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 Because of those friends' posts,  his visa to study here was revoked.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.


We're Not Gonna Do a Damn Thing About Guns

A memo of talking points for House Republicans makes plain that the GOP has no intention of doing a goddamn thing about guns. The document, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, is one of those repellent but totally expected things that clearly define exactly how low these motherfuckers are.

It reads, in part, "White nationalism and racism are pure evil and cannot be tolerated in any form...We also can’t excuse violence from the left such as the El Paso shooter, the recent Colorado shooters, the Congressional baseball shooter, Congresswoman Giffords’ shooter and Antifa." Now, the "El Paso shooter" reference is wrong, according to a flak for some evil fuck of a congressman. They meant "Dayton shooter," although, generally, leftists don't keep a list of women they want to rape and people they want to kill.

Trying to contort the recent mass shootings into a "violence from the left" movement is pure bullshit. If nothing else, on the scale of murderous fuckery of the last couple of decades in the United States, the right pretty much tips the damn thing over. And we know, for a fact, that there has been an upsurge in violent yahoos proclaiming their violence in the name or in the shadow of Donald Trump. We know that white supremacists fucking love Trump and believe he has given them a wink and a nod at getting more shooty.

So, essentially, despite the niceties of declaring racism "pure evil," the GOP has decided to give white supremacists a pass on their violence while ginning up a fake leftist threat, which mostly consists of some tossed milkshakes and a couple of punches.

It's all because Republicans refuse to act on any kind of gun legislation, even that which is supported by two-thirds or more of the general public, including majorities of Republicans. Goddamn, how much of a pussy do you have to be in order to be cowed by an NRA that is falling the fuck apart?

As usual, Trump himself talked for a moment about background checks, but he quickly turned that around and now is going all-in on another bullshit approach to stopping mass shootings. As he told reporters yesterday, "I do want people to remember the words 'mental illness.'  These people are mentally ill and nobody talks about that.  But these are mentally ill people, and people have to start thinking about it. I think we have to start building institutions again because, you know, if you look at the ‘60s and ‘70s, so many of these institutions were closed.  And the people were just allowed to go onto the streets.  And that was a terrible thing for our country. "

A few things here. First, who doesn't remember the phrase "mental illness"? Motherfucker, we're reminded of that every day that you're president. Next, none of these fucking shooters were let out of the abusive, horrific mental institutions in the 1970s. And they weren't denied care during Reagan era. They're not 60 years old. 

Trump kept going on this point at his hell-rally last night in New Hampshire (aka "That other homogeneous state we have to pretend is more American than everywhere else every four years"). He slurred, "We are working very hard to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of insane people and those who are mentally sick and shouldn't have guns. But people have to remember, however, that there is a mental illness problem that has to be dealt with. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger. It's the person holding the gun."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The gun has the trigger. No gun, no trigger. It doesn't matter who is around to pull it if there is no gun there.

He went on, "Even today, we're going to have to give major consideration to building new facilities for those in need. We have to do it. And at the same time, we will be taking mentally deranged and dangerous people off of the streets so we won't have to worry so much about that. It's a big problem. We don't have those institutions anymore and people can't get proper care."

Bitch, that's national health care. That's what he's calling for here. And if he wants to provide mental health care for all Americans, let's do that shit.

But he's not. He's just gonna get his prison industry buddies to build hellholes to lock up people and probably figure out a way to get some kickbacks from it.

Republicans need to be called "murder enablers." They are accomplices. And they will say anything and do nothing because they fear their own gun-toting base that they created. All these Dr. Frankensteins trying to appease their monsters.


Trump Administration: The Huddled Masses Can Go Fuck Themselves

Let's get one thing straight here right off: If you are a legal immigrant in nearly every other country in the world, you are allowed to participate in that country's national health system. You're paying for the benefit through your taxes and other fees, and, goddamnit, just like everyone else legally in the country, you don't have to worry about paying much of anything else for your medical care. Nothing will be held against you. Nothing will turn you into a "public charge" or whatever fuckin' term for "undesirable" you want to use. And that's because most every other country in the world is not filled with ignorant savages who think that calling health care a "right" is akin to mass enslavement by socialists.

