The Madman and the Turks

It's definitely new to be living in a country led by someone who is, at the very least, quickly deteriorating mentally. Hell, at least Ronald Reagan had the sense to let others do his job when his faculties were fading. But that's the kindest reading of President Donald Trump. More likely, Trump is someone who has never had whatever part of the brain allows for empathy and human decency, and the vicissitudes of time, as well as the weight of decades of extravagant criminality and the exertion of keeping all of that hidden, not to mention being, you know, president, have worn out any stability that remained. For lack of an elegant phrase, he's a fucking madman.

This madness was clearly on display today in his dealing with Turkey's attacks on the Kurds in Syria, something that is happening because Trump is removing all U.S. troops whose presence was protecting our allies in fighting ISIS terrorists in the region. Indeed, when Trump says, "We defeated 100% of the ISIS caliphate," what he's really saying is that Syrian Kurds fought hard against ISIS, losing 11,000 soldiers in the battle, with some support from the United States (and, no, 100% has not been defeated).  Because Trump is a madman, listening to the demonstrably evil Stephen Miller, he gave another madman, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is a savage dictator, the go-ahead to mass murder the Syrian Kurds. This shit is complicated. Read up on it yourself.

But, bottom line, we dicked over an ally and we are already responsible for hundreds of deaths of civilians and soldiers, likely to be in the thousands soon, and we undermined everything our military had done for the last five years in the region. In fact, in hasty retreat, we're bombing our own outposts so that the weapons there don't get used by the Kurds or the Turks (they're both using arms we sold them, so, hey, capitalism).

At another of his press meets of the damned, this time with the president of Italy getting to sit awkwardly while the president of the United States went full Mussolini, Trump shit all over the Kurds. And it may as well have been literal shitting. He may as well have walked over to a giant map of Syria and squeezed out a turd over the northeastern section and said, "Yeah, that's what I mean."

Because, see, he really did say, "The Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight.  And, as I said, they’re not angels.  They’re not angels, if you take a look.  You have to go back and take a look.  But they fought with us.  We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us, and that’s okay.  They did well when they fought with us; they didn’t do so well when they didn’t fight with us." Everything is transactional with Trump because he's just a chintzy, cheap, cheating motherfucker who stiffs people on the bill. He thinks that what he did was "strategically brilliant" because he believes he saved a few bucks. The dumb son of a bitch might just get us dragged into a war with Turkey, Syria, and Russia, but, hey, his idiot hordes think he's wise as fuck and that's all that matters.

Shit got even dumber with the letter that Trump really sent to Erdogan to convince the mad, cruel dictator to stop killing people. Trump really said, "I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy -- and I will." He really said that history "will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen." He really said, "Don't be a tough guy." He really said, "Don't be a fool!" He really used exclamation points. He really talked about making a deal, like he was creating material for another of his shitty books. Our goddamn president wrote the equivalent of an old shut-in's letter to the editor about how those darn teenagers ride around with their music too loud.

It would be embarrassing, like everything else in this stupid time we're condemned to live through, except that there are lives in the balance. Hundreds of thousands of lives. The Kurdish defense force, the 60,000 troops that the U.S. trained, has already crumbled. The Kurds have been forced to ally with Bashar al-Assad's Syrian military for protection, which will likely expand the conflict and give Assad a region he had more or less lost.  And Turkey is telling the United States to go fuck itself with its call for a cease fire.

Republicans have already allowed Trump to defy Congress on subpoenas and other matters. Even if the GOP got on board with more than just words in opposition to Trump on this, they've already given Trump the ability to say, "Nah. Fuck you. I'm just gonna do what I want and call it brilliant." Like every madman in history.

(Note: Yeah, ISIS exists only because of the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq. And, yes, regime change is a bullshit goal. You are very smart to say that. Pat yourself on your righteous back. But that's not what's going on in this situation. This is about allowing a slaughter of people who did everything we asked of them to try to stop a Frankenstein monster of our creation. You can oppose war and oppose a massacre. In fact, you're an asshole if you can't do both. Some of us have been consistent when it comes to genocide and ethnic cleansing, which this isn't yet, but could be. In other words, comparing a belief in preventing the slaughter of the Kurds to support for the war in Iraq is dumb and you are dumb if you think that.)


Random Observations on Two Nights of Trump Batshittery

1. At his campaign rallies of the damned the last two nights, in Minneapolis on Thursday and in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Friday, President Donald Trump repeated one word like it was a tic or, more likely, the result of having the vocabulary of an Adderall-popping 8-year-old. That word? "Great." Like when he was blowing Fox "news":
- "What a great group, Ainsley and Steve, and by the way, Brian has gotten a lot better, right? Brian was a seven and he's getting close to ten territories, and Steve has been so great, and Ainsley is just incredible."

And then immediately:
- "There's some really great people, and again, Tucker has been very good. I have to say he's been very good. Smart, he's been great, Tucker. And the legendary Sean Hannity, great, number one, number one show."

And in a fucked-up story about dead soldiers coming back (which morphed into one of his "sir" stories of lies):
- "I said, 'How are you doing?' 'We're fine, sir. We're fine. We're really good.' I say, 'That's great' and I'll tell the Colonel and say, 'Colonel, I think you're doing great.' 'No, sir. They're not going to do great, you'll see...'"

Seriously, like 50 times per speech, at least, he said something was "great," as in "very good" or "very large," sometimes repeatedly:
- "They're just very, very devastated but these are great, great people."

All that was just a small sample in Minneapolis. In Lake Charles? Here he is fluffing a pair of frauds who wrote shit books that say Trump is innocent of everything except being awesome:
- "A man like Greg Jarrett, great guy. He wrote a book and the book tells you the whole story. Best seller book. Greg Jarrett, great guy. So many. Bongino, I tell you, he's not a lawyer, but he is better than the lawyers. He's called 'street smart.' But these are great. So many great people."

I mean, fucking seriously, here he is attempting to say something about the Republicans running for governor in Louisiana:
- "Then one of our two great candidates will win that and it'll be John Bel Edwards against one of our two great and they're both great people. They're great."

It just gets worse and worse. Talking about Louisiana's Republicans in Congress:
- "He loves you so much and he's really a brave guy, Steve Scalise. And then we have some other great warriors, great congressmen. Thanks, Steve. Great, great."

He's always a fuckin' car salesman, always trying to convince you that every goddamn lemon is a Rolls. But even a car salesman knows you gotta vary the pitch or it gets boring.

2. Trump will do anything to get a crowd whipped up. In both places, he pretended to be former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page texting notes to each other, leading up to an orgasm over Trump losing. In Lake Charles, he declared the impeachment inquiry "bullshit." In both cases, the idiot hordes lost their tiny fucking minds, screaming in joy like they found out Miller Lite and store-brand tortilla chips were half-price at the Piggly Wiggly.

3. Beyond Strzok and Page, Trump's attacks on people for hating the United States (or, more precisely, hating him) are getting so appalling that the rallies are just a rope away from becoming a lynch mob. His savage lies about Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose district is Minneapolis and some suburbs, were hysterical. "We have never seen scandals like Omar's in Congress, and nothing gets done about it," he said, as if he knows about all the scandals in the history of Congress. She is an "America-hating socialist," he said, and then he cited fucking Powerline, a shit blog, in saying that Omar married her brother to give him citizenship. He did another fantasy conversation where Hunter Biden is being interviewed about his business dealings and then went nutzoid mob boss, saying, "I want to see Hunter asked this way. Hunter. You know nothing about energy, you know nothing about China, you know nothing about anything, frankly. Hunter, you're a loser." That's the president of the goddamned United States tearing apart a private citizen for the crime of not being a criminal. He is implicitly inviting violence to stop these America-hating and -harming enemies.

3a. I thought paraphrasing or making up conversations was bad and wrong and should never be done. But I guess that only applies when Trump is one of the people in the conversation.

4. You have to be one devoted racist to still support Trump at this point. I mean, you have to be a filthy semi-human who can't stand the idea of blacks and whites and Hispanics and others living together in any proximity. I guess what I'm saying is that you have to be a human-sized piece of shit to say that Trump is worthy of being your leader. They will never get those arenas clean again.


Random Observations on the Latest Trump Batshittery (TBD)

I was about to write something about Trump's total batshittery last night in Minneapolis, but I'm waiting until after tonight's batshittery in Lake Charles because that dumb orange motherfucker is in my family's neck of the woods.

Look forward to him going bigger on the Peter Strzok orgasm since he got a laugh with it last night. He'll be humping the lectern or some MAGA cretin's head.

Watch this space.


