2/24/2017

How Much of a Sociopath Is Donald Trump? (An Ongoing Investigation)

Yesterday, Donald Trump, the president of the United States (no, really) and a swollen cantaloupe on top of an ill-tailored suit, met with representatives of several organizations who deal with the issue of human trafficking here and abroad. The meeting, we're told, was convened at the behest of Ivanka Trump. It might be something she actually gives a shit about or it might have just been a chance to make her monster of a father seem like something approximating a human.

The event, which was also attended by senior advisers and a couple of members of Congress, didn't receive much coverage because, well, it's hard for anything to break through the chaos of impeachable events that are a daily occurrence in the Trump administration. Yesterday, it was trying to get the FBI to lie to the public.

But Trump's brief remarks at the event are fascinating because, as most of his speeches and remarks do, they offer another glimpse into the depth of delusion and sociopathic behavior that make up Trump's personality. In other words, goddamn, what a fucking crazy-ass idiot.

Here is a topic that should have been a moment where Trump, for five fuckin' minutes, could have shown compassion and understanding. Instead, he demonstrated that he didn't know a goddamn thing about the subject and tried to pretend that he knew it all. "I want to make it clear today that my administration will focus on ending the absolutely horrific practice of human trafficking," Trump said. "And I am prepared to bring the full force and weight of our government to the federal and at the federal level, and the other highest levels, whatever we can do, in order to solve this horrific problem." As we shall see, the word "horrific" got stuck in his brain.

But just so you know that it's always "America First," motherfuckers, Trump informed us, "It's getting worse and it's happening in the United States in addition to the rest of the world, but it's happening in the United States, which is terrible."

Then Trump, the one-page expert, the man for whom five minutes of study is 4.5 minutes too many, showed us how knowledgeable he is on the subject by acting like a schoolkid asked about the Louisiana Purchase and only able to repeat the words "Louisiana" and "purchase" several times before giving up: " It's really made possible to a large extent, more of a modern phenomenon, by what's taking place on the Internet, as you probably know. Solving the human trafficking epidemic, which is what it is, is a priority for my administration. We're going to help out a lot."

And, as ever with Trump, he said something weird: "'Solve' is a wonderful word, a beautiful word, but I can tell you, we're going to help a lot." The fuck? How is the intrinsic quality of the word "solve" important here? It's the kind of shit rich dumb fucks say that no one will challenge them on because they're rich.

And, as ever with Trump, there was a dig at the Obama administration and an assertion that no problem could ever be helped until he became president: "Dedicated men and women across the federal government have focused on this for some time, as you know. A lot of you have been dealing with the federal government and it's been much more focused over the last four weeks -- I can tell you that." You got that, child sex slaves? Even though most of the federal government has no leadership or staff, things are more focused on your problems now.

Trump wrapped up by letting us know, once again, how "horrific" this problem is without mentioning a single word that would tell you that he understands anything more than that something bad is going on: "It's a very, very terrible problem. It's not talked about enough. People don't know enough about it. And we're going to talk about it, and we're going to bring it out into the open and hopefully we're going to do a great deal to help prevent some of the horrific -- really horrific -- crimes that are taking place."

On the sociopath scale, this ranks somewhere below mocking a disabled reporter but just above his golfing hypocrisy. It's got a complete lack of compassion, minor self-aggrandizement (at least he didn't say anything about his electoral college victory), and substantial worthlessness.

By the way, Ivanka might want to tell her dad that those pissing prostitutes in Russia that delighted him so are likely victims of human trafficking.

2/23/2017

Republicans Could Be Heroes on Obamacare (and Liberals Should Let Them)

Let me be honest: I'd rather have my prostate checked by Wolverine on a vengeance rampage than help an elected Republican in Congress. But if you are one, chances are you're either facing crowds of angry constituents (and, really, and, c'mon, you can lie to your Twitter followers all you want, but it's mostly your constituents who are showing up) at town hall meetings where they force you to defend the idiot president and your own campaign promises, the ones that really promise to hurt them or their familes, or you're cowering like a beaten puppy in a corner of your local office, avoiding anyone who might tell you to your face what you know is true: "You're full of shit."

Face it, GOP scum. Now that the black guy and that Clinton woman are out of the way as a lightning rod for all the misdirected hatred you could foster, you have nothing between you and the voters. There is no buffer. And anything you do is something you own. Yeah, motherfuckers, acting is a whole lot harder than obstructing. It's a lot easier to talk about killing something than to actually drown the cat or bludgeon the milk man.

