7/16/2018

Random Observations on a Traitor

1. I'm not gonna pretend to know the ins and outs of Russian/American relations in the Putin era. Yet, I know it ain't the Soviet Union, but many of the totalitarian impulses of the Soviet era continue on under the reign of Putin and the oligarchs. Now, during the end of the Cold War, when I became politically aware, I thought the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union was just pathetic dick-measuring played out on a global scale, with proxy wars and constant threats of nuclear annihilation, not to mention endless espionage on both sides. I have done more than my share of research into the Communist witch hunt by the House Un-American Activities Committee, including the Hollywood Ten (check out John Howard Lawson, a badass motherfucker of a writer as there ever was in that time), as well as the other victims of Red Scares and anti-Communist hysteria.

So I can say without equivocation that, today, at his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump offered more aid and comfort to Russia than any victim of Joe McCarthy and HUAC ever did. When Trump blamed the United States for, in essence, not doing more to prevent Russia from hacking the DNC and electoral interference, when Trump declared the investigation into Russia's election fuckery a "disaster for our country" because "I think it's kept us apart, it's kept us separated," when Trump said of his own Director of National Intelligence, "My people came to me, Dan Coats, came to me and some others they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia," he did more to undermine the United States than all the poor saps that McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and Dick Nixon accused of being spies and traitors combined.

There is a lot of shit I might be naive about when it comes to the filthy world of politics, but I'm pretty sure the president doesn't get to trust a foreign country over the one he leads. Or, if a president thinks the intelligence agencies have gone rogue, he can fire people. Instead, he deflected to Hillary Clinton's emails, Peter Strzok, and every other dumbass conspiracy theory that Fox "news" fucked into his addled brain.

2. Republicans have put out mighty statements of outrage, but until GOP senators say, "Nope, fuck this shit. No more judges, nothing, until we can figure out, as the man himself said, what the hell is going on" and GOP representatives say, "Yeah, this fucking sucks. Time to get impeachy," then all their words are bullshit.

As was once explained to me by a Republican consultant, one big reason that they won't cross Trump is that they get pummeled with not just angry emails from his idiot hordes (which, to be completely fair, are all Republicans' idiot hordes until they turn against the orange god), but death threats and rape threats and threats to kill and rape their children, along with doxing of them. To be sure, as someone who gets the occasional death threat, almost every single one is completely fake and the motherfucking pieces of their whore mothers' twat scabs who send them aren't gonna do shit.

Except here's the fuckin' deal: Would you speak up if someone sent you your college-age daughter's dorm room address along with a rape threat?

And here's the flip side of that fuckin' deal: How many of those fuckin' trolls are Russian scumfuckers?

If Republicans have been cowed into silence, which is just a piece with their general state of being chicken shit, then perhaps if they came out as a group, a bunch of 'em, and said, "Yeah, there is some shit we will not eat. Let's shitcan this asshole president," well, it'd show the scribblers of murder notes that they have a fuck of a lot of work to do. And there is even the possibility that a few of the idiot horde might look up from hunching in a ditch and shoving dingleberries up their noses to let a rational thought pierce their thick, troglodyte skulls and think, "Huh, Congressman Cockknob has always been a stand-up guy. He hates queers and immigrants. Maybe I should listen if he's turned against Trump."

2a. At the very least, a couple of Republican senators should switch to caucusing with Democrats and have hearings that'll make the entire White House piss itself.

2b. Yeah, I think some of them are compromised. I think the rest are just opportunist pussies who wouldn't know the civic good if it bit them in the ass and screamed, "I'm the Civic Good."

3. Trump's obsession with the 2016 election is his biggest tell. He can't stop talking about. Multiple times in the past week, he's brought up his electoral vote victory. Today, with Putin smirking that fuckin' Ernst Blofeld/gargoyle smirk of his, Trump went on a couple of tears about 2016. Asked about whether Russia intervened in the election, he shimmied, "[I]t came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election, which frankly, they should have been able to win because the electoral college is much more advantageous for Democrats, as you know, than it is to Republicans. We won the Electoral College by a lot. 306 to 223, I believe." He had announced his Electoral College total at his press conference after the NATO summit, too.

You know when you don't talk about how great it is you won? When you know you won legitimately. If there's something sketchy about how you won something, you can either shut the fuck up about it and hope no one notices. Or you can keep talking and hope you can create a story that people believe when the truth comes out. And you proclaim yourself the real victim of any chicanery.

So this motherfucker is so guilty, he's fuckin' oozing lies through his rosacea-lined skin.

4. Here's the kindest fucking spin I can put on this debacle, this plunge from incompetence and fealty into full-blown traitorous behavior. Trump is begging for Congress to end his presidency. He's saying in so many words, "You have to stop me. You have to remove me from office. Putin won't let me resign. So you have to do it."

If that's not the message that Republicans got from that utter humiliation, that deranged babbling, that press conference from Hell, then we're well beyond fucked. We're being prepped for some kind of takeover.

7/13/2018

Republicans: Shit-Talking Your Boss Is Wrong, But Shit-Talking Your Employees Is Awesome

Believe it or not, I have been entrusted with a position that puts me into a supervisory position over dozens of employees. I am their boss, and I can fire most of them at will or whim because that's the stupidity of U.S. labor laws. I like to think I'm a decent boss - that I'm fair and that I listen to all the people who work under me and that I consider what is best for everyone - but I know that I do things that piss people off. How can I not? My bosses do things that piss me off. Their bosses do things that piss them off. It's the way things work. And I hope the people I supervise shit-talk me. I hope they blow off steam about what an asshole I can be. I hope they say vulgar things and terrible jokes and horrible insults. I hope they do it in person, in emails, and in texts. It's not masochism on my part. It's because if you shit-talk your boss, it means you fucking care. It means your job means more to you than a paycheck. And I'd rather have a bunch of people working with me to make things better than mindless drones who couldn't be bothered to give a sad turtle shit about what we do.

So the House Oversight and Judiciary committees' joint hearing yesterday where FBI agent Peter Strzok's texts to his girlfriend about what a fucking disaster a Donald Trump presidency would be was a complete clusterfuck disaster because, essentially, it boiled down to being pissy that Strzok shit-talked his future boss. Not a single Republican who huffed and puffed and pounded the table could produce a single instance of Strzok doing anything sinister, except, of course, investigate the involvement of Russia in the 2016 election. Indeed, today's indictment of a dozen Russians for hacking the DNC and Hillary Clinton shows that every Republican at the hearing, including living abortion Trey Gowdy and sentient dog shit bag Louis Gohmert, is merely dancing to the tune that Vladimir Putin is playing.

The main assertion, something along the lines that Strzok must be a supervillain who has concocted a Russia/Trump collusion conspiracy out of thin air, exists only because of some messages that the FBI agent sent to another agent, Lisa Page, who he was banging. They were sharing, along with the majority of Americans, the horror of the idea of Trump winning in 2016. Strzok said yesterday, in his pantsing of Gowdy, that he was reacting to Trump's attack on the parents of a soldier who died in the Iraq War in some of the messages.

But if Strzok's texts are supposed to reveal actions that he took (and, again, there is no evidence he took them and there is no evidence that everyone else in the chain of command at the FBI looked the other way while he took actions that he didn't take), then what do Donald Trump's insane, constant tweets about Strzok demonstrate? I'm not allowed to go on social media and say that someone who works for me is an asshole and is plotting to get me. That's fucking wrong and violates all kinds of workplace laws and rules.

Yet over and over, since their names were revealed, Trump has bitched about Strzok and Page. He constantly mocked them as "the great lovers." He said they are both "incompetent and corrupt" who worked on a "Rigged Witch Hunt" (or even led it). He called Strzok "the FBI's sick loser" and one of the FBI's "hating frauds."

If the Strzok/Page texts are some Rosetta Stone of the true purpose of the Russia investigation, then what the fuck do Trump's tweets reveal? (Answer: Sweaty fear and the feeling of impending prison time.)

Let's end here with an exchange you might not have seen anything about. It's not as soul-satisfying as Strzok pimp-slapping Gowdy and Goodlatte or reaming Gohmert's dumb face or barely containing laughter at Paul Gosar claiming that he can read body language because he's a dentist. But it's instructive.

Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican jizz bucket from the suburbs of Houston, wondered, "How do we know that there's not bias in the FBI in this particular investigation or other investigations? How do we know that?"

After some back and forth, Strzok answered, "You look at what I did. You look at what the inspector general concluded, not only me, but all the agents and assistant directors and EADs and DDEs and everybody involved in the investigation. And you see that the evidence, unequivocally, is there is no act of bias. So this false assertion that you're making that political personal belief must equal bias, that somehow we have merged those two words together in the dictionary is one of the triumphs of what's been going on recently that I cannot disagree with more. A judge asks jurors, are you able to set aside your personal opinions and render a judgment based on the facts? Sir, you know that, based on your extensive experience. What I am telling you is that I and the other men and women of the FBI every day take our personal beliefs and set those aside in vigorous pursuit of the truth wherever it lies, whatever it is."

