7/19/2024

At the RNC, the Rapist Finally Speaks

The delegates at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee finally got to hear from the rapist last night. Of course, the rapist is a former president, elected when it was suspected he was a rapist, and now the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, which happened after he was adjudicated to be a sexual abuser by a jury, which the judge clarified really meant "rapist." The people there, from all 50 states, from various walks of life, primarily white, but not exclusively, were elated any time the rapist sat down in the auditorium to listen to other speakers during the convention. Well, more accurately, to fall asleep while others spoke. 

A number of the delegates wore large white patches or bandages on their right ear. It was a way of showing support for the rapist because he had almost been shot and killed a few days before. We don't know why the would-be assassin targeted him, but it wasn't for being a rapist. One could wonder if the bullet had taken part of the rapist's ear off, would they have cut off parts of their own flesh in sympathy. It sadly does not seem out of the realm of possibility. 

In his speech, the rapist, who was also convicted by a jury of and is awaiting sentencing for 34 felonies related to paying off a porn star who he had had an affair with, spoke vividly about the shooting. The rapist bragged how he had been "speaking very strongly, powerfully and happily." There was nothing humble in how the rapist talked about himself, despite what some in the press have said. There was no humility. He focused on how much people love him, so much so that even as "we had many bullets that were being fired," people didn't run away at the rally. Rather than attribute that to the fact that no one knew what was going on, the rapist said, "They just, this beautiful crowd, they didn’t want to leave me. They knew I was in trouble. They didn’t want to leave me. And you can see that love written all over their faces." The rapist was saying that, even with bullets "flying over us," the people didn't care about themselves or their loved ones. They only cared about the rapist. That's frankly disturbing, not "beautiful."

The rapist, who was fined $2 million for misuse of funds from a charity for children with cancer, then talked about Corey Comperatore, a fire chief who was at the rally and who was shot and killed protecting his family from the bullets. Comperatore's firefighter's jacket and helmet were on display on the stage, set up like a ghost was wearing them, and the rapist walked over to them and kissed the helmet with his rapist lips. It was, to anyone not inclined to love the rapist, creepy, at best. People in the crowd wept at what they saw as the rapist's kindness and decency. They wept when he talked about his own blood being spilled. "My god," they must have thought, "how much that rapist has suffered for me."

They also applauded and cheered in those first 15 minutes or so of the 93-minute speech as the rapist kept talking about "unity" and "In an age when our politics too often divide us, now is the time to remember that we are all fellow citizens — we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." It seemed, for some in press, the rapist had really been changed by his near-death experience. 

Of course, the rapist would never admit that he was one of the primary people dividing the country. The rapist has never admitted wrongdoing, no matter how many court cases go against him. He has almost never apologized for his failures. He dismisses dissent and disavows errors. The rapist has one true belief, and that belief is that he is owed...something, whether it's a fortune or the presidency or freedom. For some unknown reason, he believes the universe owes him, and, for some even more unknown reason, the universe keeps complying. 

Yet, even as he was willing to give credit to whatever his rapist mind conceives of as "God" for that bullet missing him, he could only see it filtered through his narcissism. "Unity" means he doesn't budge an inch on anything, but everyone must unify under what he wants. When he said, "As Americans, we are bound together by a single fate and a shared destiny," that destiny was his reelection. Join the rapist in transforming the nation or you are the problem, not the rapist, not the people who worship the rapist and have no problem at all electing the rapist. 

Indeed, a few seconds after quoting the Pledge of Allegiance, the rapist, who owes a half-billion dollars in fines for various frauds, took us on a journey into his dark heart, explicitly stating that the only way for the United States to unify is to dismiss all of the cases against him, that his crimes should go unpunished. And then the rapist, who others called a "changed man," showed that he hadn't changed one whit. 

Beyond his unchanging stances on immigration, taxes, foreign policy, and the economy, beyond his continuing to speak about his opponents in ways that invite further violence, the rapist did what all rapists do: he piled lie upon lie upon lie, building a mountain of lies that he could stand on and look down at everyone else. And there was no greater lie than his calls for everyone to come together. 

After his litany of horrors and bizarre tangents and weird asides, all the words that alienate more than half the people who listen to him and that ended up boring even the most loyal of his groveling followers, the rapist, who, it should always be noted, is only at the convention because he is out on bail, veered back to his script. "We must now come together, rise above past differences. Any disagreements have to be put aside, and go forward united as one people, one nation, pledging allegiance to one great, beautiful — I think it’s so beautiful — American flag," he said. 

Those words rang hollow. The only words that a rapist can say that wouldn't sound hollow would be "I'm sorry" and "I was wrong" and "I accept my punishment." When we speak of change and redemption, which is possible, even for a rapist, that is what we mean: acknowledge one's sins and ask forgiveness. Instead, we got to see an audience of fools cheer a rapist who is proudly, arrogantly irredeemable, and, thus, for those of us not cheering, will only ever be a filthy rapist.

7/14/2024

Donald Trump Still Sucks

My first thought when I heard someone attempted to assassinate former president and current GOP nominee Donald Trump was "Oh, for fuck's sake." My instinct was that, dead or alive, this would make Trump into a martyr and make his idiot hordes of MAGA freaks worship him that much more intensely. I don't think anyone is going to change their mind about voting for Trump because some fucknut almost offed him, but I do think that the fucknut guaranteed that more of those Trump-loving freaks will make the effort to vote. And I wouldn't be surprised if it provokes the cretins who have been waiting for an excuse to get crazier to think this is go time and causes more violence.

Republicans are absolutely giddy that this happened. You can tell from their orgasmically gleeful posts on social media, with Sen. JD "I'm a more vigorous leg-humper than you, Marco" Vance declaring that "The central premise of the Biden campaign is that President Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist who must be stopped at all costs. That rhetoric led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.” Others have piled on, blaming Biden, blaming Democrats, blaming anyone who ever said a negative word about their orange idol. It won't matter what we end up learning about the shooter. He's a registered Republican who loves guns? That won't slow the GOP's conspiracy-mongering one bit. He could have been hired by Don, Jr., and Republicans would still blame Joe Biden.

And there's this breathtaking bit of fuckery from Sen. Mike "I should be prosecuted in the fake electors scheme" Lee: "We’ve got to take the political temperature down, as evidenced by what happened in Pennsylvania today. We call on President Biden to immediately order that all federal criminal charges against President Trump be dropped, and to ask the governors of New York and Georgia to do the same. Such a gesture would help heal wounds and allow all Americans to take a deep breath and reflect on how we got here." Now that's taking an assassination attempt and making assassination-ade. A

It behooves all of us in this time of reflection to keep one thing in mind: Donald Trump still sucks. He's still a shitty human being. A convicted felon and rapist who gets shot at is still a convicted felon and rapist. He is also man who is out on bail and awaiting sentencing. He is still the same asshole who declares himself "your retribution" to his followers who have committed repeated acts of violence. He is still the same asshole who mocks Nancy Pelosi's husband for almost being murdered, who mocks Joe Biden for falling off his bike, who wants violent cops to be immune from prosecution, who calls for people to be beaten and jailed, who regularly says he wants the death penalty expanded, who wants to use the military to shoot protesters and shoplifters, who says he will defend everyone's ability to get the kind of gun that was used to nearly take him out, who brags he did nothing to stop the mass killing of children by guns, and whose views on migrants and trans people and others has caused spikes in violence agains those groups. And the vast majority of his party is one hundred percent with him and thus are one hundred percent as guilty as Trump is for creating an America where such violence is simply the Price of Freedom or some such shit.

Trump and GOP fucked around and almost found out. Their policies and beliefs pretty much guaranteed that something like this would happen. But the lesson they are going to take from this is not to ban the guns that allowed this to happen or, at the very least, tighten the requirements to buy the goddamn gun, the kind of gun that killed one person at the rally and injured others. No, the lesson they are going to take is to get even worse, to use this as a way to silence Democrats and the Biden campaign, intimidating them by wielding their supposed victimization like a gun pointed at the electorate. Democrats are already promising investigations and saying they won't criticize Trump and canceling rallies and ad buys. But the high road is bullshit, man, when the other side is digging the ground out from below you.

So, okay, fine, take a day or two, Democrats, to act like mensches. And then get right the fuck back to tearing Trump down. Despite what Vance and other syphilitic Republican whores say, we're all calling Trump a dictator and fascist because he said he's going to be a dictator and supports fascist policies. He's mused about changing when elections are held and "joked" about serving beyond a second term if he's elected, undermining our democratic system repeatedly. Fucker wants to round up millions of people working in this country, including children, and put them in camps. It's his big plan this time around. That's what authoritarians do. We're not making this shit up. We're listening to what Trump and his policy people say.

Fuck sympathy. I guarantee Trump'll be saying how Biden and "the Deep State" conspired to have him killed (leaving out, of course, that the Supreme Court said that Biden could totally do that). A thoughtful, reflective man might grow and change, evolve, even, after an incident like this. That is not Trump. He screamed, "Fight!" repeatedly after. He wanted his idiot hordes to riot for him, like he has before. I'd be shocked beyond shocked if he didn't continue in that vein.

I don't want Donald Trump to be murdered. I want him to lose the election so we can begin to purge his poisonous movement from our political system. I want him to go to prison for the very real crimes he committed and to have to pay the hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments he owes. I want him to have to live in disgrace and infamy for years before dying. Let's make sure that happens. 

