The Parkland Students Should Fill All Adults with Pride and Shame

I fuckin' love these Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School kids from Parkland, Florida. The more outspoken, the more in-your-cruel-fuckin'-face-NRA they are, the better. They are reluctant warriors, thrust into a battle they never had any previous intention of fighting but were dragged into by an act of utter savagery directed at them, the shooting massacre at their school on February 14 that left 17 of their classmates and teachers dead. But now that they've joined in the fight against the gun lobby and the Republican whore-beasts who do its bidding, as well as against a resigned complacency on the part of the public, those bright-eyed motherfuckers are in it to win.

We keep hearing how the Parkland kids - well, many of them have turned or are turning 18, so "kid" isn't exactly accurate - have kept this current movement for gun control alive by their presence and their voices. We also know that a bunch of corporate pig fellaters at the NRA are not gonna beat teenagers at the social media game. We're talking about young people who got iPads before they got out of Huggies. Social media is their realm. It is their soda shop. It is their roller skating rink. It is their underneath the football field bleachers. It is where they gather to commiserate and conspire and explore. You cannot fuck with their Snapchat game. I don't say that to belittle them. These are the tools of activism now, and the people who know how to wield those tools will be the victors.

But a couple of other things are going on with this generation that do not bode well for conservatives, if they truly get activated as a political bloc. For one, most of them grew up with active shooter drills. I know teenagers who had them every year since kindergarten. FEMA even has a document for guiding schools in creating procedures for an active shooter. Students learn how to go into lockdown, how to crouch against the back walls in a darkened room, how to escape if necessary, how to distract a gunman long enough so that some can escape while others get blown away. They don't know a life where that doesn't happen. What they don't learn in school is how fucked up it is that they have to be prepared for it at all.

How they learn that is the other thing that fucks with the nutzoid right-wing narrative. See, it used to be a fuck of a lot easier to keep Americans away from finding out about how others live around the world. Oh, sure, you could watch movies or shows or read or, more recently, go to websites. But a whole lot of tweens and teenagers these days are constantly in communication with people all over the world, in Europe, in Asia, in Canada, fer fuck's sake. They are following them or being followed by them on Instagram. When they play games online, they go on missions with people in Japan and Sweden and Australia. In other words, in a very real, very current way, teenagers exist in the world, and what they learn about a lot of places around the world is just how fucked our gun culture is and just how free other societies are without the constant, endless threat of gun violence.

Every foreign country I've ever visited, one of the first things someone wants to know when they hear I'm from the United States is "Do you know Beyonce'?" The second thing is "What the fuck's up with the guns? What is wrong with your country?" That sense, that something is entirely wrong with how we live in the United States, permeates the online existence that so many American teens have. You have to deliberately avoid the rest of the world showing that it's okay to not have a fuckin' pseudo-machine gun to get by in life. And if you're living somewhere that you do need it? Then you're in a fuckin' war zone.

The cynical take on millennials and post-millennials is that they are glib and self-involved. Well, no shit. Every generation is self-involved. That's America: a bunch of assholes who have been told that it's better to be a selfish prick than to take care of your community. But experience teaches us that that doesn't hold when confronted with reality. It gets in the way of pursuing happiness. What happens is that you realize that if you're gonna have any peace to be blissfully self-involved, you gotta make the rest of your world better.

I am so fucking proud of the Parkland teens and of all the teens that have jumped into the fray in the wake of the latest school bloodbath. They have grown up with the Tea Party and hashtag activism and women's marches and more. I am thrilled that they are synthesizing all of this into a "suck deez nuts" attitude where they don't give a happy monkey fuck what some bloated bag of blogging bullshit like Erick "Erick" Erickson says about them. Man, these kids grew up getting slammed and dragged by vicious comments on their Snaps. You think you're gonna rattle them with your witty bon mots?

Yet every grown-up should be shamed by the way the Parkland teens have shifted the conversation. They didn't care if Fox "news" or Paul fuckin' Ryan told them it was too soon to talk about the politics of guns. They looked at us pathetic adults and knew that we were incapable of doing shit to change anything. We failed them. (Yeah, yeah, not you, you're great, pat yourself on your fuckin' back. Happy now?)

We failed them by refusing to throw out of office elected officials who wouldn't pass laws that over 90% of the nation wanted. We failed them by giving extremist gun owners a greater say over gun policy than the wide majority of people who own one or no guns at all. We failed them by making their childhoods about avoiding getting shot. We failed and we failed again and again. They shouldn't have to be lobbying and pleading for something to budge on our gun insanity, but they must because we let them down.

And, frankly, I'm glad to admit that failure and line up behind the people, however young, however new to this whole fucked up political landscape, and fight with them to overcome our failures.


The West Virginia Teachers Strike Is a Potential View of the Activist Future

"They're pretty pissed," said my pal Liz down in West Virginia on the phone last night. "And they have every reason to be." She was talking about the public school teachers in her state, who are among the lowest paid in the nation, and the strike they called last Thursday. It's affected the entire state, with schools closed in every district. It is continuing today, with a big rally at the state capitol in Charleston.

This is on the heels of yesterday's rally where the teachers were joined by the head of the United Mine Workers of America, who told the crowd, "I call on every union member in the state of West Virginia — coal miners, steel workers, rubber workers, electrical workers, everybody — stand around these workers." The starting pay for teachers is $33,000 a year. The teachers are taking second jobs to make ends meet.  The salary is less for support staff, like $24,000. If that doesn't enrage you, imagine being the guy who mops up vomit and other messes at a Wheeling elementary school.