That Letter From Trump Is Punk Ass Bitchery

The Constitution is pretty fucking clear in how vague it is about impeachment. All it says in Article I is "The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment" and "The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments" with more procedure following there. But that's after impeachment in the House. In Article II, you get this: the president "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." That's interesting, no? Oh, and this: "The President...shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." There's also something about a jury not being required.

There ya go. Everything else is up to the House of Representatives on how to proceed, which is guaranteed by the Constitution ("Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings"). Nothing in there about a vote to open an impeachment inquiry. Nothing in there about anything. At this point, the Democratic-led House of Representatives can make up any fuckin' rules it wants: "Republicans can only ask questions if they do so without pants" or "Democrats can make farting noises when Republicans speak." Or, you know, let's just investigate this and get on with it, which is what Democrats are trying to do.

And since Donald Trump is the king of motherfucking, of course he was going to be a motherfucker about it. This has been his modus operandi his whole life: throw up as many lawsuits and delays as he can until the other side just gives up. Now, his legal counsel has released a letter to the leadership of the House where it says that Trump ain't gonna eat his vegetables and that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are such mean meanies.

The letter is less a legal document and more a review of the script of every bullshit campaign ad that Trump has put out in the last couple of weeks.  They've still got 2016 on the brain: "You seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away" in order to defeat Trump.

This is the "state the obvious in a sinister way" strategy. Yeah, fucko, the purpose of an impeachment is ultimately to remove the president, which, obviously, somewhat undoes the last election (it won't undo the shit-ton of damage Trump has already done) and, yeah, obviously, it would influence the next election. Every time someone says this shit, someone else should be there to yell, "Duh" and "No shit, shit-for-brains."

The rest of the letter is a list of the Fox "news"-ready grievances and lies that Trump airs every fuckin' day on Hell's Twitter feed. The phone call with President Zelensky was "completely appropriate." Rep. Adam Schiff "covertly assisted" the whistleblower. And, my favorite, Schiff created "a false version of the call and read it to the American people at a congressional hearing, without disclosing that he was simply making it all up," which is true if you're not a fucking moron and if Schiff hadn't said that he was speaking "the essence" of what Trump said, "shorn of its rambling character." By constantly insisting that Schiff didn't present it as a paraphrase, Trump is counting on his idiot hordes' idiocy (and probably revealing his own) in not understanding what Schiff said.

But even on substance, the letter is just fucking weird. There's the constant insistence on due process. And while, yes, there is some due process involved in hearings, what the letter demands is the full range of rights that would be available in a fucking trial, not in an investigation.

And as for the complaint that Republicans aren't allowed to subpoena people, well, fuck, each subpoena requires a vote of the full committee. So do they really fucking expect Democrats to go along with all the circus freaks that Republicans would want to put in front of the cameras to insist that Joe and Hunter Biden are the source of all corruption in the world? Shit, they'd probably wanna drag Hillary Clinton into it because they just can't quit her.

(Sidebar: As for "precedent," there was no Judiciary Committee investigation for Bill Clinton's impeachment because everything was based on the Starr Report. In other words, the investigation was done. Not so here.)

The letter even fucking lies about things. For instance, it reads, "The Committees have broadly threatened that if State Department officials attempt to insist upon the right for the Department to have an agency lawyer present at depositions to protect legitimate Executive Branch confidentiality interests-or apparently if they make any effort to protect those confidentiality interests at all-these officials will have their salaries withheld."

It cites a letter from the chairs of the committees to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan that's about Secretary of State and Trump's most loyal ass lamprey Mike Pompeo preventing DoS employees from testifying. Reps. Engel, Cummings, and Schiff say that House rules say that witnesses may have personal counsel present, but not Executive Branch counsel. And that "the same rule has been in place for more than a decade...and it was in place during Secretary Pompeo's tenure on the Benghazi Select Committee" back when Pompeo was just that fucking prick congressman from Kansas. And the Democrats go on to say that, if you insist on violating the rules and force your employees to violate them, here are the penalties, including loss of salary, which is what the law calls for. Imagine how Pompeo would have blown a fucking fuse if Hillary Clinton (see? She's always around) had told the Benghazi committee to go fuck themselves. Republicans would have Benghazi'd the State Department themselves.

Most impotently, Trump challenges Pelosi to hold a vote on the inquiry: "the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the President without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step." And that gives the game away. "Political accountability" just means "I want some shit to make more campaign ads. I want some names I can toss around at my rallies of the damned."

Right now, I'm hearing the punditocracy say that Democrats should knuckle under and let Republicans have more say. They keep talking about previous impeachment hearings like Republicans now are even remotely like Republicans in 1974 (and, in 1998, it was Republicans running it). Fuck that. They are rabid dogs. Rabid dogs don't get to be treated with "fairness."

This is of a piece with the lawsuit blocking the Southern District of New York from getting Trump's taxes. Trump's lawyers argued that the president can't be held accountable for any crimes while president. It was such a breathtaking argument that a federal judge said, essentially, "Oh, fuck to the no on that shit." Now, in this letter to Democrats, his lawyer is arguing that you can't impeach the president if the president doesn't think he should be impeached. Or, in other words, he's not just above the law; he's above the Constitution.

Democrats should respond to the letter by escalating this shit. Break out the inherent contempt. Arrest some motherfuckers. Make people beg to talk. They wanna play this hard? You gotta go harder. Fuck going high. Break the foundation under them.


Continuing the Rude Pundit's 16th Anniversary Panhandling

Big damn thanks to everyone who has donated so far to keep me in various brain-altering substances and helping to get new equipment to make Another Goddamn Podcast, among other stuff.

A new episode of the podcast is up now, with a rude rant about how Republicans' actions from starting with Bill Clinton and Travelgate brought us to this fucked up moment in time.

And more big damn thanks if you signed up for the Patreon. A new post will be up tonight for all donors, and that shit starts at just $1 a month. A little something for everyone.

Yeah, it's been 16 years since that fateful day in 2003 when I thought, "Huh. Maybe I'll start one o' those blog things I've been reading." And this has been my joy and my curse ever since. Joy? Well, shit, that's because of you, even when you're cussin' mad at me. Curse? Fuck, it's exhausting following the political world this closely.

But you can help ease the pain and give more joy by donating in my every-other-year fundraiser. You can just smash that "Donate" button on the side or click right here. (It's PayPal. If you prefer Venmo, I'm happy to send a link. By the way, did you know PayPal owns Venmo? Weird.)

My promise to you is that every dollar will be used for totally unwholesome purposes.

And let's try to stay sane in these insane times, hand in hand, into the rude future.

(Note: The real 2003 origin story is something like me thinking, "Man, fuck George Bush and all these fuckers that started this bullshit war and call people like me traitors. Lemme see how disgustingly crude I can be about it. Commence the sodomy jokes..." I was likely on my apartment floor, empty vodka bottle in my hand, wondering who did the last of the coke and where my pants had gone. I've matured in the 16 years since then. I prefer whiskey now.)


Trump's Madness Today By the Numbers

(All of this is taken from the official White House transcripts - real transcripts, not impressionistic summaries - of two events Donald Trump held with poor Sauli Niinist√∂, the president of Finland, who just looked like he'd rather be back at the museums he had been visiting than anywhere near Trump. The first was a noontime sit-down photo op before a meeting that you know was awkward as hell. The second was the now infamous press conference meltdown just two hours later. The repetition, the insistence on lies as truth, the childish insults and accusations, they're all just the expressions of Trump's mind in utter disarray, unable to face or even comprehend that he might actual be held accountable for his actions.)

16 - Number of times Trump declared his conversation with Ukraine's President Zelensky "perfect"

12 - Number of times Trump said the conversation or something else was "nice" (note: Trump was not nice in the conversation.)

3 - Number of times Trump brought up Lindsey Graham telling him "I never knew you were that nice" (or a slight variation on that) in regards to the conversation

3 - Number of times Trump said that Adam Schiff committed treason by paraphrasing Trump's conversation with Zelensky (note: Schiff was very clear that he was paraphrasing. You'd have to be a fucking moron to think he was reciting the actual words used.)

7 - Number of times Trump referred to Schiff as "shifty" (note: Schiff is Jewish and the "shifty Jew" is a well-worn anti-Semitic trope)

11 - Number of times Trump called the media "fake," especially attacking the Washington Post

2 - Number of times Trump directly accused Joe and Hunter Biden of being "corrupt" and "crooked"

3 - Number of times Trump said, "Are you ready?" to a reporter to try to silence them

1 - Number of times the word "Liddle'" (with its accompanying weird-ass apostrophe) appears in the transcript

5 - Number of times Trump accused our allies of not giving enough money for something, either Ukraine or the World Trade Organization

9 - Number of times Trump mentioned a "transcript" of his phone call with Zelensky, calling it "exact" and "word for word, comma for comma" (note: the memorandum of the call notes on its first page that it is neither exact nor complete. It is based on memories and notes.)