(Note: I don't buy the idea that this was a false flag or some other conspiracy you're hearing from the left. Trump's not that good an actor. I do think it's hilarious to call it a false flag just to piss off MAGA goons who call every mass shooting that.)

7/11/2024

Joe Biden Is Running and That's That (Kind Of)

(Stick with me here. You're gonna agree and disagree with me strongly throughout the next few scribblings, but stick with me.)

I've been cagey, at best, about all this, so let me lay all my cards on the table here: I don't think Joe Biden should be running for a second term as president of the United States. (Remember: Stick with me.) It's plainly obvious that he's declined in the last year or so, with moments of absolute command and power (like the State of the Union, which was a long four months ago). But between the debate disaster and many other appearances where he's obviously confused or on autopilot, it's impossible to deny what's so clear. And it's kind of ridiculous to see all the praise for when Biden gives a speech with energy, yelling emphatically as if that demonstrates some kind of youthful vigor. Yes, he can read words and even mean them, but all that shows is that he's not totally incapacitated. 

I'll go even further and agree with Adam Serwer and others: I believe Biden should step down now and let Kamala Harris become president. Not only does it confer the glow of incumbency on Harris, but it's an act of supreme grace. Biden's last act as a public figure would be to assure that this dumb, sexist, racist country finally has a woman, a Black woman, as its president. What an incredible exclamation point on a long, fairly distinguished (with some significant blemishes) record. 

As I've said before, if you're replacing Biden, it's gotta be Kamala Harris unless she says she doesn't want it. Otherwise, Democrats will alienate the most reliably Democratic voting bloc in the country, as many Black leaders and commentators have warned. Besides, don't you wanna see Harris act like the vicious prosecutor she is against Trump in a debate? God, it'd be beautiful to see Trump have to stand there while Harris tears him to pieces. 

So there you go. That's where I stand on the issue with one caveat: Biden's gotta pull the trigger. That's the price of admission. Maybe after the NATO summit. Maybe after the Republican convention so that the GOP loses the chance to spend four big days lying about Harris. If Biden doesn't walk away, however stiffly, then, fuck it, it's Biden. Any effort to remove Biden would rip the party apart. Suck it up, motherfuckers, stop sniping at each other, and campaign like you're campaigning for Harris.

But, listen, goddamnit, and this is key: if you believe that Biden can't do the job and won't last another term, then, yeah, you are pretty much campaigning for and voting for Harris. What is the qualitative difference, if you think, as I do, that Biden can't go another four years, between Biden off or on the ticket if Harris has to be the replacement? That's where my head is right now. Sure, it's not an ideal situation; I'd love to see a full-fledged Harris for President campaign and get the chance to rally around her. And it's also entirely possible that Biden does do the next four years if re-elected. But we'd have all been fine with that if Biden had had a vaguely competent debate and fewer stumbling appearances. So, again, what's the difference in sticking with the ticket we have and working to make that ticket win and shutting the fuck up about our doubts about Biden's brain?

What Democrats should do is move away from all speculation about What Biden Should Do and pivot when asked that question. It's simple. Shit, I'll give you the script, like a good PR assistant: "Well, if you believe President Biden can't work for the American people for another four years, you should be thrilled that we have an excellent vice-president running with him." There you go. Turn it around on the questioner, promote Harris, and say, in essence, "Yeah, we know what's going on. We're not fucking idiots. But we can live with it." 

Hell, if you want, you could add, "Donald Trump's vice-president doesn't even support him for re-election." Or "Donald Trump sent a mob to murder his vice-president. Joe Biden trusts and respects Kamala Harris."

And then start attacking the fuck out of Trump and the Republicans. The question about Biden was asked and answered. If you (or I) don't like the answer, that's on you (or me). But our responsibility now is to take that bloated oranger fucker and his whole debased, anti-American movement down. Who leads us to do that is, frankly, far less important than that we do it. Survive the tornado and clean up after. So, yeah, fuck it, it's Biden/Harris, even if I'm leaning hard on the "Harris" part. Stop playing the fucking game that the corporate media and the GOP want you to play by engaging in endless debates about this.

Of course, obviously, major news outlets are going to keep this story alive when they should be giving at least equal weight to what President Biden has done (good and bad) and what Donald Trump did as president and the fucking insane shit he says on a daily basis. I still can't get my head around how the conversation is only that Biden is acting old and not that a convicted fucking felon, rapist, fraudster, and coup leader who is opposed by dozens of high-ranking officials who worked for him might become president with a get-out-of-jail-free card from a corrupt Supreme Court. The New York Times's editorial calling Trump "unfit" to be president is a start, but the bulk of coverage and commentary is still sharply tilted to getting Biden out. We could use a little fucking both-siderism in this case. 

So take a page from me. I've said what I have to say. Barring some major new information about Biden's cognitive abilities or Biden actually dropping out, I'm done talking about it. So should everyone else. But, what the hell, take a week, until after the RNC, to make sure Biden's not just waiting to take the savage heat from that conglomeration of assholes, dickfleas, twatmites, and shitheels before dropping out. Then, when he stays in, move the fuck on to the campaign to save the goddamn country. 

7/03/2024

The Supreme Court Launches an Attack on the United States; Democrats Need to Fire Back

I've been thinking about all the things that got us to this point, where the conservative super-majority on the Supreme Court felt free to overturn a 40-year precedent that allowed the government to actually function efficiently and then, in the same week, was just fucking fine in giving a president "absolute immunity" to commit crimes as long as they fall within "official" duties. And let's be honest: They were giving Donald Trump and Republicans that pass. If a Democratic president had farted too loudly, this court would have found a way to have them executed immediately, and so it would be in the future. 

But it wasn't one thing that got us here. It wasn't just the 2016 election debacle. Yes, you can fucking despise everyone who prevented Hillary Clinton from winning, from Trump voters to the New York Times to James Comey to Bernie Sanders' voters to Susan Sarandon, but it wasn't just 2016. You gotta go back. It was when Senator Joe Biden wanted to play nice with Republicans and allowed Clarence Thomas's nomination to get out of the Judiciary Committee he chaired. It was when Democrats didn't filibuster evil twatmite Samuel Alito's nomination despite having the votes to do it because they respected the process. It was when anyone who suggested Ruth Bader Ginsberg retire while Barack Obama was president was accused of ageism or sexism and silenced despite it being the fucking right thing to do (see Anthony Kennedy two years later). It was when Obama held Senate Democrats back from going to war over Mitch McConnell's complete fuckery, upending of rules and tradition and history, in refusing to even allow a vote on Merrick Garland's nomination. It was Democrats believing that comity and Reaching Across the Aisle and all that bullshit meant something when the lesson they haven't learned, since perhaps LBJ was in the White House, is that when you have power, you fucking use that power, and you do everything to achieve your goals, your opponent be fucking damned. And if you don't use power when you have it, if you don't use the big megaphone to rally people, if you don't find ways to get shit done, then you are unilaterally disarming. 

The Supreme Court's decision in the incredibly symbolically named Trump v. United States case has no silver lining. Anyone who tells you that is fucking delusional. What's been set up by the Court in its division of crimes that are also official acts and unofficial ones is endless litigation over any charge brought against a former president for criminal acts. In one of the most fucked-up lines in any recent Supreme Court case (and there are a lot to choose from in the past couple of years), Roberts writes that court may not "deem an action unofficial merely because it allegedly violates a generally applicable law." You got that? When you break the law, you commit a crime, but that doesn't matter. That line affirms Richard Nixon's frightening assertion that "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal." 

This is nothing short of an attack on the very foundation of this country. One of the reasons we even fucking exist is to have a country where everyone is subject to laws and no one person, a king or queen, can merely act without regard to those laws. I mean, the majority on the Supreme Court essentially just did George III's job for him, like this is a last battle of the Revolutionary War. (I mean, the fuckers on the right are literally talking about a second American revolution.)

It's an extremist act from a reactionary Court that has set itself at the top of the government and our society, like the mullahs in Iran who really run that country (as long as they do the bidding of the oligarchs there, which still goes for the US). Look at the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade and the Loper Bright decision that overturned the Chevron case giving deference to federal agencies in enforcement actions. Both of those were attacks on expertise. Doctors and their patients don't know best. Pregnant people don't know best. People who have spent their lives as researchers and scientists and workers in a field don't know best. Only the courts do in their obvious boundless and infinite wisdom on every single subject. Everything must be filtered through, they hope, radical right-wing judges.

The Supreme Court is not superior to the President or Congress. It's co-equal. And Joe Biden and Democrats need to act like they are equal partners in this shit fight at the fuck factory we call "government." And here's when I say something some of you are not gonna like, but, fuck it, it's not like I haven't said it before: I don't think Biden's up to the task. This isn't about his age. He's never been up for this particular task, even before his age and faculties became such an issue. And I'm not talking about fantasies about what Biden, now untethered from being accused of crimes for his official acts, could do, like go Michael Corelone on all his enemies (look it up, kids). 

Biden's an institutionalist. He believes in tradition and norms and rules, which are not bad things at all. But he responds as if his opponents have the same sense of the history of the nation and a devotion to the ideals of the United States when, truly, they don't give a fuck about anything but themselves and their idiot voters. Biden still makes a distinction between "MAGA Republicans" and what he believes are "good" Republicans, which would seem to just be Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins, and maybe or or two others, yet, with the exception of some abortion votes for Murkowski and Collins, the only distinction they have is that they don't support Trump. 

