Haiku Review of 2019 (Part 3): The Rise of Haiku

Sweet Jesus, you all want to write some damn haiku. Since the call went out the last two days, I've gotten about 200 haiku and, even when it's just 3 short lines, that's a lot of fuckin' poetry reading. It's also been tough choosing the ones to post here because, well, you have all upped your haiku game, almost as if the rank fuckery going on around us has inspired you.

Here we go:

From Cerato:

Despite the bullshit
A man of integrity
Schiff laid out the facts

From Fuggly in NH:

Wish I Hadn't Asked
I asked a Trump guy,
"What could you hear to lose faith?"
He just said, "Nothing"

From Jack in a sea of red in a blue state:

Mueller testified
But failed to entertain us
Lady Justice wept

From Pauline in Indiana

Twenty nineteen gone
Just before I realized
Twenty twenty comes

From Steve L.:

sewerline of hate
open Twitter and drink deep
oh, the endorphins

From Gummo in Brooklyn

Only now can frogs
Boil their own pot of water
That takes a BIG brain

From T. Mangrove in Wisconsin:

Grands were immigrants.
Parents worked hard, and I thrived.
My kids are so fucked.

From Mary S. in Massachusetts

Once again the chant.
"The Jews will not replace us"!
Tiki torches march.

From LegendaryStickFigure:

Rashida's Lament
A perfect phone call
impeaches motherfucker
not above the law

From RR in Rhode Island

In Iowa's 4th,
Medicare is socialist,
But not their bailouts.

Alright, one more day of this tomorrow and then back to the semi-regular bloggery you've known to semi-love and semi-expect.


Haiku Review of 2019 (Part 2): The Haiku Awakens

Damn, in one short day, you all have sent in dozens and dozens of haiku. Things have taken a turn into the dark as we see 2020 steering towards us at full speed, ready to smash us into the pavement. Until then, though, let's get haiku-ing.

Here are some of the best so far, from sea to shining sea and a Canadian.

From Bewildered in Toronto:

Our old friend believes
Trump is A-O.K. We ask,
"The man's crazy, right?"

From longtime haiku-inator Rabbitearz in Los Angeles (I'm not sure if it's "Rabbit Ears" or "Rabbi Tears," but, sadly, both work):

That British fat toad
Boris "the spider" Johnson
Weaves a web of sloth.

From Ms. L.B. in New York City:

I Got Your Pitchforks and Torches Right Here
Trump yammers "Witch hunt!"
We explain, "It doesn't mean
What you think it means."

From Twangling Jack in Rain City:

Melania's Blues
Hard-faced First Lady
Swatting away orange hands,
How can you "Be Best?"

From Sarah in Seattle

They clutch their Bibles
which were printed without the
Sermon on the Mount.

From Brad in Dallas:

The next century
Is one Trump then another
If he gets away.

From Robert J.:

"Anal fistula,"
Stephen Miller's new nickname,
Is still far too kind.

From Vicki in Philadelphia:

Impeachment is writ
On Trump’s permanent record
In big black Sharpie.

From Doug, no longer in Oakland:

All of this snow beats
Wildfire evacuation
Two forced moves this year

From VJ in NJ:

A Wish for a New Decade
The NRA dead,
Trump gone, McConnell run out
Bankrupt and erased

Keep 'em coming. Another bunch tomorrow. Once again: 5-7-5 syllables. Titled or untitled. Send 'em to: rudepundit (at) yahoo.com.


Haiku Review of 2019: Out of the Blue and Into the Black

This fucked-up year is going to seem like an amuse-bouche of insanity by the time 2020's shit fight in a monkey house is over. As both impeachment and election pressure amps up for President Dumbfuck McRageface, I wouldn't be surprised if we see even more violence against racial and ethnic groups, against trans people and migrants, against liberals in general. Because that's what these motherfuckers want. They want a purge, man.

But, hey, that journey into the inevitable dark void at the center of Trumpism is still a few days away. So, as we always do in this little corner of the ever-shrinking patch of Left Blogsylvania, let's close out the year with the simplest of commentary. It's haiku time once again, a tradition in this joint that goes back to 2004. Oh, shit, this is the 15th anniversary of it. 

Submit your haiku about events in fuckin' 2019 to "rudepundit(at)yahoo(dot)com." I'm the only judge and jury here, and I am generally fickle, drunk, high, and susceptible to fits of despair.

I'm also a stickler for the form: one line of 5 syllables, one line of 7 syllables, and one line of 5 syllables, in that order. They can be as filthy, funny, or fucked-up as you like. You can be serious, silly, or sanctimonious. Titled or untitled. The ones I like the best get published on here over the next few days, so lemme know what name you want on it (in case your boss or mate or Mom sees it) and where you're from. Like "Trump's Stinky Taint" from Fuckmonkey, TN" or "Linda from San Francisco" or something.

Here are a couple to inspire you and get the brain pan churning:

Armed Cowards
"White genocide" is
Just another way to say,
"Brown people scare me."

At the Rally
Trump spits angry bile.
Idiot hordes open mouths,
Thirsty for more hate.

The Hearings Circus
Schiff brooked no bullshit
Which made Nunes and Jordan
Into sad, failed clowns.

That was quick and easy. So bring it on. Give 2019 your best poetic middle-finger. Or celebrate. Positive shit is welcome. Send you haiku in.


Things That Didn't Suck in 2019

Every goddamn day, every single goddamn day of this fucking year has been a bloody-knee crawl through the trash heap of an America that is increasingly deformed by Trump and his enablers and their idiot hordes of freaks and fascists who want to make a home in the wasteland they're trying to dry hump into being. Each bit of joy I felt this year seemed like a rebellion, like a raised middle finger to these fuckers.

In 2019, you had to find nuggets of golden peace in the raging, rocky river.

1a. The best television forced you to see the world in a new, wondrous, and/or terrifying way. The end of Mr. Robot was both cathartic and disorienting, and the final season was a nonstop heightening of tensions to almost unbearable levels. You're the Worst made a case for an unhappy ending before pulling the rug out and giving us the happy ending we secretly really wanted. And Broad City showed that growing up doesn't have to mean giving up (and was really fuckin' funny). You could read the end of Catastrophe as death or rebirth or just two people out for a swim (and was really fuckin' funny). Finally, Silicon Valley nailed its conclusion by showing that wealth and power not only do not equal happiness, but that we are going to inadvertently kill ourselves if we don't figure out how to exist in harmony with technology (and, yeah, was really fuckin' funny).  (Yeah, yeah, Fleabag, too.)

1b. There was an embarrassment of great television this season, and I haven't even had a chance to watch some things yet. But of the new shows, Watchmen blew open the doors on how to use pop culture to interrogate the shameful racist history of this sick nation. Meanwhile, When They See Us tore the filthy bandage off our recent past in a searing indictment of a justice system rigged against young black men. Russian Doll and Undone created new narrative forms to explore how two women respond to a world they feel alienated from. The Boys was a face-blast of violence and rage against the idiocy of hero worship. Los Espookys gave us a deadpan, hilarious group of artists whose art is horror. Lastly, The Other Two was about two siblings of a teen pop star that gave up simple cringe comedy and irony in favor of a more complex cringe comedy and sincerity. It totally worked.

1c. This is not to mention the continued awesomeness of Bojack Horseman, Rick and MortySuccession, The Good Place...we're all watching too much TV.

2. On the music front, the album that blew me away this year was Remind Me Tomorrow by Sharon Van Etten, a yearning, rocking record about learning to get older and grappling with the bullshit around love. For sheer joy, nothing I heard topped Lizzo's Cuz I Love You. Yeah, we all love Lizzo now, but, goddamn, the album just bangs, start to finish. I loved the danceable weirdness of FKA twigs' MAGDALENE, the unabashed propulsive rock of Sturgill Simpson's Sound & Fury,  the barely contained emotion of Yola's Walk Through Fire, the naked desperation of Big Thief's Two Hands, the assured folk rock of Strand of Oaks' Eraserland, and...okay, I'll stop there.