1 - Number of times Trump expressed awe over China's military parade

29 - Number of times Trump called something "corruption" or describes it as "corrupt" (note: Often, the repetition is in a single thought, as in, talking about the media, "But much of it is corrupt. It’s corrupt. You have corrupt media in this country.")

1 - Number of times Trump claimed he doesn't know what a moat is (note: This is not an exaggeration. He said, "A moat — whatever that is.")

2 - Number of times Trump couldn't bring himself to say "jock" in "jockstrap."

2 - Number of times Trump reminded everyone about President Obama telling Russian President Medvedev, "Tell Vlad I’ll talk to him after the election is over" or "Hey, tell Vladimir I can do a lot more after the election." (note: Referring to missile defense and other issues, what Obama really was caught saying on a hot mic was "This is my last election...After my election I have more flexibility." In other words, Trump paraphrased what Obama said and pretended like it was an actual quote, which is what he accused Adam Schiff of doing.)

9 - Number of time Trump called something that wasn't a lie a "lie," thus lying about the lie, which is pretty much a summation of the whole goddamn, pathetic day.

Endless - Number of times Trump tried to discredit and intimidate the whistleblower


The Rude Pundit's Every Other Year Anniversary Cash Grab Is On

(tl;dr - Give me money.)

Yeah, this here blog is officially 16 years old. Old enough to drive, not old enough to drink legally, but that's never stopped it. Actually, 16 blog years is like 500 in human years. It's the last of a dying breed: the goddamn independent blog, not relying on advertising, just on one idiot who can't force himself to stop, and, shockingly, thousands of readers, many of whom have stuck it out through Bush, Obama, and now whatever the fuck fate has in store for us with this orange motherfucker.

There's all kinds of new shit now: Another Goddamn Podcast (a new episode will be up tonight), a monthly Patreon page you can join for all kinds of bonus posts (starting a $1 a month - but you should totally do the $3 or more if you can afford it - more goodies that way), and, in January, a brand new Rude Pundit stage show: It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fucked). It starts in Calgary in the Great White North, but more dates in the good ol' USA will be announced soon. The website will be up in the next month.

Honestly, this is all kind of fucking crazy. It's always been crazy, but now we are living through an age that is going at the pace of a weasel on meth.  And you gotta adapt to the times, which means I do some of what used to be bloggery over on Twitter. (There's also a lively community of the rude over on Facebook - where you can actually make comments.) But I still post 2-3 times a week here. I'm lucky enough to have a blast on The Stephanie Miller Show every Monday. And it's all free. Well, not the stage show or the Patreon. But you get the idea.

So every other year, I open the panhandling hat and ask you to fill it. Oh, sure, I'm not gonna lie to you. Some of the money's gonna buy me whiskey and some rum I've been thinking of getting into. Jesus, I can't do this shit sober. But mostly I'm trying to upgrade the equipment: the computer, the microphones for the podcast, maybe the soundboard. And probably some shrooms.

And some expenses for the stage show (like the Trump and Pence bobbleheads I'm gonna do terrible things to). And some acid.

And, hey, maybe, just maybe, a return to Los Angeles to sit in live with Steph for a few days. And weed.

If you're already giving over at Patreon, you're fuckin' awesome. If you don't wanna worry about monthly shit, you can slam that PayPal button over there or just click right here.

Hell, if you give, say, $50 or more, I'll send you some of the posts from Patreon as a thank you and maybe a sneak page of the new show. If you can't afford anything, you are still a righteous human for even considering it.

Keep on readin', clickin', listenin', and retweetin', motherfuckers, like you have for 16 goddamn years. We've gotta keep fightin'.


Impeachment Is a Chance for Democrats to Take Back Patriotism

If there is one rhetorical success that has held back Democrats even when we win elections, it's the lie that Republicans are more patriotic than Democrats. While it used to be the province of right-wing nutzoids like Joe McCarthy and other red baiters that liberals were un-American, the odious scumfucker Ronald Reagan propagated that Republicans held the true mantle of the United States and that Democrats merely sought to tear it down with their gender equality and multiculturalism and civil rights and income equality and queasiness about war. This was couched in purely heteronormative and racist terms, that there was something inherently white and masculine about being a real American.  It was an attack on academics and the media who would dare point out "facts" and "reality" as opposed to the will of the American ubermensch in the form of Reagan. 

Goddamn, the right has been painting Democrats with that broad brush for so long and fucking Democrats bought into it. They fucking bought that they had to be more like Republicans in order to seem more patriotic. They had to be "tough on crime" with harsher penalties; they had to support stupid, worthless wars; they had to cut programs for the poor; they had to go along with tax cuts. Oh, yeah, there was that economic part, too, of patriotism: make sure the rich are as rich as fucking possible because you wanna be rich like that some day in the impossible future. It was selfishness as an end in itself. Me above nation.

The rubes bought into it because they weren't given an alternative way of viewing patriotism. Sure, with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, there was a brief window where it looked like we were finally going to change the narrative to an idea of a nation above individuals, but then Democrats returned to their natural state of allowing Republicans to define the terms of national identity (thanks in no small part to Joe Biden, but that's a rant for another time). Like I always say, motherfuckers fuck their mothers. It's all they know how to do. It's right there in the word. And Republicans are motherfuckingest motherfuckers around.

Now, Democrats have another chance to take back what it means to be American. I'll get to that in a moment.

There is something so clarifying about Trump's call to Ukraine's president and his brutish attempt to muscle info on Joe Biden out of Zelensky. It's like a distillation of everything that millions of us have been saying about Trump for decades: he does nothing unless there's something in it for him. When his crimes were obfuscated by layers of bullshit provided by conservative hacks on Fox "news" and elsewhere, as well as by the mainstream media contorting itself in order to please some false god of fairness, Americans could put on blinders. But Trump's such a toxic combination of narcissist and dumbass that he really thought his phone call pseudo-transcript would exonerate him, that everyone would buy into his story. How fucking ludicrous. 

It helps that there is genuine affection in the country and in the media for Joe Biden. Whatever you think of him (and, as I said, I've got a few problems), the man has been a DC fixture for nearly 50 years. You don't think that he's built up some good will? He's probably been to weddings, funerals, and parties with every reporter in the DC and New York press. He probably has sent presents and gift baskets and letters of encouragement, congratulations, and comfort. Whatever you think of the too-cozy relationship between our leaders and our reporters, this time it fucking worked.

'Cause, see, unlike every allegation against the Clintons and Barack Obama, Republicans are getting confronted with facts at every turn, and not just in a "well, some people say" way. Watch CNN's Jake Tapper absolutely lay into creepy goblin and child-fucking enabler Jim Jordan. Watch Fox's own Chris Wallace not have any of creepy psychopath Stephen Miller's bullshit. Watch CBS's Scott Pelley calmly vivisect bitch-faced creep Kevin McCarthy over what facts are. 

Now, the tidal wave of revelations, like the Intelligence Community is finally fuckin' done with Trump, has added to the sense that shit's really going on. We're no longer talking about what Trump did before he was president (although, to be fair, you're a pretty shitty human if you were in any way fine with or apathetic about Trump before these latest revelations). He's manipulating an election while president. And he's using our money to do it by threatening to withhold funds from Ukraine for Biden dirt. 

The country is primed to wrench its primary identity away from Republicans. Nancy Pelosi couched the impeachment inquiry announcement in very specific terms to appeal to patriotism, with its hearkening to our founders and the Constitution. Adam Schiff did the same in his opening remarks at the House Intelligence Committee hearing last Thursday. 

Essentially, they are saying, "You want to be a real patriots? Then fuck these traitors up." That's a powerful message. It's one that a majority of Americans are responding to, with a clear majority supporting the inquiry and a 10% jump in support for the removal of Trump from office. Democrats are the ones upholding the laws and traditions of the nation. Republicans are merely aiding and abetting a criminal, if they're not doing crimes themselves. That's as crystal-fuckin'-clear as it gets.

For the first time in I can't remember how long (maybe since the Affordable Care Act), Democrats are leading the charge on something, and they're telling Republicans to get the fuck on board this train or fuck off and get run over. 

And maybe the happy-clappy end result of this is that we take back the American story and try to make the country great. Not again. But for once.

(Note: Whatever optimism I have here is not that Trump will be removed. It's that Democrats will successfully set the terms for 2020 and that Trump will keep punching himself in the face along the way.)


