The Haiku Review of 2017, Part 3: The Shape of Haiku

So...many...haiku. Rude readers have been in a poetry-writing mood, like angry teens whose parents make them take a phone timeout. You have sent in upwards of 200 haiku. It's almost as if you have something you need to get off your chests, like you wanna just scream, "Fuck off, 2017!" except in three lines of 5 syllables, then 7, then 5 again. I just fuckin' love how smart these are. Hell, at this point, I'm just gratified when people use the correct "there," "their," or "they're."

Here are a few more of the best ones:

From Jody in Washington:

Move in like a bitch
Pink Pussy hat on my head
Grab my country back

From Dave from Ann Arbor:

I learned as a boy
Harassment is not okay
Not a hard concept

From VJ in NJ:

"What is the dick move?”
Trump thinks as he sips his Coke
President Asshole

From Alex in Pittsburgh:

The Oval Office
Smells like somebody fucked it
Can't imagine why

From Tom in Tuscon:

Ninety-two million
To subsidize his golf game
In one fucking year.

From RJ in San Jose:

When Trickle-Down fails
again, Trumpsters will bravely
condemn Kaepernick.

From Wendy:

How do you do it?
What lies do you tell yourself?
You are in a cult

From Steve in San Diego:

Skinny polar bear
Now ice free Arctic summer
Make way for the drills

From Sister of Ye in Michigan:

"See, I saved Christmas,"
Trumpy Grinch said as he threw
Christ off Mt. Crumpit

And while I generally hate this kind of shit, this one made me giggle:

From Adam in South Carolina:

One day I googled
Why Ann Coulter is a cunt
Then I found this blog

There are a ton more, and I'll post some tomorrow as we tell send this goddamn year into the trash heap. You can still send yours to "rudepundit" at the ol' Yahoo.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted so far.  One more today from me.

Come November 2018

Channel all of that
Rage and energy into
Election grenades


The Haiku Review of 2017, Part 2: Call Me By Your Haiku

Yesterday, I put out the call for rude readers to submit their summary of 2017 in tender little haiku form. And, holy shit, as you have every year, you delivered, with over 100 submissions so far from coasts left and right, from Trump country and foreign countries. Here are some of the best.

(Quick note: The overwhelming number of entries were about Donald Trump. It's quite the comment on how much of our psychic space he has devoured that we can barely see beyond his orange mane and jibbering jowls.)

From Laurie Moore:

This just summed it up
That pig, throwing paper towels
Like a game show host

From Douglas R:

No more white people
I am a white person, too
And I say no more

From L.B. from NYC

Arrogance Personified

Gorsuch on the Court:
Scalia with better hair.
Just as nasty, tho.

From Sarah from Seattle:

Cuyahoga Burns
Again! Let's throw Scott Pruitt
in! He can swim, right?

From Jeff in Oregon:

Good people don’t toke
Says the Keebler elf asshat
Dude needs a bong rip

From Bob from Minnesota:

Mnuchin is a
two hundred pound bag of crap
dressed in a nice suit.

From Doug in Oakland:

Black women showed up
Again like they always do
It worked so thank you

From AxshinJaxn in a red part of Illinois:

“Fine folks on both sides…”,
Charlottesville revealed Trump’s id;
A racist affirmed.

From Thomas from Indy:

His rep precedes him.
Still, they suck his flaccid junk
all the way to hell.

From Lorenzo from Cranston, RI:

Kellyanne Conway
her facile lying shitshow
creeps me the fuck out

From Susan in Shrub-steppe-istan:

He is on the green,
again, cheating game, stirring
up rage in the world.

From me:


Mary Richards did
Her job well and stayed single
A woman in full.

Jammin' Me

Petty and Allman,
Guitars wailing, voices strained,
Show God how to rock.

Blueberry Cloud

Fats and Chuck, gliding
Through their walkin', talkin' tunes,
Show God how to roll

Keep 'em coming. You can send all haiku (legit ones, 5-7-5) to "rudepundit(at)yahoo(dot)com." More tomorrow.


The Haiku Review of 2017: Adios, You Motherfucker of a Year

One of the few traditions around these parts of Left Blogsylvania is that we kick the ass of the year out the door in the least wordy way possible. That means haiku, the tiny poems that can put on big boots. It's a way of purging before we get to the next year, filled with hope. No, really. Man, every fuckin' day of 2018 is one closer to the midterms where we can actually make America great again.

And you can join in the fun. Send me legit haiku: one line of 5 syllables, one line of 7 syllables, and one line of 5 syllables, in that order. They can be as filthy, funny, or fucked-up as you like. You can be serious, silly, or sanctimonious. The best ones get published on here over the next few days, so lemme know what name you want on it (in case your boss or mate or Mom sees it) and where you're from. Like "Cockknocker from Shitheel, AK" or "Linda from San Francisco" or something.

Send your entries to "rudepundit(at)yahoo(dot)com." I'm the sole judge and I'm susceptible to whim, mood, and whatever I'm drinking or ingesting or smoking.

Let's get this haiku party started:

Trump's inaugural.
Rain, "carnage," and "some weird shit."
Before empty space.

Russia stuff is bad
But I care more about why
Many believed Trump

It was racism.
Don't be blind. Don't be stupid.
It was racism.

See? That was easy-peazy, as dearly departed Bob would say. Send 'em in, and I'll put a bunch up, along with some more of my own.


Things That Made 2017 Worth Living Through

As bad as 2016 was (and, fuck, do you remember how bad that was?), 2017 made 2016 look like a goddamn orgy on a fluffy cloud. From Trump's terrible inauguration to our fucked climate to the tax bill that will rape our children's future, it was one shit thing after another. The only hope going into 2018 is that the bastards might finally pay, someone has to, whether that's the pricks who assaulted and harassed women or the prick-in-chief and all his lackeys. We're wide awake in America, and too many are looking around as if they are seeing the country as it is for the first time in their closed-blinder lives. Welcome to the party, motherfuckers. Grab a hammer or a shovel. We've got shit to do.

This year, the comfort of distraction simply felt more necessary. And, fortunately, there were some quality distractions out there:

1. One of the most cathartic moments in a movie this year was in Wonder Woman, when the title character was told she couldn't cross the aptly-named No Man's Land, the space between warring armies (of, yes, men). Diana defies the men accompanying her because a village needs saving, and, in a stirring action sequence, she charges into the fray to save it. That was the straight-up superhero shit right there, pure and uncut. And Thor: Ragnarok was a genuinely funny action-comedy, finally taking the Marvel characters and showing us how absurd the whole thing is. It was subversive and intentionally silly, which strangely gave all of the deities and the Hulk greater humanity than they had ever had.

It was a great year for father-teenage daughter relationships in great films. In Lady Bird, the daughter got her father to agree to be a co-conspirator in her striving to get into college far away from home. In The Meyerowitz Stories, the father supported his daughter's cutting edge (and nearly pornographic) video art. And in The Devil's Candy, the father and daughter shared a love of heavy metal music that bonded them even as Satan crept into their home.

Other blasts: The climax of Get Out, when Chris takes his revenge against the white liberals who sought to steal his body and enslave his soul; every moment in a car in Baby Driver; every moment with a gun in John Wick 2.

2. It was a pretty damn good year of peak TV. The Good Place not only had the mind-blowing, completely show-altering twist at the end of its first season; its second season had one of the funniest episodes of any TV program I've ever seen. It was written by Megan Amram, it was titled "Dance Dance Resolution," and it had so many hilarious puns in the background that you could pause scenes just to try to find them all.

The most entertaining shows shared that sense of anarchy. In a batshit world, why not just go batshit? Rick and Morty continued to rampage through every line of good taste while still being, within its crazed, dimension-leaping logic, one of the most incisive shows about family dynamics. Legion blew the doors off the comic book show with Aubrey Plaza's demon literally dancing through the psychic scars of the mutant hero. American Vandal pulled the greatest trick on its viewers: making us give a shit about the characters in a fake documentary filled with dick jokes. Glow took its cheesy premise about the exploited women in wrestling in the 1980s and created one of the few shows about people living on the financial and social margins and what they do to survive.

