You Now Have a Patriotic Duty to Kneel During the National Anthem

You see that up there? That's Major General Benedict Arnold's Oath of Allegiance to the United States, signed, in the middle of the Revolutionary War, on May 30, 1778 at Valley Forge. By the end of 1779, Arnold was working for the British to defeat the United States. Lotta fuckin' good that loyalty oath did, huh? Professing your love of nation doesn't mean shit if you don't act like you love it.

Every generation or so, we have to go through this ludicrous exercise in symbol worship. Anti-flag-burning still rears its ugly-ass head every now and then even though the Supreme Court said in 1989 that it was free speech. You know who joined the majority in that case? Motherfuckin' Antonin Scalia who, when asked about it years later, said he did it because the First Amendment is the First Amendment. "If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag. But I am not king," he said in 2015. You got that? Freedom of speech specifically allows us to say things like "your bullshit symbols are bullshit."

And it allows us to not have to worship whatever symbols people in power tell us to worship. During the flag-burning debate, I wrote a comic piece about a joyful flag maker who is encouraging people to burn flags because he makes more money that way. The point was that a flag is a product, often not even made in the United States, that is purchased and is the property of the person who purchased it. If I bought it, it's mine. If I wanna wipe my ass with it, I can because capitalism.

You wanna assign each person their own flag that was sanctified with the blood of George Washington or whatnot, then we can talk about restrictions. But after 9/11, I saw flags that were flown to show pride in country that were just left up, on vehicles and homes, in the rain, in the wind, until they were faded in color, ragged, and worn, which, if you think about it, was pretty damn symbolic for the nation we became pretty quickly after 9/11. But no one was screaming that the pick-up truck driver with an NRA sticker and a "We Support the Troops" magnet should fuckin' respect the flag by taking that threadbare piece shit off his antenna, even though he should have.

Which gets us to the National Anthem.

Look, if you think the National Anthem is a good song, you're just wrong. It sucks. It's a terrible song with warmongering, violent words, a flag fetish, and a ludicrously bad melody that is only vaguely interesting to hear sung to see if the poor singer can actually hit the high note towards the end, at which point the dogs of Pavlovian patriotism in a crowd applaud for the singer not fucking it up. Seriously, though, we have one bullshit national anthem.

When the National Football League owners released its new policy that commands all players on the field to stand during the National Anthem or face fines, they may as well have wiped their asses with the stars and stripes. It didn't have to be this way. They could have just let the protest happen. Colin Kaepernick and the other players who knelt were protesting the mistreatment of African Americans by the police. Then our fucking dickhead president saw a chance to exploit people's racism and stupidity by condemning players for daring to have an opinion that wasn't his.

And that savage orange bastard said today that he agreed with the new policy. "You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country," he told pubic lice on Fox and Friends this morning. You should lose your job and your citizenship if you don't stand when a shitty song is played before a bunch of millionaires beat themselves into insanity for our entertainment and line the pockets of even richer men who would demand that they stand. Oh, they won't lock the bathrooms and the concession stands during the anthem at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. You can be sitting on a toilet and taking a shit while the Dallas Cowboys are forced to stand.

So now it's not just about protesting police violence. Now the only patriotic thing to do is to kneel when you're at a public event and they stupidly play our dumb anthem. At a Little League game? Take a knee. At a school event? Take a knee. At a football stadium? Take a fuckin' knee. Because the brutish asshole who leads this country still ain't a king, even though he wants to be. And enforced patriotism is just a way to make sure that people fuckin' hate the bullshit symbols.

You don't need to sign an oath or pledge to a flag or stand for a song to love your country. In fact, a country that makes you do that ain't worth your love. So show the players that are forced to stand that you still have a choice. Use it while you can.


What Did That Dumb Orange Motherfucker Say Now? (Anti-Choice and Anti-Woman Edition)

There is no way in hell that Donald Trump did not pay for or have others pay for multiple abortions for the apparent multitude of women he fucked before marriage, between marriages, and while married. Whether it turns out that Elliott Broidy was covering up for Trump's affair and that Playboy model's abortion or if it's just Trump bankrolling other abortions, Trump had to have knocked up some women who didn't have a pre-nup with him. So whenever he disparages abortion rights, especially after decades of open support of choice (because no shit), it's with a kind of hypocrisy that he usually reserves for wedding vows and business deals.

In the wake of new Title X regulations that target abortions providers, including things like requiring "clear physical and financial divisions between programs that receive Title X funding and programs that perform or support abortion as family planning," Trump undulated over to the National Building Museum in DC to address the awfully named Susan B. Anthony List at its Campaign for Life Gala.

In other words, the guy who bragged about sexual voraciousness and adultery was asking to be praised for making it harder for women to get abortions. And the supposedly religious people there welcomed him with open arms.

So much of it was the same yadda, yadda, yadda. He mentioned the 2016 election: "Your hard work helped us to achieve this historic victory, our historic victory, one of the great victories of all time in politics," along with mocking Democrats with "They were not happy. They were going to have a big, beautiful party. Didn’t turn out to be such a good party." You won. Get over it.

And do you remember a couple of weeks ago when not supporting torturer and evidence destroyer Gina Haspel for CIA director made you so sexist that you should be ashamed of yourself? Yeah, that kind of respect for someone just because of her sex doesn't extend to Democrats because Trump repeatedly attacked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. "Democrats like to campaign as moderates at election time, but when they go to Washington, they always vote for the radical Pelosi agenda down the line," Trump said, adding, "Can you imagine having Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House?" The gathered members of an organization named after the founder of the feminist movement in the United States booed the first woman speaker of the House.

It didn't stop there. "Nancy Pelosi and the group — you heard her the other day — she wants to raise your taxes," Trump explained. And "the other day — just the other day — Nancy Pelosi came out in favor of MS-13. That’s the first time I’ve heard that. She wants them to be treated with respect, as do other Democrats." That's in response to some Democrats and others saying that perhaps it's not right for the president of the goddamn United States to call people "animals." Of course, instead of admitting an error, Trump doubled down and now every release on MS-13 from the White House calls them "animals." Hell, he's doing it at a speech in Long Island right now.

The most uncomfortable moment of the whole thing? Maybe when Trump praised the organization's namesake: "This organization bears the name of one of the greatest champions of freedom in American history: Susan B. Anthony. She fought for decades to end slavery, to secure women’s right to vote, and to respect the dignity of every single person. A great person, a great woman, was she." He doesn't know a goddamn thing about her.

But I'm gonna go with Trump quoting the Bible. Using a verse that anti-choice maniacs love to throw out there because they think it has to do with abortion, Trump said, "As the Lord says in Jeremiah, 'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…Before you were born, I set you apart.'"

Except, see, the next line is "I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" because God is very specifically talking about Jeremiah. And then, since this is the Old Testament, God isn't exactly very pro-life. In fact, what God is telling Jeremiah is that the people of the nation of Judah were being dicks who needed some smiting and that there was gonna be some wars for years and years where, yeah, a lot of fuckin' people would die. God was telling Jeremiah to be ready to kick ass.

This "pro-life" passage is a prelude to talking about lots of killing. It's just getting shit wrong to separate it out. Much like having a pussy-grabbing, misogynistic, raping creep speak to your allegedly "pro-woman" organization.

Honestly, the ghost of Susan B. Anthony should have appeared with the ghost of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, both wearing strap-ons, and they should have taken turns smacking Trump in his face with the dildos.


The Worst of All Possible Worlds: We Need Republicans to Act Against Trump

I have been sitting here, drinking away the lunch hour(s), trying to figure out a way to encapsulate the hogpile of fuckery that has involved the Trump administration just in the last few days.

I've thought about metaphors, like say Donald Trump is pretty much a guy who likes to fuck sheep but he's always just lived on a small farm with only a couple of sheep in the barn for him to fuck, but then, all of a sudden, someone mistakes his fucking of sheep for being a really good shepherd and he's hired to take care of a giant flock which for him is like fuck paradise and now he's fucking all the sheep he can, fucking them every which way, in their sheep asses, in their sheep pussies, in their sheep ears, sometimes just rubbing his dick on the fleece on their bodies until he orgasms, and no one's stopping him, no matter how much people point over the fence and say, "He's fucking the sheep, sweet Jesus. He's fucking the sheep," but no one who could stop him from sheep-fucking is going to stop him, and, horrible as it is, you can't look away because there's a fat old man fucking sheep.

But I didn't feel like that metaphor captured the nuances of the situation.

