulation tactics. I heard his words in Kavanaugh's. I had a relapse in symptoms. I started freaking out when I went to locations where I had been with my rapist that I visit almost daily because it's on my commute to school. I started having nightmares again.

It all came flooding back because of the constant questions I found myself answering in my head for Christine Ford because of old white men and Susan Collins. And my responses are nothing special: I echo the responses of many sexual assault victims who are sitting silently with their traumas haunting them daily, or at least every time we nominate another sexual assailant to a high position in politics.

Speaking of the senator from Maine, Susan Collins reminded me of how, when I told friends of mine about my assaults, they asked me when I would get over it. Some people even told me they didn't want to be my friend any longer due to the severity of my trauma.

Susan Collins reminded me of why my assailants are wandering around without consequence.

Susan Collins reminded me of why the cops didn't think my stalking was at all serious. She later stated that Ford was assaulted but not by Kavanaugh. I have never known who my stalker is (there's no certainty the stalker gave me his real name) and that is a terrifying reality. I do not walk around claiming some man was my stalker willy-nilly. I may never know who he is or what he looks like or where he lives.

But I also have two situations where I know who they are, and for Susan Collins to think these two situations are the same is offensive to every survivor out there. Their faces and their voices are burned into my memory and are perhaps the most haunting aspect of these events; I could not forget it if I tried.

Susan Collins standing up there praising Kavanaugh is no different than when I told people what these men did to me and they refused to believe it because he's a "nice guy.” I argued with people. I cut people from my life. All because they refused to think someone can be different behind a closed door.

I woke up the Friday morning after hearing Kavanaugh and Ford feeling nauseous and defeated. I went to bed that night seething with rage.

All I have learned is when you have evidence, it's not enough. Not a big deal. When you tell friends, it's not enough. He's a nice guy. They could be lying because they're friends with the victim or assailant. Maybe they don't remember being told or don't want to come forward. When you even do a rape kit, it's not enough. You might have said yes. There is always some counter argument, unless you are wearing a camera. So unless walls become sentient and can soon testify, it is near impossible to have real corroborating evidence. And even then, it might have just been a normal night for the four walls where this took place, so they might not remember it.

To add insult to injury, the two assailants would not think they did anything wrong and would deny my accounts. (The stalker actually emailed me and apologized five years later, which is a weird as shit way to apologize considering he stalked me and still had one of my emails a half-decade later; I did not accept his apologies.)

And don’t mistake my anger for hatred of men. I do not hate men. I hate the rape culture they have fostered. Both of the men who committed these sexual crimes identified as Democrats and even sometimes called themselves feminists. There is a very real issue with men thinking sexual crimes are limited to dark alleys and the full intention of raping someone, instead of realizing the world does not fucking revolve around them when a woman says no.

I hate that Republicans have decided to turn #MeToo into #NotHim and blatantly deny the existence of this culture. Men on both sides of the political aisle are responsible for the collective trauma of women, but there is a big difference between an assailant resigning in disgrace, such as Al Franken, and another getting elected as president or serving on the highest court in the land.

I am coming forward with my traumatic stories in all of my anonymous "glory" - for the lack of a better word - because I am still seething with rage. I am tired of every idiot with a mouth and half of a brain giving me an opinion on what sexual assault is like and when it doesn't matter anymore.

Republicans, by disparaging Christine Ford, you have disparaged all sexual assault survivors. You have forced us to answer to society once again. We went to work and heard people talking about Kavanaugh. We went to the doctor and saw Ford crying on the waiting room television. We sat at family dinners and listened to opinions of people we know and love and realized we could never reveal what happened to us to them. And please, don't tell me about the falsely accused, because a false accusation is rare.

The investigation of Kavanaugh was a sham, and all of the horribly insulting things you said to survivors who were strong enough to come out in record numbers will not be forgotten. My faith in the system has never been lower; in fact, my faith is nonexistent. You have disparaged us for the last time.

I am pissed. I am coming forward. And I will not soon forget the circus you have put us through. Although I've stopped short of detailing these events publicly, I am getting more vocal, trying to tell people what sexual assault is really like.

Let's just hope one of us activists reaches your daughters and granddaughters before a predator does, senators, since they're the only women you care about anyway.

Republicans, I will vote for, campaign for, and donate to your future Democratic opponent with the same level of rage I felt when America told me my trauma wasn't as important as a man's reputation.

And please, don't you forget it. I won’t.

