7/09/2020

Hey, Where the Fuck Are You?

I'm taking the full week off because I'm in Louisiana visiting family. Gotta tell you: It's weird to go into a restaurant and eat a meal like a real person. Hell, they've even spaced the tables a responsible distance apart. 

Of course, mask-wearing isn't mandatory here in Cajun Country.  Lafayette Mayor Josh Guillory refuses to require masks in public places indoors, and when he was asked if he consulted his task force of health experts to come to that decision, he dickishly responded, "I didn’t ask them their favorite color, either." Because that's how Republicans roll down here. Well, everywhere, I suppose.

So I'll be back next week with more juicy rudeness. For now, enjoy this painting at the delicious Cafe Sydney Mae's in Breaux Bridge.


7/02/2020

Biden and Trump: Who's the Demented One? A Comparison

Yeah, I haven't exactly been shy about my opinion of Joe Biden. I have a track record of shitting on him that goes back to the Clarence Thomas hearings. I have not been kind to him recently. And I sincerely believe that it's a toxic combination of sexism, racism, and Trump hatred that has made Biden not just the Democratic nominee, but leading Trump overall by big numbers, and, by varying margins, in every battleground state. He's the good, "here's five bucks" Grandpa to Trump's evil, shits and doesn't flush Grandpa. 

And since I goddamn well come as close as a stone-cold atheist can to praying Biden will be president come January, I better figure out times to say something more than, "Well, hell, I'd rather have the nice dementia patient instead of the cruel one."

So lemme say a nice thing here: Biden did pretty damn well at his press conference Tuesday after a speech where he ripped Trump another new one over Trump's brain-damaged response to the coronavirus. Trump had been repeating endlessly, and it was echoed across the conservative media circle jerk, that Biden was out of it, incapable of answering questions, lost in his thought, weak, confused, and every other synonym for that kind of thing. 

Except when it came time for Biden to leave the prepared remarks behind and take questions, he was more cogent than Trump has been in years, and smarter than Trump has ever been in his entire worthless life. For instance, here he is on whether or not Trump has fucked over the United States by refusing to do anything after learning that Russia is paying bounties for American heads in Afghanistan: "One of two things, this president talks about cognitive capability. He doesn’t seem to be cognitively aware of what’s going on. He either reads and/or gets briefed on important issues and he forgets it, or he doesn’t think it’s necessary that he need to know it." In other words, "You think I've lost a step or two? Have you seen fucko in the White House?"

Other than rage tweeting about it being another "hoax," Trump hasn't taken any questions about the Russian bounty story. But in a town hall with Fox "news" toilet Sean Hannity, he offered this not quite as nimble take on Russia: "Look at the Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer Prize is very embarrassed. It’s lost a lot of its credibility, because all these writers got Pulitzer Prizes on the Russia, Russia, Russia, and they were all wrong. But John Solomon and all of the people that you deal with. And you, by the way. Laura, Lou Dobbs, Fox and Friends, people that are great. Great group in the morning, including the weekends, to be honest, with Pete. You have some great people. But they got Pulitzer Prizes on Russia, Russia, Russia, and they were wrong." Honestly, that's more understandable, like on a basic language level, than when he tries to talk actual policy about Russia. It's like he's reading Page Six in the New York Post and wondering why the blind item he fed them isn't there. 

Asked about Black Lives Matter protesters taking down statues, Biden was again clear and empathetic, saying, "I think the idea of bringing down, I think all those Confederate monuments to Confederate soldiers and generals, et cetera, who strongly supported secession and the maintenance of slavery and going to war to do it, I think those statues belong in museums. They don’t belong in public places."

And here's Trump on the same subject: "Like the character on the horse the other day, he’s up there putting on the ropes. He’s in trouble, on the Andrew Jackson … beautiful, it’s beautiful, right opposite the White House. And you got to remember Andrew Jackson, the Battle of New Orleans and so much. He was a very good president. He was a great general and you can’t let that happen."  (To be a little fair here, Biden did say that he was against tearing down statues of Jefferson and Washington. But he didn't mention Jackson, who was a bloodthirsty motherfucker who we should be embarrassed to call one of our presidents.)

When he was questioned about everything becoming political, including wearing masks so you lower your risk of fucking killing someone, Biden dismissed Trump's bullshit and talked about how we've gotta do this for each other, you know, like a nation, not a mass of individual islands screeching about freedom: "We’re also talking about it in terms of the president talks about manhood and being strong and you don’t need the mask. I think we have to start appealing to the better side of human nature by pointing out that that mask is not so much to protect me. It’s if I have it, it’s to protect you against me. It’s to protect other people. And it’s called patriotism. It’s called responsibility. It’s called making sure you look out for the other person." 

In an interview with Eric Bolling for Sinclair Media Group (motto: "Trump's balls aren't gonna polish themselves"), the president offered grudging support for mask-wearing at last, but he put it this way: "Well, I've already had masks and I want a mask. And if I'm near people, you know, you were tested, right? Just now. And everybody that's around me as president gets tested, that's like standard. Uh, and I'm also -- I keep distances. I'm, you know, supposed to keep a distance and I keep distances. But if I needed a mask, if I was in a crowd of, you know, crowd, a lot of people and everything else, I'd wear -- I have no problem with a mask at all...I have no objection to masks whatsoever. Do what you're supposed to do and also do what makes you feel good." Not a single goddamn word about being kind to each other. It was purely about how he feels, purely selfish, with not even a nod to the larger good because he doesn't fucking see how that matters. 

Joe Biden is 77 years old. Donald Trump is 74 years old. It's not ageism to say that they have slowed down a bit, that they have moments when they're not as quick on their feet. It's not ableism. It's medical science. But Trump has made it a centerpiece of his reelection campaign that Biden is somehow suffering such grave cognitive decline that he can't function. It's absurd for Donald "Can't Complete a Sentence" Trump to make that allegation. That's projection to such an extreme extent that he may as well be accusing Biden of combing his hair like it's old cotton candy, fucking a porn star, and putting on orange makeup. Motherfucker, that's you.

Honestly, occasional lapses aside, the biggest difference is that Biden sounds like a regular old politician, and that just sounds fuckin' weird now, man. It's like we've dated someone who kept shoveling cocaine into our noises and screaming at us to tell him we love him for four godforsaken years and all of a sudden we meet a guy who says, "Just have some tea and lemme tell you how it can all be better." Jesus, you think, I wanna get off this fuckin' bender and here's my chance.

(Note: Full disclosure- I have praised Biden in the past, too, like when he debated Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin. Context is everything.)

6/25/2020

Democrats Decide to Wait Until After the Election to Fully Attack, Just Like They Did in 2016. How'd That Work Out?

There's a reason why the campaign of Donald Trump and Trump himself can't lay a glove on Joe Biden: we want Trump fucking gone. It's pretty goddamn hilarious to see Trump throw everything he can at Biden, including the shit he got impeached for, and nothing sticks. Trump's out there talking about Biden as a puppet of the "radical left," that Biden doesn't even know where he is, that "Sleepy Joe" can't handle the job, that Biden is owned by China. Trump's flailing and desperate because the motherfucker has seen his shit go south before. He sees the writing on the wall and it says, "Fuck you, Donald."

And unless you prove to us that Biden will somehow fuck up the response to a pandemic as badly as Trump did or that he'll let the economy crash and prance around like the thirstiest cheerleader at the prep school instead of fucking helping people or that he'll shit all over every alliance that the United States has ever had around the world while buffing the balls of dictators, it would take some kind of cataclysm of Epsteinian proportions to turn even an electoral college-clinching number of voters in Trump's favor. Or massive cheating and voter suppression, which is frighteningly possible and means we shouldn't take anything for granted.

Back in 2016, an anxious American left wondered how Democrats would respond to Mitch McConnell's refusal to consider President Obama's choice to replace the gratifyingly dead Antonin Scalia, Merrick Garland. It was perhaps the most brazen assertion of power in eight years of abject obstructionism to no purpose other than to obstruct, animated by the racist hatred of Obama that defined the GOP during his term. 

Democrats needed to burn down DC, they needed to go on the air with massive ad buys, they needed to organize mass protests, they needed to refuse to pass any legislation, and more. Control the message and spread it wide and make people invested in it. That's the tactic. Create the narrative and don't just react. Obama had a chance to give the court a more liberal majority for the first time in a generation, a transformative appointment that would have solidified his legacy and created a bulwark against right-wing fuckery for at least a decent period of time. It was damn well worth fighting for.

And Democrats more or less shrugged. Oh, sure, there was a little bit of posturing and harumphing, but, likely with guidance from the White House, they pretty much decided, "Nah. Hillary Clinton's gonna win. And then even if Mitch McConnell is still Senate Majority Leader, we're sure he'll be a good guy and let Scalia be replaced by a Democrat." It was laughing-until-you-sob naive. They legit thought Clinton was gonna be president, but McConnell wouldn't have fuckin' budged. That seat would still be open because they would have declared Clinton illegitimate or under investigation or some such shit. And it would have still been because Democrats didn't mobilize in rage in the first fuckin' place.