16 Years of Rude Punditry: What Vengeful God Did I Anger?

I'll have more to say tomorrow, but today is officially the 16th anniversary of this here little postage stamp of the internet. What started with a pissy manifesto and a "fuck you" disclaimer (that's weirdly still relevant) is now a podcast, regular radio appearances, a couple of books, an album, an upcoming stage show (the third), and more, with, yeah, significantly less bloggery. That's because Twitter eats up time, man, and creativity, and people love them some quick hits rather than long pieces.

And some of you have been here from the start, which is so humbling and frightening, considering all the country has been through, that I feel like we need a support group. Or more whiskey and Molly. Something to get us through.

It's a fine time to sign up for the Rude Pundit Patreon page. There, for as little as a buck a month, you get bonus rude material, often more storytelling and other shit. (Although, to be fair, you should wait until Tuesday to do it. The first of the month saves you a couple of bucks.)

And every other year I have done a big damn fundraiser to get new equipment. This time it's not just a new computer. I'd like some better mics and better shit for remote recording. You'll also be helping to get the new show on the road and restocking the liquor closet. Always needs restocking.

You can show the love by hitting that PayPal button there on the side or by clicking here. If you wanna give another way, I'm happy to tell you how.

16 years. This is my Sisyphean boulder, and that fucker doesn't ever stop rolling back. But I'm happy to keep pushing it for you.


That Trump/Zelensky Call Was Fucked Up for Even More Reasons Than Biden

It's pretty goddamn clear that the motherfuckin' quid has a motherfuckin' pro quo in the weird pseudo-transcript of the July 25 phone call between Donald Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. And a great deal of it all comes down to the word "though."

Zelensky says, "I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. Specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes."

The very next thing is Trump saying, "I would like you to do us a favor though" before going into some conspiracy theories involving Ukraine and, no shit, Hillary Clinton's email server, with Attorney General William Barr tossed into the mix. And that's before he brought up Joe and Hunter Biden by name, which he totally did, unprompted.

Now, I have a PhD in this shit so that gives me superpowers to interpret texts of various sorts. But a freshman would know that "I would like you to do us a favor though" is a conditional sentence, taking what was said before and applying demands before any action is taken on the previous sentence. In other words, it is obvious unless you're a fucking moron or a Republican or both that Trump was saying, "Hey, Voldemort, you gotta do something for me if I'm gonna do something for you." In otherer words, it's the fucking dictionary definition of quid pro quo. And no matter how many times "No quid pro quo" is repeated like "No collusion," there was quid pro quo here. And, by the way, there was an attempt at collusion. The Ukrainians knew the deal.

But, really, the transcript is also fucked up because it reveals the way that foreign leaders have to abase themselves before Trump's massive ass...I mean, "ego," his massive ego.  Zelensky has to tickle Trump's taint with a feather, probably because it's the only way to get the dumb pile of rotting tangerine rinds to pretend to listen.

Right at the outset, Zelensky praises Trump for showing him how to win an election: "I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections." Then he kisses Trump's ring even more, repeating his overused phrases to him: "[W]e are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country...we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that."

That's the kind of flattery that would have made a French monarch in the Restoration say, "Sacre bleu, stop fingering my asshole." Not Trump, though. He revels in how world leaders are compelled to fondle his enlarged prostate.

It gets worse because of course it does. "Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park," Zelensky probes, "and I stayed at the Trump Tower." No, really. And that right there should be another obvious emoluments violation. The head of a foreign country is trying to curry favor with the president by telling him that his country spent money at one of Trump's terrible properties. It's what the Constitution specifically says is not allowed.

Trump is such an intimidating dickhole throughout the conversation. He praises Zelensky for winning and then immediately starts to strongarm him. Seriously, this is rank mobster shit right here: "I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about." I mean, come the fuck on.  Hell, twice, Trump informs Zelensky, "The United States has been very very good to Ukraine." Replace countries with names like "the Lasagna Family" or "Fat Cavatelli" and it's right out of a terrible Godfather ripoff.

The discomfort that Zelensky is obviously feeling comes across as he tries to appease this fucking asshole who sounds like an overwritten villain character in a Ukrainian soap opera. He agrees to whatever Trump is saying, even as he's trying to figure out what the fuck Trump is saying. He talks about how great it'll be to visit with him while Trump goes on about the fired prosecutor (the one at the center of Biden bullshit), praising the prosecutor who most of the European Union and President Obama wanted fired because he wasn't going after corruption, including not investigating Burisma, the company that put Hunter Biden on its board. So Zelensky had to listen to Trump just fucking blather about shit he doesn't know, which, as we all understand, is the only way Trump speaks.

Trump ends the phone call by shitting on Zelensky's election win by making sure the Ukrainian president knows his win wasn't as awesome as Trump's. Our goddamn president says, "I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations." Why the fuck say that? Who does that except the biggest asshole in the world?

Yes, it's not really a transcript, but this is what the White House released, so it's the only thing we have to go on. But even this reveals criminality and pettiness and intimidation, conduct and actions so worthy of impeachment that it might as well be written on dildos and sent to all Republicans with the message, "Go fuck yourselves with this."

And that's without the whistleblower's report, which looks like is gonna fuck shit up even worse.


Let's Do This Impeachment Thing

Let's get straight what the straw that broke Nancy Pelosi's back on impeachment was. It wasn't the phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where he said he wanted that country to go after Joe Biden and his son (or at least make it look like they were going after them). It wasn't the implication of the president of the United States using our country's relationship with a foreign country to go after a political opponent, to, really, collude with that country.

While surely that call and Trump's admitted actions played a role in Pelosi finally giving in to her increasingly restive and vocal caucus, it was really more cut-and-dried: the law says that if a whistleblower gives information to the inspector general of the intelligence community that the IG deems "urgent" and legitimate, it must be given to the proper congressional committees. It's that fucking simple. And even though Pelosi has let some things slide (like Trump refusing to turn over his taxes to the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, as required by law), this one could not only be couched in terms of "national security" since it involves, you know, intelligence. But the motherfucking IG who found it urgent is a Trump appointee.

You know how this is gonna play out over the next few days: Trump has already said he's going to release the "transcript" of his July 25 call with Zelensky. And let's be clear: it ain't gonna be a transcript, unless they record the calls in the Oval Office, which would be peak Trump stupidity, and even then there's no way to trust it. Probably the transcript will show that Trump never said, "Hey, Voldemort, dick over Biden or no bomb money for you." But, as Jeffrey Toobin and others have said today, if Trump even mentions Biden's name, it's abuse of power. I'm betting that, if you're really concerned about corruption in Ukraine, there are lots of people not named Biden involved. (Besides, Hunter Biden was already completely cleared of any involvement in anything. He was never even formally accused of anything.)

This fuckin' dance will go something like the Mueller Report. Because it's not absolutely obvious to the dumbest dumbass what's going on in the phone call, most Republicans and Fox "news" and Twitter fucknuts will proclaim it a "witch hunt" and try to discredit the whole impeachment effort.

But we don't even know if that's all that the whistleblower was talking about. As I write this, the New York Times is reporting that the White House is figuring out how much to allow the whistleblower to speak to Congress, which, again, is not what the law says. It's a distraction strategy so that that array of leperous whores who run interference for Trump can say to his idiot hordes of voters, "See? Look how transparent your orange god is."

While I'm still leaning agnostic on the whole "this is finally what brings this motherfucker down" early celebration because we've been burned so many times before,  I gotta say that there is something different going on here. First off, today, Mitch McConnell, that infected sore on the scrotum of politics, went along with a nonbinding resolution calling for the whistleblower's complaint to be given to the intelligence committees, and it passed with unanimous consent. Say what you will about it, but it gives Democrats some pretty potent ammunition to say that Trump, Barr, and the Acting Director of National Intelligence are being fucking criminals by holding it back.

If I were an optimistic person, I'd say that we might see some Republicans start to peel off as people wake up and see that, at last, in a game of chicken with the White House, Democrats in the House did not swerve at the last minute. It's a whole lot more fun to root for a fighter, and if polls start to show growing support for impeachment, I'd say some GOP House members, at the very least, are gonna start to get a little nervous about keeping their lips superglued to Trump's voluminous ass.

And I've seen a few conservatives in the media agreeing that Trump admitted to impeachable offenses when he bragged that he talked about the Bidens with Zelensky. Maybe we'll get more who give a shit about the rule of law, but I wouldn't hold my breath. The one thing I would say to any Republicans who might be reading: "Fuck you." And then the next thing I'd say is "You knew it was gonna come to this. You knew Trump was just that vile and depraved and greedy and dumb and narcissistic. How else was this gonna go?" Perhaps I'd add: "Did you see him at the United Nations today? Sweet Jesus, I thought he was gonna collapse into himself like a deflating yoga ball. He ain't right. You wanna stand by that?"