3. Music that got me through the year: Broken Social Scene's Hug of Thunder album, Everybody Work by Jay Som, Colors by Beck, and Soft Sounds from Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast were on constant play. And Kendrick Lamar's Damn is as great and powerful and adventurous as you've heard. For my political soul, Algiers' The Underside of Power paints a world that's spun off its axis, infusing it with howling soul and raging rock. Midnight Oil's return to the United States in a concert at the smallish Webster Hall was pure adrenaline, the Aussie rock band not missing a chance to spit in the face of a collapsing American empire. God, how we leaped and danced, hurting ourselves from expressing our anger at a nation that had betrayed itself.

4. What else here...at the theatre, two one-person shows, In and Of Itself and The Object Lesson, were about the magic in the everyday. Enda Walsh's Arlington at St. Ann's Warehouse was a moving dance and monologue piece about trying to connect one's past with one's present. The podcast S-Town offered one of the most honest portrayals of the small town South I've ever heard/read/seen, in all its weirdness and community and poverty.

I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of stuff here. U2 put on a great, huge show at MetLife Stadium, with insanely gorgeous visuals. Clive Owen was intensely good on Broadway in M. Butterfly. Aziz Ansari's Master of None couldn't have been more beautiful, funny, and life-affirming. I thought the Whitney Biennial was challenging and disruptive and, occasionally, lovely. Better Call Saul...you get the idea.

And I'm sure we're all going to need many, many more things to give our bedraggled brains and souls a break in 2018.

(I've left out some incredibly serious and disturbing stuff, like the bruising film mother! or the Belarus Free Theatre's despairing Burning Doors or Lynn Nottage's take on the destruction wrought by late capitalism in Sweat or this stressful season of Mr. Robot.)


The "Merry Christmas" Nonsense from a Real Atheist's Perspective

One of the fun parts of being a total atheist is that you don't give a damn what religion someone believes. Seriously, someone can tell me they think that God is a toilet and shitting is the way to give thanks to Him for His blessings of indoor plumbing. It doesn't fucking matter. In fact, unless you are making laws according to your religion and imposing them on me or you're harming others based on your faith, why should I care? You're just a harmless person who believes that fairy tales are real and, c'mon, who gives a fuck? You think Cinderella really went to a ball so you wear glass slippers around your neck? Groovy, man. Enjoy.

So when President Donald Trump made a big fuckin' deal about being "allowed" to say, "Merry Christmas" again, I wondered who the fuck was stopping him. I mean, you wanna say, "Merry Christmas" or "Hail Satan" or "I fuck unicorns," I'm not gonna care (ok, I'll be a little judgmental about the unicorn fucking - or at least curious as to what that fucking is like). Who said you couldn't say, "Merry Christmas"? Everyone I've known ever has always said, "Merry Christmas." I say, "Merry Christmas" and I think that Jesus is a fictional character in an overlong, poorly-plotted book.

The whole "War on Christmas" started because back in the late 1990s/early 2000s desperate attention whores like Bill O'Reilly heard about some stores that said their employees needed to say, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" because, you know, they're stores and don't wanna piss off prickly Jews, Muslims, atheists, and whoever else. It was stupid, sure, but so is worshipping an invisible sky wizard (and so is going to war because you think your invisible sky wizard is better than someone else's invisible sky wizard and fuck them for daring to say that the place where their totally fictional did some totally fictional magical thing should belong to them. Or whatever. It's all just nonsense).

The point here is that while Trump was tweeting insane shit about how he "led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase" and while a Trump PAC was putting out a propaganda video with a little girl "fanking" the "pwesident" for "wetting" her say, "Mewwy Chwistmas" again, a video that'd make Joseph Goebbels roll his eyes from how obvious it is, the rest of us were thinking, "The fuck? When couldn't we say, 'Merry Christmas'?" Because, see, we always could. Sometimes we choose not to because we want to be polite to people who don't celebrate it. Sometimes we say, "Happy Holidays" when we're talking about Christmas and New Year's and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa whatever else the fuck is celebrated that we gotta list because it's shorter.

This is one of the joys of true atheism. "Man, those Jehovah's Witnesses, they're crazy," I've been told by people who think that eating the flesh of their Lord and Savior is a benign ritual. When I was asked to be a godfather at a baptism, I agreed, and, at the ceremony, when I was asked, "Do you deny Satan and all his works?" I answered, "Yeah, sure" because it meant the same thing to me as if you had asked me if I really hate Voldemort and want to destroy his Horcruxes.

It also works fine when someone gets upset about Kwanzaa, calling it a "made-up holiday." Motherfucker, they're all made-up holidays. Every single religious holiday is just made up based on someone's fictional book of faith. The only holidays that aren't are the ones that celebrate real, living, breathing people, like Presidents' Day or Martin Luther King Day. Still, I've always liked Christmas because a lot of people genuinely try to be nicer. And there's eggnog. And gifts. What's not to like? Hell, the decorations, even the religious ones, can be awfully lovely. So hope you had a merry one. Or happy, if you're British.

As desperately as conservatives want this "Merry Christmas" thing to be, well, a thing, it's not. Every Jew and Muslim and Hindu I've ever met has no fuckin' problem with "Merry Christmas." A few dicks might, but a few dicks will always be dickish. And some of those dicks exploit minor dickishness in order to show that they are major dicks.

Trump taking credit for "bringing Christmas back...bigger and better" is like standing in a rainstorm in a boat in the middle of a reservoir that was always full and declaring you have ended a drought. As much of a liar as you are, there will always be people who believe there was a drought and that you made it rain. But then again, that's how we got religions.

Real, confident atheists don't think it's offensive to say, "Merry Christmas." We think it's adorable.


Christmas Nativities 2017: Now with Creepy Snowpeople

Like movies about suicidal snowmen and tortured ghosts and pole-frozen tongues, some things are a tradition around the rude house. Reruns are good for the soul. My favorites to trot out this week are the Invader Zim Christmas episode and Olive the Other Reindeer. Even here, in Left Blogsylvania, we can indulge in revisiting old posts.

Before Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and many other places you can get your fix of weird shit, I posted this Christmas blast back in 2004, updated yearly with new bits of freakishness (some links might not work anymore, but they were or are all real):

Xmas - And, lo, a small teddy bear will lead them:
In the days before Christmas, the Rude Pundit roamed his neighborhood, looking at the displays in the charming stores and corner markets. There he saw the agony of so many dichotomous feelings about this holiday. One window had a kneeling, praying Santa next to a baby Jesus in the manger. Santa's hat was off. He was balding. Another display had the jolly old fat man landing his sleigh and reindeer on the roof of the manger. Surprisingly, neither Mary nor Joseph seemed rattled by the noise, although a camel was looking upward, as if asking, "What the fuck?" The Rude Pundit loved that camel.

Ah, sweet camel, what the fuck, indeed. Christ and commerce, Alleluia. The Savior has been born and he thanks you for your presents. Santa showing that he'll even honor the king of the Jews in the land of Islam. There's no telling what it means (and don't get all up in the Rude Pundit's face about St. Nicholas). Except this: we want to embrace both things, good deconstructionists that we are: Santa, who soothes our greed, and Jesus, who promises us peace. Either way, we want them both to tell us we're good people, nice people. And, of course, guilt-ridden Christians want to make sure that Santa toes the party line, you know.

For the holiday, here's a few of the Rude Pundit's favorite nativity sets, none of which are intended to be mocking of the event:

That right there is the Veggie Tales Nativity. In case you don't know, Veggie Tales are cute vegetables who love Christ and salad tossing. The newborn savior up there is a carrot. Get it? A baby carrot? What a delight.

Holy shit, that bear nativity is one of the creepiest fucking things the Rude Pundit's ever seen. Staring straight ahead with their dead eyes, it looks like a satanic cult sacrifice to some horrible bear-demon. Although, the three wise bears have provided snacks for the blood rite: salmon, honey, and berries. All go well with cub entrails.
Every year, I think, "I wonder if there's an even weirder nativity set that I can find" and every year I come across something where I think, "Yeah, that's friggin' crazy shit, man." Here, it's the snow people nativity, with a snow angel, a snow Joseph, a snow Mary, and horrible half-snow, half-flesh sheep chimera. Did Snow Mary give birth to Snow Baby Jesus? Or did they all just make Snow Baby Jesus out of snow?