This is not just the realm of hindsight. Right now, in 2020, Donald Trump's absolute refusal to have a unified, national policy on a fucking virus that is fucking killing tens of thousands of people every month should be the organizing principle for Democrats, prompting them to propose radical action like health care for everyone or at least that the government pay for coronavirus shit (since, you know, people are ending up with massive bills for catching COVID-19). Yes, House Democrats are having hearings. Why not have some social-distanced town halls with people who suffered because of Republican incompetence and cruelty? Why not take out ads of their own and not rely on the scum-fucking Never Trump Republicans (who will savagely turn against Democrats as soon as Trump is gone, and they'll pretend like Trump didn't happen, just as they pretend like they aren't the reason that Trump is there in the first place)?  On the pandemic, you can make the case that we can't wait until January to have a coherent strategy because, really, we fucking well can't. 

Or maybe, on another shitpile in the cow pasture of Trump's scandals, they could impeach Attorney General and man who looks as if he masturbates to animal-stabbing porn William Barr. Yet today Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, "One hundred and thirty-one days from now, we will have the solution to many problems, one of them being Barr," adding that Barr "is contemptible. There’s no question about that. But at this point, let’s solve our problems by going to the polls and voting on Election Day."

And all I could think was "How'd that work out in 2016?"

I know, I know, I fucking know that Trump isn't gonna be removed from office. But Democrats could unify around a message that Trump has extravagantly failed at the pandemic and should resign. Why not? Why not make that the rallying cry? Why not say that the nation needs to put saving American lives in places like, oh, shit, maybe Florida or Arizona or Texas, hey, not just traditionally blue states anymore, above politics?  

It won't happen. (Or it might, in which case, whoa.) But the message comes in clear that this is a failed presidency and that those who still follow Trump are supporting a failure. It's not that he's vulgar or racist or insulting. The narrative is that he's killing us. He's hurting our bodies, and he's hurting our businesses, and he's hurting our future. 

Stop being afraid to name the enemy as the enemy. And, more importantly, stop being afraid to treat the enemy as the enemy now, not as a battle in some hoped-for future. 

6/23/2020

Deep Cuts from Trump's Racist, Rambling, Ridiculous Speech in Tulsa

Imagine Donald Trump looking out at the 2/3 empty arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday. Imagine him finally seeing what his team had been prepping him for: the whole event was a bust. An expensive, overblown, time-wasting bust, reminiscent of so many things in Trump's pathetic life. Imagine him trying to figure out the greater insult: that he would have to go out and do his dog-and-pony hate show for the stinking rubes who had been standing in the Oklahoma heat, some for 2 days, or that the seats of the arena are blue, a wave of blue, if you will, that looked as if it would crash over him. Imagine him wondering if he could concoct some fake emergency that would whisk him away from the whole shitpile he had walked into and he could let his terrible children or Pence take the hit. 

But, no, fuck it, he decided to go out there and vent it all, let it all hang the fuck out, talking for over an hour and forty minutes, all repetition and grievance-airing and shit-stirring. It's like something has finally clicked for Trump: he no longer even makes the slightest attempt to pretend that any of this is about anything other than himself. He doesn't give a goddamn if thousands more people die, if he rips the nation asunder, as long as he gets what the fuck he believes he's owed: the devotion of those he deems as lessers and a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, along with whatever coin he pocket in the meantime.

So, yeah, you've heard about the lowly highlights of the future Tulsa vector of death, about the "kung flu" and the slowing down of testing and the endless, just plain fuckin' deranged explanation of his halting walk down a ramp at West Point, along with his inability to lift a glass of water like a healthy human. You've seen that shit. But, like I said, it was 100 minutes long, and there was no way to demonstrate how completely bugfuck the whole thing was. So lemme hit you with some of the deep cuts from the speech.

You want more racism and advocacy for police violence? Here he is on how ICE should arrest gang members: "ICE, they’re rough guys. they’re great Americans, but they’ll walk into, they caught them in a pack. They’ll walk into a pack of tough MS-13 gang members. And we shouldn’t say this, it’s not nice. They want us to negotiate. They start swinging. And the other such way, everybody’s swinging, at the end, they carry them back and they throw them into the paddy wagon. They’re great." Yes, Grandpa Donny said, "Paddy wagon," and he once again praised law enforcement officials for beating up non-white people while mass protests are going on about law enforcement killing non-white people.

Trump talked about a Democratic presidency and Democratic Congress in apocalyptic terms. "If Biden is elected, he will surrender your country to these mobsters 100%... If the Democrats gain power, then the rioters will be in charge and no one will be safe...Joe Biden and the Democrats want to prosecute Americans for going to church, but not for burning a church. They believe you can riot, vandalize and destroy, but you cannot attend a peaceful pro-America rally. They want to punish your thought, but not their violent crimes." Damn, I must have missed a meeting or two of the liberal cabal because I thought we wanted Medicare for All and a fair tax system that allows us to provide better opportunities for all Americans. How wrong I've been.

And then, in a shit tossing moment that would do a cage full of monkeys proud, Trump threw it all together and topped it with a special sauce of baby murder: "If Joe Biden were to become president, an emboldened left will launch a full scale assault on American life. You know that. They’ll expel anyone who disagrees with them. Look what happens when you disagree. You use a term that’s perfect and they’re not happy with it. They call you a racist. They call you a horrible person. They want to crush religious liberty. They don’t want religion. Silence religious believers, indoctrinate your children with hateful and vicious lies about our country, subsidize late term abortion and after birth execution." By the way, that's verbatim. He leaped from subject to subject like a jackrabbit that get into the meth stash. And, by the way again, what would that "perfect term" that happens to be racist be? 'Cause "kung flu" isn't perfect by any stretch of the bigoted imagination.

Oh, and you know how Biden is the center point of all the evil shit that liberals want to do?  Well, not really, because he's actually completely incapacitated and unable to function. In the middle of talking about energy and regulations, Trump said, "And with the help of our great energy workers, many of them come from the great state of Oklahoma. Do you ever notice that Biden, no, do you ever notice that Biden oftentimes gets the state wrong? He’s in Iowa and he says it’s good to be in Idaho. No, no, you’re in Iowa. He’s in New Hampshire and he says it’s great to be in Ohio. No, no, no, you’re in New Hampshire. That happens to him all the time, hasn’t happened to me yet." That's right. In the middle of a completely distracted tangent, Trump talked about how he thinks Biden gets confused. The man has all the self-awareness of a rat eating its own babies.

Trump is deeply, deeply invested in trying to make Biden look old and in mental decline because, well, by the Trumpian law of projection, Trump is old and in mental decline. "Joe Biden is a helpless puppet of the radical left, and he’s not radical left. I don’t think he knows what he is anymore," Trump said. "Biden is fully controlled by the fringe of his party. He is their pawn. He doesn’t even know where the hell he is. Let’s face it. He installed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be in charge of his environmental policy and his energy." 

You get the idea.

What gets me is that in a presumptive campaign speech for a second term, Trump gave not a single plan or idea for what he'd do. And that's because, in essence, all he'd do is continue what he's doing: making appearances where he can bray like a donkey with a giant butt plug shoved in his asshole and fucking over anyone who doesn't worship him. He's pretending he got shit done, but I don't get why no one is asking him, "Hey, motherfucker, you said Mexico would pay for the wall. In fact, you made all of us say it with you. What the fuck's up with that?"

But the people in that crowd, the geeks and lepers and goons and whores and crazies, don't fuckin' care. They just want him to be their surrogate, their subreddit made flesh, pledging to hurt anyone they've been told has hurt them, never realizing that the enemy is the one making them cheer for him sipping water when he really wants to spit it at them. 

6/18/2020

Trump Doesn't Know Shit or Give a Shit About African Americans or History or Anything, Really

It's hard to pinpoint the most blitheringly fucked tangent that Donald Trump, our cracked vinyl beanbag chair of a president, went off on during his speech to announce a few bullshit, milquetoast little suggestions to the brutal, militarized police forces of America (seriously, if you think "reform the police" is weak, try the title of this pussy-ass executive order: "Safe Policing for Safe Communities"). 

But I'm gonna go with when he brought up school choice. "We’re fighting for school choice," he insisted, and added, "which really is the civil rights of all time in this country.  Frankly, school choice is the civil rights statement of the year, of the decade, and probably beyond — because all children have to have access to quality education." Yeah, fuck you, Brown vs. Board of Education. School choice pisses on you.

Just a recap: "School choice" is about giving parents vouchers that they can use to help pay for private schools, taking money away from public education (or "failing government schools," as President Dickhead called them) and giving it to churches and private organizations and, yes, Secretary of Education and hideous greed beast Betsy DeVos. Oh, and Trump's proposal on this also includes a tax credit that would benefit the wealthy because of course it would. Calling this a civil rights "statement" (whatever the fuck that is) or anything related to civil rights just because it would end up benefiting some non-white people is so laughable that you can't tell if those are tears of joy, rage, or sadness.