We in the United States happen to live in a country that is, in fact, filled with brutish idiots who would rather die in a ditch of a treatable disease than have a government-run health insurance system for everyone. So that means that only the poorest of the poor get to be on Medicaid, and then you're considered on welfare and a burden to the state. And that means that, unlike every other civilized nation, if you're a legal immigrant, the American government wants to hold it against you if you have a shitty job that doesn't provide health insurance (like, say, in a chicken processing plant) and need help so the flu doesn't financially ruin you.

We are a nation run by sadists who get off on hurting the poor. So, in the new rule, "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds," published yesterday in the Federal Register, taking advantage of a whole bunch of government programs meant to, you know, help you survive could result in you getting booted from the country.

See, previously, "'public charge' has been interpreted to mean a person who is 'primarily dependent on the Government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at Government expense.'" Yeah, we didn't take into consideration "an alien's reliance on or receipt of non-cash benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps; Medicaid; and housing vouchers and other housing subsidies." 

But that was before motherfuckers took over and decided to redefine shit that didn't need redefining unless you are a motherfucker.  Here's the new shit: "DHS is revising its interpretation of 'public charge' to incorporate consideration of such benefits, and to better ensure that aliens subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground are self-sufficient, i.e., do not depend on public resources to meet their needs, but rather rely on their own capabilities, as well as the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations." Wow, sounds almost logical, no? Except it's just fucking cruel for so many reasons. Keep reading.

"This rule redefines the term 'public charge' to mean an alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months). This rule defines the term 'public benefit' to include cash benefits for income maintenance, SNAP, most forms of Medicaid, Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and certain other forms of subsidized housing."

The fuckery is deep in this, but let's put this simply. Let's say you're an immigrant who has been in the country for a few years totally legally. All of a sudden., you lose your job when the restaurant where you're waiting tables or, hell, the office where you're working closes. For four months, you need to go on Medicaid, you need SNAP, and you need housing assistance. That's it. You can be denied a green card for circumstances completely beyond your control unless you starve, go homeless, and let yourself be sick.

This has been one of the pet projects of presidential adviser and man most likely piss in your swimming pool, Stephen Miller, whose head is essentially shaped like a white hood. It's racism that is so plain, it's almost laughable. Yes, let's punish those who want to come to the United States and work our shittiest jobs so rich pukes can get richer. Yes, let's make them pay sales taxes and other shit that prop up our economy. And by all fucking means, let's take the income taxes of people who may have paid them for years before needing some government assistance.

In the UK, if you are a legal immigrant, once you receive your National Insurance number, you have access to many (not all) financial benefits, starting with the National Health Service. You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance, in case you are too ill or disabled to work. You can apply for a Carer's Allowance if you are forced to stay home because you must care for someone. You can get housing credits, maternity leave pay, and retirement income. And it's specifically because you've been paying into the national insurance while living in the UK that you are eligible. In the United States, it doesn't matter how much you've paid. Go fuck yourself in your old country if you need Medicaid for over a year.

Of course, the demented dullards of the Trump administration are all on board. Acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, that verminous cockscab Ken Cuccinelli, couldn't even fake it when he completely undercut the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty, ignoring the "huddled masses" and "wretched refuse" part. And then he insisted that the poem was about Europeans, which, really, just sodomize your ass with a burning cross at that point.

As for President Ignoramus Q. Shiteater, when asked about the rule and Cuccinelli yesterday, he said, " I don’t think it’s fair to have the American taxpayer paying for people to come into the United States...I am tired of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things.  So I think we’re doing it right." We should point out that not only are the taxpayers of the country paying for the months and months of vacation he has taken, but a good chunk of that taxpayer money is going straight into his business coffers and his own pockets.