You know how gnomes used to be just those creepy little bitches you put out on your lawn and forgot about? Well, now they can apparently give birth to the Gnome God's child, who will, no doubt, be crucified on a cute little cross one day for the sins of all gnomes. Oh, so many sins.

What I love about the cardinal nativity is that they're morbidly obese birds, every one of them. In fact, Baby Jesus cardinal looks like he's a tubby little bastard who's stuck in his nest/cradle. Also, all of them look kind of pissed off about the whole event.

That nightmare fuel is the dachsund nativity. Frankly, who needs to wage a war on Christmas when the supposed believers actually advertise an anthropomorphized birth of their Lord and Savior with "Bring the true meaning of Christmas into your house year round with the Wiener Dog Nativity!"

This is not to mention the Chickentivity, the Moosetivity, the Barntivity, the Native American Nativity, and the various Beartivities, all available unironically for your Christmas consumption.

And, finally, the baby nativity:

You might think, "Oh, that's adorable. What's so wrong with it?" To which I can only inform you that the implication of it is that a baby Mary shoved a baby Jesus out of her baby vagina.

And to all a good night.

Oh, wait. What's that you say? You think that last one was kind of a weak one to end on? Well, then, fuck you. Here's the Day of the Dead nativity:

Yeah, they're all screaming in horror and pain. Essentially, that's Christmas in the time of Trump.

(Note: Previous editions of the nativity post have included the Dogtivity, the Boyd's Bears Nativity, and the Rubber Duck...oh, fuck, you get the idea.)


The Great Grovel of 2017: Republicans Declare Trump Their King

If I were the greatest fuck-genie with the biggest dick and a tongue so dexterous that anteaters get jealous, I'd be fuckin' embarrassed if my lovers kept telling me how awesome I am, how they've never squirted or vibrated with such intensity, how "exquisite" my abilities are. Hell, in reality, I'm not half-bad in the sack (as far as middle-aged men go), but, even so, I don't want every guy and gal who ever had a great rude ride to walk up to a microphone and announce that their sexual satisfaction is only due to my mad skillz. I mean, Jesus, how pathetic must you be to need that kind of ego stroke? Send me an Edible Arrangement or something.

Then again, I'm not Donald Trump, who still remains our goddamn president. Apparently, Trump is the kind of lay who needs to be told constantly that his tiny prick is huge, that his fumbling fingers are hitting the g-spot, and that your moans aren't cries of pain, but of ecstasy. In the span of a little over 4 hours, two groups of grown men and women prostrated themselves before Trump and told him how he gave them screaming orgasms.

In the afternoon, at an event that could have been called "Republicans Dance On Your Grave," Trump and congressional leaders celebrated the passage of the tax bill that, at a minimum, will fuck us while we're dry. But Senator after House member freely walked up to the microphone to praise their godhead Trump.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch "I Always Look Like Someone Surprised Me by Sticking Something in My Asshole and I Don't Know How to Feel About It" McConnell gushed like a slobbering hyena, "This has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration" before listing those accomplishments, which have been listed a million fucking times before by Trump himself.

Savage creep Paul Ryan praised Trump's "exquisite presidential leadership," as if using "exquisite" to describe anything about Trump isn't a hate crime on language.

Rep. Diane Black of one of the dumbest areas of Tennessee really said, "Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our President and to make America great again." That's porn shit right there. "Thank you for letting me suck your cock" isn't any filthier than what Black said.

There were more, but let's end with Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, whose picture is shown to Mormon teenagers whenever they are tempted to masturbate, who threatened, "This is just the beginning. If you stop and think about it, this President hasn’t even been in office for a year, and look at all the things that he’s been able to get done." And then he saw Trump's presidency as proof that "God loves this country." Up in heaven, God rolled his eyes and made a jack-off gesture.

As for Vice-President Mike Pence, who must drink Trump's semen as a protein supplement, no words from the effusive, humiliating praise he said could make the point more than this image from the angle Fox "news" had while Pence was speaking at a morning cabinet meeting.

What a fucking degrading display for the entire nation. Goddamn, Trump must have some serious shit on these people. Or they are just groveling tools. Or both. Either way, this was a coronation moment. They have declared Trump their king, immaculate and omnipotent, and they his loyal subjects. There are no checks now. And the world is out of balance.


Make the Bastards Pay

There was no deadline, really, to pass the tax bill that Donald Trump will be jizzing over every time he talks about it for however long he has left in office. It won't take effect until January 1, 2018, and you won't see what it does, fully, until you file in April 2019. For most of us, until then, it'll mean a couple of extra bucks in the paycheck. For rich fucks, it'll mean millions, yeah, but we're not rich fucks (and if you're reading this and are a rich fuck, fucking pay me for the privilege, bitch). If it had been passed in the new year, they could have made it retroactive to January 1.

If you listened to the Republicans savages, shoving this thing onto the United States like a fist dildo into a virgin anus, it had to be done nownownow before they went home for the holiday break when their filthy constituents would have confronted them about the fuckery done in their names. Or they might have been forced to have a couple of weeks of hearings where actual experts would have said, "Hey, this is all horseshit disguised with pixie dust." Or the "fake news" media would have had a greater chance to get the word out there that this bill will dick all of us over. If it's not in the hike in taxes that comes 10 years down the road or the hike in insurance premiums for anyone on the ACA exchanges or the end of the state and local tax deduction, then it's in the way the bill will be used to go after Social Security and Medicare or the way it will make real infrastructure spending impossible. It's a pile of dicking, and there was no deadline to do it other than a desire to get the dicking done and give the deranged president one legislative win in his first year.

But you know what did have a deadline? The Children's Health Insurance Program, and that deadline fuckin' passed in September. Now, states that have been gliding by on residual funding are facing the real possibility that they are going to kick some of the 9 million, you know, children who rely on this for health care. Connecticut has been informing families with kids on their CHIP program, HUSKY B (a terrible name, for so many reasons), that they will not be able to pay for medical services starting on January 31, 2018. And, surprise, surprise, it looks like the Republicans motherfuckers in Congress ain't gonna get to it until next year.

You got that? Is that any more crystal-fuckin'-clear? They worked their asses off to ram through a tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. Day and fuckin' night they worked to do this. And the most we've gotten on medical care for children is Orrin Hatch, one of the people who wrote the original goddamn law, screeching that because he was poor once, of course he cares, even if his every word and legislative action say, quite clearly, "The kids can go fuck themselves." They chose corporations and their own wealthy selves over children. Bob Corker wanted more money, so fuck you, poor kids in Tennessee.

I've got skin in this game. I've got nieces and nephews on CHIP programs. And if you wanna really save money in this country, keep the kids healthy so they don't get worse health problems that cost a shit-ton later on. It's really pretty fuckin' simple. Fix this shit, Susan fuckin' Collins, you goddamn tool. Fix it.

It's time to make these bastards pay. The ones who voted for this bill and the ones whose money funded the effort to get this bill passed. Make all of them pariahs in their communities. Constantly flood their offices with phone calls and demand town halls and one-on-one meetings. Be ready to march and rally against them. Do not let them get away for one second with pretending like they've done something good for the nation. And we need to figure out how to go after their donations from rich people. Fuck, demand a bill that will overturn Citizens United. Call it the "No George Soros or Union Money in Elections Act" or some such shit that'll fool the yahoos.

And vote, motherfuckers in everything from primary to runoff, in every election from school board to president. Vote like your life depends on it because it actually fucking does.

When Democrats get back into power in 2018, and, at this point, we're down to figuring out if they'll just win the House or the House and Senate, they should vote to reverse all the tax cuts for the wealthy and keep the tax cuts for the middle class (even though those run out in 10 years). Shit, make those tax cuts marginally bigger. Force Trump (or Pence) to veto that.

Don't fucking negotiate on bipartisan solutions. Republicans murdered bipartisanship in 2009. Stop trying to revive that corpse. We look like political naifs when we try to act like we're gonna be the fair ones. Set a progressive agenda and fucking stick to it.

There are no rules anymore. There is only a cycle of payback until someone has to just leave the game. The Republican Party, as it exists today, needs to be ground into the dirt with the heel of raging democracy, with voices, with vigilance, with votes. If we are unable to do that or if we are too far gone to where we can do that, then we are the bastards who will pay.


