6/26/2017

Random Observations on the CBO Score of the Senate's "Health Care" Bill

The Congressional Budget Office is out with its analysis of the Senate's bullshit version of the House's bullshit so-called "health care" bill (which is actually just a fancy way of saying, "Tax cuts for rich fucks"). The title of the Senate bill is even stupider than the "American Health Care Act." It's the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" because, see, it's better, get it? Except, of course, not really.

1. When you hear anthropomorphic banana slug Mitch McConnell or bitch-faced John Cornyn or portly salesman Donald Trump dismiss the CBO score as "politically-motivated" or some such nonsense, just remember: the reason that Senate GOP majority allegedly started from scratch on a bill repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act is that the House bill was too harsh. How did they know it was too harsh? Because of the fucking CBO score of what the effects of the bill would be. The wacky-ass House voted before the CBO estimates came out, so the mighty Senate was going to be all grown up about it by having a he-man woman-haters club of male Republicans write the bill in super-secret and then attempt to ram it through like a fist into an unlubed sphincter.

1a. Oh, they talked a big game way back in early May. Sen. Lamar Alexander said, "There will be no artificial deadlines." Which is just hilarious now since Alexander chairs the committee that deals with health care issues and they will not be having any hearings.

2. As you've probably read by now, the BCRA is estimated to boot 22 million Americans off their health insurance, with 15 million of those losing coverage next year. And you gotta give the GOP a little credit here for not kicking everything down the road. They'll get to look their constituents in the face and say, "Yeah, fuckos, I took away your cancer treatments and got you hooked even deeper on opioids. Now vote for me or I'm lettin' the raping Mexicans back in." And those fuckos will probably vote for their GOP member of Congress, thinking that dying of cancer is a fair trade-off if the raping Mexicans stay out.

2a. Most of the people who will lose coverage are on Medicaid, which is gonna get cut to the tune of $772 billion over ten years, and earn less than 200% of the poverty level, with people 55 to 64 getting punched in the tit more than anyone else.

2b. To put this in perspective, about one out of every 20 people in the United States will lose their health insurance next year if this bill passes.

3. There are two things that Republicans are going to point to in this CBO report as some kind of amazingly awesome shit. One is that it says that, by 2026, premiums will be 20% lower than if things kept on like they are now. But that's because the BCRA reduces coverage by allowing states to apply for waivers for things like "maternity care, mental health care, rehabilitative and habilitative treatment, and certain very expensive drugs." If you don't have to cover mental health or, you know, opioid addiction or, fucking hell, pregnant women, then that'll tend to lower costs. And this bill will jack up deductibles and cost sharing. In one scenario involving a hypothetical single, 40-year-old man, the CBO says that, because of changes to the law, the same insurance he has now will cover only 58% of care where it used to cover 87%. But his premium will be $100 less a year, so bully for him.

3a. The other big news that Republicans are humping like weasels on Cialis is that the deficit reduction is much more than under the House plan, to the tune of $321 billion over 10 years. So $32 billion a year. Which, in a federal budget of nearly $4 trillion is like a flea fart in a tornado. It's like saying, "Look, I saved money by getting a grande iced mocha instead of a venti. I'm frugal" and you're kind of a douche.

4. Most of the rest of the bill, as analyzed by the CBO (and others), ping-pongs between dickish and cruel. From reducing funds for women's health (including eliminating any money for Planned Parenthood) so that 15% fewer women will have access to care to repealing funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which assists with things like immunizations and research into better health practices to the tremendous hike in premiums for people just below Medicare age to the fact that low-income people simply won't be able to afford insurance, this bill just isn't "mean." It's fucking pathetic and a goddamned embarrassment.

4a. And yet there are Republicans for whom this doesn't go far enough,  who don't see this as an Obamacare repeal, who haven't harmed the black president enough, who won't be happy until they're dancing on the bones of their duped voters. But those are the ones who will probably shitcan this thing. Strange bedfellows, motherfuckers, in strange times.

5. But, hey, rich fucks get a half-trillion bucks in tax cuts, so drinks are on them. Lots of drinks. Enough to ease the pain. Because there is no guarantee that this thing's going down, not when you have to rely on alleged moderate Republicans and spineless worms like McCain, not when elected officials and cabinet members feel free to just lie about it without consequence, not when rich fucks can get richer off the diminishing health of the poor and other people they deem unworthy of the security they get to enjoy in their land of the free and home of the savage.

6/22/2017

The Comey "Tapes" Lie: Chaos Is Trump's Greatest Weapon

The first time Trump tweeted about it, it was fucked up enough: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" The fuck did that mean, "tapes," with the suspicious quotation marks around it? Is that supposed to provide him with an out, like when he first put the quotes around "wires tapped" when he accused President Obama of spying on him?

Trump and his staff teased about whether or not there were tapes of Oval Office meetings, to the point that congressional committees with subpoena power started to get antsy about it. The Trumparazzi were coy, saying that they'd tell the public at some vague point in the future. Trump himself said that journalists would be "disappointed" with the answer, which is a way of saying, "I ain't got any tapes," but not really a definitive "yes" or "no."

Now, finally, forced to say something before shit got litigious, Trump sent out another fucked up thing (in two tweets): "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are 'tapes' or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings." Motherfucker, you're the one who brought up all that shit and the idea that there might be tapes. Or, you know, "tapes."

You can take this, as David Frum did, that Trump was forced to admit he lied and that every leader around the world will think, "Fuck this lying piece of orangutan dung." But, see, we all knew he was a liar. The only people Donald Trump gives a fuck about are, in order of importance, 1. Donald Trump. And, as proven by the slavering love given to him last night at his pep rally of doom, the only thing that Trump's idiot hordes give a fuck about is that their mad king continues to piss off liberals. They'll be gasping for breath in their black lungs that don't get covered by insurance, but, yeah, stick it to the pussies, Mr. President, hack, hack, hack.

I'm pretty sure, at this point, heads of states understand that they are dealing with a sociopath and have adjusted accordingly, mostly to our detriment. But the real fear here is not that China's leaders will think that Trump's not telling the truth. The real issue is that China's leaders, congressional leaders, and most Americans have no fucking clue what the fuck Trump is going to do and whether he's telling the truth about anything. And the real problem is that there are too many Americans who don't give a happy monkey fuck whether or not he's lying.

In other words, chaos is Trump's strongest weapon, and he wields it without cease. He is deliberately sowing chaos into the politics of the nation and, indeed, the world. To put it simply, this crazy son of a bastard is completely unpredictable, something Trump himself bragged about himself during the campaign, as if it was an asset in an unstable world to be the most unstable force.

His speech to a group of some of the dumbest victims in American history last night in Iowa City is a prime example. He rambled about his victory (again), he said that Mexico would pay for the wall (his "Free Bird"), and he bizarrely asserted that he would propose legislation that is exactly the same as a law that's been around since Bill Clinton signed it (on welfare benefits for immigrants). He lied about the Paris Accord, he lied about environmental policy, he lied about arms sales to Saudi Arabia, he lied, lied, lied.

Which gets us back to the "tapes." Of course there are no tapes. Or recordings. Or are there and he knows that they make him look bad? Or does someone else have recordings, which Trump implies is a possibility? What the fuck is the full story? No, no, of course, there are no tape. Or are there? That's the nature of his answer.

Again, it is wrong to read this as anything other than an attempt to keep his opponents off their game, forcing them to reply to lies, which he follows with something dunderheaded like, "Yeah, like you know." And it keeps him just popular enough to give Republicans cover to enact the worst policies while we try to figure out what fucking world we're living in now, a world that is so destabilized that the ground underneath our feet is ever-shifting until it collapses and swallows us and, god, please let that be soon.

6/20/2017

Note to Democrats: A Little Hyperbole Wouldn't Hurt in the Battle Against the AHCA

Over on the right, there isn't a lie vomited out by Fox "news," Breitbart, or President Trump (all increasingly one and the same) that their followers will not believe. Yesterday, on the Twitter machine, I got into a pissing match with a fuckwit who insisted that "The Democrats passed Obama care by shoving it through without allow a single GOP member to read the bill." (All the errors are his.) Loads of conservatives believe this utterly easily disprovable bullshit.

Also yesterday, Chuck Schumer got Joni Ernst, acting as Senate President, to admit how much goddamn time was spent on the Affordable Care Act. Ernst sounds like she's swallowing rotten pig balls when she has to state that the ACA got "25 days of hearings and 169 hours of consideration." That's not counting weekends and recesses. In all, Senators had over 2 months from the first introduction of the bill to the Senate floor to the final vote. And Democrats weren't hiding it in the first place, since there had been a year of discussion and hearings prior to it coming to the entire Senate. So, you know, go fuck yourself with the sharp end of your talking point.

