The Other Batshit Appearance Trump Made This Week

Yes, President Donald Trump acted more like a cartoon bear that had been hit in the head with a frying pan than the Leader of the Semi-Free World at his coronavirus press conference on Wednesday. But it was just as bad at another event he held the next day. It was a meeting with African American "leaders" in the Cabinet Room of the White House, and its purpose was to show that Trump could be in a room with multiple black people and that multiple black people could be in a room with him. The level of batshittery there was astonishing, and that's not even counting Diamond and Silk.

Trump started the event by bragging that polls show he has rising African American support, or, as he put it, "I could say 'black,' I could say 'African American,' or I could say both." That was a weird aside since he pretty much settled on "black" for the rest of the thing. "I won’t be satisfied until I get 100 percent, because nobody has done more for black people than I have," he explained. "Nobody has done more." Putting aside, say, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson and, well, Martin Luther King, Trump's essentially saying, "Goddamn, I'm so fucking needy. Love me. Please love me."

Fortunately, the rest of the event was a series of vigorous blow jobs from the gathered black leaders. It was the typical thing Trump does where he goes around the table and demands that those present work the shaft and the balls. And, man, they did. A few said he was "the greatest President since Abraham Lincoln."

Some of the praise was really just stupidly wrong. Stacy Washington, host of the podcast Stacy on the Right, said, "You are the first President since I’ve been an adult...who’s ever said we need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan." I don't know how long Washington's been an adult, but Barack Obama said we need to bring the troops home, and, after the surge to 100,000 in 2010, he reduced the number to 8400 when he left office. Trump has reduced that number to (checks notes) over 12,000, with a plan to leave 8600 there. But, of course, Trump took credit for doing nothing, responding, "And we’re doing it. We’re doing it."

After more sucking and gag reflex suppression, things just got weird, with Bruce Lavell, executive director of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, saying, "Guys, he’s losing money. He is the only President that comes to the — and loses money. Everybody else that serves makes money. He loses money. And everyone knows that, sir." He went on to say that Trump doesn't owe anyone because he doesn't take money from anyone, which is utter fucking bullshit since Trump doesn't self-fund his campaigns, probably because he's both a greedy prick and not a fuckin' billionaire.

Trump commented, "I will say this: I do lose a fortune being President — (applause - yes, applause) — because we’re doing very important work. But it is — and, you know, something I don’t talk about but I give my salary — it’s $450,000. I give it. And surprisingly, it — now, it may be back in George Washington’s day, but they don’t think any other President has ever given the salary. It’s $450,000." I love the idea that Trump believes no one could possibly have that super-secret knowledge about other presidents. Except "they" know the reality: that both John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover donated their salaries to charity. Kennedy did it even when he was in Congress.

There was honestly one moment of clarity in Trump's thinking the entire time, one of those brief windows where the clouds part and he is able to have a second or two of real self-reflection. Talking about the media, in the midst of his usual railing against it, he said, "We have tremendous media in this room. We have tremendous media no matter where I go, I guess. And I can honestly say that’s been true before I was President too, so I don’t know what it is. Someday, somebody will explain that to me, but that’s what it’s been." And then the crystallization happened: "I guess that’s how I got to be President, to a certain extent." You think, motherfucker? You think the fact that you exploited the mass media who groveled like starving curs to get one nugget of word kibble from you and kept you at the top of the news heap for the entire election helped you win?

However, then he was off on the incoherent highway, leaping from subject to subject like a morbidly obese lemur on meth, lurching from branch to branch so that to most of us it simply looks like he's falling. Seriously, he went from crowd sizes (with a slam at Warren) to how great he says he's making the country to Democrats hating him to his handling of the coronavirus outbreak to Joe Biden's gaffes to his press conference the day before to well, this peak of Trumpian echolalia:

"I got criticized because I said $2.5 billion. That’s a lot of money. See, $2.5 billion is a lot of money. And the Democrats said, 'How dare he only ask for $2.5 billion?' But this never happened to me before. Usually, I ask for $2.5 billion, and they said, 'We’re going to give you 10 cents.' And I asked for $2.5 billion. My people came, 'This is what we need: $2.5 billion.' And I said, 'That’s a lot. That’s a lot of money.' Because, you know, if you’re in business and you say, '$2.5 billion,' — what I can build for $2.5 billion — what I can do for that."