Trump to the World: "Go Fuck Yourselves. Also, Give Us Money."

Yesterday, President Donald Trump, a man who is so physically weak that he needs two hands to pick up a glass of water, gave a speech outlining his administration's "National Security Strategy" (if by "strategy," you mean, "barking a series of narcissistic catchphrases that don't vaguely coalesce into anything resembling a strategy"). It was a usual Trumpish ramble, with bullying, half-thoughts, self-fellatio, and nonsense. But since Trump is the president and the world will take it like this fucknut is actually serious about shit, let's spend a moment or two checking out what exactly he bullshitted about.

Trump started by bragging about how many places he's been: "Over the past 11 months, I have traveled tens of thousands of miles to visit 13 countries. I have met with more than 100 world leaders." He's taken, what, 3 trips overseas? And those leaders were gathered at long-scheduled summits. It's like boasting that you had access to the cuisine of a dozen different cultures when, really, you were just at a Vegas buffet. Mostly, though, it's the usual ego-fluffing masking deep insecurity about his own godforsaken stupidity: "I'm not dumb. I go to places. See?"

He continued by telling us again that he won the election: "On November 8, 2016, you voted to make America great again. You embraced new leadership and very new strategies, and also a glorious new hope." Motherfucker, every time a new president is elected, we're embracing new leadership and new strategies and Star Wars: Episode IV. You're not special in that regard. In fact, most of us didn't vote to make America your version of great. We just have an idiotic electoral system that gives greater power to shitheads in middle America.

And, of course, like every asshole ever, Trump shit all over the presidents that came before him. He didn't even give a happy rat fuck that he was including Republicans when he said, "Our leaders drifted from American principles. They lost sight of America’s destiny. And they lost their belief in American greatness. As a result, our citizens lost something as well. The people lost confidence in their government and, eventually, even lost confidence in their future." He's not talking about the United States. He's talking about the Fantasy America as presented by Fox "news." In Fantasy America, every president but Trump has been something of a traitor. In Fantasy America, we've been begging for a barely literate strongman to force us to love our country. In Fantasy America, greatness is possible only through Trump. Thank fucking Jesus in heaven that the nation in its wisdom elected him (even though, you know, the majority of us didn't elect him).

And, of course, Trump added one of his most worthless ideas: "We have made clear that countries that are immensely wealthy should reimburse the United States for the cost of defending them. This is a major departure from the past, but a fair and necessary one — necessary for our country, necessary for our taxpayer, necessary for our own thought process." I don't know what that "thought process" is (other than a really fucking weird thing to say), but I do know that it's pretty fucked up to say that countries need to pay us for their protection. The idea is that protecting them protects us. That's why we do it. That and to have our troops stationed, ready for possible conflicts. And if we demand payment for our services, then other nations become our customers. If we're paying, we get to say what we do. If they're paying, they get to make demands on us. Essentially, the U.S. military becomes a mercenary force, which is likely what Erik Prince has told Trump we really need.

So what is this strategy? Well, after going over a list of his "accomplishments," the vast majority of which exist only because of what President Obama set in motion before he left office, including the economic growth and the ISIS-fighting victories, he gives us this: "I am announcing today, we are declaring that America is in the game and America is going to win." It is an utterly meaningless line, so devoid of depth that it should have collapsed into itself and sucked Trump into the void through an anus-like vortex. Yes, I'm saying I wished Trump had been swallowed by the universe's asshole.

Most of what he proposed is the same pile of bullshit he's been proposing: the wall, a vetting process for immigrants that is so tough strong men and women will cower in fear at its toughness, and "a complete rebuilding of American infrastructure — our roads, bridges, airports, waterways, and communications infrastructure." That last one would have been nice before we add at least $1.5 trillion to the deficit in this disastrous tax bill. Probably would have created more jobs, too. And, of course, of course, he's a fuckin' Republican, so we're gonna waste another shit-ton of money on military spending. Essentially, the new strategy is "Go fuck yourselves, world. And now excuse me while I chant, 'USA, USA' until I choke on blood."

As he slurped and slurred towards his conclusion, Trump offered this seemingly revelatory observation: "In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign." Well, no, we're not or Trump wouldn't be president.

Trump's truculence is always on display in these speeches, an idiot's defiant stand against a version of history that is simply false. When he says that Americans need to have a "rebirth of patriotism," he's talking to those who thought the nation was in its death throes when a black man was president. Trump is leading us into an era of conflict abroad and at home, where an anxious public is awaiting the next step towards chaos. The strategy is that there is no strategy. For Trump, America is now attached to him on a cellular level. Whither he goes, we must, by force if necessary, go with him.

A Failure in Writing About the Tax Bill Today

So it's midnight here on the East Coast, and I have tried about a half-dozen times today to write something about that nightmare of a tax bill that the House is going to approve today and that, barring some asteroid-like miracle, the Senate will approve on Wednesday. But every time I've attempted it, I come up empty because, frankly, I don't know what the fuck to say about it.

See, as I've said before, there was always some underlying ideology to Republican fuckery, something you could point to and say, "Okay, I fundamentally think this is full of shit, but at least it's a philosophy." But in this case, there is nothing there except the belief that making the wealthy wealthier is an innate good, even at the expense of the poor, even at the cost of their very bodies. And there is nothing, not a goddamn thing, that has ever demonstrated that that's a solid approach to economics.

This is cynicism and greed at its most base, where the fucking deranged president convinces his most loyal fucking deranged voters that he is going to unleash their ability to get wealthy, like every con man at Holiday Inn conference room seminars across the country. It's just embarrassing, like deeply fucked, like all the way from sphincter to intestines fucked, to see grown-ass politicians attempt to justify this act of genuine savagery against the vast majority of the country. From gutting the heart of the Affordable Care Act to the sections that ensure that members of Congress and the Trump urban hillbillies keep more of their not-hard-earned money, we are watching a robbery of the poor and middle class as sure as if David Koch clubbed 'em with a blackjack, took their wallets and purses, and pissed in their faces before running off and giggling.

And Republicans are going to tell us for the next year about how great they've made things, even as the well-oiled Obama economy gives way to the heaving, wheezing Trump economy. They'll blame everyone but themselves for the reversal in the progress we've made since the financial crash in 2008-09. And then they'll insist that shit needs to be cut in order to make things into the tortured paradise of a few rich fucks lording it over the teeming, cowering masses.

Jesus, I'd've had more fucking respect for 'em if they had gone into this saying, "Yeah, we're reverse Robin Hooding this shit right here. Suck our balls. In fact, we'll pay you to suck our balls, and you'll take that money and lap away at the waxy folds of our scrotums."

Nope, I couldn't get my head around this one. Some evil is too corrupt to be understood. I'll be back tomorrow with more rudeness about that bullshit speech Trump gave today.


Random Observations on a Minor Miracle in Alabama

1. Right after the 2016 election nightmare, I wrote, "It's time for Democrats to stop trying to appeal to a white demographic that constantly turns against it and to do everything possible to energize the non-white vote." What last night's win in the Alabama Senate race proved is that the non-white vote is energized, and it was fostered by an active, engaged Democratic Party and other organizations in a massive get-out-the-vote effort that specifically targeted African Americans in Alabama. The campaign of Doug Jones coordinated with several groups, giving them the resources needed to knock on thousands of doors and make nearly a million phone calls.

Democrats need to understand that the black vote has now saved them in Alabama as it did in Virginia. It's time to go even further and, to continue the quote above, "that means, in as many cases as it is possible, nominating and running non-white candidates." African Americans, and especially African American women, are trying to save this country from the stupidity of our inexhaustible white ignorance. It's time to center the concerns of non-white communities in the Democratic Party and not just ask them to vote, time and again, without those things being addressed.

2. As I've also said repeatedly, fuck the white working class. Fuck them. When their needs cross with those of the non-white working class voters you're courting, then great. And you know what? Most of those needs do cross because they are class-based. They need health care, poverty programs, jobs programs, decent education. Democrats keep wanting to pretend that racist fucknuts can be appealed to based on class. It's a comforting lie that is proven to be bullshit time and again. Roy Moore got 68% of the white vote, and that motherfucker was a wretched candidate before it was revealed he finger-fucked a 14 year-old. This country doesn't belong exclusively to white people anymore. The Republicans are fighting a desperate battle to try to maintain that white dominance. They will lose.