The only reason we're in this ludicrous mess with the American Health Care Act, the garbage bill that passed the House and is being rewritten in secret in the Senate, is because Republicans and their enablers were great at making the ACA seem like it was going to put on jackboots, walk into your home, kill your parents, and beat your spouse. Remember the "death panels"? How people actually acted like that was in the bill? How no one could successfully articulate that the real death panels were called insurance companies denying benefits for pre-existing conditions or when a limit on a benefit was reached?

Nothing could break through the thick layer of lie and hyperbole that was heaped on the public. Democrats were terrible messengers, either running away from the ACA because they bought the GOP's cruel fraud. Or they just sucked in even delivering positive news. Obamacare could have provided people with daily multiple orgasms, and Democrats would have fucked up articulating how that's a good thing.

Here we are, in the thick of a battle against some vague, but no doubt savage piece of legislation, and the left is just really gearing up for it. At this point, there should be ads from SuperPACs running constantly about how bad the AHCA is. And you know what? A little hyperbole wouldn't hurt about now. Mitch McConnell is trying to rape the nation with this spiked dildo of a law while so-called "moderate" Republicans do their usual dance of fake dignity, pretending like they actually give two shits about what McConnell is doing in the writing of the bill.

So there is a space for Democrats to creatively show the effects of a bill that quite simply takes money from the poor, the elderly, the addicted, and the sick and gives it to the very wealthy in the form of a tax cut. That's an easy ad right there: Rich people saunter into a doctor's office and rob a bunch of ill people in the waiting room, leaving them dying and sicker, only without hope of seeing a doctor.

Or how about a real death panel: a row of wealthy people behind a table, making a decision on whether or not each suffering poor person deserves help. Is it over the top? Yeah. That's the fucking point. Subtlety and well-reasoned arguments aren't going to win here because people don't respond to that. They respond to a rich puke punching Gramps in the balls until he hands over his wallet.

Enough with the calm, rational discussions. Enough with the speeches. Go for their throats with an emotional appeal. And that means crying people who would lose health care and the image of the uncaring Republican, ready to intentionally inflict more pain.

6/19/2017

Don't Let the Bastards Murder the Affordable Care Act

Let us say, and why not, that you've got a car you've had for a few years. It was given to you by a boyfriend you broke up with a while back. The car's nothing fancy, but it gets you where you need to go and it's only given you a few minor problems here and there. Maintenance kind of stuff - new tires, a brake job - the stuff you expect to need to do to take good care of the car so it takes good care of you.

Now, let us say, and, indeed, why not, that you start dating a new guy who takes a look at your car and says, "Man, what a piece of shit. I'm gonna get you a new car. A better car. One that won't cost you nearly as much. Better gas mileage. Less repairs. Shiny damn paint job. And you can just trash that thing. That guy you were with before me didn't know shit about cars. I know better." It sounds good. I mean, who doesn't want a new car? But then he drives up in a rusted out hulk that looks like it's been beaten with a sledgehammer in a sand storm. You know it's gonna need a major overhaul, possibly a new engine or transmission. It's gonna be a pain in the ass and cost you a ton.

"The fuck is this?" you ask.

"I promised you a new car," he said. "I got you a new car. Now you can get rid of that car of yours I hate."

You would break up with that shitheel as soon as you could speak the words.

This morning, on NPR's Morning Edition, Tommy Binion, the congressional liaison for the Heritage Foundation (motto: "We came up with Obamacare but now we're too fucking crazy conservative to acknowledge that"), was asked why he thought Senate Republicans were moving forward with their version of the "mean" American Health Care Act, despite it having incredibly high negatives in polling. Binion was frank, saying, "I think what's happening here is [Republicans are] trying desperately to keep their promise to vote for anything that they can call Obamacare repeal. So in this case, yes, they've picked a very unpopular bill. That's part of what the process has thrust upon them. But they're determined to keep their promise."

That's the kind of fuckery we're dealing with. Not only is the bill being written by a shitty star chamber of white dudes who represent less than a quarter of the population of the country, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch "One Day, Children Will Say My Name in the Same Breath as Benedict Arnold" McConnell is determined to get a vote in the next two weeks, with at most 10 hours for senators not locked in a room and forced to breathe in Orrin Hatch's old man farts to read it, debate it, and amend it. That is fucked beyond fucked. That is contorting yourself into a pretzel to suck your own dick kind of fucked. Even the senators themselves can't justify the bill beyond the idea of repealing the ACA.

Here's a handy, one paragraph review of what happened when the Affordable Care Act went to the Senate in 2009: President Obama actively courted Republicans to get on board, especially Maine's Olympia Snowe. Hell, snarky asshole bloggers were pissed about his outreach. The bill was debated in the Senate Finance Committee before it passed from there to the Senate floor. That was after three House committees and the Senate health committee had vetted it, with Republicans able to debate it the whole time. This was followed by weeks of more debate and amendment votes. So if any dumbfuck conservative tries to ejaculate stupidly about how Democrats rushed through the ACA, shove that list from Congress up their idiot asses.

Look, it's time to stick a pin in the left's Russia hard-on right now in order to get all hands, voices, and boots on deck to stop the American Health Care Act from passage. It's a terrible bill filled with terrible ideas, concocted by terrible human beings. So it's time for Hayes/Maddow/O'Donnell/Reid and whoever else to knock off the financial conflict and espionage stories for a while and go whole hog on this. Right now, Democrats are doing something by denying unanimous consent to proceed on any votes in the Senate, and they are holding the floor in a "talkathon," speeches about the unfair process.

But these delay tactics need to be followed by even more. The "filibuster by amendment" is one approach, where Democrats keep proposing amendments that need to be voted on until Republicans agree to hold hearings on the bill. Pressure needs to brought to bear on the seemingly wavering Republican senators, who need to be reminded who will be blamed when the AHCA doesn't do any of the shit voters were promised.

One last thing needs to happen, and I'm frankly stunned that it hasn't happened yet. The Affordable Care Act is the signature achievement of the Obama presidency. Where the fuck is he? Why the fuck isn't Barack Obama barnstorming the country, riling people up? He gets to protect his legacy. Enough of being above the fray. Fuck that. Lives are on the line, man, and a bunch of vicious assholes are shitting all over him.

Obama, Biden, get 'em all out there, giving interviews, tearing into the cruelty of those who want to turn back the clock. This is life and death, motherfuckers. Let's all act like it is.

6/16/2017

Sympathy for the President, a Weak, Sick Old Man

In the wake of the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican members of Congress were targeted by an angry, abusive left-wing gunman, calls have gone up on both sides of the mainstream political spectrum for there to be less violent rhetoric and more seeking of common ground. President Trump himself called for such comity shortly after calling the Democrats "obstructionist" and shortly before he accused Democrats and Hillary Clinton of having their own ties to Russia.

But I'm going to rise above petty partisan concerns in order to say something that, while not exactly nice, is completely sympathetic to Donald Trump:

The President is a sick old man who is being taken advantage of by the people around him.

See, I was listening on the ol' NPR last Friday as President Donald Trump made some short remarks in a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Trump sounded weak and bored, as he usually does when he's doing something other than praising himself. But what was also noticeable on the radio, when you're not watching his grotesque, puffy face, glistening with a sweaty sheen, is how labored his breathing was. This was an effort, just standing there and reading some remarks. Like an out of shape guy going up multiple staircases, pausing at a landing to catch his breath, Trump sounded worn out, in a way that, say, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, one a bit older and the other slightly younger than Trump, never have.

Trump's health is failing. Physical and mental. If that wasn't obvious from his constant asides and inability to stay on point, here is one of his answers during the press conference: "I can tell you that there are many American investors right now going to Romania and investing. In fact, I was given a chart just before our meeting, and we have people going over to Romania and investing, and they weren’t doing that a number of years ago." A "number of years ago," Romania was a Soviet bloc country that didn't allow investment from the west. He might not know. He might not care. Or, equally likely, he might be completely divorced from the reality of the situation.

But beyond ignorance, there is Trump's reliance on the same phrases over and over. Calling on another reporter, Trump said, "I've got the microphone. If I could only sell that. If I could only sell it. Who would like to ask -- should I take one of the killer networks that treat me so badly as fake news? Should I do that?" He is constantly repeating "fake news," and, now, he's added "witch hunt" to his repertoire.