Hell, in his speech on extreme weather this week, he said, "My predecessor and the MAGA Republicans in Congress are trying to undo all this progress.  They still deny climate change even exists." And then later said, "Every single congressional Republican voted against the investments which created these jobs and combat climate change." So, really, the "MAGA" modifier is unnecessary since they all vote in lockstep on virtually everything. If you believe that piles of shit might have a gold nugget in there, you will dig through shit trying to find it and you will assuredly only come up with shit-stained hands. 

When it comes to the Supreme Court, Biden has stated, repeatedly, that he doesn't support any kind of reform beyond some ethics rules (which, no doubt, would be a good thing). In his remarks on the Trump immunity case, he keeps talking about voting, which, yeah, absolutely, fucking vote in November. But that doesn't change the court unless Thomas, Alito, and Roberts retire during a second term. That doesn't overturn this decision until at least two of the conservatives are replaced by a Democrat. The same goes for abortion rights and for power being restored to federal agencies and so much more. 

Democrats need to fire back at the Court and fire back hard. Drag the fuckers into the sunlight. Make Clarence Thomas's corruption an issue. Tie the majority with enemies of the nation. Fuck, I'd have an ad out already putting the six conservatives in British redcoat outfits. The Supreme Court is treated as if it's hands off when it comes to the filthy political world, except for "I'll pick justices like this one that I like." Fuck that. Call for impeachment of Thomas and Alito and say you can only do it if you get the majorities you need. Put it all on the table. Expansion, term limits, all of it. And everyone isn't on political social media or watching John Oliver explain it all for you. I guarantee that if you make an ad saying how fucking much Clarence Thomas gets from his billionaire sponsors, a fuckton of people will be getting that info for the first time. 

Basically, fuck the Supreme Court. The fuckers wanna play? Fucking play. 

Go even further to bring things back to what they're supposed to be. Propose an amendment to the Constitution that says the president must follow the laws. You're reading that and saying, "Yeah, right, that'll never happen." Think of all the shit the right has proposed that everyone thought would never fucking happen. It happens. You put the crazy dream shit out there and work towards it. You make it a rallying point. 

And rather than follow Biden's lead and going high when they go low or what the fuck ever, Democrats need to get out ahead on this because Republicans sure as shit are trumpeting and celebrating that Donald Trump got the Court over the finish line on all these issues. Essentially, the Supreme Court has put in place everything the right needs to get Project 2025 operational. They just need Trump to win. It's the final piece to the puzzle. So, yeah, yeah, vote like the country's life depends on it. If it's Biden, fine. Fuck it. If it's someone else, like Harris, same. But when it comes to the Court, it's time to drag them back into the gutter with the rest of us. 

6/28/2024

Are We Really That Fucked After Last Night's Debate?

Yeah, I'll get to Biden, but the thing that needs to be hammered over and over is how much Donald Trump flat-out, blatantly, willfully, unapologetically lied every time he opened his filthy fucking mouth at last night's first presidential debate. He lied about the economy, he lied about Covid, he lied about immigration, he lied about abortion, he lied about January 6, he lied about his legal cases, he lied about NATO, he lied and he lied and then he lied some more. He lied as if lies were air and water and food. He lied as if lies were pussies out there for the grabbing. He lied as if his dick was made of lies and he could fuck the truth to death. He lied like lies were his name that he could plaster over anything and claim it was his. It was almost breathtaking to behold someone for whom the truth and reality are mere inconveniences to be washed away by his torrent of lies and then to think that he has a very real shot of becoming president. Even worse, he has a real shot at becoming president again. Trump is a fraud, a disgrace, and a motherfucker of unquenchable appetites, but goddamn if he doesn't know that there are plenty of voters who want to hear a lie told arrogantly, with braggadocio and bluster, than hear the truth told quietly. 

Why would anyone who does live in a world of observable and demonstrable facts trust a single word Trump says? Imagine being a US ally and hearing Trump repeat all these lies again and again. You'd be a fool to take him at his word on anything. You'd be a fool to put the safety of your nation and the world in his hands. I don't have to imagine being an American and knowing that my president is lying so copiously that it makes all the other lying presidents look like goddamn angels. It strips away any sense of security and stability. And, sorry, that's way more fucking frightening than Biden's age.

And I know, I know, I fucking know that both sides agreed to the rules for the debate, and one of those rules was no fact-checking. But CNN did a disservice to the nation by not once insisting that the candidates, especially Trump, stay in the realm of what's real. Traditional fact-checking would be "You said the United States has spent $200 billion on Ukraine. The real number is $110 billion." That's straightforward and, sure, it's the kind of shit that can wait until after the debate. But Trump was up there accusing Biden of taking money from China. He still insisted that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Those are big picture kinds of things that deserve some fucking slap down from the moderators. You're allowed to say, "Mr. Trump, you're factually wrong that you won the last presidential race." You're allowed to say, "No one is allowed to murder a baby after it's been born." That's not "fact-checking." That's "reality-affirming." 

Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are actual, honest-to-god journalists. To have them play the role of talk show host is worthless. Moderators keep shit on track. They don't just ask something and then say, "Fuck it," stay silent, and let the response chips fall where they may. When they asked a question and Trump used all his time to talk about something completely off-topic, they should have shut him the fuck down and insisted he answer. When they asked him about the January 6 insurrection and he diverted to immigration again (as he did with every fucking thing he was asked), they should have cut him off and made him answer and not let him ramble on until a pause where they could ask again, which they did several times. 

Yeah, President Joe Biden fucked it. He came across as fucking ancient, with a weakened voice and occasionally incomprehensible mumble. Even if he did have a cold, as his campaign insisted he did a little while in to the debate, that doesn't explain his rambling and his losing the thread of what he was talking about. And while Biden's answers were based in reality and while he mostly answered the actual questions, he failed again and again to counter Trump's lies and accusations and, frankly, stupidity. I kept thinking as I watched that Biden should have had an answer ready for the abortion lie I mentioned above. He didn't even have a strong answer for when Trump started attacking his son, Hunter. Both times, he could have revealed that compassionate side he's known for. He should have been able to jump on Trump's astounding assertion that Vladimir Putin would release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich only if he's president. He should have talked directly to young people when Trump proved that he would do fuck-all to mitigate climate change. But he didn't. And perhaps he couldn't. Any decent debater would have destroyed Trump. Kamala Harris or Gretchen Whitmer would have reduced him to even more of a babbling rage balloon than he already is. 

So how fucked are we? Should Biden drop out and allow for another Democrat to take over the nomination, as so many in the punditocracy and more than a few Democratic operatives are saying? One reason I didn't write a hot take last night is that I didn't want my pants-shitting emotions that I expressed in the moment on Threads to rule what I said. As I did write last night, I now completely understand the people who have been calling on Biden to walk away from the race. And I do think Biden is too old to be president, but I also think Trump is too old, too. Neither of them should be running. 

I keep thinking how it plays out if Biden says he's done. If the nominee isn't Kamala Harris, it could cause a hell of a schism in the Democratic Party along racial and, perhaps, gender lines (if the nominee were Gavin Newsom or Josh Shapiro, both solid choices, by the way). But if it is Harris, I don't know how that goes, even if she wipes the floor with Trump in a debate because, and this is very important, for the most part, no one really gives a shit about debates except those of us who are damned to be so fucking plugged into the political bullshit machine for the ludicrous length of time that our presidential campaigns last. So I'm not taking a final position on Biden dropping out because I think it's a waste of time and energy that can be spent making sure everyone knows what a fucktastrophe a second Trump presidency would be. But if Biden's going out, it's gotta happen right fucking now. One upside to Biden walking away is that a younger candidate taking over would jolt this race to life and get a whole bunch of interest from people who have tuned out because of the sameness of it all. 

What I do know is that I'll support Biden if he stays because, whether he's with it or not, his administration has done some fantastic things (even if I completely disagree with them on Israel and a few other areas).  I want that administration to continue. Whether or not Biden drops out, I'll support whoever the nominee is because I'm not a fucking idiot who wants to see Trump and his idiot horde of nation destroyers go on a rampage of Christian nationalism and unhinged greed and brainless isolationism. I mean, it's fucking June. One good viral moment for Joe and all is forgiven about the debate. That's how dumb contemporary media is. 

Look, Biden had a terrible night. The rasping, the confused answers, the inability to respond clearly. It was a disaster, and we don't need to sugarcoat that. But the whole thing was a disaster. It was honestly depressing that we have to contemplate Trump being reelected. What kind of stupid fucking country would elect a convicted felon with up to three trials and at least two appeals coming up? The stupidest kind, that's who. And Trump calling Biden a criminal was fucking absurd. Trump was allowed to be at the debate because he's fucking out on fucking bail. And all that criminality got almost no mention except for a single question, as if the moderators were ignoring those facts, including that Trump's a fucking rapist. How come no one is pressuring Republicans to get the convicted felon and rapist who's out on bail to drop out? We should be constantly appalled by the idea that Trump is running and he has so much support, despite his crimes. 

Frankly, that's the most degrading part of this whole fucking race, not Biden acting his age.