10/12/2018

"It Was a Big Solving": That Kanye Visit to Trump Was Even Weirder and Stupider Than You Heard

Yeah, there's a lot of fucked up shit going on. A chunk of the Florida panhandle was wiped out, along with flooding and other destruction along Hurricane Michael's path. The Trump administration's jovial cruelty towards immigrant children continues with no one held accountable. And, speaking of lack of accountability, the murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi hasn't caused even a ripple in Trump's love fest with Saudi Arabia.

But it's Friday, and you already understand that, while all the above and so much more were going on, Trump found time in his busy schedule of TV viewing, shitting out Big Macs while tweeting, and golfing to squeeze in a meeting with rapper, clothing designer, and professional whiner Kanye West, along with former football player and convicted felon Jim Brown. And while you may have heard about Kanye saying weird shit like "Trump is on his hero’s journey right now. And he might not have expected to have a crazy motherfucker like Kanye West run up and support," you missed the discussion of North Korea.

Yes. North Korea.

Here you go, straight from the White House. You paid for this motherfuckin' transcript. You may as well enjoy it. You could title it "Dumb Motherfuckers in DC":

"MR. BROWN: And I like North Korea.

THE PRESIDENT: I like North Korea too.

MR. BROWN: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Yeah. Well, he’s — turned out to be good. Dialogue. We had a little dialogue. And Secretary of State just came back — Mike. He just came back from North Korea. We had very good meetings, and we’ll meet again. But we’re doing good. No more nuclear testing. No more missiles going up. No more nothing. And it’s — that was headed to war. That was headed to war.

MR. BROWN: Yeah. I mean, it was — to me, it seemed like that.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. It was so close. We spoke — I spoke to President Obama. I will tell you, that was headed to war. And now it’s going to be — I believe it’s going to work out very well.

MR. WEST: You stopped the war —

THE PRESIDENT: We really stopped the war. Saved millions of lives. You know, Seoul has 30 million people. You don’t realize how big. Thirty million people who are right near the border; 30 miles off the border. Millions of people would have been killed. And I will say, Chairman Kim has been really good. Really good. And we’ve made a lot of progress.

That’s nice that you say that, because that’s a big — that’s a big thing. These folks were covering — they were covering North Korea not — I think not very promisingly. And there were a lot of problems. President Obama said that was his biggest problem. And I don’t say anything is solved —

MR. WEST: You, day one, solved one of the biggest problems.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.

MR. WEST: We solved one of the biggest problems.

THE PRESIDENT: It was a big solving. And not solved yet, but I think we’re along — I think we’re on the way."

Between that insanity and Jared Kushner seeming more uncomfortable than he had ever been in his entire, pasty-white life, America was, for just a moment, great again.


10/10/2018

They Will Want to Kill Us

Sometimes my Clark Kent life and my Rude Pundit life overlap, and so yesterday I found myself moderating a talk (by someone else) about Where We Are as a Nation. You know, Our Current Political Situation and all that. The talk itself had been dire, from a colleague who was a moderate politically (and may have been a Republican years ago), and offered a gloomy outlook for the future of the country.

During the question and answer part, people wanted to find explanations and excuses for Where We Are. One audience member offered that she felt like there was too much extremism on both sides and that these extremes were pushing things to a crisis. I interjected, "Well, let's be clear about what's considered extreme. On the right, you've got actual Nazis and white supremacists who are committing violence. On the left, what they call 'extreme' are politicians who want the same programs that most of the countries in the world have, like health care and free college." 

Another audience member argued with me, saying that I was demonizing the right and contributing to the deep divisions in this country. "Let me clarify," I told this older professor. "I'm saying that on the right there are actual terrorists. People who murder for their beliefs. We readily call them 'extreme.' But the media and conservatives portray people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as extremists, as if that's the balance. There are left-wing extremists, violent revolutionaries, ecoterrorists, and more. That's who should be the counter-balance with right-wing extremists, not Bernie Sanders." I might have also said something like "And 'Antifa' is short for 'anti-fascist.'" 

I was not very good at moderating.

One of the things the right has always excelled at is portraying anyone even slightly left of center, hell, slightly left of hard right, as an extremist. Wanna see that in action? Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, had an A- rating from the National Rifle Association (motto: "Shoot first and don't ask questions later"), one of only four Democrats in the Senate given such a glowing, pro-gun grade. But Tester decided to vote against Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. He had already voted against Neil Gorsuch but still maintained his A-. Tester was very clear that he was opposing Kavanaugh for various reasons that had nothing to do with guns. But the NRA decided today to drop him to a D grade because "Contrary to what Jon Tester says in Montana, he has supported the gun control agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer by voting in favor of gun control in Washington, DC," according to some numbnuts.