Then a Republican congressman from Texas looked at an FBI agent with years of experience dealing with Russia and who was under oath and said, "And I don't believe you."

As much as it pains this liberal to side with the FBI after their history of mistreating the left, it was genuinely stunning to see Republicans take the side of the country's enemies and against the people who serve the nation. That's a bold assertion, but it's becoming increasingly clear that it's the only rational explanation.

7/12/2018

Stop Telling Liberals To Calm Down Over Kavanaugh

You know what the problem with the story of the boy who cried, "Wolf" is? It ends with a fucking wolf eating the fucking sheep. The lesson is supposed to be about lying. Yeah, he cried, "Wolf" over and over, just for shits and giggles, but, in the end, there was a wolf. Wolves exist and they lived around that area, and even if you're wrong a hundred times, all it takes is one wolf to ruin your flock. So you stay vigilant. You try not to be a dick and cry out because you're bored. You call out a warning when you think something's amiss. And maybe, just maybe, you'll actually stop the wolf. It's the way we approach terrorism, right? It's better for everyone to lose their shit and run around screaming over every little threat than it is to miss the terrorism. (Note: this only applies to Muslims.)

And so must it be with nominees to the Supreme Court. Yeah, as Bret Stephens writes in the New York Times, liberals do fire the warning flares into the sky with every Republican nominee. And fuckin' Republicans do the same goddamn thing when a Democratic president nominates someone. Look at the complete fucking freakout over Elena Kagan by gun nuts. They were practically tearing their clothes off in the middle of the street and screeching that the Second Amendment was all but dead and gone if Kagan got in. Guess the fuck what?

It's only been a few days, and we're already into a genre of editorial writing and punditry that amounts to "Calm down there, little liberals" when it comes to Trump's latest nominee to the highest court in the land. Damon Linker over at The Week (Motto: "Four free issues are too many") actually titled his "The liberal freakout over Brett Kavanaugh is not helping." Linker, in a way that's far more face-punch-worthy smarmy than Stephens, tells us that Kavanaugh is a respectable, regular ol' piece of shit conservative. There's nothing especially notable about him other than he has actual experience (unlike some of the fake finalists in Trump's reality show search for a justice). Linker scolds, "The tendency of Trump critics to treat everything the administration does and everything the president says as abnormal remains concerning."

You know, if I was walking in the forest and I saw Bigfoot taking a shit, I wouldn't say, "Well, that's just perfectly ordinary behavior. Nothing odd about that. Carry on, Bigfoot." No, I'd think, "Holy fuckballs, that's fuckin' Bigfoot and he's gonna rip off my fucking face after he's done shitting if I'm not careful." Just because Trump does something without barking at the moon and jacking off on Sean Hannity's face doesn't mean that we should think of that seemingly normal action as anything but of a piece with everything else he does. Just because Godzilla stops on his rampage to scratch his balls, Tokyo's not safe.

These complete misreadings of the historical moment range from "A Liberal's Case for Brett Kavanaugh," which boils down to "If we're nice, will Republican promise to stop hitting us?" to the ne plus ultra of complete garbage, "I don’t know Kavanaugh the judge. But Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy," which is really not an Onion article, although it reads like one (Sorry, coaching a girl's basketball team is not the same as deciding the future abortion rights for those girls) to every tweet and comment about what a swell teacher/friend/colleague/boss or tender lover Kavanaugh is. Who the fuck cares? Really. Who the fuck cares?

The reason that we on the left are "freaking out" is because that's all we've fuckin' got. We know that, barring the revelation that Kavanaugh was regularly grabbing pussies or got an enormous payoff from Trump for his enormous credit card debt (and, even then, most of the MAGA fucks would say that was just the Deep State doing deep state shit), Kavanaugh is in. And we know that when he's in, he is going to overturn Roe, gut the Affordable Care Act to death, open up gun laws so every fucknut can get a bazooka, and defend Donald Trump's right to remain president no matter how many babies he puts in cages or Russian dicks he gladly gobbles. And we know that the real fight should have been over Merrick Garland, that we should have shut the entire fucking operation of the country down until Garland got a hearing and a vote, that by simply letting that slide (and Barack Obama fucked up royally here) under the idea that Hillary Clinton would obviously be elected and the fight could continue, we missed a chance to really affect the balance of the court.

The real answer to anyone who says we should calm the fuck down is that we would have been calmer about this if Republicans hadn't fucked up the entire process of confirming a justice. But they were motherfuckers because that's what they are, so now we get to lose our shit.

We know that the time to freak out over everything is here. And if we don't freak out, if we don't cry, "Wolf" every time we hear a howl or snarl, then we'll be ripped to shreds when the wolves finally arrive.

7/10/2018

Quickie: Dinner with Despair

Last night, I drank and ate with a couple of friends who are way, way richer and smarter than me. One of them is a journalist pal. And, on our second bottle of wine, after gabbing about work and partners and their kids, things finally turned to politics because, you know, it fucking well has to. It was prompted by me looking at my phone to see that President Trump had "selected" Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to the Supreme Court. "Of course, it's Kavanaugh," the journalist said. "It was always going to be Kavanaugh. That fucker is in Trump's pocket."

Then the journalist stated, simply, "This country is done. We're finished. It ended the night Trump was elected."

Because I try to fight off that kind of nihilism, I argued that the midterms were our last hope. They're at least my last hope. I've been pretty clear that I'll be looking for an exit strategy from the United States if Democrats don't win back at least one chamber of Congress. "Fuck that," the journalist said. "Democrats aren't going to win the Senate. They're not going to win the House. The country is too far gone. Trump is going to win a second term. We're going to bail on NATO. They're gonna crack down on free speech."

Bob Dylan's "Everything Is Broken" has been playing in my head a lot lately, and it did then.

The journalist is one of a couple of friends of mine who have relatives who were targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee and blacklisted. They see echoes of that terrible era now. His mother told the journalist, "I'm sorry that you've had to see this happen. I was hoping you'd live your life without the nation going mad."

I want Democrats to feel despair. I want us to be panicked. I want us to be shitting ourselves from now until November, hoping we're able to change things.

The journalist says he will vote, but he recognizes his helplessness. "There's nothing we can do," he said. "There's no book we can write, no report we can make, nothing, that will change any of this." We bemoaned how the MAGA crowd is impervious to facts, as if those were just for libtards to comfort themselves with, not the foundation of any rational argument. We are fighting not just a cult, as many like to say, but a form of mass hysteria.

7/06/2018

Our Deeply Perverse President Won't Shut the Fuck Up

One of the weirdest moments from last night's campaign rally for some fuckin' asshole GOP senate candidate in Great Falls, Montana (motto: "We hate those Mexicans so much even though most of us have never met one") was when, for no apparent reason other than that the roulette wheel in his brain of "Shit I Don't Like" stopped on it, President Donald Trump attacked a line that George H.W. Bush said 30 years ago. It's the equivalent of saying, "You know what always pissed me off? That St. Elsewhere finale" to a group of high school students.

Here's what our goddamned demented president said, "All the rhetoric you see here, the ‘thousand points of light,’ what the hell was that by the way? ‘Thousand points of light.’ What does that mean? Does anyone know? I know one thing. ‘Make America Great Again’ we understand. ‘Putting America first,’ we understand. ‘Thousand points of light,’ I never quite got that one." The crowd of slobbering knob gobblers hooted and laughed as Trump did his little prancy jig of derision, all agreeing that a metaphor is just too fucking hard to understand.

Now, I have no love for George H.W. Bush, and I don't give a single, hard rat turd that he's an old, old man confined to a wheelchair with a recently dead wife. Yeah, yeah, he was a war hero and he's done a lot of charitable stuff post-presidency. Fuck that guy. He was a shitty president who helped pave the way for political campaign damnation with the Willie Horton ad. And he jizzed out George W. Bush. Fuck him.

Still, Trump's attack is just fuckin' weird. First off, it wasn't Bush's 1988 campaign slogan. Those would have been "A Kinder, Gentler Nation" or "Experienced Leadership for America’s Future," which are arguably easy to comprehend. "A thousand points of light" was an instantly mockable line, but it was from a speech and Bush was talking about volunteer organizations. He even said he was talking about those. I can remember criticizing the phrase at the time, thinking, "That evil motherfucker just wants charities to take over shit that the government is supposed to do." But it wasn't too hard to understand, for fuck's sake. You'd have to be a fucking moron and/or a Trump supporter to not see what that means.