But when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, you have painted yourself into a corner and then placed landmines all around the floor. For seven years, it's been a constant chant of "repeal," followed by "repeal and replace," which was already a retreat, an admission that you needed to do something about the uninsured in the United States, that the government had to be involved to some degree, even if it was just with bullshit tax credits.

Now, since the election and certainly in the town halls, what you're hearing, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Rep. Jason "Little Rat-Faced Bitch" Chaffetz of Utah, Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee, and so many more, is that the ACA or, you know, Obamacare, is doing what it was supposed to do: give people who previously didn't have access to health insurance a chance to go to the doctor and get treatment without having to choose between medicine or food. People who previously didn't have that access, those who got policies through the exchanges and through expanded Medicaid, have learned that they like being treated like human beings whose lives have worth.

And when you, the GOP Congress men and women, tell them that you are gonna come up with a plan that'll be even better, that you can't give your constituents all the details because it's "still being worked out" or some such shit, that someone's cancer treatment might be interrupted while you attempt to figure out what "replace" is supposed to mean, that to get cancer treatment under the Affordable Care Act is to not want "freedom" or have "individual responsibility," as Vice President Mike Pence alluded to in a tweet, then you are telling those voters that they do not deserve to be treated like human beings. You're saying, senators and representatives, that their cancer treatments and medicine and other health care, their lives, aren't worth the effort to save.

So, yeah, they're pretty fuckin' angry. You've lost on this issue. You can be jerks about it and dick people over. Or you can admit you lost.

Here's the deal, though. I've got a solution. It's so easy that you will come out of the whole thing looking like the most democracy-loving motherfuckers in history, like goddamned heroes. Listen. No, shut the fuck up, GOP assholes, and listen:

You tell the voters that you heard them. Tell your constituents that you understand how important the Affordable Care Act has been. And tell them that because they have spoken so passionately and made so much sense that you are now going to listen to them. You can make a big fuckin' show about it. "Republicans want to take care of all Americans," you can say. Hell, you can even remind us all about how the ACA was a Republican idea to begin with (which, let's be honest, is the reason you can't come up with a replacement).

You don't have to admit error. You can say that you "evolved," which seems to be the term now for "Boy, I was a fucking prick about that. Sorry." And then you can say that instead of "repeal and replace," you're going to "reform and repair" Obamacare.

And you can essentially do nothing. No, really. You can do absolutely nothing except for a few tweaks that it needs to help out the marketplace in some states. Then you can say, "See? We fixed it. Republicans fix things." Hell, Democrats might go along with it, and you can claim a bipartisan victory, that phantom of something that we used to think was important. Your idiot president can make one of his barely coherent speeches about how he fixed the ACA and now it's "Trumpcare."

Now, sure, sure, you're wondering, "Won't people think we're liars and hypocrites?" To which I can only say, "What the fuck do you think people think you are now, GOP?" But, to put it another way, right now, Republican voters are fucking nuts. They honestly believe that millions of people voted illegally. They really think that Donald Trump is doing a good job. A good many of them are convinced that kids are being raped in the basement of a DC pizzeria because "cheese." You just say that this was what you wanted all along. You wanted to hear from your constituents and you listened. And if Trump tweets that out, you're golden. The stupidity of your voters will be your cover.

As for us liberals, we'll gnash our teeth. But, ultimately, we're liberals. We want people to have access to health care. Democratic members of Congress and candidates will likely campaign on, "Oh, c'mon, we were right all along." As well they should. And maybe they'll win with that. However, GOP, you will definitely be losing a lot of races if you take away Daddy's heart surgery and Mommy's chemo.

Oh, dear, sweet, terrible GOP, you have lost Obamacare as an issue. Because Obamacare without "Obama" is just "care," and do you want to be the party that takes that away from millions of Americans?

(Note: Yeah, they probably do.)

2/21/2017

David Brooks Can't Figure Out Recent History

Sometimes, a line of writing from something sticks in your craw like a poorly-chewed piece of popcorn. No matter how hard you try, you can't get it to stop poking your insides. One such line came from today's New York Times, on the mighty opinion pages. It was from David Brooks's latest column (if by "column," you mean, "an ongoing chronicle of despair, loneliness, and failure from a mind unwilling to admit just how goddamned wrong he has been for years"), wherein Brooks waxes Brooksishly about how "This Century Is Broken."

Nominally, the photo that accompanied the article would have annoyed the shit out of me. It's of "a shuttered business in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Pa." The last time I was in Wilkes-Barre was in 1995; those stores were shuttered even then and had been for a long damn time. But the use of that photo was not David Brooks's fault, although, fuck, it's pretty much par for the course for the column.