I've thought about recent history, like the "Chinagate" "scandal," where Bill Clinton was accused of shifting policy to favor the Chinese because China had attempted to donate to Democrats, including the president's reelection campaign, and Clinton's legal defense fund. Without getting into the muck of the details and the conflicting conclusions (although some on the right really believe this is The Worst Scandal In American History and Clinton should have been shot for it), let's just deal with objectively what occurred: there were Justice Department investigations that included teams of FBI agents involved, a Senate investigation, and a House investigation, with Democrats, including Joe Biden, being critical of Clinton.

At no point did Clinton attack the DOJ or Attorney General Janet Reno or FBI Director Louis Freeh. In fact, what Clinton said was "[The allegations] obviously have to be thoroughly investigated and I do not want to speculate or accuse anyone of anything...Obviously it would be a very serious matter for the United States if any country were to attempt to funnel funds to one of our parties for any reason whatever" and said the investigations should get to the bottom of the matter. Whatever he might have done behind the scenes, Clinton did nothing but respect the independence of the DOJ and the people who work there. By the way, the amounts of money that were involved in Chinagate were ludicrously small, like in the $80,000 range (out of over $190 million that the DNC raised in 1996). And the foreign policy actions that Clinton supposedly took to favor China were just a continuation of a deal made under George H.W. Bush. You know, back when presidents honored the agreements of other presidents.

Compare that to what ought to be Trump's Chinagate, which involves a $500 million loan by a Chinese government-run company for an Indonesian project that includes a Trump hotel and golf course. On its own, the fact that a company still owned by the President of the United States is getting massive infusions of capital from foreign countries ought to be a goddamned scandal that'd make Clinton's Chinagate look like the chump change it is. But add into that the fact that Trump tweeted, just a few days after the announced investment, support for the Chinese phone company ZTE, which had been sanctioned by the U.S. for illegal trading with, you know, Iran. And now Trump appears to be backing away from his much-hyped trade war with China as the Chinese roll the United States in whatever the fuck is going on with negotiations. Frankly, the easiest way any of it makes sense is if the trade war threat was just a negotiating tactic to get that Chinese investment in the Indonesian project.

That's a motherfuckin' Chinagate. It's not even a complicated scandal. Trump's company directly benefits from the loan, which means Trump and his family directly benefit from the loan, and anything that Trump does to help China has at least the appearance of a bribed quid pro quo. This ain't Russian pee hookers or clandestine meetings with idiot man-children and a real goddamn pedophile. This doesn't even involve spies. It's a fucking bribe. It's the simplest form of corruption there is.

In fact, let's leave aside the entire Russia probe, which is so monumental in its implications that Republicans just plug their fingers in their ears and scream, "La-la-la, I can't hear you" rather than deal with it. Let's just deal with another easy one.

Trump personally contacted Megan Brennan, the Postmaster General of the United States (not the Postmaster General of Trump, but the whole fuckin' country), to get her to double the shipping rate on packages sent by Amazon because Trump hates the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Trump tried on several occasions to get her to do what is clearly a violation of a contract Amazon has with the Postal Service. But we all know that a contract to Trump is just something used to wipe his swampy ass dry. Brennan, obviously understanding her audience, sent Trump a series of slides showing him that Amazon is paying a fair rate and that the USPS makes money on the deal. But even a picture show couldn't convince our fucking idiot president that he's wrong once some lie gets Fox-trapped in his thick, oatmeal-filled skull.

That's a scandal. That's the goddamn president targeting and attempting to punish an American and an American company because one of the entities in that company doesn't worship Trump. That's abuse of power. That's a violation of his oath. That's fucking easy to understand.

I know we keep thinking, like a mantra to give us some modicum of peace, "Just wait until the midterms. Wait until the midterms." But unless Democrats take back both houses of Congress by overwhelming majorities, something that is frankly impossible, we still need Republicans to shake off whatever combination of craven political power-mongering and greed they have in order to step the fuck up here. Even in 2019, Republicans would be needed to remove Trump from office over any of the extravagantly impeachable scandals that are racking up on a daily basis.

Again, I'm not even talking about whatever Robert Mueller's investigation might find. I'm saying that the crisis is here, now, and it's not just in the big, grand uber-scandal that Trump is not the legitimate president. I'm talking about the quotidian, easily comprehensible graft and threats. What we might simple call "the dictator shit." And he's getting away with the dictator shit because the elected officials who are supposed to stop the dictator shit aren't doing a goddamn thing.

That's on Republicans. But the GOP has signaled, in ways small and big, that not only are they not interested in holding Trump to account, but they will do what they can to aid and abet the entire hogpile of fuckery, starting with the repulsive pile of goat vomit, Devin Nunes, who will go down the shitter of history as "that fucker who kept letting Trump get away with it." And that'll go for nearly every Republican in Congress right now. This is the other big scandal: the dereliction of duty by the majority party in the Legislative Branch.

But that kind of talk does us no good. The best we can hope is that a 2018 Democratic wave will scare the shit out of Republicans. Hell, it might even make a few of them change party when the choice is fealty to a vile orange blob or the possibility of some kind of redemption. Trump's balls can't taste that good.

And Democrats should run on those easily understandable scandals, not the Russia stuff, precisely because it's just easier to communicate in a 30-second ad: He took a bribe. He threatened to make your Amazon deliveries cost more. He's an asshole because of that and needs to be stopped. Right now, Republicans aren't doing their fucking jobs. Democrats can run on just doing the fucking job of a member of Congress.

Otherwise, yeah, we're all just standing at the gate, yelling, "Won't someone, for the love of God, stop him from fucking those sheep?"


Time to Do the School-Shooting Roundelay Again

Hey, everyone, there's been another school shooting, this time at Santa Fe High School, right near I-45, southeast of Houston, on the way to Galveston. You can get there by taking the same exit you used to take to get to the Mall of the Mainland, which is now a space for a church, a gym, and other assorted stuff.

And so it's time to do the school-shooting roundelay, the slow dance that is a closed circle of people where everyone moves a bit but the circle never goes anywhere.

We're still in the "we're shocked and appalled" step now, while we still learn how many are dead and injured. The count is up to 10 fatalities now. And we're still learning about the weapons involved. One officer at the scene said the assailant went into Santa Fe High with "an AR-15-style rifle, a pistol, a shotgun, and pipe bombs," leaving "a bloody mess in the school."

The horror will inevitably combine with the "thoughts and prayers" step, which will be followed by the "shooter is a socialist Bernie-lover" turn until it becomes the "oh, wait, nope, he's another right-wing asshole" twist, which will be followed by the "anger and outrage against guns" step, accompanied by the "we need new gun laws" kick, which is followed quickly by the "angry backlash against the anger and outrage" twirl with a "too soon to talk about it" flourish, accompanied by the "2nd Amendment is more important than lives" head nod, the "law-abiding gun owners" saunter, and the "you don't know what an assault rifle is, libtard" bow, which is followed by the "we need action" foot stomp and the "mental illness" waist thrust, which is followed by the "don't worry, gun nuts, we're not touching your precious murder tools" final step. Eventually, the dance will be complete, everyone will end up where they began, and most, but not all, will leave to go to their regular lives, while others will stay behind and wonder why no one will let them change from a roundelay to a two-step, where at least you can end up in a new place on the dance floor.

There is nothing left to say. We've said it all before. The vast, vast majority of the nation knows what needs to be done, but we are hostages of the National Rifle Association and their army of paranoid morons who can't comprehend why we're all not as batshit paranoid as they are.

One student from Santa Fe High was interviewed by a local news reporter. When the girl was asked if she thought a shooting would never happen at her school, she answered, sadly, wisely, with the kind of resignation no young teen should ever have to muster, "No. It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here, too." We (and when I say, "We," I mean, "We," as in you, me, everyone) have failed to protect our kids. We have failed as a country.

By the way, the district's member of Congress, Republican Randy Weber, has an "A" from the NRA for his pro-gun votes.

All the way on the other side of Texas, in El Paso, an elementary school was briefly closed because yesterday, after school was over, a box of ammunition fell from a military helicopter. It went through the roof of Parkland Elementary and caused a partial power outage. Which means that the flight path of helicopters carrying live ammo from Fort Bliss is over a school. In West Texas, where there is so much space that you could travel for hours without seeing a person. That's how much our kids mean to us. Not even enough to go around them with our official death machines.

We'll dance again. And again. Until the roundelay becomes a danse macabre, accompanying more and more of us to our end.

(Update: It appears shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis did not have had the AR-15 style rifle. Obviously, more will come out as we go along. It's all part of this dance.)