But what this points to with Trump is that he doesn't know jack shit about African Americans. He doesn't understand issues surrounding their community, he doesn't give a fuck about their lives, he can't be bothered to learn their history, and, if you ask, he'll tell you that no one knows more about black people than he does. 

As racist as Trump has been his whole worthless life, the last few weeks have given him ample opportunity to relish his role as bigoted ignoramus-in-chief. Oh, he'll tell you how amazing he is for African Americans. He'll tell you, as he did on Tuesday and every other time he opens his gaping burger maw, "We created Opportunity Zones with Senator Tim Scott...I think it’s probably one of the great things that we’ve done in this administration.  Tens of thousands of jobs, billions and billions of dollars being brought into areas and neighborhoods that would never, ever, ever be taken care of, monetarily." (Again, a reminder, this was during a speech about alleged reforms to stop police officers from murdering black people.)

The problem is that Trump's full of shit. "Opportunity Zones" are another motherfucking tax cut to get wealthy people to, yes, invest in communities that need the investment. But guess what? They're fucking using it to gentrify areas and very little is going to black entrepreneurs. No, it hasn't created "tens of thousands of jobs" any more than Ivanka Trump has created 80 gajillion jobs or whatever the fuck number we're up to. But he's not letting go of that lie. "The Opportunity Zones have been incredible," Trump told Sean Hannity last night. "It's been one of the great -- really one of the great things, in terms of investment in areas and in terms of unemployment." 

Trump'll shuck and jive about low unemployment pre-COVID or criminal justice reform, which he thinks makes him the Greatest President for the Blacks Since Lincoln (although, you know, even Lincoln's "questionable"). But the low unemployment is just a continuation of the progress made under Obama. It went down 9 percentage points during Obama's administration. It's gone down an additional 2 at its lowest last year under Trump. So that makes Obama worth over 4 times as many Trumps. And it's back to where it was in 2010 now in the fucked economy after Trump dickered around and didn't do a goddamn thing to mitigate the job losses during the shutdown. 

And it's not just his fake accomplishments that he keeps tooting his fleshy orange horn about. Trump's grasp of how Americans understand black history is goddamned embarrassing. This motherfucker is taking credit for Juneteenth. No, really. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said about scheduling his hate rally in Tulsa on June 19, "I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it." 

Think of the framing of that. "Nobody" means him and white people. It excludes, for instance, African Americans, most of whom have fucking heard of Juneteenth because it's so goddamn important. Trump said, "I had political people who had no idea." And then he asked an assistant, "Did you ever hear of Juneteenth before?" who, in a hilarious moment, responded that she learned about it when the White House put out a statement last year for the date, as it had every year. Even then, Trump couldn't help but be a fucking dickzit. "I don’t think it was put up by others. But we made people aware of it," he said, implying that no previous president had recognized it, despite the fact that both Barack Obama and George W. Bush issued multiple statements for Juneteenth. Trump did admit, "Actually, a young African-American Secret Service agent knew what it was." No shit.

Even on the most pressing racial issue, the one that caused him to have his fucking weirdo police event, the protests over the deaths of black people at the hands of police and people who took the law into their hands, Trump's proud ignorance just highlights his unabashed racism. He's pissed that people are still even talking about how he's failed to lead (as if he ever led a goddamn thing in his life other than the line to the omelet bar at Mar-a-Lago). The New York Times reported, "The remarks he made about [George] Floyd when he attended the launch of the SpaceX spacecraft should have been enough, the president told aides."

He couldn't be bothered to learn the names of the people who were killed. Asked by the WSJ about meeting with the families of murdered black Americans, as he did on Tuesday before speaking, if any stories stood out, Trump said, acting like he was asked about favorite passages of the Bible, "All of them." Pressed on it, he offered, "Ahmed. Ahmad. He is the young man who was running. It was just sad to see. Mother was a fantastic woman. Made a great impression. They all made a great impression on me." And then, forgetting Ahmaud Arbery's name, he moved on to how important his law enforcement speech was. 

By the way, the families declined to appear at the ceremony where Trump gave that speech and signed his bullshit executive order. A lawyer described the meeting with Trump as "very contentious." Did they think this void of a human-shaped rage vessel would want anything more than to hear their praise? Did they expect empathy when, really, Trump probably thought they should comfort him for all that their loved ones' deaths had put him through politically? What a fucking tragic farce.

And, when it comes to Rayshard Brooks, the black man who was sleeping in his car at Wendy's drive-thru in Atlanta and got shot in the back running from police, well, Trump isn't gonna try to pretend to give a jolly donkey shit. On Crazy Sean Hannity's Circus of Self-Fellatio, Trump said, "I heard today and just got a report that the police officer's lawyer said that he heard a sound like a gun, like a gunshot. And he saw a flash in front of him. So, that's an interesting -- you know, I don't know that I would have necessarily believed that. But I will tell you, that's -- that's a very interesting thing." That's the kind of punk-ass shit he does all the time. He's not saying something's true. He's just asking questions about things he "heard," whether it's about the supposed "miracle" of hydroxychloroquine or the possible sinister motives of the elderly man pushed over by police in Buffalo. We call that the "little bitch" approach to arguments.

Trump's actually going along with much of conservative media on Brooks. As far as Tucker Carlson's bitch face and the rest of the right-wing machine are concerned, they're done pretending that cops do anything bad. Brooks pointed a taser at a cop and didn't listen to every word the cop said, so he deserved to die. Trump is always an echo chamber for whatever he saw on the TV just before speaking. 

Back at the police "reform" event, Trump concluded his speech, in part, with this odd statement: "To go forward, we must seek cooperation, not confrontation; we must build upon our heritage, not tear it down." Yeah, that cruel orange bastard wrapped up an event that happened because white people murdered black people by saying we shouldn't tear down symbols of the Confederacy. Motherfucker, if we really were tearing down our heritage of American racism, almost nothing would remain standing.

6/11/2020

Donald Trump Wants More Violence at the BLM Protests So He Can Pretend He's Tough

Look, I'm just gonna spitball here on what I really think happened on Monday, June 1, when protesters at Lafayette Square, right near the White House, were pushed out by a bullshit combination of Park Police, National Guard, and Secret Service, along with various other law enforcement officers. Sure, sure, the story we've heard, that the peaceful crowd was violently ejected to make room for President Donald Trump to undulate a few hundred feet to St. John's Church for a bizarre and worthless photo op, is fuckery of the highest order.

And it's probably just idiotic enough to be the truth. But if you've watched these motherfuckers as long as I have, and if you've seen them devolve into the kind of motherfuckers who will fuck any mother who crosses their path - human mother, dog mother, goat mother, it doesn't matter as long as they're a mother with a place to fuck - then you know that they will not lose a chance to fuck that mother because that's what motherfuckers do. It's right there in the word.

See, Trump was supposed to do his fake tough guy act by giving his pissy little "law and order president" speech earlier than it was delivered at around 6:45. Trump's notorious for never starting anything on time because he's one of those pricks who gets off on making people wait for him. The final time he was scheduled to start was 6:30, but, instead, that was when the big push against the protesters started.

Now, here's where I'm gonna go off into "Huh, maybe" territory: Trump's speech was all about violence in the streets of the United States. "Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa, and others," he slithered, adding, "We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country.  We will end it now."

I think, sincerely, that Trump and his people wanted to provoke the protesters near the White House to violence. They wanted a riot that could be put down by overwhelming force. They knew that the news networks would play the speech in split screen and what could be better than Trump declaring that "I am your President of law and order" as order was being beaten and tear-gassed into the savages who would dare attack our brave cops and soldiers. Trump wanted to justify his call for violence by showing the world that he could control the burgeoning uprising.

Except that's not what happened. No, instead, the protesters were outraged but they moved. They resisted with voices and with bodies somewhat, but that was it. And the images that were pouring out were not those of brick-throwing "Antifa rioters" being stopped by Trump-ordered force. Instead, they were of peaceful protesters being beaten and tear-gassed. The cops and the troops looked like the savages, the animals, not the protesters.

I think that after ten minutes or so of this, when Jared or Hope or whichever completely amoral puke stain who thought this up realized that they weren't getting their riot, they had to come up with some fuckin' reason for clearing the park (originally, it was supposedly to move barriers), and then Jared or Hope or whichever useless shit smear in the Oval Office quickly said they could walk to that church and take some fuckin' photo and, oh, shit, Ivanka, put this Bible we found on a shelf in your purse to bring because we're takin' a stroll together, all of us, like a group of sheep to the slaughter and hope no one notices how fuckin' dumb this all is.