No, the line that has nagged at me all fucking day, like a splinter under my fingernail, came after Brooks told us that "between 1948 and 2000 the U.S. economy grew at a per-capita rate of about 2.3 percent a year," as an article in Commentary by Nicholas Eberstadt he read told him. Then, still summarizing, in the six words that made me want to punch my iPhone screen, Brooks observes, "But then around 2000, something shifted." Are you fucking kidding? You might expect the most obvious answer in the world here, especially as Brook continues, "In this century, per-capita growth has been less than 1 percent a year on average, and even since 2009 it’s been only 1.1 percent a year."

"Something shifted" in 2000. Something changed. Starting in 2000. The end of 2000, if you look at the Commentary piece. Something that we haven't recovered from. God, what could have happened? Brooks throws all kinds of things at us then, about demographics and shifting priorities of workers and millennials. Eberstadt talks about economic inequality as a factor, something that Brooks fails to mention. But, really, and come the fuck on here. Is this that difficult to figure out?

Here's the fun part: Brooks, like Eberstadt, leaves out one key word, one word that would do more to explain the mystery of slow growth, than any other statistic or fake psychological insight. And that word is "Republican."

For fuck's sake, in 2000, George W. Bush was appointed president, and his policies quickly, in 2001, took the economy back to the fucking Gilded Age, with tax cuts, unfunded mandates, and, what do you call it, two motherfucking useless wars, and Republicans have done their goddamnedest to ensure that the fuckery done by the Bush years wouldn't be set right by the Obama administration and Democrats. Brooks was a wet-pantied cheerleader, rubbing himself on George W. Bush's groin back in 2001, so maybe he's still distracted by his unslaked lust.

Practically every shitty thing that Brooks describes can be directly attributable to Republican policies (with some aiding and abetting by some Democrats) that dicked over the working and middle classes in this country. The end of social mobility that Brooks mourns from his mansion was an intended effect of the deregulation mania that started in the Reagan era and was put into high gear in the W. Bush reign of "Fuck You, Proles" economics. We're heading back to those good times now with Trump.

If you leave out Republicans, whether in action in the Bush years or in intransigence in the Obama presidency, then you are willfully blind, willfully ignorant, and pathetically deluded. Which, come to think of it, are generally the abiding principles of a David Brooks column.

(Note: Thanks to the good Driftglass for the reminder of Brooks's days of fucking the quarterback.)

2/17/2017

Things That Wouldn't Have Been Surprising for Trump to Do at His Fucked-Up Press Conference

Donald Trump's press conference yesterday was so weird, so disconcerting, and so filled with lies and fantasies and violent imagery that it wouldn't have been surprising if...

1. Trump had presented the corpse of a man tortured and killed by ISIS and put on a ventriloquist act with the body as his Charlie McCarthy, asking it, "Do you wish President Obama had wiped out ISIS?" and making the bloodstained head nod and the lips move and, in an awful accent that would best be described as "a bad version of Achmed the Dead Terrorist," answered, "Yes, most wonderful and sexy Donald Trump. Only you can save us Christians from being boiled alive and having our heads cut off."

2. Trump had looked at the orthodox Jewish reporter from Ami magazine (motto: "What? You don't love Israel with your whole being, you shmendrik?") and said, "You wanna see how anti-Semitic I am? Watch this" and taken out his dick and a small knife and recircumsized himself, adding "You see that? Who loves the Jews more than me?" before throwing the piece of of his dick at the media and snarling, "Fake news!"

3. Trump had asked a black reporter if she is friends with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and that she should arrange a meeting for him with the CBC, as if the black woman was his secretary. (Oh, wait. He really did do that to April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks.)

4. Trump had said, "You wanna see how much I don't care about Russia?" and then phoned Vladimir Putin on his unsecured Android phone, asking, "Is your refrigerator running?" and awaiting an answer before adding, "Well, then you better catch it," hanging up, and telling the reporters, "See? You keep saying 'Trump loves Putin,' 'Trump loves Putin.' Would a man who is friends with Putin prank him so viciously? That's the best prank you ever saw, by the way" before whispering behind him, "Call and apologize, Bannon, now."

5. Trump had explained, "You know what uranium is, right? This thing called nuclear weapons like lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things." (Oh, wait. He really did says that, right after lying that Hillary Clinton "gave" Russia "20 percent of our uranium," as if the Secretary of State could just hand over a giant stockpile of an element.)

6. Trump had dropped his pants and taken a shit on a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton while sputtering about "306. You didn't expect me to get to 222, 250, but 306," shouting, "Greatest electoral victory" as he tried to squeeze out just a little more.