What Did That Dumb Orange Motherfucker Say Now? (California-Bashing Edition)

So today we learned that our goddamn president, Donald Trump, the personification of a toxic hippo shit, had previously lied on his financial disclosure statements about payments to Michael Cohen and had likely known about the meeting between obvious serial killer Jared Kushner, desperate-for-Daddy's-approval Donald Trump, Jr., and some assorted Russians and other skeevy fucks. It's not that we didn't really already know this, that Trump obviously was paying back Cohen for the Stormy Daniels hush money and that no-shit, of course he knew what Russia was offering. But it's always good to have, you know, proof, or at least some kind of damn evidence that can lead to proof.

We also already knew that Trump is a racist shitheel who never misses an opportunity to be a prick to immigrants or his political opponents. And he got that opportunity in spades today with a roundtable, the sole purpose of which was to talk shit about Democrats and California, a state with a booming economy and high taxes on the wealthy that puts a lie to everything Republicans believe. The theme was that the Golden State is a "sanctuary state," just letting wild gangs of immigrants rape and pillage as they rampage across the land, leaving behind a scorched hellscape littered with bodies. You know, the apocalyptic torture porn that gets the right all hard, wet, and ready to fuck.

Trump was a blithering cockhole from the start, lying with such hyperbolic abandon that it was like someone asked him how much he's worth: "California’s law provides safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on Earth, like MS-13 gang members putting innocent men, women, and children at the mercy of these sadistic criminals. But we’re moving them out of this country by the thousands. MS-13, we’re grabbing them by the thousands and we’re getting them out." No, we're not. About 1200 MS-13 members have been arrested since Trump started shitting in the White House. Not all of them were deported. So thousands? Fuck no.

Never one to shy from exploiting the gory details of a story in order to turn every meeting into pure propaganda, Trump regaled the group of officials from California and DC by saying, "We all remember the tragic case of Marilyn Pharis who was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been arrested six times prior to breaking into Marilyn’s home, raping her and savagely beating her to death with a hammer." It's a horrible act, and if you don't remember it, that's because it happened in 2015. Because of delays, the trial just got going last month. And it's a little more complicated because the crime was committed by two men, one of whom is a U.S. citizen, which fucks up the narrative a bit.

As ever, Trump got stuck on a talking point and repeated it to death, as when he was referring to something recently-lambasted Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen had said. "I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough," Trump offered, obviously referring to the DHS decision to take undocumented kids away from undocumented parents when they are caught at the border and holding them at military bases (no, really). "But those are the bad laws that the Democrats gave us. We have to break up families. The Democrats gave us that law. It’s a horrible thing. We have to break up families. The Democrats gave us that law and they don’t want to do anything about it. They’ll leave it like that because they don’t want to make any changes. And now you’re breaking up families because of the Democrats. It’s terrible." I think we refer to things like that as "The Idiot's Tautology."

Obviously, given the chance, Trump went full white supremacist when he declared, "[W]e’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals."

Which ones are "animals," huh, motherfucker? Are they the parents from Mexico who had three kids in the United States and were deported after living here for 30 years? Or the now-deported father from California who has been here for 23 years and was raising a son who has autism? Or another father from Michigan deported from his wife and teenage kids after 30 years here? Or the Ohio mother of 4 small kids, deported after 20 years here? The real fucking animals are the ICE agents and the White House that has set them loose.

(And, by the way, this destruction of families went on plenty during the Obama years. But at least Obama didn't try to make everyone hate immigrants.)

The event included, as any Trump roundtable does, a chance for members of the administration to get on their knees and pinch the president's tiny dick in their fingers to hold it steady for some vigorous sucking. This time, it was Tom Homan, the Deputy Director of ICE, who could lapped, "I’ve worked for six Presidents, and I respect them all. But no President has done more than you for border security and for law enforcement. I think every law enforcement officer at this table would agree with me."

Not to be outdone, snail slime-coated Stephen Miller snatched Trump's dick away from Homan and showed him how to fellate like a Hoover set on deep pile. When Trump asked him if he would like to say something, Miller took out the Chapstick, lubed up his lips, and went to town: "Just what an honor it is to be able to work for a President who has the backs of our law enforcement officers. Everything you’re doing every day is saving so many lives all across this country, and it’s just an endless honor to be a part of it, and even in any a small way. So thank you, sir."

As ever, a "roundtable" is just another circle jerk for Trump.


Trump's Racism Towards Immigrants Hurts Everyone (Even His Voters)

One of the most insidious, outright evil things I've seen from this insidious, evil bunch of shit-smelling grotesques in the Trump administration is that they are considering a change to immigration policy that would allow that a "lawful immigrant holding a visa could be passed over for getting permanent residency — getting a green card — if they use Medicaid, a subsidized Obamacare plan, food stamps, tax credits or a list of other non-cash government benefits." Even if a lawful immigrant's U.S. citizen child is on CHIP, it could lead to that child's parents not getting a green card.

This all has to do with whether or not an immigrant is "self-sufficient" or is a "public charge," that is, needing help from the government to get by. It used to be that only if someone was receiving cash income from the government could it count against you when going for a green card. Now, it's anything that you get from the government. From the proposed rule change: "[C]ertain aliens are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP coverage or for exchange subsidies under the ACA and are permitted to purchase unsubsidized coverage through the exchange. While having health insurance is generally a positive factor in the totality of the circumstances, having subsidized insurance will generally be considered a heavily weighed negative factor." You got that? You might be eligible for health insurance for your toddler, but if you use it, you might get booted from the country for using a program that you are legally able to use.

Our fucked up attitude towards health care is merging with our fucked up attitude towards immigrants. In almost every other nation on earth, health insurance isn't even a factor in such decisions. It would be savage cruelty to give people a reason to avoid getting themselves health care. Here, you may end up having your visa not renewed because you dared to get your cancer treated.

And, remember, we're talking legal immigrants here. We're not talking about the undocumented. We're not talking about MS-13 or whatever bugaboo that our dumbass president is trying to make us shit ourselves over. We are talking people who followed all the laws and the rules, and we're saying, "Yeah, sorry. Go fuck yourselves." They're also including housing assistance and, swear to fuck, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in the list of shit that be used against you.

Right now, the proposed rule change hasn't yet been published for public comment. But imagine the fucked up thinking that has to go into this. This is just blatant racism and xenophobia because we're saying to immigrants who come through the extensive process to get into the country that we don't give a fuck about them once they're here and will use any excuse to get rid of them. And the short-sightedness of the rule change is plainly ignorant. How is it better to have sick people who are afraid to go to the doctor walking around? How is it better that a family starves rather than goes on food stamps? If you're answer is, "Well, we don't want people like that here," then fuck you, too.

The Trump administration's immigration policies don't just have the potential to get us sick. We're getting a bunch of stories about businesses that rely on seasonal workers from foreign countries being unable to get enough employees who'll work for the shit wages they pay. That's because Trump has severely limited the number of H-2B visas that would allow "guest workers" to come here to work, say, for someone's landscaping business or crab processing company. Putting aside the exploitative nature of these jobs, it's darkly hilarious that, in almost all these cases, the business owners are Trump voters who say shit like "Trump can fix it with his pen" or "I know my president cares." No, he fucking doesn't. All he cares about is undoing Barack Obama's presidency and making this a whiter country. It's all such obvious white supremacist thinking.

Still, as much as they hate what Trump has done to their businesses, and as the effects of many of his policies will be felt as the ripples of shit like tariffs and the breaking of the Iran deal spread, these poor, deluded motherfuckers still support Trump. They'd rather believe he is some miraculous business tycoon instead of admitting that they got conned by a cheap grifter in a baggy-ass suit. They'd rather punch themselves in their own faces than say they were wrong. And they'll probably come up with a reason to blame Democrats or Obama or Hillary Clinton for the fact that they're spitting out blood and teeth.


Torture Isn't an Impediment to a Career in Washington

Please, motherfuckers. Fucking, fucking please stop acting like anything other than confirmation is going to happen with Gina Haspel.

When Barack Obama nominated John Brennan to be the director of the CIA, the vote to confirm him in March 2013 was 63-34-3. Brennan had been the third-ranked CIA official during the time of the torture used on supposed al-Qaeda detainees in the few years after 9/11, many of them completely innocent (although it doesn't matter if they were innocent or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed). He claimed he didn't like it, but he didn't actively oppose it.