And, according to Liz, the people of the state are with the teachers. "I haven't heard anyone say that they're wrong," she said. "People are supportive." Indeed, there have been rumblings of the teachers being joined by other state workers. "We have people working full-time for the state who are on food stamps to survive," Liz explained. She knows some of them personally.

The teachers are striking because, after being given a pay raise of 4 percent over 3 years, they were facing a big hike in their health care premiums and other benefits, one that would not only wipe out the raise, but cost more. In other words, it was a pay cut. Governor Jim Justice got the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board to approve a 1-year freeze on the benefits hike, but the temporary nature of the fix is one of the things that spurred on the strike.

The pay issue is huge because teachers are leaving the state to make a better living. As English teacher Jessica Salfia put it, "I live in a place where I could drive 20 minutes to Washington County, Maryland or Loudoun County, Virginia, and make $20,000 to $25,000 more than I’m making now." There are currently 700 teaching vacancies at West Virginia schools. The pay gap is hurting the education of kids in the state.

Of course, this all comes down to Republican (and, to be fair, some Democratic) hard-ons for tax cuts. Yeah, the legislature and then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin blew a hole in the budget with tax cuts in 2016. The tax cuts, along with an economy that is slowing down because, no matter how many times Donald Trump clicks his heels together, the coal industry is dying, have left West Virginia in such a precarious financial position that Justice actually proposed tax hikes last year. Of course, it didn't happen once ALEC and other conservative asshole groups went after him, and he's not proposing many of them again.

But to end the strike, Justice is for calling a special session of the legislature to address the severance tax on natural gas (that is, a tax on what is extracted from West Virginia and shipped out of state). While coal may be dying, companies come to West Virginia and are making a mint on natural gas.

However, while tax hikes might help solve the problem, the Public Employees Insurance Agency has implemented a program that will charge some people even more for their health care. "Because I have high cholesterol, I'm going to have to pay $500 more in my deductible," said Liz. Her high cholesterol is not diet-related. It's genetic. No matter what she does, she hasn't been able to get it down. And the PEIA is going even further. Teacher Sonya Ashby says, "PEIA wants your blood tests, waistline circumference, FitBit data, gym data and other private information. If you don’t meet their criteria for what’s 'healthy' or choose not to give them your private information, you are penalized with higher deductibles and premiums. This is using financially punitive measures to control the behavior of the employee."

So you're not gonna pay people enough to be able to afford things like healthy food or a gym membership and then you're going to penalize them for being too poor or having a pre-existing condition. And you're going to charge them more for the whole thing. All this is from the political party that's supposedly all about small government. Christ.

Liz is hoping that there is a reawakening of the union spirit in West Virginia. It is where Mother Jones herself was arrested for speaking out for the United Mine Workers of America. It is where politicians like Democratic state senator Richard Ojeda actually have a shot in running for Congress. Ojeda, a DACA supporter, alternative energy proponent, sponsor of pro-marijuana legislation, and a veteran, unleashed a hell of a tweet storm in support of the teachers, specifically tying the teachers' strike to the history of West Virginia labor activism.

Many teachers have said what Liz told me: "We're supposed to take a bullet for the kids, but we're not good enough to pay a fair wage." She also tied the uprising by the teachers to the uprising of the students from Parkland, Florida, after the massacre there. "Something is happening," she exclaimed. "I don't know what. I don't know how far it will go. But it sure feels like something is happening."

I'll leave you with the words of a teacher, Brittany Dolly, who is a West Virginia native. She frames the fight as being for the very soul of the state, and this is why the teachers have the support of the public while jerks like Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are out of touch: "I would like the public to understand that this is a time of crisis. Not only a crisis for teachers who find it increasingly more difficult to support their families, but a time of crisis for the state as we face a future where quality educators no longer come to or stay in West Virginia. For now, I will stay and fight for all West Virginians, because this fight is more important than a pay increase or benefits for state employees. This fight is about making a better West Virginia."

As the Supreme Court seems on the verge of gutting public unions, it is a good time to remember that strong unions make for a strong country.

You can support the teachers through the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia and through the West Virginia Education Association.


Violent Things That Have More Influence on Kids Than Movies or Video Games

1. The guns you can buy at family-friendly places like Cabela's, a "sporting goods" store. This is from their 2016 Black Friday ad:

2. The President of the United States saying, "This crazy man who walked in wouldn't even know who it is that has (a gun), that’s good. It's not bad, that's good. And a teacher would've shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened." You can put in the words of any politician who glorifies gun violence. Same effect.

3. These pathetic idiots on an open-carry march.

4. The NRA's Mistress of Doom Dana Loesch telling gun owners to be ready to go to war. And the NRA in general.

5. Dumbass parents who teach their kids as young as 5 to shoot semiautomatic guns.

6. Trigger-happy cops, whose actions teach that shooting first is just what you do.

7. The worthless death penalty, which teaches that murder solves your problems.

8. Oh, yeah. And maybe all the motherfucking guns themselves. Maybe the real, physical guns that can fucking kill people have more of an influence than fantasy deaths. Or is it just easier to blame fiction than blame reality?


What Did That Dumb Orange Motherfucker Say Now? (Guns, Guns, and More Guns Edition)

It's been 24 hours of our dumb orange motherfucker of a president, Donald Trump, saying things that only a dumb motherfucker would say about guns and the solution to mass shootings at schools in the United States. It started with his "listening session" with parents, teachers, and students who had lost someone in a school shooting or had survived one. Of course, it was a "listening session" only if you consider as "listening" the way in which Trump sat sullenly in his chair, hunched over like a particularly brain damaged bonobo wondering when boring blah-blah time will be over so he can throw some of the poo he's been saving up.