What the Jesus-humping fuck?

It kept going, to the China deal and back to how amazing he is for black people and then to an attack on NBC because their reporter left the rambling nightmare that everyone was stuck in. He returned to his line to black Americans, "What the hell do you have to lose?" and Van Jones crying to him and how much he hates CNN and how he's so much better for black people than Obama and then to his legal fees for impeachment to how much money he's losing (billions, apparently, sure) to "If a man from an Arab country goes into one of my hotels, they say, 'Trump is getting rich.' They don’t realize I don’t even take foreign — if somebody gets in, you lose billions of dollars, but if a person rents a hotel room for 300 bucks, it’s like a major event. These are very dishonest people." What about when the Secret Service has to pay $650 for a room?

And then they all prayed for him when they should have been praying for all of us.

(Oh, and Diamond and Silk were there because, of course, they were. Man, I really hope it's all an act and that they go home and laugh their idiot asses off at how much they've tricked these white assholes into making them rich.)


The Democratic Debate of the Damned

Right from the start, last night's debate of seven Democratic candidates for president in Charleston, South Carolina, was bullshit. The whole evening was bullshit, like a herd of bulls wandered onto the stage and just shit everywhere and the moderators of the debate, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King, simply said, "Would the bulls stop shitting?" but, because they're bulls, they didn't fucking care, Besides, the moderators had already shit all over the stage and by the end, everyone was just trying to see above the rising levels of bullshit.

Take Bernie Sanders on his first question. O'Donnell shat, "Senator Sanders, we haven't had a national unemployment rate this low for this long in 50 years. Here in South Carolina, the unemployment rate is even lower. How will you convince voters that a Democratic socialist can do better than President Trump with the economy?"

Sanders answered, "In the last three years, last three years, billionaires in this country saw an $850 billion increase in their wealth" and then went on about the failure of wage growth for workers, as well as lack of health insurance, student debt, and homelessness. You will not prevent Sanders from intoning his mantra of inequality. You won't fuckin' get him to talk about what he should have said, hell, what anyone on that stage should have said, which was that it's still Barack Obama's economy and Trump hasn't totally fucked it up, but, man, those trade wars and tax cuts for the wealthy are doing a number.

In other words, dismiss the idea that any good news in the current economy is because of Trump. But you will not fucking stop Sanders from yelling about income inequality. Fuck you for trying.

It's entirely possible that I'm just so fucking sick of this primary season that I'm no longer a reliable viewer of these pageants. But, to me, everyone was full of shit to varying degrees last night, people I like, like Warren and Sanders, and people I don't, like Bloomberg and Biden, and people I couldn't give a fuck about, like Steyer. Except for Sanders, the stench of desperation was rank as each candidate elbowed their way in to speak and the feckless moderators just let it happen. Honestly, I'd have admired, say, Klobuchar if she had exclaimed, "This is fucking dumb. I'm outta here. Anyone can meet me in the lobby to ask questions" before stage-diving and being passed to the back of the Gaillard Center.

There were the utter failures of response. Bloomberg could stand there and say with a straight face about stop and frisk, "We let it get out of control and when I realized that, I cut it back by 95 percent," and no one pointed out, "Yo, dick, it was a court order that ended your racist bullshit. So I'll thank the ACLU and you can go fuck yourself."

There was the rhetorical nonsense. Klobuchar went on about how she won rural areas in her state and how her ability to gain Minnesota's 10 Electoral College votes makes her the best candidate. (For the record, Warren won in Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire counties in Massachusetts, hardly urban centers.) Buttigieg dissed, "I am not looking forward to a scenario where it comes down to Donald Trump, with his nostalgia for the social order of the 1950s, and Bernie Sanders with a nostalgia for the revolutionary politics of the 1960s," as if those revolutionary politics aren't the very reason that Mayor Pete, a gay man, is even in the mix for the nomination.

Of course, there were the ego trips, with Biden insisting that "I passed the Brady Bill with waiting periods. I led that fight." Well, with help from Howard Metzenbaum and George Mitchell, yeah. That's Biden's thing: to insist that he was the one senator getting shit done or that he was some kind of super VP who had totally mesmerized the Congress.