Most of those voting against him were Republicans because they thought he might go soft after the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on "enhanced interrogation," as we quaintly called torture. But voting for him were Democrats who are currently on the Senate Intelligence Committee - Ron Wyden, Dianne Feinstein, Mark Warner, and Joe Manchin - as well as independent Angus King. After the release of the report, Brennan refused to condemn the torture (except for waterboarding) and essentially said we got "useful" intel because of torture, something vigorously denied by many others.

In May 2006, the Senate voted 78-15-7 to confirm Michael Hayden as the director of the CIA, with most Democrats voting for him, including Feinstein and Warner (Wyden was a "nay" on this one). Hayden had been the Deputy Director of National Intelligence and, it turned out, had lied to the Senators during his confirmation hearing about the extent of the torture program, but his knowledge of and involvement in it wasn't an impediment to his getting the job and it wasn't an impediment for the Democrats who voted for him.

There has been no reckoning in this country for the systematic and officially-approved program of torture, including direct torture by the CIA, as well as the rendition of detainees to countries where they would be tortured. When the Senate Intelligence Committee's much-redacted report came out in 2014, it was met with outrage on the right that we'd dare question the brave souls in our intelligence community who were beating trussed up pregnant women in hopes that it would squeeze some tiny bit of info out of them. Torture, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib did more to create terrorism than they ever did to stop it. Listen to the incredible podcast from the New York Times, Caliphate, to hear how we were and are essentially punching ourselves in the face with the stupidity of our violence.

A real reckoning would involve an acceptance across most of the political spectrum that we were wrong. It would involve apologies and compensation. It would have involved prosecutions if Barack Obama hadn't been so misguided as to think moving on would get him some cooperation from Republicans. Instead, not only did he not prosecute, but he fucking nominated John Brennan to be CIA director.

And, of course, we have wannabe-tough politicians proclaiming how much they love torture, how we ought to torture more, how it wasn't a mistake and giant fucking wound on the decrepit soul of our fading nation.

Of course, Gina Haspel is going to be confirmed as CIA director, even though she was in charge of a CIA black site in Thailand where prisoners were tortured, even though she ordered the destruction of videos of torture in a cover-up that she laughably described as having been done because of the "security risk" of revealing the officers who were on them.

Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris admirably tried to get Haspel to answer a question about whether she thought the torture was "immoral," which Haspel evaded. But we long ago decided that we didn't care about the morality or legality of it. We long ago decided that those who participated in and all those who allowed torture to become part of arsenal in our foolish "War on Terror" might even be rewarded for their heinous actions.

So fuck it. Why not Haspel? This is who we are because we've done nothing other than wave a finger and say, "Promise us you won't torture." Which I always thought was the promise in the first place.


Note to the World: You Can't Trust the United States Anymore

Republicans (and some Democrats) have had an irrational hysteria about Iran since 1979, when the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah, who himself had been handpicked by the CIA to overthrow the elected government leaders. And one of the most irrational bits of fuckery has been the promise that Iran was magically always just around the corner from building a nuclear weapon. As far back as 1984, we were told that the scary Moose-limbs were a year or two or five from having a nuke. And they never fuckin' built it. So either they kept failing or we were just told that shit so we could keep up our hate-boners from back in the days of the Iranian hostage crisis, nearly 40 years ago now.

During the 2015 negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal that Donald Trump just broke like it was a contract with an interior decorator at one of his shitty casinos, Republicans, especially, were completely hysterical. There was the letter, now prescient, where 47 Republican senators warned Iran, "You can go along with this deal, but we're untrustworthy motherfuckers and we will fuck all the mothers we can." Tom Cotton of Arkansas told his Senate colleagues that "President Obama harbors such deep-seated and irrational antipathy for Prime Minister Netanyahu that he is now willing to upend this decades-long alliance" with the Iran deal. God, I'm so sick of the United States being Israel's bitch.

And then there's that sucker of donkey cock, Jeff Flake. You may have seen that he recently said that Trump should not leave the Iran deal because everyone is living up to it and it makes the United States seem like a bunch of irrational fucks if we leave. Well, back in 2015, given the chance to support it and make it have bipartisan backing, Flake fucked off back to the safety of his craven party and opposed it.

Look, Donald Trump, a pile of piss-soaked rags heaped in a man-shaped sack, doesn't understand jackshit about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the real name of the Iran deal). You could tell that by how carefully he slurred the statement he made announcing that the U.S. was going to violate the agreement ("Withdraw"? Motherfucker, I can't "withdraw" from my car payments. I can break the contract, with all the consequences that come with it). If you asked him to tell you one fuckin' thing in there, he'd stammer like a sixth grader caught jacking off in the bathroom before saying how Iran is evil and accusing you of supporting evil.

All that matters is that the Negro President had successfully negotiated the deal, and fuck him. Who gives a shit if it's working? Who gives a shit if there are no better options? Who gives a shit if every one of our main allies is telling us to stay in the deal? The ethos of the Trump administration is "Fuck that nigger" and, if Hillary Clinton was in any way involved, "Fuck that bitch, too." (Although it was completed when John Kerry was Secretary of State, Clinton was involved in getting the momentum going on it.) Trump had savage ideologues, horny for a war, like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo telling him it was cool to dick over everyone else in the deal.

So the Trump administration and Republicans have taught the world a valuable lesson: You can't trust the United States any further than the next election (unless it's a treaty ratified by the Senate, but that's a nuance that will get lost). The country with the biggest military and biggest economy in the world is now an irrational actor, with the whims of a vengeful madman setting the agenda from day to day, without a care about any goddamn thing other than what makes him look tough and what sticks it that Negro President who thought he was so smart.

By the way, President Obama did put out a statement saying, in essence, Trump is full of shit. And Iran told the United States to go fuck itself and will stay in the deal with the European Union, if it can work that out.

This is what it's like to be a pariah. And it may lead to conflicts with our European allies. It may lead to Iran eventually saying, "Fuck it," and building a nuke before negotiating again (like North Korea did). It may even lead to war in the Middle East should Israel or Iran get nervous. But, man, Trump really stuck it to us libtards, didn't he?


Note to Legit Pundits: It's Adorable That You Think the GOP Cares About Trump's Lies

When nightmare ghoul Rudy Giuliani went on Sean Hannity's Festival of Self-Fellatio and said, more or less, "Yeah, Trump paid back Michael Cohen for hush money so Stormy Daniels wouldn't talk about fucking Trump," which was followed up by Trump saying, "Sure, I paid Cohen to shut Daniels up so she wouldn't say I fucked her, but I totally didn't fuck her," the commentariat of American media has been rending its garments over the fact that Trump lied earlier when he said he didn't know anything about the payment (and, c'mon, he totally fucked porn star Stormy Daniels).

And we're not even talking about MSNBC here. We're talking Rupert Murdoch-owned Trump ball washers here. A Wall Street Journal editorial says, "Mr. Trump should worry that Americans will stop believing anything he says." Over on Fox "news," guinea pig-faced Neil Cavuto did an entire commentary on Trump's lies. Well, he didn't call them "lies," saying, "I'm not saying you're a liar, I'm just having a devil of a time figuring out which news is fake." Still, he did say, "I guess you’ve been too busy draining the swamp to stop and smell the stink you’re creating. That’s your doing. That’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp."

Admirably (no, really), Cavuto didn't just say it was about Daniels. He also brought up how Trump keeps asserting there was massive voter fraud in 2016 when there just wasn't. And he said, "Or that millions of illegals voted in the last election, but they didn't." On that last one, it's just absolutely necessary to point out that one of the people also hyping the false story that undocumented immigrants were going to vote in 2016 was...fuckin' Neil Cavuto.

In the Washington Post, Dan Balz wonders how the voting public will react to Trump's lies: "Does it bother anyone that the president has been shown to be a liar?" He continues, "People will answer them differently, depending on their views about Trump. Some will condemn the behavior. Some will condone it. Many, no doubt, will try to look away, even if that has become more and more difficult. The questions won’t go away. They are part of the fabric of this presidency." And, as an example of presidents lying, he gives the legitimately tired example of Bill Clinton saying he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky. Except Clinton was punished mightily for that statement, a line that had absolutely zero effect on anything to do with the lives of the people of the nation, unlike, say, Trump lying about the effects of the tax cuts or immigration or any of the thousands of other things he lies about.

In fact, if you really wanna go to the recent nadir of presidents lying, you'd have to make that George W. Bush lying to the American public about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. At the bare minimum, Bush lied by not saying that there was doubt of the WMDs' existence even within his administration. More likely, he and Cheney and the rest just outright lied to Congress and to all of us about it. The results of that lie were thousands of American deaths and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Iraqi deaths.