Frankly, it's pretty fucking clear who should be booted from the country for being a public charge.


We Are Led by Ghouls and Goons

Check out this pair of fucking ghouls, acting like they just stole a baby to drink its sweet, young blood so they can live on for a few precious days before they suck another child dry. What you're looking at is Donald Trump, a worn-out sack of lies painted orange and shoved into a terrible suit, and Melania Trump, a lamprey in human form, who happen to be the President and First Lady of the United States, smiling as they hold an orphan named Paul. 

Paul became an orphan because an immigrant-hating fuckworm decided to gun down people in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart. Paul's parents, Andre and Jordan Anchondo, died protecting Paul when the fuckworm opened fire. More specifically, his mother, Jordan, was protecting Paul, and Andre leapt in front of Jordan to protect her. When Jordan was shot dead, she fell on Paul, breaking some of his tiny fingers. He had been sent home after treatment. Well, not home, per se, because that doesn't really exist anymore, but sent with family. But when our First Couple of ghouls needed a prop for their visit to a hospital in El Paso and almost none of the victims there could or would act as that prop, Trump's goons called and asked if Paul could be brought back. 

There is something so fucked up about those smiles, something so empty and soulless, something chilling and depraved, that it should hurt us to our bones to see it. The failure to act humble in the face of pain, pain that was caused in part by Trump's own words and actions, echoed in the fuckworm's 8chan post, is galling. And Trump's pathetic thumbs-up may as well just be a middle finger. They don't care, at least not in the sense that we generally think of empathy. They care about how they are perceived, yes, but they don't care about Paul or any of the dead or dying or wounded.  They are our American void, the abyss we have earned, the black hole that we have come to deserve. 

Halfway across the country, just before Trump bragged about how his El Paso crowd size was bigger than Beto's to hospital staff who had been putting people back together, 600 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had surrounded chicken processing plants in several small Mississippi towns and then arrested 680 workers for "not having proper documentation to be in the United States." 

You ever spoken to anyone who works in a chicken processing plant? Or worked there yourself?  It's a fucking nightmare of slaughter and blood and guts. It is horrible, hard work. Jesus, just imagine the noise you must deal with. 

After traumatizing the children of the workers, who had just started their school year, ICE ended up releasing 300 of the people they had taken into custody who had kids waiting for them. The parents  promised that they would return for their immigration hearings. You got that? You understand that? It was literally catch and release. And while ICE claims they were always cognizant of ensuring that the mostly American children of undocumented workers were taken care of, you can fucking well bet that it wasn't until video of sobbing, pleading kids got onto the news that anything was done.

And what did our emotionally and morally vacant president say about this today? "I want people to know that if they come into the United States illegally, they’re getting out; they’re going to be brought out.  And this serves as a very good deterrent...when people see what they saw yesterday, and like they will see for a long time, they know that they’re not staying here." What a baldly inhuman statement, essentially saying that it's good to see children sobbing because...fuck it. I just don't want to tease that out. Fuck him.

The saddest part is how many of Trump's taint-licking supporters think he's right. "Hey, if those parents didn't want their kids to suffer, they shouldn't have been here illegally," they say, as if the decision to come here was made on a whim, as if they hadn't faced extraordinary suffering and deprivation in order to take a goddamn chance and work in one of the worst fucking jobs in the nation.  Trump is a leader of monsters.

But the only funny part of this is that the raid, where no Americans who hired the undocumented workers were touched and no executives who want this cheap labor force were rounded up and driven away, is going to hurt the bottom line of the companies to the tune of millions because, well, fuck, ICE just took away a shitload of their employees. One of the plants was partially shut down today because of a lack of workers. That's what your donations to Trump got you, motherfuckers.

It's not just that cruelty is the point, as we say all the time since Adam Serwer coined that phrase. It's also that, given the chance to even pretend not to be cruel, Trump will shove that aside, as if anything but cruelty is weakness. The orange ghoul in the White House will not soften for your dead; he will not bend for your children's pain. 