That's what I believe happened last Monday. And ever since then, Trump has kept making statements and doing things that are calculated to try to push the social, cultural, and historical buttons of the Black Lives Matter marchers. Change the names of forts from Civil War generals to maybe the names of people who weren't traitors? No, fuck that, Trump said, even though the military wants it to happen. First rally since the pandemic shut shit down? Fuck it, let's hold that shit right in the city where white people devastated a successful black community, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and let's do that shit on June 19, Juneteenth, celebrating the emancipation of slaves. And the National Guard's actions at Lafayette Square last Monday? Fuck you, Trump says in a sub-schoolyard taunt, it was awesome because the protesters were pussies.

Right now, the nation - hell, the world - is convulsing in revulsion at what the United States is and has been. We've finally reached a moment when real, actual structural change may happen. At the very least, we're purging our public displays of blatant racism by knocking down statues and banning the flag of traitors. Performative empathy on the mistreatment of African Americans by white people isn't enough anymore, and it's about fucking time. Shit has needed to be burned down for a long time, and it's finally seeming like it won't be the fire next time that does it.

And the presidency of Donald Trump is going up in those flames. So he's going to push harder and harder to cause explosions, real ones instead of emotional ones, in the protest movement. I wouldn't be surprised to see Proud Boys and other racist fucknuts show up to try to provoke it, too, in even greater numbers than they have been. He knows his reelection chancer are plummeting, and he's gotta discredit this movement that is walking all over his stupid face. He's gonna get more and more desperate, like a snarling, cornered rat who thinks it can snap and scamper to its freedom.

Trump's like all those fuckin' yahoos who stand around and watch the marches with their hands on their pathetic AR-15s, itching for the opportunity to use it. Except he's the yahoo with an entire military at his disposal. The greatest hope right now, sadly, is that the military leaders seem like they're just embarrassed by all of this. Let's hope that is enough for them to reject the order that Trump so badly wants to give.

6/08/2020

One White Guy's Understanding of George Floyd's Murder

My great pal Andrew Overton lives in the western area of Virginia, close to the Tennessee border. It's beautiful country and racist as hell. Drew is from the South, but he's lived in the big city and definitely doesn't share the racial opinions of his neighbors. Lately, he's been posting more and more of his open opinions on Facebook, and when he put this one up, I asked if he minded if I shared. I remember talking to him after each of these incidents. The farcical one that took place in NYC was shortly after we had hung out.

Read to the end to understand why he's telling these emotional stories. White people can never really understand the reality that black Americans have experienced for the entire history of this fucked-up country. But there are emotions we can grasp.

Take it away, Drew:

I have three more stories to tell regarding the current state of our country and all that's happening. These are all true stories. The first addresses violence. The second addresses race, and the last addresses politics. After these posts, I'm taking a break.

I've been mugged 4 times. I thought it was 5, but my friend explained to me that I won 400.00 playing Ms. Pacman and tripled that on the pool table. Then, apparently, we decided it was a good idea to take a cab from downtown Chicago (we lived in the South Loop) to one of the casinos in Indiana. None of this was particularly unusual except we woke up at a train station in Indiana with no money and no wallets. I never went to the casino with my wallet, only cash. According to him, we ate a lot of drugs. So, don't eat a lot of drugs and go to a casino. You weren't mugged. You just made bad decisions

Back to the muggings! Working backwards, I was mugged twice in 10 minutes last year in Long Island City, NY. I won't bore you with the details, but neither one of them got anything from me. Amateurs. Did we tussle? Yes. A lot. In the street. A driver took the time to point out we could do this on the sidewalk. Fair point. Welcome to NYC! Mugger 1 bails and I continue walking to my hotel. The second mugger appears. Demands my money! "Are you fucking kidding me?" is my response. He picks up a police barricade (Plastic. For parades or traffic) and threatens me with it. Now, I think I'm being punked. Worst Mugger Ever! We tussled. I keep thinking "I'm 50 years old. How does this end well for me?" Then, I remembered that I am mean as fuck. Sometimes. There's a phone on the ground. He thinks it's his. I think it's his. I have the phone. I tell him to walk away and I'll leave the phone at the front desk of my hotel; otherwise, this phone is hitting the train tracks. Blue lights are in the distance. Mugger 2 disappears. Cops arrive. They offer me a ride to my hotel. Cool. We took that 20 foot ride and laughed the whole way. Also, the phone was mine. So fucking glad I didn't destroy it!

My first mugging? Lincoln Park, Chicago. Armitage and Sheffield. I walked past two guys with hoodies on. Alarm bells went off. Liberal pride said, "Chill." Listen to your alarm bells. There is a gun to my head. There is a man telling me he's going to kill me. Repeatedly. I'd never really known fear before that moment. "I'm going to kill you." Repeatedly. My wife was one block away. Terror. Fear. Tears. I closed my eyes and told him I could not identify him. I didn't want to see it coming. I believed he was going to kill me. He let me live.

Derek Chauvin did not let George Floyd live. An officer sworn to serve and protect killed George Floyd.

A ruthless criminal put a gun to my head and let me live.

Note: Drew added in a comment, "I cried typing it, and it's been 25 years. The fear that George Floyd felt is unimaginable to anyone who has not faced death. He faced it for 9 minutes. I cry now."

6/06/2020

The Terrorist Cops of America

Black and brown and LGBTQ and so many other people know this already: What we call "policing" in too many places in the United States might more properly be called "government-sponsored terrorism." For what else is the purpose of the way in which police around the country have responded to anti-racism and anti-police violence protesters than to try to make them cower before their helmeted, riot-geared presence? To terrorize them into giving up the protests? What we're seeing in video after video from the last week plus of protests is terrorism in action on a large scale.

We shouldn't have to see a video of cops pulling black people out of protests to beat them for talking shit at them or of cops pepper-spraying peaceful young women, sometimes in custody, directly in the face or of cops shoving over an old man because he approached them to be outraged. It's obvious in so many interactions with the police that we've reached the saturation point of where it's just not surprising. What is surprising is that we're finally getting the genuine uprising that was necessary to change the public's perception of the cops, a reckoning that we've needed for decades, if not over a century. Finally, we're seeing the public shift to "Ok, we've given these motherfuckers too much power."

Police around the country are taking advantage of the curfews imposed in different cities as an excuse to terrorize protesters. As we've seen in Minneapolis (where George Floyd was murdered), Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Seattle, police are using tear gas (which can kill people with asthma and other respiratory ailments), flash grenades, rubber bullets (which are not benign and can cause lasting damage), batons, and even police vehicles to subdue, disperse, or arrest protesters. Journalists have been attacked by cops. Medical personnel have been attacked by cops. Now, in DC and elsewhere, law enforcement officials aren't even identifying themselves. That's scary shit because who knows what right-wing cosplaying fucknuts will join in.

In New York City, where the police have gone what we can politely call "fucking batshit," the cops have engaged in "kettling" protesters, which means essentially pinning them between buildings on a block, for instance, sealing off exit paths, and preventing anyone from being able to leave before heading in to beat the hell out of people for being out after curfew. As the New York Times explained about Wednesday night at 8:45 p.m., "For the next 20 minutes in Downtown Brooklyn, officers swinging batons turned a demonstration that had been largely peaceful into a scene of chaos."

Think about that for a moment. For the crime of being out 45 minutes past curfew, you get assaulted and maybe arrested. The fucking stupidity of the curfew aside, how about handing out tickets, huh? Or, even better, how about just waiting out the protest and letting everyone go home?

The method of using overwhelming force in pretty much any situation is garbage. Look at the video of Mia Wright and her family in a parking lot in Chicago. They pulled up to go to a mall, but when they discovered the mall had been looted (and why wasn't it roped off?), they turned around to leave when the car was confronted with a police officers in riot gear. Soon, a dozen cops were there, and they smashed the windows of the car, dragged Wright out by her hair, and an officer kneeled on her neck, on the ground, with glass digging into her eye. Yeah, really. And they took her to the station and charged her with being "assembled with 3 or more persons for the purpose of using force or violence to disturb the peace." All four people were in the car and leaving, but, you know, they were doing it while black.  Oh, and while she was in the police station, a cop called her a "fucking savage."

A dozen officers for disorderly conduct isn't policing. It's terrorism. There was no attempt to de-escalate, no attempt to reason, no attempt to do anything but enforce the will of representatives of the state on the bodies of black people. And watch the cops when they're doing this shit. They are gleeful. They love it. They get off on it. They want us to fear them.

This is what we get after years of the militarization of police forces in training and equipment. It's a transformation of policing that is rooted in racism, since the biggest expansion of this militarization happened because of the crack epidemic and the paranoia over gangs. And because of 9/11, which the reaction to was also rooted in, you know, racism. But one factor that is often left out here is this change in policing was made in large part because of the madness of the National Rifle Association in assuring that citizens would be armed with bigger and deadlier and more guns.

Ultimately, we're confronting something we should have confronted long, long ago: that this is a failure. That it's all a failure, from the policing to the gun laws to the failure to root out racism and white nationalism (especially in law enforcement) to the ludicrous idea that the United States has ever dealt with its greatest sins. And the failure to do that has allowed the terrorists free rein, except now they are meeting a force that is fucking tired of feeling terrorized, tired of being victimized, and tired of shit not changing. The cops are learning that you can't do the shit you've always done when everyone has a camera. Instead of trying to solve shit, the police are amping up their terrorism.