Bush's punishment? Nothing. The GOP simply refused to go along with any real investigation, let alone prosecution (even in the form of impeachment) for very real war crimes. Shit, Democrats let him off the hook, too, especially President Obama. And now Bush gets to be treated like some kind of honorable, beloved former leader because Americans have the attention span of an Addy-snorting teen looking at her Instagram feed.

So it's just downright laughable to see and read all this huffing and puffing about Trump's lies, as if he hadn't spent his whole miserable fucking life lying, as if his idiot hordes don't love him for his lies. We are long past the question of whether anything will make his core voters turn against him. They won't. He could go Thanos on them and say that if half of them are killed, there would be more jobs and fewer immigrants, and they'd fuckin' race each other to throw themselves off a cliff for him. Trump owns their souls like a good devil would.

Even worse is the expectation that the Republican Party might stand strong against a lying president. It's so pathetic a notion that it's not even worth talking about.

It's not that all these Republicans and other assorted conservative nutzoids are fine with him lying. It's not even that they believe him over reality (although that's certainly true). It's that they don't care. As long as they are getting what they want, be it tax cuts or racist policies or just stickin' it to the libtards, the rest is just a whole bunch of noise.

We on the left hear Trump's words as lies over Stormy Daniels. His supporters just hear their hero, and his words fuckin' glow, man, they fuckin' shine. He could stand up there and announce, "I shit gold," and they'd make his turds their currency.


Fuck Your "Redistribution of Sex"

So now that New York Times resident other-conservative-no-not-David-Brooks-that-other-one-whatshisname Ross Douthat has more or less admitted that he can't get laid and has brought the whole godforsaken discussion of "involuntary celibacy" and "redistribution of sex" into the mainstream (along with fuck robots), well, shit, I guess it's time to pants the nerds. In his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "post-masturbation dribbles"), Douthat discusses the intersection between incels, high-minded bullshit artists conning people with dumbass ideas like "redistribution of sex," and, yes, fuck robots. He's just theorizing, mind you, in the same way that eugenicists and Charles Murray theorize about race.

Douthat says that by talking about the more sensational parts of the "debate" (as if there was a debate on this before a bunch of horny losers got sick of jacking off to the same hentai), we "can surface issues and problems that lurk beneath the surface of more mainstream debates." And then, honest to fucking god and the god of fucking, he blames the sexual revolution for some people not getting more ass: "the sexual revolution created new winners and losers, new hierarchies to replace the old ones, privileging the beautiful and rich and socially adept in new ways and relegating others to new forms of loneliness and frustration."

No, motherfucker, the sexual revolution allowed women to have agency over their bodies. It meant that date rape wasn't just something that happened to bad girls. It meant that women could choose their partners more freely the same way that men chose theirs. The new "winners" were an entire sex. And if they liked hunky guys, well, that's evolution, man, like it or not. By the way, let's be honest here: it wasn’t exactly a pussy paradise for unlikeable and unattractive assholes (or the obese or introverted) before the sexual revolution, either.

Everything else Douthat writes (and, indeed, everything that incels and "No, I'm totally not an incel" writers talk about) follows from that basic misunderstanding about a world that transformed so women could have a chance to be equals on the sexual (and political and economic) playing field. When he says, "[T]he sexes seem to be struggling generally to relate to one another, with social and political chasms opening between them and not only marriage and family but also sexual activity itself in recent decline," what he's really talking about is that there are a fuckload of men who simply refuse to accept that they are not only losing power to non-whites. They're losing it to women. Fuckin' deal with that shit.

And then there's this purely ignorant overview of contemporary sexuality: "the greatest possible diversity in sexual desires and tastes and identities should be not only accepted but cultivated, and that virginity and celibacy are at best strange and at worst pitiable states." Two things: In the real world, that first part is patently untrue. That is the porn mentality. In a recent survey of American adults, most of the respondents are fine with regular ol' sexy time. The illusion of porn, especially if you watch too much porn (c'mon, Rossy, baby, you can tell your pal the Rude Pundit), makes people believe they should be having more exotic sex, but they don't. And virginity and celibacy? There is a whole movement of asexual people who are becoming as accepted as fluid gender identities among millennials and teens.

Yet, with this swamp of bullshit stinking up the joint, Douthat ventures to say that "I expect the logic of commerce and technology will be consciously harnessed, as already in pornography, to address the unhappiness of incels." And that legalizing and legitimizing sex work will also do the trick, as it were, as will the fuck robots.

While Douthat has read people like the frightening Robin Hanson, I'm gonna bet he has never spent time on the incel message boards. You won't find a group of sympathetic but socially-inept lost souls. No, you'll find savage misogynists who blame women for not fucking them, who mock overweight women for desiring hot men, who think women who stay in abusive relationships get off on it, and who "joke" about killing and maiming and enslaving women. They believe, like Douthat, that the sexual revolution left them behind and they're pissed that they don't get to control women. And while some are genuinely pitiable fools who fell in with this group of MRAs and alt-righters and wayward Gamergaters, enough aren't that it's a scary fucking movement that has already led to violence.

You think a sex worker, who can tell them to fuck off if they want and walk out, or a fuck robot will make them happy? No one who brings up the phrase "redistribution of sex" wants anything other than someone who must bend to their will. The control must be real, not pretend. To say that sex can be redistributed means that some means of distribution must be established, which means a kind of sexual slavery.

Which is really what many women endured before the sexual revolution called "bullshit" on the whole hierarchy of gender. Only the worst losers among us can think it would be better to go back to that time.

Oh, and if the incel movement was legit, you'd have a whole lot of women involved. Funny how that works.

(Note: This is totally different from prostitutes working with disabled adults or, really, anyone legitimately seeking a sex worker for an experience.)

(Note 2: It shouldn't need to be said, but sex workers are deserving of the same dignity as every worker.)

(Note 3: A good many people on the incel boards are obviously just in it for the lulz of getting people raging at women. That doesn't make them less skeevy.)


How We Live Now: Trump Has Been Normalized

While everyone was distracted by the faux outrage over the White House Correspondents' Circle Jerk, President Donald Trump was in Michigan, giving one of the most ragingly unhinged speeches of his entire unhinged rage oeuvre. It was so bugnuts, barking crazy that, so far, it hasn't showed up on the White House website, and every other incoherent yawp that his mouth shits out has made it onto there.

The "speech" (if by "speech," you mean, "a long, dark ride into the gaping mouth of madness with a jabbering, methed-out orangutan driving") was a series of lines that, said by any president prior to 2017, would have triggered paroxysms of garment-rending among politicians and the media over how demented and/or criminal said president is.

Just a sample:
About Senator Jon Tester going to the press with his concerns about Ronny Jackson: "I know things about Tester that I could say, too. And if I said 'em, he'd never be elected again." The President of the United States says he has information on a political rival that could destroy him. That seems...troubling.

Regarding James Comey and a character from Saturday Night Live in the 1980s: "Do you remember Jon Lovitz? Do you remember the liar? Well, Comey's worse. Comey's a liar and a leaker, you know. But, you know, I did you a great favor when I fired this guy." Put aside Trump's constant slander of Comey. Pop culture stopped for this man 30 years ago.

Regarding seasonal workers: "We need people to be able to come into our country. Do your jobs, help you on the farms. and then they go out. They get a leave. Guest workers. We're gonna take care of that. Guest workers. Don't we agree? We have to have them." So we can exploit immigrants for their labor and then discard them.

Regarding undocumented immigrants at the border: "If a person puts their foot over the line, we have to take them into our country." You should probably ask the Mexicans who are immediately returned to their country and not taken into the United States. Trump's got a fundamental misunderstanding of immigration laws that he uses to whip up the crowds into a xenophobic orgy of whoops and shouts of "Build the wall!"

There is so much more, including the truly bizarre tangent on the cost of building embassies in Jerusalem and London where these ostensibly working class white people are cheering for Trump getting the price of construction down.

Even a couple of months ago, this would have been more alarming. And, yeah, we can muster shock now and then, but, c'mon, when Trump can say, as he did, that the Paralympics are "a little tough to watch too much," and it just barely registers beyond the Twittersphere, then we have become inured to Trump. Seriously, ask yourself when the last time something with Trump genuinely surprised you. Maybe it was a brief "The fuck? Really?" but that was likely quickly followed by a rueful "Of course, he did." We are now completely used to his insanity, his incompetence, his ignorance, and his contempt for anyone not white or rich.

This normalization of his behavior and his words has also led us to the point where the genuine corruption of this administration just starts to seem like business as usual. For instance, the fact that the Republican Party and the federal government pour millions of thousands of dollars into holding events at Trump properties.