I mean, really, the man needed a goddamn note to tell him to ask things that even a barely literate child would have known to ask.

But, finally, after being forced to hear stories about human beings with feelings that aren't just "Trump good. Me love Trump. He have big hands and penis," the mad president got to say his piece, and, obviously, it was utterly inhuman nonsense crossed with the kind of idiocy that only a rich fuck who's never been told he's full of shit can provide. Seriously, my favorite thing Trump does when he speaks is to act like he's fuckin' Magellan, discovering shit that other people have always known about.

"You know, years ago, we had mental hospitals — mental institutions," he informed the gathered people, as if they were all aliens who had just come to earth. "We had a lot of them, and a lot of them have closed. They’ve closed. Some people thought it was a stigma. Some people thought, frankly, it was a — the legislators thought it was too expensive." Okay, first, asshole, whose fuckin' party thought it was too expensive to keep people institutionalized? And then a whole bunch of 'em were fuckin' hellholes and dumping grounds. Besides, who the fuck is gonna pay for the treatment, since someone thinks it's a goddamn crime to provide health care.

Trump continued on this point: "Today, if you catch somebody, they don’t know what to do with them. He hasn’t committed the crime, but he may, very well. And there’s no mental institution, there’s no place to bring them." What the fuck is he talking about? Your guess is as good as anyone else's. But you can bet that his kids and his lackeys told him he's brilliant. The National Alliance on Mental Illness released a statement calling "bullshit" on this.

Twice Trump told us that carrying guns in a concealed way is "called concealed carry," as if he's letting us all in on some secret lingo. His idea, that 20% of teachers would have "special training" and they would be armed with guns and ready to go fuckin' Statham on any active shooters in their school, is so fucking ridiculously dumb that it's not even deserving of discussion. Not only did the Broward County sheriff dismiss it last night, but Senator Marco Rubio, one of the NRA's spoogebuckets, also thought it was worthless (this was in-between being totally owned by Parkland high school students).

Our fucking worthless piece of garbage president went even nutsier today while meeting with members of law enforcement, elfen scourge Jeff Sessions, and bejeweled viper Betsy DeVos. He shit all over every president that came before him: "We will take action, unlike, for many years, where people sitting in my position did not take action. They didn’t take proper action. They took no action at all. We’re going to take action." You mean all those laws that were filibustered or voted down by the GOP? Fuck you, man.

There was bizarro torture porn featuring MS-13, the Latino gang that gives Trump semi-wood whenever he mentions their swarthy violence: "They’re killing people, not necessarily with guns — because that’s not painful enough. This is what they think. They want to do it more painfully and they want to do it slowly. So they cut them up with knives. They don’t use guns; they use knives, because they want it to be a long, painful death to people that had no idea this was coming." I honestly never thought I'd live to see a president who loved describing graphic pain.

Again, Trump's brain is stuck in the 1980s, when the Crips and the Bloods were the big deal, when violence in video games and movies were the subject of congressional hearings and White House action. Said our old man president, "I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And then you go the further step, and that’s the movies. You see these movies, they’re so violent. And yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that." No, we've never discussed this before. We'd never put a rating system onto video games, TV, and movies.

But the piece-de-fucked-up-tance was the repetition of "hardened" schools. Talking about "gun-free zones," as if they are just areas where everyone is wearing a "shoot me" sign, Trump said, "We have to harden our schools, not soften them up." And that means arming and training the teacher commandos. "You have now made the school into a hardened target...You want a hardened school, and I want a hardened school, too," he repeated.

"Surely," you're thinking, "it couldn't get any more fucking weird." Oh, how about this: "I think we need hardened sites. We need to let people know: You come into our schools, you’re going to be dead, and it’s going to be fast...So we have to harden our sites... if you harden the sites, you’re not going to have this problem...We need a hardened school. But we want to harden it without having everybody standing there with a rifle...Everybody agrees on a hard...we have to harden our schools, we have to make sure — in a way that doesn’t look like they’re hardened. But we have to let the bad guy know that they are hardened...I’d much rather have a hardened school."

Feel free to make your own "harden" jokes. I'll just say that it's fucking disturbing how he locks onto a word he heard and repeats it like a skipping record that no one dares to turn off.

At the end of the day, our cruel dunderheaded president won't do shit, nor will the filthy whores in the GOP, not with all that NRA cash sticking out of their assholes and Wayne LaPierre, standing there with a shovel, ready to shove more into any orifice that presents itself.


Let's Call Extremist Gun Owners What They Are: Sick and in Need of Help

One of the things I learned firsthand over the last few days of gun “rights” proponents attacking me for advocating a ban on certain weapons is genuinely distressing. It’s not that a lot of people own a lot of guns, although that’s disturbing enough. No, it’s that I believe, sincerely and with no malice, there is a widespread mass hysteria, if not outright mental illness, connected to a certain paranoid strain of gun owner.

Before someone says something like “Crazy liberal says every gun owner is crazy,” let me state as clearly as possible: I’m not saying every gun owner is crazy. If I meant that, I’d say it. You can be a gun owner and be perfectly sane. For instance, a good many gun owners believe the NRA is full of shit. A good many gun owners support things like a ban on semi-automatic rifles and handguns because, let’s face it, the chance of you being in a situation where you need to be able to keep shooting is pretty goddamn small.

But then there are gun owners who believe they need to stockpile weapons because they might need to go to war with the American government if it becomes a "tyranny" (which seems to mean "not as white and male"). Those people have gone mad with paranoia. And I'm not talking your typical kind of Fox "news" paranoia. I'm talking Alex Jones-levels of hysteria.