We are at the beginning now. I don't think this will be like the oddly fast Clinton impeachment, which took a little over two months (with the trial and acquittal in the Senate over two months after that). That came in the wake of the Starr Report, so it was a response to a full, ludicrous, shameful sham of an investigation. We're starting from scratch here. Let's have some hearings on the TV, please. Drag Trump's ass for as long as it's necessary.

What Nancy Pelosi finally did was to stop allowing Democrats to be so goddamned feckless and seemingly random in their attempts to investigate Trump and his administration. An effective Democratic caucus would have already gone after Trump for profiting off his position or for what was revealed in the Mueller Report, which essentially said, "You gotta impeach this crooked cock."

Now Democrats can have a crystal clear, simple message that can tie together the threads of all the various committees' work: Trump is a criminal, and here are all the ways he has violated the law, his oath of office, and the public trust. Now let's impeach the motherfucker.

Gird yer loins, oh, good Trump-haters of America, for things are gonna get intense and weird and possibly (even more) violent, if his yahoo-brigade starts to think their racist president is going down.

We've finally, really joined the battle. It's about goddamn time.

(One last note: Rudy Giuliani is fucked. He better cut some deals fast because Trump is selling him out in a heartbeat.)


Remembering How Trump and the Right Tried to Convince Everyone Obama Was a Traitor

Every fucking day they went after President Obama. Every fucking day they looked for the merest hint, some seemingly insignificant spark that they could fan into a full conflagration, some misstep that would give his evil game away. Every fucking day the syphilitic cocks of the right tried to prove that Barack Obama, who was clearly guilty of being president while black, was a Muslim, anti-American traitor out to destroy the good (white) American way of life.

Goddamn, the things they came up with. It's almost laughable. They thought a photo of him holding Fareed Zakaria's book The Post-American World proved that he was some kind of crazy radical. Vile sack of rotting flesh with a bloated fish head on top Dick Cheney more or less called Obama a traitor for daring to have an exit strategy for the endless (and still going) war in Afghanistan (Cheney really said, "I think it’s likely to give encouragement — aid and comfort — to the enemy"). Hell, one human-shaped fart, former Rep. Trent Franks, called Obama "an overt traitor to the state of Israel," to which any American ought to say, "The fuck?" Fun fact: Franks was forced to resign from Congress over sexual harassment allegations for offering women on his staff money to bear his child.

This isn't even to get into all the treachery that was implied by birtherism. Or all the shit said by the racist fucknuts in stupid hats that made up the goddamned Tea Party. Or every conservative twatmite trying to get some ratings or publicity by insulting Obama or accusing him of high crimes.

Donald Trump, of course, was into this degradation of President Obama long before he ran for president in 2016 and went into overdrive while running. In June 2016, after the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Trump said of Obama that "we're led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind." And, because Trump is a cowardly bitch, he hinted rather than stated, "And the something else in mind — you know, people can't believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can't even mention the words 'radical Islamic terrorism.' There's something going on. It's inconceivable. There's something going on."

You gotta think about those last lines - "It's inconceivable. There's something going on" - in light of the whistleblower allegations that Trump did something so alarming that an intelligence official felt compelled to report it to the inspector general of the intelligence community, who found it "urgent" enough that he wanted to tell Congress but was stopped by Trump's Acting Director of National Intelligence. Think about all those attacks on Obama, all those digging into the minute details of his words, his dress, his friends, Michelle, all in a vain attempt to show he was a traitor.

And compare that to Donald Trump, who it now seems was holding up funding to Ukraine, perhaps to try to force the country to find or create dirt on Joe Biden and/or Biden's son. That funding was passed by Congress, so, yeah, maybe they have an interest in this.

Or compare it to Trump's ongoing coddling and support of savage dictators and monarchs, like Kim Jong-un or MBS, or that prick Putin. Compare it to Trump saying he was awaiting word from Saudi Arabia on whether we should go to war for "the Kingdom." Trump always accuses others of being guilty of the very crimes he has committed. And you don't even have to try very hard to find them.

The right, especially the GOP in Congress, won't say a fucking word about the traitor whose traitorous acts are staring them right in their dumb faces. And that makes them accessories to Trump's crimes. But they'll go right ahead calling for investigations of Obama and Clinton and whoever else they can throw up as a smoke screen to their genuine destruction of our democracy.


Little Bitch Corey Lewandowski Testifies Before the House Bitchily

Honestly, at some point, I would not have been surprised if the ghost of James Madison had shown up at yesterday's hearing of the House Judiciary Committee and just started sodomizing former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with his walking stick. Just sodomizing the shit out of him while slamming his head on the witness table and yelling, "That's. Not. How. This. Shit. Works. You. Little Bitch."

The thing is that, even after getting raped and beaten by a Founding Father, Lewandowski would have said,  as he did repeatedly, "The White House has directed that I not disclose the substance of any discussion with the president or his advisers to protect executive branch confidentiality," before he crawled out with bloody anus and bruised head to await his Trump treat in the form of a tweet.

It's hard to pinpoint the dickiest moment that Lewandowski had as he just decided to either stonewall or answer like a smartass child who everyone watching thinks, "I don't believe in spanking, but, goddamn, that little son of a bitch needs to be spanked."

Maybe it was when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries asked (admittedly dickishly himself), "Are you the hit man, the bagman, the lookout, or all of the above?" and Lewandowski responded, "I think I'm a good-looking man, actually." Jeffries should have countered, "This is obviously perjury since I've never seen a pathetic motherfucker who hates himself so much."

Maybe it was when he told Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee that she used her time for "just a rant." Or when he called Rep. Eric Swalwell "President Swalwell" to mock him for his failed campaign. There's contempt and then there's trying hard to be as contemptuous as possible in some weird dick-size battle.

Either way, Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler should have had the sergeant-at-arms cuff Lewandowski and dragged his ass out of the chamber like a fucking pervert at a playground. And, yeah, that's not the way the House is supposed to behave and it likely breaks some rules, but, fuck it, tell Lewandowski to take it to the courts and fight his treatment. That's the approach the Trump administration uses with every flouting of the law. And it would have actually gotten some great headlines: "Corey cuffed as Democrats sick of Trump's shit; 'I'll fuck his orange face blue,' says raging Nadler, 'and wipe my dick on his stupid hair.'" (And, by the way, to an extent, Nancy Pelosi agrees with me.)

However, towards the end of the day, one person was finally able to slap Lewandowski in his nuts and get that prick to squirm. When the Democrats on the committee finally gave 30 minutes to House Judiciary Counsel Barry Berke, shit got real. Just let the lawyers do this job. They don't give a fuck about being liked. And Berke tore into Lewandowski, getting the slimy worm turd to say flat out that he lies when he's talking to the media, thus putting his entire credibility into question.

"I have no obligation to be honest to the media," Lewandowski said after an MSNBC clip showed him lying. And when Berke played a Fox "news" clip, Lewandowski said, "I don't think I was under any obligation when speaking to Fox News to not engage in hyperbole." Which is basically the way everyone at that shit network acts. Hell, their motto oughta be "Fox News: We're Not Under Any Obligation to Not Engage in Hyperbole."

Berke calmly sliced and diced the visibly irritated and uncomfortable Lewandowski, throwing at him quotes from his book (which the asshole tried to turn into an ad for himself) and from the Mueller Report, forcing him to affirm that he had lied and lied and lied publicly, again and again, and so why the fuck would anyone trust he's telling the truth.

But it was likely too little too late. You can come up with 100 ways that Democrats did the right thing with this hearing, but the messaging was for shit, and the ability to rally the troops around a strategy has to come from the messaging, not some hope that something will give at some point.

And while he's got snarky little fuccbois like Lewandowski who are ready to snarl and snap going to bat for him, it's gonna take a whole lot more muscle to get at Trump than Democrats are showing now.

As for the media, of course, Lewandowski was on CNN this morning to fuckin' lie some more.


I'm in Twitter Jail for a Week Because I Was Mean to Corey Lewandowski

I called Corey Lewandowski "a little bitch." To be precise, here's the offending tweet:

According to the delicate flowers at Twitter Central, I violated their "Hateful Conduct" policy. Of course, my first reaction was "Have you ever been on Twitter? If it ain't cat videos, it's hateful conduct." But they gave me their definition: "You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease."

I was calling Corey Lewandowski, a public figure, a little bitch and even went so far as to specify what kind of bitch: I was calling him a dog (and, no shit, I get the other implications).  I wasn't promoting violence or attacking him or threatening him on any basis listed. And if what I said was bad, then everyone who took up Chrissy Teigen's insult of Donald Trump and called him a "pussy ass bitch" oughta be suspended, too. I don't want that because Donald Trump is a pussy ass bitch and he oughta be called that. And Corey Lewandowski is a little bitch. And whoever reported me is a little bitch. And whoever suspended me is a little bitch. But there it is.