Trump's tone at his rallies has gotten increasingly deranged, increasingly threatening, and increasingly unhinged (yes, that is possible). Last night, he started his usual riff on one of his obsessions, the "truth" of Senator Elizabeth Warren's racial heritage (which is really of a piece with his refusal to accept that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii). Deriding her as "Pocahontas" - he doesn't even use her name anymore and his slavering hordes love it which makes him do it even more because leadership or something - he then created an entire scenario of facing Warren in a debate.

He literally acted it out as he said, "I'm gonna get one of those little kits. And in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she's from Indian heritage...We will take that little kit and say — but we have to do it gently, because we're in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kit, and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm, even though it only weighs probably two ounces."

So, let's see, in one small segment of a 70-minute "speech" (if by "speech," you mean, "blabbering from an old man who finally has an audience to cheer on his incoherent brain farts and misanthropy"), Trump was not just racist, but he was sexist, rapey, rape-mocking, and bullying. What a puddle of weak shit our president is.

In a single tweet in response, Warren reamed out Trump, reminding him that there are far, far more important things going on than his ability to get the yokels all het up.

Essentially, we don't have a president. How many bullshit rallies has he done in the last week? No, that's not a goddamn president. That's a mascot. We have a Philly Phanatic out there, getting the crowd pumped up, to distract from the vile, awful things done by the vile, awful people who work for this vile, awful man.

7/04/2018

Repost: Francis Hopkinson, One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Was a Sarcastic Bastard

(I wrote this back in 2016, and, sadly, it still applies even more now.)

One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence representing New Jersey, Francis Hopkinson was a smart-ass and one sarcastic bastard. Sure, he was a lawyer, judge (appointed by George Washington), harpsichordist and composer, and a designer of the American flag. But he once asked "whether a Quarter Cask of the public wine" could be payment for his work because that's how the Founders rolled.

In his essays, he could be total dickhead to anyone who pissed him off, including those who thought the United States was better off under the rule of England. For instance, he wrote "On Peace, Liberty, and Independence" in the early 1780s as part of a series of university orations, where he was a snarky fucker, mocking those who were against civil liberties springing from self-rule: "Had Great-Britain succeeded in her views with respect to this country, we should not have been put to the laborious task of framing laws for our own government, a task which we seem but indifferently qualified to perform; we should have been rid of the intolerable plague, the heart-burnings, feuds, cabals, and chicaneries attending popular elections, and we should have been eased of the enormous expense of assemblymen's wages, com|missions, fees and salaries to the officers of government, and a thousand other charges and inconveniences to which we must now be subjected: we should have had nothing more to do, but to pay when called upon, and obey when commanded."

And what he wrote about what independence means when it comes to positions on other nations could be rejiggered just a little to be used on those who would exploit stupidity and xenophobia to maintain power:

"Whilst we were dependent upon Great Britain, we had no trouble in studying the characters, customs, and manners of foreign nations; the English were so kind as to furnish us with all their ideas on these subjects. They told us, that the French are a trifling and contemptible nation;that the Spaniards are proud, sullen, and revengeful; the Germans, ostentatious; the Hollanders, boors; the Russians, savages; and, in short, that the English were themselves the only people fit to live and govern the word, as if all other nations held their dominions by usurpation. How easy was it to believe all this? Implicit faith saves an infinity of trouble. How happy were we in submitting to the government, adopting the prejudices, and aping the manners of a nation, which we conceived to be the glory of the world, and the perfection of human nature?

"Whereas, now, we are under the painful necessity of altering our sentiments. We are compelled by actual experience to acknowledge, that the French are a brave, generous, and polished people: and that none of the other nations are, in truth, such as they have been represented to us. Our commercial connections will convince us that human nature is fundamentally the same in every country. That good and bad men are to be found in every climate; and that the people of England have not actually monopolized all the virtue and wisdom of the world. Every conviction of error is a violence done to the mind, inasmuch as the forcible eradication of a prejudice must be attended with a painful sensation. The blind man is happy in his blindness, and the ignorant content with his ignorance. The wisest of men has somewhere told us that the increase of wisdom is the increase of sorrow."

That is some kick-ass shit right there, a punch right in the Trumps.

7/03/2018

Quickie: Trump Is Actually Helping MS-13

1. There is no MS-13 crisis. I know, I know, you want there to be one because scary Latinos are scary, but there isn't one. No matter how many times Donald Trump says it, it's a lie. And, yes, people have been harmed by the gang, like they are harmed by all gangs, from Calle 18 to the Bloods. And, yes, crime is horrible. But that doesn't make it a "crisis" or an "infestation." Because it isn't either of those.

2. One of the main reasons that children and families with children are showing up and seeking asylum at the southern border of the United States is because gangs like MS-13 have made threats like "You join us or die." And under those conditions, with law enforcement all but non-existent, what parent wouldn't try to save their child? So when Attorney General Jeff "Small Men Can Be Giant Assholes" Sessions said that fleeing gang violence will no longer qualify migrants for consideration for asylum, he was pretty much signing a bunch of death warrants and a bunch of gang membership forms. Then, if those gang members do cross the border, well, instead of being part of a family granted asylum to start a new life, they'll be fucking gang members. This is not to mention the perpetuation of the violence in Central America that is making people seek asylum.

3. Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement have said that Trump's monstrous, idiotic zero-tolerance policy on undocumented migrants has led to a reduction in "their ability to pursue national security threats, child pornography and transnational crime." You got that? They're not concentrating on the violent criminals and heinous crimes because they're too busy rounding up undocumented parents of American children or going to meatpacking plants and dragging away everyone.

There are only so many resources. If you divert money from investigating violent criminals to hanging out at schools to arrest fathers when they drop their kids off, then violent criminals will get away with shit. It ain't that big a leap to say that Donald Trump's immigration policy, along with his bizarre, continuous advertising for them, will ultimately help MS-13 and other gangs. But, hey, who gives a shit as long as he can teach those Guatemalan mothers that he can take away their babies. Their tears nourish him and his mad minions.

7/02/2018

Conservatives Do Anything to Avoid Saying They Support Trump Because of Racism

In order to support President Donald Trump, you must be a racist. That is clearly a truth at this point, since Trump continues to do and say extravagantly racist shit. If you are still a Trumpster, it means you're cool with racism. Ergo, you're racist. Do we even need to argue about that anymore? (And if you're a Trump supporter reading this and thinking, "Not me," let me assure you: "Especially you.")

If we take that as a truism, it is also a truism that most of Trump's voters will do anything to avoid saying that it's racism that drives them. They'll come up with bullshit theories about working class anxiety or the desire for a leader who talks like them or whatever. Fuck all that. It's the racism.

The latest example of this self-contortion is in today's New York Times (motto: "One day we'll get those two Trump voters in Kansas to subscribe"). It's an opinion piece by Matthew Schmitz, who is the editor of First Things. Like me, you may have asked yourself, "The fuck is First Things?" And, if you're like me, you google that shit and find out that it proclaims itself, "America's Most Influential Journal of Religion and Public Life," which is not unlike calling your dog, "America's Cutest Little Wuggums That I Ever Snuggled." In other words, it's totally subjective and, really, who the fuck cares?

And what does the "most influenza kernel of rimjobs and pubic lice" have to say about, you know, stuff? Well, let's see here. There's this thing about making the United States a Christian nation, where you can read totally not fucking crazy things like "We hope for an America conformed to the reality that Jesus is Lord." Or the multiple anti-abortion pieces where they are creaming in their Dockers at the idea of overturning Roe. They see their chance now and they are fresh out of fucks: "Now is not the time for compromise or worries about breaking the peace that Roe has brought us." A bit uncivil for a religion journal, no?

So, yeah, that's the provenance of this fuckwit writing, no shit, "Trump's 'Purple' Family Values." Schmitz tells us that people he knows in New York, across the political spectrum, dislike Trump because of his personal behavior, but, amazingly, when he talks to those from his hometown in Nebraska, those cornhuskin' motherfuckers are totes cool with Trump, no matter how many pussies he grabbed. "They glossed over his infidelities and stressed that he seemed to be a good father. They were impressed by his 'respectful' sons and admired the success of his daughters," said the bumpkins that Schmitz grew up among. And then he asks, "What made the difference?" And then he answers his question by saying, "It was racism. Oh, dear Christ, I was appalled to realize that I had lived with such backward-ass cracker motherfuckers and I vowed never to return."

No, of course, he didn't say that. That would require honesty, not mental gymnastics that'd make Simone Biles say, "Fuck that shit." For Schmitz, the difference between Trump-loathing New Yorkers and Trump-loving real Americans is "In a word, class." To which one can only say, "The fuck it is. It's racism, asshole. It's racism because you chose to compare the opinions of people who live in an incredibly diverse area to those who live in a place where they think salt makes food spicy.