Or this: Trump is holding up the $16 billion modernization of the Veterans' Administration's software because a Mar-a-lago member and doctor for the head of Marvel Entertainment doesn't like it. A current VA official said he thinks it will eventually go ahead, but "We just had to make the Mar-a-Lago guys comfortable with the deal." (Of course, there is another layer of corruption here: the whole deal was a no-bid contract for a company that Jared Kushner advocated for.)

That's a relatively minor story, but in another administration, especially if it had been a Democratic president, it would have blown things up. Jesus, between the Stormy Daniels case, the money laundering allegations, the fuckery with Michael Cohen, and so very much more, it's like we're all at the sweet spot when the Adderall speeds you up so much that it just slows everything down and feels a little more, well, normal.

Trump gets to normalize his ridiculous buffoonery because no one is holding him to account. Right now, all our eggs are in the Mueller basket (well, maybe a couple are in the Southern District of New York basket). But Robert Mueller's investigation depends on a Congress that is willing to act and on a public that is willing to support action. And I honestly think that Mueller could have ironclad evidence, recordings even, that prove that Trump absolutely conspired with Russia on the election, and almost all of Trump's idiot horde would say it was fake news. You could show them a video of Trump clapping while hookers pissed on a bed and Vladimir Putin massaged his prostate and told him, "We've hacked the machines and you're going to win," and they'd still say, "MAGA, libtard snowflake."

By making his behavior normal, that which deviates from it is now abnormal. This is how we live now, with a constant stream of outrage that has grown into white noise.

At that Michigan rally, in every pause, audience members were yelling, "Thank you" and "I love you" to Trump. What are they thanking him for? He hasn't done anything but make their lives worse. They are thanking him for being mean to immigrants and making it safe for them to be openly racist.

And that might be the most frightening normalization of them all.


Arizona Teachers Will Kick Your Ass, GOP

That right there is the latest march of thousands of teachers in a Republican-run state. As many figured would happen after West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, the teachers in Arizona have told the GOP-led legislature and Republican governor that their pay sucks, their schools suck, and it's gotta fuckin' change. Teachers are leaving Arizona in droves to go to surrounding states where they at least attempt to pay teachers like they're the people who educate our fucking children. At the start of this year, of 8600 vacant teaching jobs, 62% were either unfilled or filled by unqualified substitutes.

Like in every other state led by the savage servants of the rich, Arizona Republicans have passed years of tax cuts, mostly for corporations and the wealthy. And, fuckin' yeah, it's the Republicans. They've controlled the Arizona state government in totality since 2009. They've controlled the legislature for years. And these dumb shitkickers really thought that cutting taxes would bring in companies and jobs, and guess the fuck what? Like in every other state that's tried it, it didn't fuckin' work.

Meanwhile, to make up for the hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue, guess the fuck what they cut? Yeah, education (among other things that help, you know, people). The budget for repair and construction on schools? Fuck that. That's been cut $2 billion since 2009 when, as mentioned just up there, the GOP took over the entire government. Schools had to increase class sizes, cut staff and programs, and a total of $4.5 billion has been cut from schools since 2009. Oh, and teacher salaries have been stagnant. So, yeah, they're on a fuckin' strike.

50,000 people showed up in Phoenix today to march on the state capitol in over 90 degree heat. In fact, the march had to be cut short because people were dropping from heat exhaustion. 75% of Arizona's schools are closed today, and that's 820,000 students, a bunch of whom joined their teachers on the march.

Now, the governor is proposing a 20% pay raise over three years, but the legislature is unsure how to fund it. But the teachers don't just want the pay raise. At the rally after the march, teachers talked about schools with no computers, rusted out desks, and class sizes that have ballooned to 50 students. They talked about how teachers have to live with their parents because they don't make enough to afford to live on their own.

And even some Republicans are calling for a hike in some taxes to raise Arizona from being 48th in teacher pay and 43rd in per student spending in the nation. A conservative columnist for the Arizona Republic newspaper has proposed a 1-cent sales tax hike (which is obviously something that disproportionately affects the poor and middle class, but at least it's something) and legislation locks in how education is funded. It does go well beyond the pay raise but still doesn't restore all the funding lost.

Tomorrow, the teachers will continue their rally, but legislators have left for the weekend. They claim to be working on something. We'll see if these Republicans can overcome their asshole tendencies to do something to actually help the teachers and the kids of their state.

This teacher uprising is a full-fledged movement, one driven by women, who make up the vast majority of public school teachers. It is a way to say that economic sexism, which devalues jobs that are traditionally done by women, needs to fucking end.

(Note: Over in Colorado, a smaller but still important teacher strike is occurring, too.)


Can We Choose to Know Who Runs Our Government Agencies?

Pop quiz, motherfuckers.

1. Who is Lisa Jackson?
a. Michael Jackson's daughter
b. EPA administrator for President Obama
c. Audrey Hepburn's character in Two for the Road

2. Who is Hildy Johnson?
a. Boris Johnson's wife
b. Secretary of Labor for President Obama
c. Rosalind Russell's character in His Girl Friday

3. Who is Shaun Donovan?
a. The full name of folk singer Donovan
b. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for President Obama
c. Jack Lemmon's character in Airport '77

4. Who is Gary Locke?
a. John Locke's lesser-known brother
b. Secretary of Commerce for President Obama
c. Alec Guinness's character in Our Man in Havana

5. Who is Tom Donilon?
a. Secretary of Transportation for President Obama
b. Secretary of Energy for President Obama
c. Director of the Office of Management and Budget for President Obama

The answer for numbers 1, 3, and 4 is b. Number 2 is c because what's life without a twist now and again (Hilda Solis was Labor Secretary, though). And, fuck you, number 5 is a trick because Donilon was Obama's National Security Advisor.

I'm gonna bet you knew maybe one of those. If you knew more than one, then fuckin' awesome for you. You have decided to be extra-aware of who is making decisions that affect your life. But most people everywhere wouldn't know a single one of those 4 real people and 1 fictional character. And isn't that the bliss we want? Don't we just want our government officials to shut the fuck up, stop doing stupid shit, hunker down, and do their fuckin' jobs? It used to be like that. Not that fuckin' long ago.

I might not agree with what Scott Pruitt, Ben Carson, Wilbur Ross, Mick Mulvaney, or any of the querulous worms of Trump administration do as they heap piles of shit on their offices and leave wreckage wherever they go. I may want them to fail miserably and be sent to the hinterlands in disgrace or burn their careers on the pyre of the Trump administration's blustering cruelty. I want to fight their policies. For instance, I want to demonstrate how changes in EPA rules are going to dick the air and water for multiple generations and not talk about a soundproof booth. I want these braying asses, creepy motherfuckers, and skeevy grifters to just fucking get out of the public eye, especially for shit that has nothing to with policy (and they suck when they're doing policy, too).

During the Obama administration, we didn't worry about Gary Locke because he wasn't doing shit like going on TV to talk about the effect of tariffs on the price of aluminum cans like a barely animated corpse. The only reason we ever heard about Lisa Jackson at EPA was when Republicans attack dogs went after her and decided to make having a private email account is the worst thing anyone could do, far worse than, say, hiring a massive security force and spending on paranoid office shit, like fuckin' Scott Pruitt has.

This is not a call for ignorance. It's a call for peace. It's a call for the Republicans to step up (man, I just rolled my eyes so hard, I saw another dimension) and get the executive branch to cut the shit out. You learn shit like Ben Carson buying an extravagant fucking dining room table, then you call for his firing.

And the members of the administration just seemed to be engaged in a "hold my beer" contest in who can be the biggest corrupt asshole. You think Pruitt seems nuts? Check out Ryan Zinke. Think Steve Mnuchin's a greedy piece of garbage? Mulvaney's got him beat. You just know that Trump loves this chaos. He loves that it keeps his name on TV even more. He probably beats off to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell getting pissed off.

The fabric of a society cannot hold if the claws of scandal keep tearing at it. Eventually, it's gonna give way. The question is whether or not anyone is gonna be able to stitch it back together.


Confederate Memorial Day Is for Losers

Look, there ought to be no reason to talk about "Confederate Memorial Day" because such a day shouldn't exist. And it fucking well ought not be recognized in any official way by any government of the nation that beat the Confederacy to a gray pulp. Except that the state offices in both Mississippi and Alabama were closed yesterday in "honor" of the dishonorable scumfucks who tried to rip the country in two so they could keep humans enslaved (with some localities closing their offices on other dates). And there were "celebrations" around the South.