How so? By all accounts, we are living through an extended period of record low crime throughout much of the country. There is virtually no chance a foreign invader could send an army here to take over even part of the United States. And, despite all the hype, the number of terrorist incidents post-9/11 have been as small in number and number of deaths as terrorism pre-9/11. Indeed, the people who stockpile guns to await an Armageddon (Islamic or Christian or Communist or whatever) are more likely to commit acts of terrorism than any foreigner here. But, like crime rates, the number of terrorist incidents was higher in the 1970s than now.

These are facts. They are not opinions. They are borne out by study and statistics and history. Yet, in defiance of those facts, gun hoarders believe that it’s inevitable that they will need to defend the Constitution (well, the 2nd Amendment) against the United States military or some secret black-ops force or something. It's nonsensical, but it's the logic of the paranoid.

If you are given facts yet you refuse to acknowledge those facts are real, that’s delusional. If a horse is standing in front of me and people tell me that a horse is standing right in front of me, what would those people say if, knowing I had perfectly fine eyesight, I simply denied the existence of the horse. They’d wonder what the hell was wrong with me, as well they should. And no one should let me have a goddamn horse.

The good Russ Belville asked an interesting question over on the Rude Pundit Patreon page. He wondered if the gun hoarders who keep saying that we need to take care of the mentally ill would be willing for police to confiscate the guns of someone who is deemed legally insane or a potential danger to themselves or others. It’s a simple question that’s a put-up or shut-up kind of thing.

But maybe I'm being too harsh. In his New York Times "column" (if by "column," you mean "a desperate stroll through a barren wasteland and pretending that it's still a verdant meadow") yesterday, David Brooks argues that the left needs to respect the rights of gun owners more, even the most extremist ones. They see the desire to have a few more regulations, like background checks, maybe even a license and insurance, but most especially banning of any currently legal firearms as an attack on their “culture.” That ain’t a good enough excuse.

Motherfucker, cultures change all the time. Polygamy used to be part of Mormon culture. Then it turned out that polygamy was being used as an excuse to assault children. So it was outlawed in the place where it had been a big-ass part of the culture. People adapted and changed. And a whole lot of girls didn’t get raped by grown men. (Am I comparing 2nd Amendment absolutism to polygamy? Sure. Why not?)

Brooks talks about how the "Reds" (in this case, not the Commies, but people who believe in conservative ideology) hate being "shamed" by the "Blues" when they are brought together for a conversation: "The Reds feel shamed by the Blues to a much greater degree than the Blues realize. Reds are very reluctant to enter into a conversation with Blues, for fear of further shaming." And, truly, shame has been used to silence people. But if your perspective on school shootings is that dead children and fear in the classroom are just the price one pays for the "freedom" of mass gun ownership, well, you can kind of go fuck yourself and feel ashamed. People like Brooks who want the left to "reason" with the delusional and the factually wrong are exacerbating the damage done by the paranoiacs.

Indeed, the only response to people who think this way, who are trying to discredit the activated students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the only thing that should be said to people who believe the lies being told about the kids who are now advocating for gun control should be that they are sick and they need help. Those liars shouldn't be given a platform. They shouldn't be put on a panel with people who are basing their arguments on facts. They should be told to listen to the kids, goddamnit. They are the Active Shooter Drill Generation. They've been dealing with this shit for their entire lives. They have a fuck of a lot more credibility than someone snarling about jackboots and chem trails.

Essentially, we have a large, sick segment of the population that is divorced from reality and heavily-armed. They are being exploited by craven politicians, the greedy gun lobby, and the conflict-hungry media, which makes them think that their delusional thinking has merit instead of being a symptom of damage done to them and to the public in general.

And, frankly, until we start treating them that way, as sick, which, may, yeah, make them feel a bit ashamed, nothing will fundamentally change, and this corrosion of our American soul around the bloody bullet holes will rot us away.


Travel Tired

Yeah, a bit late with the posting, but I was in the UK all last week, just got back, exhausted, and, man, what a fucking mess this country is when you see it from afar.

What struck me is just how truly insane we seem right now. I'll say more about this in the next couple of days, so, instead, I'll leave you with this from Ghetto Golf, an extremely popular mini-golf course/bar in Liverpool. It expresses how I think we all feel right about now.


More Gun Shit

At this point, I've written so many times about guns that I don't know what else to say. None of us do. It's the same fuckin' merry-go-round of arguments that really come back to, for me, the simple question: "Well, why don't we try something?" Because, see, as of now, as of the last 15 years or so, we haven't done anything except make it easier for people to get more guns and ammo. So let's try something.

When I posted on Twitter that I thought assault weapons should be outlawed and then gathered by law enforcement through a buyback, I ended by saying that if that doesn't work, "pry them from cold, dead hands." Predictably, that led to responses like "Try it, pussy" or "So you want the government to kill people to get guns. That's why we have guns" or other gun shit. I don't want mass murder. I don't want civil war. I'm not even proposing banning all guns. But if laws change, as they sometimes do, you gotta follow them or you get arrested. When the speed limit went down on my street, I didn't say, "Fuck you, motherfuckers. I'm doing the old speed." And if you won't comply with the law peacefully, well, shit, Cletus, that's on you.

All I want at this point is to go back to the Republican assault weapons ban from 1989, which happened after a school shooting in Stockton, California, that left 5 dead. It seems like a quaint number now in the age of regular double-digit corpse counts, but it shocked the country. And George H. W. Bush signed an executive order banning certain assault weapons. Then, urged by Carter, Ford, and Reagan, in 1994, the Congress passed a crime bill with a weaker ban, but it was still there.