He has his various obsessions. He's never stopped talking about his election win. In that news conference last Friday, asked about why he felt "vindicated" by James Comey's testimony before a Senate committee, Trump responded, "Yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction. We are doing very well. That was an excuse by the Democrats, who lost an election that some people think they shouldn't have lost, because it's almost impossible for the Democrats to lose the Electoral College, as you know. You have to run up the whole East Coast and you have to win everything as a Republican, and that's just what we did. So it was just an excuse." It's the same story all the time. I'll leave it to people with medical degrees to attempt a diagnosis, but every person I've known who has Alzheimer's or some form of dementia repeat the same stories over and over to the same people.

A few days later, on this past Tuesday, Trump was talking about health care and said, "Don't forget, on June 16th -- June 14th is my birthday, but June 16th was the day I announced that I was running. Some people said, 'Really? Not going to happen.' And it happened." Obviously, he's upset that everyone doesn't just automatically love him and celebrates what he sees as an improbable victory.

On and on this list could go. His inability to take a short walk in Italy. His constant lashing out. His sullen addiction to TV news. His new obsession with the investigation against him. The fact that the Vice President meets with more foreign leaders than Trump does. Actually, Trump meets with very few people.

If he wasn't a wealthy media figure, Trump would be in a home or hospital, getting the care he needs. Instead, he is allowed to continue in this charade of leadership because it allows the people around him to get what they want, whether it's a repeal of the Affordable Care Act to please the GOP congressional whores, the reversal of humane executive orders on immigration to satisfy the racist nativists, the juice to seal deals for his terrible children, and more. Nobody really freaks out when Trump makes the pronouncements he does because they all know that, ultimately, he's just a mascot and not the one in charge. That was made perfectly clear when he turned over determinations about troop levels in Afghanistan to Secretary of Defense Mattis.

They will keep Trump propped up, even if he becomes a zombie version of himself, Strom Thurmond-like, in order to keep their agenda going or until he's so tainted by scandal that he becomes a vortex, taking down everyone with him. They will push that weak, sick old man until they've used him up.

And, frankly, I couldn't really be bothered to give a single, sad fuck about that shitstain of a human other than to recognize that this is likely what's happening.

So that's my attempt at being nice to Donald Trump.

6/14/2017

Steve Scalise Supported the Lack of Laws and Regulations That Allowed His Shooting to Happen

A good-sized chunk of Representative Steve Scalise's congressional career has been devoted to making guns easier to get. Scalise, a Louisiana Republican who is the Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, was one of five victims shot by James T. Hodgkinson in Alexandria, Virginia. The wannabe mass murderer was carrying a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol. Hodgkinson was gunned down and killed by Capitol police, but he had apparently come to the baseball field to specifically take out Republicans. A motivation beyond a deranged vision of how to achieve progressive goals hasn't been announced.

Scalise is proudly, even obnoxiously devoted to the Second Amendment. He has an A+ rating from the NRA and a 100% pro-gun voting record, and he has, on many occasions, spoken against any laws that might even minimally effect the free acquisition of all kinds of guns, including the kind of rifle used today on him.

On April 25, 2013, Scalise made a floor speech where he used the Sandy Hook massacre of children to support the rights of gun owners. "I think they counted over 40 different laws that were broken by the Sandy Hook murderer," Scalise said. "Then somebody is going to tell you that one more law, which makes it harder for law-abiding citizens to get a gun, would have stopped him from doing that." The congressman doesn't mention that a law banning assault weapons would have actually slowed down Adam Lanza. And we're not even allowed to discuss banning handguns anymore, which would have done a great deal to stop the bloodshed.

Scalise co-sponsored a resolution that praised the Supreme Court for its Heller decision that eliminated limits on gun ownership in Washington, D.C. Prior to the decision, he had co-sponsored a bill that would have done the same thing, including repealing the ban on semiautomatic guns. And he co-wrote a 2015 letter to the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives condemning a reclassification of a kind of bullet. In the letter, he talks about the "the failed 'Assault Weapons Ban.'"

A more substantial action was that he voted to overturn President Obama's rule that prevented people who had been determined to be mentally ill from purchasing guns. I'd also bet that Scalise supports laws that allow people arrested for domestic violence to retain their guns. Hodgkinson had been charged several times for that kind of assault.

Look, this isn't a "blame the victim" type of thing. There is nothing that Steve Scalise did today that brought on the shooting. And I hope he and all the other victims recover fully.  But if a pig is gonna build a house out of straw, he shouldn't be too shocked when a wolf comes along to blow it down. It'd be something like a miracle if this caused Scalise to reconsider his blind devotion to the NRA and its perverse version of the Second Amendment.

More likely, though, it will just make him and his firearms-mad colleagues double-down and demand even more guns and fewer restrictions. And they will blame Kathy Griffin, Shakespeare in the Park, Black Lives Matter, angry liberals, and anyone and anything for this rather than take a single second to look in the hospital mirror to ask what they could do differently.

Like maybe stop talking romantically about using guns to solve problems.

6/12/2017

I Saw Shakespeare in the Park's Julius Caesar, and You're Wrong to Complain

When I saw the Public Theatre's production of Julius Caesar at its Shakespeare in the Park last Saturday, complete with its modern dress and setting, I watched as Caesar, played as Donald Trump by actor Gregg Henry, was pretty viciously assassinated. Any high schooler can tell you that it's the coolest part of the play, and, indeed, the rest of it is pretty anticlimactic after Mark Antony's eulogy. I remember thinking as Trump was stabbed to death, "Oh, someone's gonna have a problem with this." The next day, I tweeted, "Can't wait for the fake outrage."

I was actually shocked that the outrage machine, finished, as it was, with Kathy Griffin, hadn't already picked up on the idea of a bunch of liberal New Yorkers watching America-hating actors murder the president every night. I can report that the night I saw it, no one walked out. And, even though the audience had laughed at the crude and grotesque Trump/Caesar, no one cheered when he was killed. In fact, by the time Fox "news" and Breitbart and the usual gaggle of right-wing clickturbaiters finally got wind of it this past weekend, the production had been running for three weeks, with just one more week to go. If they had shut the hell up, it would have passed by without making a ripple. Now they've made it a cause.

Bugfuck they were gonna go and bugfuck they went. Fox and Friends, the president's TV dumbass pals of choice, said that it "appears to depict President Trump being brutally stabbed to death by women and minorities." Well, putting aside that Brutus (you know, the "unkindest cut" dude?) is played by white male actor Corey Stoll, sure, there are women and non-whites jacking Trump/Caesar. And the whining by outraged illiterates and their enablers caused both Delta Airlines and Bank of America to pull their support for Shakespeare in the Park, a 50-year tradition in New York's Central Park. The National Endowment for the Arts felt compelled to rush out a statement that it didn't give any taxpayer money for the production.

Let's put aside for a moment the fact that anyone who knows a goddamn thing about the actual play, you know, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, is aware that it's a cautionary tale about letting animal instincts take over. If anything, the message of the play is "Chill the fuck out a little or you'll really unleash hell." And put aside that sponsors had no problem with productions of Julius Caesar where Barack Obama-as-Caesar was assassinated, not to mention that, strangely, conservatives were quiet then.

But forget all that for a second.

We have a president who had a cabinet meeting today where he not only bragged about the "record-setting pace" he's gotten shit done (which likely means, "Talked about doing something"), but then forced the various secretaries of various agencies to perform a circle jerk of praise for him. In other words, the government is now in the official business of worshipping its leader. That's fucked up right there. And I could very easily list dozens of offensive, cruel, violent, and shitty things Trump has said about other people.

Yet any time someone denigrates Trump or is perceived to be denigrating Trump, the nutzoid right-wing attack machine goes to work to tear them limb from limb. Frankly, Reza Aslan shouldn't have apologized for calling Trump "a piece of shit," except to say, "Sorry, I meant, 'a pile of shit.'" Kathy Griffin shouldn't have apologized. She should have taken another picture where she's skullfucking the eyehole of the bloody Trump head with a long, black strap-on. Enough with acting as if there isn't a long tradition of savagely mocking and insulting the president of the United States. And, shit, this time the bitching conservatives are not even right about what they're complaining about.

At PJ Media, some fuckin' guy wrote about the Julius Caesar kerfuffle, "[I]t plays to the sensibilities of people who read The New York Times and The New Yorker and The Nation in a trite and already-clich├ęd fashion." We can argue that last point, but what's wrong with playing to our sensibilities? We get to have our sensibilities soothed, too. Why does everything have to get a thumbs-up from conservatives to be valid public art? Fuck you. Take down all the Confederate monuments, blow up Stone Mountain, and change the fucking state flag of Mississippi, and then let's talk about this kind of shit.