Schmitz goes on, because of course he does, to oversimplify and misread the book Red Families v. Blue Families, in the way that only an English major from Princeton can, offering "Red families tend toward conservatism, and blue tend toward progressivism" like he's saying something profound. Leaving out the incredibly relevant fact that the divorce rate is higher in places where there are "red families" (something the authors of the book point out), Schmitz invents the "purple family," which is white working class, black, and/or Hispanic. "In these families, bonds between mothers and children are prized above those between couples," he asserts. "Unstable relationships are the norm, and fathers quickly end up out of the picture." There you go: in an attempt to avoid saying "racism," he's just revealed he's racist. Yeah, he says, "Working-class whites," but he separates them out.

For fucking idiots, "Mr. Trump embodies a real if imperfect model of family values. People familiar with the purple family model tend to view his alienation from his children’s mother as normal and his closeness to his children as exceptional and admirable." Well, the white working class ones might. But the black and Hispanic families sure as shit don't.

How fuckin' delusional do you have to be to see Trump as being "close" to his children, huh? You see any fuckin' photos of him doing anything but business with his kids? They're associates, not kids.  You see him having fun with Barron? Joshing with Jr. and Eric? Spending time with Tiffany? No, this fuckweasel president never shows joy or pride in his kids. The closest he comes to appreciating his children is leering at Ivanka.

Goddamn, Schmitzy, fella, just say it. You'll feel so much better. You like Trump because he sticks it to the darkies and the immigrants, the Mooslims and the spics. Admit that, Trump voters, instead of pretending that you give a happy monkey fuck about a worthless tax cut or North Korea. You have permission to be open about it. Because you know that if he dumped Melania for an 18 year-old Russian piss hooker and then punched Don Jr. in the face in public, you'd still love him because he rubs that racist clit so good that you just scream in orgasm whenever he says that immigrants are all criminals.

And fuck you, New York Times opinion page. How many dirt-eaters and goat-fuckers do you need to publish before you realize that there is no intelligent core to Trumpism? Just get David Duke to write the next one. Cut to the fuckin' chase.

6/28/2018

When There Are No Rules and the Game Is Rigged, You Have to Fight Dirty (Part 2: Let's Go Low)

Fighting dirty doesn't mean doing illegal shit. It does mean you might have to stretch laws and ethics to their breaking point. It definitely means doing shit that will make you hate yourself. But if you want to win a war, you have to be willing to get filthy in the trenches. As I said yesterday, Democrats have to stop acting like any rules govern our politics anymore.

So it must go for the battle over the Supreme Court and after. While it's almost a certainty that the rabid bitch hounds of the GOP will get their second pound of judicial flesh onto the court in the wake of Anthony Kennedy's resignation, Democrats can and must fight like it's life or death. Because it really is about life and death, flesh and blood. Bodies, especially the bodies of women and people of color, are on the goddamn line. Fight because losing this fight is what can win the next one. Throwing every fucking rule and bylaw at Republicans to slow down the process is a start.

And here's what else can we do now (in descending order of dirtiness):

1. Stop trying to convince everyone that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are a bunch of fucking hypocrites because they're all of a sudden fine with voting on a Supreme Court justice in an election year. To say that Republicans are hypocrites is like saying that dogs eat shit. It's what they do. They're Republicans.

The real fight is over who Trump is. A man who may have a personal case before the court should not get to appoint a judge on that court. See how simple that is? See that fuckin' messaging? It's clear and concise. It's not the complex "President Trump is current under investigation and we should await the Robert Mueller's report on whether or not Trump or people around him committed crimes." Fuck that. Go with "You don't get to appoint your judge. Why should Trump?"

It's not gonna stop shit, but it will set up a way to delegitimize any Supreme Court decision that, say, allows Trump to pardon himself.

2. Let's call this the Susan Collins/Lisa Murkowski Hail Mary. These two GOP senators have both expressed support for Roe v. Wade, and there is no way in the deepest circle of Hell that Trump is not going to nominate someone who can't wait piss on the corpses of women who die of botched back alley abortions. One or both might be willing to vote against an anti-choice nominee. And with McCain not being able to vote, that'd be enough.

But, more likely, if they're part of the Republican caucus, they're just gonna suck it up and take their Mitch marching orders. So Democrats need to get them to leave their caucus. It's not that unusual for politicians to switch parties. Collins, in particular, might be an easy get for Democrats. Clinton won Maine in 2016 (well, in the apportioned electors there, she got 3 and Trump got 1), and the one district in the state, hell, in all of New England, that did go for Trump now gives him a 43% approval rating, with 52% disapproving. Overall, the state has Trump around 39% approval. Maine also consistently has supported abortion rights by big majorities. If Collins says that she doesn't want to belong to the party of Trump, that's a fucking compelling argument that her constituents would hear.

Democrats should push hard here. And I mean fucking hard, like offering Collins and Murkowski (Alaskans, while a bit more enamored of Trump, are also big supporters of abortion rights) or any other stray Republican who might want to awake in the morning with an ounce of self-respect just about anything they want to either become Democrats or independents who caucus with the Democrats. And I mean fuckin' anything, from committee chairs to a night of passion with Joe Kennedy III. Promise no primary candidate and offer tons of cash to campaigns and SuperPACs.

Get fuckin' skeevy on this, Democrats. And if you get both Collins and Murkowski, you can take back the Senate until at least the midterms.

3. But now we're gonna get even skeevier. Rumors are that Donald Trump paid for at least one abortion for one of his fuckmates. And you know that not only is he responsible for at least a handful of abortions, but that a shit-ton of righteous Christians in the GOP have paid for abortions, had an abortion, or have family who have, and all are relieved it was safe and legal. Statistically, it's just fucking likely. So it's time for the media (not Democratic politicians) to call them out, as many as you can find, all the fetus-loving saints who want abortion on demand when they demand it and then want to deny it for others.

This is the really big hypocrisy. You think that Tim Murphy, who resigned over telling his mistress to get an abortion, is an outlier? Fuck no. Is it really beyond the pale to out people like this? Well, it's also beyond the pale to want to get rid of abortion rights for a large number of women in this country. It's also beyond the pale to support a president who has no problem taking children from their parents or naming people enemies of the state. Lots of shit we thought was beyond the pale is now part of the pale. This is the country we have. You play on the field you've got.

You might say that this could backfire, that it could lead to other invasions of privacy. Yeah. And? I said this was dirty. Republicans want to invade the most intimate aspects of our existence and fuck them up. You think that anti-choice nutzoids don't want to get to a point where they're publishing lists of women who've had abortions? Because, motherfuckers, they're already trying to do that. We're a hop, skip, and fruit-blessed jump from Gilead.

Look, I'm not an idiot. None of this is likely to work. It's something of a thought experiment, maybe even a fantasy. But it's a set-up for the next and potentially the biggest battle, the midterms.

(Note: I get that some of this might inspire the right and, especially, evangelicals to vote heavily in the midterms. But that can be mitigated by exciting the Democratic voters and independents. More on that tomorrow.)

6/27/2018

When There Are No Rules and the Game Is Rigged, You Have No Choice But to Fight Dirty (Part 1)

Chess is a helluva game. It's meant to imitate war, of course, but in a civilized fashion. The best strategies are born of an instinct to think far ahead about the ripple effect of a single move. Your decision on whether to move your pawn one or two spaces initially can decide the entire thing. It takes patience, concentration, and planning.

Of course, there's one way to make sure you always win your chess game. That's to walk up to the table, slap the pieces to the floor, pick up the board and beat your opponent bloody with it, set the pieces on fire and shove them up your opponent's ass, and, if necessary, slam the table itself down on your opponent until they resign from the game.

This is the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats will get another chess set and place the pieces nicely in their rows and await a rousing match. And when Republicans shit all over the game and sphincter-plant the pieces, Democrats still crawl back to the table and set up for the next time. Oh, and if Democrats attempt to pull a flaming knight out of their ass, Republicans will accuse Democrats of cheating by moving the pieces and Democrats will agree and sadly shove the knight back into their ass.

I've been saying this shit for nearly 15 years now. Democrats keep pretending there are rules. That didn't start with Trump. Democrats were playing badminton while Republicans were playing with flamethrowers during the Clinton administration. There are no rules except the ones Democrats keep making themselves follow. That's all so naive.

Look, there's no sugarcoating what happens if Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is replaced by a conservative in the Gorsuch/Scalia/Ghengis Khan model. We're fucked beyond fucked. All the lunatic cases that the savage right has been jonesing to bring to the court will get brought, and kissing Roe v Wade goodbye will just be a start. These robed cockheads are gonna gut civil rights, environmental law, financial regulations, the scraps of the Affordable Care Act that will be left. It's gonna be horrific and the effects will be felt for at least a generation.

