10/31/2019

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.

10/29/2019

Trump Is Obsessed With Adam Schiff's Parody of His Phone Call with Zelensky

One of the things we know about President Crimey McPantsshitter is that he brooks no insults (unless he's in on the joke, a la his Comedy Central roast, which, yes, is a thing the president of the goddamn United States has done). You could make a strong case that one reason he ran for president is because Barack Obama said some mean shit about him at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2011 and he wanted to destroy Obama's legacy for it. We know that Obama had other things on his mind that night, like the operation to get Osama bin Laden. We know that Trump was mightily pissed off at all the jokes at his expense all evening. A rational, real billionaire might be able to brush it off, in a kind of "Laugh all you want, peasants. I'm still rich enough to buy your companies and have you fired" way.

But not Donald Trump. And that leads to another thing we know about him: once he gets something in his tiny brain, he will not let it go. Some call that "marketing genius," the idea that if you repeat a phrase or idea over and over, people will love it, no matter how shitty or dishonest it is (see: "We're gonna build a wall and Mexico will pay for it"). However, it's less marketing than it is a kind of dullard's echolalia, along with an inability to move on, like the endless, endless, truly, madly endless replay of Hillary Clinton's missing emails and her acid-washed, missing server. Or whatever the fuck.

In the realm of Trump's batshittery related to the impeachment hearings, one of the weirdest is Trump's utter obsession with Rep. Adam Schiff's opening statement of the impeachment hearings weeks ago, spurred by Trump's phone call with Ukraine's President Zelensky. Schiff gave a paraphrase of the phone call that he said twice was not a quote. Hell, later in the hearing, he called it "at least in part a parody." Before going into a not-un-Trump-like wannabe mobster tone, Schiff prefaced the summary with, "It reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates." Then he does the paraphrase before saying, "This is in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine."

Now, maybe "essence" and "sum and character" are words that are too fancy for Trump, but in the hearing, a Republican, Mike Turner, declared that Schiff was "just making it up" and "Because sometimes fiction is better than the actual words or the text. But luckily the American public are smart, and they have the transcript. They’ve read the conversation; they know when someone’s just making it up." Apparently, they're not and they don't.

Why is this important? After all, this took place on September 26, which is like thirty years ago in Trump time.

Well, see, nearly every day, Trump attacks Schiff, and, in most of those, he brings up Schiff's parody of him. Just last night, at almost midnight, Trump tweeted, "The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff, when he totally made up my phone conversation with the Ukrainian President and read it to Congress."

On October 26, he tweeted, " Even Shifty Schiff got caught cheating when he made up what I said on the call!" On October 20: "When do we depose Shifty Schiff to find out why he fraudulently made up my phone call and read this fiction to Congress and the American People?  I demand his deposition. He is a fraud."

Trump has at various times called on Schiff to be sued for "fraud" or "impeached" (which isn't a thing for members of Congress) or arrested for treason because of the characterization of the goddamn phone call.  Here he is yesterday, just losing his shit over it during one of his screaming Q&A's before getting on Air Force One: "Adam Schiff went up before Congress and he made my words.  He didn’t copy what I said.  He didn’t know them, probably, at the time.  Nobody thought I was going to release the conversation.  I got the approval from Ukraine.  Once I released the conversation, this thing all died.  And that’s what they should be looking.  And Adam Schiff went before Congress, and Adam Schiff, what he did, will never be forgotten.  He made up a conversation that was a phony fabrication.  It was a fraud.  And people shouldn’t be allowed to get away.  They say he has immunity because he’s a member of Congress.  People shouldn’t be allowed to do that.  That’s a criminal act.  What he did is a criminal act."

