Bloomberg Plays Turd in the Democratic Punch Bowl

Former New York City mayor and billionaire prick Michael Bloomberg barely won his last election. In 2009, after he rammed through an exception to the city's term limit for mayors, he ran for a third term as a Republican and spent nearly $100 million on his reelection. While that's sofa cushion money for Bloomberg, it was unheard of in a local race, and he outspent his Democratic rival Bill Thompson 14 to 1. Yet, after supposedly having had two successful terms to run on, after dropping all that coin fluffing his own public image like an aging porn star injecting his dick for the third time in a day on the set, all Mayor Mike managed to get was 50.7% of the vote. Enough to win, sure, but Thompson still got over 46%.

The point here is that a hundred million bucks bought Bloomberg a just eked-through victory. There is certainly no guarantee that the $400 million and counting he's spending on the Democratic nomination will do more than give him a brief novelty surge that dies down as soon as everyone remembers "Oh, right, he's that prick."

And it's so easy to find Bloomberg being the goddamndest asshole all the time. Between the odious sustained assault on non-whites in New York City that was "Stop-and-Frisk" to his completely demeaning treatment of women in his circle, Bloomberg has left a trail of bullshit that's visible from miles away. Then there's the strongman tactics that he used as mayor to break up Occupy Wall Street, which involved a violent raid on the protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park in defiance of a court order. I was there in the aftermath, and I saw kids slammed to the ground by cops and listened as Wall Street fucks laughed about the arrested getting raped at Riker's Island. I'd bet anything they were Bloomberg voters. The thing about Bloomberg is that, until he apologized, he seemed to get off on this shit.

It's so simple to find a fucked-up quote from Bloomberg. Here he is in 2010 after then-Gov. David Paterson signed a law that prevented police departments from keeping the data they got from every single stop-and-frisk suspect, including those where nothing was found. Bloomberg scoffed, "And what's wrong with keeping the data? We have data on everything. You wait until we have facial recognition software, and somebody's going to have a record of every person that walks down by your house. You just point a camera at them, the software will do it. That's coming. I mean, these days of, we put license plates on your car. You can read those by computer now, and we know where you're driving." He wasn't wrong about the technology, but his enthusiasm sure makes it seem like he may misuse the larger data collection capabilities of, say, the NSA. Ask the Muslim community of New York how that surveillance ended up.

I'm attacking Bloomberg in a way that, frankly, I haven't attacked the other Democrats for the simple reason that Bloomberg isn't a Democrat. Unlike Bernie Sanders, most of Bloomberg's views throughout his career have never really lined up with the Democratic Party platform. He spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, but, prior to that, he spoke at the 2004 Republican Convention, which was being held in New York City (with protests that were met with their own overzealous response from the NYPD).

Basically, until a couple of years ago, Mike Bloomberg is what we used to call a "moderate Republican," back when such political creatures existed in the wilds of the GOP. The best way to define "moderate" was someone who was conservative on financial shit but was sane on guns, gays, and abortion and understood that climate change is real. In other words, a Republican who believed in science and medicine. He should have run as a Republican and used his billions to force Trump into spending his war chest fending off a primary opponent. He might have actually been able to drag the GOP back to having a toe on the sane side of the line of demarcation between sanity and madness. And he would have significantly weakened Trump.

But, alas, instead, Bloomberg, with his authoritarian impulses and his record of racism, sexism, and violence, has decided to be the turd in the Democratic punch bowl, plopping into the election to ruin the thing for everyone who's been there. Already in second in national polling, with way too many people who should know better accepting his apology for Stop and Frisk, he has a real chance at the nomination. And way too many people are champing at the bit for the Democrats to have their own douchebag billionaire to face down the worse douchebag "billionaire" in the White House. Jesus, you know how fucked a nation that makes us?

To be fair, Bloomberg's website is filled with Democratic kibble in its section on his plans, so he's still better than Trump in the way that a rotting cheese sandwich is better than Trump, but it's still a rotting cheese sandwich. You'd rather toss it in the garbage than see it inaugurated. But if that's all we got...

I could see this going another way, too. That same national poll showed that Bernie Sanders has opened up a 12-point lead on second place, with 31% choosing him, his biggest margin yet. Faced with the possibility of Bloomberg, progressive Democrats and those who are just fuckin' skeeved out by Mayor Mike might be moving towards Sanders as a way of getting this goddamned thing over with before a just recently-converted former Republican buys the nomination.