For instance, over in Biloxi, on Sunday, an event was held at Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and "Presidential" Library, which strangely has not been burned to ground and the ashes haven't been turned into a giant toilet that black people can piss in. After listening to the plinking tones and odd singing of the Southern Strings Dulcimer Club, you could have heard a speech by H.K. Edgerton, known as "that black guy who supports the Confederacy" and who charges $20,000 an appearance and who totally isn't scamming the racists. (Fun fact: You can go on a ghost hunt once a month at Beauvoir. That's how you know the whole place is legit.)

In Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama, members of a group of Civil War reenactors will be decked out in Confederate soldier drag as a "tribute" to their ancestors. They'll be doing this on the grounds of the capitol building, so it's not unlike a bunch of people dressed as Nazis celebrating the anniversary of Kristallnacht under the Brandenburg Gate. In many other places, people just decorate the graves of dead racists...sorry, Confederate soldiers...no, wait, fucking traitors. That's better.

As usual, idiots come out to spew idiotic bullshit about how we need to "honor" their fallen ancestors for fighting for something they believed in. Like this piece from the "chaplain" of a Sons of Confederate Veterans group, where he uses a 1969 John Wayne movie to back up his point of view and says, "This is our land, our homes and our way of life. We didn't come up there to tell you how to run things, so don't come telling us." And I just wanna say to the author, Barry Cook, "Motherfucker, that's called 'living in a nation.' You don't get to do shit just because it's your 'way of life,' you fuckin' dumbass." Cook admonishes us, "[T]hese intellectual types don't usually get it. (They still haven't figured out how Trump won)." To which one can only respond what people like this tell us on the left about Trump: "You lost. Get over it. You've had over 150 years. Fuckin' babies."

Again, this shouldn't even be worth discussing. But every year, we see stories about some backwards ass fucks doing backwards ass shit to glorify inglorious assholes. And it's got a different context this year because of the surge of racist movements in this country in the era of Trumpism. In western Georgia, just last week, shit-for-brains neo-Nazis marched for shit-for-brains reasons and held a puny rally. With just 3 dozen attendees, they were dwarfed both by the number of counter-protesters and the number of police.

But then these pathetic pukes went into a field and burned a big ol' swastika. You can see photos of them drunk, hepped up on hate, and yowling like rabid dogs who can't lick their balls hard enough. And it'll make you think, "Whoa, whoa, this is 2018. I thought we got over this." Nope.

This is who we are at this moment, as we get confirmed what everyone who observed the 2016 election and its aftermath knows: that Trump voters weren't motivated by "economic anxiety" or such bullshit. They were white people motivated by fear that they will lose their status as the top of heap.

Or, you know, to shorten that, racism. It is the original sin of American society, and, if we don't do anything to hold it in check and change it, it will be our damnation.


The Comey Memos: Man, Trump's a Sad Worm

The memos of former FBI director James Comey were leaked to the press literally minutes after they were given to a congressional committee led by craven twat mite Devin Nunes. While there are some interesting things we can tease out of the details, most of the big revelations have been out there for a bit.

Still, what we get is the image of Donald Trump, our goddamn president, that confirms all the worst shit about him: that he's a self-aggrandizing buffoon, a sad worm of a man, a lump of failure, and a fucking moron. Each meeting with Comey was about Trump trying and failing to assert some alpha dog status over a man who he thought was on his side. Trump wants Comey to be grateful to him. He wants Comey to plead for his job. He wants to own Comey. And when Comey doesn't allow himself to be owned, it fuckin' drives Trump nuts.

Trump begs for Comey's approval in a way that's so pathetic that, if Trump were a dog, you'd take him to the vet to have him put down so you wouldn't have to look at how pathetic he's become. Trump talks about Bill O'Reilly interviewing him and that "O'Reilly's question about whether he respected Putin had been a hard one...He said he does respect the leader of a major country and though that was the best answer. He then said, 'You think my answer was good, right?'" Who needs that kind of validation? Someone who is used to having people around him constantly assuring him that his answers are awesome and he's awesome and every word dingleberry that shits out of his mouth is awesome.

At other points, Comey quotes Trump trying to sound tough, telling Comey, "I have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing, you know?" Comey comments about Trump's low-rent Mamet plea, "I did not reply or ask him what he meant by 'that thing.'" Although, c'mon, it's obvious that Trump thinks Comey pledged loyalty to him probably because Jared or Reince told that Comey did.

And Trump would need someone to remind him because he repeats himself again and again, which ought to be way more disconcerting than anyone is saying. He brings up Andrew McCabe at least 3 times and how he was "rough" on McCabe and his wife during the campaign. Each time, Comey says that McCabe is "a pro." Trump brings up Russia and hookers and the golden showers show a few times, so concerned for how he appeared. Let's put it this way: If you have to say, "Can you imagine me? Hookers?" or that you're "the kind of guy who didn't need to 'go there,'" then you are exactly the kind of guy who goes there and bangs hookers.

In one really weird moment, Trump says that he talks to world leaders on this "beautiful phone," and Comey describes him "touching the gray phone on his desk." It's a fuckin' phone, man. They all pretty much look the same. And in another, he relates how upset he was that Michael Flynn didn't tell him soon enough about a congratulatory phone call from Vladimir Putin after election, freaking out about it.

Nothing is really surprising anymore. It's not like we didn't know that Trump is such a sad, deranged sack of a human that if his dad hadn't been super-rich, he'd be wandering around Jamaica, Queens, in his robe, yelling at women to suck his old dick and grabbing himself constantly.

Except he's president of the United States. Shit and shit again.


What Did That Dumb Orange Motherfucker Say Now? (Rising Sun Edition)

Whenever President Donald Trump, an anthropomorphic shart in a suit-shaped sack, gives remarks that are even a little off the cuff, it's a gut-turning embarrassment for the nation. Whatever meager failed vaudevillian patter he may muster when he's in front of an adoring crowd of yahoos dissipates into stone-cold ignorance and bluster that sounds less like the leader of the free world and more like the chief enforcer of the He-Man Woman Haters Club.

So it was yesterday down in Florida at Trump's shrine to the worst rich people in the nation, Mar-a-Lago, and his press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump says so much unbelievably dumbass stuff in a single appearance that it's kind of breathtaking, like he's a performance artist standing on a stage and flinging dog shit at an audience, wondering when the idiots sitting in the theatre will stop pretending it's meaningful and rush the stage to stop him.

Trump really did say, "It was a true privilege to be welcomed to the magnificent land of Japan or, as I have heard all my life, the land of the rising sun" and then followed that with "It's true," as if he just informed everyone of the secret nickname of Japan for the last 1000 years. And he really did say about American manufacture of military weapons, "And nobody, nobody makes it like the United States. It's the best in the world by far," like a desperate Fuller brush door-to-door salesman trying to convince a poor farmer he needs three.

Of course, he said something to undermine the potential upcoming talks with North Korea: "If we don't think it's going to be successful...we won't have it. We won't have it." And then the word "fruitful" got stuck in his moron head because he repeated it: "If I think that it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go. If the meeting, when I'm there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting." Either he eyeballed a bowl of fruit in the room or it came up on his word-a-day calendar that he generally just yells, "You think you're smarter than me?" at.

And he really did give himself all the credit for the success of the Winter Olympics in South Korea: "President Moon of South Korea was very generous when he said if it weren't for Donald Trump, the Olympics would have been a total failure. It was my involvement and the involvement of our great country that made the Olympics a very successful Olympics." You ever notice there's never any such thing as a "partial failure" with Trump? It's always either the greatest success that ever successed in the history of successing because of him or, because of someone he doesn't like, it's a total failure. Obama's foreign policy, the assault weapons ban, North Korea. You get the idea. But what's even more amazing is that this numbnuts thinks that ticket sales at the Olympics, which he claims he's responsible for, are a good indication that he'll be able to make a deal with Kim Jong-un. It's not unlike saying, "Because I could make a clay ashtray, I can sculpt David."

Asked about the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election (and other tasty matters having to do with Trump's businesses), he streamed catchphrases and sound bites ready for Steve Doocy to cream his Sans-a-belts over in the a.m.: "There was no collusion, and that's been so found as you know by the House Intelligence Committee. There's no collusion. There was no collusion with Russia other than by the Democrats or the obstructionists because they truly are obstructionists." Ya gotta love the last thing there, where he says he calls the Democrats "obstructionists" because they are obstructionists. They're Democrats. You could just call 'em that.