2b. Gonna put in a special plug for my daughter's band in the UK, who put out their first EP this year. Natalie and the Monarchy's Pretty Little Flower is the grunge/music hall synthesis you didn't know you need. Their live shows are goddamn intense and fun, with a great group of young musicians jamming out. Go see them when they hit your town in England. (Yeah, I'm biased. And?)

3. Speaking of live music, the other best concerts I saw this year were ones that let you dance and bounce and scream like you were trying to purge yourself of all the bullshit swirling around. At the tiny Brooklyn club Barbes, Slavic Soul Party, which has a weekly gig there, just blew our faces off with brass jazz. David Byrne's American Utopia is a Broadway show that's also a goddamn David Byrne concert and as affirming a celebration of life, both its highs and lows, as you're gonna get. The young band The Wrecks put on a crazy good straight-up rock show at the Sea.Hear.Now Festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey. And Bikini Kill's savage comeback show was a reminder that, sometimes, all you need is some punk rock shot straight into your veins.

4. Continuing with live stuff, two radical versions of classics blew me away. In New York, Red Bull Theatre's Macbeth framed its production as a game that high school girls were playing, but it captured the danger and passion of the show in a way that was absolutely radical. This was probably the tenth time I've seen the play, and this intense, funny, carnal production made more sense than any other I've seen. In London, the Yard Theatre's deconstruction of Arthur Miller's The Crucible was propulsive and unnerving, and Caoilfhionn Dunne's John Proctor ripped your heart out. Back in NYC, Is This a Room, a play that's a verbatim transcript of the FBI interrogation of whistleblower Reality Winner was a caustic reminder of the way the power of the state can destroy someone. Finally, Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer was another exploration of how teenage girls search for meaning. In this case, it's through their shared and destructive worship of Pablo Escobar.

5. Movies? Let's do this quickly (and, again, I haven't seen a bunch): Parasite and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are everything you've heard they are. The Perfection and Tigers Are Not Afraid are two very different but equally bizarre, heartbreaking, and fucked-up horror films. Us has gotten better in my mind as I've thought about it through the year. Booksmart and Dolemite Is My Name are both just hilarious and human. Knives Out and John Wick 3 are pure pop culture popcorn, fun from beginning to end without making you feel dumb or that a giant marketing machine is making you feel obligated to show up.

5. I've gotta throw in a special mention of a couple of faraway places. I visited Barcelona this past summer and fell madly, unexpectedly in love with the city. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to see the Sagrada Familia, the gargantuan cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi, so visiting that transcendent space was overwhelming. Sometimes, things live up to or go beyond your expectations, and this was one of those times. Also, at the Center for Contemporary Culture, the extensive Feminisms exhibit was a bracing, insightful, and confrontational look at women artists in the 1970s, when fucking with the gender hierarchy was a new world for art to conquer.

(Note: I'm sure I'll remember some shit that I forgot and add it later.)

Look, 2020 is gonna fuck with us mightily. Don't forget to cleanse and reboot your brain as needed. We're gonna need to be strong. Take a break or fill your tank. Asses will need kicking. 


Christmas Nativities 2019: Now with Zombies (Because Sure, Why Not?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That goddamn nightmare fuel isn't a lab experiment gone horrible awry. It's a bunch of white mice with eyes so wide they look like someone laced some cheese with meth and let the little bastards go crazy. It's gonna be horrible when baby Jesus mouse gets crucified in trap.

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

And, finally, the baby nativity:

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

And to all a good night.

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

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

Oh, wait. What's that? Those aren't that bad after all we've suffered? Then how about these terrifying motherfuckers:

Or maybe that's just how we'll all look after climate change has its way with us.

No? Too terrifying? Then how about this hopeful nativity, where Joseph is about to go all Ninja on some zombie night visitors in order to protect his own future-zombie not-offspring.

Merry Christmas, baby.

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


Note to Democrats: Don’t Fuck Up the Post-Impeachment Process

Every once in an increasingly regular while, I just feel like someone needs to sit Democratic leaders and members of Congress down and explain to them How the World Works Now. See, they are approaching the completed impeachment and the hopefully forthcoming trial of Donald Trump as a solemn and serious occasion for reflection on one’s Oath of Office and the Constitution, hoping that their solemnity and seriousness will be the gravity that brings Americans to earth with the understanding that, yes, obviously, Donald Trump has as much business being president as he does doing anything other than handing out shopping carts at Home Depot and telling customers about great deals on paint. Even then, he’d probably be a dick about it.

So, while one might think that seriousness is the proper response to the political turmoil and the potential removal of a president for the first time in our nation’s history, that’s not How the World Works Now.

Right now, Republicans are going full dickhole on opposing Trump's impeachment, trial, and removal. Since well before the vote yesterday, the GOP and allied groups have been running ads about how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is going to use a strap-on on Uncle Sam and the Do-Nothing Democrats are literally masturbating in the House chamber rather than passing everything that their Lord and Savior Trump wants. Democrats and their groups, meanwhile, are essentially buying into the Republican narrative by releasing ads touting all the shit they are doing on health care and other stuff, like little brothers insisting, "We're not do-nuttin'" to their noogying older siblings.

Messaging for Democrats has never been a strong suit. When we have swept into office in wave elections, like in 2006, 2008, and 2018, it's been because Republicans were finally so abjectly awful that most voters could no longer live with themselves voting for them. But the thing is that Republicans are masterful at disinformation, and they will lie and lie and lie some more in order to pound a lie into the brains of anyone paying even scant attention. "Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election" and "Joe Biden got the prosecutor fired to protect his son" will be crammed down the same throats who eagerly swallowed the load of whatever the fuck Hillary Clinton supposedly did in Benghazi, despite multiple hearings exonerating her, and, of course, now and forever, her emails.

Don't fuck this up, Democrats. That's the message here. We already fucked up on the Mueller Report, and now it's an article of faith among the faithless that Trump did nothing wrong in the "Russia hoax," despite the report very clearly and thoroughly explaining that he did a shit-ton wrong and that Congress needed to get off its ass and do something about it. Democrats let it go because it was too complicated and because the Mueller show wasn't entertaining enough.

I cannot begin to catalog all the ways Democrats have fucked up. The list of grievances here would be so long and so enraging that it'd make calm heads burst and spray viscera all over their nice Christmas trees or menorahs or cornucopias or whatever the fuck you have up. It would include the failure of the left to fund a liberal media message delivery system in the same way that the right has talk radio and Fox "news" and its devolved children, OANN and others. All that shit was and still is propped up by rich fucks like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch cocks. It would include the failure to force the country into an electoral reckoning over the 2000 election. It would include the failure to go to the barricades over Merrick fucking Garland.

Time and again, Democrats have played this game like there is honor in it instead of playing it to fucking destroy the opposition. Time and again, we have let Republicans set the terms of the contract and just signed along. Time and again, they dared Democrats to vary from a pre-ordained set of responses, going full force after any Democrat that dared to call "bullshit" on them.

The fact that Nancy Pelosi is holding back on sending the impeachment articles over to the Senate has enraged Republicans because it upset the script and showed that maybe, just maybe, this time Democrats weren't going to accept the Republican rules in this game. It's the smart play, and they have no idea how the hell to respond. Now, it's time to mobilize the public and market the shit out of the removal of Donald Trump from office.

Democrats need to be gearing up for the greatest battle of our recent lives. They need to go big, with everything from billboards on the highways to ads out the wazoo. I mean pounding the fucking message until it drowns out other shit. This is How the World Works Now. We are never out of campaign mode, and nothing is so serious or important that it can't be marketed to the hilt. To pretend otherwise is to cede the ground on convincing everyone to the Republicans. It would once again allow them to set the terms of the argument.

