The Gnawing Anxiety That Trump Will Get Away With All of It

I can't get past something when it comes to the multiple crimes of Donald Trump, who really was president (something I still can't fucking believe happened - I mean, I know it happened. I'm not denying the existence of facts, like Trump and his braindead legions do. I'm just always gonna be like "Fuck us that we let that happen"). And it's really simple, one of those elegant confluences of circumstance that should have complete clarity. It's this:

The law is intensely clear: With a few exceptions that need to be approved, the records of a presidential administration belong to the nation, not the president. All of it, classified, unclassified, and declassified, go to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, an office set up to take care of those records that are, again, by law, the nation's. There's no wiggle room on this. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals made it crystal-fuckin'-clear in its decision this week in favor of the Justice Department when it comes to the hundred or so documents found by the FBI at Trump's shitty fake castle, Mar-a-lago. "They are ‘owned by, produced by or for, or . . . under the control of the United States Government,'" it wrote

And this is what bugs the shit out of me. I get that rich people are treated differently when it comes to legal matters. I get that presidents are treated with kid gloves for some goddamn reason. But Trump and the people around him took those documents that don't belong to him. Then NARA gave them the benefit of the doubt (or pretended to) and said, "Hey, you took these documents that by law don't belong to you. Please give them back." Then, not only did they not give them all back, they lied and said they did, which means they fucking well knew they had shit that didn't belong to them. Under the most generous of definitions, that's theft. They fucking robbed the country. 

So I cannot wrap my brain around the idea that Trump and everyone involved in keeping the documents were not immediately arrested when the FBI fucking caught them with stolen fucking property. As just about everyone sane who has commented on this, from across the political spectrum, has said, if anyone else had been caught hiding government documents, let alone super-duper Top Secret Classified documents, the FBI would have sealed them in concrete until trial.

This is the kind of shit that plagues my brain at 3 a.m. when the whiskey is wearing off and the drugs just aren't holding the bullshit at bay anymore. Right now, a plague of lawsuits and investigations ought to be making Trump wonder if he'd rather live the rest of his miserable life in the UAE, Russia, or Indonesia when it comes to places without extradition treaties. And I know, I know, I fucking know that you want to be optimistic, even gleeful, thinking, "There's no fucking way he gets out of all of this." I mean, c'mon. If nothing else, E. Jean Carroll's lawsuit accusing Trump of raping her has to bring him down. She's got DNA evidence, after all. 

It's not just that we've been burned before (although I'll brag that I stopped leaping at every "We got him!" moment a long time ago). It's that when Trump gets away with it, the story shifts. The Mueller Report has become nothing more than a failed witch hunt (which it wasn't). The impeachment over Ukraine has become part of the "Russia hoax" (it's not a hoax and the phrase has become so broad as to encompass anything that even mentions Russia and Trump). Trump prances all around his red state yahoo fests, lying about this shit with extravagant abandon as he pushes closer and closer to simply saying, "Kill everyone not like you."

And it's not just that Trump's gotten away with so much throughout his life. How many regular, working and middle class stiffs does he have to dick over before the rest understand they're being conned? How the fuck did it take so long for some entity in New York to seriously go after his entire ass? And why do they always stop short of actually arresting someone who has blatantly flouted the law? I'm honestly pissed as hell at Cyrus Vance and every AG and DA who allowed Trump and his shit children to remain free to fuck over more people. The only explanation that makes sense is that they have been corrupted in some way. It's why Letitia James's actions have been so stunning and relieving to many of us up here. You can sit there in another area of the country and think it was wrong for her to be so open about her desire to bring Trump down. But you don't understand how much we genuinely fucking hate him. She could be so brazen in her contempt for Trump because Trump's been so brazen in his contempt for the law.

I don't fear that Trump will get away with all of it simply because he has, though. His lawyers are shit, but they are good at the one thing that they can get away with: delaying the gavel coming down as he's dragged away, screaming about "fake judges" and "rigged jury" into the prison abyss he so richly deserves (a moment that would give me a thrill that would not be unlike an explosive orgasm). It's obvious that the gamble is that the GOP takes over the House of Representatives and then shuts down any investigation or prosecution through the power of the purse. I've said before that we're talking about a cabal of barking mad, rabid animals defending their pack leader. It's a gamble, sure, but even as Democrats are polling better, the gerrymandered-to-death map still favors Republicans. And when Republicans win by even one, they act like they just slaughtered their enemies and left them in a heap in their burnt cities as they hump the ashes in triumph.