6/20/2024

Louisiana Wants to Put a Sign About Fucking in Kindergarten Classrooms

The state of Louisiana, with its overwhelmingly batshit insane Republican legislature and its even more bugfuck insane Republican governor, have passed a law that requires all public-funded schools, including universities, to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom. In case you don't know, the Ten Commandments are from the fictional book known as "The Bible." In that epic novel, a character named Moses is given stone tablets by the character God containing ten pretty simplistic, common sense ideas, the kind of shit that fiction writers make seem way more meaningful than it actually is. I mean, c'mon, "thou shalt not kill"? No shit. Ooh, look at the big brain on God. Any fuckin' idiot knows not to kill or steal. But, sure, let's all pretend like this is some huge fuckin' revelation. Oh, and only Christians and Jews give a flying fuck about what's in this Bible thing. All other faiths and atheists can fuck off, but give us your tax money to spend on all this. 

The law itself is completely fucking mad. This is an actual quote from the law: "At a minimum, the Ten Commandments shall be displayed on a poster or framed document that is at least eleven inches by fourteen inches. The text of the Ten Commandments shall be the central focus of the poster or framed document and shall be printed in a large, easily readable font." There aren't enough jacking-off gestures to make at that. 

It gives the exact language that must be used on the Ten Commandments posters that, again, are supposed to be in every public school classroom. And it's some old school King James shit, as in "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbor's." That is really in a real law passed by real adults in the real 21st-century in a real state in this increasingly unreal country. 

And, interestingly, it includes, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." According to every religious scholar I bothered to read for this, that commandment is about fucking. Don't fuck someone else's spouse. Or, conversely, if you're married, don't fuck anyone not your spouse. You can say it's about other things, too, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the Seventh Commandment is clearly and intentionally about intercourse. The act of sex. Fucking. 

The state of Louisiana has said that "Each public school governing authority and the governing authority of each nonpublic school that receives state funds shall display the Ten Commandments in each building it uses and classroom in each school under its jurisdiction." So it has to go up, with this required language, in the classrooms of pre-K kids, kindergarteners, and first graders. Which means that "Thou shalt not commit adultery" will be right there in front of thousands of Louisiana's small children. 

Lemme state this as clearly as possible: the Republican governor and the Republican legislature of Louisiana are forcing kids as young as four years-old to be faced, every single day they are in school, with a poster-sized list of rules that includes no fucking outside of marriage. 

Children being children, I think they might have questions about this whole "adultery" thing. How will those questions be answered? Will the teacher be allowed to say, "According to God, your mommy shouldn't have sex with your best friend's mommy or daddy"? Will they explain sex? Will they be allowed to explain sex? Louisiana law says that you can't teach about fucking until 7th grade (unless you live in New Orleans, where it's third grade. No, really). The teacher couldn't hand a child a book about adultery, like, say, the works of Louisiana writer Kate Chopin. That would likely run afoul of other laws that prevent children from having access to reading material that contains anything that's sexually explicit. Except, I guess, "Don't fuck around on your spouse" being on the wall in your 5 year-old's music classroom. Let alone "manservant" and "maidservant." 

The stupidest part of this whole thing is that Louisiana is almost always on the bottom of the nation when it comes to education, and this is the the shit that the politicians wasted their time on. It's also the kind of shit that happens when you no longer have a Democratic governor to occasionally say, "Knock it off, right-wing fuckers." This was done to please a core constituency of Christian zealots and to keep them donating to support their dickhole legislators who probably break half of the commandments before lunch. 

And part of that little performance is to make sure that the ACLU sues so the dickholes can act like they are standing up to the big city liberals. Of course, the ACLU is suing, along with other organizations, because this is a blatant establishment of religion by a government using public funds. So instead of spending the money to make their children a little smarter than their parents, millions of dollars will be wasted on years of litigation in the hopes that the Supreme Court will be deluded and Jesus-humping enough to allow this fuckery to happen. 

As someone from Louisiana, who went to public schools in Louisiana, who was a student when Louisiana had its teaching of creationism shot down by the Supreme Court, this is just fucking embarrassing, like the red states have to compete with each other to show that they are the most evangelical fucknuts in the whole Christian nationalist asylum and Louisiana just pulled ahead in the moron race.

One thing I look forward to is that if the Ten Commandments posters are ever installed in every classroom, they will have dicks drawn on them inside 2 days of being put up. I believe in the children. 

6/13/2024

It Wasn't Just Sharks. The Rest of That Trump Speech Was Batshit, Too.

When rapist and convicted felon Donald Trump spoke at a heat stroke-inducing rally in Las Vegas on Sunday, his teleprompter was fucking up and he was forced to go almost totally off the cuff. A wiser man might have read from a prepared speech, a printout of which was no doubt available to him. But Donald Trump is not a wise man. He's a goddamned idiot who thinks that every word he pisses out is like a fuckin' sermon from Jesus himself. And his followers are willing to go to the hospital to get sprayed with his incoherent streams and declare them showers of gold. 

Surely, you have heard about how Trump told some fake fuckin' story about asking an obviously confused boat maker about electrocution by boat battery in the ocean or getting eaten by sharks, as if that's something that anyone has ever had to decide ever or ever would have to decide. In the non-Trumpian, real world, that would be enough to have him led back to a home for the elderly and have him sat in front of a TV playing Fox "news" and giving him a double scoop of ice cream filled with Xanax to keep him calm. 

You've heard the story discussed as more evidence of his decline into gibberish. But you haven't really heard about the rest of the speech. And that's a shame because it's equally deranged, ranging from What-the-fucking-fuck moments to utter dickishness to tangents upon tangents within tangents that demonstrate an inability to coherently keep to a point. Lemme give you a few examples.

Early on, Trump declared that President Biden's shift on immigration is "bullshit," which made the idiot horde of 6900 overheated MAGA blobs chant, "Bullshit!" over and over. Trump responded, "Wow, that’s turning out to be like deplorable. Remember deplorable, when Hillary said deplorable? She said deplorable. And that was not good. That was not a good word to use. This word seems to be catching on a little bit, but in a much more positive way than deplorable. That was not good. She actually said deplorable and irredeemable. Do you remember? And I heard it, and I said, 'Wow, that irredeemable is really a bad word,' and it didn’t catch on. What caught on was deplorable. So what the hell do I know about politics, right?" Hillary Clinton was invoked at least four times in the speech, like a hit song that he had to play, even though she has nothing to do with this current presidential cycle. 

Trump is obsessed with degrading Biden's physicality because it's just so obvious that Biden's in better shape than whatever amorphous gelatin sack he is under his terrible-fitting suits. I mean, this is some jealous bitch shit: "If this guy just, you know he goes to the beach all the time. Somebody thinks he looks good in a bathing suit; I don’t think so. And he has that little chair that weighs about seven ounces. It’s meant so children can lift it and very old people can lift it."

He kept bringing up how fucking hot it was, and he was just an asshole about it: "And now, by the way, it’s 110, but it doesn’t feel it to me, right? So we’ll stay out here for a little while. If anybody gets tired, you’ll let me know. And if anybody goes down, if you start going down, we have people, they’ll pick you up right away. They’ll throw water. They were so worried. Everybody was so worried yesterday about you, and they never mentioned me. I’m up here sweating like a dog. The Secret Service said, 'We have to make sure everyone’s safe.' I said, What about me? 'Oh, we never thought of that.' They don’t think about me. I’m working my ass off. I’m working hard. This is hard work." No, motherfucker. Talking for an hour when you could have fucking canceled the whole event isn't hard work. It's being a narcissistic prick who couldn't stand to not have a chance to prance around a stage in front of fawning fucknuts, even if it's miserable out. 

Here's a new Trump fact, which means "fucking lie" to most of us: "Virtually 100% of the new jobs under Biden have also gone to illegal aliens. Did you know that? 100%. And these people, are so bad they will correct me when I say 100%. 100% of the new jobs have gone to illegal aliens. Can you believe it? And that’s where we are." I have no clue where he got this other than from his infected ass. Suffice to say, if this were the case, wages would not be rising, among other real world implications. It's just a fucked thing to assert.  

Okay, see if you can follow this train of thought. This is not edited at all. I mean, kudos for returning to the subject at hand - immigration - but what the fuck, man? "That border is so meaningless. They just walk right through. They go right through the so-called border states, and they end up in Iowa. They end up in Idaho. Remember when Joe said it’s great to be in Idaho? And he was in Iowa. He always does that. If I ever did that, it would be over. They’d say that’s the end of his political career. He’s cognitively impaired. Oh, no, no. I had a second test. I aced it. I aced both of them. Not easy to ace. Biden should have a cognitive test, number one. They say it’s unconstitutional. That’s a good excuse. He should have a cognitive test. And before the debate in two weeks, he should take a drug test because I’m willing to take one. So Nevada’s being turned into a dumping ground, and you are." That's not even the worst of his flights of insanity. 

He also called Special Counsel Jack Smith a "dumb son of a bitch" and said that the first thing he'd do in office is eliminate the tax on tips for service industry workers and that the first thing he'd do in office is close the border. In one incredibly incoherent ramble, Trump started on electric cars, then veered into Roger Penske's success at the Indianapolis 500, then veered into his generals and his "defeat" of ISIS, then veered into bitching about the teleprompter and how people accuse him of not paying people, then veered into the "stolen" 2020 election, then veered into how much he gets in campaign donations, then veered into his indictments, then veered into how dumb he thinks Biden is and how Biden supposedly stole more records than he did, then veered into the whole electric boats and sharks thing, then veered into trans women in women's sports, then veered into more about the border, then veered back to the difference between electric and hybrid cars, then veered into how China executes drug dealers (and maybe users - the policy in his telling was unclear), then veered into being upset that he's mocked for how he walks on stairs before mocking Joe Biden's age, then veered into...