Fuck that. Create a new playing field, one where the dominant message is this: "You are only a good American if you support removing Donald Trump from office." It's that simple. We punish criminals, and Trump is a criminal; ergo, get him the fuck out of there. Hell, the column from Christianity Today that calls for Trump's removal from office is incredible support for that stance.

This will require a massive amount of spending, as well as Democrats sucking up their reticence to really get down in the shit pool with Republicans and slug it out. But if you don't get dirty, the GOP will take it as weakness and exploit that until there is nothing to impeachment and the whole thing will have been just to put an asterisk next to Trump's name.

Sure, it's something. But it's not enough. If you win this messaging war, you can shift the narrative, and that's the real game changer. It means that even if not a single GOP Senator changes their closed, Trump-owned minds, the voters will know what the deal is.

Barring a miracle, Trump won't be removed by the Senate. But if Democrats succeed only a bit at this war, they will finish the job in November.


Random Observations on Trump's Completely Bugnuts Insane "Letter" on Impeachment Eve

President Donald Trump, who will be impeached tomorrow by the Democrats in the House of Representatives because he doesn't give a single dribble of his leaky dick about the country or the Constitution, "wrote" a "letter" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, excoriating her and the Democrats for daring to call him to account. A collaboration with aides like the cretinous ass scab Stephen Miller, the only way to read the thing is as an account of madness worthy of a ranting low-level comic book villain who has been thrown into a rubber room. It is, without a doubt, one of the most desperate, pathetic, barking mad things any president has ever done, including Woodrow Wilson post-stroke. 

And it's filled with an array of bizarre statements, blatant lies, and babbling nonsense. In other words, Trump distilled to his purest form. Just a sampling:

1. Any attempt to parse this sentence is doomed to failure: "You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!" I mean, putting aside the punctuation issues, what the fucking fuck does that even mean? So a very ugly word can be important? And what makes "impeachment" ugly? In fact, what cheapens the word "impeachment" is calling it "very ugly," like a sad little insult can take away the very serious implications of it. 

2. Trump says, "By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy." Except here's the deal: The Constitution doesn't give a fuck about the circumstances of an impeachment. Everything is up to the House of Representatives. Period. In fact, the only way an impeachment could be "invalid" is if someone other than the House impeaches. Otherwise? The Constitution is impressively vague about everything else in the impeachment process. In fact, by having an impeachment hearing and vote, the House is doing everything by the Constitution, and the only ones declaring war are those who think it's unconstitutional. 

3. I mean, c'mon: "[Y]ou are offending Americans of faith by continually saying 'I pray for the President,' when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense.  It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!" Trump being insulted by Nancy Pelosi saying she prays for him is just...(chef's kiss)...beautiful. And all his nutzoid fundamentalist worshippers will agree with him that Pelosi's prayers are mean. 

4. Trump so outright lies about Joe Biden and the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin that Biden ought to sue the fuck out of Trump for slander. The intentional malice is dripping off the assertions that Biden was trying to stop an investigation of his son, something that is objectively false. Sue his ass.

5. Trump declares his victory in 2016 "an Electoral College landslide." If that's true (and it's not), then what were Obama's victories in 2008 and 2012, which were by bigger Electoral College margins, along with over 50% of the popular vote each time? Somehow, that didn't stop Republicans from being abject dickholes to Obama. Also, fun fact, Richard Nixon was reelected in a legit landslide: he won 49 states and over 60% of the popular vote. Yet I seem to remember that didn't stop Congress from moving to impeach him.

6. Oh, I know what you're wondering. Did Trump bring up Rep. Adam Schiff parodying his phone call with Ukraine's president? After all, he has been obsessed with that September 26 opening statement by Schiff for months now. Well, shit, of course he did: "Congressman Adam Schiff cheated and lied all the way up to the present day, even going so far as to fraudulently make up, out of thin air, my conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine and read this fantasy language to Congress as though it were said by me." He will not let that mocking go. And Trump's started to lie about the timeline, saying that the "transcript" of the July 25 call was released after Schiff's statement. That's absolutely untrue. Schiff was making fun of the "transcript" (which isn't a transcript - it's a memo of the call).

7. After a yadda-yadda-yadda list of shit he claims as accomplishments (and just about anything to do with the economy still has more to do with him not fucking up Obama's economy), Trump uses the old "rubber-glue" gambit: "You are the ones interfering in America’s elections.  You are the ones subverting America’s Democracy.  You are the ones Obstructing Justice." By the way, they're "Obstructing Justice" because, Trump says, "I have been denied the most fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution." Except, well, see point 2 above. The Constitution gives the president zero rights when it comes to impeachment. He gets his rights at the trial in the Senate, but the Founders didn't want a president to be able to do jackshit about impeachment. 

8. He writes, "More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials," which might be sexist, ahistorical, and laughable. But, hey, let's fuckin' dunk Trump and see if he floats. 

9. You fuckin' well know that Hillary Clinton makes an appearance: "You forced our Nation through turmoil and torment over a wholly fabricated story, illegally purchased from a foreign spy by Hillary Clinton and the DNC in order to assault our democracy." This is about the Steele dossier, which, for the millionth motherfuckin' time, was commissioned by Republicans against Trump. It was half completed before Trump won the nomination. 

10. Towards the end, he says, "You are not just after me, as President, you are after the entire Republican Party." Goddamn, I hope that's right. 

Tonight, the streets of America were filled with thousands of people fed up with this unending bullshit tossing game. It's time to put an end to this. Or, if not, to state loudly and clearly that a whole fuck-ton of us thought this was just wrong. At least history will record some of us gave a damn.


A Few Questions for Enraged Republicans

In the wake of Democrats finally loading the cannon on actual articles of impeachment, Republicans are somewhere between frantic denial and explosive apoplexy as they insist that Donald Trump did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine and Congress. So I have a few questions for 'em.

1. If Ukraine is so corrupt, why was no funding held up in 2017 and 2018? And why was corruption in Ukraine not a significant part of any hearings in the House of Representatives in those years, when Republicans were in the majority? (And in hearings in the Senate, corruption in Ukraine was seen as directly being influenced by Russia.)

2. If Ukraine continues to be so corrupt, why were the funds even released in 2019 when they made no tangible additional effort to fight corruption between July and September?

3. If Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election in the United States, why did the Republican-run committees in the House ignore that in 2017 and 2018? Not a single hearing looked into that in those years, although hearings did focus on how Ukraine needed the support of the United States against Russia.

4. If Hunter Biden did something so awful, how come Republicans in the House didn't investigate it in 2017 or 2018? Devin Nunes was the chair of the Intelligence Committee, and Republicans chaired the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary committees. But the name "Biden" barely comes up in hearings, mostly in a historical context. And "Hunter Biden" is simply nowhere to be found. What made him more corrupt in 2019?

5. You ask rhetorically if the United States shouldn't pursue an investigation against Burisma and Hunter Biden just because he's the son of the president's political opponent. President Trump was asked if he had asked for investigations of a single other person or entity in Ukraine, and he couldn't answer. Do you have an answer? Why didn't you pursue those in 2017 and 2018? Do you think it's okay to only investigate Hunter Biden?

6. When a Democratic president's staff is subpoenaed to come before Congress, do you agree that that president should be allowed to order them to defy the subpoena?

7. When a Democratic president refuses to allow any documents to be given to Congress during investigations, do you support that?

8. If a Democratic president asks for a favor from the leader of, perhaps, Israel to look into, say,  business deals of the Trump family because Israel is so corrupt, are you okay with that? Would you support that president withholding aid to Israel until they dealt with the issue?