Or on October 12, at another yelling appearance before a Marine One departure, "Schiff made up a story.  Because when Schiff read what I actually said, he said, “I can’t say this because he did nothing wrong.”  So Schiff went out and he made up a lie.  He made up a — it was a fraudulent story.  You know that...And, frankly, he went out.  He made up a fraudulent story.  He then went before the U.S. Congress and the American people, and he reported a fraudulent story.  Now, Schiff — something should happen to Schiff for that.  He shouldn’t have immunity for that.  Why should Schiff be given immunity when he goes out and he says a story about the President of the United States — what the President said — and it bears no relationship?  In fact, every word was different. And I’ll tell you what: I can’t believe that a congressman could be that dishonest and can have immunity from that."

This is fucking nuts.

When your leader is a madman, if you are one of his loyal servants, you must agree with his madness or risk being banished to the hinterlands. So we've been treated to GOP members of Congress acting all outraged over Schiff for the parody, going so far last week as to attempt to censure him. Here it is from the text of their resolution:

"Whereas, in a September 26, 2019, hearing on the whistleblower complaint, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff purported to relay the content of the phone call to the American people;

"Whereas, instead of quoting directly from the available transcript, Chairman Schiff manufactured a false retelling of the conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky;

"Whereas this egregiously false and fabricated retelling had no relationship to the call itself;

"Whereas these actions of Chairman Schiff misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber’s most solemn constitutional duties..."

Democrats blocked the vote on the resolution because no shit.

But Republicans in Congress, and the conservative noise machine won't give up on this idea that Schiff committed some grave sin by rephrasing Trump's phone call. And it's because Trump won't give it up. He brought it up in an interview with Hannity right near the time of the censure vote.

By the way, before Trump went nutzoid about it, Tucker Carlson, while deriding and degrading Schiff, acknowledged that the congressman "delivered his own prophetic version of what he believed must have happened between President Trump and the president of Ukraine." See? Tucker knew, and that motherfucker is dumber than a bucket of hair.

Maybe this gets back to the first thing we know about Trump: he can't stand to be insulted. Or, maybe, the insults are part of a larger truth about him. Trump has virtually never been held to account for all the terrible shit he's done in his life. When someone speaks truth to power, they are telling the powerful that they know what they're up to.

When that someone can actually bring Trump to account, it scares the hell out of him. As it should.

10/24/2019

Trump's Lawyer: He's a King

Even in the realm of political and legal norms that the Trump administration is forcibly bending over the desk in the Oval Office and reaming out with George Washington's femur, yesterday was a pretty fucking stunning attempt to lay waste to the foundations of the country. For that was when a judge in New York City asked William S. Consovoy, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, if Trump shot someone on Fifth Avenue, "Local authorities couldn’t investigate? They couldn’t do anything about it? Nothing could be done? That’s your position?"

And William S. Consovoy, who is this smug fuck...


...responded, "That is correct. That is correct."

This was in the context of a hearing on Trump's appeal of a lower court ruling that said, in essence, "Turn over your goddamn taxes to the Manhattan D.A., you appalling prick, and don't fucking walk into my court with that 'temporary presidential immunity' noise. I oughta ram my gavel up your ass just for saying that shit." Of course, Trump would rather slam his man tits in a door repeatedly than give up his tax returns for any investigation because they would show, presumably, that he's an even bigger liar and thief, up to his man tits in Russian oligarch cash.

The federal appeals court judge here, Denny Chin, pressed a bit: "Your position is that the immunity is absolute. And so if the president were to commit a crime, no matter how heinous" he couldn't even be investigated, let alone arrested. "That’s the position?" Chin asked.

Consovoy, who looks like this in near-profile...


...answered, "Yes...Of course, Congress retains the impeachment power." 

Hold that thought in your head. Hold it in your head that the president could barbecue a baby and eat it, presumably covered in secret sauce, in front of the baby's parents and then have them hanged, and the president would have to be impeached and removed from office before the cops could gather evidence to put him in jail. Or, more frighteningly realistically, President Trump could have Adam Schiff and any Democrats investigating him killed and, unless Republicans decided to do something about it, he'd get away with it as long as he was president, a position he could stay in illegally unless...

You see the problem here? Once you declare the president is above the law, then what's to prevent the president from getting crazy with defying the law? It's not that far a leap from defying a subpoena to jailing your political enemies, especially when this superpower of immunity is in the hands of a short-sighted shit-ogre like Donald Trump. 

