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

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

Here's what else we've learned recently:

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

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

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

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

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


Donald Trump Told You He Hates Families During the Campaign

From the very beginning of his putrid political campaign, which now seems more and more like America's unforced death march, Donald Trump told you he couldn't give two shits about (especially non-white) families. Way back in December 2015, in one of the many tongue bath interviews he received on Fox and Friends, Trump said, "The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families." Disturbing repetition aside, he was being pretty fuckin' clear there.

And, in case you thought he was kidding, when asked about that statement by no less a motherfucker and serial harasser than Bill O'Reilly, in front of a crowd in January 2016, he doubled down. O'Reilly said he didn't believe Trump would "put out hits on women and children," and Trump scoffed, "I would do pretty severe stuff." The audience at the Mesa, Arizona, campaign event cheered like crazy that someone was finally saying what they're thinking: "Murder all Mooslims."

For Trump, once a phrase tests well with his idiot horde, it becomes standard for him to say. So the murder of innocent family members was another applause line for a while. Hell, he went even further at a Fox "news" GOP debate in March 2016. Asked by Bret Baier what he would do if his commanders in the field refuse to carry out an illegal order to kill the families of accused terrorists, Trump scoffed again (as scoffing is his primary method of speaking), "They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me." Pressed on it, Trump went off, insisting that the wives and families of the 9/11 hijackers knew about the attack, were living in the United States, and were sent back to their home countries before 9/11. So, he implied, they weren't innocent and deserved to be killed. Of course, no one pointed out that none of the 9/11 hijackers had wives or children in the United States in the time before the attack.

But that didn't matter. Donald Trump was absolutely fucking firm on this point: it was weakness not to kill the families of terrorists during any action by the United States. In fact, they should be targeted as a way of threatening terrorists. He would later back off his statement that he would force the military to commit war crimes, but on his first full day as president, Trump visited CIA headquarters. He was shown video of a drone strike on a terrorist target where the target's family was in a house and the drone operator waited until the target was outside to fire in order to minimize the potential for other casualties. "Why did you wait?” Trump asked.

Trump told you outright that if you're a child who has the misfortune to be born to the wrong parents, he will fuck up your life worse than it may already be fucked up.

So it's not really a surprise that Trump's desire to punish adults by punishing their children has spread to his deranged border policies. When the Justice Department and Homeland Security changed its policy on immigrant families seeking asylum, it used the cruel language of human trafficking. America's shittiest leprechaun, Jeff Sessions, announced, "If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border." You got that? You and your kids travel the rough journey to the United States from Honduras to try to escape that gang that killed your husband and is threatening to rape you and force your 10 year-old son to join up? You are now a child smuggler.

Now let's be clear: up to this point, while most of the separations have lasted no more than 10 days, more than a few cases have dragged on for weeks and months, with huge distances put between a mother and, say, her 1 year-old (that's real). This comes from treating every border crosser as a dangerous criminal and rejecting almost everyone who is seeking asylum. That is a change from previous administrations, especially when it comes to families.

But Sessions put this new policy in place just a few weeks ago, so there's no way to tell yet how awful it's going to become. All indications are that there has been a surge of separations. So let's be even clearer: You wanna fuck the brain of a child for good? You tear that child away from their family. That's what our government is doing now for no reason other than to be cruel to the parents who brought them here. We are wrecking the emotional development of kids. And we are treating people like animals, which, I guess, goes along with what Trump said (and, fuck you, he meant all non-white immigrants).

And let's be clear again: This is a different policy from the Obama administration. Democrats in Congress are not in any way responsible for this action. It is all Trump, but he's a pathetic, dumb skinsack of shit who refuses to take the blame for anything.

This nation has a terrible history of taking children away from their families, from the horror of selling slave children to the forced assimilation programs for Native American kids to, now, this.

And, as ever, no nightmare has occurred yet in this presidency that will stir the hearts of Republicans to stand up to Trump. Maybe if he gets around to fucking with white families.

America is saying, in essence, "The hell with your tired, screw your poor, and your huddled masses yearning to be free can go fuck themselves."

(Note: By Trump's "logic," when he, Donald, Jr., Eric, and Ivanka are arrested, they better fuckin' drag in Barron and Tiffany because, as Trump himself said about the families of criminals, "They know what's going on.")


Poem for Memorial Day

"Ways of Looking at an IED" by Hugh Martin

Notice that in both photographs of the artillery shells there is a wire leading from the bag. Also
notice that the plastic bag had sand thrown on top of it to make it look more like roadside trash.
—1st Infantry Division Soldier’s Handbook to Iraq

Beside the field of potato rows,
Sumey sees an alarm clock

taped to a two-liter bottle. We create
a perimeter, back up the trucks, flatten

the potatoes under tires.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team

isn’t sure; when they’re not sure,
they blow it up.

Why don’t you walk over there, Spoon says,
and get yourself a Purple Heart.

With a broom, a woman beats a rug
draped over a clothesline. LT waves her away. Bomb,

bomb, he says, but she shakes her head,
turns her hips to swing again.

Spoon is awarded
the Purple Heart in June

when the shrapnel misses his head,
but the bricks that hide the bomb

knock him unconscious.

When the shell detonates beside our truck,
the sound is too loud to hear; the wind wraps us

with shrapnel, bricks, smoke; the ballistic windshield
shatters; glass on Kenson’s cheek—

blood like smeared lipstick.

For three hours we clear the neighborhood
because of a black plastic bag.

The staff sergeant in the bomb suit
orders everyone to back the fuck up even further.

In the bag he finds six ripe tomatoes.

Sergeant Sumey says he almost vomits
turning in the turret

to see our truck vanish
inside smoke. Thought you were all dead.

We avoid trash, disturbed soil, animal carcasses.
We arrest men

who dig beside the road.
We hate the ground.

Outside the city: rocks stacked
like children’s building blocks.

Sergeant Kenson won’t wait for EOD. It’s nothing,
he yells, and no one can stop him

when he starts to walk;
even LT tries to restrain him, but he walks,

and all four of us in the truck shout,
but it’s no use. When he lifts his leg

to kick the pile,
we look down. We close our eyes.

Rude Pundit Patreon: Now With Rude Storytime

Memorial Day is a totally inappropriate time to sell shit, but everyone else does it, so what the hell.

Salute the troops by subscribing over at the Rude Pundit's Patreon page.

Now, in addition to extra weekly blog posts, you'll get the brand new "Rude Storytime," which is a terrible name for some fucked-up audio storytelling. The first one is there now, and it's about the three times I've had guns pointed at me. As one listener said, "You're as good a storyteller orally [insert rude comment here] as you are textually." Your mileage may vary.

My Uncle Jack fought in Japan so I could have the freedom to blog and do a podcast. Won't you honor him by subscribing?

(Note: That's totally true. My great uncle was an engineer in the Army in WWII. Ended up working for NASA for a while. And he was a genuinely great guy.)


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

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

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

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

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

Which gets us to the National Anthem.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Time to Do the School-Shooting Roundelay Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Torture Isn't an Impediment to a Career in Washington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fuck Your "Redistribution of Sex"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How We Live Now: Trump Has Been Normalized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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