Frankly, the restraint of the protesters against the cops has been remarkable.

6/03/2020

George Floyd Protests and Trump's Walk of Shame

Like many of you, I watched it happen on Monday when cops, military police, and other law enforcement advanced on a group of about 1000 peaceful protesters at Lafayette Park, right in front of the White House. We fucking saw it with our own eyes. We saw them approach threateningly, walking right up to the crowd and then rushing into them, firing tear gas (yes, a gas that caused tears, motherfuckers - we saw on live television as people were washing out their eyes), shoving people with shields and batons, shooting rubber bullets. and charging with horses. Fuckin' horses, man. At some point, these racist motherfuckers are gonna think the way to make America great again is to break out the firehoses and dogs (Trump already mentioned the possible use of dogs because of course he did).

And we knew that it was being done at the whim and for the pleasure of the vile man-child president, the bloated shitsack topped with a worn-out basketball. We knew it because his jolly jester of injustice, Attorney General William Barr, was there in the park just before shit went down, smirking like he's secretly got a tiny hard-on in his fat man's pants because he just looked at kiddie snuff porn, and he ordered it to happen. We knew it because the clearing of the area near the White House happened just as Donald Trump, who we are damned to call "president," was about to speak. He wanted the chaos to be happening as he announced, "I am your President of law and order," followed by "and an ally of all peaceful protesters," with no sense of the irony of what was happening to peaceful protesters within earshot.

I thought the moment was depraved enough. He knew that news networks would show a split screen of him with his faux tough guy act, standing there like a dollar store Mussolini, tossing cheap meat to his idiot hordes by saying he would defend "your Second Amendment rights," and threatening to send in the U.S. military if violence wouldn't end. It was pure, unadulterated weakness and cowardice. He didn't talk to protesters as if they are fellow Americans. He talked to everyone like we're his subjects. He was another punk, a pussy-ass bitch, pretending like he gave a shit about anything other than how his little performance would look on a campaign video, his toad head, his ostrich posture, and his voice like Ronald Reagan injected with monkey rabies, all seen as assets by the grifters who shit on his moron followers and laugh about how fucking easy it is to fool the blind.

But then we learned the real reason for the police violence against the people who were peacefully protesting police violence against black people. The speech wasn't the photo op. No, all those people needed to be cleared out because the most powerful person in the world was embarrassed that he had scooted his bovine ass into the bunker in the White House because he was shitting himself about the protesters outside, so he wanted to seem strong because he felt he looked weak. So he decided that after his pussy-ass speech, he would take a stroll across the park to St. John's Episcopal Church.

We were treated to the spectacle of this dump truck of a human being waddle on the sidewalks, leading the way as Barr and other cabinet members, along with assorted lackeys, lickspittles, and Jared, as well as daughter Ivanka in stiletto heels and a purse so white that it looked like it was made from a KKK robe. That purse contained a Bible because the reason that Trump lumbered over there after the people protesting the racist murder of George Floyd by a white police officer and the racist legacy of America were gassed and beaten to clear the way was so he could have his picture taken holding the Bible like a fraudulent preacher in a Flannery O'Connor story. Then he took an awkward photo with several of those who had accompanied him, all white as Ivanka's designer handbag, as the protest against the murder of African Americans was happening a couple of blocks away.

And, sure as shit, the White House released a video of the walk, complete with martial music and images like Trump walking with rows on either side of soldiers and cops in riot gear, holding shields, lined up like knock-off Roman centurions, ready to battle for their Little Caesar. If you had said it was a parody of a dictator, I'd have believed you because it was like Trump took the lines between church and state, between the military and civilians, and fist-fucked them in public. It was that startling and, frankly, unbelievable. But nothing really should be anymore.

Like so many moments over the last 4+ years, this should have been the end of it, of Trump's political career, of his moronic movement that elevates belligerence over intelligence, of a cruel narcissism that is best understood as evil, of the entire facade that any of this had anything to do with leading the American people instead of self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement. All that should have been torched. Alas, it was not because we are not a country capable of that kind of transformation. So we gotta fight it out.

Now we're getting the excuses, the distancing, the lying to make the whole thing seem far more anodyne than the insidious clusterfuck it was.
Absurdly, Trump says that he didn't go hide in the bunker like an obese dachshund pissing itself under the bed in a thunderstorm. No, it was "more for an inspection" during the protests, a coincidence, really, in an excuse that's just so embarrassing that I don't even wanna be in the same species as him anymore.
- The Trump campaign wanted the media to retract that tear gas was used to break up the peaceful protest, despite the Park Police admitting that it used both smoke bombs and pepper balls (which essentially explode and release a gas that causes, well, tears). Media Matters kicked the retraction demand right in the taint.
- Trump was severely criticized by area leaders of two Christian faiths. The DC Episcopal bishop was pissed about the fascistic photo op. And the DC Catholic archbishop was pissed that Trump undulated over to the shrine to Pope John Paul II for another creepy ass photo with Melania, who looks as if she's thinking that sweet kiss of death can't come soon enough.
- Military leaders are scrambling to say that they thought the Lafayette Park assault was wrong, and Defense Secretary Mike Esper said he didn't know they were strolling through the emptied park for a quick pic at the church, which has pissed off the simpleton president because one of his loyal ball washers missed a hair.
- Oh, and the world is actually laughing at Trump and at us now when it's not recoiling in horror.
- Oh, and this was after he had berated American governors for being too "weak" on protesters.
- Oh, and all of this was after he had called Vladimir Putin. No, really. Make of that what you will.

None of this has done a goddamn thing to quell the protests. In fact, in DC, they have grown larger in response to Trump's thuggishness. We have possibly reached a genuine inflection point, when it might be possible to enact real change when it comes to institutional, endemic racism, when it comes to the militarization of the police, when it comes to the power that has been taken from the people by leaders who don't give a single rat shit about the people.

We might not be able to wait six months. Or, really, over eight months, even if Trump loses, for change. We need an active and an activist Democratic Party, which needs to be making headlines, not making press releases. We need action from those leaders or they need to be replaced. And I'm not even talking about Joe Biden, who isn't in office right now and thus has no power beyond giving speeches and making appearances (which he is doing, even if they're not getting coverage).

It's time for Democrats to behave like black Americans are the ones who put Democrats over the line in election after election. This country already has enough of a debt to people of color. Let's pay back part of what they're owed by embracing this moment of resistance - genuine, not hashtag, resistance, with bodies on the line - and striving for something more than what we have been willing to settle for time and again. Meet the fucking moment, or walk in shame, too.

5/29/2020

The President Is the Enemy

May 4 was the 50th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre, where the National Guard opened fire on Vietnam War protesters on the campus of Kent State University, killing 4 people. The authorities shooting unarmed protesting Americans was a thing that happened with ludicrous regularity in the 1960s and early 1970s. Really, for most of our history, but it was particularly intense five decades ago during the era of civil rights unrest and antiwar marches. Still, Kent State was different because of the involvement of the National Guard, because it wasn't state police or local cops doing the shooting, but an arm of the military. President Nixon, the commander-in-chief, was the enemy that needed to be stopped.

Another incident shortly after was not met with bullets. On May 8, 1970, a large group of construction workers stormed through an antiwar protest on Wall Street in New York City. They were violently confrontational with the protesters, and then they stormed City Hall, where Mayor John Lindsay had had the American flag flown at half-mast in honor of those killed at Kent State.  According to the New York Times, "A postal worker who had joined the fray managed to climb onto the roof and raise the stars and stripes to its proper, prideful position. When city officials returned it to half-mast, the workers rushed the building, leaping over police barricades and running over the hoods of cars. Fearing a disaster, officials raised the flag back to full mast." The protest at Kent State had been non-violent. The Hard Hat Riot, as it came to be known, was not, with workers wrecking property and beating protesters, with 70 people injured. The marches of the hard hats continued for days after. Nixon embraced the movement, made up of white conservative men who supported the president and hated hippies, and, after a huge march in NYC on May 20, he invited the leaders of the construction unions involved to the White House to honor them. 

Nothing is new. Not chaos of the MAGA movement. Not the conservative hatred of the left. Not the racism and violence. And not the idea that the president has become the enemy of the people. 

We have example after example, an overwhelming amount of evidence, really, that Donald Trump is actively trying to harm large numbers of people in the United States, and I don't mean in the usual way that policies affect people. I'm not even thinking about his rollback of environmental rules or his gutting of regulations on food and drugs. It's not even his embrace of the gun lobby to the point that the only thing that slows down massacre after massacre is a pandemic. Hell, all that's just your run-of-the-mill Republican murder racket. 