This Desperate, Armed Land

One afternoon in Barcelona last week, I walked back to the small apartment building where I was staying to find two police officers waiting for the elevator. The elevator was tiny and could only fit one person at a time, so one cop went up while her partner waited to take the next one. I asked the remaining officer if everything was okay, hoping he spoke some English as my Spanish is pretty much nonexistent. 

"Yes, it's fine. Someone had some things stolen," he said in better English than most Americans. "It happens all the time here." He asked where I was from and I told him, and that prompted him to say, "Oh, it's not like the United States here. We have pickpockets and some robberies. But no one is shooting people." While he was underselling crime overall in the city, he was absolutely right on that last point. No one worries about being shot for going to a festival or a Walmart or a club or a school or anywhere, really. Barcelona has over 1.6 million people with millions of tourists visiting. There were 10 murders last year.

In the ten days I was out of the United States, there were three mass shootings: Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. In Spain, the murder rate is about 0.6 per 100,000 people. In the United States, it's currently  at around 5 per 100,000.  So the US has 8-9 times the murder rate of Spain, which isn't even the lowest in Europe. If you visit Italy or the Czech Republic, you could write this about how they are even safer when it comes to murder. 

Other countries have mentally-ill people. Other countries have young people who play violent, first-person shooter video games. Other countries have racists and fascists and white supremacists who shit-post on online message boards. What these countries don't have is the staggering number of guns that we have in the United States. They don't have the ludicrous availability of weapons originally designed for war. And thus they almost never have a mass shooting, despite the presence of mental illness, violent video games, and the ineluctable array of assholes.

When our savage lump of a president undulated over to the microphone on Monday to give a flat, forced, utterly false speech about the two massacres in 24 hours, he absolutely refused, as ever, to place any blame on the out of control gun lobby and manufacturers and sellers. And owners. In that slurred, trash-Muppet voice of his, squinting as if light from the teleprompter would melt his eyeballs, Donald Trump blurbled blame at video games and "a culture that celebrates violence." 

It should be noted here that right after the Dayton shooting, Trump praised an MMA fighter and wished him luck. It should also be noted that Trump participated in WWE events and was a regular in attendance at boxing matches, with promoter/criminal Don King as one of his "friends." In other words, (mostly) real violence occurred for his entertainment and somehow that's more noble than pretend-shooting enemy soldiers and hell beasts. This is not to mention his threats of violence against protesters at his rallies, his musing on nuking Afghanistan and North Korea, and every filthy fucking word out of his shit-filled mouth that degrades immigrants and non-whites.

He also said, "[W]e must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but, when necessary, involuntary confinement.  Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun." Except that the gun provides the trigger. No gun, no trigger. Also, if you're going to assert that people should get treatment, then the government ought to offer medical care to those diagnosed "mentally disturbed."

And let's talk for just a moment about that idea that these mass murderers must be mentally ill. I read the "manifesto" or "screed" or "decent sophomore-level college essay" by the El Paso shooter, as I've read the words of just about every one of these shits. Inasmuch as we all pretend we can distance diagnose someone through their writings, this one was not written in any kind of state of mental breakdown. It was a calm argument on various points, like he had just gotten a class assignment on racist murder.

Calling mass shooters "crazy" for committing the shooting may be comforting because it makes them Not Like Me, but it's a lie. It degrades the real sufferers of mental illness, and it demonizes them. It places the blame at arm's length and gives every NRA-owned politician an out. This is much the same as Trump's offer to discuss even weak gun control measures in the context of immigration reform. It blames the wrong thing and the wrong people. Immigrants aren't what ail the country.

Simply put, the special sickness in the United States is the guns. The majority of Americans know that. I'd venture that the majority of politicians know it. But the Republican has a stake in keeping its voters stoked with paranoia about outsiders, about any government programs, about their own neighbors who aren't like them. The GOP needs its base to be desperate and then to exploit that desperation in order to maintain power. But the desperate need to have something that gives them comfort, that makes them feel safe in a world that they are constantly told by their leaders and their media is out to destroy them and their fading way of life. Guns provide that security. No, they may not have health care, access to a good education, a fair wage at a fair job, or decent infrastructure, but, goddamnit, they can have guns and the belief that it inoculates them should shit go south. Or if they believe it's finally go time to act on whatever belief is driving them, never realizing that the people who sold them this bill of goods are the real enemy.