But let's not sugarcoat how badly Anthony Kennedy fucked up our democracy. He was not only in the majority in Bush v. Gore, the case that set the nation firmly on the bullshit path we find ourselves walking, he was the justice who urged the court to take on the dispute over local election laws. And his majority opinion in the Citizens United case blew a hole in election financing that turned the idiocy of American political campaigns into a grotesque exercise in graft, grift, and greed. Yeah, on abortion and gay rights, it was good he was there. But, obviously, that didn't matter enough to Kennedy to stay the fuck in his seat. He wants his legacy to be conservative. So fuck him. Hard. With a barbed bear dick.

We've been working on the fight in November for one or both houses of Congress. And that fight stands. But another fight is here now. Democrats have to be willing to fight dirty. Oh, sure, there are a lot of less dirty things that we can and should do. But these motherfuckers have gone too long without having their faces shoved in the mud.

Let's wallow in anger and shock for moment. Yet don't get caught up in the bullshit blame game. We have no time for childish things. I don't give a fuck about who voted for what in 2016 anymore, not in the election, not in the primaries. We either put that aside for this fight or we may as well just roll over and wait for the fucking. (By the way, that doesn't mean ignoring important election results this year or the utter failure of Democratic congressional leadership on this and other issues.)

Tomorrow, I'll get to how to fight dirty. Legal, yes, but fuckin' dirty, man. Getting chanted out of restaurants will look like a tiptoe through a meadow. Fuck chess. It's time for a barb wire cage match.

Grappling with the Despair You're Feeling Over Kennedy Right Now (Or, More Accurately, the Despair I'm Feeling)

Still working on it. I keep starting and stopping, deleting and revising, saying something terrible and then something sad and then something funny. None of it works. Honestly have been anticipating this moment my entire adult life, when the Supreme Court would lose even the potential for non-conservative decisions. So gimme a few minutes here.

6/26/2018

Quickie: In 2010, Republicans Won Because of Incivility and Anger

Let me take you back, way, way back, all the way to the ancient age of 2009 and 2010. A black Muslim man was uppity enough be president. Evil Democrats had majorities in both the House and Senate. And a brave rebel named Mitch McConnell was willing to stop any legislation from ever being passed again. Simpler times, man, simpler times.

A noble band of patriots called "the Tea Party" decided to take their country back or make it great again or something because the black Muslim and the evil Democrats had dared to give them health insurance.  So they took their righteous anger to town hall meetings held by the Democrats and any Republicans who dared to want to work with the black Muslim, and they ranted and raged until they silenced anyone who wanted to talk about issues until many members of Congress decided to just avoid town halls with their constituents.

And, of course, the media condemned the incivility, and Republicans lost because they couldn't control their more radical voters.

Oh, no, wait. The media, for the most part, wanted to understand the rage of the tri-corner hat-wearing yokels, and the 2010 blood red tide turned the Congress Republican. Yeah, that happened.

Rage works. We're angry because they want to take away health care, imprison children, and gut the government.  Learn to ride the wave, Democrats, or you're gonna just ebb and break before you ever reach shore.

6/21/2018

Regarding Civility in Uncivil Times

Last night, the New York Times posted an article titled "In Trump’s America, the Conversation Turns Ugly and Angry, Starting at the Top." In it, the writers, Peter Baker and Katie Rogers, plainly say that the "vituperative words" in contemporary politics is a result, in large part, of President Donald Trump's "unpresidential language." However, they are quick to assert that this ugliness has spread across the political spectrum. "The politics of rage that animated Mr. Trump’s political rise now dominate the national conversation," they say. And they offer as examples Robert De Niro saying, "Fuck Trump," Kathy Griffin's photo with a bloody Trump head, and assorted other things that celebrities and non-celebrities have said or done that can be seen as intemperate.

Last night, around the same time the article went live, at a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, Trump demanded that a protester be dragged out and said, "Go home to your mom, darling." And then, "Was that a man or a woman? Because he needs a haircut more than I do." During the rally, he again insisted that immigrants are primarily criminals, berated his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, and claimed, "Democrats put illegal immigrants before they put American citizens." He rolled his eyes over Senator John McCain for his vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

And Peter Fonda angrily tweeted about Barron being taken away from Melania.

These things are not equivalent. There is no equivalency to be made because, and let me put this as civilly as I can: Donald Trump is the motherfucking president of the motherfucking United States, you jizz-coated shit-mongers. And because Trump is the motherfucking president, everything he says matters.

You're angry at the "vituperative words" of the left? Fuck you. One reason we're fucking done here is because Democrats were civil. The Fox-directed media always demands that Democrats play nice. Republicans can shit in the face of babies, but if a Democrat say, "Whoa, that's messed up," all of a sudden the entire structure of the government is shaken to its core. In fact, there's always the stupid comparison: "Republicans shit in the face of babies but Democrats say that's messed up. Who is worse than Hitler?"

We're being uncivil and we're getting more uncivil because fucking civility didn't work. It didn't work in 2016, when Hillary Clinton very calmly told you that Trump was going to take the nation and fuck its ass until it shit blood. It didn't work when Barack Obama was president because Republicans took his civility and used it was a whip against him. It sure as shit ain't gonna work now when a deranged, screaming attention whore keeps whipping out his tiny dick and demanding that everyone say its huge. You really think that a man who grudgingly stopped ripping babies away from their mothers is gonna respond to honorable statements?

Punching back, as hard as fucking possible, is the only thing that this jackass understands. If you have power, use it savagely against him. If you have a microphone, turn it up to 11. Civility is our damnation.

6/19/2018

The Cold Political Calculus of Taking Away the Children of Migrants

We are at a moment in our history that demands action. It demands that people fuck shit up. We hope they do it by protesting, by voting, or with legislation. But what the GOP hopes is that it leads to crazy shit, and Trump is going to keep pushing and pushing, with the ICE round-ups and the family separations, because they want congressional Democrats arrested, they want violence to occur at one of the concentration camps, they want protesters to riot, and they want it all filmed.  Trump is going to keep upping the intensity of his immigration crackdown until the left cracks.

This is the cold political calculus of Trump advisor and man most likely to own a suit made of human skin, Stephen Miller. It's beyond "annoy the libtards and make the snowflakes cry." We're now into "let's get good footage for campaign ads" territory. You can imagine it now: Evil music, low-pitch voice saying, "Nancy Pelosi and the crooked Democrat Party want to let MS-13 animals into the country" over footage of, say, a fight at a detention center or maybe Rep. Juan Vargas or other members of Congress getting led away by cops as the voice continues, "Tell Nancy Pelosi that you stand with Americans, not illegal animals." Or some such shit. That's probably too subtle. More likely it'll just be Trump braying something incoherent like a particularly brain-damaged jackass.

Trump's GOP (and it is Trump's GOP now) doesn't give a fat rat fuck about reaching out beyond his base. The election strategy is simple: get his idiot horde all fired up with a stream of Reddit-provided conspiracies and blatant lies; suppress the vote wherever and however it can be suppressed; and, possibly, look for an assist from hackers. In order for the first part to work, you've gotta be as confrontational as possible to draw Democrats and liberals into an act that can be portrayed as extremism. Sure, an action like blocking the roads to and from detention locations, like, fer the love of fuck, tent cities for children is a relatively mild form of civil disobedience, but as far as the whiners on the right are concerned, it'll be "terrorism the likes of which the nation hasn't seen" or whatever the fuck Fox "news" contorts it to be.

Unsurprisingly, Fox has gone all-in on supporting Trump on the savage child detention policy, so Tucker "Bitch Face" Carlson and Laura "My Kids Went to the Shittiest Summer Camps" Ingraham would orgasm constantly if they got to report on violence involving migrants or defenders of migrants. Sean Hannity's studio would be sticky for weeks.

Let's be clear that the family detention policy didn't start with Trump, but the "zero tolerance" part of it, which includes asylum seekers and the separation of children from parents, is totally Trump's. They planned this shit specifically to deter people on the run from awful violence, including rape and murder, including forcing kids into gangs, to stop seeking asylum in the United States. And lying ogre of blonde doom, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, can repeatedly insist, as she did at her belly flop of a press appearance yesterday, "DHS is not separating families legitimately seeking asylum at ports of entry. If an adult enters at a port of entry and claims asylum, they will not face prosecution for illegal entry. They have not committed a crime by coming to the port of entry." And Trump can assert in that goddamned moron voice of his that "We’re stuck with these horrible laws. They’re horrible laws" that are forcing the country to treat migrants this way, even going so far as to blame Democrats for the laws themselves.

But the motherfucking truth is that those "laws" have been in place since the 1950s, agreed to and signed off on by Congress members and presidents of both parties, including, most recently, in 2008, George W. Bush. And the motherfucking truth is that story after story is coming in about asylum seekers who have their children taken away from them. And the motherfucking truth is that none of what the Trump administration is doing, the written policy they have, is going to deter a mother trying to escape from a man who is beating her and her kids and threatening their lives. They don't have fucking Twitter on the path from El Salvador to the American border.