These are all ridiculous questions because Republicans have decided that any sense of consistency, dignity, or honesty must be subsumed in their deeply depraved defense of Donald Trump. They are all his willing bitches and he's their enthusiastic pimp, sending them out to fuck the country, knock it out, and take its wallet.


Nikki Haley Said One of the Stupidest Fucking Things I've Heard a Politician Say in a Long Time

Former South Carolina governor, former UN ambassador, and the hope of every Republican who believes their party is so much more than Trump ("See? A woman! And she's not white! We're not racist or sexist now!") Nikki Haley was talking to Glenn "Fooled you with that brief bout of sanity" Beck on his internet concern, The Blaze, about her decision to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the SC state capital. She did this in the wake of racist Dylann Roof's mass shooting of the members of the congregation of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a traditionally black place of worship, in Charleston in 2015. Roof hoped to start a race war, as he said in his racist manifesto.

And Haley's response to Beck today is one of the stupidest fucking things I've heard a supposedly mainstream politician say in a long time. She said, "Here is this guy who comes out with this manifesto, holding the Confederate flag and had just hijacked everything that people had thought of [it]...People saw it as service and sacrifice and heritage. But once he did that, there was no way to overcome it."

Not once did Haley acknowledge that those who saw it as "service and sacrifice and heritage" are fucking wrong, that they are the very racist fuckholes who helped create someone like Dylann Roof. No, she's gotta kiss the asses of the racists in her party if she hopes to have any career as an elected official, whether in South Carolina or the nation, and so she's gonna go with this bullshit. She's gonna say with utter seriousness that the flag was just fine until Roof massacred a bunch of black people.

Haley wasn't done, though. She continued, "And the national media came in in droves—they wanted to define what happened. They wanted it to make this about racism. They wanted to make it about gun control. They wanted to make it about the death penalty." That's right. It wasn't the racist with a gun who made it about racism and guns. It was the media reporting that the racist with a gun was a fucking racist with a fucking gun. This blaming the media for every time a reporter calls out something for being fucked up is shameless. But that's Haley. It's always been Haley. It's how she could say, "We don't have hateful people in South Carolina" with a straight face. Anyone who displays a Confederate flag is, by definition, hateful. That's a fuck-ton of people in the state.

She talked about how she believes South Carolinians behaved after the shooting. She told Beck, "We didn't have protests. We had hugs." And that would be totally right if it weren't totally wrong. See, there were protests. In Charleston, there was a "March for Black Lives" three days after the shooting. In the capital, Columbia, there was a protest against the display of the Confederate flag on the same day. It's just a fuckin' lie to say that it was all hugs after the racist murder of 9 people.

Haley tried to defend herself on Twitter by saying she was proud of having had the flag removed from the grounds of the state capital. Despite the "national media" being the problem, she linked to a New York Times transcript of her speech calling for its removal. And even that speech was more about appeasing the racists. "The hate filled murderer who massacred our brothers and sisters in Charleston has a sick and twisted view of the flag," she said in 2015. "In no way does he reflect the people in our state who respect and, in many ways, revere it." The flag itself is sick and twisted. If you view it any other way, you are sick and twisted. It is a flag that represents racism and violence and traitors. If you "revere it," you are a violent, racist traitor or you don't have a problem with violent, racist traitors.

And, as I've said before, who gives a fuck if your family died fighting for the South in the Civil War and you want to honor them? Who gives a fuck? Your family was fighting to keep slavery legal. Your ancestors were wrong. They're assholes. Fuck 'em. (I grew up in the south. I know my people.)

Why call this one of the stupidest fucking things I've heard lately, especially on a day when Trump complained about how much some people have to flush a toilet? Is this being graded on a curve? Sure. Haley is allegedly part of the sane sect of the Republican Party, the intellectual center of it or some such shit. But what Haley's comments show is that the GOP cannot escape its racist heart. Without the racists assholes who elected Trump, there is no Republican Party. And we should be grateful that they're not even trying to hide that fact anymore.

The line from Dylann Roof to Donald Trump is not very long.


It's My Birthday: Sign Up for My Patreon and Listen to My Podcast

So today is the big next step on the increasingly speedy road to my death. Yep, it's my birthday, and the bestest thing you can get me is to sign up for the Rude Pundit Patreon page.

Starting at a buck a month, you get bonus posts, including personal stories (like about that time I genuinely saw the future - and it involved Muppet babies - and I don't even believe in that shit), political stuff (like how Trump's rage is wrecking him), recommendations for music and other relaxing stuff, and pieces of my new stage show, It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fucked), premiering in Calgary in January. Most recently, I posted about how Stormy Daniels is a better business person than Donald Trump.

Join on up. I'll have a new audio clip from the show posted tomorrow for all $5 a month and up donors. And a new blog post is up for all donors.

You can also check out (for free!) the latest episode of The Rude Pundit Podcast over on the Sexy Liberal Podcast Network. I'm riffing on a recent blog post about calling the Republicans' bluff on their bullshit Ukraine conspiracy theories. Subscribe, motherfuckers, and rate it and review it on the iTunes and Stitcher and Spotify and every other place.

Hell, you can listen right the fuck here:

Back tomorrow with more lubricated rudeness.


No, Biden: An Argument Against Joe Because of Impeachment

(Usual caveat: I'll vote for a leprous toad if it wins the Democratic nomination, so, yeah, if it's Biden, I'm going for him.)

There's a reason to vote for someone other than Joe Biden in the primaries that has nothing to do with his age, although a rational country should be able to talk openly about the very real degenerative effects of aging, especially as five candidates (Biden, Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg, and Trump) are 70 and up. There's a reason to vote for someone other than Biden that has nothing to do with his gaffes and misspeaks and "malarkey." There's a reason to vote for someone other than Biden that has nothing to do with his moderate-to-conservative views on issues like health care, college tuition, and taxation.

It's simple, really: Joe Biden wants to make nice with Republicans. In fact, he totally believes that, if he wins, he can bring out the shiny-toothed charm offensive, work in partnership with Republicans, and get things done once that awful Donald Trump is gone. Here he is at his CNN Town Hall last month: "With Trump out of the way, I predict to you now, my 89 opponents are running for the nomination are going to say something different. But let me just say, I honest to God believe, with Trump out of the way, you're going to find people screwing up a lot more courage than they had before to say, 'OK, OK, I can -- I can move now, I -- I -- I have more leeway.'" Earlier in November, at a fundraiser, he had said, "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany. Mark my words. Mark my words...It’s going to take two things: One is somebody who in fact, knows how to reach across the aisle and get things done."

Now, it is entirely possible that Biden has some inside skinny on Republicans who tell him that they'll be happy once Uncle Joe has safely taken back the Oval Office from the orange menace, but it's pretty unlikely. These are the same Republicans, especially in the Senate, who refused to pass legislation, negotiate over bills, and blocked a Supreme Court pick for the last Democrat, Barack Obama. Maybe he thinks they'll work with a white Democrat?

Biden believes that his capacity to forgive and forget with Republicans is an asset. But it's a fundamental misreading of Democrats right now, just as Obama misread his victory in 2008. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: Obama screwed up by not punishing Republicans, especially Bush administration officials, for what they did to the nation with the Iraq War and torture, as well as the financial crisis. He thought that looking forward would get him some credit with the GOP, but, instead, it emboldened them to block Obama's plans, demonize him, and destroy Democratic gains in 2006 and 2008 with the 2010 midterms and the miserable Tea Party. And I happen to think that one reason Obama took this path is because Biden advised him to (I don't have evidence of that, but, man, Biden's talking like someone who's believed this, well, malarkey for a while).