As far as the legality of that ban, the Supreme Court never took it up. A lower court said it was constitutional. And, just a couple of months ago, the Supreme Court let stand a U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that an assault weapons ban in Maryland was totally constitutional. By 10-4 vote, the circuit court, which is not "liberal" or "activist" by any stretch, said, "Assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment." And SCOTUS let it stand.

Here's what would happen if AR-15s and the like were banned: Almost everyone who owns one would turn it in for buyback cash because they are law-abiding citizens. A few would try to protest and then have their guns taken when they're peacefully arrested. A tiny number would keep them secretly. Maybe a couple of idiots would try to Ruby Ridge it. We know how that ended. And some criminals would be criminals about it. But considering that most of the guns used in mass shootings are bought legally, at the very least, maybe we'd save some children's lives.

And, honestly, I have never heard of a situation where an AR-15 was the only gun necessary to defend oneself. Sure, you can show someone a gun and they'll back down, but, shit, that'd work if you had a little revolver. When is the last time an ordinary American was in a bind where they needed a semi-automatic rifle?


How Much Sperm Is on Trump in His 1987 Portrait?

Since a few conservatives have decided to be art critics and look closely at the official portrait of President Barack Obama for secret sperm imagery (this is really a thing), perhaps we would do well to see how much sperm is in another portrait, that of current president Donald Trump. In 1987, Trump hired artist Ralph Wolfe Cowan to do his face and body in a totally sexy and not at all douchey golf outfit. That painting hangs at the bar at Mar-a-Lago because of course it does. Cowan did not really have a great time working for Trump, who was a dick about the way Cowan wanted to leave the painting with an unfinished section because art. So, obviously, Cowan took his revenge with sperm imagery.

Upon closer examination of the work, Trump is coated with jizz. There is jizz on his face, jizz on his clothes, jizz on his hands. There is so much jizz on Donald Trump that it's like he was in the center of a circle jerk and was gratified as fountains of jizz were spooged all over him.

Seriously, look at his dumb fucking head:

I've seen gay bukkake porn where the dude craving cum had less sperm on his face.

And the rest of the painting is a blown load of sperm imagery. The sky is a mixture of shit and sperm, obviously befitting a man of Trump's tastes. Trump's right hand is in his pocket, the better to gratify himself since being glazed with spunk sexually excites him.

And, even though we don't want to, let's check out his crotch. We must. It is in the interest of art. Or something.

The groin area already has telltale cum stains, and the fingers of his left hand have clearly wiped jizz off them on the pants, perhaps demonstrating how Trump satisfies all his many creditors. Sean Hannity must be in a sweaty tizzy over this painting that Trump proudly displays so all can see what a cum whore he is.

Indeed, one way to see this portrait of the young(er) president is as a portrait in sperm, perhaps better titled "Donald Trump Can Go Fuck Himself."


Trump's Infrastructure Brag Relied Solely on Government Funds

Our braying fart of president, Donald Trump, trumpeted his skills at rebuilding infrastructure yesterday at an event announcing some bullshit plan. And he used as an example his company's work on the Wollman Rink in Central Park thirty years ago. It's an ice-skating rink, not, you know, a bridge, but he's a proud motherfucker about that play area: "When I did the Wollman Rink, it was 7 years, they couldn’t get it built. It would have been forever. They couldn’t get it built. And I did it in a few months at a much smaller price. They had invested $12 million in building an ice skating rink in the middle of Central Park. Somebody told me about this the other day; they’ve never forgotten it. It was a big deal at the time. It remains a big deal...And I got involved. And I did it in a few months, and we did it for a tiny fraction — tiny fraction of the cost." And because he's gotta be dickish and wrong, he added, "And it’s really no different with a roadway. It’s no different with a bridge or tunnel, or any of the things that we’ll be fixing."

Yeah, Wollman Rink is nice. Yeah, it was a clusterfuck of failure until the end there. But it's a little more complicated, of course, and, of course, Trump exaggerated shit.

For six years (not seven), New York City tried and failed to install steel pipes with freon in the base of the rink to keep it icy. That, combined with, yes, some fucked up rules regarding contracts, was the mistake. By the time they decided to scrap that and move to brine in plastic pipes, they had burned through $12 million. But then once the city finally bailed on freon in 1986, it said that the cost would be $2-3 million to finish the job. Trump came in and said, "Gimme the $3 mill and I'll do it." So the "fraction" of the cost was not something Trump decided on. He was merely the developer. He did get it done quickly and under the $3 million budget, but he didn't spend a nickel.

And, again, it was no miracle it came in under $3 million. That was dead in the middle of the projections of what it would cost.

And, let's be clear, the entire project was paid for by New York City. It wasn't "public/private" funding, as Trump wants his infrastructure spending to be. It was public funding.

And Mr. America First hired a Canadian company to come in and build the rink.

And while the rink was being built, Trump held regular news conferences to brag about how great he was to rebuild the rink, including one where three guys just swept behind him in order to show work being done. He held a press conference to announce the ice was down and, five days later, the ice was ready. He bragged that the railed was the "same railing Onassis had on his boat." It was a fucking embarrassing circus.

And when Trump lost a bid in 1995 to continue running the rink, which turned a profit pretty quickly, he was, of course, a dick about it, saying, "The last thing I need is to be running a skating rink."

To be fair, when the rink opened, Trump was asked if he was going to skate, and he did say something pretty funny and prescient: "No thanks. There are too many people who would like to see me fall on my rear end."


Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast: Lies, Hypocrisy, and Bagels

I was really not in the mood to write one more goddamn post about something that Donald Trump face-farted out, but then I made the mistake of looking at his remarks at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast (motto: "You Know We Just Mean Christian Prayers") and saw a few things that were odd, sketchy, and fucked-up. In short order:

1. Talking about gun victim and garbage human Steve Scalise, Trump said, "Your presence reminds us of Jesus’s words in the Book of Matthew: 'With God all things are possible.'" Yeah, that's from Matthew 19. Just three verses earlier, Jesus was a little more circumspect about what is possible: "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'" Or maybe the gathered bloated rich fucks should have heeded Jesus just two verses before that, when he tells a rich fuck, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor." Yeah, Jesus would have kicked Trump right in his giant ass and said, "Turn your other cheek so I can kick the shit out of that one, too."

2. "[T]he words 'Praise be to God' are etched atop the Washington Monument." This is a minor thing, but the words "Laus Deo" are on the top of the monument. They translate to what Trump said, but, still, that ain't what's "etched."

3. "We see the Lord’s grace in the moms and dads who work two and three jobs to give their children the chance for a better and much more prosperous and happier life." Yeah, Trump actually praised God for the crushing, soul-tearing poverty that forces parents to work 80 hours a week, giving them no time to spend with their kids. That is some fucked-up shit right there. Trump is essentially washing his hands of the poor and saying, "Yep, God did this, not a cruel capitalistic system that exploits workers and a savage conservative government that won't provide relief."

4. The most blatant lie was "America stands with all people suffering oppression and religious persecution." Not only are we turning away refugees of oppression, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is actively seeking to deport the persecuted, even those persecuted for being Christian, and send them back to the countries that will harm them for their beliefs, all because they didn't fill out the right fucking forms at the right fucking time, or because some artificial deadline passed and they're no longer protected by an American government that couldn't give a fuck about their suffering.

5. And when Trump said, "[L]et us resolve to find the best within ourselves. Let us pray for that extra measure of strength and that extra measure of devotion," was there no one in that room who could stand up and say, "Motherfucker, you have assaulted women and protected a known abuser. You destroy families, pollute the Earth, and fan the flames of hatred. God should slap the prayers right out of your orange fascist face"? No, there wasn't. There were only greedy sycophants, ready to cleanse Trump of his sins, even the ones he committed right in front of them.


Note to Trump-Humpers: None of Your Conspiracy Theories Exonerates Your Man

Whenever some dingleberry of seeming bias against President Donald Trump is sharted out by his state media on Fox "news," the president and his supporters will crow that he is "vindicated" of one thing or other, usually that his campaign conspired with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election. Someone on some goddamn website or Twitter account finds some utterly minor thing that, blown up with graphics and set to sinister music, can be made to seem like the Deep State run by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is just setting up poor, innocent, pure, God-chosen Donald Trump in order to frame him for some crime he wouldn't ever even contemplate committing.

They did it with the Uranium One bullshit, declaring that "the real Russia scandal." They did it with the Nunes memo, which just showed that the FBI follows leads. They accuse Republicans Robert Mueller and James Comey of bias, which seems to mean, "If you want to investigate whether Donald Trump and people around him might have committed crimes." And they're doing it with the text messages of a couple of FBI agents now, with the latest supposedly implicating President Obama (spoiler: it doesn't and you're stupid if you think it does).

But here's the deal: Not one of these things clears Trump or his awful family or his merry band of plague rats and rabid dogs that we are forced to call "the White House."

Let's lay it all out as clearly as possible once again (because this is shit I've talked about before).

- Hillary Clinton could have totally given away 20% of the U.S. uranium deposits to the Russians in order to secure donations to her family's charity (honestly, just writing that seems so patently absurd, it hurts my brain a little). Sure, she would have had to have bribed or threatened the dozens of other people involved in any decision about uranium, but, shit, she's Hillary Clinton, allegedly the stone cold murderer of dozens of political enemies, so, sure, yeah, let's say this could totally happen.

- The FBI could have totally lied about the Democratic Party's involvement in the Steele dossier, as the Nunes memo asserts (even though, factually, the FBI didn't lie, but we're saying if horseshit were gold here), in order to continue surveillance of Carter Page, which they had started in 2013, but, obviously, they totally knew that he would be named by Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers and just got a jump on it.

- James Comey could have totally been compromised into not charging Hillary Clinton with a crime on the emails, which somehow translates into something something no collusion Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch in the parlor with a candlestick. (I really don't understand the "fuck evidence and punch reality in the dick" mindset.)

- Agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page could have been totally biased against Trump and their texts about what an asshole he is indicate that they had preconceived notions about whatever part of the investigation they worked on. And there could totally be a secret society of FBI agents meeting in some off-site coven to do some hoodoo to Trump. And today's big revelation, that Page had texted in September 2016, "potus wants to know everything we’re doing," could totally mean Obama wanted to interfere with the Hillary email investigation and not that he wanted to know if the United States was being cyber-attacked by Russia, which is definitely what it was, but, you know, Hillary using a private email server is worse than Watergate times Teapot Dome times Iran-Contra, motherfuckers.

Goddamn, you people are fucking nuts.

And, you know, the only way that any of these conspiracies make sense as being real is if there is a massive uber-conspiracy involving everyone from grunt-level agents to the former president of the United States to discredit Trump and his administration, and, even then, it would have had to start 5 years ago.

Of course, all Trump needs for all this to work is a few craven Republicans, like Devin Nunes and Ron "Secret Sauce" Johnson, to run interference, as well as media outlets permanently attached to his poisonous man-teats. The idiot hordes will gobble it up like Jesus jizz.