Now, I've already deleted the evil tweet because that's what Twitter wants and it is their fucking Nazi-loving, Trump-humping, world-destroying hellsite that we're all forced to use. So if they want me to behave a certain way, well, shit, I'm not gonna be the asshole who open carries in Walmart. But, you know, let's have a bit of consistency.

And, for the record, Corey Lewandowski did more violence to this country today than one crude tweet from some asshole writer ever could. More on that tomorrow. And I promise extra nasty comments.

Look, in the scheme of things, this ain't that terrible, to be sure. Hell, I'll probably actually get some actual work done. But it's a sign of how haphazard the rules are for social media and how the corporations that control it don't really give a damn about that. I'll be back. You'll be back. And they fucking well know it.

(Note: You can still see and follow me over on said hellsite. I can't post, like, or retweet anything until September 24. And I can still read everyone's tweets. I just get to rage into the darkness for a while.)


Random Observations on the Democratic Candidates After Their Third of 850 Debates

Last night's debate of the current top ten Democratic candidates for president was both uninspiring and inspiring. Inspiring because how awesome is it that Democrats as a group are finally openly discussing universal health care. How awesome is it that Beto O'Rourke can outright say, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47" to the irrational gun owners and no one is writing his political obituary. How awesome is it that Pete Buttigieg can talk about embracing his identity as a gay man and still getting elected in Indiana. How awesome is it that there were four people of color on the stage. It was a little less awesome that there were only three women, but, still and all, considering American presidential races, pretty awesome. And, yeah, it's pretty fuckin' great that you can look at all 10 of the people up there and be assured that every single one of them would be vastly superior to that orange sack of environmental cleanup waste who's currently in the Oval Office.

It was uninspiring, though, for more mundane reasons. Nothing really happened. No one changed anything about where they were in the debate standings. That's partially because of this ludicrous forced march of endless campaigning, something that is just a cruel trick to play on an already stressed-out electorate. And it's partially because we know where everyone stands, pretty much, so it's just about seeing who stumbles.

The other uninspiring part is that the seeming inevitability of Joe Biden as the nominee is closing in on us, and, sorry not sorry, but he's the second least inspiring person up there (looking at you, Amy Klobuchar). I'll get back to that inevitability. First, lemme say a few words about each candidate, in no particular order.

(Note that always has to be made: I will vote for any one of these candidates if they turn out to be the nominee, so when I talk shit, it just means I do have preferences, like everyone. But I'm not gonna be an asshole if my candidate doesn't win.)

1. I like Bernie Sanders, but every time I see him, he slips more and more into self-parody. He looked physically weak and his voice was so gravelly that he overcompensated by yelling even more than usual. I mean, nearly every single candidate up on that stage owes a debt to Bernie Sanders for stretching the parameters of what Democrats can believe (and many of them believe the same things that he does). The man changed the conversation. Let's not deny that. But he just seemed small and at times out of control, and it didn't help that, after the first half-hour or so, his speaking time was severely limited.

2. Joe Biden was never a good speaker. He signifies being a good speaker because he knows how to do that thing where you make your voice sound like it's saying something with great empathy or great force when your words are ludicrous or meaningless.  Like he could say, "Get me some butter" and do it in a way where you're sure he's your best friend when he just really wants butter. He had his good moments and he had his pretty racist, out-of-touch ones like saying that poor kids should listen to their "record player." Biden was part of one of the low points of the evening, when he and Sanders were yelling at each other like someone took the last pudding cup.

3. Elizabeth Warren was the same intense, engaged, intelligent Elizabeth Warren she has always been. She's calm Bernie (I know that shit drives Bernie's voters nuts, but, well, deal). She's doing what she's done this entire campaign: she chugged along like an unstoppable idea train. You can either get on board or get out of the way, but she's gonna keep going down this track until she reaches the station or someone derails her.

4. Kamala Harris tried to laugh and ingratiate herself. That part didn't work at all. It was weird and uncomfortable, like watching a really stoned dude try to roll a cigarette for you ("Too much tongue, man, too much tongue"). What did work was when she talked straight and cut through what she sees as bullshit about her record. No one wants warm and fuzzy Harris. We want the Harris who is going to gut Trump like a fat fish on a Pacific pier.

5. Pete Buttigieg will be a fine Secretary of State who can run for president again in 8 years.

6. Give me money, Andrew Yang.

7. Cory Booker is a natural politician, one of the best up there. In another year, we'd talk about how no one could beat him. He's sincere (sometimes to a fault) and passionate (sometimes over the top), and, even if he has some DeVos issues, he's a hell of a fighter. In a functioning Senate, he'd be one of its superstars. You want something snarky and petty? The man needs to figure out how to blink. At times, he looked he had snorted all the cocaine.

8. Amy Klobuczzzzzzzzz.

9. Oh, Beto, Beto, Beto O'Rourke, you should have run for Senate. Texas fuckin' needs you to push it over the line to a blue state. His fiery denunciation of the lack of gun laws was a clarifying moment, but Betomania is gone.

10. Julian Castro is a motherfucker and I love him for it. He had the other worst moment of the night, although we didn't know it until after. He jumped on Biden for "forgetting" what Biden said two minutes before about poor people and health care. Castro practically hooted in derision and yelled "Old fart! Old fart!" But it turns out that Biden didn't misspeak or forget, so Castro was just a dick. Still, he got in even more dickish lines, like telling Buttigieg "That's an election. You know? This is what we're here for. It's an election" when the mayor bemoaned incivility on stage. Oh, he's going nowhere, but Castro touches my rude soul.

I have lots of issues with Biden, not the least of which is his age, which gets you all kinds of shit when you say it (and which I'll go into at length soon). But it's becoming clearer and clearer that, barring some huge gaffe or health crisis (beyond his eye filling with blood), he's currently the likely nominee and that's because Biden is a pair of broken-in shoes for many Americans who are sick of the crazy-ass kicks they bought on a whim. They just want their comfy shoes.

Those of us on the left are going to have to accommodate ourselves to Biden's inevitability probably a few months into 2020. Otherwise, we'll fuck up what was accurately described by Booker as the "one shot to make Donald Trump a one-term president."

Goddamnit, when is the next one of these fucklorn things?


How Much of a Pussy Ass Bitch Is Donald Trump? An Investigation

You don't really need to know why model and TV host Chrissy Teigen called President Donald Trump a "pussy ass bitch." I mean, you can probably think of a dozen reasons right off the top of your head and nod, saying, "Yeah, that makes sense." Because, obviously, Donald Trump is a pussy ass bitch. He's always been a pussy ass bitch. He'll always be a pussy ass bitch with his pussy ass bitch sons and his pussy ass bitch business.

It's more a question of degrees than a discussion of whether or not it's true. We know it's true. We just need to figure out how much. And Trump's actions in the last few days give us ample opportunity to examine the amount of pussy ass bitch he's been.

So let's take a look at the evidence of pussy ass bitchery.

1. Trump fired National Security Adviser John Bolton by tweet because he's always been too much of a pussy ass bitch to fire anyone in person unless they are fake employees on his old game show. (Note: John Bolton is dangerously batshit insane and should be sprayed with a fire hose if he comes anywhere near a government position, but he's not a pussy ass bitch.)

2. He had Commerce Secretary Wilbur "Hey, Can You Check to See If Wilbur's Dead" Ross threaten to fire people at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This was after some NOAA employee in Birmingham, Alabama, did the responsible thing last week and informed the public that Donald Trump was totally wrong when he said that their state was in the path of Hurricane Dorian. We had a week-long fit from Trump because he was too much of a pussy ass bitch to admit he fucked up.

3. Trump dismissed the idea of allowing some of the tens of thousands of people whose cities were wiped out by Dorian in the Bahamas to come to the United States, saying that other areas of the Bahamas that weren't hit should take them. And he did it in the most dickish way possible, by accusing victims of possibly being "some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers." So he's such a racist pussy ass bitch that he won't allow people who've lost everything to recover here in the United States.

4. When it was revealed that the Air Force had been using the Trump resort in Scotland for its crews to stay during long flights (and play golf there), as well as using the airport right near the resort to refuel at a higher price than a relatively nearby airbase, Trump claimed he had "nothing to do with" it, which, of course, turned out to be a lie, as it often does. He's such a pussy ass bitch that he can't even cop to something that he personally signed off on.