What does this have to do with impeachment? Right now, Republicans are stubbornly refusing to believe what the entire intelligence community of the United States and the Justice Department and congressional committees (even ones led by Republicans) have concluded when it comes to the facts about who was involved in hacking our election, who benefited, and who wants to mess with the election in 2020. Republicans ignore the criminality surrounding Donald Trump and his inner circle. They are enabling those crimes, from the emoluments violations to the bribery to the witness intimidation and more. And they won't lift a finger, as a group or even as individuals, to stop Trump.

I've been writing about politics since the heady days of the Reagan era, and these sons of bitches are going down a dangerous road, one that pulls the rug out from not just the legislative branch, but from the actual laws of the nation. And this is just on impeachment. It doesn't even get into the dangerously unqualified but appropriately nutzoid conservative judges that Mitch McConnell and the GOP-led Senate are rubber-stamping faster than they can keep the ink pad wet. That will pervert the legal system even further than allowing Trump to do whatever crimes he wants.

Republicans have decided to shit where everyone eats. And should Democrats win back the presidency and the Senate, as well as keep the House, Republicans will need to be punished for what they have done and what they are currently doing. That doesn't mean rounding them up and spanking them and telling them that you hope they learned their lesson. It means investigating and prosecuting those who need to be prosecuted (looking at you, Barr and Nunes), censuring and expelling those who deserve it, stripping them of power within the Congress, and undoing as much as can possibly be undone. They are traitors and they need to be treated like traitors.

It'll mean not pretending like Republicans are going to all of a sudden discover their consciences or souls or patriotism or what-the-fuck-ever. It's gonna take a president who wants to fuck their shit up, who wants to consign the party of Trump to history's garbage heap, who wants to burn down their side of the aisle, not reach across it.

By his own words, Joe Biden is obviously incapable of being that president. A president who is incapable of seeing who the enemy is will be unable to stop that enemy and will allow that enemy to regroup and flourish again. And that is reason enough to not vote for Biden.

(Note: I don't know that Democrats as a whole have the stones to clean house the way it needs to be cleaned, but, at the very least, let's have a president who will give it a shot.)


A Thanksgiving Poem from the Conquered

(This works as a prayer, too)

by Joy Harjo, who is from the Muscogee/Creek Nation

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.


Note to Democrats: Call the GOP's Bluff

Oh, it would be a shit show of open sewer proportions, for sure. It would be a scuzzy circus on top of a cheap zoo covered with crazy sauce. But House Democrats should call the bluff of the increasingly divorced-from-reality Republicans and hold hearings on all the fuckery they claim has been going on. Like fuckin' all of it. Like let's attempt to blow this shit up once and for all.

Just tell Republicans at different committees, "You wanna go? Let's go, motherfuckers. Call your witnesses. But everyone has to go under oath. Every fucking witness."

Start with one bullshit conspiracy and then move on to the next. You wanna prove that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, Republicans? Fine. Look at one of Devin Nunes's repetitive mad rants during the impeachment hearings and see who they might want to testify. Alexandra Chalupa? Groovy. How about all the Ukrainians that Republicans claim know shit about Hunter Biden or the 2016 election? Awesome. Bring 'em all in, Valeriy Chaly, Viktor Shokin (that'll make you shit blood, eh, Devin?), and more. And, sure, why not, let's get Hunter Biden.  Do it up.

However, Democrats get to invite witnesses, too. Lev Parnas and Serhiy Leshchenko, perhaps. Hell, bring in Joe Biden.

Let's get it all out there. "Black book" and "Steele dossier" are still involved in this madness.  So call back in Glenn Simpson, along with Peter Fritsch, two of the founders of Fusion GPS, who can explain one more goddamn time about the Republican origins of the Steele dossier and about how they have no connection to Ukraine and how deeply, deeply Trump is in with Russia.

You wanna see how divorced from reality things are now? Check out this moment from their New York Times editorial this past Sunday, when Simpson found himself on a plane with Rudy Giuliani.

"'I understand you think I spent a lot of time in Ukraine?' Mr. Simpson inquired.

"'You did spend some time in Ukraine,' Mr. Giuliani replied.

"'Did I?' Mr. Simpson asked as he waved his phone in front of Mr. Giuliani, signaling that he was recording the encounter. 'What if I told you I have never been to Ukraine in my life?'

"'Well,' Mr. Giuliani replied with equanimity, 'O.K. I will find out if that’s true or not.'"

Essentially, the GOP has become a machine to back up whatever insanity is coursing through Donald Trump's shrinking brain or whatever lie has been concocted to cover up the latest crimes. It's like if you're a Republican member of Congress, you must wake up and get a text message from your leadership that says something like, "Okay, we no longer trust the entire intelligence apparatus of the United States. We have to say no one knows anything about who might have the DNC server," and you might want to text back that there really isn't a "DNC server" that can be sent around and hidden like Napoleon's penis. But you know better because Trump has gotten in his head that some acid-washed black box is sitting in a room in Kyiv, and that's the GOP's belief now, even if it's bugnuts insane.

Why do this? Why give them the freak show that they so claim they want? It won't change many minds. People who don't live in reality tend not to give a flaming monkey fuck if you show them facts. So screw them. But so many elections these days, especially on the state and national level, are a matter of a percentage point or two. And if hearings can nudge that one or two percent by demonstrating that Republicans are full of shit, Democrats have to hold their noses and do it.

And it'll also solidify the narrative that so many of us know is true. That Donald Trump was the beneficiary of election interference from Russia, almost certainly knowingly, and that he openly sought election interference from Ukraine, warping U.S. foreign policy in order to assure his reelection. It's not that complicated. It's all about greed and power and madness.

We can't go on like this, as a country where there are two completely different versions of reality, one based in facts and one based in fantasy, especially when the fantasy side has built up a web of doubt against facts. If we had a functional news media (and no Fox "news"), it could do the job. But we don't, and we now have the party that controls the executive branch, most of the judiciary, and half the legislative branch actively seeking to replace facts with fantasy. The kick in the ass is that most of them know it's a fantasy and don't give a shit as long as they maintain power.

It's an odious fucking task for Democrats. But while they have the ability to tear at that web through hearings, they need to do it until the goddamn thing snaps enough to make a difference. Or we're all gonna get trapped in it.


In Brief: Trump Still Cannot Get Over Adam Schiff's Parody of His Phone Call with Zelensky

About 4 weeks ago, I wrote about how President Donald Trump, who is just a worn-out leather sack of volleyballs with a canary melon on top, is absolutely obsessed with Rep. Adam Schiff's opening statement of the impeachment hearings on September 26. That's where Schiff gave a paraphrase of Trump's call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, emphasizing and mocking the gangster tone that Trump used (and that, frankly, Trump always uses). Trump has not been able to let it go.

Now we're getting towards the end of November, and in his bugfuck insane call-in interview on Fox and Friends this morning, he brought it up at least three times.

At 11:41: "Now Schiff, remember this. He makes it all up. He’s sick. There’s something wrong with him. So he made up my phone call. He made it up. He made up a phone call, and then when I released it, everybody was embarrassed."

At 25:12: "Adam Schiff is a nut job. Listen to this. Adam Schiff gets up before Congress and he made up my statement and I said, 'Who made that statement?' He made it up-"

At 25:43: "If you heard Adam Schiff’s made up version of my call, I mean, it was the worst thing I’ve ever heard. I said, 'How could that be possible?' And you know the sad part? Because he made it in the halls of Congress, he has immunity. I can’t sue him, the Republican party can’t sue him."

At 29:44: "Who I want to testify most is Schifty-Schiff and I want to find out why did he make up my statement? He made up my statement and I want to find that out. Why did shifty-Schiff, who’s a crooked politician. He’s a corrupt politician. Why did he make up my statement? He made up the statement."

Remember: This happened two months ago. So very much more has happened since then, but, for Trump, this slight, this abuse, this insult cannot ever be forgotten.

Trump keeps calling Schiff and Pelosi and the media "sick." But it's more obvious than ever that, in his monomaniacal fixation, the real sickness in DC is belongs to the president.