In his statement after El Paso and Dayton, former president Barack Obama made guns the very first point: "First, no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do."  Yeah, he said, there are these other factors (not violent video games because that's just stupid).  But as any law enforcement officer will tell you, you have to disarm someone or render them no longer dangerous before you can do anything else for them.

Of course, Trump, who is the king of misdirected grievance and thus the ideal leader for the desperate and armed, only saw that Obama said, "We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments," and made the whole thing about himself and unwittingly admitting he uses that very language. Then he started tweeting about how the Dayton shooter had leftist leanings and that people should stop blaming him and Beto O'Rourke sucks. The guns may be the sickness. Trump is the parasite that feeds on the ill.


Guest Post: The Four Politicians Who Really Need to Go Back to Where They Came From (Part 2)

(Continuing R. Sharp's post from yesterday. He's getting a bunch of shit off his chest, so just kick back and enjoy the ride. Yesterday, he went after Trump and McConnell. Here are his other two politicians who we should send back to some goddamn place.)

Good riddance to Paul Ryan, that spineless piece of trash. My only wish was that he had been voted out instead of comfortably retiring. Here’s the thing though: Paul Ryan might be out of politics, but his actions in and on his way out of office prove that this motherfucker doesn’t give a shit about America or anything that can’t make him filthy rich. Not only did he enable Candidate Trump and work with him to get him elected, he knew a possible President Cheeto would be a complete disaster. He could smell Trump from a mile away (it's true - this is a proven fact about Trump), and he did nothing to stop him. In fact, he worked with Trump and assimilated him into the Republican Party’s decadent framework.

Sadly, Ryan isn’t a complete idiot. He planned his moves very carefully. He saw the results of the 2016 election as an escape hatch from American politics. When his disastrous American Healthcare Act failed in the Senate, Ryan knew he was on his way out. But before he retired, he promoted Trump’s cruel immigration policies and actively supported Republican candidates before the 2018 midterms. What really pisses me off about Ryan was his final act in Congress. In late 2018, Ryan pushed for thousands of unused work visas to be used for Irish citizens who wanted to emigrate to the United States. Yeah. After years spent blocking comprehensive immigration reform, Ryan decided he would hand out visas to white people who shared his heritage, but he even failed at that since it was blocked by a Republican, Tom Cotton, in the Senate. The final shiv from his own party. Ryan helped build the horrifying America we see today. Then he retired and left his mess all over the place for others to clean. If Ryan loves Ireland so much maybe he should go back. He clearly doesn’t give a damn about the United States.

Finally, the last deplorable prick on the list is an oldie by Trump administration standards. You may remember John F. (Fucking Asshole) Kelly as Trump’s chief of staff starting in mid-2017 and through 2018. You probably recall his hardline stance on immigration and his oversight on the implementation of the zero-tolerance policy at the southern border. Kelly pushed policies that led to thousands of Central American children being detained at the border in facilities run by government contractors. We’ve all read the stories and seen the news. These places are essentially prison camps where children have no access to basic hygiene products, are regularly abused and neglected, and have been indefinitely separated from their parents. If Kelly’s support for these facilities wasn’t bad enough, wait until you hear what he’s been doing since leaving the White House.

Kelly is currently on the board of Caliburn International, the parent organization of the company that runs the largest facility housing migrant children in the United States. He actively pushed for family separation and throwing innocent children into prison camps, and when he left the White House he saw an opening to make money on other people’s suffering. But this is only part of the reason why Kelly sucks so much. You see, Kelly is a military man. He served as a four star general in the Persian Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, and the Iraq War. He’s been to countries where children and their parents live in squalor with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their backs. He fought to end oppression in these regions. He fought to uphold American ideals. But that all seemed to change when he entered the White House. Kelly is making money off practices that are totally un-American, and that’s simply because he doesn’t care. He’d rather see children mistreated and live in their own shit than fight for what’s right. Just as long as he gets a fat paycheck at the end of the week.