Let's hope that Bloomberg is chewed up and spit out at the Democratic debate tomorrow night, making him spend his billions where he should if he's so goddamned concerned about 2020: on the Senate races.


Rush Limbaugh Is Dying For His Own Sins

Rush Limbaugh, the still-alive host of Creepy the Aging Clown's Masturbatorium of Hate and Homophobia,  believes that Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has made headway in the 2020 race because of him. See, about a year ago, Limbaugh said, "Keep a sharp eye out for Mayor Pete. Keep an eye on this guy. He is gonna make mincemeat of all the rest of these people." This past Wednesday, he crowed, "Had I not made the observation, a lot of people would not have given Mayor Pete Buttigieg the time of day." Yep, he believes that no one would have paid attention to Buttigieg without ol' Rush chiming in.

However, Limbaugh didn't think that Buttigieg had what it took because, well, the gay stuff. He offered that Democratic voters are "sitting there and they’re looking at Mayor Pete - a 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage - and they’re saying, 'Okay. How’s this gonna look, a 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mr. Man, Donald Trump? What’s gonna happen there?'"

Put aside for a moment that calling Donald Trump "Mr. Man" is like calling a pile of shit "a gourmet snack." Put aside that it might be nice to see a married couple of actually seem to love each other, unlike Donald and Melania. Put aside that  Buttigieg joined the Naval Reserve and did a seven-month stint in Afghanistan, which is more time spent overseas in military service than Trump and all his terrible children combined, plus seven months. Put aside the rank gay-bashing and the weird obsession with Buttigieg and his husband locking lips. Put all that aside because that's leaving out the rest of what Limbaugh said:

"They gotta be looking at that, and they’ve gotta be saying that despite all the great progress and despite all the great wokeness and despite all the great ground that’s been covered, America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president. They have to be saying this, don’t they? Now, there may be some Democrats who think that is the ticket."

Limbaugh was fairly relentless in his assertion that no way, no how will Mayor Pete ever seem more electable than the prissy president with his manicured nails, his shitty spray tan and makeup, his dyed hair plugs, and his obsession with celebrities that borders on Perez Hilton-esque. But Buttigieg kisses his husband, so that's less manly.

Limbaugh wasn't done. He continued, "There may be some Democrats who think, 'That’s exactly what we need to do, Rush. Get a gay guy kissing his husband on stage! You ram it down Trump’s throat and beat him in the general election.' (laughing) Really? Having fun envisioning that."

Well, thanks, Rush, I will have fun envisioning someone ramming something down Trump's throat and beating him.

It had been a while since I had bothered to even think about Rush Limbaugh, who is one of the original carriers of the plague of the modern right-wing media. But he's been in the news for two reasons: He announced that he's suffering from Stage IV lung cancer after half a lifetime of bragging about how much he smokes and saying that cigarettes didn't cause cancer, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump, which is a little like Caligula giving Genghis Khan the Nobel Peace Prize.

I'm gonna save my total contempt for Limbaugh when he finally dies for his sins and the sins of the savage conservatism that he helped usher us into like the porcine gatekeeper at Hell's deepest shit pit. My initial reaction to his diagnosis was "What did cancer ever do to deserve Rush Limbaugh?" You can call me an asshole or talk about how we should love our enemies or how terrible lung cancer is or what you will. But Limbaugh is not suffering nearly enough. I hope he shits blood every day for the rest of his shortened life.

I'm not a Buttigieg voter in the primary. I find his positions too moderate to conservative for my taste. This ain't about him. It's about how Rush Limbaugh was given a pass for a couple of days because of his illness and his appearance as a weak old fuck at the State of the Union, "shocked" that he was being given the medal then. And he doesn't deserve anything but abject hatred for being one of the most destructive forces in the media not named "Ailes" or "Murdoch." And his attacks on Buttigieg are of a piece with his entire pathetic career of tearing the nation apart.

Limbaugh has been queasy and angry about the lesbian and gay community for decades (he's been actively hostile to the transgender community, but that is a whole post to itself). Back in the 1980s, he was so antagonistic about the AIDS crisis that he ran an AIDS Update for a month, mocking victims of the disease to theme songs like "Back in the Saddle Again" (before he actually had to back down and apologize). He was enraged at the federal funding going to sex education, especially as it related to HIV/AIDS. Limbaugh was whipping people into such an anti-gay frenzy that it likely caused actual harm to people who were dying. As recently as 2004, he was claiming that HIV doesn't spread to straight people unless they were promiscuous, like, he claimed, people in Africa are. He's also equated same-sex marriage to acceptance of pedophilia and bestiality.