Impeachment Hearings: Random Observations on Republicans Getting Kicked in the Taint

1. At some point in the future, barring democracy's end, a Democrat will be president. Let's say for shits and giggles that it's, oh, hell, how about Alyssa Milano? Sure. Why not. Let's say that it's election time and Donald Trump, Jr. decides it's time to throw his dumpy ass into the mix. And let's say, and, why not, Junior's the frontrunner because, hell, Republicans have got no one else. Maybe Junior will have opened a Trump Tower in Jerusalem in the last few years, and that meant doing a lot of business with wealthy people in Israel. Now, as we know, there are politicians (Netanyahu) in Israel who are tits-deep in corruption. We also know that the United States gives a fuck-ton of money in aid to Israel, along with military equipment.

The Republicans' own characterization of what Donald Trump (Senior - that asshole we have now) did with asking for Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden under the banner of "corruption" is that it was perfectly okay to make U.S. aid to Ukraine contingent on the investigation.

So in the future, if President Milano says that aid to Israel won't be released unless and until that country investigates Donald Trump, Junior, under the banner of "corruption," it's all good, right?

Because, see, that's what the fuck you're saying, Republicans. Now, we know that because you're Republicans, you eat and shit hypocrisy, which means that you'll act outraged and pretend that no one has ever done anything so outrageous in the history of ever. But, right now, you're saying that any president can do this to another country and to a political opponent. You want that, fuckers?

2. The best moments in today's impeachment hearings were ones that took Republicans, pulled down their pants, and smacked their asses red. It was pathetically hilarious to see Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, that Ratshit guy, and the rest attempt to fuck the roadkill of the conspiracy theories that were run over time and again by officials who were not just Trump administration hires, but lifelong Republicans, like Kurt Volker and Jennifer Williams. Things got so bad, with GOP members of Congress stepping on their own dicks, stepping on each other's dicks, stepping on dicks that showed up just to be stepped on, that they were forced to try any attack, like on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's choice to wear his uniform to the hearing or the TV ratings, fer fuck's sake, or that no one used the word "bribery" in any of their testimony, which is the weirdest fucking thing since witnesses don't get to decide what crimes people will be charged with. Jesus, even Volker, who was pretty much caught lying and had to revise his testimony, couldn't really offer any help. It was utterly useless, but they're gonna pretend like they won a great victory because that's what skeevy hucksters like Donald Trump do.

3. My personal favorite moment came towards the end of the first part of the day. It was when Democratic (notice the adjective form of the word, the one that Republicans refuse to use because they're twatmites) Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney from New York had his five minutes to question Vindman and Williams. Maloney tore up the "hearsay" allegation that Republicans had kept tossing around on the first day by asking both witnesses about the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky: "You heard the call with your own ears, right?...Not second hand, not hearsay, you heard the president speak. You heard his voice on the call?"

Then, with Vindman, Maloney fucked shit up for the GOP. He asked Vindman why he reported the call to the National Security Council's lead counsel. "Because that was my duty," Vindman said. Maloney asked Vindman to read again one of the final paragraphs of his opening statement, where Vindman was speaking to his father, who had brought his family to the United States, escaping the Soviet Union to do so. Lemme quote this in full:

VINDMAN: Dad, my sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.

MALONEY: You realize when you came forward out of sense of duty that you are putting yourself in direct opposition to the most powerful person in the world. Do you realize that, sir?

VINDMAN: I knew I was assuming a lot of risk.

MALONEY: And I'm struck by that word don't -- that phrase "do not worry," you addressed your dad. Was your dad a warrior?

VINDMAN: He did serve. It was a different military though.

MALONEY: And he would have worried if you were putting yourself up against the president of the United States, is that right?

VINDMAN: He deeply worried about it because in his context there was -- it was the ultimate risk.

MALONEY: And why you have confidence that you can do that and tell your dad not to worry?

VINDMAN: Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I have served and defended, that all of my brothers have served. And here, right matters.

A good number of the audience in the hearing room burst into applause.  Whether or not Vindman is correct about America, we shall see.

4. The picture of President Trump that came through today is of an out-of-touch idiot who has listened to Rudy Giuliani, another out-of-touch idiot, both of them sharing delusions of conspiracy theories. And when people in the intelligence, national security, and foreign policy communities tried to tell Trump that the batshit allegations about Ukraine and the DNC server or the Bidens are batshit, Trump told them to fuck off and put Giuliani in charge, sending him on a mission to confirm the batshit allegations, eventually bribing Ukraine to almost join him in the delusion pool before all this shit was revealed by the whistleblower and confirmed by the multiple officials who have testified.

Seriously, this is like Trump sending people to search for Barack Obama's birth certificate, except now he gets to do it with the power of the Oval Office and the purse of the United States behind him.

5. Let's give the final word to Democratic Committee Chair Adam Schiff, who finally came about as close to losing his shit at Republicans as he has so far. In his closing remarks today, he pointed out that Republicans don't give a shit what Trump did. "Their objection is that he got caught," Schiff said. Then, getting more intense, he continued, "Their objection is that someone blew the whistle...their defense is that, well, he ended up releasing the aid. Yes! After he got caught. That doesn't make this any less odious."

I think things are going to get even more odious as Republicans start throwing everything at the hearings to see if something will derail the train that Schiff is driving straight at Trump.

(Note: You might think Trump's not really insane and is using the conspiracy theories as a cover for malevolence. I'd say that if he were truly that smart, he'd know to keep this shit quieter. )


Impeachment Hearings: Yovanovitch Kicks Trump's Ass

Apparently, President Donald Trump, who is just large sack of yams mashed with sadness, decided that he would try to distract from the impeachment hearings today. He first tried by releasing the pseudo-transcript of a phone call between him and Ukrainian President Zelensky that occurred before the one where he pressured Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden's son.

Of course, it's a mostly banal congratulatory call, although Zelensky has the air of a desperate fanboy and Trump is his usual lumpen self. At one point, Trump pretty much compliments Zelensky on the hotness of the women in his country: "When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people. Ukraine was always very well represented."

Republican Devin Nunes eagerly read it into the record of the hearing as if it was a pot of exoneration gold for Trump when all it really proved is that, occasionally, Trump didn't commit an impeachable offense.

Besides, the rest of the day revealed that not only did Republicans have nothing to counter the genuinely cruel behavior of Donald Trump and his minions towards former Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch, but they looked smaller and pettier before someone who spent her career working for her country. Yovanovitch, composed with an edge of emotion every now and then, laid out how Trump's mistreatment of her and his bumblefuck betrayal of the work of the Foreign Service officers was a dangerous precedent.

Even more so, Trump came across, unsurprisingly, as a bully and a cheap mobster, aided and abetted by other cheap mobsters, like Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. Trump and Republicans have been chanting for weeks to "Read the transcript," the memo that the White House put out of the second call, the July 26 one between Trump and Zelensky. So when that memo was quoted, remember that that is what Trump was admitting he said. And what he said about Yovanovitch was "Well, she' s going to go through some things."

Asked about that by Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman, Yovanovitch responded, "It didn't sound good. It sounded like a threat." Goldman asked her if she felt "threatened," and she said, "I did."

That should be that on impeachment. It's simple: The president of the United States threatened an American ambassador to another leader. What more do you need?

The whole thing is pathetic because, as Yovanovitch said, Trump could have just recalled her for no reason, but he decided to use Giuliani and assorted goons to smear "the woman," as Trump made sure to specify to Zelensky. You may have the right to fire someone. You don't have the right to spread lies about them because they suit your political purposes. And your decisions can be questioned, even investigated. That's how this shit works.