7. Trump had locked the doors, ordered a band to start playing "Rains of Castamere," and then watched while the reporters from Breitbart, Fox, CBN, and Gateway Pundit stabbed to death all the mainstream media, having Jim Acosta's throat cut last as he smirked and said, "Not so fake now."

8. Trump had claimed that he fired Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser even though Flynn's contact with Russia wasn't "wrong," according to Trump, but instead said Flynn was fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence, even though Trump knew that Flynn had been lying to Pence two weeks before Pence found out, which would seem to mean that, by his own standard, Trump should fire himself. (Yeah, you guessed it. That clusterfuck of illogic really happened.)

9. Trump had jacked off silently and with his eyes closed for about twenty minutes in response to a question about leaks until he finally seemed to ejaculate as he proclaimed, "I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done."

10. Trump had ranted and raved while saying that the press would say, "Donald Trump rants and raves at the press," while ranting that he wasn't ranting, as Republicans behind the scenes were pissing themselves at the display of ignorance, hate, and self-aggrandizement that was on display and the right-wing media and his supporters praised Trump's performance as the greatest thing in the history of anyone ever talking to the press ever and everything just got a little sadder as we head into President's Day weekend and think, "Are you fucking serious? Are you fucking serious?"

2/16/2017

Trump's Insidious Immigration Raids Get More Harmful by the Day

A half-dozen Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested an undocumented transgender woman at an El Paso courthouse last week just after she had received a restraining order against the man who had beaten her. Here's whole truth: the woman has a record for crimes like stealing mail and allegedly assault, and she's been deported a half dozen times. That shouldn't matter, but you'll hear about it when this case is discussed, so let's not hide anything.

Here's the wholer truth: Her criminal record was described as "non-violent" by El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal, and there were no outstanding state court warrants for the woman's arrest.

Here's the wholest truth: The woman had reported three incidents of domestic abuse, each worse than the previous one. "This is a woman who had suffered serious abuse," Bernal told the local press. "This was a victim of horrible domestic violence," said the judge who had just given the woman a protective order against her ex-boyfriend. She suffered one more abuse at his hands because it was her ex, himself in custody for another crime, who likely tipped off ICE about the immigration status of the woman he was beating. She was living at the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, which provides emergency shelter for individuals and families.

Of the myriad fuckeries that the Trump administration has engaged in, the arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants with minor or no criminal records or even with DACA protections is the most insidious because it is presented as doing good while, quite plainly and quite intentionally, tearing apart families and sending people with no ties to their country of origin back to often terrible lives. And the case of this woman in El Paso, whose name is listed only as IEG on the order, is particularly insidious because not only does it serve no purpose, but it does real and actual harm.

Because what the fuck does this accomplish? IEG is just one more immigrant to be added to a total that Donald Trump can proclaim as a demonstration of strength as he bumblefucks through a hopefully brief presidency. He'll say they're only deporting the worst criminals or some such bullshit. But it's such a lie. See, as Bernal and Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez have said, what this arrest does is drive undocumented domestic violence sufferers away from seeking protections.

In fact, to take this further, any undocumented immigrant who is a victim of violence now can assume that going to the police or to a court would result in deportation, so they must suffer in silence. To go even further, this goes for children of undocumented parents, too. They can assume that if Dad is beating the shit out of them, Mom will be sent back to Mexico if they turn Dad in. To go even further, you can say that it's open season on undocumented immigrants because they likely won't report crimes. And to go just a little further, undocumented immigrants can tell you to go fuck yourself if they see a crime where you're the victim because helping you, even by getting a cop, can result in their arrest and deportation. And fuck testifying in court.

The price of Trump's crackdown on undocumented people in the United States is going to be more crime and, frighteningly, more unreported violence. Trump is saying that he doesn't give a shit about anything other than raising his numbers of deportations, consequences be damned. Fuck women, fuck families, fuck crime, fuck all the blood that will be spilled because of it.

When the next backwards ass, Trump-loving, Christian fuck asks me, "What would Jesus do?" I'll answer, "Jesus would rip Trump's tiny dick off and feed it to pigs." And when that Christian fuck wonders what happened to turning the other cheek, I'd tell him, "At this point, even Jesus would say, 'I've only got so many cheeks, motherfucker, and they're all used up.'"

2/13/2017

Photos of Trump That Assure Us That We're All Gonna Die


That right there is the motherfucking president of the motherfucked United States of America, seated and grinning while grim pandemonium goes on around him. And he's at a dinner at his golf resort in Florida, where he spent the weekend golfing. The dinner is for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, who also golfed with the president, who happens to be a persimmon-topped wrecking ball named Donald Trump.