"But what about Georgia and New York?" an imaginary reader might ask. Those cases would go forward, but then we're into what happens in Georgia in 2022 and we're into the delays until 2024. The New York case is going to take years because that's the way financial bullshit works. Then the gamble is that Trump or someone Trumpish is gonna win the presidency. Then we're all so fucked that we're gonna have to head into the streets to stop the Christian nationalists from forcing us into the "Love Jesus or Die" camps.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope that this is just that typical Democratic anxiety about winning. I honestly hope that by the time I hit "Publish" on this, we'll at least have an indictment. But an indictment is just the beginning of the process. So many things need to go right. So many people need to not fuck it all up. And there are so many others who will be trying to knock any prosecution off the rails, up to and including perhaps a majority of the Supreme Court. 

Yeah, fucking enjoy Trump's shitty week. Enjoy the shitty weeks to come. But we're not playing a fair game here. Or that dull orange motherfucker would be sitting in a cell, awaiting trial.


Graham and DeSantis Tried to Own But Got Owned

You know what's darkly hilarious or perhaps hilariously dark or maybe not hilarious at all and just plain dark? I'd bet that Lindsey Graham and Ron DeSantis thought what they did this week was fucking awesome and that they'd show those no-good liberals what fucking hypocrites they are. Except that reality ended up punching them both in the dick for acting like dicks, and, yeah, that's pretty fucking funny.

First, South Carolina Sen. Graham, who lately always looks like he's on his fifth mint julep while annoyed that he doesn't have enough liquor for number six, put out a bill to outlaw nearly all abortions after 15 weeks, and he fucking expected Republicans to jump for joy that he had solved the post-Roe clusterfuck of bad news for his party going into the midterms. At his weird little press conference announcing the bill, Graham pronounced, "If we adopted my bill, our bill, we would be in the mainstream of most everybody else in the world. I think there are 47 of the 50 European countries have a ban on abortion from 12 to 15 weeks. And I pick 15 weeks, which is a little longer than Belgium, Germany and Spain, longer than France, Denmark, and Norway." So now we're taking our cues from Europe? I thought that was wrong and might turn us all gay to do that. 

Let's put aside that every single country he mentioned has universal health care, paid child care, and maternity leave, with Germany and Spain mandating full pay during the leave, and thus make life a fuck of a lot easier for new parents and new children. And let's leave aside that France, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, and Norway all pay for abortions in their national health care. Instead, let's focus on one aspect of those countries' abortion policies: yes, they do limit abortion on demand after a certain period, but they also have exceptions for the mental or emotional health of the woman. Graham's savage bill specifically prohibits that. It says that, yes, if the woman's physical well-being or safety is in danger after 15 weeks, abortion is fine, "but not including psychological or emotional conditions." So we're not just talking about a pregnant woman saying that she is not mentally well enough to have a child. We're talking if a woman, say, suffers from severe post-partum depression that might even lead to self-harm. She's shit out of luck and will have to hope she can endure. "Fuck you, bipolar lady," Graham says. "You did the fucking, you do the time."

And I'm not even getting into the fact that Graham calls any abortion after 15 weeks "late term," which is just not how words or time or math works. Nor am I diving into the creepiest part of this really fucking creepy bill, which is all about how "the pregnancy must be terminated by the method most likely to allow the child to be born alive unless this would cause significant risk to the mother." I mean, what the fuck? That's not abortion. That's premature birth, and I'm pretty fucking sure that it ain't happening at 15, 16 or even 20 weeks, before which over 98% of abortions are performed. 

Graham really was proud of this bill, not realizing or not giving a fuck that he pissed off Mitch McConnell, who always looks like he's trying not to show that he shit his Depends; he pissed off the fucking lunatics in the GOP, who want a total abortion ban nationally; and he pissed off the Republicans who have been saying that the laws should be decided by each state. Obviously, it also pissed off the pro-choice politicians, too. So this was a masturbatory exercise by Lindsey Graham, and he thought everyone would watch him jack it and exclaim, "Oh, wow, you are so hot when you yank off." But instead, he's not allowed to orgasm, and this whole thing may end with him putting his flaccid dick back in his pants and shuffling away.

Speaking of public masturbation, what else was the purpose of Florida Governor Ron "That Cunt" DeSantis's little stunt of flying 50 asylum-seeking Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard, the charming island where rich fucks have summer houses? At his press conference on Thursday bellowing about it, DeSantis tried to justify this bullshit: "If you have folks that are inclined to think Florida is a good place, our message to them is we are not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to go into a sanctuary jurisdiction."