The thing that bothered me most about this production of Julius Caesar wasn't that Caesar was presented as Donald Trump, complete with a wife, Calpurnia, who spoke like Melania. What bugged me was that I didn't think it followed through on its own concept. Mark Antony should have been Pence, with Paul Ryan for Octavius. I mean, if you're gonna go for it, don't go half-assed. Go full-assed allegory.

The one thing that no one is talking about is that the resistance that is defeated by the forces of Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar is modeled on Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter and other recent protest movements. They are chanting "This is what democracy looks like" before they are gunned down by the police.

Shouldn't that be the part of the show that warms the hearts of the conservatives looking for things to fake outrage at to distract them from the real damage Trump is doing? And you'll notice that liberals aren't screaming in anger about it because that's the kind of shit that art does.

(And, by the way, the better choices for Trump are Macbeth, the guy who's good at one thing and becomes a paranoid, incompetent leader who only got the job through crime and betrayal, and King Lear. C'mon - mad king? Three kids -no one counts Tiffany- one who is his favorite?)

6/09/2017

Random Observations on Comey's Testimony (and a "Thank You" to Trump Voters)

1. Hey, there, Americans who voted for Donald Trump for president. I just wanna offer a hearty "thanks" for putting Trump in office. I mean, I thought things would be crazy, but, seriously, I never expected Trump to exceed expectations so quickly. Are you having fun yet? Are you tired of winning? Man, I sure am. I can't handle all this winning.

That's what it is, right? Trump's wins? Having the former director of the FBI testify under oath that Trump is a debased, immoral lying liar who lies so much that you gotta be ready for more lies? That's winning, no?

Having an attorney general who perjured himself repeatedly? Winning so hard that it hurts! And bonus winning: Trump never asked Comey about Russian interference in American elections. That means Trump knew the answer already. Or he didn't give a shit because it benefited him.

Goddamn, I don't see how you Trump voters can stand all this fucking winning.

You can brag about all these wins, Trump voters. All nearly 63 million of you, every single one a racist, moron, hypocrite, and/or liar. You own this. How's that feel? Is any of this getting through the Breitbart haze and Fox "news" mist? When tens of millions of people lose their health insurance and thousands of people die, that's on you, you dumbass motherfuckers. When another banking crisis wipes out your meager retirement funds or makes you lose your home, that's also on you.

You did this to the nation. You decided that you'd rather tear the country down because of some delusion that the rich man was gonna make you rich, too. You decided to ignore every single person, even Republicans, who told you that you were flushing the United States down the shitter, and you sure showed us. Yeah, you did.

You need to choke on your votes. You need to feel ashamed. When this is over, even if we have to wait until 2019, you need to beg for forgiveness from those of us who knew better.

But you won't. At this point, you could walk into a room where your mother has been raped and murdered, see Trump standing there with a bloody knife and a dripping dick, and you’d still say, “Why do libtards hate America?”

2. Let me put on my English professor hat for a moment here. Trump told Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” Starting with Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, to some on the right, this meant that Trump was merely stating something that he was wishing might come true, like Comey was a well he had tossed a penny into, with no real expectation that it would.

And that might be right if Trump had told Comey, “I hope unicorns are real.” But he didn’t. Instead, Trump asked everyone who was in the room to leave him alone with Comey. And then he expressed this “hope.” If you’re alone with your boss and your boss says, “I hope you can finish those documents by morning,” there is an implicit “or else.”

To see this in any way other than as a command is to descend into “depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” levels of linguistic fuckery. Fuck you, defenders of Trump. Everyone fucking knows what he was saying. Let’s stop pretending that all of a sudden it’s an innocent, earnest desire said theoretically, as if you have no control over it. “I hope Grandma doesn’t have cancer” is a fuck of a lot different than “I hope you don’t make me punch you.”

3. What Republicans are doing now is asking, “Who do you believe? The President? Or your own lying ears?” Words don’t have meaning. To write up a private meeting and then give those notes to the media is called “leaking,” even though no classified information was involved. “Vindication” apparently means “I don't fucking care what anyone says.”

4. A few things are clear. The President of the United States is a liar. It’s something that everyone around him has said about him. It’s something that he has said himself. And if the president can’t be trusted, then why should anyone listen to anything he says or promises? (See #1. Those fuckers will believe him even when they're standing in their own radioactive shit in the middle of a scorched wasteland.)

5. The vast majority of Americans who want Trump stopped, who don’t believe in his agenda, who think something is incredibly fucked here, are on their own. Democrats have virtually no power right now. And the Republicans have no interest in holding him to account. Nothing will happen unless Democrats take back at least the House in the 2018 midterm elections. Until then, we can look forward to nonstop scandal and the cruel dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, two things that will rapidly send the United States spiraling into chaos.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: What happens now is on Republicans. Trump's attempt to influence the FBI investigation is way worse, on so many levels, than a president lying under oath about whether or not he got a blow job in the Oval Office. But that was enough for Republicans to drag us through the Clinton impeachment, enough for them to say that the rule of law must take precedent.

These hypocritical sows of the GOP, many of whom were there back in the late 1990s, just roll around in their own mud and waste, telling the rest of us to join them because they're not gonna stop.

6/07/2017

A Brief Theory: Trump Tried to Get Comey to End Investigation Because It Had Worked Before

Look at the language former FBI Director James Comey says that President Donald Trump used when entreating Comey to drop an investigation into former NSA Michael Flynn and his connections to Russia.

In a February 14 Oval Office meeting, Trump, who insisted on being alone with Comey to talk about this, brought up Flynn, saying, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."

Look at that right there. You know that it's a statement that Trump has used on public officials before who were investigating him or his business or his associates or his odious spunk worm sons. You know that, in some chummy golf course/steak house/posh hotel parlance, with old school tactics that he has clung to his entire life, there was a good chance that Trump offered to hold a fundraiser for a politician in exchange for "letting this go," whether it was labor practices or mob associations or where the investment money was coming from. Indeed, if I were inclined to Menschian conspiracy theories, I could probably make a case that Trump saw the presidency as the ultimate quid pro quo opportunity, as well as a chance to go after incorruptible people like Preet Bharara.

Instead, I'll just say that Trump's request of Comey sounds exactly like the kind of thing rich people ask politicians and officials to do all the time. But, in this case, Trump ran into the kind of person who didn't give a damn about being in the club with him.

In other conversations, Trump tried to get Comey to publicly state that he personally wasn't under investigation. Trump wanted Comey to "lift the cloud" of scandal that was (and is) hanging over his presidency. Then, because he's never not a dick, Trump was willing for others to be hung out to dry if it meant he came away clean: "The President went on to say that if there were some 'satellite' associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him."

Comey's final conversation with Trump veered into a weird kind of intimidation, where you use pretend camaraderie to insinuate the cost of potential betrayal. Trump tried again to get Comey to say to the media that he wasn't under investigation. Comey told Trump that he should go through the usual channels to get that approved, to which Trump said, "“Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know." Comey had no idea what "thing" that was.

This is all slimy, as are most things with Trump. Trump expected everyone to worship at his feet after the election and love him unabashedly for his fake success. Hopefully, he'll discover just far a man can tumble out of a tower and into a swamp.

6/06/2017

The White House Terrorist

In the aftermath of the July 7, 2005 bombings in London, U.S. President George W. Bush gave fairly generic remarks about the need for vigilance, as well as condolences for the loss of life. He concluded with this: "[W]e will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate."

You can say a lot about Bush, about how he used terror alerts to instill fear in Americans, how his bullshit war in Iraq did more to create terrorists than all the promises of paradise ever could, and so much more. We should never forget and never forgive him for how awful he was and how much harm he did. But, if absolutely nothing else, in moments of tragedy associated with terrorism, he didn't freak the fuck out.

This is a marked contrast to our current president, a man who treats every occasion as a chance to grab his tiny balls and squeeze them so they puff up a little and look less raisin-like. Golden raisin. In the wake of Saturday's attack in London, where three delusional fucknuts decided to take out their fundamentalism-induced sexual repression on people who were enjoying an evening of eating and drinking at Borough Hall, Donald Trump went total cockknob.

His first tweet wasn't an expression of sympathy. No, it was meant to inspire fear so he could get his bullshit policies back on track: "We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!" He pledged to helped the UK, he criticized Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, and completely misinterpreted what Khan had said, he mocked people who want stronger gun laws, called repeatedly for the original "Travel Ban!" to be passed, kept calling it a travel ban, even though his lackeys had gone to great lengths to say it wasn't a travel ban, doubled down on his criticism of Khan, calling him "pathetic," praised himself and his apparently impressive forethought, and, yet, still, three days later, he has not once said anything about the victims or their families.