At dinner, the president and the PM were enjoying a salad. More precisely, they were enjoying "Mr. Trump's Wedge Salad," which is a chunk of iceberg lettuce coated in blue cheese dressing, bacon, and more blue cheese. Essentially, it's just edible plastic conveying cheese and bacon and cream to your bloodstream. Then, oh, the inconveniences of being president, North Korea tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan. It's kind of a big fucking deal because, see, North Korea has nukes and a mad leader with no checks on his madness, and Japan would be right in the crosshairs of any attack. Goddamnit, what about the main course?

So everyone leapt into action to find out more and figure out how to respond to a direct provocation. That's the flurry of activity you see up there. It's not, by the way, an effort to move the conversation to a more secure location. Oh, no, that'd interrupt dinner, and there was some goddamned meat on the way. Thus, in the middle of the dining area at a big golf club with tons of people watching, everyone with Trump and Abe started to read classified documents and talk about classified information. Even more fucked up was that the room was dimly lit so they used their goddamn cell phone flashlights to read the, let's say it again, classified information. Their phones. Pointed at the documents. Their easily-hackable phones. In the room where everything was being discussed. In front of dozens of civilians, many of whom were snapping photos of the events. As long as you paid your expensive dues, you could be there in that room. So, really, who the hell knows what agents of foreign governments could have been present?

This isn't about the level of transparency or whatever else you wanna make it about. Like so many things with Republicans, it's about the hypocrisy. Hillary Clinton's private email server was supposed to essentially allow ISIS to enter the country freely and kill all our dogs and enslave our wives. But here are seemingly multiple violations of any kind of safety protocols when it comes to dealing with classified material.

And even more fucked up is the center of this photo. President Trump, sitting calmly, not involved in any of the uproar, smiling and leaning on his hand, not a care in the entire goddamned world, preening and showing off for people who pay to be in his club, even as an American ally was facing what it considered to be an existential threat. Imagine that. Imagine so not giving a fuck that you couldn't even be bothered to pretend like this was a serious enough situation to not pose like a serene but stupid frog, let alone just take the fuckin' meeting to a private room. Imagine if President Oba...you know what? Fuck it. At this point, it's obvious that Republicans are mud-encrusted piglets, gleefully suckling at Trump's multiple teats while he gorges himself on the slops and shits all over the pen.

Trump is so removed from reality that, after making some brief remarks, he sauntered over to a wedding reception in Mar-a-Lago's ballroom to congratulate the newlyweds. And he really did say, "They've been members of this club for a long time. They've paid me a fortune."

And everyone just laughed like it was the most normal thing in the world.

2/10/2017

Question to Trump Voters: Aren't You Just Embarrassed?

You know, I was halfway through writing a big piece that boiled down to "What if Donald Trump was a raging liberal who promised to do all the things I want? Would I be just ashamed to support him at this point?" I stopped because it was all so, so fucking obvious.

But I really want to know from Trump voters: Does any of this embarrass you? Any of the shit with Michael Flynn and Russia? Any of the ridiculous things Trump says, like threatening to "destroy the career" of a state legislator? Any of the ludicrous comments and promises he makes? His complete lack of understanding of the way the government actually functions? His complete lack of knowledge about the United States's relationships with other countries? The disastrous and unnecessary military mission in Yemen? The fact that he is literally doing the things he said he was going to do, like tearing families apart? The demonstrable lies? Does any of it make a dent with you?

I stopped, too, because I realized that it doesn't. And that reasoning with most Trump voters is like running a flea circus. You can fool people into thinking the fleas are doing tricks and acrobatics, but it's just fleas being fleas. Whatever frame you put on it, they're gonna do whatever the fuck they please.

Whenever we face the joke of a presidency we're forced to endure right now, we're not merely facing the pumpkinheaded doom goblin at the top. We're facing all of his supporters who are unmoved by any ethical lapse, any law broken at this point, even the Constitution itself. So we either have to write them off as a mad tribe that has taken over the temple and hope they orgy themselves to death or we have to reason with them, however terrible it might be to walk up to a group of convulsing idiots and ask them to listen to your insights you got from watching CNN.

The takeaway from the blog post was going to be that I'd like to think that I'd be embarrassed. I'd like to think that it would matter even if President Stumblefuck McBleedingheart was going to tax the wealthy more and rein in Wall Street and get rid of money in politics and spend shit-tons on infrastructure and alternate energies and make reversing climate change a top priority and attack poverty with education and jobs programs and on and on. If he was as dumbly evil and evilly dumb as Trump, I'd like to think I'd be able to say, "Yeah, but, holy fuckballs, man, can we just impeach him already?"

Shame is a powerful tool. We need to deploy it more and make Trump's ardent supporters feel like outcasts for denying reality.