This is what we get when we don't fucking punish people for things like, oh, torture in the early 2000s. When law professor and former Bush Justice Department official John Yoo wrote his 2002 memo saying that the president can order torture if he believes it's in the national interest and there wasn't any pushback (as in arresting people who broke the law on torture, up to and including George W. Bush, who is not your cuddly conservative painter friend, but an actual fucking monster). In 2005, Yoo said that the president could order the torture of a child if he wanted to and Congress just had to deal with it. He was asked, "If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?" And Yoo responded, "I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that."

Now, according to Conovoy, who looks exactly like someone who would argue this...


...it doesn't matter why the president thinks he needs to do it. He's immune while in office. Done. 

These fuckers believe Trump is a king. He should be bound by no law. He should only answer to God and GOP donors. How pathetic. 

This is what we've come to in the United States during the reign of this depraved lunatic and the repellent human-shaped farts in the GOP. It's actually news that a leader of the NYPD and the mayor of New York City said that they'd arrest Trump if he shot someone. That should not need saying.

Every goddamn day is another step deeper in this shit pit.

10/22/2019

Note to Republicans on Impeachment Hearings: C'mon. We All Know What Happened

Jesus, Republicans. It's embarrassing. It's really fucking embarrassing now. Every time one of you appears on some goddamned news network or another, opening your mouth holes to diarrhea out some absurd defense of Donald Trump, it's just embarrassing. As it would be if you went on TV and literally shit out of your mouths. At least then you might get some pity, a kind of "Oh, poor thing, he's sick" or "God, don't let that happen to me." But in the figurative case, it's just fucking pathetic.

See, we all know what happened. We all know that Trump was extorting Ukraine to get them to go along with weird-ass conspiracy theories he's had skullfucked into him by a constant feed of Fox "news" and its devolved stepchild, One American News, talk radio depravity, and whatever hell-creature Stephen Miller is. This involved both military aid to Ukraine, as well as a promised meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. We all know that Rudy Giuliani is just a savage ghoul in it for however much he can line his filthy pockets. And, hell, if he can pretend he has power, too, and might be able to stick it to Hillary? That's just a bonus. In other words, one vile, mentally-imbalanced shitheel enabled another vile, mentally-imbalanced shitheel, and, together with all their lickspittles and whores, they sought to undermine the United States. All that we need to find out now is what levels of evil, greed, stupidity, and treachery are involved. And how much Russia needed to push anyone to do this shit.

I mean, c'mon, look at the opening statement by William Taylor, delivered today to the House Intelligence Committee. The whole thing is Trump and Giuliani attempting to push Ukraine to say that it was investigating the DNC server or the oil company Hunter Biden was getting paid by, Burisma, while Taylor and others were desperately trying to get Trump to knock it the fuck off.  Here's what Taylor said on page 7 about the hold on the $400 million in military aid: "My understanding was that the Secretaries of Defense and State, the CIA Director, and the National Security Advisor sought a joint meeting with the President to convince him to release the hold."

You got that? Everyone who knew anything about Ukraine knew it needed the promised funds. But they couldn't get that meeting because Trump was too busy watching TV, tweeting, and holding his rallies of the damned. No wonder Rick Perry was involved. He was almost the only cabinet member who thought this was a good idea.

Then there's the whole side of this that's fucking nuts, that crazy-ass John Bolton was the comparative voice of reason. Bolton didn't want Trump to talk on the phone to Zelensky because he thought it "would be a disaster." At one point in July, Bolton and the regular foreign policy team butted right up against EU Ambassador and Trump taint sniffer Gordon Sondland and his shadow foreign policy team, confusing the shit out of the Ukrainians they were in talks with: "Bolton...wanted to talk about security, energy, and reform...Sondland...wanted to talk about the connection between a White House meeting and Ukrainian investigations."