In fact, this blithering maniac's sociopathic staff didn't even issue an official statement of sadness, resolve, or anything, other than a readout of a phone call "Trump" had with British Prime Minister Theresa May. ("Trump" meaning that there's no way the actual Donald Trump was as coherent as the press release makes him seem, if he even made the call.)

At this point, Donald Trump is doing more to terrorize Americans than every ISIS goatfucker combined. He publicly demeans the laws of the nation and the treaties and agreements we have with other countries, calling them "deals," like he's negotiating the price of cheaper concrete to be used in one of his ugly goddamn buildings. He uses any occasion to demonize Democrats, including his constant, bewildering accusation that Democrats have anything to do with slowing down the confirmation of his nominees to various positions, something that Democrats have virtually no power to do. He is making his political opposition into his enemies (and Republican guzzlers of Trump's chode gleefully go along with it), and he has centralized power with a group that could politely be called "a cabal of motherfuckers," which includes three of his children. I'd say they were out of their depth, but that implies that they have any depth to be out of.

More to the terrorist point, Trump's continued bashing of "radical Islamomuslim extremists" or whatever the fuck you're supposed to say, along with his essentially winking at white supremacism, has led to an upsurge in real and actual racist violence in the United States. Yeah, I'm not afraid of the Muslims in my neighborhood harming me. They're cool and friendly. But the buzzcut white guys at the local bar? They make me nervous because that lot feel empowered and free now, like Trump released their asshole powers so they could shit all over the rest of us.

This doesn't even get us into the anxieties induced by Trump's policy positions. How many people are now gut-level terrified over losing their health insurance? If you don't think that, at some point, that's gonna lead to a violent response, well, you don't know how desperate people can behave. This could go on. How many LGBTQ youths will be denigrated and denied help because of Betsy DeVos, the cruel Secretary of Education, and her refusal to condemn discrimination against them? What about the people who are affected by the shift away from civil rights enforcement by the Justice Department and others? Or the limitations of the voting rights of so many Americans? And let's not even begin to go down the black hole of how damaged the nation is now in the eyes of the world.

The terrorism wrought on Americans by Trump makes the color-coded threat levels of the Bush administration seem almost quaint. We've got to get this presidency over with. But because the stream of threatening, deranged statements and lies is nonstop, because Trump and his spokespeople and cabinet aren't on the same page, it is adding a level of anxiety that cannot be sustained without an enormous damage to how we live our lives, how we interact with each other, how we think about our government and our neighbors. It will, at some point, fundamentally change who we are as a nation, and it will pit us against each other even more intensely than it already has because, surely, Trump has an army of Americans who love what he's doing to the majority of us.

Osama bin Laden couldn't have done better.

6/05/2017

Melania Watches: A Rude Pundit Video

So I'm gonna be doing more video stuff, writing, directing, occasionally appearing. Here's the first in what I hope will be a series called Melania Watches.

Secret FBI surveillance (no doubt initiated under Barack Obama) captures what Melania Trump says while watching her husband deliver the commencement address at Liberty University.



Big thanks to Jessica Park for her voice and back and editing skills. And to Jeff Kreisler for production help and craft services.

You can subscribe to the Rude Pundit YouTube channel. Coming soon: Instagram?

6/02/2017

Ignorant, Friendless, and Uncaring: Trump's Paris Agreement Decision Is a Reflection of Himself

In President Trump's extravagantly stupid speech yesterday announcing that he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, one lie, among the series of lies that he told, stood out. Trump said, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." Put aside the myopic view that Pittsburgh is no less a part of a world affected by climate change than Paris and thus would benefit from mitigating the effects of global warming. Put aside even the thought that Trump seems to think that because the pact was finalized in Paris, it's about Paris.

Instead, focus on the Pittsburgh part. Because, see, if Trump were representing the citizens of that city, who voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton (115,000 to Trump's 32,000), he would have stayed in the agreement. In fact, Trump's ignorance about Pittsburgh goes far, far deeper. It's as if he still thinks that the city is dependent on the steel industry when, in reality, the economy of the city has very little to do with steel anymore. It's a high-tech center, and the health care industry, among other highly-skilled fields, provides far more employment. This is not to mention that Pittsburgh is a leader among cities in moving to clean energy.

In other words, invoking Pittsburgh as an example of a place that he thinks he's helping shows that Trump not only completely misunderstands the Paris agreement, but he doesn't know shit about the United States.

The blizzard of idiocy that Trump spouted yesterday was the ranting of a paranoid, hateful, and profoundly friendless man. Look at what he said: "At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment for its citizens, and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers. We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be. They won’t be."

Who the fuck is demeaning us? Who the fuck is laughing at us? Give us a single example of a country that is laughing at us for any reason other than, "Holy Jesus fuckballs, did you hear what American's idiot king said today? They are sooo fucked." This is how small and pathetic Trump is. It is better to swat at imaginary laughter than to stand up and act like something matters more than he does. Meanwhile, those allegedly laughing countries are going to lap us in the clean energy industry. And Trump just told them that the United States is not to be trusted.

Everything that came out of his face anus was turd-like. "It is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree -- think of that; this much -- Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100," he said, which completely misreads the research on that. He said that the United States "can't build...coal plants." Yeah, we can. And as far as jobs, man, there are more jobs in the renewable energy industry than in fossil fuels right now.  Those solar jobs need protecting, too. But that doesn't play to his Neanderthal base. What we need to be doing is establishing job retraining programs to help places transition so they can be more like Pittsburgh and less like West Virgina.

Instead of looking forward, Trump is heading back in time. "[T]he current agreement effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America -- which it does [note: no, it doesn't], and the mines are starting to open up," the president blustered. "We’re having a big opening in two weeks. Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, so many places. A big opening of a brand-new mine. It’s unheard of. For many, many years, that hasn’t happened." It's like saying that he's going to invest in ink wells and quill pens because he needs to protect the feather pluckers of Michigan and the vast ink mill workers of Virginia, and the United States will never give up those jobs for your fancy typewriter machines. Pointy metal nibs will make America great again.

Trump seems to think he can negotiate a better deal. I'm not sure what deal is better than "voluntary compliance" and "set your own standards," as the Paris agreement say. Is it that we'll only do it if every country pays us to do it? That seems to be the Trump extortion way.

The Paris Accord was important not because of what it did, since everything in it was voluntary, but because of what it demonstrated. Two hundred nations acknowledged the reality of climate change and said, "Well, shit, we better try something." What the fuck makes the United States so fucking special here? What knowledge do we have that other countries don't? And why aren't countries like India and Greece worried about job loss? Oh, right, because the fuckin' oceans are rising.

It took a decade to negotiate and, even then, it was modified to suit the nutzoids in the U.S. President Obama didn't try to get it ratified in the Senate because the Senate is run by motherfuckers who don't give a shit if their grandkids drown or starve to death. The deal was as much symbolic as anything. It relied on everyone not being a dick, and then we went and elected the prickiest dick ever. Symbolism is important, and Trump took it and pissed on it.

This action is Trump in a nutshell. Greedy, isolated, deranged, and utterly oblivious to consequences beyond silencing the imaginary laughter. That it pisses off that fairy in France and that bitch in Germany and all those traitor liberals is all the more reason to do it. Trump can't imagine that what's good for the rest of the world might be good for us. Look at the man himself. No friends. No charity. Nothing that doesn't profit himself or his odious family of twat mites.

We are living out the fantasies of a delusional megalomaniac. That his interests happen to cross with those of his party merely assures that whatever destruction he brings, no one will try to stop him.

This is what it's like to be alone. Maybe he just wanted us to feel the self-loathing that he feels every second of his miserable, worthless life.

6/01/2017

Let Hillary Clinton Speak (and Listen to Her)

Here's a one-sentence post-mortem that you can use to explain the 2016 election: Emails kept people home while racism got people to the polls.

You can juice it up a bit with the Russian interference or Donald Trump's fanning of xenophobic fires or Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, but, basically, that's what it came down to. That simple an explanation is not enough for a whole lot of people. "What about Clinton?" they'll ask. "Wasn't she a terrible candidate? Why didn't she campaign in Wisconsin?" And you wouldn't be wrong to ask those questions. Of course, then I'll say, "Take the fake email scandal out of the equation. Who wins?"

(You might also say, "Bernie would have won," which is an assumption that makes me roll my eyes so hard that I see my brainpan.)