Yet, if every single one of those conspiracies were true, it still does nothing to prove that Trump isn't a money-launderer who is in the back pocket of Vladimir Putin and other rich fuck Russians, it does nothing to prove that Russia didn't use a bunch of different methods to tilt the election to Trump, and it also does nothing to change the outcome of the 2016 presidential race (the excuse that Trump and his spokeslackeys use as the reason why Democrats care about a foreign government fucking with our electoral process or that Trump may be compromised, not that they might actually give a shit that our sovereignty might have been breached).

If Donald Trump were innocent, you wouldn't need a single one of the crazy conspiracies to explain it all away. You'd have the truth. But truth is now just a ragged angel whose wings have been perforated by the birdshot of unending lies.


Donald Trump Gives Us More Sedition and Hate

For a man who talks like an old Vegas emcee trying to make Bugsy Siegel smile, constantly saying that he "loves" wherever he happens to be or whoever happens to be in front of him, President Donald Trump can't help but show how much he hates pretty much everyone. Oh, he can put on an act, but, time and again, he demonstrates that he hates America, he hates Americans, he hates the Constitution, and he hates our institutions. Sure, he loves people cheering for him, so he fakes it as best he can. But to get those cheers, he makes sure he shits on whatever will make the crowd slaveringly applause.

In his pissy little speech he gave yesterday in Ohio at the Sheffer Corporation, Trump couldn't just tout his administration's economic "achievements," almost all of which are possible only because the Obama economy is still running strong. No, he had to, as is his way, shit on people and things left and right.

On manufacturing work: "Those are real jobs, not the other kind where they talk but there’s nothing there." What the fuck are those jobs? Is it the media? Executives? Goddamn, Gramps, why are you dissing white collar work? Your kids do that shit.

On trade deals with other countries: "[W]ait until you see what’s happening over the next two or three months with what we’re doing to countries that have treated us so unfairly. In many cases, so-called 'friendly countries.' I don’t call them 'friendly.' I don’t call them 'friendly.'" So the goddamned president is telling our allies that he doesn't consider them friends to the United States. Can't wait until they tell us, "Hey, pal, go fuck yourself over North Korea."

Then there was the frankly bizarro repetition of lines. There was the repeated assertion that Democrats, the recipients of many piles of shit from Trump, are going to raise taxes. And this is an actual line from the White House transcript of the "speech" (if by "speech," you mean, "the kind of dumbass improvised bullshit you expect when a shitfaced uncle tries to make a toast at his nephew's bar mitzvah"): "We’ve got to do well in ’18, and I know we’re going to do great in ’20. But I think we’re going to do well in ’18. I think we’re going to do well in ’18. I think we’re going to do very well." I didn't mess that up. That's what he said. He repeated the same line almost verbatim four times in a row. And he wasn't leading a chant.

While one thing Trump said got all the attention yesterday (and we'll get to that in a second), the entire speech was like his usual stream of consciousness nonsense, except it was like someone had hit him in the head with a hammer before he spoke. He went on to cajole the crowd to not skip out on voting in the midterms. Or, as he put it, "Maybe they go to a movie in ’18. None of you are going to a movie, I hope." And then he explained, "You win the presidency and you take it easy, and then they come and surprise you in the midterms. They call them the 'midterms.'" Yeah, we fucking well do. They've been called the "midterms" for over a century. It's as if Trump thinks he's giving his listeners some inside scoop on politics when he's just giving them a watered down version of the pablum he spoons into his maw every morning straight from the Fox and Friends bowl.

Trump was unrelenting in criticizing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. With Hillary Clinton out of the picture, Pelosi is going to become the woman who is the face of liberal evil for the next election cycle (they call them that, too). No fewer than three different times, Trump attacked Pelosi, and he revealed the strategy of the RNC: "She’s our secret weapon. No, she’s our secret — I just hope they don’t change her. There are a lot of people that want to run her out. She’s really out there. And I’m supposed to make a deal with her?" God, he's such a fucking infected prickhole.

So when Trump called Democrats "un-American" for not applauding when he was giving "positive news" during the State of the Union, it was of a piece with other shit he was saying during the speech. And while the White House can attempt to spin his picking up the word "treasonous," from someone shouting it, as just "a joke," Trump sure as shit didn't sound like he was joking. (Now, craven brown nosers in the GOP caucus are lining up to join Trump in saying Democrats were at least un-American in not blindly clapping for an asshole who regularly pisses on anything they say or do.) But then he moved on to attacking Democrats directly: "They don’t care about the security of our country. They don’t care about MS-13 killers pouring into our country."

And we can roll our eyes and think that we've heard it all before. Except if we do that, then we accept that this is the way our politics will be, that this is what a president should be allowed to get away with. The man called half of the Congress un-American and traitorous people who want murderer immigrants to come to the United States. Earlier in the day yesterday, he tweeted that Rep. Adam Schiff "Must be stopped!" This is dangerous shit to tell a nation where a good third of the adult population actually believes Trump's shit-river of lies and provocation, a nation that is buried in guns. The President of the United States is declaring that one of the political parties is filled with enemies of the country simply because they don't worship him like the Republicans do. That shit is new. Other presidents may have thought that, but in public they always talked about respecting the other side, even if they disagreed. You can wave it off or say the honesty is refreshing, but the world doesn't fucking function if leaders don't know how to shut the fuck up.

And, besides, since when do we have to fuckin' clap for anyone or anything? Fuck that shit.

