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.