How willfully blind do you have to be to think none of this was fucked up? It wasn't about uncovering corruption. There's a shit-ton of corruption involving Ukrainians and other Americans that Trump or anyone never fucking mentioned. And the DNC server? What the hell? What the hell? How is this even a thing anymore?

 On July 20, Sondland told Taylor that "he had recommended that Zelensky use the phrase 'I will leave no stone unturned' with regard to the 'investigations'" when Zelensky spoke to Trump. You know who else uses that phrase? Fucking Trump. And he had done so talking about the citizenship question on the census just nine days earlier in a pissy little appearance after the Supreme Court blocked it. So Sondland knows that Trump's a goddamn child who needs to be made to feel smart and special.

The mania with which Trump demanded Zelensky knuckle under to his lunatic conspiracy theories was brazen. Sondland told Taylor that Trump wanted Zelensky "'in a public box' by making a public statement about ordering such investigations." It got so ludicrous that Zelensky asked a pair of visiting U.S. senators if we were still standing by Ukraine. They told him that he "should not jeopardize that bipartisan support [for Ukraine] by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics." The poor motherfucker went from making fart jokes on Ukrainian variety shows to having to deal with our lunatic leader.

And the most utterly, most reprehenisble part of this? The idea that if they say there was "no quid pro quo," if Republicans repeat "no quid pro quo" over and over, the idiot hordes will believe there was no quid pro quo when the quid pro quo is all there fucking is.

Goddamn, GOP.  We all know what went on. Aren't you tired of looking like asses and fools? Or has that just been your identity for so long that you figure why bother changing?

(Note: The attempt to smear Bill Taylor as a "radical bureaucrat," as the White House called him, is beyond laughable. The man worked for Reagan and both Bushes, as well as for Democrats. Step the fuck off on this "radical" and "far-left" bullshit.)

10/18/2019

Christ on a Crackpot: A Pair of Dangerous Speeches from the Attorney General and Secretary of State

Last Friday, both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr were giving speeches before different groups in the middle of the country. Pompeo was speaking in Nashville to the American Association of Christian Counselors. Barr was speaking in South Bend, Indiana, at the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame. Yet both approached their subjects from a similar perspective: that of the fundamentalist Christian. Separately, Barr's talk is far, far more chilling than Pompeo's. Taken togther, though, they present a vision of government as by design and, to their minds, necessity filtered through a strict, Christian interpretation of the Bible interpolated onto the secular world. The separation of church and state is non-existent in this world; in fact, a merging of Christian doctrine is seen as imperative to the continued existence of the nation and the world.

In one day, Pompeo and Barr played good cop/bad cop on transforming the United States into a theocracy.

Let's put aside for a moment the obvious flaw in this line of thinking: Yes, Donald Trump is the absolute antithesis of pretty much everything that hardcore Christians are supposed to support. He's pretty much a walking advertisement for all Seven Deadly Sins, with Envy, Pride, Wrath, Greed, and Sloth on ready display, and he brags about his Lust and Gluttony. Let's put this aside because, obviously, ultra-Christians have decided that Trump is their imperfect vessel in order to achieve their social and political goals. 

(Brief definition here: Don't ever mistake the word "Christian" to mean "one who follows the teachings of the biblical Christ." Some who call themselves "Christian" do, but mostly it's just a designation that means "people who hate gays and abortion and liberals and modernity and want to justify it by contorting the Bible. Also, they have a weird obsession with Jesus coming back. And guns. Also, racist.")

Pompeo's speech was certainly less offensive, although the title, "Being a Christian Leader," would indicate otherwise. There was a great deal of good ol' fashioned evangelizing, about how he learned to "walk with Christ" and how he and his "wonderful, Christian wife" always "had Christ at the center of our lives." He quoted the book of James: "Everyone should be quick to listen, and slow to speak." Of course, there's more to that quote. The full thing, which is James 1:19-20, goes "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."