I'm not making this up. And apparently this oblivious, incomprehensible stream-of-consciousness is how he talked to congressional Republicans today, where not a one said an on-the-record negative word.

Again, it needs to be said that, yes, Joe Biden is an old man. But he is not completely disassociated from reality like Trump so obviously is. And that point needs to be hammered again and again. It's not just that Trump's a danger because he'll become a dictator. It's that he's dangerous because he's too out of it to be a real dictator and the competent fascists will be running the joint. 

6/09/2024

Conservative Plans for a Next Trump Presidency Are Dumb and Frightening

(Note: I wrote this originally over on my subscriber-only Patreon page, where you can join starting at a buck a month, with more treats for $3 and $5 per month subscribers. You can even pay for a year in advance which gets you a fancy discount. Join the smart rudesters there now.)

The nutzoid right-wing Heritage Foundation (motto: "Putting 'White' before 'Heritage' would be too obvious") has this thing called Project 2025, which is a bunch of extremist lunatics saying that a next Trump presidency would be a "unique opportunity for conservatives to start undoing the damage the Left has wrought and build a better country for all Americans in 2025." In other words, rawdogging democracy and freedom until they're festering with fascist syph. 

They've created an 887-page (no, really) guidebook of the MAGA hell that they want to ensue if the Retrumpening comes to fruition. Titled Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise, it's nothing less than a complete tearing down of the modern government and rebuilding it in the image of the worst motherfuckers who appear on Steve Bannon's shitty podcast of doom. It's filled with all kinds of fuckery, from firing long-term civil servants and replacing them with MAGA-certified drones to fucking up the climate even more to destroying anyone who even breathes about diversity to way more. Again, it's 887 pages of this shit. 

And some of it gets downright weird. 

For instance, I don't know why pornography shows up in this at all. But it fucking well does: "Pornography, manifested today in the omnipresent propagation of transgender ideology and sexualization of children, for instance, is not a political Gordian knot inextricably binding up disparate claims about free speech, property rights, sexual liberation, and child welfare. It has no claim to First Amendment protection. Its purveyors are child predators and misogynistic exploiters of women. Their product is as addictive as any illicit drug and as psychologically destructive as any crime. Pornography should be outlawed. The people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned. Educators and public librarians who purvey it should be classed as registered sex offenders. And telecommunications and technology firms that facilitate its spread should be shuttered."

Putting aside that transgender porn is still a fairly small niche category compared to, say, cis het cream pies, the obvious questions are what is porn and who gets to decide. Right now, actual adults are screaming about a bare ass in a kid's book and calling it "porn," which definitely says more about the accuser than it does about the author or librarian. But if a town decides that naked butt cheeks in Dr. Seuss is the same as a 69ing rim job, then the school librarian would have to be considered the same as a rapist or a public masturbator, which is really what all this is anyways. And what about Matt Gaetz going around and showing nude photos of women he's fucking? That seems porn-y, too. He took the photos, so he has to go to prison, which, well, okay, I'm actually good with that. But only for Matt Gaetz. It's just a fucking weird thing to have in your encyclopedic manifesto of how repressive you want shit to be when the presumed leader of this fucked, you know, porn stars.

I promise you that I haven't read the whole thing because it's just deranged. It's like a teen incel's attempt at political shitposting: "The next conservative President must make the institutions of American civil society hard targets for woke culture warriors. This starts with deleting the terms sexual orientation and gender identity ('SOGI'), diversity, equity, and inclusion ('DEI'), gender, gender equality, gender equity, gender awareness, gender-sensitive, abortion, reproductive health, reproductive rights, and any other term used to deprive Americans of their First Amendment rights out of every federal rule, agency regulation, contract, grant, regulation, and piece of legislation that exists." What the ever-fucking fuck? The word "gender" deprives people of their First Amendment rights? These pricks are just angry that they got Bs in their freshman sociology classes.

It's all there, all the bullshit they've been spouting for years, decades even, like the wishlist of a deranged monster built from parts of Reagan, W, and Trump. Get rid of the Department of Education. Close the border. Fire anyone who even smells like DEI or ESG. Ban abortion. And on and on.

If any left-wing organization put out something like this, it would become the evillest thing every written in the history of forever, the Green New Deal crossed with the Communist Manifesto times The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It would be the only thing talked about on Fox "news" and its devolved descendant networks. They'd call it "P25" or something that sounds sinister and Deep State-ish, like a cabal of blood drinkers and child fuckers are creating a wormhole to a nightmare plain of existence. Every single Republican would be bringing it up every chance they had, and the febrile media, desperate to remain relevant, would ask every Democrat where they stand on P25. 

And what I don't fucking get is why Democrats don't do that right now to Republicans. Why don't they quote shit like "Because liberal states have now become sanctuaries for abortion tourism, HHS should use every available tool, including the cutting of funds, to ensure that every state reports exactly how many abortions take place within its borders, at what gestational age of the child, for what reason, the mother’s state of residence, and by what method" and use that to say how Republicans want to come after women for getting abortions in other states? Why don't they quote how NOAA is "a colossal operation that has become one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry and, as such, is harmful to future U.S. prosperity" and "The preponderance of its climate-change research should be disbanded"? 

It's all fucking nuts, and it's all there in an unwieldy dream journal of future fascists of America. We should make it the new CRT. Whenever people hear "P25," they should cringe. And, as ever, we have the benefit of telling the truth about this insanity, unlike the abject liars we're attacking.

(Seriously, come sign up for the Patreon. I dive into speeches and court cases and other documents. I explore the fuckery of right-wing online groups, as well as members of Congress. And sometimes I just wanna tell a goddamn story. It's extra rudeness every week.)

5/30/2024

18 Quick Takes on 34 Convictions

1. I was at a pub in London when I saw the news that rapist Donald Trump was convicted of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. A few beers in and sitting with a couple of other Americans, we let out a cheer and an exhale of relief. If I hadn't already been drunk, I'd've gotten drunk because fuck, yeah.

2. No, this isn't the end of anything. But it's a good damn start. I've long said that Trump being found guilty in one case would signal to other juries that he's not untouchable, that he doesn't get away with everything. Let this start a cascade of consequences. 

3. Again, lots of shit can happen before Trump spends a day in prison (including Judge Merchan not sentencing Trump to prison), but, at this point, the system works. A judicial system that seemed incapable of holding Trump to account for crimes actually worked.

4. If regular people can easily understand the complexities of this case and find him guilty, imagine how easy it's gonna be if, say, the Georgia case or the documents case ever go to trial. That shit's simple. If this was Ulysses, the documents case is the fucking Cat in the Hat

5. Give some motherfuckin' respect to Stormy Daniels. She's been put through hell by Trump's goons and his idiot hordes of MAGA fucknuts. She's gonna have to endure that bullshit for the rest of her life. But she sat on that stand and told Trump and his attorney to go fuck themselves. And the jury obviously took a porn star's word over a former president's about whether or not they fucked. Or, more accurately, whether or not Trump fucked her badly.

6. Speaking of Daniels, did Trump have so little juice with NBC that he couldn't have gotten her on The Celebrity Apprentice? Fuckin' Victoria Gotti was a contestant. Daniels wouldn't have been a big swing. Either he was too stupid to realize that he could avoid a whole lot of trouble by casting her or NBC thought he was a little bitch and ignored him. 

7. Michael Cohen is a skeevy son of a bitch and a prick and a half, but he isn't dumb. He wasn't going to lie on the stand again. If anyone involved was a character out of a tragedy, someone worthy of a bit of pity, it was Cohen, who must be relishing this moment with the glee that can only come when you know you're responsible for destroying the person who destroyed you.

8. I'm honestly afraid for Judge Merchan, his family (especially his daughter),  Alvin Bragg, the jurors, and the witnesses because it just takes a couple of Trump's delusional mongrels to get murdery. That's how goddamned low Trump has brought this country.

9. Lemme address the MAGA freaks: have some self-respect, you fucking losers. Go support any of a hundred other Republican dickheads who are as racist and stupid as you are but aren't convicted felons and rapists. Walk the fuck away already.

10. I know you won't because you're such self-hating fucking dumbasses, but I thought I'd suggest it.

11. Seriously, how fucking sorry-ass do you need to be to sit there and think that every single juror, members of the law enforcement, judges, and officials are all in a massive conspiracy, that everything is "rigged," rather than just fucking accepting that the cockscab is a criminal and you've been suckered?

12. Of course, it's also entirely possible they love criminal cockscabs and, well, nothing to be done about that.

13. Yes, let's rub their stupid faces in it. They would have done the same if the verdict had gone differently.

14. As for elected Republicans, don't fucking talk to us about how you're tough on crime when you're going to nominate a convicted felon for president. You're filthy liars and raging hypocrites. Fuck all the way off. And don't fucking talk about how he can appeal. If Joe Biden had been found guilty of speeding, you'd have wanted to impeach him, you craven bitches who are begging for a chance to be Trump's diaper.

15. However...you have a chance here to ditch him. But you won't because you fear the aforementioned fucknuts. 

16. Don't get me started on Trump's attorneys. Try to get paid from that cheap, vengeful twatmite.

17. It's pretty stupid that Trump will likely not be able to vote in the 2024 election but he can run for and be elected president. That's a big damn hole in the law that needs to be fixed. 