Donald Trump's actions during this pandemic show a callous disregard for the lives of Americans. It's not that he tried to do something and he failed. Putting aside his nearly useless limitations on travel from China, he has refused to act or acted grudgingly in small ways to mitigate some of the damage caused by COVID-19 in the United States. His hyping of hydroxychloroquine was harmful, his musing about the positive effects of disinfectant on the human body was a ludicrous (and harmful) distraction, and his refusal to wear a mask and support even the simplest measure, social distancing, gave a message to his followers that what his own CDC and own medical team were saying was a lie. We know that his failure to respond with the urgency that many of his own advisers were asking for allowed for the explosion of coronavirus. We know, for sure, that tens of thousands of people died not just because he bumbled the response. They died because he abjectly, proudly refused to respond. He is essentially the parent who thinks God is going to heal their sick child. The parents are to blame for the kid's death, not an invisible sky wizard, not the kid. 

Again and again, President Trump says things that are meant to show his toughness - and, to be fair, the coterie of morons, freaks, and goons that support him probably believe this pampered pansy of a man is tough - but are ultimately signals for violence against what he perceives as undesirables, or those who don't love him, which, honestly, is the majority of the country. His tweet in reaction to the riots against the racist actions of police in Minneapolis is only the latest call to harm Americans. "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts," he wrote, in an echo of racist cops and leaders in the 1960s. That isn't a racist dog whistle. It's a racist air horn, especially since he also called the people rioting "THUGS" (his caps, not mine). It's also terrorism, and terrorists who are born in this country are domestic enemies. And that's on top of Trump's support of armed white people having protests to reopen businesses, undermining governors and medical experts, and probably leading to even more death just to get the economy moving again and boost his standing in the polls, as well as his blithe dismissal or winking at other racist violence.

And I haven't even talked about Trump actively trying to make climate change worse by promoting coal and other fossil fuels while hindering the development of alternative energy sources. That's the massacre to come. Or the continued mistreatment of migrants, which has gotten worse during the pandemic. 

The capper to all of this is Trump's stern refusal to mourn deaths properly. He can shed crocodile tears, as he has done disgustingly over the murder of George Floyd, but this is the same man who said he wanted cops to rough up suspects. This is the same man who just called for extrajudicial killings of unarmed thieves. He has said barely a word about the over 100,000 Americans who die and continue to die of coronavirus, as if acknowledging them is a weakness, as if they were too weak and deserved to die. 

The message that sends is that those deaths don't matter, they are an inconvenience, they are to be swept under the lumpy rug of failures because they just distract from the one thing that Trump wants you to believe: That Trump is great. 

The President is the enemy of the American people. He's not just a buffoon or a loser or an idiot. I've used the word before, but it becomes clearer and clearer all the time. He's evil. He's actively, intently evil. Yes, the cruelty is still the point. But the impulse behind the cruelty isn't merely the will to power. It's actually evil. 

I don't use that word lightly. Donald Trump doesn't see people as individual human beings, he doesn't want to lead the nation, and he sure doesn't care who lives or dies, as long as he lives. He sees the world as divided into for him and against him. Only the former deserve to exist, and he's doing everything he can to make sure the latter don't.

I don't know what other word you'd use. 

He had a chance today to say something about Floyd and about the civil unrest in Minneapolis and elsewhere. He refused not just because he's incapable of empathy, but because he is capable of apathy.

The President is the enemy. Not just of Democrats. One thing about evil people: if they aren't going after you yet, they will be soon.

5/25/2020

A Poem for Memorial Day

"Remember"
by Iris Madelyn

I don't remember their names.

Carpenter, Cross, Shields, Garcia, Polk, Colindres, Rivera, Scott, Davis,
Feliciano, Mawson, Hesser, Bonner, Merola, Stati, Cordova

I don't remember their names.

Messam, Lopez, Graham, Irizarri, Johnson, Jonston, Preston, Stockton,
Rogers, Rogelio, Rigel, Nigel, Victor, Tullock, Travis, Jarvis

I don't remember their names.

Jones, Orozco, Viviero, Smith, Smith, Smith, Smith, Smith.

I don't remember their names.
March 2002, Cave searching mission, Afghanistan.
Operation Anaconda. Killed in Action.

I don't remember their names.
June 2002, ARCENT Headquarters.
Camp Doha, Kuwait. Raped at the latrines at midnight
by four other service members.

I don't remember their names.
August 2003, Pre-deployment training.
Okinawa, Japan. Drug overdose. Dishonorable discharge.
 
I don't remember their names.
December 2003. Web belt and Temazepam.
Hanging in barracks, Main side. Camp Pendleton California.
Dead on arrival.

I don't remember their names.

But somebody should.

(This poem comes from Warrior Writers, a non-profit organization that teaches and gives space for veterans to write and create art about their experiences. You can donate here.)

5/24/2020

Hey, Dumbass Conservatives, We on the Left Want Everything Back to Normal, Too

I fucking hate wearing a mask. Every single time I have to put it on - when entering a supermarket or walking through a park nearby - I get irrationally angry - no, correct that - I get rationally angry at our leaders, our mayors and governors and, of course, our goddamn president, for not having done something when they knew this was coming. Every single time I wash my hands to the point of cracking my skin, I can feel my blood pressure rise in rage at how badly the whole response to this pandemic was fucked up.

I went to my office for the first time in two months last week and I honestly felt whole again. I could only stay long enough to pick up a few things, but, damn, I missed being there. I like my job as a professor. And I fucking despise having to teach online classes, as I have this spring semester and as I will during the summer and as I almost certainly will in the fall. I fucking despise Zoom meetings and I'm motherfucking sick of motherfucking discussion boards.

I want to go out and sit at a dive bar and listen to the rantings of the guy who's just a little drunker than I am. I want to go to a small-venue concert with a bunch of sweaty people who are all jostling each other to get closer to the stage. I want to go see insane theatre in tiny spaces and I want to go see blockbuster movies in giant spaces. I want to go eat at my favorite Indian joints, where the takeout is fine, but, goddamn, it's just so much better right out of the kitchen.

In other words, I want the economy to open up. I don't give a fuck if it gives Donald Trump a boost in the polls. I want to do the shit I like doing.

But I know that if I wanna do the shit I like doing, then I better do the shit I don't like doing first and for long enough. You stop taking your antibiotics before you're supposed to and that fuckin' sinus infection is coming right back.

Yet President Donald Trump, who is actually three short, fat, child-molesting clowns standing on top of each other in a terrible-fitting suit, thinks that Democrats and people on the left don't want shit to open up: "If it was up to some people, let's keep it closed for a long time. OK? A long time. And watch the United States go down the tubes," he said in an interview. And when he was prancing around Michigan, shitting on the state's governor and Secretary of State, he proclaimed, "You have a lot of — unfortunately, in this case, Democrat governors — I think they think it’s good politics to keep it closed." He tweeted, "The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them."

It's become another article of Trumpian faith on the right that Democrats don't give a fuck about the economy or jobs, that we don't want everything to open back up because a bad economy hurts Trump or because we want to use the shutdown to convert everything over to socialism or the metric system or to let Hillary run more child sex dungeons or whatever crazy shit Republicans toss out there. One Republican official in Texas went so far as to say coronavirus is a hoax made up by Democrats because we hate Trump so much.

We don't want that, you poor, deluded motherfuckers. We wanna do the shit we like doing, just like you. We're tired of old baseball games and Netflix's latest "Let's exploit mental illness for shits and giggles and subscribers" documentaries. The difference is simple. We don't want to have to open it all up just to shut it all down in the winter when we bumblefuck into a second wave that we should have been preparing for but haven't because President Hydroxy Glow won't do what needs to be done. We want more testing - not just tests available, but more actual testing - and some kind of way to do contact tracing. Except dumbass conservatives start screaming about freedom because Walmart wants them to wear a mask and, oh, shit, you may as well open a concentration camp now.

So, yeah, Democrats don't want to pretend it's all okay when it fucking well isn't. The problem isn't that we want to hurt Trump. It's that Trump is afraid of getting hurt.

Lemme tell you something I said on Twitter a couple of weeks ago: I tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody. That means I had it, probably in mid-March when I had a low-grade fever and a cough that went away within a week or so. I had quarantined myself because I'm not a dick, and I got better with virtually no effects beyond being a little tired. My doctor wanted me to get tested back then, but that was during the time when the utter clusterfuck of failures by the Trump administration made it pretty much impossible to get one unless I was hacking up a lung at death's door. But when I went to my doctor for something else at the end of April, she said she had the antibody test and that I should take it. I was first patient of hers to test positive, and I immediately asked about donating plasma because, again, I'm generally not a dick.

Now, acknowledging that the tests produce false-positives (and hopefully the New York Blood Center will confirm the test) and acknowledging that there is scant evidence whether or not having the antibody protects you from future infection, there is at least a chance that I'm better off than perhaps 90% of the population (acknowledging also that we simply don't know how many people had coronavirus and recovered because of the aforementioned and ongoing clusterfuck).