Of course, Pompeo couldn't state that last part because we have seen him get angry or heard about it multiple times. And, again, his boss sure as hell is just a giant orange anger machine. (He also quoted Colossians, something about salt in your speech, but Chapter 4, which it's from, starts, "Masters, supply your slaves with what is right and fair." Does no one ever look up context for these quotes?)

Most of Pompeo's speech was pretty anodyne. Hell, he even included a nod to people who "choose no faith if they so choose." But the frame of it was clear: in order to be this gracious, religious freedom loving servant of God and government, you gotta get your Christ on. 

However, William Barr was having none of the slightly conciliatory language that Pompeo used. In a speech that was honestly stunning, Barr embraced an ultra-conservative, evangelical Christian belief in the law while condemning those who would dare to believe that government should be part of the secular world. Here's how he introduced his argument: "If you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny. On the other hand, unless you have some effective restraint, you end up with something equally dangerous – licentiousness – the unbridled pursuit of personal appetites at the expense of the common good. This is just another form of tyranny – where the individual is enslaved by his appetites, and the possibility of any healthy community life crumbles." 

Then he explained that "Judeo-Christian moral standards...are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society." And we get to the crux of the argument: Over the last 50 years (everything dates back to 1969, man, groovy) "we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square." Then he gave the usual litany of moral failings, like the "illegitimacy rate," drug use, depression, suicide, and mental illness. That's right. The Attorney General of the United States is blaming failure to get churchy for your depression. 

Actually, the problem for Barr is "militant secularists" who "have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values." (Seriously, I heard this kind of stuff from Seventh-Day Adventist preachers and snake handlers back in the 1980s and 1990s.)

Then Barr went after the laws themselves, and that's where this becomes even more dangerous of a speech. The legalizations of abortion and euthanasia are examples of one kind of secularization of the country. But, even more insidious, "we have seen the law used aggressively to force religious people and entities to subscribe to practices and policies that are antithetical to their faith. The problem is not that religion is being forced on others. The problem is that irreligion and secular values are being forced on people of faith."

It's always about that damned baker who didn't want to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. That's like the greatest atrocity in the last 50 years for fundamentalist Christians. Just bake the cake. Just do the flowers. 

You might ask, "But did Barr happen to actually mention the gays?" Oh, yes, he certainly did. See, teaching that LGBT people aren't sinful diseased monsters who want to rape your children "is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching." Of course, this led into a part of the speech about how religious schools should be allowed to freely get government money because of course it did. It was Notre Dame. Obviously, he was going there. 

It was a pretty hysterical speech that called to mind Robert Bork, Pat Buchanan, and Anita Bryant. Google them. 

Whether mildly or brutally, these Trump administration officials are casting government in terms that could only be described as "an establishment of religion," which is specifically prohibited by that Constitution they declare is so awesome. 

And if you think I'm being over the top here, let me leave you with this: In two speeches that specifically talked about religious freedom, the word "Muslim" was only used once, by Pompeo, describing the Uighur Muslims being tortured by the Chinese government as an example of religious oppression. Then he immediately jumped from millions of Uighurs to individual Christians. The only other time Islam was mentioned was by Pompeo when he twice called Iran the "Islamic Republican of Iran," as in "Christian pastors today are being unlawfully arrested, beaten, detained inside the Islamic Republic of Iran." Hmm. Wonder what that was supposed to indicate.

And, other than "Judeo," as in "Judeo-Christian" in Barr's speech, there wasn't a single mention of Jews. Or Buddhists or Hindus or any other faith. Nor did the idea come up that some of those who support teaching about LGBT people may just be Christian.

So we're pretty damn clear about whose religious freedom matters. 

10/16/2019

The Madman and the Turks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/12/2019

Random Observations on Two Nights of Trump Batshittery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/11/2019

Random Observations on the Latest Trump Batshittery (TBD)

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

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

Watch this space.

10/08/2019

That Letter From Trump Is Punk Ass Bitchery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/03/2019

Continuing the Rude Pundit's 16th Anniversary Panhandling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/02/2019

Trump's Madness Today By the Numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/01/2019

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

(tl;dr - Give me money.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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