So no more fucking speeches about how we "understand" the pain of the white working class. It's up to the the white working class to fucking get that Democrats are the only ones who give a shit about their pain and economic hardship. And no more fucking articles about dumb fucks who are clinging to Donald Trump. They are dumb fucks. Let them drown in their stupidity for a few minutes before we throw them the life preserver.

3. Let's make sure we have some perspective here. Until the allegations of sexual assault on a minor and openly predatory behavior towards underage girls were revealed, Republican Roy Moore was going to win this race despite being a racist, homophobic, Christian extremist dickhead who has no respect for the Constitution. Even though Doug Jones was a great candidate who might have had an infinitesimal chance, Moore is a fucking nutzoid pro-lifer and no amount of compassion towards people outside the womb was going to overcome that. Yes, Jones might very well have won, but he only won by 1.5% last night and that was after the skeevy allegations against Moore came out.

4. Fight for every goddamn seat. Go for the fuckin' throat. Take these bastards down. Play the ground game. Go for the people who couldn't give a flea fart about what's being said on Twitter. IRL beats online every time. And build the right coalitions, ones that prominently feature the people who keep rescuing America's stupid ass despite the best efforts of white people to fuck it all up.

(Yes, obviously there's a large number of white working class voters who are liberal, just as there are conservative non-whites. Your objection is noted.)

(Correction: An earlier version of this said that Moore received 92% of the white vote. That was wrong and based on early exit polls. It was 68%. Still disgraceful, just not completely horrifying. Thanks to rude reader Rose for making sure I'm not putting out fake news.)


Alabama Goddam

In Birmingham, Alabama, Kelly Ingram Park is filled with statues. It's quite a stunning place, if you've never been. Along with large statues of Martin Luther King and other civil rights icons, there's one of four girls, representing the four who were killed in the 1963 bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church, which is right there at the northwest corner of the park.

Other statues are even more moving. A water cannon is pointed at two cowering teenagers, as a reminder of how the police and authorities, under the leadership of Bull Connor, had no problem hurting kids. And there's this one:

Obviously, it represents the dogs that were used to intimidate and attack civil rights protesters. You can walk between them, and it's an eerie feeling, even in stillness, to do so.

Alabama's legacy is one of abject hatred of non-white people. And, despite the public displays that recognize that legacy, the hatred continues to this day. We can see it in the repugnant poverty that many African Americans are forced to live in all over Alabama, poverty that has led to third-world conditions and diseases. We see it in voter i.d. laws that are targeting black and Hispanic Alabamians who have less access to such i.d.'s or the transportation and funds needed to get one.

Unless some small miracle happens, Alabama, a mostly white, mostly Republican state, will elect Roy Moore, a man who, disgusting, disqualifying, and illegal sexual proclivities aside, believes that life was more civilized during the time of slavery, a man who believes that the country would be better off if the amendments to the Constitution ended at the Bill of Rights, thus leaving out the end of slavery, as well as women's right to vote and, ironically, the election of senators by popular vote. He attacks LGBT people with regularity, calling for homosexuality to be illegal and to reverse same sex marriage and rules allowing gays to serve in the military. Hell, his positions on his campaign website are barely as complex as a bumper sticker on some jerk's car. And he has broken his oath of office multiple times already.

Alabama believes, like many states in the South before it, that it has gotten past its horrific heritage, from slavery to lynchings and Jim Crow. But it hasn't. It's just come up with quieter ways to decimate and hinder the non-white population.  Even though there are lots of good people there of all races, of all economic classes, Alabama's organizing principle is still oppression of those who would challenge a straight, white, male power structure. It is more important to Alabamians to uphold that than it is to elect an accused child molester.  Doug Jones should be revered as a hero, instantly electable, for his role in prosecuting two of the perpetrators of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. Voting in Jones, the Democrat, would be a way of saying that Alabama is ready to move beyond the past. But it most definitely is not.

I'd say that Alabama needs to reflect. I'd say that Alabama needs to evolve. But it won't until demographic changes wreck that white hegemony. Until then, Alabama is a lost state, a Flying Dutchman of our racist past, damned to remind us again and again of who we really are as a country, demanding all of us to do better than Alabama.


Democrats Must Unceasingly Call on Donald Trump to Resign.

The exclamation point at the end of all the discussions about the sexual predators in powerful positions, all the rapists and gropers and masturbators, all the harassers, all their victims, so many victims, goddamnit, at the end of that is the President of the United States. Simply put, the progress being made by the "Silence Breakers," as Time magazine called the women speaking out, is tempered by an obvious statement:

Donald Trump has to go because of the credible allegations against him by more than a dozen women.

What Trump is accused of is worse than what Senator Al Franken is resigning from the Senate over, with actions ranging from forced kissing to genital grabbing to the rape of his then-wife Ivana. It should simply be a constant refrain from Democrats that the president likely committed sexual assault repeatedly, that he is unfit for office because of this, and that he needs to step down now.

Yeah, I get your Russia boners and your desire to see Trump frogmarched out and jailed for what will inevitably be money-laundering with a secret sauce of treason. But that's complicated shit. It takes a lot of work to get people to understand complicated shit. So do it the easy way. Go with the sex stuff. Do you think for a second anyone would have given two shits if Bill Clinton had lied under oath about his investment in a land deal? Hell, no. They understood because he lied about blow jobs.

(And let's remember that this bloated, moldy, deranged tangerine of a president paraded President Clinton's accusers before the cameras and before Hillary Clinton at a debate. Seriously, fuck everything about Trump, his family, his ancestors, and his descendants.)

Besides, even out of office, Trump can still be prosecuted. I guarantee that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is licking his lips to get a shot at Trump.

So task number one for Democrats every day, every goddamn day, needs to be calling out Donald Trump as a perpetrator of sexual assault. Every day, they need to call on him to resign, like Al Franken, like Anthony Weiner, like John Conyers. Don't give a fucking inch. And every chance they have to bring it up, they should. And every time they can confront him right to his stupid fucking face, they should. Make it fucking inescapable. Make Republicans have to either agree or actively deny that Trump did the shit he's accused of. Grind those fuckers down.

We are in the midst of a genuine reckoning for toxic masculinity. Things are going to get even uglier as we go along, and, yeah, some things will not seem nearly as bad as others. It's likely that there will be false accusations, but that's what happens when you've kept something silent for years and the floodgates finally open. And while it's easy to make this a political calculation (get rid of Franken so that you have the moral high ground to go after Trump and skeevy teen fondler Roy Moore), I can't help but think about the women whose careers, political or otherwise, were stunted or hindered by the men who have done this shit.

Today people are bitching about Franken's resignation, saying that Democrats don't fight like Republicans. Maybe not, but howzabout instead we fight like we're right?


Other Terrible Jobs Hope Hicks Does for Donald Trump

Man-sized carbuncle and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has a book coming out that he co-authored about his time working on the 2016 election. No doubt, it's filled with so many blow jobs for his former boss that his lips are chapped and bloody and he's had enough protein to last for months. But one of the weirder things that leaked from the book is that Donald Trump's communications director and loyal lackey Hope Hicks would steam Trump's suits while he wore them, including "She’d steam the jacket first and then sit in a chair in front of him and steam his pants," a job that sounds so awful that you'd just need to drink entire mini-bars of whiskey to forget that you degraded yourself that much for a terrible human being.

Of course, then there are her other jobs:

1. Denture glue check before Trump goes out to speak. Hicks is always ready with the Polident for the president's shiny chompers. She apparently failed today.

2. Melania wrangler. Hicks has to run interference whenever the First Lady tries to escape with Barron. Emergency tranq gun available.

3. Tie knotter. Hicks must make sure that all of Trump's ties are absurdly long and dangle right over his dick so he can hide that he gets a tiny erection whenever he's near a microphone or hears his name on the TV.

4. Eyebrow crafter. How does Trump maintain that Brezhnev-like spikiness in those mini-manes over his beady, inbred eyes? Lots of mousse and spit applied by Hicks.

5. Scalp stitcher. Whenever Trump has worked too hard on the swish of his implanted hair, his paper-thin scalp will tear. Hicks is responsible for stitching it whenever it starts bleeding.