Today, in a tweet, Trump made clear the racist intent of his immigration policies, which is a refreshing change from the coded racism that Republicans usually use. Saying that "illegal immigrants...infest our Country" (incorrect capitalization courtesy of Trump), he is blurring the line between violent criminals and economic refugees and asylum seekers, which is exactly what a racist would want to do.

So what do we do? The left is obviously being baited into a fight. Yet that doesn't mean we shouldn't fight. Fucking hell, if traumatized kids doesn't get you fighting, nothing will. So fuck it. Let the ads fall where they may. They'll say we're shitty criminal lovers no matter what. Sometimes a big enough fish can grab the bait, yank the fisherman right into the water, and devour him.

6/15/2018

Quickie: One Reason That Evangelicals and Other Churches Are Turning Against Trump on Immigration

I'm on the road in the deep South (and there are shockingly few Trump signs so far), but here's a quick hit it and quit it for you:

You might have seen reports yesterday that religious groups, including, holy shit, evangelicals, turning against Donald Trump and his administration of pirates and lepers when it comes to the treatment of families seeking asylum in the United States. All of a sudden, separating children from their parents is a bad thing, it seems.

And while this actions by churches is good news, let's be perfectly clear here that one reason some of those groups are not feeling the soft lump of Trump love they usually feel is because, without Latinos, and especially Latinos from countries like El Salvador and Guatemala, those churches are fucked in the future. A huge portion of the Latino population in the U.S. calls itself "born again," as in, "we believe that crazy ass Bible shit is real" born again. Catholics are especially finding themselves dependent on the immigrant population for growth.

So this is bottom line shit, as in the bottom line for churches. They lose their flock, and the church is fucked. And, sure, sure, there is some morality involved, too.

But, hey, whatever it takes to get allies in a fight against a monstrosity and its monsters.

6/13/2018

What Did That Dumb Orange Motherfucker Say Now? (Kim-Humping Edition)

In his press conference Tuesday after he let Kim Jong Un ream his ass without even giving him a courtesy reacharound, President Donald Trump absolved the savage tyrant of North Korea of mass murder and torture: "Anybody that takes over a situation like he did, at 26 years of age, and is able to run it, and run it tough — I don’t say he was nice or I don’t say anything about it — he ran it. Very few people, at that age — you can take one out of ten thousand, probably, couldn’t do it." What Gramps was rambling about seemed to say that we shouldn't take Kim's creative executions, massive gulags, and intentional starvation of his people as anything other than a young man trying to figure out how to run a dictatorship in this crazy day and age. The wacky adventures of a cuddly teddy bear, if you will, that involve people being burned with flamethrowers.

As for the thousands of people in those gulags, where rape, infanticide, and more are rampant? Well, they should be grateful for the existence of Donald J. Trump, according to Trump. " I think they are one of the great winners today, that large group of people that you’re talking about," he said, not even deigning to call them "prisoners" or any impolite terms. "I think, ultimately, they’re going to be one of the great winners as a group."

In his several appearances post-Kim-coitus, Trump talked about how amazing he found Kim. He told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, "Well, you know, over my lifetime I've done a lot of deals with a lot of people, and sometimes the people that you most distrust turn out to be the most honorable ones, and the people that you do trust they are not the honorable ones, so we are starting from a very high plane, we’re starting from a very good relationship." Of course, that says more about who is deciding what makes someone trustworthy, but, hey, if someone who murders his family members wantonly is "honorable," then maybe that word is fairly fucking meaningless.

Trump wanted everyone to know that he has intuition except when he doesn't. Asked about his statement that he would know how things were going to go in the first minute of the meeting, he responded, "I’ve said that about relationships. I’ve said that about people. You know in the first second. Now, I was generous. I said five seconds. But you know in the first second, in some cases. Sometimes that doesn’t work out. But sometimes it does."

Not surprisingly, and you should read this quote in full, Trump, the lying sexual predator, just totally trusts Kim, the mass murderer of his own people: "I do trust him, yeah. Now, will I come back to you in a year and you’ll be interviewing and I’ll say, gee I made a mistake? That’s always possible. You know, we’re dealing at a very high level, a lot of things can change, a lot of things are possible. He trusts me, I believe, I really do. I mean, he said openly, and he said it to a couple of reporters that were with him that he knows that no other president ever could have done this, I mean no other pre--he knows the presidents, he knows who we had in front of me. He said no other president could have done this. I think he trusts me, and I trust him." It doesn't even occur to Trump that the reason Kim "trusts" him over other presidents is that other presidents wanted North Korea to commit to actually doing something. Kim knows that Trump is just a vain lump who wants to put on a show, and he gave Kim years of propaganda footage to show his people and keep them brainwashed. And, pretty much, Trump got the same.

How delusional is Trump right now? He honestly believes that North Koreans, who live under a threat of imprisonment or death if they don't worship Kim, love their leader: "His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor." See? It's a perfect system. There are no haters because haters are sent to the functional equivalent of Auschwitz. When Stephanopoulos brought up that Kim's "a brutal dictator" and "a killer," Trump brushed it off with more or less a shrug. "George, I’m given what I'm given, okay?," Trump said. "I mean, this is what we have, and this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I met him, I've spoken with him, and I’ve met him."

In another interview with his anus remora, Sean Hannity, Trump gushed over Kim like it was a Tinder date that went awesomely: "He’s got a very good personality, he’s funny, and he’s very, very smart. He’s a great negotiator, and he’s a very strategic kind of a guy."

And then Trump returned to Air Force One, the memory of his time with Kim seeming like a fever dream, still fresh, though, with the taste of the North Korean's tongue in his mouth, the feel of Kim's thrusting cock and the sound of his floppy stomach slapping Trump's flabby ass cheeks, oh, god, for that again, oh, god, not just for himself, but for America. This time in the White House. Probably with Ivanka watching.

6/11/2018

On Immigration: This Is Who We Are Until We're Not This

It just gets worse every time you take another look.

A migrant to the United States can be rejected for asylum for myriad reasons. One of those is if it turns out that the migrant has provided "material support" for a terrorist organization. And this makes sense, obviously. If you have given money to or fought for a terrorist group, that should definitely draw much closer scrutiny. Of course, that's been used in absurd and disgusting ways.

For instance, take the case of a Salvadoran woman who had been in the United States since 1991. After being here under Temporary Protected Status, she applied for full asylum in 2004, which was denied, but that decision was stayed. Without getting into all the legal back and forth, this week, the Department of Justice's Board of Immigration Appeals ordered her removed from the country because of her material support of terrorists: she was a prisoner and slave of a guerrilla group. The decision says that "her undisputed testimony [is] that she was kidnapped by guerrillas in El Salvador in 1990 and was coerced into undergoing weapons training and performing forced labor in the form of cooking, cleaning, and washing their clothes."

But it gets worse because it always gets worse. She had tried to get her removal reversed based on the U.N. Convention Against Torture. See, "in addition to being kidnapped and required to perform cooking and cleaning for the guerrillas under threat of death, the respondent was forced to witness her husband, a sergeant in the Salvadoran Army, dig his own grave before being killed."

And while, yes, this occurred during the mad reign of Trump, her case had been going on from Bush, Jr. to Obama to now, and at no point did the government drop its attempt to deport her. As the board wrote in its decision, "no court has held that the kind of support an alien provides, if related to promoting the goals of a terrorist organization, is exempt from the material support bar, and we discern no basis to import such a limitation." Not even being a slave.

Of course, it does get worse because it always gets worse. See, immigration courts and boards can provide victims of terrorists waivers in order to get asylum, but the Salvadoran woman's case did not, according to two out of three members of the board, rise to the level of "duress" necessary for the waiver. One case that did was that of a Sri Lankan man who was kidnapped by a terrorist group in 2004 and forced to pay a ransom. He asked for asylum here and was first denied because, yes, you guessed it, his ransom was material support. He was finally granted a waiver in 2011 and got a green card.

You like that happy ending? Well, it gets worse because it always gets worse, and now we come back around to the unique barbarity of the Trump administration. It wants to end the waiver program because it idiotically fears that letting fully vetted victims of terrorism into the country could lead to terrorism. These exemptions allow people like, say, translators who helped American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan enter the United States. In 10 years, just 22,000 people have received them. It is, as one Obama administration official put it, "a non-existent phantom problem." The entire cruel reason to end the program is to please the hardliners in the GOP and the xenophobic yahoos that make up Trump's base.

Add that to the pile of noxious policies that the Trump administration is pursuing, from the heartbreaking separation of children from their migrant parents, now possibly up to 2000 kids, to the concentration camp-like detention centers for migrants, to the ICE raids on businesses to round up suspected undocumented workers and rip families apart.