In 2016, he was attacking, no, really, lesbian farmers because the Obama administration wanted to have a summit to talk about LGBT Americans who were living in rural states. "So here comes the Obama Regime with a bunch of federal money and they’re waving it around, and all you gotta do to get it is be a lesbian and want to be a farmer and they’ll set you up. I’m like you; I never before in my life knew that lesbians wanted to be farmers. I never knew that lesbians wanted to get behind the horse and the plow and start burrowing." And if you don't think that was intentionally a crude sex joke, you don't know Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Rush Limbaugh.

As you might imagine, there is so much more.

In 1994, on his radio show, he said, "When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it’s an invitation." Well, now Rush Limbaugh is getting ass-fucked by cancer. It's been shoved down his throat and burrowed into him. He will not have some deathbed change of heart. He will not be humbled. He is what he has always been: an infected carbuncle on the right ass cheek of democracy.


Trump's Ultimate Goal: The Erasure of Barack Obama

We talk all the time about What Donald Trump Wants as president because it's plainly obvious that "improving life for all Americans" is not really on his radar, and "keeping the nation safe" is pretty low down the list. There is the obvious greed - from the access his children have to overseas investors to the open graft of the government paying tax money to his properties. There is the ego burnishing, which you'd expect from someone whose grievances include not getting an Emmy for his reality show and not being praised enough for being president. There is very likely the wholesale paying off debts owed to various Russians, Saudis, Azerbaijanis, Iranians, and who knows who else. And much, much more.

But one of his primary goals has been simple: Donald Trump wants to erase Barack Obama from the recent history of the country. He has been insidiously resetting the clock and rewriting history since he first gaslit his way to the national political stage by embracing the whole birther lie. Most other Republicans want to wipe out the New Deal and the Great Society and other progressive accomplishments, and Trump is fine doing that as long as it achieves this central objective of eliminating the black president and all his black deeds.

Trump regularly brags about all the Obama-era regulations and initiatives that he's tossed in the garbage can, some that have even left the industries affected scratching their heads at why. Just look at the environmental regulations Trump has reversed or wiped out. In one case, Trump had his EPA roll back "limits on carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants," which has led states from California to North Carolina to sue because it will lead to more air pollution in general. When Trump rolled back rules on auto emissions from the Obama administration, automakers were not overjoyed at the change because of the confusion it put into the marketplace.

In each case, Trump or some lackey from his administration crowed about how they were getting rid of "burdensome" regulations that Obama put in place that were preventing the economy from growing. Except here's the problem with that: Those regulations weren't preventing the economy from expanding. It was expanding just fine under Obama post-2010 while the nation was still doing at least something minimal to slow down climate change.

And that leads to the biggest lie that Trump tells constantly. Trump has essentially colonized Barack Obama's economy and claimed it as his own. It's oldest, whitest trick in the book. "Oh, hey," Christopher Columbus said, "I've discovered a New World" as he looked at all the people who had been there long before he ever bumbled his way to the Bahamas (and then he enslaved and tortured those people because Columbus was a monster).

Every chance he has, Trump decries Obama's presidency as a time of great economic tribulation that he alone came along to fix. In the State of the Union speech last week, he said, "The years of economic decay are over...Gone are the broken promises, jobless recoveries, tired platitudes, and constant excuses for the depletion of American wealth, power, and prestige. In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline, and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny....From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the U.S. economy."

That's absolutely false. Like factually false by nearly every measure. All that's mostly happened to the economy overall since Trump came to office has been a continuation of the trends that started several years before Trump ever rode his golden escalator to the nomination. He was handed a growing economy by Barack Obama and the only thing that he did was exploit it for his own gain while completely, willfully, cruelly erasing Obama from the narrative of why things are going pretty well. It's mind-blowing that anyone can hear Trump brag about the low unemployment rate as if he's responsible for more than a point or two of its decline, as if Obama's policies didn't take care of 80% or more of the improvement since 2010-11. Trump can say that the recent job numbers are incredible, but it's not better than many, many months under Obama.

In fact, Trump could have taken Obama's economy and said, "Yeah, that was all well and good, but we need to get people better jobs and better pay." He could have built on it and crowed about any improvements he made. But he couldn't because if he did, he'd have to admit that he's just the guy who didn't screw up Obama's achievements yet. He'd have to admit that Obama did something right. Instead, Trump has made it so that his voters believe as an article of absolute faith that Obama did nothing but damage the country and Trump came along to rescue us, the white savior riding in to save the nation from the savage Negro. And all those white people at Trump's rallies are eager to believe it's true.

