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 of 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.

5/06/2020

Directions to Damnation: Donald Trump's Deranged Interview with ABC

How fucking weird and disconcerting and downright disturbing was the interview President Donald Trump did with ABC anchor David Muir? The fact that they were propped awkwardly on tall chairs over 10 feet from each other on the factory floor of the Honeywell plant that makes masks for COVID-19 protection (and which Trump had toured without wearing a mask) was the least weird part of the whole thing.

I mean, of course, the entire thing was filled to the brim with lies and then more lies were thrown in until it was overflowing with lies and then a dam of lies broke which flooded the entire valley with lies and, since the valley was filled with Trump voters, they were happy to drown in his lies.

Like here's what Trump said when he was asked if the pandemic in the U.S. was an intelligence failure. After blathering on for a bit about how awesome his useless limits on travel from China were, he explained, "They said I called it a hoax. No, I called the Democrats a hoax because of what they were saying because when I did the ban they're out there saying -- they call me a racist because I did the ban." That's a fucking lie. On February 28, Trump called Democrats' criticism of his failure to do anything about the pandemic a "their new hoax." And after he said that, he bragged about there only being 15 cases in the U.S. Then, at a press conference the next day, Trump said he meant that it was about Democrats who "try and pin this on somebody, because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them." So Trump just changes the story to fit the situation.

And, of course, there was the blithering, willful, arrogant ignorance of history. For instance, here's a couple of sentences from midway through that were part of a rambling non-answer regarding the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus in the fall: "Frankly, I've read about and heard about, in 1917, the Great Flu. They call that the Flu, right? The Spanish flu, and it might have killed 100 million people. Probably stopped the First World War ‘cause all the soldiers were getting sick." Ok, you ready? The Spanish flu started in the U.S. in 1918; it was called "the Great Flu Pandemic;" it killed at most 50 million people around the world; and it didn't stop World War I - in fact, the war helped spread the disease among the soldiers who then brought it home.

And, of course, he brought up how he won in 2016 because time essentially stopped then for him: "I have a media that's extremely hostile. And they have been from before I got elected, you know that, that's why it was called a miracle because I had a hostile media." Muir had asked him if it was difficult to be optimistic and hopeful during a pandemic. What he got was an incoherent shit stew of ventilators, Democrats suck, and the media is mean.

But the strange and disturbing shit was laced throughout. Asked about reopening businesses and society too early, causing more deaths, Trump essentially said, "Fuck it. Let's roll those dice and see which motherfuckers are gonna die. Russian money won't launder itself." More precisely, he was asked, "Do you believe that's the reality we're facing that -- that lives will be lost to reopen the country?" and he responded, "It's possible there will be some because you won't be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is." Then, later, he acknowledged, "There'll be more death." And he wanted us to know that people die in other ways: "You know, people are dying the other way too. When you look at what's happened with drugs. It goes up, when you look at suicides, I mean take a look at what's going on." And fewer people are dying in auto accidents and from other activities we used to do. So that doesn't make any goddamn sense.

However, for the pinnacle of batshit, the acme of assholishness, you gotta go to when Muir tried to get Trump to offer compassion to the families of people who died. "What do you want to say to those families tonight?" he asked.

And Trump really responded, "I want to say: 'I love you.'" That's some creepy fuckery right there. He reiterated, "We love you," and then, no shit, added, "And we want them -- you can never really come close to replacing, when you've lost some -- no matter how well we do next year, I think our economy is going to be raging. It's going to be so good. No matter how well, those people can never ever replace somebody they love. But we're going to have something that they're going to be very proud of."

Do you get what he's saying? "You lost your dad to this disease I did pretty much jackshit to try to slow down, but, hey, aren't you proud of how the economy is just raging along?" Do you get how devoid of humanity that is? How fucking sociopathic? It's like a thief saying, "I stole all your shit and fucked up your life and sense of safety in the world, but, man, you got a cool new TV out of the deal. So we're good, right?"

Trump is frantically trying to talk himself out of any blame for this goddamned disaster. Muir asked him good questions but bumblefucked the follows ups (Jesus, stop letting him get away with shitting on Obama about coronavirus tests that didn't exist). The whole thing just feels like we're on an increasingly short road to national damnation, a sense that if Trump's going down, he's gonna take the rest of us with him.

5/02/2020

Things to Keep in Mind About the Tara Reade Allegations

As Democrats grapple with how to handle the accusation by former staff member Tara Reade that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in a hallway in the Senate office building in 1993, let's remember that as much as we want it to be about finding out the truth, it's never just that. And let's remember that not every purported rape victim is telling the truth and that every victim doesn't have to act like you think she should act.

1. It's possible that Reade supported Bernie Sanders and wrote lovingly about Vladimir Putin and still was raped by Biden. The opposite is also possible.

2. It's possible that Joe Biden could have introduced the Violence Against Women Act and been an advocate for women's issues and still have raped Reade. The opposite is also possible.

3. If it's hypocritical to say that you don't believe Reade but you believe Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, then it's hypocritical to say you don't believe Blasey Ford but you believe Reade. Hypocrisy doesn't just go one way.

4. But it's really weird to ask Biden if he's being a hypocrite about "believing women" when it comes to Reade, as Mika Brzezinki did repeatedly on Morning Joe. Biden presumably knows the truth. It's madness to ask him to say, "I know it didn't happen, but I believe her."

5. As many women have said, "believe women" doesn't mean "all women are always right." It means assume that an allegation is made in good faith and investigate from there. And, yes, sometimes women lie about rape, assault, and harassment (and often men lie about being the perpetrators). But the vast majority of women aren't lying. And a much larger number of victims simply never come forward.

6. The real hypocrisy is to demand Joe Biden release the archive of his Senate and Vice Presidential papers now held at the University of Delaware and not demand an equal accounting from Donald Trump for all of the sexual assault and rape allegations against him, as well as everything else (like his income taxes).

7. Biden should allow the archives to be searched and Trump should have to give up all the documents related to his business and personal dealings, as well as allow members of his administration to testify before Congress. You want transparency? Let's do it, then. 

8. However, no search of Biden's papers is going to satisfy the "But her emails" crowd. They will believe until the end of days that the Rosetta Stone of Reade's accusations exists and anyone telling them otherwise is lying.

9. It will take months to go through Biden's papers even in a cursory way. That's the way archival research works.

10. Some people demanding more information are acting out of a genuine desire to find the truth. But too many only want to drag this out and drag Biden down. Those people exist on the left and the right. 

11. We probably are never going to know the truth, so all we'll have is belief.

12. I don't know what I believe about Reade. I kind of think she's lying, but I'm not 100% convinced. Sorry. I wish I could clearly come down on one side or the other. 

13. Biden saying unequivocally that the assault did not happen was strong. It essentially puts all his credibility on the line should it turn out that hard evidence exists that it happened.

14. I wish someone else were the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, for many reasons. But that's not gonna happen.

15. And I've heard nothing so far that makes me believe that it would be better to have Donald Trump win a second term. Nothing has dissuaded me from voting for Biden. That doesn't make me an anti-progressive, anti-feminist neoliberal tool of the Democratic establishment. It means I'm so scared about what might happen when Trump is no longer accountable to voters that I'm gonna swallow a whole lot to stop that from occurring.  

(Note: I'll probably update this list as more of this is tossed around in my brain.)