Politicians and pundits and others keep saying things like "This is not who we are." Except it is who we are. In this time. In this administration. It is who we are until we decide we're not this. But it is where we've been heading since 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as ICE. We are the people who have government officials tell parents that their kids are just going to bathe as they take the children away. We are the people who drive some of those parents, who have endured several kinds of hell to get here, to despair and suicide. We are the people who treat those huddled masses yearning to be free with contempt and cruelty. We are the people who will tell someone who was enslaved that she must go back to the land of her captors, even if she's lived here for nearly three decades.

We are this. And we will continue to be this unless those of us who don't believe this is who we should be can change it. If we don't, then we truly know who we've always been. It will get worse because it always gets worse until we have the will to make it better.

6/06/2018

A #MAGA Guide to Understanding Why Separating Children from Their Parents at the Border Is Bad

Let us say, and why not, that you are MAGA hat-sporting, AR-15-toting, illegal immigrant-hating regular ol' supporter of President Donald J. Trump. You've got your proud MAGA wife who loves wearing her "You can grab me by the pussy, Mr. President" t-shirt because it triggers the liberals. You've got a couple of MAGA kids, young 'uns, who love doing what MAGA Mama and MAGA Daddy say and chanting, "USA." Hell, you got your baby a "God, Guns, and Trump" onesie. As far as you're concerned, the whole Russia thing is a hoax, Mueller is a secret liberal, that bitch Killary outghta be in jail, and that Nobama negro was born in Kenya. And fags are the worst.

Now let us say, and, indeed, why not, that everything you fear might happen starts to really happen. In an obviously rigged election, Democrats overwhelmingly win back the House and the Senate, they start impeachment proceedings, and they start to undo all the great and wonderful things that Donald Trump did. They restore the individual mandate and expand the catastrophe known as Obamacare. They halt construction on the Wall. They bring back DACA and targeted enforcement of immigration laws. It's a damn nightmare.

But then shit gets even worse. Rather than face impeachment and removal from office, as well as possible arrest, Donald Trump escapes with his family to Russia, where they are welcomed by Vladimir Putin, who you know is a great leader because Trump told you he is. Mike Pence hightails it to Israel. And, before you know it, Nancy motherfuckin' Pelosi is the Commander-in-Chief.

And you know what happens next. She bans all images of Donald Trump, arresting anyone who dares to support him. She fills her cabinet with blacks and Hispanics, lots of women, queers galore, even a transgender Secretary of Defense. She starts to outlaw any Christian church that doesn't preach love and inclusiveness but she lets the Muslims slide. She demands that everyone takes a knee during the National Anthem. She opens the borders and tells MS-13 they can cut any Trump-lover to tiny pieces. They like to use knives, you know, to make it last longer. And Bernie Sanders runs Congress, pushing Pelosi to turn the nation into a socialist hellscape, where the government decides who lives and who dies for the greater good.

Fox News goes off the air when President Pelosi threatens to pull the broadcast license for every local Fox station. All the conspiracy-theory spouting outlets like Breitbart and Reddit forums are sued into shutting down. Alex Jones explodes. No, literally just explodes into a gory pile of flesh.

And, finally, worst of all, the final straw, Nancy Pelosi comes after your guns. Oh, sure, the NRA tries to raise an army to fight back, but even AR-15s and small rocket launchers are no match for drones with Hellfire missiles.

You look at your MAGA wife and your MAGA kids and you say, "We gotta leave. We gotta get out of here."

"We got no papers," MAGA wife says. "We ain't even got passports because you said only cucks and libtards like to travel to other countries."

You know that if you don't get out of the United States of Pelosi, your kids won't have a chance to live their dreams of oppressing the coloreds and owning dozens of high-powered weapons. You heard about someone who'll help people get to the promised land, Russia, if you have the money. You dig up the cans of cash in your yard and you gather all your electronics. And you take them to this person, a black man who you don't want to trust, but you have to. He's glad to help you leave because, well, fuck you.

He gets your family into a truck that takes you from Benton, Arkansas, all the way to the Gulf Coast in Louisiana. There, you meet someone who stows you away in an empty tanker with dozens of other families just like you. The journey is long and difficult, with constant danger of being caught, with people getting sick, with elderly white people dying, with the barest rations to survive on. You spend a good part of the journey trying to figure out the words to "God Bless America." But, finally, you get into the Black Sea and you are brought to a dock in Novorossiysk, Russia.

At last, at last, you are ready to be free again, free to hate the right people, free to worship an oligarchy, and, especially, free to be reunited with your leader who promised you so, so much. Surely, he is ready to lead you again.

You approach the border and customs enforcement officers and say, in the clearest Russian you can manage, that you are requesting asylum for you and your family from the violent liberal dictatorship in the United States. And, for just a moment, you breathe easy until the second that you are taken by soldiers and your children are ripped away from you as you and MAGA wife have your hands zip-tied behind your back, your children's screaming echoing in your ears. "Don't worry," an official tells you through a harried translator, "they will be taken care of in special facility. But you chose to come here illegally and you are under arrest. Your children are not, but you cannot have them in detention, where you will have to stay until your asylum hearing." You try to explain that you thought you were allowed to ask for asylum and be treated differently, but by then the translator has moved on to say the same thing to the next MAGA couple whose MAGA kids are now in the custody of Russian health and human services.

You are fucking freaking out. Your baby is barely a year old. Your three year-old and five year-old will be scarred for life. You had no good fucking choices. Why can't someone understand you need some basic humanity here? But no one will listen. No one will give you a chance.

Listen to me, you backwards ass cretins everywhere, from Bumfuck, South Carolina, to Naziscum, Idaho, to Topeka, Kansas: this is what's happening. This is what the US is doing now. And you can pretend like it doesn't matter because it's just a bunch of filthy spics or whatever you need to believe to not care. But this shit is a tragedy, as you would think it was if it happened to you.

And if you can't see past your prejudices, past your hatred, past your ignorance, on this one blatant thing, then you are the animals.

6/05/2018

Conservatives Finally Speak: "He's Acts Like He's a King"

Finally, at long last, Republicans could take no more.

Senator Ted Cruz said, "Undeterred, President Trump appears to be going forward. It is lawless. It is unconstitutional. He is defiant and angry at the American people. If he acts by executive diktat, President Trump will not be acting as a president, he will be acting as a monarch.”

Lou Dobbs pronounced that President Trump's actions are "evidence of his unilateral, even occasionally authoritarian inclination."

Senator Rand Paul claimed, "The president acts like he's a king. He ignores the Constitution...These are not the words of a great leader. These are the words that sound more like the exclamations of an autocrat." Indeed, Paul went so far as to tweet out a photo of a crown, scepter, cape, and throne with the words, "The 'president who thinks he's a king' starter pack."

The Speaker of the House said, "The president has said before that 'he's not king' and he's 'not an emperor,' but he sure is acting like one."

Chris Christie exhorted, "This president wants to act as if he is a king, as if he is a dictator." And Jeb Bush added, "To use executive powers he doesn't have is a pattern that is quite dangerous." Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that Trump "is acting as a king, acting as a dictator" by doing what is "absolutely contrary to what the Constitution allows."

Conservative editorial writers finally got into the game, with one at USA Today saying, plainly, "The idea that President Trump acts as if he is the king of the United States or a tyrant, instead of president, has become a cliché." Asking for a restoration of the balance between Congress and the President, Charles Cooke, in the National Review, opined, "The United States is a constitutional republic, replete with a set of rules that govern how power may be wielded and by whom. There exists no provision within its codified order that ties the power enjoyed by each branch to that branch’s transient popularity. If there is a constitutional problem with the scope of the administrative state, it obtains regardless of the opinion polls."

But, in honor of that valedictorian from a high school in rural Kentucky who, in his speech at graduation, said he was quoting Trump, to great applause, only to reveal that the line was really from Obama, obviously every single one of those conservatives was talking about President Obama and not Donald Trump.

They were upset about some executive orders by Obama, mostly the one that expanded immigration enforcement protection to the parents of kids born in the U.S., but also ones on guns and transgender rights, and they cried out that Obama was a king, which is something that the Tea Party had been saying from the second Obama was elected.

The difference back during Obama's presidency is that many on the left and center-left were uneasy with the executive orders, too. There is a consistency here that conservatives, who didn't give a damn when George W. Bush used signing statements and executive orders with alarming frequency, certainly lack when it comes to Trump's assertions of a tyrannical authority to proclaim himself innocent of crimes by self-pardoning.

Ted Cruz refused to answer a question about it. Rand Paul said such an action would be "condemned," but that Trump has the right to do it.

Some on the right were more consistent, having qualms about Trump's self-pardon. Cooke in the National Review again explained that Congress needs to act (which it won't). Christie at least admits it would be a political problem, even if he doesn't declare that Trump thinks himself a king.