5. Trump gave the Public Safety Medal of Valor to six police officers from Dayton, Ohio, in honor of them doing their duty in taking down a mass shooter there. However, he did not invite the mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley, because she's a Democrat and she's been critical of Trump. Instead, he had Republican political leaders from Ohio present. When you can't handle having anyone around you who doesn't kiss your ring, that's some pussy ass bitch behavior right there.

In sum, Trump is a total pussy ass bitch. Everything he does stems from him being a pussy ass bitch. His entire immigration policy is about turning us into a nation of pussy ass bitches. Every time he says something about reforming gun laws, the NRA shows him their pimp hand and he cowers back into his natural state of being a pussy ass bitch. And let's not even get into how much of a pussy ass bitch he is when it comes to the dictators in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

Oh, sure, he's the tough guy at his rallies. But then, well, he's surrounded by all the pussy ass bitches who support him.

Let's thank Chrissy Teigen for giving us a shorthand way to define Trump. It's especially sweet that it takes the words he used to talk about assaulting women and turns them against him.


Corporate America Is Finally Getting Sick of Your Guns

How fucking pathetic is this: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his mass murder-enablers in the GOP caucus are refusing to do anything to tighten gun laws, including things that are supported by between 60 and 90% of Americans. McConnell is taking the bitch way out by saying that he won't bring to the floor anything that Donald Trump won't sign. But the NRA keeps fisting McConnell with a clenched hand filled with cash, so as long as they hit that prostate just right, the saggy-faced motherfucker won't budge.

And to make things even more pathetic, Walmart and Kroger, both of which have a huge presence in red state America, have taken action today that politicians won't take.

After a couple of mass shootings in their stores, Walmart announced that, in addition to previous steps like halting the sale of handguns and massacre guns, it's gonna stop selling handgun ammunition and "discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons." They even recognize that they're gonna lose a big chunk of sales, but, well, when you're a company worth hundreds of billions of dollars, you can afford to do something that might stop your customers from being killed.

Walmart also goes even further, though. Because idiots walking around with their big fucking rifles freak people out, Walmart is "respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where 'open carry' is permitted" unless you're a cop. Kroger, which is a multi-billion dollar supermarket chain based in Ohio, also put out a statement on open carry that said, in essence, "Jesus fuck, stop being such little pricks and leave your guns at home, you dumbass cowards." But they said it "respectfully." (Kroger is also being sued for negligence for allowing open carry in its stores, so it's got a bit of motivation there, too.)

The part that takes this to the next level of how deranged and out of touch Republicans have gotten is that both corporations are calling for gun control legislation. Walmart's CEO said, "We encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger." Damn. He heavily suggested renewing the assault weapons ban and added that "We must also do more, as a country, to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior," which is a fuck of a lot stronger than just saying the words "mental illness" over and over.

In Kroger's statement, the company said much the same, as well as "Kroger has demonstrated with our actions that we recognize the growing chorus of Americans who are no longer comfortable with the status quo and who are advocating for concrete and common sense gun reforms."

You get it, you whores of the NRA in Congress? Two of the biggest retail corporations in the United States know that so many Americans support gun control that they don't give a shit if a few hyper-armed yahoos decide to buy their scratchy toilet paper over at the Piggly-Wiggly on the other side of town. They know that the country is shifting, and instead of being scared of not being armed, we're finally getting fucking scared of those who are armed. And we don't think the solution is more guns. In fact, we think the solution is to get rid of some of those guns.

Oh, sure, the NRA is pissing out its usual blustery bullshit, declaring that "Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedom." Really? Motherfuckers, this is Walmart. Walmart already ate the other stores. And you sure as shit ain't gettin' ol' Jesse to get on his old computer with the Confederate flag background and shop at Amazon, where Jeff Bezos makes up fake Russia news or whatever the fuck Trump is shoving in their ears. Nope, he's going back to Walmart because that's all he's got.

Walmart won't suffer any real backlash because the vast majority of the country supports the same thing, and that'll prompt more and more companies to follow suit. Supply and demand, motherfuckers, supply and demand. Maybe some of those corporations will even put their donation money where their mouth is and get GOP asses sent out to pasture (or to lobbying gigs). Republicans are essentially accessories to murder now. No company wants to be associated with that.

Goddamn, its fucked that we have to hope that capitalism will save our asses from Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.

(Note: Gun nuts are gonna say, "What's a massacre gun? I've never heard of that." Fuck you. You know exactly what guns I'm talking about, assholes.)


A Poem for the Laborers

"Pioneers, First Women in Construction"
by Susan Eisenberg

Her sister was shot, and hers found bludgeoned
dead in her car trunk; her mother was alcoholic,
and hers a suicide; her daughter killed by an uncle,
and hers stayed alive thanks to prison.
Before the term, date-raped, she was. Before
domestic violence, love punched her face.

We wanted the career. Not just skills and money,
but structure, focus, printed plans, the rowdy order
of raising buildings that years later would still stand
right where you left them. We joined a tradition,
expected a well-marked path and a welcome.
The earnest ads never mentioned

we’d be human minesweepers steering around
barricades, sinkholes, lethal instructions, We learned
Solidarity was a corporation privately held.
Some left in shock. Some were maimed.
Some went missing. A few found gold.

Those with talent for sifting real threat from bluff,
or detecting hair-triggers before the blast, fared best,
We taught ourselves to disarm booby traps, shared
hand-drawn maps, and prepared for a long winter.
We lied on postcards home.


America Is Not Just for Americans

At my college, the semester just started. And in my classes, as usual, I have an array of students from other countries, including Syria and Lebanon. I have said on other occasions that my Middle Eastern students are almost always some of the best, hardest-working, least-complaining ones. It's just an anecdotal observation based on years of experience, but make of that what you will.

In my classes, we read literature that has a political bent, often a liberal bent, but, let's be honest, there ain't much good literature written from a conservative point of view because creativity necessarily forces you into empathy for people different than you. And if you're an artist and don't believe that, you're a shitty artist.

Our class discussions can sometimes be freewheeling debates where all kinds of opinions are expressed. I have Trump supporters and Bernie supporters and everything in between and everything out from the edges, and I encourage them to say why they believe what they believe. Often, I ask them to write about some of the topics we discuss as they relate to the literature we're reading. Anyone who saw what we read and what we discuss could interpret it as a subversive attack on lots of political beliefs. And it definitely can be that. But mostly it's just adults having adult conversations.

So it was disturbing as hell to read about Harvard freshman Ismail Ajjawi, who is a Palestinian from Lebanon, being denied entry to the United States because, as he explained it, a Customs and Border Protection agent searched his phone and laptop. "She said that she found people posting political points of view that oppose the U.S. on my friend list," Ajjawi said. Because of those friends' posts,  his visa to study here was revoked. Ajjawi said he himself has never posted anything political on social media.

It makes me wonder where this examination of what's-on-your-laptop will end for some foreign students. It makes me wonder if some asshole CBP agent will look at the computer of one of my students one day and see the readings, like plays that are sympathetic to the Palestinians, and then perhaps that asshole CBP agent will dig a little deeper and see that the student's professor is a wild and woolly blogger/tweeter who has called President Trump all kinds of horrific shit and strongly suggested that Trump is a rapist who fucks his own daughter.

Because, see, if someone can be excluded from coming to the United States because his Facebook friends said the United States is, say, a racist country that mistreats immigrants and supports maniacal dictators, then what's to prevent the next person to have a visa revoked be an international student who went home to visit family over the summer and just so happens to have taken me or any politically-active professor who has a problem with the policies of this bullshit president and his bullshit party. What's to prevent any CBP agent from looking at the reading list for the student's classes and seeing The Communist Manifesto on there and freaking the fuck out?

(Quick aside: We don't read Marx in my classes. But I do give a lecture on understanding Marxism as it relates to other stuff we're reading.)

The mistreatment of immigrants both legal and undocumented by the Trump administration is getting increasingly hysterical and increasingly savage. This includes the honestly stunning and horrific change in a policy that gave a visa waiver to immigrants who are receiving life-saving medical treatment in the United States, and, in some cases, their families. Now, cancer patients who are in the middle of their treatment face deportation. You can put that on the growing pile of inhumane policies, and add in Trump's "joke" that he wants his wall built no matter how it's done, even illegally, and he'll pardon anyone who breaks the law to do it, as well as his taking billions of dollars from FEMA to build it. (Let's not even get into the clusterfuck of irony that is illegally building a wall to keep people from coming here illegally.)