But Trump wasn't going to let "the woman" get away with talking shit about him. So, of course, of course, of course, he tweeted in the middle of the hearing. Of course, of course, of fucking course, it was a completely scurrilous, lie-filled, stupid attack on Yovanovitch. "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him," he said, before asserting his "absolute right" to change ambassadors, which not even Yovanovitch was questioning. For the record, she was a low-level officer in Somalia so I'm pretty sure it'd be awfully fucking hard to be responsible for that nation's descent into chaos. And, yeah, Zelensky brought up Yovanovitch because Trump had brought her up first and he was obviously, and nauseatingly, sucking up to Trump.

The real damage, though, is that in real time, with the fucking nation watching, Trump committed witness intimidation. He was trying to silence her, discredit her, and send a message to anyone who would fuck with him. And to anyone who says it wasn't intimidation, you haven't been subject Trump's idiot hordes sending death and rape threats to any woman who dares cross him. And to anyone who would say, "Well, it can't be intimidation because she wouldn't have known about the tweet if Committee Chair Adam Schiff hadn't read it to her," I'd say, "Shut up, you dumb motherfucker. They take breaks. You don't think she'd've been told about it, you savage shitheel? Just shut the fuck up!" and then I'd throw my drink in your stupid face.

Republicans barely tried to ding Yovanovitch. They knew they had nothing. Oh, sure, they tried to say that her testimony had nothing to do with the subject of impeachment - the attempt to bribe Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden - but, as Schiff and others said, umm, she's in the phone call. How is she not important? The one attempt at a gotcha moment was when a couple of the GOP stooges brought up that, prior to her 2016 confirmation hearing before the Senate, Democrats prepping her had raised Biden and the Ukrainian company that hired him, Burisma. To Republicans, this showed that Democrats knew something was hinky with the deal. But, really, and come the fuck on, it was because they suspected that the GOP would ask about it.

But here's the thing: In that confirmation hearing and in written questions, not a single Republican senator bothered to do so. It didn't fucking matter enough to them to do so. And she was confirmed on a voice vote.

Then the day ended with the closed-door testimony of State Department aide David Holmes, who overheard a blustering Trump on the phone with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland talking specifically about investigating Biden, followed by the revelation that one of the Russians who helped smear Yovanovitch, Lev Parnas, was sent by Trump to pressure Ukraine on the investigation.

This dime store Mafia in the White House is getting its ass handed to it by the bureaucrats who actually give a shit about the United States.


Impeachment Hearings: Devin Nunes Leads the GOP Shit Spewers

Of course, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the leading minority member of the House Intelligence Committee, was going to bring up the nude photo prank today, the first day of public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump. Nunes brought it up at the start of the inquiry back in late September, so he's a little obsessed with this. The story is simple: In April 2017, a pair of Russian pranksters pretended to be Ukrainians, with one specifically saying he was the leader of the Rada, Ukraine's parliament, and they called and got through to Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, currently chair of the House Intelligence Committee. They told Schiff that a female Russian TV star had had an affair with Trump and now possessed nude photos of him. They also had recordings, they claimed, of the woman and a journalist discussing this kompromat. Schiff was poker-voiced through the entire thing and ended it by saying he would refer it to the FBI. That's it. That's the whole episode. Schiff's spokesperson said later that Schiff suspected it was a prank.

For Nunes and others on the right, the fact that Schiff didn't yell, "Bullshit!" and cut off the call is prima facie evidence that Schiff cannot be trusted because he so badly wants to get Trump that he wanted naked pics, which, let's be honest, no one fucking wants ever, except possibly Devin Nunes. Nunes said in September, "Of course, Democrats on this very committee negotiated with people they thought were Ukrainians in order to obtain nude pictures of Trump."

And today, in his opening goddamn statement, Nunes brought it up again, saying that Democrats want Americans to "forget about them trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials." No one asked for Trump dick pics to be sent to them. It's simply not true. But it was par for the course for Nunes, who veered between total cock and skeevy weasel for his entire opening, and it set the tone for Republicans, who were all just the most awful assholes and twatmites for the whole goddamn day.

Nunes took the hearing room and the country on a tour through the fevered shit bog of Fox "news" and Twitter-twisted conspiracy theories, dropping items and names that meant just about nothing to rational humans. But they were signals to the drooling hordes of Trump voters that every lie that has been Hannitied into their tiny brains would be trotted out. "For years they accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia when they themselves were colluding with Russia by funding and spreading the Steele dossier, which relied on Russian sources," he said, which is like a parfait of lies layered with slander with bullshit sprinkles on top. I mean, fucking hell, Nunes even brought up Schiff mocking Trump's phone call with Zelensky, which is something Trump can't get over.

He dropped in Alexandra Chalupa (do yourself a favor and don't google her), he lied about the whistleblower and his lawyer, and he offered that witnesses were subject to "a closed-door audition process in a cult-like atmosphere in the basement of the Capitol, where the Democrats conducted secret depositions." Yeah, bitch, they were so secret that dozens of Republicans could attend and ask questions. And "cult-like" is rich coming from a side that is worshipping at the bone-spurred feet of its orange idol.  Of course, they brought up Hunter Biden, and no one asked the GOP members, "Hey, motherfuckers, you ran the joint for two years. How come you didn't investigate him then?"

Seriously, if there is a God and lying matters to Him, then Nunes should have been squeezed by His holy fingers and popped like a filthy human pimple. The fact that that didn't happen is absolute proof to me that either there is no God or he just fucked off out of here a long time ago.

The right-wing nutzoid part of Onlineville fucking lapped it up like Jesus's jizz.  Jim Hoft over at Gateway Pundit declared that Nunes just "destroyed Democrats." The Blaze said Nunes "shredded" them. Katie Pavlich at the conservative shitpot Townhall squeed that Nunes "did not hold anything back and slammed Democrats for damaging the country." No, I'm not linking to any of them because fuck them all. Fuck. Them. All. Individually and as a group. Fuck 'em.

There are competing narratives going on here: one based on facts and law and observable reality, and another based on whatever batshit thing they can get away with saying. And it's going to infect this process until there is something so shocking and compelling that it breaks through to the 35-40% or so of Americans who get their news from fucking liars.

What's going on now is that Republicans are throwing up a screen of shit, just shooting shit out of their mouths and through their social media and their websites, hoping they can create an opaque curtain of shit that they can hide behind until this all passes. It's disgusting and harmful, but they're Republicans. "Disgusting and harmful" is pretty much their motto now.


In the Trump Foundation Lawsuit, Donald Trump Admitted He Broke the Law

Oh, listen, dear children of America. There was a time, a generation ago now, when the financial conduct of president of the United States was enough to prompt an endless investigation by the Justice Department. You might have heard about how, way back in the 1990s, President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about getting blow jobs from a White House intern (Monica Lewinsky, who is ten kinds of awesome nowadays).

Except, see, what started the investigation into Bill Clinton was a hinky land deal that both Bill and Hillary Clinton were involved in before Bill became president. Without getting too much into the weeds of Whitewater, there were allegations of fraud and financial improprieties, none of which had anything to do with Clinton's job as president, but it was enough to stoke the engine of the right-wing rage machine for years.

Except, see, the Clintons were cleared of any wrongdoing on it, by the same independent counsel, Kenneth Starr, who ended up finding the blow job lie. They didn't do the supposedly really bad crimes, so the GOP had to settle for the semen-stained dress.

Today, in the New York State Supreme Court, Justice Saliann Scarpulla agreed to a settlement on a case involving Donald Trump, his three terrible older crotch spawn, and his disgraced charitable foundation. The settlement had the president of the United States admitting to breaking the law and being forced to pay a $2 million penalty. Those laws include "breach of fiduciary duty and waste under New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law" and "failure properly to administer Foundation assets and waste under New York’s Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law."