18. God, Trump's gonna be a whiny motherfucker for the rest of his life. His imprisonment would give us all a chance to breathe again and recalibrate our sense of the nation and ourselves. 

I'll have more to say after I'm done celebrating this moment while we can celebrate. Now and forever, Donald Trump is the first president convicted of felonies. Let's get drunk, get high, dance madly, orgasm with abandon, and howl at the skies like wild, strong beasts. Enjoy it while we can. We may get to keep this party going, but if it ends, let's have this.

5/27/2024

A Poem for Memorial Day

Ten Years Gone

Ten years gone, 19 years old and naive
back flat against red Georgia clay-dirt
which wicks the sweat from my Army P.T. shirt
legs at roughly a 45 degree angle from the ground
hands to my sides, or tucked beneath my back
to protect a sore that had formed over my tailbone
teeth clenched and lightly caked with dust
eyes shut tight to avoid the relentless southern sun
and the frequent streams of sweat that run down my face
into a pool forming at the base of my neck
mind still full of the bullshit one believes
prior to knowing much of anything
unaware that by nine years gone
a different soil would claim my water

Nine years gone, 20 years old and a bigot
seated on the gunner’s strap of a soft-skinned HMMWV
in Baghdad Iraq, the air apparent
radiating off buff colored buildings and yellowed Mercedes
fenders, quarter panels, and doors painted odd colors
or as often, simply removed
my whole world seemed caked with dust
fearful gaze fixed fast on anything and everything but
frequent streams of five-five-six could make me scream
fuck no, I’m not afraid!
mind so full of the hatred one acquires
following fear and death and failure
praying that by eight years gone
a different soil might claim my water

Eight years gone, 21 years old and tired
lead foot flat against that Chevrolet floorboard
attempting to feel something worthwhile
something but the numbness and the nothing, just this nothing
and the thought that all of life’s pleasures and pains
may rightfully be retained from someone like me
ever recollecting how heinous I could be
knowing of a part of me I’d rather not have seen so
frequent dreams of who I’d been came crashing back at me
and into the hollow forming at the core of me
mind now full of the resentment one compounds
following loss without grief or healing
without concern for “life goes on”
that the earth continues to claim our water

My younger years gone, years older, still alive
feet feeling the sand, wading into warm water
fishing pole over my shoulder on a lake in fair Michigan
wind at my back, sweet scent of honeysuckle
my line flies fine, shot fired with great accuracy
the tug and the feel of the lure as I reel, heals me
eyes silently searching for the eddies and stills
for my next opportunity
I frequent streams, the calm it brings makes me sing
fuck no, I’m not afraid
mind now equipped with the wisdom one acquires
having survived the times that try you
with the utmost concern that life should go on
that the earth may continue to cleanse with her water 

(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.)

5/19/2024

Other Things Martha-Ann Alito Will Do If She's Mad at the Neighbors

Apparently, if you call Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's wife, Martha-Ann, a "c-word" that rhymes with "runt," she'll fly the American flag upside-down at the Alitos' house in sympathy with election deniers. And Alito won't deny that that's what it was for; he'll just sigh and say, in essence, "Well, the little woman was made to feel bad so she did a treason." So I guess that she just reacts in the weirdest ways when someone says something mean or puts up a sign that upsets her. She has it all worked out: 

1. If you call her a "bitch," she'll fly a Nazi flag at her house.

2. If you put up a Black Lives Matter sign, she'll come to the neighborhood cookout in a Klan robe.

3. If you say her husband is responsible for killing women, she'll fly the flag of Gilead. 

4. If you put up a yard sign for Joe Biden, she'll piss the word "Trump" on your lawn.

5. If you put up a sign that mentions Kamala Harris, she'll burn a cross on your lawn.

6. If you call her a "twat," she'll invite the Proud Boys over and have sex with them on the front porch.

7. If you put up one of those signs that says, "In this house..." in your front yard, she'll get her QAnon friends to invade your basement to look for kidnapped children whose blood you drink. 

8. If you wear a Che Guevara shirt in her neighborhood, she'll get Putin to poison you. 

9. If you put a "Fuck SCOTUS" sign in your yard, she'll shoot your dog and your goat. 

10. If you call her a "fascist," she'll bring you a pound cake and thank you. 

(Note: I've seen that Martha-Ann was called "the c-word." So it could also be "cocksucker" or "cancer," both of which work, too. We're all just assuming it's the one that rhymes with "hunt" and maybe that says a lot about us. And her.)

(Note 2: Blogger wouldn't let me use the actual c-word. So I deleted it. Let's see if this version works.)

5/12/2024

Stormy Daniels Is the Hero America Needs

In her testimony and especially in her cross-examination, writer/director/actor Stormy Daniels became the hero that America needs right now. She was on the stand for the prosecution of Donald Trump, a rapist who is also a former president, for falsifying business records to hide the hush money he paid to Daniels for a sexual encounter in 2006. Over the course of two days, first under questioning from Manhattan prosecutor Susan Hoffinger and then under dickish cross-examination from Trump attorney Susan Necheles, Daniels put a human face on what could be a somewhat dry financial crimes case and, in a much larger sense, responded to the complete bullshit of the Trump side with cutting common sense and two feet squarely in reality. 

Like in this exchange with Necheles, where Necheles was trying to say that everything Daniels was doing was just for money:

Q: That motivates you a lot in life, making more money; right?

A: Well, it is the United [States] -- that's what we do here. (Shrugs)

Can't argue with that. And it also is one of those answers that points to how completely idiotic the questions are. Let's not even get into the fact that Necheles's client monetizes everything from a cancer charity to the Bible and sells mugs with his mug shot on them. (Get it? Hilarious.)

In another exchange, Daniels schools Necheles in modern capitalism (and, as I've argued, Daniels is a more successful business person than Trump). Trying to show how much Daniels has monetized her hatred of Trump and her mainstream celebrity because she has been so vociferous in her condemnation of him, Necheles brought up some products that praise Daniels, like a prayer candle.

Q: That's one of the items you sell in your store, something called "Stormy, Saint of Indictments candle"; right? 

A: Yes. That was made from a store in New Orleans.

Q: You're saying that's not you bragging about how you are the Saint of a person who got President Trump indicted?

A:  No. I'm not bragging. I think it's funny that a store made those for me to sell, so I put those on my site.

Q: And you're making $40 on each of those, right?

A: No. I'm actually making about $7.

Yeah, that's how shit works in the real world. You don't make the amount that you're selling something for. That's basic online retailing, Etsy-level shit. Necheles was lying or ignorant, not Daniels.

Daniels honest answers made a mockery of Necheles questions. The lawyer really thought she was going to have a Perry Mason moment of catching Daniels in a lie, openly calling Daniels a liar to bait her in to cracking. But the things Necheles keeps quoting were not said under oath. Who gives a fuck if Daniels didn't tell In Touch magazine the whole truth? Necheles's client is an extravagant liar but refuses to go under oath and face real consequences for lying. Instead, Daniels fucked up Necheles time and again. Look at this exchange where Necheles tried to get Daniels to say everything she's doing is just acting, like Daniels does in the mostly adult films she's in. 

Q: So, you have a lot of experience in making phony stories about sex appear to be real, right?

A: Wow. I'm a -- (Laughter.) That's not how I would put it. The sex in the films, it's very much real. Just like what happened to me in that room [with Trump].

Q: All right. But you're making fictionalized stories about sex; you write those stories?

A: No. The sex is real. The character names might be different, but the sex is very real. That's why it's pornography and that's a B movie...

Q: And you have a lot of experience in memorizing these fictional stories and repeating them; right?

A: I have of experience in repeating stories and of memorizing stories? I do a lot of that, but not just about sex, I'm pretty sure we all can do that.

Q: And you have bragged about how good you are about writing porn movies and writing really good stories and writing really good dialogue; right?

A: Yes.

Q: And now you have a story you have been telling about having sex with President Trump; right?

A: And if that story was untrue, I would have written it to be a lot better. (Laughter.)

Daniels kept on schooling Necheles. When Necheles said Daniels worked in sex clubs, Daniels retorted, "I don't work in sex clubs. I work in strip clubs. So that's a big difference." And she's right. Trust me. It's a huge difference, as anyone who ever inappropriately touched a stripper in a lap dance room has learned. 

Necheles wanted to shame Daniels and her profession. Like a cop asking a rape victim why she wore a mini-skirt to a bar, Trump's lawyer had a fucking nauseating exchange with Daniels, showing a basic misunderstanding of porn, of sex, and of seeing Donald fucking Trump in his underwear. 

Q: So you say you came out of the bathroom and he was on the bed in his T-shirt and boxer shorts; right?

A: Yes.

Q: And, according to you, when you saw him sitting on the bed, you became faint, the room started to spin and the blood left your hands and feet, yes?

A: Yes. It was shock. Surprise.

Q: So just so I can be clear on what you are saying, you've acted and had sex in over 200 porn movies; right?

A: 150-ish, yes.

Q: And there are naked men and naked women having sex, including yourself in those movies; right?

A: Yes.

Q: And, but according to you, seeing a man sitting on a bed, in a T-shirt and boxer shorts, was so upsetting that you got light headed, blood left your hands and feet, and you almost fainted; right?