This isn't just hateful, xenophobic, and racist. It's all actually un-American. While the United States has rarely lived up to the principles that it has propagated about itself, at the very least there was an understanding that America is not just for Americans, that the very idea of America is of people who made a journey to get here and that the only reason America exists is because people continued to make that journey (and kill the people who were here first and take their land).  I mean, fuck, one way to see slavery is forced immigration. They weren't Americans but we sure as hell exploited, raped, and brutalized them for their labor in order to build the goddamn country.

The United States has always been in conflict about the next wave of immigrants, whether it was the Irish or the Chinese or Eastern Europeans or Latinx people. Or Middle Easterners. Ultimately, though, every population that comes here, even just as students for a few years, is part of America, even if they never become Americans.

And we've always fucking let students come here.  Jesus, does no one remember the insanity about Iranian students studying here after the revolution in their country in 1979? I knew someone whose government job in the mid-1980s was to spy on them and make sure they didn't do anything "wrong." You know what those students did? They fucking studied. They learned the United States is not the enemy. My spy-pal realized early how useless his job was, but he sure as hell loved hanging out with the Iranians. (He did file report after report about how nothing was going on.) Now, between 2015 and 2018, the number of applications for international students to come here has plunged 40%. Can you fucking blame them? Hell, if I were a Lebanese kid, I'd apply to Canadian schools.

Ultimately, incidents like what happened to Ajjawi or not giving flu vaccines to migrants in detention centers have nothing to do with protecting the lives of Americans. It's about fear, and not just fear of violence. It's about the constant fear that a new population will come to the United States and change it, make it less white, less homogeneous. But that shit never works.

Failing to allow the United States to change, to evolve, undermines the entire idea of America.  Like I said, while we don't live up to our principles, at least we had them. 


Focusing on the Amazon in a Time of Maximum Distraction

The Amazon rainforest is on fire. The Arctic, along with parts of Alaska, Siberia, and British Columbia, have burned this summer or are continuing to burn.  The conflagrations destroying the forests of the northernmost parts of the world are a result of the effects of climate change. While climate change has made fires more likely, the Amazon blazes are directly caused by the fuckery of humans, allowed by the savage, shitty president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro.

We're literally living the meme of the dog wearing a cute little hat sitting in a blazing room with his cup of coffee, saying, "This is fine." Except this is pretty fucking far from fine. And if you see that whole comic strip the panel comes from, the dog fucking melts horribly. It's not a goddamn metaphor anymore. It's prophecy.

While the world is burning and accelerating the effects of climate change so that we're just in a destructive loop, the United States, the biggest economy in the world, isn't doing jackshit about it. We're all caught in the mesmeric gaze of the madman at the center of our government, with most of us wondering how the fuck we're going to survive another 16 months, and that's if Trump loses,. And there's a not insignificant number of Americans hoping he goes even more batshit insane because they're already batshit insane.

We are beyond anxiety and into something akin to slow-rolling panic, heading into existential exhaustion.

Look, I know, I know, I fucking know that it's depressing/amusing/alarming when Trump says some idiotic bullshit like "I am the Chosen One" or retweets barking shiteater Wayne Allyn Root calling him the King of Israel. I know, I know, I fucking know that it feels like a Nazi threat when Trump is proclaiming which Jews are loyal and which Jews are disloyal. And I know, I know, I fucking know that it's hard to comprehend how the whole buying Greenland thing even happened, and it's even more hard comprehend that there are people out there defending Trump on it, and what the fucking fuck is fucking wrong with these fuckers. I haven't even gotten to the recession denialism. Or the condemnation of Ford Motor Company for wanting to be environmentally responsible. Or the continuing cruelty to migrants.

It's like we walked into the zoo and all the animals got free and they're all fucking each other. They're not fighting like they should be. They're all fucking. Monkeys are fucking hippos. Gazelles are fucking crocodiles. Lions are fucking peacocks. Tortoises are fucking hares. And you'd think for a second, "Well, at least they're not eating each other," except they're fucking each other to death. It's horrible. It's a nightmare of blood and animal moans and elephant jizz and gorilla fisting. How the fuck did this happen? And how the fuck do we get out of here? But the goddamn gate locked behind us so all we can do is cower and hope it all ends before they find us and fuck us to death.

So I choose to focus, today, at least, on the burning Amazon. I choose the environmental apocalypse because, ultimately, there are things we can reverse down the road. We can clean up a shitload of messes. We've done it before. But once the planet is fucked, it's fucked, and there is no unfucking it.

If we had a real president, one who believed in reality and science, she'd be calling on the nations of the world to intervene to stop the destruction of the Amazon. Fuckin' bribe Bolsonaro out of office. Do something. Jesus, how about Jeff Bezos just fucking buying the Amazon as a branding exercise.

The worst part here is that, until things change with our government, we know we're only witnesses of our ongoing demise.


If You're Not Anti-Fascist, You're Pro-Fascist

This weekend, I called the Proud Boys and other marching fascist fucknuts "Nazis." When this was posted by a pal on Facebook, one of his FB friends was quick to say that this was tin foil hat-worthy and that I was degrading history. I explained that I called them "Nazis" because they want to kill all Jews and non-whites and that the easiest way to explain to people what the marching fascist fucknuts support is to call them "Nazis." See? You automatically think, "Oh, shit, they wanna do some genocide." I know this because of all the hate-tweets and hate-messages I get telling me that I'm a Jew (which I already knew) and will be exterminated.

But, obviously, I was insulting the marching fascist fucknuts.

On Sunday morning, I made the mistake of turning on the television. I try to avoid the Sunday gabfests like they are testicle-eating lizards hungry for more testicles. And then I made the bigger mistake of thinking, "Huh. Wonder what bullshit they're slinging over on Fox 'news'?" There, on the Doocy-free weekend Fox and Friends (Who Are Blonde), the top story was that evil Antifa was going to rampage through Portland, Oregon, and that they were throwing food at some people. 

Indeed, on its website, Fox referred to the events in Portland as "planned protests involving supporters of the far-left Antifa movement and supporters of several conservative groups." You see that? Antifa is "far-left" but the white supremacists and, you know, Nazis? They are just "conservative groups." Another piece called Antifa "one of the core drivers of violence" in protests right now.

Yes, in other articles and on-air pieces, Foxeteers have spoken out against "Antifa and far-right" groups. No less a motherfucker than Sean Hannity said, "To each and every single person on either side that has an extreme agenda, you must stop this insanity — this lawlessness." The Chin of Doom declared that Antifa and white supremacists are two sides of the same coin: "They're all tied to sick, ugly, twisted, evil ideologies." And we should kumbaya ourselves out of any conflict: "Let's not forget, we can have political disagreements but at the end of the day, we are all Americans. We're all created equal. We're all one nation under God."

But the context is so fucked up. It's saying that white nationalism, Neo-Nazis, and other assorted racist, heinous, violent shitheels should be given the same consideration as those whose ideology is (checks a dozen websites) stopping white nationalism, Neo-Nazis, and other assorted racist, heinous, violent shitheels. Oh, and also support immigrant rights, health care for all (including white supremacists), and other mainstream progressive ideas. In other words, it's fascists versus, you know, anti-fascists. Seems pretty easy to pick a fuckin' side here.

I'm not saying that Antifa groups and individuals haven't committed violence. Every movement has moments of violence, but incidents are isolated and blown out of proportion, usually by whiny pukes like "journalist" Andy Ngo, who is desperately trying to grift his way into relevance. Hell, in Portland, Ngo just outright lied about supposed violence. And, honestly, you know how fucking lame you look crying about a tossed milkshake and some Silly String sprayed at you when people on the right are literally shooting children to death for being non-white? Also, violence and threats against Antifa supporters are far more prevalent than violence against, for lack of a simpler word, Nazis.

Of course, conservatives have to condemn Antifa because they'd lose a big percentage of their base of inbred mutants and anxious pigfuckers if they said, "You know what? I'm anti-fascist. Cut this Nazi shit out." It's no different than the condemnation of anti-war protesters or civil rights marchers in the past. Right-wing bitches will be right-wing bitches.

Gotta say, though, this is some weird ass shit. The right in this country just wants to erase all the history that makes it uncomfortable. Yeah, let's pretend that the rise of the Nazis in Germany happened overnight, not that it took years of propaganda and refusal to take the threat seriously before things got all Holocausty. Frankly, if you're saying let's be nicer to Nazis in this country, I'm gonna say, "Go fuck yourself. I'm not waiting for another Kristallnacht to call evil 'evil.' I'm gonna call Nazis "Nazis.'"

Fascist motherfuckers have the right to speak. They have a right to gather. They have a right to freely write any idiot hate they want. They can get their 88 tattoos all up and down their faces. And we have the right to raise our voices louder and in bigger numbers and tell them to shut the fuck up and go back to their holes in the ground like the piles of shit they are.

But we still want them to have health insurance.