There you have it. Throw these four fuckers out of the country. Chant "Send them back" at them, but, of course, Trump voters are too high on their racist fumes to know who the real enemies of the state are.


Guest Post: The Four Politicians Who Really Need to Go Back to Where They Came From (Part 1)

(Another post from the Rude Pundit's designated millennial guest blogger, R. Sharp. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of all millennials because that would be fucking dumb.)

So, two weeks ago that bloated, white supremacist  king of idiots told four congresswomen of color - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib - to go back to where they came from and accused them of hating their own country. Not surprising whatsoever considering President Dipshit has been plunging America into the kind of stink-filled swamp he said he would drain in the first place. I’m not even fazed by whatever atrocious thing he says or does. Everything just provides extra motivation for me to vote him and all of his taint-licking enablers out in 2020. Not only has this been the most ineffective and cruel administration in modern American politics, it’s also boasted an impressive collection of morons. It takes a special kind of mental deficiency to tell four Congresswoman to go back to where they came from when three of them were born in the fucking United States and one is a naturalized citizen. Much like that play-wife Melania.

Here are the first two of four people who actually hate what America stands for.

First, of course, there's Trump. The grotesque orange monster doesn’t care about anybody except for himself (and Ivanka, but only after she’s done lubing his cashew dick to a shine). He relishes pulling America down into this divisive shit storm, because it distracts us from what’s really going on. Think about it: he attacks Amazon and other companies as their stock drowns. Here's my theory: He starts a trade war with China and the market falls. In the background, he has his shills buy up stock for him. He changes his mind, market shares rise again, and there you have it. He’s supposedly made billions. All he cares about is money, but we live in a capitalist dystopia now and things like this should just be expected. Frankly, that just scratches the surface of his hatred for America.

What ticks me off about him and his goddamned Republican henchman is that they pay excessive lip service to the integrity of our democracy. But, they’ve taken every active step to chip away at it. From election security to voter suppression, Republicans have known for a long time they can’t win the popular vote. They need the Electoral College or the Supreme Court, or to enlist aid from a hostile foreign government. Republicans will stop at nothing to ensure that their enraged clementine will remain in power. America was built on the idea that we didn’t bow down to kings and dictators who employ these exact tactics to weaken the foundations of our democracy. Trump is by far the most un-American president we’ve ever had. He will drag this country into oblivion as long as he can see dollar signs at the end.

Obviously, Mitch McConnell is by far the most damaging member of the Republican-controlled Senate that’s been reaming our asses since 2011. He recently said that he’d be delighted to be called the “grim reaper for progressive policies,” which include such Communist nightmares like addressing climate change, ensuring millions have adequate healthcare, and making the top 1% pay their fair share of taxes. What he’s basically saying is, “As long as I’m taken care of, I could give two shits about the rest of you plebes. Now please, keep voting for me and my horrible motherfuckers.” If ensuring the peace of mind of lobbyists and politicians while casting the public aside isn’t awful enough, there's his whiny bitch approach to Russian election interference.

Moscow Mitch doesn’t like when he gets called out for being a Russian asset. We know that President Obama approached Comrade McConnell in 2016 and wanted to launch a bi-partisan rebuke against potential Russian election interference. Mitch curled up into his shell and refused to do such a thing. God forbid the Senate Majority Leader ensure our democracy remains strong and secure. Hell, there were Senate elections involved. I mean it’s not like he took an oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” or anything, right? Moscow Mitch is a liar and a traitor. He would gladly hand his balls over to Putin to ensure Trump a second term. 

(Tomorrow: The other two Republicans who can get the fuck out of here.)