Of course, these are the same people who believe that the Affordable Care Act is a "disaster," as Trump says repeatedly.  Even if they have benefited from it, they act like they despise it because they themselves would have to admit Obama did something to help them. The Supreme Court, with its Trump-installed, McConnell-enabled conservative majority, could come close to finishing the erasure of Barack Obama if it overturns the ACA and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (you know, DACA). If those two unabashedly positive steps towards a saner nation are gone, Trump will have finally gotten back at Obama for insulting him at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2011 and for daring to president while black.

Some Democrats are defending Obama's legacy, like Nancy Pelosi did in her press conference after the State of the Union and, obviously, like Joe Biden is on the campaign trail. But it seems like Trump's lies about Obama ought to be front and center, at least as a reminder that a Democratic president didn't screw things up. In fact, the job of a Democratic president since Clinton has been to clean up the wreckage left by the Republicans.

Trump's making a hell of a mess. Let's not allow him to throw President Obama into the trash heap of history.

(Note 1: I know that Columbus never said the phrase "New World" as far as we know. That was Amerigo Vespucci, which is also a great porn name if you pronounce the last name a little differently.)

(Note 2: You're right. There's more Obama could have done. But considering he had a Congress that wouldn't work with him, well, we're lucky we got as far as we did.)

(Note 3: Yes, you're very smart to bring up drone missile murders and the expansion of fracking under Obama, but if you don't think an Obama presidency is better than a Trump presidency, you're an idiot.)

(Note 4: White supremacists are emboldened by this effort to erase the first black president's accomplishments. Debasing him justifies their existence. It's one way Trump enables those groups.)


Mitt Romney Is Fucked and So Are the Rest of Us

Look, there are a whole truckload of reasons to despise current Utah Senator, former Republican presidential nominee, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Just pick. Maybe you think his refusal in 2012 to embrace the health care plan that he himself signed off on in Massachusetts was the sign of a weak, weak candidate. Maybe you're still pissed at him for winking at birtherism, joking about Barack Obama not being born in the United States. Maybe you just don't like his dickish face or his dog torture or his endless lies in 2012. I get it. And we weren't wrong to despise him in the past and we won't be wrong when he gives us reasons to despise him in the future.

But for a just a few minutes, for just a shining moment, we can praise Mitt Romney for doing what no one thought a Republican was going to do. Because, see, Romney didn't just vote in favor of convicting Donald Trump for abuse of power and removing him from office and banning him from every running again. Romney decided to use his speech to the Senate to burn Trump's defense to the ground. And he showed all those self-professed Christians what belief in God means, and it sure as hell isn't being a hypocrite when you take an oath to that God. It was like he looked around at his fellow Republican senators and thought, "Wait, did you all go blind and deaf? Because how can you hear all of this and see anything other than that Trump's guilty?"

About Trump's attempt to get dirt on the family of the man who was, at the time, the leading Democrat running for president, Romney said, "There’s no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the president would never have done what he did." About the whole idea of waiting to let voters decide, Romney wasted it with "The verdict is ours to render under our Constitution. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfill our duty."

Immediately after the vote to acquit Trump (and Romney voted with Republicans on the second article, obstruction of Congress), the condemnation of Mitt Romney went into overdrive. Romney knew what was going to happen: "I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced. I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters." And, oh, yeah, it's been a robust round of fuckery, with Donald Trump, Jr., who, true story, was birthed out of his father's anus, called for Romney to be expelled from the Republican Party, which is some motherfucking political genius in an election year when Democrats need just 4 seats to get back the Senate.

Between Trump tweets and the screeching ghouls of the right-wing mediaverse, Romney was being savaged for daring to actually believe his lying eyes. And you know that he is on the receiving end of a stream of death threats and violence threats, that his kids and their kids are going to be targeted. Romney's life is fucked for the foreseeable future, and that's not even counting the QAnon freaks who have long thought he was part of the Clinton/Obama cabal.

As the last couple of days post-impeachment trial have shaken out, it's become clearer and clearer that we are all so very fucked. Trump is getting revenge on those who spoke against him (like having Col. Alexander Vindman shitcanned from his National Security Council job, a clear violation of whistleblower protection laws). He's said, "We'll see" about retaliating against Democrats, calling them "evil" and other insidious insults. He's saying that Nancy Pelosi needs to be punished for tearing his State of the Union speech in half, like they're sacred texts.  Senate Republicans are getting financial documents on Hunter Biden so they can investigate him for some goddamn reason. And William Barr has shut down any investigations of Trump (and any other politician) without his approval.