Let's end here with one of those absurd, over-the-top Trump moments that often get overlooked because he's constantly engaged in seditious speech. Talking about opioid addiction and drug abuse in general, Trump really said, "You know, one drug dealer can kill thousands of people. One drug dealer. If you ever did an average — nobody has ever seen this, you’ve probably never heard this before — but if you ever did an average, a drug dealer will kill thousands of people." Now, likely, he meant one head of a cartel, but it sure sounds like he thinks some corner dealer is responsible for the deaths of thousands. And if you've never seen this before, it's because it's not true.

And no president was ever such a extravagant liar that they would try to tell you that it's true. But you can bet that millions of Americans take it as gospel now.


David Brooks's Latest Column on Abortion, Corrected

(Note: I took David Brooks's completely idiotic anti-choice "column" today where he says that Democrats should give up on preventing a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, as if that would quell the anti-choice forces in this country, and I reverse engineered it. Brooks pretended that he was a Democratic consultant offering advice to the party. So I went Republican. It was ridiculously easy to write this from the opposing side.)

To: Republican Party Leaders

From: Imaginary Republican Consultant

Re: Late-Term Abortions

Dear Republican Leaders,

Last week I watched as our senators voted for the Republican bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. Our people hung together. Only two Republicans voted with the other side. Yet as I was watching I kept wondering: How much is our position on late-term abortions hurting us? How many conservative priorities are we giving up just so we can have our way on this one?

Let me start with some history. Before Roe. v. Wade, the abortion debate looked nothing like it does today. Many leading pro-choice groups were on the right. In 1972, 68% of Republicans supported the position that "the decision to have an abortion should be made solely by a woman and her physician." Only 59% of Democrats held that opinion. The Republican Party platform for the 1972 not only did not mention "abortion," it had support for affirmative action and the Equal Rights Amendment.

In 1973, Roe v. Wade changed all this. Still, even as anti-feminists like Phyllis Schlafly gained prominence, as late as 1975, Betty Ford, then First Lady, could go on 60 Minutes and say, "I feel very strongly that it was the best thing in the world when the Supreme Court voted to legalize abortion and, in my words, bring it out of the backwoods and put it in the hospitals where it belonged. I thought it was a great, great decision."

But then everything polarized. The pro-life movement grew on the right, and the Democratic Party embraced Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice movement. Republicans introduced an anti-abortion plank into their platform in 1976, while the Democrats merely mentioned that they did not want a new constitutional amendment banning abortion. Still, a new electoral coalition was born.

The Democratic Party became an alliance between its traditional pro-business wing and its burgeoning pro-choice wing. Millions of Americans became single-issue voters. They consider the right of women to control their bodies the great ethical issue of our time. Without pro-choice voters, Bill Clinton never would have been elected. Without single-issue voters who wanted pro-choice judges, there would never have been a President Barack Obama.

I understand that our donors (though not necessarily our voters) want to eliminate a woman’s right to choose at any point in her pregnancy. But do we want to end abortion rights so much that we are willing to tolerate another Democratic president? Do we want it so much that we may very well lose our congressional majorities? Do we want it so much that we see our agendas on immigration, regulatory reform, and repealing Obamacare thwarted and defeated?

Let’s try to imagine what would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned. The abortion issue would go back to the states. The Center for Reproductive Rights estimates that roughly 21 states would outlaw abortion. Abortion would remain legal in probably 20 others. There’s a good chance that a lot of states would arrest anyone performing abortions, possibly even arresting women who try to get them. On top of that, many women would be harmed by trying to self-induce or going to unlicensed places in order to get an abortion. We know this is true because it is already happening in places that have severely restricted abortion rights, like Texas.

The pro-choice movement would be forced to turn its attention away from national elections. Single-issue pro-choice voters would become involved in local races and swarm to the Democratic Party. The abortion debate would become even more divisve as pro-life politicians are portrayed as harming women.

Roe v. Wade polarized American politics in ways that have been fundamentally bad for Republicans. If you don’t believe me, compare the size of the elected Republican majorities in 1995 to the size of the Democratic majorities in 2008. Without Roe v. Wade the landscape would shift. Yes, there have been short-term benefits in some races, but support for abortion has remained consistently above 50% in the United States.

We need to acknowledge our vulnerability here. Republicans support an end to all abortions, with a few exceptions, and especially abortions in the third trimester. But only 1% of all abortions take place after 20 weeks, and a large number are for medical reasons. As for the argument that babies can live outside the womb after 20 weeks, as Robin Marty writes in Cosmopolitan, "It is a ban on abortion at the very cusp of viability, at a point when only a 'tiny minority' of those who are born at that gestation and medically treated will survive without severe medical conditions."

We learn talking to women who have had third trimester abortions that it is not a decision taken lightly. Research has shown that while some third trimester abortions are for reasons of fetal anomalies or the mother's health, many occur at 20 weeks or later because of the lack of access to abortion services available for women, restrictions that Republicans have supported for the last several decades. It could be that one of the current behaviors that future generations will regard as most barbaric is our treatment of women.

We also shouldn’t take millennial voters for granted. Boomers saw the pro-choice movement as integral to their feminism. Millennials share this attitude. A recent Pew poll found that 65% of Americans age 18-29 believe that abortion should be legal in "all/most cases," the most of any age group. Even more striking, only 33% of 18-29 year-olds believe that abortion should be illegal in "all/most cases." And while polls suggest that a majority supports a ban on abortions after 20 or 22 weeks, a poll in 2016 found that a clear majority supported abortions at up to 24 weeks if a child is likely to be born with defects due to the Zika virus. So it seems that this is an issue that people are still confused on.

I’m asking us to rethink our priorities. What does America need most right now? One of our talking points is that late-term abortions are morally wrong. But if there are other things we believe are morally wrong, why are we giving abortion priority over all of our other issues combined?


Your Imaginary Consultant