6. Calming Eric down. Ivanka and Donald, Jr.'s idiot brother can sometimes get very upset when no one will tell him any classified secrets. Hicks must distract him with cheese and a sock monkey until he stops crying.

7. Taint powderer. Hicks keeps a puff of talc in her purse so that if Donald proclaims that his taint is feeling sweaty, she can gently powder the space between his balls and anus. She has to fight with Donald, Jr. sometimes for the right to do this.

8. Tiffany talker. If Tiffany calls, somebody's gotta fuckin' talk to her.

9. McDonald's runner. Now that Trump's loyal bodyguard is gone, Hicks has to make sure that Trump's gaping maw is constantly filled with as much Fillet o' Fish as that bastard can stuff in there.

10. Ivanka guard. Hicks makes sure that Trump is never alone with his oldest daughter because, really, who needs more of those goddamn photos of him groping his little girl.

11. Fall guy.


A Relevant Tale from the Recent Rude Past: Directing a Rape Scene

(Today is my birthday, and so I get to be a little more indulgent than usual by telling you a story. Oh, and if you wanna give me anything, join my Patreon.)

About five years ago, I was directing a production of The Conduct of Life by Maria Irene Fornes. It is one of my favorite plays by one of my favorite playwrights, but it is some dark, dark shit involving a military man in an unnamed Central American country who is a torturer, his wife, and a young teenage girl he has kidnapped and is keeping as a sex slave in their basement. I wanted to convey the horror the girl, Nina, experiences without being exploitative, but the play does contain her on-stage rape.

I had worked with the actress playing Nina before, and so we trusted each other. The theatre was a small black box and that part of the set, Nina's room, including her small bed, was fairly close to the audience. I talked through some ideas about the scene with Erica and Ken (who was playing the officer). When it was time to put that moment together in rehearsal, I cleared the theatre of everyone but me, the actors, and Amy, the stage manager.

We started by figuring out how to do this, how the actors should be positioned, and how graphic and violent it should be, making sure they felt about as at ease as they could. Then the actors did the scene, which involves the officer telling Nina that he does this because he loves her. Like I said, it's a fucked-up but incredibly potent play. When they got to the end, we were all silent for a moment until I asked Erica how she was doing. Ever the professional, she said that it didn't feel like it worked. And she was honest about how traumatic it felt for her. (Before casting her, I had asked if she was okay with the part, but I never asked her about any experiences she might have had and I still wasn't going to. Not my business.)

We all decided at that moment that what we were doing didn't make artistic sense, and that it was right on top of the audience. We decided that we felt uncomfortable in creating a scene that was so startling that it would take power away from the entirety of the play (which is also about the way that women of different classes treat each other). Mostly, though, I didn't want to force Erica to do something that I thought could be done in a way that honored the play and the actors.

So I said, "What if Nina is a doll?" I found a child-sized stuffed, faceless dummy in the prop room and brought it out. We did the scene again with the officer raping the Nina doll while Nina stood on the side, distanced from her own body, but still reacting in muted pain and shock. We all realized that this was a far more powerful way to do this scene and it ended up that we did the entire play with Erica sitting and standing near the doll. When a friendly character tried to comfort Nina, it was the doll that was embraced, not the human actor.

The point here is that you don't have to hurt women to make art. Sure, I could have pushed Erica to continue to do a scene that she obviously felt was too much. I could have justified it with the script, a play written by a woman. Erica would have done it because she is a brave and dedicated actor who said she was fine doing it during auditions. And I'm not saying that sometimes the graphic stuff isn't absolutely necessary. I've directed shows with sex, nudity, and all kinds of violence on stage.

But what made me step back in this case was that the power dynamic involved in forcing an actress to do a rape scene is only a few steps removed from, well, a kind of sexual assault. And there was no goddamn way that I was going to victimize an actress while directing a play that was an attack on the rape culture that creates the conditions for the victimization. There was no goddamn way that I wasn't going to respect Erica as an artist herself.

In the end, the play was a success, and audiences found the use of the doll heartbreaking (although, admittedly, there were a few titters now and then). Erica now does national commercials and is on her way to becoming a successful performer. And, in this case, no one had to be exploited or harmed or harassed.

Is that really all that difficult to ask of artists?


A Simple Question for Alabamians: Would You Hire Roy Moore?

Look, look, we all get it, Alabama. You really, really care about ending abortion. Abortion is more important than anything else in the entire Senate campaign for a really big percentage of you. It's more important than jobs (and, to be fair, the state has only a 3.6% unemployment rate). It's more important than the rest of health care and, well, obviously, education, (both of which, to be fair, place Alabama near the bottom of the nation). It's more important than whether or not Republican Roy Moore finger-fucked a 14-year-old girl through her panties while he took her hand and used it fondle himself. We totally get where you're at. We may not like it. We may think it's about one of the most viciously backwards, dumbass redneck, fucked-up things we've ever heard, but at least you're clear about how deep a pile of shit you're willing to stand in because you think you're protecting "babies."

And, today, you even got the criminal president to go all in on Moore. This morning, Trump not only tweeted his support for Moore (and, fuck you, if it's under Trump's name, it's Trump's), but he called Moore to offer encouragement by saying, according to Moore, "Go get 'em, Roy," which is what Moore told himself in the food court at the Dothan mall. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a man whose dick gets semi-stiff when he guts medical care for the poor, has backed off his call for Moore to get out of the race and now says he'll "let the people of Alabama make the call" on whether an accused pedophile and proud lawbreaker should be in the Senate. All for tax cuts, man, all for tax cuts.

Let's be clear here, Alabama. Moore ain't on trial. In posts and tweets supporting Moore, his idiot followers are acting like Moore is facing a jury. Moore is running for an elected office. The worst thing that can happen to him is that he doesn't get that office. No one (as of now) is saying he oughta be arrested for sexual assault and for drooling over high school girls at JC Penney and, well, the high school. Roy Moore doesn't have to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to lose the election. These are political decisions, not judicial ones.

But, yeah, you don't have to say it again, Alabama's Moore voters. Abortion is far more important. Fetus protection outweighs the harm Moore likely did to an already-born human girl. That's how you roll, and it's disgusting and perverse and you should be ashamed, but you're not. That shit's a given at this point. You're proudly voting for Moore or against Doug Jones. You are so goddamn please with your ignorance that if someone said that Moore ass-fucked a herd of goats, you'd holler, "What did the goats have to say? Nothing, I bet."

Still, I said I had a question for you, Alabama. And it's a pretty simple one: Would you hire Roy Moore? Not for Senate. Would you hire Roy Moore to work, say, in your restaurant? Perhaps as a greeter at Cracker Barrel? No, let's go even further here.

Let us say, and why not, that you need some work done on your house. You want to build a new back porch for you and the wife and the kids and expand an archway in the front hall, get a little more light in there. You talk to two contractors. Now, one is gonna do a great job. He's gonna get everything done just fine, except he costs just a bit more than the other contractor. Contractor number 2 has come in under the cost of the first contractor and he's a badass when it comes to archways. Man, you really wanna go with the second contractor, except you heard that he likes to hit on teenage girls and he might have even had some relations with some really young ones. This guy who is gonna come and go while the project is happening, entering your home, perhaps using the bathroom, perhaps peeking into your daughter's room, perhaps peeking at your daughter. Are you okay with that? I mean, if you don't hire him because of these things you've heard, you're not calling the cops. You're just hiring the first guy. Is it worth a few bucks?

Sure, though, you wanna come back and tell me that if you heard one contractor liked abortion and the other didn't, that'd tilt it for you. But would it? When it comes to letting someone like Moore hang around your kids?

The answer to that question lets you know how much you actually give a shit about the safety of your real and out-of-the-womb family, not just the theoretical fetuses of the future.