Trump unchained combines the malevolent idiocy of Joseph McCarthy with the sycophantic following of Mao Zedong. It's not that difficult to imagine a coming witch hunt or purge or even a new Cultural Revolution, each of us called to account for how much or how little we love our dear leader. That I can entertain that thought and it's not automatically thought of as hilarious parody shows just how far we're already down that road, with its mass graves waiting at the end.

Hyperbole? Sure. But I'd rather be accused of that than of not warning everyone that we're fucked unless we do something to unfuck ourselves.


Fuck Every Republican Who Says Trump Was Wrong But Won't Vote to Remove Him

Oh, fuck Lisa Murkowski. Yeah, yeah, we can thank her for doing the right thing that one time with the Affordable Care Act and still say, "Fuck Lisa Murkowski." The Alaska senator's statement on why she won't vote to convict President Donald Trump of the crimes that she admits he committed is just the fucking worst because she thinks she's making some grand statement about the state of partisan divisions in the Congress and the country. Really, it's just ass-covering and bullshit justification. 

She said that "The House rushed through what should be one of the most serious, consequential undertakings of the legislative branch simply to meet an artificial, self-imposed deadline." That "artificial, self-imposed deadline" is the fucking 2020 election. The rush was to make sure that Trump couldn't game it, corrupt it, or, you know, invite foreign countries to get involved by digging up dirt on his rivals and using U.S. foreign policy to get his way. If you know an arsonist is about to set a fire, you stop the fucking arsonist before shit is burned to the ground. 

Continuing her speech to the Senate, after a bunch of both-sides garbage, she offered, "The response to the President’s behavior is not to disenfranchise nearly 63 million Americans and remove him from the ballot." Except no one is talking about the disenfranchisement of voters (well, yeah, Republicans are, but not in this case). It's one of those idiot arguments that get the rubes to think you're standing up for them when you're really just not making any goddamn sense. They have the right to vote. They just couldn't vote for one particular candidate. Murkowski is also implying that Republicans have no one else to run for president. 

Then, with willful naïveté, Murkowski said, "The Constitution provides for impeachment, but does not demand it in all instances.  An incremental first step, to remind the President that, as Montesquieu said, 'Political virtue is a renunciation of oneself' and this requires 'a continuous preference of the public interest over one’s own.'" That's fuckin' hilarious. Yeah, Lisa, go to Donald fuckin' Trump and remind him of what an 18th-century French philosopher said. He'll quote Sean Hannity back at you between Big Mac bites as you dodge crumbs being spit in your face. 

Even worse is Maine's own anthropomorphic bowl of Jello, Sen. Susan Collins. Her reasoning for not voting to remove Trump from office is as delusional as someone investing in a Trump University education: "I believe the president has learned from this case...The president has been impeached. That's a pretty big lesson...I believe he will be much more cautious in the future." I'm cynical enough to think that Collins knows this is unrepentant bullshit, but if she really believes this, then, seriously, someone should introduce her to Donald Trump because that asshole has never felt chastened and the only "lesson" he's learned is "Say you're right loud enough and often enough and everyone will agree just to make you shut the fuck up about it."

Tennessee's Lamar Alexander, one of those fake moderates you occasionally hear about but only see as unreal Bigfoot-like blurs running past the Capitol, tried to sound rational in his declaration of Trumpian exoneration. Look at this bastard try to thread a rusty needle: "It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate."

Actually, the Constitution gives the Senate the power to remove a president if it agrees with the House and convicts that president, even for, you know, "misdemeanors." But look at that shit. Alexander says that Trump was undermining "the principle of equal justice under the law." That's pretty fucking significant. And he added, just to sound like he's a thoughtful, dignified statesman instead of the elderly errand boy for a bloated, mad, ignorant dictator-in-waiting, "The framers believed that there should never, ever be a partisan impeachment." There were no goddamn political parties when the Constitution was written. Fucking hell.

Alexander bemoans the "partisan" nature of the House vote for the articles of impeachment, yet, weirdly, doesn't seem to have any problem with witnesses being blocked from testifying by a vote of just Republicans. Apparently, "partisan" only means "Democrats." 

We are moving into a degradation of this country's checks and balances the likes of which we haven't seen. Sometimes I think it's more important for Democrats to take back the Senate than it is to win the presidency. That way, Democrats can assert the power of the Legislative Branch in full and restore some kind of fuckin' balance.