At the end of the day, each president has pushed the limits of presidential power. Congress and the courts are supposed to keep them in check. But Congress hasn't done that. Now, we can argue about whether Bush blocking funding for stem cell research or Obama deciding how immigration law enforcement are valid exercises of executive power. Still, each was asserting their power in pursuit of a policy goal, which doesn't take away the troubling part of it, but, at the very least, the justification was for their view of the greater good.

But Trump is asserting something quite different than either of them, and it's of a piece with his entire presidency. By saying that he can pardon himself and that it is impossible for him to obstruct a Justice Department investigation because he's the ostensible boss of it, Trump wants to contort executive power merely to protect himself (and, presumably, his family). He is above the law and has absolute and uncheckable power when it comes to federal laws, especially when he's in trouble.

In other words, everything that conservatives falsely feared about Obama is true with Trump. And their refusal to broadly condemn it means that they're just fine with a dictator, as long as he's a rich white guy who hates immigrants and cuts taxes.

6/01/2018

Note to Racists: It's Not Racist to Call You "Racist"

Let's get this out of the way early here so you can determine if you want to continue: If you voted for Donald Trump, you are racist. If you still support Donald Trump, you are racist. You are racist because you are supporting someone who is not just personally racist but who wants the nation to have policies and laws that are racist. Even if you are a rich person who is just a greedy asshole and voted for Trump for the tax cuts, you are still a racist.

I am making this distinction not because I want to excuse Trump's racism on a personal level, but as a way of trying to explain to racist Trump voters why they are racists even if, in their hearts, they believe they have no issue with people of other races. That part doesn't matter if you helped put someone in office who regularly says racist things and regularly, deliberately does things that target non-whites, including the Muslim travel ban, the savage immigration policies, and the attacks on African Americans who protest violence against them. You can't say, "I believe that everything Trump is doing is making America great again" and then follow that with "But I'm not racist" because that's plainly a lie.

Are we clear then? I am calling you "racist" because you're racist.

Earlier this week, when I implied that Trump voters are racist because Roseanne Barr showed how racist they are, someone tweeted at me that racism is "Taking a group of people and bunching them up in assumptions and accusations." I've gotten this quite a bit, that because I say Trump voters are racist, I'm engaging in a type of racism. But that leaves out a crucial aspect about racism. Can you guess? It's that it's based on race. It's not simply any random "group of people" who have some unifying belief. If you take race out of "racism," then you don't even have the word.

You wouldn't think that would have to be explained, but this is the way we live now.

After Barr said that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett looked like an ape, several people responded by pointing out how Bill Maher and many others have said that Donald Trump looks like an orangutan. Of course, that's because of his hair and weird tan, both things he chooses. Believe it or not, he wasn't born orange.

Still, if you don't understand how comparing a black person to any kind of monkey taps into an entire history of racial bigotry and degradation, then you're too stupid to understand any of this and should probably spend your time jacking off on r/The_Donald. The same thing goes if you don't understand how Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump a "feckless cunt" is different than what Barr said. It's not racism. And you have to struggle to make it sexist.

Calling you "racist" isn't political correctness run amok. It isn't an attempt to shut down debate. It isn't even really meant as an insult (even though, yes, it is one). It's a way of defining your beliefs. If you think that people should be treated differently because of the color of their skin or if you voted for leaders who believe that and act on it, then what else should you be called? I mean, "Republican" works, too, except that there are still one or two Republicans who aren't motivated by hatred of non-whites. So "racist" is just a shorthand way to describe an ideology. And, yeah, I do think racists are bad people because, well, they're racists. But that's not racism on my part.

You wanna call that prejudice? Fine. You're right. You've nailed me. I am prejudiced against racists. I don't think those people (yes, "those people") should have a voice in the public sphere. They should be treated as pariahs, mocked, and condemned until they are too ashamed to say those things out loud. You have free speech, sure, and the rest of us have the free speech to say that you are pathetic and have stopped the human race from advancing and that you should be accountable for the horrible things you say and do. Because, see, you're a racist.

The other thing that Trump's racists like to say is "What about Bill Clinton?" Or, as my tweeter accused, "You're putting people in a group and saying they all act/think the same? You're are a Democrat, so since Bill Clinton was as well, then you're a womanizing weasel. See how ridiculous that is?" Yeah, it is ridiculous, but only because of how false it is to even begin to equate the two. See, it's not just about the failings of two flawed men.

Calling out Trump and his supporters for racism is different than supporting Bill Clinton, who you can accuse of all kinds of things in his personal life but whose policies did not reflect whatever level of repugnant you think Clinton is. You might think Clinton is a rapist, but he did not try to pass laws to make it easier for rapists to rape nor did he pardon rapists. You might think Clinton was a serial sexual harasser, but he never tried to get legislation passed that would legalize sexual harassment. I'm not excusing Clinton. I was very clear back in the 1990s that Clinton should have resigned or temporarily stepped aside during the Lewinsky saga because of the massive distraction that it was and that fooling around with an intern was pretty fucked up.

But here is the difference, and it's subtle, so see if you can follow along:

When Donald Trump says or does something racist, you cheer. When he says, "Build the wall," you chant it. When he calls immigrants "animals," you scream your approval. When he called for a "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," you shouted how much you love him. And when he issues executive orders that break up immigrant families or threatens to deport DACA recipients or calls places "shitholes," you say he's just doing what you elected him to do. That's because you're racist.

On the left, we never cheered for Bill Clinton's affairs or alleged harassment. At worst, we said it was a personal issue between him and Hillary. At best, we condemned him. If I recall, my exact quote in 1998 was "If you're gonna be president, keep your dick out of it." So, no, it's not comparable. Not even vaguely.

My advice, racists? Do like all of the overt racists are doing and own that shit. Or, if you don't want to be called "racist," if being called a "racist" makes you feel bad or ashamed, then stop being racist. And that would mean no longer supporting Donald Trump.

But you won't do that because you're a racist and you're too fucking dumb to get out of the pit of shit you love wallowing around in.

5/30/2018

Puerto Rico Remains So Very Fucked (and the Rest of Us Might Be, Too)

The unsurprising but still alarming number of dead from Hurricane Maria, as estimated by a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, is more than 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina combined: at least 4645 killed directly by the storm or in the aftermath. It ought to be a scandal that our bumblefuck president not only low-balled the number by over 4500 but bragged about the federal government's response in keeping the death toll minimal. It ought to be a scandal that it took a private entity to accurately report the thousands of dead. But scandals are cheap in this shit era we're damned to live through. And the only thing that's cheaper are the lives of the American citizens on Puerto Rico.

Here's what else we've learned recently:

On Sunday, El Nueva Dia reported, "Eight months after Hurricane Maria, four main transmission lines of the island's power grid remain unrepaired." This means that much of the island now gets power from sub-transmission lines, and that leaves the power grid vulnerable to weather events, like, say, another hurricane, the season for which starts Friday. Actually, one FEMA official said that "a small tropical storm" could take down the grid. On top of that, thousands of families still do not have power and some still do not have water.

A Frontline report revealed just how disparately the situation in Puerto Rico was treated when compared to the federal government response after Hurricanes Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida. Nine days after the storms, Puerto Rico, where a third of the houses had been wrecked or damaged, received just 5000 roof tarps, compared to 20,000 for Texas and 98,000 for Florida. Just 10,000 federal personnel were in Puerto Rico after 9 days, compared to 22,000 for Florida and 30,000 for Texas. Yes, by the time of Maria, FEMA and other federal workers were stretched thin, but even at its peak of 16,500, Puerto Rico never had the same number of people there to help out as the other two.

FEMA has approved less than half of the 750,000 applications for housing assistance for people who are trying to rebuild in Puerto Rico. This is because, especially in rural areas, people don't have the records that are required in order to get the aid. And even those who had them saw them washed away in the storm. FEMA has provided an average of $2974 in assistance, and the program will end on June 30.

Finally, there continues to be the way that the disaster in Puerto Rico has the potential to be a disaster for the whole country if we don't invest a fuck-ton of funds there. 90% of emergency room physicians say that "they have experienced shortages or absences of critical medicines in their emergency departments" in the past month. On top of that, 93% say "their emergency departments are not 'fully prepared' for patient surge capacity in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, or mass-casualty incident," with less than half saying they are even "somewhat prepared." One reason (though not the only one) for these shortages is that "up to 10% of all drugs consumed by Americans" were made at pharmaceutical companies in Puerto Rico, along with about half the IV saline and a large percentage of the IV bags used by, well, everyone from the local EMT to your big damn hospitals. Those facilities still aren't fully back and are subject to the whims of the weakened power grid.

The fact that we're not still focused on how fucked Puerto Rico is speaks to a general acceptance that the rank racism of the Trump administration is just a part of our daily lives. There was a massive tragedy involving millions of our fellow Americans, with thousands of them dying, and our government is choosing to do the bare minimum because bad news fucks up the MAGA triumphalism.