A: Yes. When you are not expecting a man twice your age to be in their underwear -- I have seen my husband naked almost everyday -- if I came out of the bathroom and it was not my husband and it was Mr. Trump on the bed, I would probably have the same reaction.

The obscenity here isn't Daniels having sex in adult films. It's Necheles asserting that even when Daniels was off the clock, she shouldn't care if random dudes strip for her. That kind of sexist, assaultive shit should have been squashed like a bug by the judge. 

Daniels was a goddamn champ, time and again, correcting Necheles, needling her, and obviously getting under her skin while she was desperately trying to get under Daniels's. 

But the biggest fuckup by Necheles might have been a form that was shown to Daniels and the parties in court. It was a financial form related to Daniels being ordered to pay Trump's attorney fees for a failed defamation case a few years back. As the form was displayed on screens, Daniels whispered to the judge, "This has my address...That's got my address." Daniels was afraid of Trump seeing her address and knowing where she and her daughter live. It freaked her the fuck out. 

Even Judge Merchan saw it and commented to Necheles, "She turned to me, she looked very fearful, and she said, 'That's got my address'...She is very much afraid of this form." Later, when Necheles asked Daniels why she left out information about her daughter's identity on another form, Daniels responded, "I won't fill out information that endangers my family or my daughter, no matter what."

Of course Daniels was freaked out. She had just described to Hoffinger how, in 2011, a man came up to her and her infant daughter in a parking lot in Las Vegas and threatened her, telling her to stop talking about the sexual encounter with Trump. Daniels has implied that Trump was somehow behind it, and even if he wasn't, well, Trump sure likes to make it seem like he's capable of that kind of blatant thuggery. Why wouldn't she be afraid?

That's why Daniels is a goddamned hero. It's not just because she handed Trump's attorney her ass in court. It's also and especially because she is overcoming fear and derision and threats to sit there and take this. It's because Trump dangled the promise of mainstream legitimacy in the skeeviest, most elitist way, promising her that she'd "get out of the trailer park" by sticking with him and being on his bullshit TV show, using power and money to coerce her into accepting having sex with him, and then Trump never came through, and now she's willing to risk herself to make sure everything is taken away from him. 

And I'd love it if in at least some small way, Daniels wants to shove Trump onto the shit heap of history because he promised her dinner in 2006 and he never fucking delivered. 

Q: And you are saying that this was a big deal that you didn't get dinner; right?

A: I was invited. It was dinnertime. I was running hungry, yeah. We talked about ordering food or going down to get food, we never got to eat. It was dinnertime, and we never ate.

Q: And you made a big point of that on numerous interviews; right?

A: Yeah, I went to go to dinner and I didn't get dinner

Fuck, yeah, Stormy Daniels. You deserved dinner and so much more. America owes you big time. 

5/05/2024

Protect the Free Speech Rights of the Student Encampments

On Friday, I spoke to author and activist Ashley Dawson. Like me, Dawson is a professor at the City University of New York, which has a bunch of campuses around NYC. Unlike me, he had been to the Gaza war protest encampment at the City College of New York, which is a CUNY school. The encampments have sprung up at universities around the country (and the world) as part of an outcry against Israel's massacre of civilians in its war on Gaza, as well against the United States's role in funding that massacre. 

What Dawson described to me at CCNY sounded very much like the set-up at Occupy Wall Street, the protest that took up residence on a block in Lower Manhattan in Fall of 2011 and was beloved and supported across the board on the American left. He said of CCNY, "The encampment was a pretty amazing space. There were upwards of 40 tents, which included not just places for people to sleep but also a large and well-stocked people's kitchen, a people's library, and a medical clinic." 

In fact, at this college, the primary activity at the camp seems to have been, well, education. Dawson saw speakers talking about their personal stories, as well as their own insights on Palestine and Israel. He said there were speakers who are professors and students, including Jewish speakers (and that one of the most radical groups was an anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox Jewish organization, which, yes, does exist). As befits a protest movement, there were calm voices and angry voices, defiant voices and compromising voices. There were voices who want a two-state solution and voices who want one state with Palestinians and Israelis living together equally. Of course there was a diversity of opinions. That's the way this goes. Every movement has extremists, too, on every side, and sometimes you hear from them. Welcome to the political world.

Dawson didn't see any signs or hear any speech that could be considered antisemitic, except for what you may think about the slogan "From the river to the sea." I know that phrase has been called "hate speech" by people who need something to condemn, but its meaning is really context specific. What do I mean by that? For example, when a group of people chant, "USA! USA!" how you hear that, as pride or a threat, maybe, depends on the circumstances and you. What Dawson did see, and what has been erased by much of the media, were the number of Jewish students and others who were at the encampment and support the Palestinian people. As a Jewish student from Columbia told Democracy Now!, "I think it’s really important to recognize that there is a large anti-Zionist Jewish voice on campus."

This doesn't excuse incidents of antisemitism that have occurred on campuses since the war's start last year, but it also doesn't even get into the anti-Muslim hate speech that has been directed at the protesters. 

Like me, Dawson doesn't believe the official accounts of why the encampment at CCNY was raided. What he saw was a peaceful protest with students who wanted to engage with their administrators about the direction of CUNY. If there were "outsiders" at CCNY, as media reports keep parroting the NYPD in saying, they included alumni and people from other CUNY schools, said Dawson. So, yeah, technically, they weren't members of the college itself, but CCNY is part of the landscape of Harlem, which is way up in Manhattan. Like all of CUNY, it's for students from working class families, many of whom work and have families themselves (so keep your remarks about privileged college kids to yourself). And it's also for the communities where the schools are. Community members are welcomed on the campuses for all kinds of events. Why not protests?

Over at Columbia University down the street, a school spokesperson said some of those arrested were "non-affiliates," which means not students or employees, which still leaves a ton of people affiliated with Columbia who could have been there. Or maybe journalists and a grandmother. One other thing: The NYPD didn't say how many people were arrested outside CCNY during its raid of the encampment late Tuesday night. So those outsiders might have literally been outside.

I'm not going to get into what I agree and disagree with on all of the demands of the students at CCNY and elsewhere, many of which are fairly specific to their schools. I've been pretty clear about my opposition to Israel's savage retaliation against Gaza for the horrific attack by Hamas on Israel. There should be a cease fire and withdrawal. And I was part of the movement to divest colleges from South Africa in the late 1980s. I have nothing but contempt for the transformation of schools into capitalist machines, and back then I had righteous anger about my tuition money supporting apartheid in even the tiniest way. 

But I will say that the response to the protests by leaders at the school and in government at various levels has been, across the board, enraging. I can get into the heavy-handed approach taken at New York City schools, at Columbia, at the New School, and at CCNY. You wanna know why things got crazy? It's simple: Escalation by the administrators and police inside and outside the universities blew this up. The first police raid at Columbia was on April 18, and that was done to crush the movement that was growing there in defiance of a ban on political demonstrations on campus. This oppressive action was an electric jolt to a movement that was starting, and that's when you saw the surge in encampments, almost all of which were peaceful, even if they were against school policies (I mean, that's what civil disobedience is, which has a long tradition in America, going back to, oh, hell, let's say the Boston Tea Party). But they were also on guard against police action and against pro-Israel groups on the campuses, which is going to lead to cautious, if not a little paranoid behavior when confronted. 

Things could have been handled differently in so many cases. At Brown University, administrators negotiated an end to the encampment by agreeing to some of the demands, including a vote on divestment of the school from companies with ties to Israel. At the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia police and district attorney have said that they don't want to get involved unless there is a real threat. At Northwestern, an agreement between the protesters and the university allows for protests but ends the encampment, an action that led to immediate condemnation by pro-Israel groups, calling on the president of NU to resign. Free speech is supposed to lead to more speech. Even if you hate the speech, you allow the speech, as long as direct violence is not being called for (like, say, "Kill all [name a group]"). 

Of course, things can also go the way of UCLA, where pro-Israel counter-demonstrators attacked the encampment and police watched for hours before finally intervening with a ludicrous amount of force. 

There's so much more to say here, and I'll be saying it. But let me end with this: I keep hearing people on the left condemning the encampments, infantilizing the students, wondering, "Why this? Why now?" 

I dunno. Maybe if you lived your entire life during a period where the so-called adults did fuck-all about the climate crisis and ensuring that the planet continues to exist, maybe if you watched as the country slid backwards on civil rights for non-whites and for LGBTQ people and for women, maybe if your introduction to politics was a presidency that was so incompetent and vile that it allowed a global pandemic to fuck up the world and your life, maybe if you marched because you wanted the police to stop murdering Black people and the only response was more oppression by the police, maybe if you've been told you have to get a university education to get anywhere in this world but the only way to do that is to go deeply into debt, maybe if you've come out of a public education system that has been contorted away from learning and only gives a shit about outcomes assessments related to how well you take a fucking test, maybe if you are told you're not allowed to learn about the racist history of the country or the complicated nature of gender and sexuality, maybe if you watch as the richest country in the world can't come up with a way to get health care and food and homes to the needy, maybe the final fucking straw might be knowing that, instead of providing health care and food and homes, not only is your fucking government providing most of the weapons for a war that if it isn't genocide is sure as fuck genocide-adjacent, but the school you're going into a lifetime of debt to attend is also, directly or indirectly, using the money you are borrowing to fund the foreign country that is slaughtering women and children by the tens of thousands, and then when you protest this, finally, at last, when you say, "Enough!" and you put your voice and your future on the line, which is more than the so-called "adults" are willing to do for you, you're called "hateful" even though you're the one who wants the killing of children to stop and your groups are banned and your speech is silenced and you're threatened with expulsion and you're doxxed by assholes and you're beaten and arrested and so that all those nice things that you were taught about freedom in this alleged land of the free by the so-called "adults" is bullshit. Yeah, maybe you'd be fucking done, too, and ready to go to the wall on one goddamn thing. 