Let's not be delusional here. Yes, if Clinton were president, a whole bunch of things wouldn't be threatened right now: the Affordable Care Act, the Paris Climate Agreement, the continued existence of the earth. But you know that, right now, we would be embroiled in an absolutely enraging bunch of congressional hearings over the damned emails, heading towards another completely unwarranted impeachment. And, no doubt, we would be treated to a number of think pieces from presumptive liberals explaining how Clinton made this bed and she shouldn't have had the private server and she should have been forthcoming and she was never really a liberal and all kinds of accusations that add up to something obvious: You don't like Clinton. And that's okay. But you don't have to like someone to be able to say what's fair. And Clinton has been treated incredibly unfairly.

Since the election, every time Clinton has made an appearance, some on the left and center have reacted with anything from disinterest to revulsion. "Shut the f--- up," wrote Hillary voter Gersh Kuntzman (a name that sounds as filthy as anything I could write here) in the New York Daily News after Clinton spoke at the Women for Women conference. The New Republic seems to put out an article a week on how Clinton is terrible and should go away.

They can't stand that Clinton blames James Comey's letter on her emails, Russian hacking, and misogyny as contributing factors to her win. Never mind that the polls show that Clinton's support took a dive after the Comey letter was leaked. Never mind that, in every case, she is sure to blame herself as harshly as the outside factors. Never mind that, despite losing the presidency due to the United States's archaic electoral system, she's still got a lifetime of experience as an activist and politician that is probably pretty damn valuable.

At a tech conference in Los Angeles yesterday, Clinton said that the Russian government "could not have known how best to weaponize that [hacked] information unless they had been guided." Asked who guided them, Clinton said that "it's pretty hard not to" say it was Trump and his campaign. This is the former Secretary of State accusing her rival of colluding with Russia to affect the outcome of a U.S. election. It's not some crazed real estate mogul tweeting madly in the middle of the night. Why wouldn't you want her out there saying this? The only reason you can view her as less credible on any of these issues is because you buy the conservative spin on her, whether you realize it or not, likely with a bit of sexism mixed in. And, god, yes, it's a temptation to tell those who have been part of our body politick for ages to go into the hinterlands, to disappear.

But I don't want Hillary Clinton to shut up. I want her out there, talking about the issues that matter to her, like Al Gore did with climate change, and that ended up shifting the entire conversation on the issue. I want her to talk about how, if you actually give a damn about elections, you'd demand that the Russian interference be investigated. I want her to get the next generation of Democrats, especially Democratic women, excited and out there and ready to run. I want her to get her revenge on a political machine, aided and abetted by a drooling media cohort, that tasked itself with wrecking her and her husband. Hell, that machine is already gearing up to go after Elizabeth Warren with the same intensity. She didn't win the election, but I want her to be able to stand on the ashes of the Trump administration and laugh that laugh that has annoyed so many.

Clinton should be in the mix, fanning the flames of anti-Trump sentiment, because she knows what we're losing with Trump, with every tweet he makes, with every slight of a world leader, with every promise to the working class broken, with every promise to the wealthy kept. Say what you will about her, decry her hawkish tendencies (I sure have), be angry at the way the DNC tilted towards her, be upset at her Wall Street connections, if you must, but she's walked the walk. And right now, we need all the voices we can muster - Sanders, Warren, Ellison, too - because the noise from the other side is, as ever, overwhelming.

As she said yesterday, "I'm not going anywhere. I have a big stake in what happens in this country. I am very unbowed and unbroken about what happened because I don’t want it to happen to anybody else. I don't want it to happen to the values and the institutions I care about in America." If nothing else, imagine how much strength it takes to suck up the loss, to stand up against every withering body blow she's suffered, and to still want to work for the country. No one would blame her for telling us all to go to hell and live out her life in luxury, far from the carping crowds.

But she won't. And she couldn't. And that should be acknowledged. And respected.

(You'll notice I'm not mentioning conservative attacks on Clinton. That's because there is nothing Clinton can do that would satiate the right's need to constantly try to destroy her. It's been an obsession for 25 years. She was mocked for walking in the woods and going to a bookstore post-election. And Republicans, especially the president, think that any support for Clinton or for an investigation into the Russian interference is about being a sore loser. No, we accept that Trump won. We accept that Clinton lost. We just want to know who Trump's working for.)


5/30/2017

Let the Nazi Scum Fuckers March in Portland

As a reaction to the Nazi scum fucker who murdered two men and injured another on a train in Portland, Oregon, the mayor of that city in the Nazi-infested northwestern United States has refused permits for a pair of upcoming Nazi scum rallies and asked the federal government to pull the permit for a June 4 event. The rallies are sure to be filled with Nazis of various shades of white, various addictions to meth and/or opiates, various tattoos marking them as dumbfucks who deserve our scorn, and various levels of intelligence from "holy fuck, how do you breathe" all the way up to "good thing Wal-Mart hires," along with one or two parasitic worms who exploit the ignorance of the others. We call them "Richard Spencers."

The reason this is up to the feds is that the marches are scheduled to take place in Schrunk Plaza in downtown Portland, and that is run by the feds. They already granted a permit for the Nazi scum fuckers to have their confusingly-named "Trump Free Speech Rally" on June 4 (Is it free speech for Trump? What the hell?). Then, on June 10, the even stupider "March Against Sharia" is supposed to occur, part of a national event, where, no doubt, dozens of deranged white gobblers of Alex Jones's manly jizz will gather to signal that they don't want something that isn't happening and will never happen to happen. Ironically, it wasn't creeping Sharia that killed those two men in Portland. It was a combination of batshit crazy and Islamophobia.

Mayor Ted Wheeler makes some good points about why the rallies should be cancelled or rescheduled. As he said in a statement released today, "Our City is in mourning, our community’s anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation." He even attempts to appeal to the Nazi scum fuckers, acting all polite and shit: "I am appealing to the organizers of the alt-right demonstrations to CANCEL the events they have scheduled on June 4th and June 10th. I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland." Yeah, fuck "alt-right." It's Nazi. Maybe "white supremacist," if someone's going all Confederate flag and shit.

The problem, of course, is that there's always gonna be someone who thinks the time is wrong for a march or protest. As the good Wonkette bloggerizes, "If you ban the neo-Nazis, then you’ve set a precedent to ban protests after cops kill an unarmed black kid." And the ACLU is being pretty loud and clear about the rights of the Nazi scum fuckers. They have First Amendment guarantees, too. Free speech ain't pretty, but protect it or it'll be gone before you realize you're missing it.

Besides, wouldn't you like to know who these assholes, dicks, and cunts are? They mostly live in the shadows of their online caverns, spitting out stories with headlines like "Heroic Officer Who Put Down Rabid Dog Tamir Rice Railroaded" and "Trump Planning to Trim ‘Get Whitey’ Bureaucracies," jacking off to videos of cops shooting unarmed black men. Let the marches happen and we all get to see just how ridiculous they are, just how sad they are, clinging to Nazis and the Confederacy, just one defeated past or another, believing that the natural movement of populations is "white genocide," huffing hate so hard like they sprayed it into a paper bag. Jesus, they're so dragged down by poverty and so deluded by conspiracy theories, the kind that explain how shitty life is for them because of non-whites, something that's easier to grasp than "Rich white people did this to you."

Goddamnit, let the Nazi scum out into the sun so we know who to avoid on trains. Because right now, a lot of white men are fucking frightening (and, yes, Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai Meche, the pair who were killed in Portland, are white men). They are murdering black men and Native Americans randomly, they are planning bombings, and they are beating and killing and harassing Muslims, like one of the two young women on the train in Portland.

Let them march. Let's see their faces so we know. Just so we know.

(By the way, wanna see a bunch of Nazi scum fuckers in Oregon die horribly? Watch The Green Room. Great flick.)

5/29/2017

A Poem for Memorial Day

"Parade"
by Jennifer Pacanowski

The funeral procession from Syracuse airport to Ithaca NY was over 50 miles long.
Dragging his dead body through town after town of people, families and children waving flags.
The fallen HERO had finally come home.
I wonder how many children who saw this, will someday want to be dead HEROES too.
I did not wave a flag that day or anyway since my return.
I still can't help but think that could have been me, but it wasn’t.

The hero was hit by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle, struggled to live but didn’t make it.
That was not me.

I was missed by IEDs, bullets, mortars, RPGs.
Is it luck?
Was it training?
Was it GOD?
Was it the Devil?
Why did I survive only to come home to a war with an invisible enemy in my own skin?

I live in a dream called my life. Where the good things don't seem real or sustainable.
I live in the nightmares of the past called Iraq and PTSD that never run out of fuel.

Is it better to be a dead hero?
Or a living fucked up, addicted, crazy veteran?