An All-Encompassing Terrible Bill: GOP Not Even Hiding the Class Warfare Anymore

Sometimes, I think I can put myself into the mindset of a Republican (or any politician) proposing or voting for something fucked up. Even though I thought they were utterly wrong to support the Iraq war, I could say, "Okay, it's possible that you could delude yourself into believing that Iraq has WMDs and we should do something about it." When it came to repealing the Affordable Care Act, I could find some remote, thin thread of logic that said, "Well, it's possible that you can be so goddamn full of shit that you believe the states or the 'market' should take care of people's health." Back in the 1980s, as a much younger (but no less liberal) man, I could see how the allure of trickle-down economics, which anyone who spent even five minutes listening to rich people knew was total bullshit, could lead to it being passed. I can see the internal, insane, fundamentalist religious logic of being anti-choice when it comes to abortion. I get why some people are such pussies that they think a military build-up and occasional show of force make us safer. All of it, all the shitty, vile things that (mostly) Republicans have supported had some grain, some microdot of sense within the fucked realm of conservative ideology. Sometimes it takes leaps and stretches of my brain that no sane person should have to make, but that's never stopped me before.

But, try as I might, I can't conjure that dark sorcery when it comes to the GOP tax bill that the House approved and that, with some differences, the Senate is about to vote on.

Let's put aside the major fuckery of the bill, that in order to just need 50 votes to pass, fuckery is done with the tax cuts in that they expire on middle- and lower-income Americans in 2027 (and some don't get any tax cuts at all, ever). Put aside the breathtaking hypocrisy that even conservative estimates put the cost of the bill at over a trillion dollars more added to the debt and yet it's still supported by supposed deficit hawks (an argument they gave up when they voted to cut taxes during the Iraq war). Even put aside the savagery of the Senate bill in its elimination of the ACA insurance mandate, which would drive up the cost of health insurance, wreck the marketplaces, and cause more people to go into debt when they realize that, oh, shit, we should have gotten insurance before Dad needed that emergency appendectomy. Hell, put aside the ending of deductions for state and local income taxes, something that is a direct attack on more Democratic states where those taxes are higher.

Instead, let's look at some of the less extravagant fuckery of the bill:

The bill would fuck Puerto Rico like a cat in heat covered in kibble and catnip tossed into the pound. Yeah, both versions propose "a 20 percent excise tax on goods imported from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States." Both the mayor of San Juan and Puerto Rico's governor have said that it would be another roundhouse kick to the face of the island that is, despite Trump's best efforts, still in existence and still part of the US.

The House version is like a quality blow job for the nutzoid religious right, so tight, just wet enough, not too much but not too little tongue. It changes the tax laws so that churches can maintain their tax exempt status while they engage in explicit political activity, like supporting child molesters for Senate. It sneaks in language declaring that a fetus is a person for the sake of starting and taking a deduction on a college savings account, thus setting up a court case that could end up with abortion being outlawed because gotta get them cell clusters some rights.

I've already gone into how the thing dicks over colleges and graduate students.

And this is not to mention how Donald Trump is such a fucking liar about the bill not benefiting him and his terrible family of assholes, as well as the asshole families of every ass in Congress voting for this.

And where the fuck are the Democrats? Why aren't they out in full force, crowding the airwaves, on a message that Republicans are inciting class warfare? Because that's what this is. It is literally taking money from people making $75,000 or less and giving it to millionaires. The GOP isn't hiding that. It's a built-in feature.

But we only hear the cries of "Class warfare" when people want to take money from the rich to do shit like fund schools, build roads, and other shit that actually creates jobs and doesn't just siphon money away from those things for "shareholders" and corporate executives and fake real estate moguls who become destructive presidents.

There is literally no reason to vote for this bill unless you are determined to make your donors happy. And even I can't get my deranged mind around that shit.


Guest Post: Y'all are Going to Hell if You Elect Roy Moore: A Report from LA (Lower Alabama)

I asked a local down in the deep deep south to chime in about what we might or might not know regarding the Alabama senate race between a goddamn hero and a goddamn child molester.

This is by Marty Olliff of Dothan, AL.

Recently there's been a good deal of twaddle on Twitter about the moral responsibility of Alabama as a whole for the election of Roy Moore. "All eyes are watching," wrote one. This is problematic, for the Alabama political landscape is much craggier and more crevassed than moralizing from afar implies. Understand why Alabama hasn't risen up en masse and shouted, "NO MOORE" is baffling, but my lukewarm take might help.

First of all, separate Moore voters from the anti-Moore voters (Dems, some GOP, and even some evangelicals). Moore is buoyed by his party identification and some people will not budge. I've heard more than once, "I like Doug Jones, but he's a (sotto voce) Democrat . . ."

For the tweeters who think Alabama is going to hell for the outrage of electing an accused pederast and assaulter, remember that Trump won slightly over 62 percent of the state's 2016 votes, so the GOP candidate should be walking away with this election. But he's not. The Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, has pulled to within a few points, and in one flawed Fox News poll was ahead. That Jones has closed the gap is a moral victory, thin as such gruel might be.

Why is Jones so close? Mainly because the Moore scandals have led many in the GOP to abandon him where they would have lusted for his victory or at least held their noses for the sake of god, guns, tax cuts, and harming black folks. Never doubt the power of sexcrime to have an impact on the American electorate.

Jones faces multiple political problems not of his own making. Unlike Moore, the best-known politician in the state, Jones is relatively obscure. His successful prosecution of Klansmen who evaded justice for 40 years after killing four little girls at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham got more play in the national press than here. Murderer Bobby Frank Cherry's name still comes to mind faster than his prosecutor's does, and the state's always-simmering racial divide means that most white voters aren't jumping on Jones's criminal justice bandwagon. Jones compounded this by not seeking the spotlight for his win. Damn him for being a decent human being and competent, non-grandstanding attorney!

More seriously, the Alabama Democratic Party is in trouble. Will Rogers famously quipped, "I don't belong to an organized political party; I'm a Democrat." Alabama replied, "Hold my beer." The party is split between its black and white wings, led by long-time empire-building co-chairs without coherent reach outside Montgomery. Dozens of elections go unchallenged, which has led local factions to revolt. Little wonder the DNC provides almost no funding to the party to build itself. The rumors of the death of the Alabama Democratic Party might be premature, but they're not THAT premature.

The real obstacle any Democrat now faces in Alabama is the hard-core support for a single-party state that represents the interests of the white middle class and the white aspiring middle class for whom caste-consciousness substituted for class-consciousness. Moore supporters, and most Alabama Republicans, are the progeny of the Dixiecrats who morphed into the Wallaceites of "Segregation Forever" and "stand-in-the-schoolhouse-door" fame who then morphed into the Reagan Democrats and beyond. The transformation was complete when Democrats lost their last statewide office with the resignation of Sue Bell Cobb as Chief Justice.

Believing Moore's hard-core supporters are susceptible to rational argument is a fool's errand. In Alabama, everything is political and politics are personal. Not only do people take political slights personally – much of the recent trouble with the Luv Gov and Mike Hubbard was about factions of the GOP being pissed off at one another – but even more insidiously, supporters line up behind individuals who personify a mix of relatable traits, policy directions, and systems of patronage and favors.

Here's how that works: Moore is mean-spirited and doesn't take shit from the evil, immoral cultural authorities of Hollywood and New York City. He might kick down, but he never kisses up, and he appears to his supporters to be a bully who fights for them. That appeals to many of those self-righteous, put-upon Alabamians who root for Judge Judy to tell some bonehead off or for Dr. Phil to make some wimp cry.

His supporters like that he was persecuted, in their eyes, for the simple act of placing God before man-made law (many of them know their civics better than that but won't admit it), and they are apoplectic about abortion. Moore rails about those things, and gets standing ovations in small-town gatherings. Additionally, if Moore gains a position, he'll vote to reduce taxes and he'll have to hire people. Someone his supporters know might benefit or they themselves might be able to call in a favor as a benefit of their vote. Power by proxy.

Underlying all of this is the emotional tribalism that makes everything in the state a binary contest between Us Good People and You Evil Bastards. Any white person who takes up residence in Real Alabama (anywhere that is not a major college town or a center for space engineering) hears two questions that, in a way, get at the same thing: "Where do you go to church?" and "Auburn or Alabama?" These questions, as well as the entire "Heritage not hate" nonsense, is about identifying yourself as a member of a tribe. Not quite a majority of Alabamians take this kind of hyper-tribalism very seriously, but give any us a couple of beers and things are likely to get out of hand one way or another.

Finally, Alabama is a hotbed of "Bless your heart," the ubiquitous phrase that means both "I feel for you" and "All y'all just fuck off." The second meaning is a hint to understanding why Moore supporters can reconcile their professed Christianity with his personal (accusations only at this time) crimes. They simply don't believe he assaulted anyone, that his accusers are Democratic plants and liars.