That happened yesterday. Up until then, Jon Tester was seen as a 2nd Amendment-supporting Democrat. He even voted against closing the background check loophole. With one vote, though, not unlike another vote on a Supreme Court nominee, he became what is now defined as radical.

I've been complaining about this false equivalence for years now. "Oh, Republicans are putting children into concentration camps but Democrats want people to have health care" is basically the range of our political discussion. However, Donald Trump has picked up on a post-Tea Party rage at any hint of liberalism and has turned it into an attack that is very Roy Cohn (and Joe McCarthy) in making Democrats into an actual enemy of the nation.

Here he is last night at one of his Nuremberg rallies, this time for the poor suckers in Iowa: "They want to destroy everything...in their lust for power, the Democrats have become totally unhinged. They've done, they've gone, crazy, They've gone crazy...the Democrats have become too extreme and they've become frankly too dangerous to govern. They've gone wacko...you don't give matches to an arsonist and you don't give power to an angry left-wing mob and that's what the Democrats are...if Democrats take control, they will try to reverse our amazing progress and plunge our country into gridlock. Frankly, into poverty. Ultimately, into chaos...They want to turn America, these Democrats and that's what they want, into a giant sanctuary for criminal aliens and the MS 13 killers...Democrat immigration policies aren't just wrong. They're lethal."  It should be pointed out here that most of Trump's attacks on Democrats are racist dog whistles, but the dogs respond. They respond.

That's dangerous stuff. The president of the United States is saying that large number of Americans are a threat to his supporters. "Democrats are the party of crime," he repeats.  Now you can say that that's off-the-cuff, playing-to-the-crowd, or whatever you want to call Trump's free association of words and phrases that we politely call a "speech." 

But in USA Today, well, today, whether he wrote it or not (and he didn't write it), Trump has an op-ed, decidedly not improvised, where he lies outright about a Democratic-supported Medicare-for-all plan. And then he goes off, "The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela. If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America." 

It should be pointed out here that Fred Trump made his fortune by taking advantage of government-backed loans with artificially low interest rates. But we don't call that "socialism" for some reason.

Then he launched into an attack on his fantasy version of the Democratic policies: "Today’s Democratic Party is for open-borders socialism. This radical agenda would destroy American prosperity. Under its vision, costs will spiral out of control. Taxes will skyrocket. And Democrats will seek to slash budgets for seniors’ Medicare, Social Security and defense."

For the record, "open-borders socialism" is a nonsense phrase. The Democratic approach to immigration better described as "Be a little less dickish." As for Medicare and Social Security, Republican budgets put forth by Paul Ryan and others specifically cut... you know what? It doesn't matter. Because we're not dealing with reality. We are dealing with the description of moderate to center-left policies as "radical."

If the person who you believe has been anointed by God to lead the country (and the MAGA hordes do think this of Trump) tells you that a bunch of radicals are going to destroy the country, steal your money, and kill your Mama, then that person is saying that the radicals must be stopped by any means necessary.

Trump is talking a good game by saying that people should vote. But what happens if Democrats take over the House and, long shot, sure, the Senate? Then voting failed and the radicals got into office, the ones who are going to let in the Hottentots to spear Granny. 

The transformation of Donald Trump from illegitimate president to full-on authoritarian is frighteningly organic at this point. It is the direction he's been heading, the power he craves. He dictates what is acceptable. If any minor deviation from Trump-approved beliefs is a radical threat, then that threat must be stopped by his followers. If they can't do it through the ballot box, they will want to do it in other ways. 

They will want to kill us. Whether or not they will make the leap from desire to action, I don't know. But the very idea that I don't know is scary because while I always assumed the right held hateful thoughts about the left, I never entertained the possibility of them going full Serbia on us. That's not true now. And I just don't see it in Trump and his quislings in Congress and the administration to calm the hordes. 

If they don't win, they have been told we will harm them. We're just the extremists trying to stop their march to a wealthy, white future. They will want to kill us. Trump and the politicians who support him have fanned that little ember of hatred into a flame. As we go through these next truly dangerous months, I don't know if it will become an inferno. But I fear it will.