And then, swear to fuckin' Christ, he brought up the Electoral College again. "This was a really hoax created largely by the Democrats as way of softening the blow of a loss which is a loss that frankly they shouldn't have had from the standpoint that it's very easy for them. They have a tremendous advantage in the Electoral College and this is what it is and this is where it came from," he said, like a brain-damaged Popeye snarling, "I yam what I yam what I yam what I yam" on an endless loop. On it went, with Trump repeatedly referring to himself in the third person like some kind of goon: "There's been nobody tougher on Russia than President Donald Trump... Russia will tell you, there has been nobody tougher than Donald Trump."

You know what was great about every other president ever? They occasionally stayed out of the public eye for a while so that they didn't become utterly fucking tedious in their repetitive bullshit. This fuckin' shtick is getting so old. How can anyone find this endearing or interesting except in how fuckin' weird it all is? I could honestly say that people who supported George W. Bush were fuckers, but I understood why they did it. I don't fuckin' get this at all. I don't fuckin' get how "makin' the libtards mad" is enough for some people. It's like when some guy tells you he just loves getting hand jobs and only hand jobs from other guys. You just wanna say, "You know, there's a whole lot more to fucking than gettin' one rubbed out by strange hands."


When It Comes to Hillary Clinton, Oh, Just Fuck Right Off, James Comey

If I've said it before, I've said it a million got-damn times. If you didn't support Hillary Clinton because you believed in any of the made-up "scandals" from her career, from Vince Foster's "murder" to Emails of Doom to pizza pedophilia, you were the bitch of Fox "news" and the entire conservative machine that had created a narrative about Clinton that you bought into. I am not Breitbart's bitch, so I could put that aside and just consider her based on her positions and policies. (I'm not talking to anyone who didn't vote for Clinton because you disagreed with her or because you couldn't get over whatever the fuck you think happened with Bernie, which is its own kind of conspiracy theory, and, no, I don't give a shit about whatever you wanna say about that. It's very nice you believe that.)

And whatever you wanna say about why Hillary Clinton lost - bad candidate, didn't campaign in this or that state, grrr-Wall Street, grrr-war - one thing that cannot be denied is that much of the nation (although, you know, not a majority) did become the bitches of that conservative machine that runs a thrusting piston pounding the asses of the electorate with a dildo marked "Hillary=evil" or "Hillary=corrupt" and "any association with Hillary means you are evil and corrupt, too." Republicans counted on enough people gladly bending over to receive this fucking .

What we've learned now is that the former director of the FBI, James Comey, was also grabbing his ankles. In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition today, part of his "James Comey is gonna make a fuck-ton of cash" tour, Comey was questioned about why he made a statement about the conclusions of the FBI's investigation into Clinton's email server in July 2016. He admits, as he implies in his book, Higher Royalties...I mean, Loyalty, that, at least in part, he was influenced by the noise of cable news over things like Bill Clinton's visit to then Attorney General Loretta Lynch's plane on the tarmac in June 2016.

Comey says to the idea of resisting that noise, "[A] reasonable person might have done that. I think that would have been a mistake, because again it wasn't just what had happened that last week of June, it was a collection of things that led me to conclude that the general public would have serious doubts about the integrity of the Obama administration's decision to close an investigation of Hillary Clinton without transparency, given those things that had happened." And he goes on to say that he thinks that had he not spoken in July or released the letter to Congress about the "new" emails (which turned out to be nothing) discovered on Huma Abedin's computer, "I think the institutions would have been in worse shape had we done the normal thing" and not commented.

Comey told ABC's George Stephanopoulos's hair that he assumed, like everyone pretty much did, that Clinton was going to win and that, in some way, he was doing the right thing in releasing that letter because "If you conceal the fact that you have restarted the Hillary Clinton email investigation, not in some silly way but in a very, very important way that may lead to a different conclusion, what will happen to the institutions of justice when that comes out? Especially, given the world we're operating in, when Hillary Clinton's elected president? She'll be an illegitimate president, but these organizations will never recover from that."

Let's put aside the hypocrisy of Comey saying he needed to release something about these new emails, even though nothing at all had been found in them of any interest, while saying that he didn't say anything about the Trump investigation because it hadn't found anything definite yet. Let's put aside for a moment the idea of balance, that if he was gonna say a fuckin' word about any investigations of Clinton, he had an obligation to balance that with information about Trump so the American people had the full picture. Put that aside.

Instead, let's tell James Comey to just fuck right off on this. Because he might be this great and mighty public servant and FBI director, but Comey doesn't know jackshit about the very machine that's behind him, fucking him in the ass. If Clinton had won, it wouldn't have mattered if Jesus himself walked into Congress and said, "She didn't do shit." Republicans would have gone nuclear because that's the only way to justify all the Clinton hatred they based their entire election strategy on. Fox "news" would have been 24/7 on emails and every other stupid thing they could fan into a bullshit controversy. Shit, it's practically that now and Clinton ain't even president. It's all they know.

Comey thinks his gestures prevented an erosion of faith in institutions and in a potential President Clinton? You goddamned fool, these motherfuckers had over a half-dozen investigations of Benghazi because when one said, "Nope, it's all good. Sad, but good," they immediately had another going. And as for institutions, Republicans don't give a sad turtle shit about institutions. Do you think the assholes who had just prevented President Obama from making a Supreme Court choice out of pure spite and political fuckery would think twice about wrecking any agency that got in their way?

You big, dumb dickhead, the only thing that was standing between your precious institutions and their dismantling or complete politicization was the fact that a Democrat was president. Clinton would have prevented most of the shit that's happening now to the Justice Department. But you fucked it, Jim Comey.

You fucked it, and your specious fucking book tour won't unfuck it. At least own that shit. Stop saying you wouldn't have done anything differently. That just makes you another idiot who won't learn from the past.

But, then again, we should always remember: You are a Republican.

(Note: Goddamnit, I want to stop talking about the 2016 election. But we keep getting dragged back into it, like it's a cave we climb out of and then the trolls drag us back in, kicking and screaming.)


AGD Podcast: Interview With Benari Poulten, Former Producer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore

Up now on the iTunes is a new episode of Another Goddamn Podcast, perfectly timed for a military strike on Syria. I talk some shit about soldiers in my family and then interview a real-life Army reservist who happens to be a funny, funny writer and comic, Benari Poulten.

Benari was a senior producer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and has been in the reserves for the last 18 years. He's seen it all, from Gitmo to Iraq to Afghanistan, and we talk about it. Check it out. Subscribe, rate, review. (Looks like this is gonna be a monthly thing for now, but I'd like to get it to every 2 weeks.)

And thanks to everyone who is subscribed over at Patreon at $5 and up. You got this early, and you got an extra five minutes of the interview where Benari talked about his family's Democratic activism and the time his grandmother flirted with Ted Kennedy. Your donations have made this podcast possible.

Thanks also to Ted Kane for the opening music and the Errol Flynns for the closing tune.


End This Enraging Week with Hope: Kentucky Teachers Will Kick Your Ass, GOP

When we last left the Kentucky legislature, it had passed some pretty fucked up changes to the retirement system for teachers so quickly that no one had time to read the bill they were in. Teachers, many using their spring break, had a day of protest at the capitol in Frankfort at the beginning of the month.

Since then, Gov. Matt "Why Can't I Murder More Kentuckians By Taking Away Their Health Care?" Bevin has vetoed a budget, supported by teachers, that protected a great deal of spending on education (while getting rid of some). And he signed into law a slightly revised version of the fucked up retirement plan so that there is no longer a guaranteed income benefit (in case you didn't know, the teachers don't get Social Security) and there is an increase in health care costs, among other things. Bevin said that the teachers' union was to blame for the dissatisfaction and activism. Which, well, yeah, fucko.

So guess what happened today?

Yeah, this time teachers left the classroom for a day of action, with schools closing all over the state. And they are putting the legislature on notice that this is some shit they will not eat and they are coming for the seats. This year, all 100 House seats are up for grabs, as are half the Senate seats. "Forty-three current or retired educators are running as Democrats for the legislature," said a party spokesperson. And several Republican teachers are primarying the GOP legislators in their districts.

The message is clear: You have fucked with the wrong people.

Oh, and the pension "reform" also affects cops and firefighters.

So the Democratic Attorney General, Andy Beshear, has filed a lawsuit challenging the bill. He is joined by unions representing teachers and the police, saying that the changes to the retirement program comprise a kind of breach of contract. We shall see if this eminently logical argument makes a difference.

But next time some reporter from the New York Times or CNN heads to Trump country, women there can say, "This is what the white working class is doing now. Trying to change this bullshit."