As for trolling young girls, well, they read the Bible the same way he did; summed up by the odious Jim Zeigler who cited the age differences of biblical men and women, including the step-dad and mom of Jesus, in justification. Even if Moore supporters do think he's an embarrassment, they simply do not care. He not only represents them; he IS them.

Until you grok this perversion of "the personal is political," trying to figure out how supporters of Moore and even Trump think will make you grab the tall boy of Zoloft. We get a replay in 2018, so that'll be fun.

(Caveat: Before you get your knickers in a twist that I didn't cover your pet peeve or #NotAllMooreSupporters, let me say, "Bless your heart.")


No Sympathy for the Devil: Yes, Another Take on That Times Article on a Nazi You Can Love

I'm sure we're all sick and tired of reading about that article in the New York Times, the one about Ohio resident Tony Hovater, the one that painted him and his movement as everyday white Joes, just eating at Panera while denying the Holocaust and gabbing about how cool Hitler was.

See, the Times editors believe that the point of Richard Fausset's story "was not to normalize anything but to describe the degree to which hate and extremism have become far more normal in American life than many of us want to think," which, if you parse it, are really one and the same. Fausset himself admits that one huge element missing is a fuller understanding of why Hovater believes what he believes.

The issue here is not the quotidian banality of Hovater's evil, where he sits around the local Applebee's talking about separating the races. We know that we live and work among racists and sociopaths. Nor is it the contradictory nature of that evil, where a Jew-hating Nazi can love Seinfeld, one of the Jewiest shows ever. Consistency of belief is not really a hallmark of the modern fascist. It's that Hovater is evil, as in legitimately, objectively evil in a way that is almost universally defined as "evil," and Fausset and the Times let him off the hook for his evil.

While the article gives some examples of exactly how vile Hovater's beliefs are, there are so many more that the article ought to be overwhelmed with those, not what's in his kitchen drawers. Here's some of what Hovater wrote at the blog of the "Traditionalist Worker Party" (which is a long way of saying "Nazi"):

In a post titled "Ethnic Cleansing, Voting, and You!" Hovater offers, "The masses of nonwhites clearly hate you and will vote against what they perceive to be white interests at the polls. The ruling elite of (((financiers, business owners, media conglomerates, and politicians))), sorry all those echoes at once, hate you." The "echoes" are shorthand to indicate that what he really means is "Jews." His solution to the fact that "America is beyond saving"? "It’s time to push for balkanization of the empire and geographic relocation for our people." Somehow, Hovater's use of the accusatory parentheses didn't make the article.

In another post, Hovater says, "Another legend seems to have worked up the ire of a certain protected ethnic minority. Ted Nugent, a man who the media already despised more than any other living man on the planet aside from Donald Trump, stepped right in it. Ted Nugent named the Jew." This is followed by a defense of Nugent's antisemitism.

And, oddly, Hovater has shown up in multiple other places as one of the Nazis that reporters go to for comments. In the New Yorker back in August 2015, Hovater is quoted hoping that Donald Trump will just openly say he wants more European (white) immigrants in the U.S. and not try to hide it.

In fact, Hovater and another "Traditionalist," Matthew Heimbach, appear in so many articles, that it looks less like the white supremacist movement is growing and more that there are a couple of jerks who news outlets keep interviewing because they fit a narrative that the white supremacist movement is growing, which, in turn, helps the white supremacist movement grow.

It's in another article that Hovater elaborates a bit on one reason (mentioned in the Times piece) that he became a white supremacist. It's because that when he was touring with his metal band, he went to areas of great poverty in Appalachia: "You see how a complete system failed a group of people and didn't take any responsibility for it and has done nothing to help."

Right there is the inflection point, where you have a choice to make when you realize that people in poverty aren't getting the help they need. It's right there that Hovater could have decided that he needed to head left and advocate for programs to help people out of poverty, like job training and, you know, health care. But that takes work, that takes allying with people different from you. Instead, he took the easy path, the one that said the problems of poor white people aren't the problems of poor black people, and, in fact, poor white people are the victims of politics that only seek to help poor black and Hispanic and other non-white people, likely in a way that profits Jews, the puppet masters, of course.

Listen to some of what Hovater says on Heimbach's podcast The Daily Traditionalist on the Radio Aryan website (research is so fun). It's all about how whites are just constantly being victimized, that DeAndre Harris wasn't beaten by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville - he was asking for it, just like Trayvon Martin; that Jew-hating is a reasonable stance because Jews control everything, including our very thought processes through their insidious professoring at colleges. But then, all of a sudden, one episode veers into discussing how drug addicts are railroaded into for-profit prisons whose corporations donate heavily to politicians and I think, "Oh, c'mon, how are you not making the connections here? How inundated with nonsense and lies do you have to be in order to remain so blind?"

Now, it might seem that I'm having sympathy for Hovater, but I'm not. Because his turn to white power and Hitler love was a choice made by a grown-up. And there are a hell of a lot of white people who faced the same fork in the ideological road that Hovater faced and decided to make common cause with the all the poor, not just the white poor under the guise of a fake white genocide. Where are the damn stories about them?

As for the Times article, it's all well and good to show how Hovater lives an everyday life. No one is doubting that Hitler might have loved a good fart joke, ate pastries, and wiped his ass like anyone else. But we don't remember Hitler for that. We don't remember the mass population of Nazis and Nazi-supporters for their dinner parties and their honeymoons. We remember them for their hatred and their evil because that is what they chose as their legacy. And that's, frankly, the only way we should think about the Nazis in our midst.


A Thanksgiving Prayer from the Conquered

A poem from Leonard Peltier's book Prison Writings: My Life Is a Sun Dance:

The Message

Silence, they say, is the voice of complicity.
But silence is impossible.
Silence screams.
Silence is a message,
just as doing nothing is an act.

Let who you are ring out and resonate
in every word and every deed.
Yes, become who you are.
There's no sidestepping your own being
or your own responsibility.

What you do is who you are.
You are your own comeuppance.
You become your own message.

You are the message.


Little Narcissists Everywhere

Charles Krauthammer said the President "is clearly a narcissist in the non-scientific use of the word. He is so self-involved, you see it from his rise...I think he’s extremely self-involved. He sees himself in very world historical terms, which means A) because he’s an amateur, he doesn’t know very much, and B) because he’s a narcissist, he doesn’t listen."

A writer for the American Thinker (motto: "We don't understand how ironic our name is") said, "This man has been entrusted with the greatest power in the world. He will have that power for the next three years at least. But he may not be able to emotionally tolerate any real limits on his need for self-aggrandizement and power.

Over at FrontPage (motto: "Inside every conservative is a small child who wasn't loved"), David Greenfield wrote that the President "doesn't hate politics. He likes power. He hates compromise. That's not idealism though, it's ego. He wants everything his way. And he can't stand even the slightest challenge. Think of the brat with too much self-esteem who begins to pout if the teacher corrects a mistake and throws a fit when mommy won't buy him the thing he wants right now."

Fox "news" discussed the President's "persistent use of 'I' when giving speeches to sell his administration's agenda," and even began tracking the "I" usage in his speeches.

Ben Shapiro wrote that the President's "desperate need for attention is clearly a psychological condition. He drinks in applause like a washed-up movie star."

It's kind of hilarious now to read these comments about Barack Obama from conservatives, most of whom are either slavering Donald Trump fans (like Greenfield and Fox) or mildly critical but hopeful about Trump (like Shapiro). Only Krauthammer has been consistent in his disparagement of those he perceives as narcissistic (which is itself a narcissistic stance, but now we're getting solipsistic), although he stops short of calling for Trump to be removed from office.

This morning, Trump tweeted out "IT WAS ME" in all caps in reference to...well, really who the fuck cares and why the fuck does it matter? This is narcissism taken to a level that would make Narcissus say, "Whoa, whoa, bring it down a notch, asshole."

But, you know, as laughable as it is now to view Obama as a narcissist, especially after he's said things like he doesn't care if Obamacare is called "Trumpcare" or "Ryancare," as long as people have health insurance, you'll hear an apology from the right when hell freezes over with pigs in the air.