Like Sanders, Warren was a mixed bag. Her slams at Bloomberg seemed like reruns from the last debate, although Bloomberg's obvious disgust at having a woman call him out pretty much proved every point Warren made. Her heart wasn't in attacking Sanders, although her insistence on getting rid of the filibuster is a genuine distinguishing approach to policy. She still is the candidate who can concisely and concretely talk about details of her plans.

Sanders handled the attacks from all sides with all the aplomb of someone who is used to everybody around him telling him he's wrong. He swatted them aside, even making a stirring leftist remark about U.S. foreign policy failures. It was good for him to be slammed around a bit. If he is the nominee, he'll need to be ready for a tidal wave of lies and hyperbole and Trump spit. Sanders and his supporters have a fuck-ton more faith in American voters on issues that are distractions, like his remarks on Cuba. I think we're a nation of idiots who are conditioned to recoil whenever "socialism" comes up. And I hope I'm wrong.

Steyer said something, but fuck that guy.

Yet, still, anyone on that stage would be a better president than Donald motherfuckin' Trump. That goes without saying. Hell, the lecterns would be better than Trump.

Obviously, the worst part of the evening was the moderating. Seriously, you could have put a pile of puppies on the chairs and they'd have had as much control over the "debate" as O'Donnell and King (and the trio who joined them later). And the majority of the questions were either complete garbage or breathtakingly, like asking Bloomberg about his sugary drinks tax before asking about the goddamn coronavirus. There was an astonishing abandonment of real issues, like climate change and immigration policy.

And there were a number of times where it just seemed like one questioner or another was baiting a candidate, like when Major Garrett (who used to be on Fox "news") asked Sanders, "What would you say to American Jews who might be concerned you're not, from their perspective, supportive enough of Israel?" The fuck? Lemme paraphrase: "Hey, Jewy Jewberg, are you the right kind of Jew for the Jews?" Fucking absurd and, yeah, kinda antisemitic.

It was basically a worthless night, which is such a goddamn shame since the last debate was actually valuable. Jesus fuck, let's get to some fucking voting already.


#Wattlegate: Is the President Digitally Touching Up His Neck? An Investigation

It started as a stupid joke, as these things do. I watched a video that Donald Trump had posted to his Twitter account where he was talking directly to the camera right outside the White House. He's done a bunch of these, and they have the air of a needy vlogger desperate for likes (which, to be fair, is what Trump was before president).

I was struck by how it was filmed, making it look like he was missing something, so I tweeted the dumb joke "Where's your fucking neck?" That's a Rocky Horror reference for you youngs reading this, from when it was a midnight movie staple and we'd shout things at the screen. Give us a break. We didn't have the internet, and porn took some effort to obtain. We'd yell the neck line any time the narrator appeared.

That was it. That was what I meant.

Then eagle-eyed reader Al Petterson took me more literally (as did several others) and said, "Watch that neckline. The body is not the head. This is two videos bluescreened together." So I did and, holy crap, that's exactly what it looked like. Or, more precisely, it looked like someone had digitally removed Trump's pronounced neck wattle, the prominent flesh sag that, when pinched together by a collar and tie, has the quality of a puffy vulva. Sometimes, it does lop over his collar but certainly not smoothly.

I took a screenshot which, sorry, I'll share:

Look at the smoothing on his neck. Wanna see it closer? No? Too bad.

I haven't touched it up. Look at the line between the collar and "neck." When you watch the video, you see it the digitized line (or whatever the term of art is) even more clearly. In fact, the aforementioned Al Petterson took it on himself to put together this video that focuses in on the neck area as it moves and, gotta say, it's freaky:

Other videos, some recorded at the same time as the first one here, have the same effect. It's seemingly there in more videos posted by Trump or the White House. But weirdly, it's not in a video from a couple of months ago where he's doing the same thing, speaking outside the White House.

The wattle camel toe is clear.

Look, there are way, way more important things going on. And I don't think anyone is gonna be surprised if he does demand he's turkey skin be airbrushed out. But the man is incredibly vain, and going at his vanity is one way to screw with his deranged brain as we approach the general election.

And if #Wattlegate gets under his digitally-tightened skin, so much the better.

(Credit where it's due: Twitterizer Ralph of Nazareth came up with "Wattlegate." And it's awesome.)