First off, DeSantis and his staff of ass remoras proclaimed that "illegal aliens" or "unauthorized immigrants" were being transported. No, dickscabs, by federal law, asylum seekers are not illegal. Second off, DeSantis might have violated state law. See, the budget that was passed in July in Florida included $12 million "for implementing a program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law." So...not "unauthorized aliens." They were picked up in Texas, so not "from this state." And it looks like federal law might have been broken because the migrants were lied to about where they were going and what for in order to entice them onto the planes. You can't fucking do that to real human beings, real families, real children, goddamnit. That's called "kidnapping" or "trafficking."

The entire purpose of the stunt was to own the libs and see how they like it when migrants come through. In December, DeSantis pricked, "If you sent them to Delaware or Martha’s Vineyard or some of these places, that border would be secure the next day." He fully expected residents to get all NIMBY. But the libs aren't being owned. No, despite some on the right crowing that blue areas are in a "panic" over the migrants being sent there, what the places are trying to do is provide the social services that they need. In Martha's Vineyard (which is now more or less done for the season and is just populated by the locals, so shitty timing there, Ronster), they opened their arms and buildings, providing food, shelter, legal advice, and more for the migrants. 

That's not being owned. In fact, all that most places want is a heads up that a state is sending migrants there so they can be prepared. But DeSantis (and nutzoid conservative knobgobbler Greg Abbott of Texas) want to do all this in the cuntiest possible way, sending the migrants to the middle of cities or train stations or outside Vice President Harris's residence because that's how they get a hard-on they can grab and wank for the racist yahoos that form their base. I mean, fuck, the governor of Massachusetts is a Republican. So DeSantis is trying fuck over his own party.

All Republicanism is now is stunts and Trump worship. There's really no one with any power who is serious about any of this shit. Graham and DeSantis thought they were gonna really fuck the left. Instead, they ended up fucking themselves. And, hopefully, their bullshit worthless party.


Abortion Rights and the Lie of "Reaching Across the Aisle"

Democrats make ads all the time about how they are willing to work across the aisle with the opposing party. (I know some Republicans do, too, but it's not as prominent a thing on the right.) The notion is worn like a badge of honor, as if Democrats need to show how not Democratic they are.  For instance, in this election cycle, we have Elissa Slotkin in Michigan saying, "I refuse to let partisan politics hold this country back." Senator Maggie Hassan goes even further, bragging, "I took on members of my own party" on a gas tax holiday. President Biden campaigned in 2020 on his supposed ability to work with Republicans (even if he's learned how ludicrous a notion that is). 

And while the realities of getting legislation passed sometimes forces cooperation, to insist that you as a Democrat need buy-in from the other side in order to justify your position makes it seem like you're apologizing for being a Democrat. The whole idea is a comforting lie, affirming a fictional tale of the two parties who can put aside differences for the good of the country. Mostly, it forces Democrats to agree to negotiate with people who are insane extremists and pretend like their positions aren't so. 

Lemme give you an example here:

Think about how extreme the anti-choice position is in abortion politics. Not only does the Republican Party, as a whole, believe that women should be forced to carry fetuses and give birth to children they do not want or cannot afford, a large part of the party also believes that the health of the mother or the fetus doesn't matter, nor does the trauma that may have resulted in the pregnancy. Their ideal situation is a national ban on abortion by law under penalty of imprisonment. Forced birth is as extreme as it gets. The only thing that could go any further would be to imprison a pregnant woman to make sure she doesn't get an abortion or behave in any way to harm a fetus. Oh, wait. That's already begun to happen.

While the abortion extremists of the right like to say that allowing abortion without restrictions or even codifying the Roe v. Wade decision is radicalism on the left, that's just not right. Telling people that they have the choice when it comes to their own bodies isn't radical at all. Really, it's not a stretch to come up with what extremism on the other side of the anti-choice coin is. If one side is forced birth, then the other would be forced abortion. If the Democratic Party believed in forcing people to end pregnancies that might result in disabled children or forcing abortions on women who are deemed unfit for one reason or another to be a mother, then you'd have extremism. But no mainstream Democrats or, indeed, no one in the realm of mainstream on the pro-choice side believes in this (hence the word "choice").

So in the debate over abortion rights, Democrats are arguing from a reasonable, moderate position (choice) and Republicans are arguing from an extremist position (forced birth). To "reach across the aisle" means to capitulate to extremism, to say, "Okay, we'll agree to allow some forced births." When it comes to abortion rights, many Democrats are at least drawing a line in the sand. Rep. Abigail Spanberger is running for reelection in a tough district, but she's put out an uncompromising ad on the post-Roe landscape, eviscerating her opponent for her cruel position on forced birth.