So let's say they discover, holy shit, I'm immune, as is everyone who tests positive for the antibody. If I were a dick, I'd say, "Fuck everyone else. I'm goin' to the movies." But I don't want that. I want a government that does this shit right. I want a society that opens up and accepts the reality of the virus-fucked world we're in. I want to get to the the new normal.

And that's taking everyone into consideration, every stupid shitheel who goes nutzoid when the Piggly-Wiggly manager says to wear a mask, everyone who is healthy and everyone who is not, everyone's grandma and grandpa and everyone's child. It's not about politics. It's about getting shit right by acknowledging shit has to change and then opening back up.

To me, it's utter madness that everyone doesn't believe this. To me, it's that Trump and his MAGA cretins want to open everything in order to help his reelection chances, death and long-term effects of this virus be damned.

5/18/2020

The Trump Administration Didn't Say a Single Negative Word About the Strategic National Stockpile Until This Year

Newest, shiniest White House spokesstooge Kayleigh McEnany is such a fucking liar and a loyal lapdog to whoever has power that it's not surprising when she tells another whopper while leaping into Donald Trump's soft but greasy-smelling thigh cushions. On Saturday, McEnany, whose job seems to be to make Kellyanne Conway seem rational, was asked about President Barack Obama's mild swipe at the "folks in charge" who "aren’t even pretending to be in charge."

In that perpetual huff of someone who just found out that black people are allowed to barbecue in the park, McEnany said, "President Trump’s unprecedented coronavirus response has saved lives...President Trump directed the greatest mobilization of the private sector since World War II to fill the stockpile left depleted by his predecessor."

It's something that Trump and his squad of pricks, prostitutes, and panderers have said repeatedly, and it's taken as an article of faith in Trumpistan that Obama left the shelves of the Strategic National Stockpile of supplies for a national medical emergency bereft, as if he looted them himself. "The cupboard was bare," Trump says all the time, like a deranged child with "Old Mother Hubbard" stuck in his Adderall-fried brain.

As many people have pointed out, not only is this not true, but, well, shit, Trump's been president for over three years. If the cupboard's bare, that shit's his fault. Fill the fuckin' cupboard, motherfucker. Of course, of course, of course, we know that Donald Trump avoids blame and responsibility like Alex Jones avoids sanity, and we know that all the MAGA geeks and cretins will blame the black guy for everything because, well, of course they do. This is another of those infinite occasions where you'd think something in the realm of reason would creep into their deluded fantasy world of white victimization and class self-loathing to think that if they owned their fuckin' house for three years and the hot water heater breaks, that shit's on them. It might suck, but that's how it goes.

Still, if you need even more evidence about how much bullshit this allegation about the SNS is, you can look at the fuckin' record. In the first three years of the Trump administration, no one from the White House said a single word about the supposedly bare shelves. You'd think you might have wanna looked into that, huh? But not the Trumpistas. They couldn't have given a single shit about it.

The only thing that White House did was to move the SNS from being controlled by the Centers for Disease Control and to being more directly controlled by the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response at HHS. Like so much in Trump world, this meant it moved from a place of science with fewer political appointees to someone who is more in line with Trump's vision of government as a place for profit and graft.

At a House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee Hearing on Public Health and Biopreparedness in July 2018, which was ostensibly about reauthorizing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, testimony came from both Anthony Fauci and Rick Bright, along with others. While the focus was obviously not on the novel coronavirus (which, you know, wasn't identified until late in 2019), no one talked about empty shelves, bare cupboards, or anything of the like at the SNS. Indeed, that would have been the place to do it because the hearing was partially about funding the SNS. The only substantive questions were about that move of control. (And before you ask about Bright's whistleblower statement, the masks and ventilators that were needed were in addition to what was in the stockpile already. He wanted to ramp up procurement as soon as COVID-19 was starting to crash down on the human world.)

Indeed, so unconcerned was the Trump administration with the tumbleweeds blowing through the empty Strategic National Stockpile's warehouses that Congress has approved more funding for it than Trump has requested every year. Trump didn't give a single shit. The ASPR, Robert Kadlec, saw the stockpile as an opportunity to get contracts to his friends and halted an effort from the Obama administration to work with a company to develop a mechanized way to rapidly turn out a bunch of masks, to, you know, fill the shelves with even more stuff.

There are so many lies from Trump that are repeated over and over until they become a mantra that obliterates facts and reality that sometimes it's hard to parry them all back. It's not just about fact-checking and truth-telling. It's showing that within each lie is another piece of Trump's incompetence and apathy, just another way that he's fucking us over while pretending that he's a hero. Goddamn, when will that bloated myth be punctured like a bazooka hitting a hot-air balloon?

5/14/2020

At the Bright Hearing, Republicans Tell Scientists: You May Have Your Fancy Studies, But We Have Anecdotes

Dr. Rick Bright, who has spent his adult life working to make vaccines to prevent terrible diseases and who desperately tried to get the louche, evil frauds in the Trump administration to do something about the goddamn coronavirus that was about to fuck our shit up and then got fired for his efforts, was the star witness at the hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's health subcommittee today. And you gotta pity Bright as he faced down the goobers, goons, crackers, and crazies in the Republican Party who either wanted to peddle some batshit ideas about how to treat COVID-19 or prop up the saggy tits of President Trump by discrediting Bright.

The look on Bright's face every time he had to answer GOP questions was one of "Jesus, these delusional fucks are getting people killed."

Honestly, it was like the Republican Party has invested in stock in the company that makes hydroxychloroquine (and, you know, many of its members probably have). They asked repeatedly about the drug that Trump and the entire right-wing media machine touted as the miracle to end the plague. Right out of the gate, GOP Rep. Michael Burgess, who represents the Walmarts and malls of the north Dallas suburbs, and is an honest-to-fuck physician, went all in on hydroxychloroquine: "I’m hearing from a lot of doctors in my state, around the country, who have experience using hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine coupled with as erythromycin and zinc, and they’re reporting significant benefit if it is used early enough in the course and may eliminate the need for hospitalization." He heard some stories. I've had people tell me they saw Bigfoot. They didn't fuckin' see Bigfoot. They saw something and decided it was Bigfoot because they wanted to fuckin' see Bigfoot. That's not how medical research works. Hell, that's not even how genuine Bigfoot research works.

Bright answered, essentially, "Are you fucking serious with this shit?" but much more even-handedly: "I’ve heard those anecdotal stories, as well, and they were not conducted in the context of a randomized, controlled clinical study. It’s very difficult to understand data from those types of observational studies or anecdotal stories." In other words, if you want to state a scientific conclusion, do some fucking science.

When it came to the drug that Trump pimped like "MAGA" means "Make Americans Get Arrhythmia," Burgess's questions were the scientific peak of the GOP's effort to get Bright to admit that hydroxychloroquine is awesome and he just hates the president.

Here's Rep. Morgan Griffith, representing the dumbass part of Virginia, after Bright had explained how COVID can fuck you up and how the drug can fuck you up worse: "You said [with] the hydroxychloroquine that one of the problems was you might have a irregular heartbeat. If you’re worrying about not having a heartbeat at all, you’re not worried about irregular, if you don’t have one at all, am I not correct about that?" No, motherfucker. You're not correct. How does that even make fucking sense? Essentially, Griffith and other hydroxy-humpers think that you should just pump sick people with random drugs and hope something sticks.

On it fucking went.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida wanted to make sure Bright knew he heard some motherfuckin' badass anecdotes: "I’ve heard from experts, and I’m certainly not an expert in this area, that the drug or the one that we’re talking about in this case, hydroxychloroquine, if it’s used, first of all, timely, because I know I understand there’s a window there. As far as the efficacy of the drug. Have you heard this, that if it’s administered properly, there’s a small window there for the patients as far as risk is concerned?" Yeah, he was saying, brandishing his erect tiny penis, check out this dick.

Bright smacked Bilirakis's hard-on, countering, "We have seen anecdotal, heard of anecdotal data from different positions that they believe they’ve seen benefit or patient improvement from use of this drug in either combination with an antibiotic, azithromycin, or a combination with zinc or vitamin C or other things, but there was never sufficient evidence from a randomized controlled study to show its benefit would actually outweigh the potential risk." Why the fuck does this even need to be said?

Bilirakis sulked away with his tiny, now-flaccid prick and murmured the equivalent of  a tearful "Oh, yeah?" by adding, "It’s my understanding that not my constituent, but a US citizen, a veteran, was cured, again, this is just from what I’ve heard, from the drug and that was a late stage case, but I’ve also heard of early stage cases as well." And I've heard that if you drink rancid goat semen, it'll give you the strength of twenty men. Who wants to try it?

As Democrats had Bright explain just how unprepared the United States was for the pandemic and how the Trump White House refused to listen to those who were waving their hands and screaming, "Fucking do something," the GOP members continued their romance with hydroxy-fuckin'-chloroquine.