Suicide rates soar, but no one calls them heroes.
So, on this day, I'm going to have a parade for those brave young men and women that killed themselves.
I was not brave enough to follow through and I admire them.

These dead decided they couldn't live with who they became, who they are, accept what happened or find healing.
The barriers and obstacles that they weave through, while carrying the burden of war, consumes them with despair and failure,
And their actions are branded on the soul as reminders of what they did "over there,"
These failures are punishable by death.
To those who were able to escape death in a combat zone like true warriors,
But could not thrive in a society that does not understand them or help them understand themselves.
I wave my motherfucking flag.

The parades run every 80 minutes, blood drips from the small towns to the big cities, the grief consuming millions of miles.

Then I wonder,
WOULD those flag wavers ask...
Why are we there?
Why are we at war?
Why are the soldiers and marines killing themselves at home?
What have we done?
How cans this stop?

Or would they just duck their heads and wave their flags? For the dead heroes.

5/25/2017

American Wreckage: Trump Is Radically Degrading the United States

Donald Trump was standing before one of the holy relics of the 21st-century: a twisted piece of the fallen World Trade Center, destroyed on September 11, 2001. It was a dedication ceremony at the new headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and speeches were being made about two memorials, one for the Berlin Wall and one for 9/11 and Article 5 of the treaty, which says that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all of them. After 9/11, NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time, and, like a Megazord of justice, all the the allied nations in the organization joined with the United States to fight in Afghanistan.

I was in Denmark shortly after 9/11, and I met soldiers there, young Danes, who were on their way, proud to take part in a war on terror, however misguided it may have been, alongside the United States.

Introducing Donald Trump, who, we always remember with the shock and force of a cattle prod, is the president of the United States, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, "When our open and free societies come under attack, we stand up for our values and our way of life. That is why a strong NATO is good for Europe, and good for North America. The 9/11 and Article 5 Memorial will be a daily reminder of our vital bond."

And then Trump strode over to the lectern, dropped his pants, and shit all over the gathered leaders, shit all over the treaty itself, and, indeed, shit all over the 9/11 wreckage.

It must have been odd for the presidents and prime ministers to think that Trump, a mere few days ago, was standing in a golden palace in Saudi Arabia, praising the repressive, torturing, warmongering, terrorist-supporting Saudi monarchy. And then he stood alongside the barbaric leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and gave him the kind of accolades reserved for saints. Even Angela Merkel, who has experienced firsthand Trump's shallow ignorance, must have just thought, "What the fuck?"

Because, see, Trump started his speech with his usual combination of false sorrow and bullshit bravado. "All people who cherish life must unite in finding, exposing, and removing these killers and extremists -- and, yes, losers," he said, repeating his latest moronic Trumpism. "They are losers." He did observe that the 9/11 attacks led to NATO "invoking for the first time in its history the Article 5 collective defense commitments."

And then shit got weird.

Again, just to remind you, this was a 9/11 memorial dedication ceremony. So when Trump started gushing about Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the hijackers came from, that was kinda fucked up. And then he said, "I spent much time with King Salman, a wise man who wants to see things get much better rapidly."

You know that more than one of the European heads of state wanted to raise a hand and say, "Um, maybe he should start at home. No, like, literally in his house." Or maybe someone wanted to tell Trump, "He's a king. We were all elected. What the fuck is wrong with you?"

And, again, it can't be said enough, this was a ceremony dedicated to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the way that nations came together under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the T in NATO, to help the U.S. after 9/11, nations that lost soldiers in the war they joined under Article 5. Got it? Because then Trump outright fucking accused the countries represented there of being cheats and cheapskates, even though that's a complete and utter filthy lie. But that never stops our goddamn president.

"23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense," Trump said, completely ignoring that the member nations have until 2024 to meet that obligation. And, frankly, what the fuck gives this guy, who stiffs small contractors at his casinos, the right to even bring up debts owed, real or fake. But he went on, "This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years." And he kept going, like that douchey friend who doesn't think it's fair to split the restaurant bill evenly because he had water while everyone else got sodas. Fuck you, Don, you should have gotten a Coke.

Was Trump a complete dickhead? Of course, he was. He noted that he was in the new NATO building and said, "I never asked once what the new NATO Headquarters cost. I refuse to do that." It cost about a billion Euros. Yeah, it's expensive. You might wanna talk to some Republicans about the nearly billion dollar American embassy in Iraq for a cost comparison.

You know what Trump didn't do in his speech? He had pretty much already shit the bed, having shoved the prime minister of Montenegro aside so he could prance and preen for the camera, and having told the European Union members that Germany is "evil, very evil" for selling so many cars in the United States (which, funny story, they make in U.S. factories with American workers). But he didn't say that he supported Article 5. He didn't say that the United States would honor it, even though he was at an Article 5 memorial dedication. Instead, he implied that, unless the rest of NATO paid a protection fee, America wouldn't live up to its treaty obligations.

In a single meeting, Trump degraded the place of the United States in the world. He went to Brussels and was essentially a drunk businessman, fingering the help and pissing in the fountain. He allied us with dictators, kings, and madmen, and he told our long-time, most reliable allies that there was really going to be a new world order. Trump is a radical without a cause or an ideology. And it's fucking terrifying.

And, as with everything with this petulant, paranoid, petty president, it's an embarrassment.

5/24/2017

Government of the Sick Fucks, by the Sick Fucks, and for the Sick Fucks (Part 1: Of)

There is a genre of news story lately that has gotten old really damn fast. It's the "Hey, here's a fucking dumbass who voted for Trump and is now gonna be fucked by him" variety. Essentially, a diligent reporter goes to some shitty place, finds one or more of the aforementioned dumbasses, and gets them to say something along the lines of "Well, Trump's budget and health care plan will leave me dying of cancer in a ditch while my Congress member pisses on me, but I still support my president."

For instance, on CNN, we meet Barbara Puckett of Beattyville, Kentucky, which is the deepest shithole for white people in the nation. Puckett's got sclerosis and is on Social Security disability and food stamps, both of which are on the cutting board in Donald Trump's savage budget. But she's not abandoning her man: ""I am still happy with President Trump," she said.

AP reporters headed out across the country to talk to a spectrum of people, from white idiots in New York to white morons in Georgia to white dolts in Iowa. They all agree that they couldn't give a happy monkey fuck about the stories about Trump and Russia. It's all lies or bullshit, they say. Or you just ignore it, as one Staten Island hairdresser said, "I didn’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to feel that he’s not doing what he said, so I just choose to not listen." A college student there offered his support by saying, "If you’re wishing for him to fail, you’re basically wishing for the pilot of the plane to crash." To which one could point out that if the pilot doesn't know how to fly the plane, all the wishing in the world ain't gonna help you.

(To be vaguely fair, one of the Staten Islanders did get off a decent joke. When asked if anything could turn him against Trump, a man replied, "If he gases his own people, yeah, I would be against him," which, c'mon, is kind of funny. Well, until Trump starts gassing Brooklyn.)

Back in April, Nicholas Kristof wrote about a whole bunch of Americans who will suffer if even a fraction of Trump's budget were to be passed (which, let's face it, is the goal in putting out such a nut-punchingly vicious document). They include a 70-year-old woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is dependent on a job from the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which Trump has proposed slashing. She voted for the president because "he was talking about getting rid of those illegals," of course. If the program is cut, she said, "I’ll sit home and die."

But like almost everyone in these stories, she says she would vote for Trump in 2020. That's just sick. These are sick fucks who don't care if the god they worship wants to kill them.

The best mark in a con is the kind who doesn't believe they've been conned, even when the con is revealed. Either they are so embarrassed that it's easier just to double down on the delusion or they're that fucking stupid. And, in the end, it doesn't matter because they'll line up to be fleeced again.

Another genre of news story is of the wishful thinking variety. They say things like "Trump's Budget Cuts Target His Voters" or "Wait Until Trump's Supporters See the Size of the Dildo He's Fucking Them With" or "Man, Grandpa's Gonna Be Mad When He Catches Trump Stabbing His Grandkids." And they all posit a fantasy that Trump will cross some line, be it with health care or other cuts, or even in his canoodling with Russia, that will make his followers turn against him.

It's the same sort of hoping without any evidence that got us Trump in the first place. I've said it before: Fuck the dumbasses. The hell with the sick fucks. Don't court them. Don't count on them. Build up the outreach to the people who didn't vote. And then get elected and pass programs that help the dumbasses and everyone else.

5/23/2017

Trump Abroad: Let's Hear It for the Rainbow Tour

Unlike your run-o'-the-mill members of the punditocracy, I refuse to pretend that I know shit that I know I don't know. I'm not gonna dissect the ins and outs of Brexit or the upcoming German election because fuck if I understand it. I comprehend a little bit about the distinctions between Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims, but no one's inviting me onto the BBC to answer questions, thank Allah.