(Note: If it's not the thing you'd like the students to go to the wall on, if you're saying, "Why not abortion rights?" or "Why not Ukraine?" or whatever you support, well, that's on you. You start the movement. They're doing this.)

(Note 2: It shouldn't matter, but I feel I always need to say that I'm Jewish when I write this stuff. I had family die at Auschwitz. It's a card I am forced to play to fend off accusations of antisemitism.)

4/28/2024

The Question that Justice Sonia Sotomayor Should Have Asked About Absolute Immunity for Presidents

Last week's Supreme Court hearing in Trump v. United States (as accurate a case name as I've seen), aka "The One About Immunity from Prosecution," was, to put it mildly, a shitshow at the monkeyfuck factory. In a case that should never have been taken, at least 5 of the justices, all the men, seemed to actually believe that Donald Trump and, presumably (but who knows), every president should have some immunity from being charged and tried as a criminal from acts done while president. In this case, it's to try to get Trump out of any responsibility for the January 6 insurrection, which Special Counsel Jack Smith is trying to get to trial. Frankly, the hearing was a disgrace, a disgusting display of a deviant ideology that was disposed of in the goddamned Declaration of Independence. These right-wing dickholes actually tried to come up with ways that laws don't apply to a president. 

Indeed, it wouldn't have been surprising if the ghost of Benjamin Franklin had appeared and sodomized the corrupt asses of Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch and others with a rolled up copy of the founding document, all while yowling that "We didn't risk getting hanged and having everything we love taken from us for you dismal cunts to go back to having a fucking king; now take the whole Declaration, bitches," as the drunken ghosts of Jefferson, Adams, and Robert Livingston cheered him on. 

Early in the arguments, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked Trump's attorney, D. John Sauer, the question on everyone's mind: "If the president decides that his rival is a corrupt person and he orders the military or orders someone to assassinate him, is that within his official acts for which he can get immunity?" And Sauer gave the answer that everyone expected: "It would depend on the hypothetical.  We can see that could well be an official act." In other words, "Yes." In otherer words, the president can render the death penalty without any due process at all. In otherest words, there really is no difference between a president and a king and fuck the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the entire history of the country. 

Later in the hearing, Alito tried to throw aside Sotomayor's speculation about assassinations like he tosses civil rights into the garbage. "I think one could say it's not plausible that that is legal, that that action would be legal," Alito stammered to Sauer, trying to unfuck the fucked up implications of what he plainly believes. "And --and I'm sure you've thought --I've thought of lots of hypotheticals, I'm sure you've thought of lots of hypotheticals, where a president could say, I'm using an official power, and yet the president uses it in an absolutely outrageous manner." 

See, what Sotomayor should have asked at that moment of panicky bullshit from Alito was "Could President Biden decide Justice Alito is corrupt and order that he be assassinated? Is that an official act for which he could get immunity?" Because then Sauer would have had to repeat his answer that it "could well be an official act" and then that puts things in fucking stark territory: A vote to uphold this insanity is a vote for your own murder. 

That's the thing that annoys the shit out of me about the Supreme Court. Only rarely do the justices allow that their decisions might have an impact on themselves, or, you know, real people in general. I know that they're supposed to put that out of their heads, that they're supposed to concentrate on dry issues of the law (which is how, earlier in the week, a case about allowing abortions to save women's lives became a discussion of the fucking spending clause in the Constitution, even as the women on the court tried to assert the bloody reality of the situation). But this would have have been the perfect moment to remind some conservative motherfuckers that their own asses are on the line here. 

Hell, Sotomayor could have gone scorched earth and asked, "Could President Biden decide that Justice Alito and his whole family need to be murdered for the good of the country as part of his duty to protect the nation and still be immune from prosecution? Could he order the killing of Justice Alito's grandchildren in order to end the Alito bloodline? Could he have Justice Thomas's wife, Ginni, a true enemy of democracy, eliminated?" What's the fucking limit? That's a legitimate question if you're going to entertain the completely irrational idea that a president is above the law. 

See, all this shit has consequences. It's fucking time that the Supreme Court justices are asked how they would like the consequences of their decisions enacted on them. The rest of us sure as fuck will have to deal with them.

(Note: I know that Trump's lawyers said that the only way that said murderer/president might face some sanction is if they're impeached and convicted and thrown out of office. But they also argued in 2021 that Trump shouldn't be convicted in his second impeachment trial because he could face criminal charges after he's out of office. So, really, none of the process shit matters, and it's time we stop pretending that it does.)

4/15/2024

GOP Ignores Trump's Crimes and Makes Up Shit About a Crime Wave

There's a charming-ass Facebook group that Zuckerberg's algorithm regularly feeds to my, well, feed. It's a little ray of sunshine since the posts are all by people from other countries talking about their trips to New York City. And while some things will make any local cringe, like they really seem to love pedicab rides or they call the World Trade Center Memorial just "9/11" (as in "we went to 911"), the authors, from New Zealand or Indonesia or Argentina or Austria, mostly unabashedly really fucking love NYC. They share tips on places to go or stay or eat. They post their itineraries and ask for comment on if it's doable. Like I said, just charming as hell.

One topic a bunch of them write about is something that comes as a surprise to them: they say how safe they felt all the time. They felt safe in Times Square or Greenwich Village or Central Park. They felt safe walking at night and in the subways. They heard that crime was out of control or there was a plague of unhoused people or just that New York City was a hellscape, an unending gauntlet of murder, robbery, rape, and assault. Then they get here and...it's just not any of that. They let the group, which includes tons of people planning trips, know that they always felt perfectly fine. 

Right now, in the cities of the United States, especially in the biggest cities in blue states, while there is still crime and there will always be crime, no shit, we are living through a golden age of safety and security. Hell, up here in the evil, sinful Northeast, we don't even own many guns. Less than 20% of people in New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are gun owners. On a per capita basis, it's like 5-10 guns per 1000 people. So "lots of fucking guns" is not the reason for crime to be going down. 

I mean, shit's just getting better and better after a hiccup of a crime surge during the pandemic (no sports and no work makes for a clusterfuck of factors). The murder rates in a huge number of cities is "plummeting." In Philadelphia, the murder rate in 2024 is down 34% from the same time in 2023; in Boston, it's down 82%. Even in notoriously murdery places, it's down: 39% in New Orleans and 30% in Baltimore. Chicago is down only 7%, but that's still lower. In 2023, we had one of the biggest drops in the murder rate and in the overall violent crime rate ever. This year is looking to be even better. 

Yet if you listen to Donald Trump and Republicans and the empty douches in right-wing media, you'd think that we're just one carjacking away from the complete collapse of cities into complete fucktastrophes. For instance, down on Fox "news," snarling shit badger Laura Ingraham snarled, "We all know communities don't feel safer...there's no meaningful change in the policies that are making America more dangerous." See, though, there's a big fucking difference between "feeling" safer and actually being fucking safer. Anecdotes and feelings are not facts. And who the hell is making communities feel unsafe? Shit badgers like Ingraham and actual goddamn criminals, like the extravagantly felonious Trump, whose real crimes Republicans eagerly and desperately ignore. 

They do the same goddamn thing all the time. In 2022, the GOP tried to run on a fake "crime wave" engulfing the nation and it failed. Now, they are doing it again except this time they've merged the fearmongering over migrants at the southern border and crime, and now you've got what Trump dumbly says is "Biden migrant crime" occurring around the United States. "There has never been a border so bad. People coming in at levels nobody has ever seen with the people. Where are they coming from? Criminals like never before pouring into our country," Trump slurred at one of his clown carnivals of the damned. All over the right, you'd think the Hottentots were at our door, ready to scalp us and rape us and rob us, not necessarily in that order. 

Except, of course, they aren't. There is no migrant crime wave, and the reason why is pretty fucking obvious. What idiot, after traveling for a thousand miles or more, through awful conditions and with the assistance of criminals, would want to call attention to themselves by committing crimes? That's a good way to get kicked the fuck out. It makes no sense at all. But that doesn't stop Trump from sayin, no shit, "Crime is down in Venezuela by 67% because they're taking their gangs and their criminals and depositing them very nicely into the United States." Except, of course, it's not down 67%. It's down, just not as much, because of a number of factors, none of which are that they're sending all "their gangs and their criminals" here.

But Republicans and dickhead podcasters, reporters, and commentators are just gonna keep flogging that myth, that lie about crime. Facts can go fuck themselves to death. Sure, of course, people are still gonna get killed and beaten and robbed in New York City. Over 8 million people live up here, and add another couple million for the metro area. But to pretend that an unabashed good - the low crime rate - is a lie made up to actively do harm, not just to Democratic politicians. 

It's an attack on the poverty-stricken people from south of the border who are seeking a safer place to live because of the crime in their countries. And it's an attack on the psyche of Americans, making them paranoid and angry and voting for assholes who would undo the progress that's been made so far.