Rep. Buddy Carter, who is a pharmacist named Earl from Georgia, pressed Bright on why he first went along with hydroxychloroquine under strict supervision from a doctor but wasn't supportive of people taking it willy-nilly, as if the answer wasn't ludicrously obvious. It was like Carter found some great scandal, to the point where he wouldn't end his questioning, even after his time ran out. Trying to corner Bright, Carter asserted, "So was it because the president was encouraged by the use of this drug that you became discouraged by it?"

Now, Bright could have responded, "You ignorant shitheel, of course I'm not gonna want someone who doesn't know his asshole from his elbow to give medical advice. If Donald Trump told everyone to shoot up heroin to stop coronavirus and I said that was fuckin' dumb, would that be political? Jesus fuck, some things are just not open to everyone's motherfuckin' opinion, Earl. Shove it up your mother's cooter next time you're fuckin' her."

But, alas, he just said, "It had nothing to do with politics sir. I wanted to make sure that Americans were aware of the risk of this drug."

Yes, Republicans asked about other things, insinuating that Bright was a showboater who didn't need to be a whistleblower, that he wasn't up to the job as head of BARDA, which is the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and which I didn't even know existed until Bright's complaint came up, and other assorted attempts to demean him.

Bright was not the firebrand they were hoping for. Instead, he was a goddamned authority, someone who knows so clearly what the fuck they're talking about that they don't need to yell or preen or pretend. As Bright said, "We need to unleash the voices of the scientists in our public health system in the United States so they can be heard and their guidances need to be listened to, and we need to be able to convey that information to the American public so they have the truth about the real risk and dire consequences of this virus, and they have the truth about the consequences of their actions if they don’t follow those guidances."

Listen to the man. He knows what he's talking about.

5/10/2020

Oh, Fuck You, Trump Voters. Just Fuck You

Do you think they realize how fucking stupid they look, these man-children (and the occasional woman-child) playing soldier dress-up except with real guns who show up at these rallies to try to force states to open up while we're deep in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic? It's just pathetic that they believe they seem strong when they just look like a bunch of people who have been rendered brainless from a toxic stew of oxy, Facebook conspiracy madness, and One America News. And when I say they look fucking stupid, I mean objectively stupid, as in anyone looking at them from outside the whole bullshit zeitgeist we're damned to live through would think, "That's hilarious and absurd, and, c'mon, they can't be serious."

Think about that for a second. Think of someone arriving here with no understanding of American gun culture or the fetishizing of militia chic or the condemnation of science and education or the really warped ideas of "liberty" and "tyranny," and then they see the protest yesterday in California or last week in Michigan. Think about informing that outside someone that the costume cavalry was protesting for the right to gather in large groups and go to stores and salons and they don't care if those actions end up causing mass death. Oh, and, by the way, the president of the whole goddamn country thinks they're awesome for doing it. Oh, and, by the way, that same president has refused to do anything to make the nation safer for supermarkets and salons during the two months the country was shut down.

Everything that Trump has done and is doing is fuckin' owned by his voters, and their utter refusal to believe that Trump has fucked up just about every aspect of the response to the COVID-19 crisis is on each and every one of them. They fucked up this country worse than it was already fucked up, and they will stand on a pile of corpses to bray their devotion to Trump while popping hydroxycholoroquine with bleach shooters. If that corpse pile happens to contain their family members, well, fuck, they died so the rest of us could go eat at the Longhorn Steakhouse by the highway because freedom or some such shit.

Story after story about what went wrong and what continues to go wrong with the federal coronavirus response shows that the Trump administration has screwed the pooch on it. Fuck, they screwed the pooch then turned the pooch over and screwed it again and then when that pooch was dead from all the screwing, they tossed it aside and took another pooch from the Strategic Pooch Reserve and screwed that one, going through all the pooches they could screw and then they imported pooches from China which were flawed but screwable so they screwed those. Alas, pooches. Alas, America.

See, it’s not just that you’ve been fooled, Trump voters. It’s that you stick by your foolishness. You listen to bloviating assholes loudly farting from their home studios about how you need to get out there for the good of the “economy.” You insist that everything Trump says is real, on the useless drugs, on the bullshit cures, on the supposedly fake death toll, on the masks, on the drive-thru testing centers, on the number of tests, on every fucking thing, despite the absolute proof, in a factual way, as in indisputably, that he's totally fucking lying or just making shit up.

Most contempt-worthy is the fact that you think we who haven’t drunk the tainted Diet Coke straight from Trump’s dangly nipples actually want to be in quarantine, that we want tens of millions of people out of work, that we want schools closed and restaurants closed and supermarket shelves bereft of toilet paper. No, you poor, dumb motherfuckers. We’ve lost jobs, too, and we’re sick of having nothing to do but post memes about how fucking stupid you look. But we know that the price of reopening is the likelihood of all the gains we’ve made being erased and far more death, and, well, I guess we’re just pro-life.

And it pains us, really, it pains us deep in our souls that you can’t be reasoned with. That Trump, by any measure, has failed and continues to fail at this monumental task and that the reason he has failed so enormously and tragically is because he thought the virus was just there to spoil his chances at reelection. He is going to toss out truth and reality and replace it with everything filtered through his selfishness, his avarice, and his unending, crazed belief in his own superiority. Yet you'll just go the fuck along with it. It's fucking sad, man. The deepest wells of Obama worship never even came close to the cultish, mindless Trump veneration. I mean, c'mon, Trump refuses to wear a mask, but his campaign is going to start selling official MAGA masks. That's how stupid he thinks you are. That's how cynical this whole thing is.

And you know what else pains us? It’s that it would have been so ludicrously easy for Trump to have been the big shot hero, ordering companies to produce swabs and masks, amping up testing far exceeding any other country (for real, not in his fantasy world), demanding Congress pass funding for salaries so everyone could keep their jobs, and telling people to stay home. He could have led a genuinely positive national reawakening of community and patriotic service. He's not actually capable of that, but he could have faked it, like he's faked being a successful businessman.

And what pains us even more? You credulous simpletons would have bought into it whole hog. And you would derided anyone telling you to go back to work as an unpatriotic dick who just wants Trump supporters to die. Your media would have said that Trump was the greatest man who cares so much about us that he's willing to sacrifice the economy for your lives. In other words, you have no beliefs. You only have Trump. Goddamn, how empty you must be to think that's all you need.

Trump has wrecked our alliances and degraded our country to the point that the world thinks we’re just a pathetic vestige of our former selves, worthy of pity and derision, and that’s because of you, and you’re so full up with gobbling his shit that you don’t even think that matters as long as he lets you be openly racist and keeps owning the libtards, which means “anyone who doesn’t gobble shit from the MAGA trough in Donald Trump’s pig pen." It’s too bad. We could have used the help of the world, which, even in good times, we do need to buy our goods or your job is in permanent jeopardy. (Which, to be fair, it already is.)

You just don't believe in what the country ever aspired to be, to the world and to itself. Instead of believing scientists and doctors, you believe TV bullshit artists like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity and Rush “How the fuck is he still a thing?” Limbaugh, agreeing with Trump that popularity somehow equals depth and knowledge. Instead of people qualified to lead an effort, you think that feckless pricks like Jared fuckin’ Kushner are true polymath visionaries and not just vile charlatans and egomaniacs. Instead of seeking those who have earned the right to lead you, you turn to Donald Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., a devolved version of his devolved father, a pile of shit that has dried out.

This is all on you. You’re fucking adults, for fuck’s sake, and I just won’t treat you like children who need to be forgiven and hope you learned your lesson. You decided to overlook Trump’s blatant greed and corruption. You decided that someone accused of more than a dozen rapes and sexual assaults, including multiple under oath allegations, is just a jocular party guy you wanna hang with. You decided that it was better to spend money on his trips to golf and on tax cuts for the wealthy than on roads and health care and fucking pandemic preparation.

I know that we’re supposed to feel some kind of pity for you, that you’ve spent decades being inundated with talk radio and Fox “news” and YouTube videos and conspiracy mongers and politicians and preachers who either believe this shit or fake it because they know how easily you’re manipulated. You have been hit hard by the wealth disparity in the nation, with shitty jobs for shitty pay and shitty people telling you that your shitty job for shitty pay is somehow honorable and that it’s better that you suffer than government take care of your medical needs. You would rather walk around with your guns and your camo and pretend you're free than admit how much Trump has fucked you over. And when he's no longer president, you'll whine about how it's all rigged and unfair, echoes of his miserable voice. Yet we're supposed to feel sorry for you.

Fuck that. And fuck you. You are to blame for this madness and this death. You did this to our country. You made this decision. You won't see what's right before your eyes. You proudly refuse to take off your orange-tinted glasses with the sphincter-shaped lenses. So you're into it. You're good with it. You don't care how many people are hurt, how many people die, how many people suffer. You're good with it. As long as you can blame anyone but the wealthy in this country for every fucking misery, you're good with it. As long as the racism continues, you're good with it.

You decided that Trump isn’t evil. Or else you decided that he is evil and you just fuckin’ like being evil.