However, I do know fucked up. And it's pretty fucked up that the United States has gone from supporting the Sunni with Saddam Hussein to supporting the Shiite in ousting Saddam Hussein and shitcanning all the Sunni in Iraq to supporting the Sunni because fuck those Shiite Iranians and let's ignore the fact that ISIS is Sunni. That was one of the gists of President Donald Trump's sleepy maunder of a speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Shit's complicated, man, shit's complicated. That's why you don't take a side in a 1000-year battle that you don't understand.

The once-mighty criticizer of Saudi Arabia was a bowing, curtsying little bitch, continuing Trump's pattern of folding like a dog, as he might say, whenever he's in the presence of a world leader whose country he's shit on. He was blowing the Saudi leaders like a desperate old porn star trying to prove that he's still got what it takes. And that just scratches the surface of the bullshit contradictions within the speech itself, as well as the mind-boggling array of flip-flops.

For instance, Trump said, "We are not here to lecture — we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship." Essentially, that's the President of the United States telling a bunch of corrupt, murderous, terrorist-supporting, women-abusing, gay-murdering theocrats that "It's all good, babe." Meanwhile, further on in the speech, Trump specifically did lecture Iran on how to live, etc. "The Iranian regime's longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders' reckless pursuit of conflict and terror," he said, apparently willing to overlook the hardship and despair of a good chunk of the Saudi population, as well as Iran's implicit desire to liberalize and open up (even if the religious leaders there are holding it back).

Trump also remarked, "Among Iran's most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria," and, well, okay, but, you know, the Saudis have been bombing the shit out of Yemen and the arms deal Trump just made guarantees more misery.

It's not that President Obama didn't make arms deals with Saudi Arabia, with negotiation assistance from Hillary Clinton. It's not that the Clinton Foundation didn't take money from Saudi Arabia. It's that Trump made a big goddamn show of how he was going to be different, and he's not. He's just a pathetic suck-up, only wanting to trash the progress made in Iran out of his continuing spite against Obama, not out of any real understanding or even interest in the region beyond whether Turkey or Jordan will approve the next Trump building. Shit, Iranian President Rouhani should tell Ivanka that they can build a hotel in Tehran.

If you go from stating "I think Islam hates us" to praising the religion effusively, as Trump did, you are admitting that either you didn't know shit about what you were talking, the very shit that got you elected, and now you know better. Or you're just a capricious dick, willing to say nice things to whomever is putting a gold necklace around your bowed head. Or you're Donald Trump, and you're both, covered in a special spice of not even caring.

To put this simply, Trump lied to the dear, dumb, racist Trump voters, and he was never the great warrior for Christian white supremacy that they hoped he'd be. He was just a liar who seems to be trying to get us into a war with Iran for no good reason.

On to Israel, where he just finished sucking some cut cock while trying to make amends for dicking over that nation's intelligence service by outing a source to the Russians. In another bargain-basement discount speech, Trump said, "Making peace will not be easy. We all know that. Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise on both sides, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal." And that sounds good, if dumb. But just remember, as many have learned: If you make a deal with Trump, you will get stiffed when the bill comes due.

And then he said the perpetrators (if there is more than one) of the terrible Manchester bombing are "evil losers," saying they'd want to be called "monsters." Sure, that'll make the suicide bombers of the future think twice: "Wait, am I an evil loser? I wanted to be a monster."

Now to Rome, and he can brag that he hit some kind of trifecta of faith. Don't tell him that there are more Hindus and Buddhists in the world than Jews. Those are facts, and why bother with them now.

(The "Rainbow Tour" up there in the title is a reference to a song from the musical Evita.)


5/19/2017

Dead Pestilence: A Word or Two on Roger Ailes

I hope Roger Ailes died screaming. I hope he felt every sensation of pain from the subdural hematoma he suffered; I hope that the shocks wracked his worn-out sack of a body. I hope that, in the throes of that pain, he realized he was dying and he cried out that he wanted to come back, that he didn’t want his last act on earth to have been his dismissal as a lecher and a rapist. I hope he died screaming.

Roger Ailes was a rabid swine, barreling through the fertile cornfields of America and devouring everything in his path, animal, mineral, or vegetable, and then shitting it out as a foamy diarrhea that was lapped up by the rats and roaches that followed his destructive path. Nearly every phase of his too-long life was one betrayal of truth and rationality after another, each one crueler and more harmful than the last. From inflicting upon us Nixon and Reagan and a pair of Bushes and Trump to his creation of Fox News, as insidious a propaganda wing as has ever been devised, each time Ailes one-upped himself in action, staying true to his view of power as being only for the powerful and that power needed to be forced upon the powerless like a fat male executive telling a female employee that the only way to get ahead was to fuck him. And Ailes did that repeatedly to the women who encountered him.

Every chance that Ailes had, he took embers and blew them into infernos with his stinking, wheezing breath. He worked for Nixon and took Tricky Dick's hatred of the media and made it flesh. He worked for Reagan and taught the Gipper that facts were the enemy. He worked for Bush, Sr. and conspired with Lee Atwater to bury Michael Dukakis in the the mud and shit. Fox News came along shortly before the Bill Clinton impeachment nightmare, and Ailes made sure that the United States had to be dragged through it because it was ratings gold, pushing any crazed conspiracy that could take a blow job and turn it into a national crisis. After that, Fox News under Ailes essentially set the nation's agenda, along with his fellow bloated garbage bag, Rush Limbaugh. And a good chunk of the nation went gone along, drinking his Kool-Aid like it was piss from Jesus, finding comfort in the madness that Fox and its children like Breitbart present. The rest of the media began to take its cues from Fox because they allowed Fox to call the tunes.

Ailes wanted to debase anyone who didn't bow down to him and his corrupt, materialistic ideology, and the odious Rupert Murdoch gave Ailes Fox as his vehicle for vengeance. Ask Hillary Clinton, who has been Ailes's victim for the longest period. Ask the family of George Tiller, the doctor who performed abortions and was gunned down by someone deluded by Fox's stars, the depraved O'Reilly, the revolting Hannity. Ask Gary Condit, the Democratic congressman whose non-involvement in the death of an intern was the focus of Fox's monomania before 9/11 blew that off the front page. Ask the families of the soldiers who died in Iraq, a war that Fox demanded be fought lest politicians want to be tarred as unAmerican. Ask John Kerry, a war hero who was demeaned by the ludicrous and false allegations of the Swift Boat Vets, lies pushed endlessly by Fox, until he lost the presidential race.

And Ailes would make sure that the conservative version of any issue was given prominence. So science and authority had to be derided, as with Fox's support for climate change denialism. So protesters marching against police or war had to be demonized and the Tea Party fucknuts had to be lionized because they were valiant patriots standing up to the authoritarian Barack Obama. The lies that Ailes spun formed a cocoon around the minds of millions.

From the right and even from the left, you're hearing about what a good guy Ailes could be, how he was a great party guest and "raconteur." Goddamn, I'm sick of hearing how terrible human beings can be great hangs. It's a despicable way to judge a person with power. You judge them by how they use their power. So who the fuck cares if George W. Bush is a fun guy? Who the fuck cares if Donald Trump can be charming?

Roger Ailes was a sentient dumpster filled with heaps of lies and an enormous appetite for control. We shouldn't give a single mouse shit about how he could tell a funny story about Mike Douglas. The guy bought his hometown newspaper, warped it to suit his beliefs, and then had the employees spied on because he thought they might be saying mean things about him. He was a racist, sexist, xenophobic slug who sexually assaulted multiple women. Fuck that Jabba the Hutt-looking motherfucker. We should all be thrilled that he doesn't infect the earth he helped ruin anymore.

Down in Hell, Ailes thought he might be able to make a deal with Satan. "Listen, Lucifer, buddy, you've got some PR problems. Lemme make one or two ghost visits to Steve Doocy. I promise you that we'll get you some solid Q ratings," he told the Devil. Satan didn't care because, well, he's Satan. So he locked Ailes in a red room surrounded by windows. On the other side of the windows were women. At least he thought they were women but he couldn't be entirely sure because their backs were to him. He tried to talk to them, to charm them, to threaten them, anything to get them to turn around, to look at him, to listen to him. They did not. Then, above him, a drip started, just a drop at a time. He didn't even see it until it had formed a tiny puddle on the floor. Ailes realized it was shit.

And he realized there was no drain.

And he realized that he could only watch as it slowly, agonizingly, began to pool.