Warren Finally Puts Back on Her Ass-Kicking Boots

Last night, at the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren finally put on the combat boots that are still speckled with the blood of banking lobbyists and got back to the business of stomping ultra-rich asses. Warren had been trying to be above the fray at the debates, largely, until she was put on a stage with Mike fuckin' Bloomberg, fer fuck's' sake, and, well, his smug fuckin' billionaire face was just begging for a rhetorical curb-stomping.

It's not just that Warren went at him with a combination of sharp stiletto and dull ax blade, making him watch as his organs were dumped onto the stage. It's that she fucking enjoyed it, like it was absolutely cathartic. For many of us who have had Warren in our top tier (if not first) since she entered the race, it was positively orgasmic. When Warren opened with "I'd like to talk about who we're running against, a billionaire who calls women 'fat broads' and 'horse-faced lesbians.' And, no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. I'm talking about Mayor Bloomberg" as her opening comment, the audience gasped, I fuckin' gasped, and then I thought, "Oh, shit, it's on."

And it was. The entire debate was more energetic, more passionate, and more engaging than pretty much any other primary debate that I can remember, from the Klobuchar/Buttigieg bloody cage match to the attempts to ding Bernie Sanders for his health records to Biden finally being coherently cranky. But it was Warren going warrior that raised the temperature of the whole event. The evening was something of a Hail Mary pass for Warren. Fading in the polls, watching  Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and now Mike fuckin' Bloomberg pass her in the polls, she gave up her last fucks and threw long and hard. And the thing about Hail Marys is that, when they work, they are things of beauty.

Warren went after everyone on the stage, dismissing Buttigieg and Klobuchar's health care plans as bullshit (although, to be fair, Klobuchar has far more than a "Post-It note" on her website) and, in a truly gutsy moment, actually pushing back on the most sacred of Sanders' sacred cows, his Medicare for All plan, saying, "His campaign relentlessly attacks everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details about how to actually make this work. And then his own advisors say, yeah, probably won't happen anyway."

But it was Bloomberg who Warren returned to time and again, just fucking reaming his ass over the racist assaults that were "Stop and Frisk," eviscerating his weak, late pseudo-apology with: "When the mayor says that he apologized, listen very closely to the apology. The language he used isn't about stop and frisk. It's about how it turned out. No, this isn't about how it turned out. This is about what it was designed to do to begin with."

And when it came to Bloomberg's mistreatment of women, Warren went right for the billionaire's throat and wallet, calling him out for the non-disclosure agreements the unknown number of women signed, likely as a condition of a monetary settlement: "Are the women bound by being muzzled by you? And you could release them from that immediately? Because, understand, this is not just a question of the mayor's character. This is also a question about electability." Bloomberg's gonna need to spend another $400 million to spin that in his favor.

Yes, the candidates on stage did seem to be ignoring the orange gorilla in the room by not attacking Trump enough, but Bloomberg was the Trump stand-in. Bitch-slapping Bloomberg around the stage is great practice for going after Trump. Jesus, Bloomberg can actually make a sentence. If Warren attacked Trump for the NDAs or his border savagery (which, by the way, was sadly not discussed last night), he'd sputter for a few seconds and yell, "Pocahontas!"

A lot of us indulged in the fantasy of Elizabeth Warren, armed for bear, stepping into an arena with Trump. And you know she's licking her lips at the possibility. Should Trump actually debate his Democratic opponent, that candidate has to know that they aren't dealing with a rational being. They are dealing with an uncontrollable rage machine powered by narcissism, lies, and spite. They are dealing with someone who had a rally during the debate where he complained that a military dog got more attention than him, vented about Hillary Clinton, bragged about his 2016 victory, and said about eliminating the estate tax, no, really, "So if you love your children, it's good. If you don't love your children, it doesn't matter. Don't leave it to them if you don't love them. If your children are no good to you, don't give them anything. Let them go out to work like hell." Debating Donald Trump will be like wrestling orange Jello.

It was a good night for a good candidate in Las Vegas. Let's hope she keeps kicking ass. And if you thought that Warren was too angry, too mean, or too shrill while Sanders, who yelled almost every answer (as is his way, love him or hate him), was presidential, you have a fuckload of self-reflection to do.


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.