Let's be clear, though. The very idea of reaching across the aisle exists because of the filibuster. It's kind of a joke when the House talks about it because the majority doesn't need the minority. Yes, differing coalitions within the party can affect the development of legislation. But that is still the majority figuring out how to accomplish its goals. Without the filibuster, the entire impetus for negotiating with the opposing party evaporates, and the voters get the government they actually voted for, doing the things they voted the majority into power to do. (You could also add in the entirely flawed design of the Senate to a file marked "Things That Make It Hard to Get Stuff Done in the US.")

In the United Kingdom and other countries, the parties run as parties, proudly, trying to convince people not just to vote for a candidate, but for the party. Of course, that's in a parliamentary system where the majority party (or coalition of parties) decides who is going to lead the country. But ads in the UK hype the party when talking about an issue

Party identification isn't absent in the United States by a long shot. However, the idea that there is some innate good in working with just terrible people needs to be abandoned. If you are in an election battle, you believe the other side is wrong. After you win your election, why in the world would you behave as if their ideas have validity? The losing side needs to figure out how to work with you to get some things it wants. You are under no obligation to bother responding.

And if your approach fails to make people's lives better, well, that's what the next election is for.


A Poem for the Laborers

by Dorianne Laux

(Chosen because Laux is an amazing chronicler of the working class and also in memory of Barbara Ehrenreich, a tireless advocate for the forgotten laborers. She was a giant influence on my own political sense of the world, and she died this past week. You should read both of them.)

When I was young and had to rise at 5 am
I did not look at the lamplight slicing
through the blinds and say: Once again
I have survived the night.  I did not raise
my two hands to my face and whisper:
This is the miracle of my flesh.  I walked
toward the cold water waiting to be released
and turned the tap so I could listen to it
thrash through the rusted pipes.
I cupped my palms and thought of nothing.

I dressed in my blue uniform and went to work.
I served the public, looked down on its
balding skulls, the knitted shawls draped
over its cancerous shoulders, and took its orders,
wrote up or easy or scrambled or poached
in the yellow pads’ margins and stabbed it through
the tip of the fry cook’s deadly planchette.

Those days I barely had a pulse.  The manager
had vodka for breakfast, the busboys hid behind
the bleach boxes from the immigration cops,
and the head waitress took ten percent
of our tips and stuffed them in her pocket
with her cigarettes and lipstick. My feet
hurt.  I balanced the meatloaf-laden trays.
Even the tips of my fingers ached.

I thought of nothing except sleep, a T.V. set’s
flickering cathode gleam washing over me,
baptizing my greasy body in its watery light.
And money, slipping the tassel of my coin purse
aside, opening the silver clasp, staring deep
into that dark sacrificial abyss.

What can I say about that time, those years
I leaned against the rickety balcony on my break,
smoking my last saved butt?
It was sheer bad luck when I picked up
the glass coffee pot and spun around
to pour another cup.  All I could think
as it shattered was how it was the same shape
and size as the customer’s head.  And this is why
I don’t believe in accidents, the grainy dregs
running like sludge down his thin tie
and pin-stripe shirt like they were channels
riven for just this purpose.

It wasn’t my fault. I know that. But what, really,
was the hurry? I dabbed at his belly with a napkin.
He didn’t have a cut on him (physics) and only
his earlobe was burned. But my last day there
was the first day I looked up as I walked, the trees
shimmering green lanterns under the Prussian blue
particulate sky, sun streaming between my fingers
as I waved at the bus, running, breathing hard, thinking:
This is the grand phenomenon of my body.  This thirst
is mine.  This is my one and only life.


Dark Brandon Ascending: Random Observations on a Patriotic Speech

1. There are a few criticisms to be made about President Joe Biden's speech in Philadelphia last night. For instance, when he said, "Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans.  Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology," he's really talking the difference between someone who comes to your house and murders everyone and someone who comes to your house, murders everyone, fucks the corpses, and sets the place on fire. Sure, the latter is way worse, but, you know, in the former, you're still murdered. 

Yeah, one way to look at that is Biden offering the supposedly "mainstream Republicans" a lifeboat from the Trumptanic before it smashes into the iceberg of reality and sinks into the depths of the brutal ocean of history. That lets Republicans off the hook for a whole lot of fuckery. While the "MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution.  They do not believe in the rule of law.  They do not recognize the will of the people," it's not like pre-Trump Republicans were handing out daisies across the aisle. What was the Republican Senate's use of the formerly rare filibuster as a regular tool to block legislation starting with Barack Obama's administration but another way to thwart the will of the people when they voted in Democratic majorities in Congress? Yeah, it's not the same as overturning an election because the results make you feel sad. But it's not that fucking far off. 