The decision goes on, "A review of the record, including the factual admissions in the Final
Stipulation, establishes that Mr. Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation and
that waste occurred to the Foundation." I'm no fancy lawyer,  just a big city blogger, but that seems to me that Trump is admitting he broke the law. A "factual admission" here means that the defendant, Trump, agrees with the court.

Scarpulla gutted Trump's big 2016 show where was going to raise and give a bunch of money to veterans: "Mr. Trump’s fiduciary duty breaches included allowing his campaign to orchestrate the Fundraiser, allowing his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the Funds, and using the Fundraiser and distribution of the Funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign." Trump has to pay $2 million that will be distributed to charities like the United Negro College Fund and, in an in-yer-stupid-face to Trump's Nazi supporters, the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

The reason the judge gave for no additional penalties is that "Mr. Trump has stipulated to a number of proactive conditions so that the conduct which engendered this petition should not occur in the future." Yeah, tough guy Trump totally punked out and did what Scarpulla wanted. As New York Attorney General Letitia James, who did want more fines, put it, "No one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States." I suppose we shall see about that in the long run.

So this is where we are: Bill Clinton would have been excoriated had any slight illegality been proven on Whitewater, which was over and done before he even ran for president, but he was innocent. Donald Trump admits, in a court document, that he broke laws that govern charities, laws that were broken in service of him running for president. It's a bit worse than Whitewater.

Donald Trump is guilty of bilking people out of money, lying that it was going to help veterans' organizations and instead using charity to further his campaign. It seems like it ought to be a really big deal.

And somehow that's just supposed to be okay now and it's just another log tossed on the scandal bonfire, ready to burn into ash and blown away, forgotten, like the Trump University lawsuit, in the smoke that engulfs and chokes the whole goddamn country now.


Impeachment Transcripts Reveal That Republicans Continue to Be Utter Dicks

Yes, there are a whole bunch of fascinating things in the transcripts of witness testimony that have been released by the House joint committee looking into whether or not to impeach President Trump. From the unending obsession with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden to the mistreatment of people who gave their entire careers to serving the United States, only to see themselves treated like shit when this orange creep got into office, you can find nugget after nugget of pure impeachable gold.

Something else that comes through loud and clear is just how dickish Republicans are. Remember: these hearings were done behind closed doors in order to investigate the alleged crimes, with the knowledge that there would be a transcript. So Republicans on the committee aren't performing for the cameras. They want to go down in history as vigorous nuzzlers of Donald Trump's balls, and they like to do it from behind so they get a face full of taint while rubbing themselves on his walnut scrotum, getting that scent all over them. 

In the hearing with former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Chair Adam Schiff, a Democrat, obviously, patiently allows Republican Lee Zeldin from New York to question Schiff's authority to even hold a hearing. Schiff dismisses the obvious bullshit and attempts to move on, but Trump's loyal "Boo" buddy, Mark Meadows, jumps in to "point of order" the hell out of the situation for no good reason. Schiff is able to get the deposition under way. During the questioning, Meadows goes out of his dickish way to ask Yovanovitch about everyone who has been mentioned in the conspiracy theory quarters of Fox "news" and in even more devolved places, but he gets nothing. 

Even worse was freshman cockknob Scott Perry, who just decides to give shout-outs to all his right-wing crazies. He asks her if her staff was looking into the social media accounts of people like Sebastian "Discount Bin Bond-Knockoff Villain" Gorka, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Pam fuckin' Gellar. And, as if from the fevered, Cheeto-stained fingers of an incel in a Pepe the Frog "Fuck your feelings" shirt, he asks, "Do you know if you promoted the use of the following search terms intersecting with the above people: 'Yovanovitch,' 'Ukraine ambassador,' 'Ukraine Soros,' or 'Ukraine Biden'?" She did not.

The hearings have just gone like this. Schiff brings it to order, makes an opening statement about the witness, and turns to the Republicans. Some asshole like Jim Jordan gives a bitchy whine of a complaint about the process and accuses Schiff of being evil. Then Schiff tries to get to the interview, which prompts another asshole like Meadows to jump in for a point of order or parliamentary inquiry and then, when recognized by Schiff, goes deeper into his own assholishness. 

Sometimes it gets even stupider, as when toothy douche Michael McCaul of Texas asked to make another opening statement after Jordan during the interview with Ex-State Department Adviser Michael McKinley. McCaul tried to say some bullshit about Schiff being unfair and Schiff bitch-slapped by reminding him that "Unlike Watergate and unlike the Clinton impeachment, there is no
special counsel who has investigated the President's misconduct vis-a-vis Ukraine. We are, therefore, forced to do it."

This pattern continued in the testimony of Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, usually led by Jordan, with special appearances by creepy-ass Devin Nunes and others. 

We're getting a wave of revelations in these transcripts (or, in the case of Sondland, in his supplemental testimony which might as well be titled "Please Don't Take My Hotels Away"). Some of it is surprising in how deep this particular pit of bullshit goes. But one thing that hasn't changed is that Republicans are standing firm to their dickish ways. They're not going to ask reasonable questions and they're going to act outraged that anyone is even doing any questioning.

Motherfuckers cannot be reformed. And thus more mothers get fucked.


Halloween Horror: We're Fucked When It Comes to Climate Change

Man, I want our children and grandchildren to just fucking destroy us. I want them to look on us as the lowest fucking vermin that ever walked the earth. They should want to launch our remains into space so our poisoned minds can no longer pollute anyone's beliefs. Of course, this is all assuming a future, which, frankly, at this point, seems less and less likely.

While you were worried if Trumpy S. Pumpkins gets impeachified good and quick, several more reports came out detailing just how very fucked the world is because of climate change, and this time it's gonna happen in the lifetimes of most of us. So if your plan was like those of most conservatives, which seemed to be "Fuck it. I'll be dead. Let the kids deal," well, that just got wrecked like a melting glacier.

By 2050, which, according to my awesome math abilities, is just a little over 30 years away, sea levels are now predicted to rise to the point where major cities will be underwater during high tide. You got that? You don't? Ask people in Miami what that's like. But this is worse. We're talking Bangkok, Shanghai, and Mumbai being uninhabitable, and we're talking over 150 million people affected. If you really wanted to stop immigration and refugees, you'd do some goddamn thing to mitigate the effects of climate change because, right now, we're facing a migration crisis the likes of which the world has never seen.

It's Halloween, so...boo?

That not scary enough? How about the destruction of entire ecosystems, huh? Maybe the loss of a quarter of all birds in North America or the plunge in insect populations is a little to big to grasp. So check out the destruction of an emperor penguin colony, in part because the sea ice wasn't as strong anymore and storms wiped it out, giving the penguins no place to, you know, live. That's Antarctica. On the other side, Arctic sea ice is at its lowest point for this date ever.

Off the coast of Northern California, kelp forests are dying because of high marine temperatures, which affects the sea urchins and the starfish which then affects the fish themselves which then affects the seals and, aw, hell, the bald eagle, and, holy shit, that is getting mighty close to the food chain for you and me.

Meanwhile, the constant waves of fires upon fires wash across California. Climate science writer and activist Bill McKibben wonders if California is becoming uninhabitable due to this.  This was something that was predicted by Mike Davis in his stunningly prescient book Ecology of Fear, where he saw Southern California and Los Angeles in particular collapsing under its own reckless land development as it collided with environmental degradation. What seemed absurd in 1998 was prophetic.

Our failure to act, our failure to shut shit down until our leaders act, is a monstrous abandonment of future generations. We're past the point where we can reverse any of this. We are now at the "Can we not make shit worse?" part of the equation, and the resounding answer from our feckless, fossil fuel-owned leaders is "Fuck you. Burn more coal."

We are creating a hell out of earth for the future. If you want to bring this back to politics, we should be voting out and, yeah, impeaching any leader who refuses to act and who shuts their eyes to the reality that is melting and burning all around them.