So, please, fucking spare me any wistful thoughts about Republicans who aren't full MAGA drones. Almost none have dared to criticize Trump or, heavens forfend, vote against him, even when he sent his braindead army to attack them. Biden said, "MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love." That's been the Republican agenda for decades. That's what "mainstream Republicans" believe. Don't pin that on the Trumpnuts. 

1a. Also, it's pretty sketchy to leave out the racism at the base of the MAGA movement. It's one of their prime motivating factors. Some of these fuckers wouldn't come out of their basements if they didn't think go time included killing them some non-whites. 

2. However, setting all that aside, the bulk of the speech was truly an ass-kicker, the Dark Brandon meme come to life. Setting it at Independence Hall was a nice middle finger to the January 6 insurrectionists, as if Biden was saying, "This is what a real revolution is, you fucking children." And he spoke in no uncertain terms about how fucked up the hopes of the MAGA hordes are: "They refuse to accept the results of a free election.  And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself." This is pretty much undeniable, and it's happening in nearly every Republican-led state, including places like Georgia, which said that its 2020 results were totally legitimate yet somehow it needed to overhaul its voting laws because "fraud." It's fucking madness. It's like saying that you need to create a Leprechaun Crime Unit in your state because those motherfucking leprechauns keep shitting in clover patches. Or, you know, it's like saying your rights come from God. You don't base laws on fantasies.

Biden went on, "MAGA Republicans have made their choice.  They embrace anger.  They thrive on chaos.  They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies" as some jagoffs with bullhorns screamed "Fuck you" in a pure demonstration of the very thing Biden was saying. I appreciated Biden calling out the MAGA chodes for being the whiny little bitches that they are. I mean, it's one thing to want to challenge an election right after the results come in. It's another to be saying two years later that you think it should be tossed out. That's as juvenile as cosplaying soldier. When Biden said, "They don’t understand what every patriotic American knows: You can’t love your country only when you win," he was saying you are a bunch of titty babies suckling at Trump's teats and you need to grow the fuck up. 

This was a Democrat standing up to bullies: not only the bullies in the streets and in Congress and in state houses, but the bullies in the right-wing media bullshit machine. When Biden said, "MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair.  They spread fear and lies –- lies told for profit and power," he was talking about Fox "news" and Steve Bannon and Trump and every fuckwhore podcaster and SuperPAC making coin by driving weak-minded people mad. He took the fight directly to the bullies and didn't hedge (other than the distinction between "mainstream" GOP and MAGA GOP). That's gonna fuck up the brains of the spoogerags of the right. They're gonna go to Defcon Tan Suit over this outrage.

2a. The fact that so many Republicans condemned the speech pretty much proved that a "mainstream Republicans" is a MAGA drone.

3. The dumbest response I've heard to Biden's speech is that it was wrong for him to speak with two Marines posted at the entrance to Independence Hall, that that was improper for a "political" speech and broke decorum or some such shit, with some offering that it was wrong when Trump did such things all the fucking time. And the only thing I could think was there was only one line of the speech that was genuinely political, the one about "no right to choose" I quoted up there. Yeah, sure, that's where there are policy debates. Otherwise, seriously, what the fuck was "political" about the speech, if by "political," you mean, "saying that your policies are superior to the opposing person/group's policies"? Biden's speech was about threats to democracy. The one time he mentioned Democrats was in a list with others: "Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans: We must be stronger, more determined, and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to destroying American democracy." Everyone united against a threat: honestly, how is that any different than a speech condemning terrorists for attacking the country? You don't ask for the terrorists to get a minute to explain the bombing because otherwise the speech is too "political." MAGAmites are trying to tear down democracy. That's a threat to the whole nation. Hell, it's even a threat to the MAGAmites, except they're too fucking stupid or corrupt to see it or care. 

And, yeah, fuck you if your takeaway from the speech is that you thought the Marine shit was a little over the top. Motherfucker, we have a country to save. The decorations don't matter. That's not politics. That's patriotism.

4. Biden believes in this country. He believes in the goodness of those of us damned to live through this idiotic time in this degraded nation. He believes that's worth fighting for. We can either join him in the fight or capitulate to the worst assholes. Fuck that malarkey.